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Abstract

An integrative model of family development in cultural context is presented as an organizing conceptual framework for supporting the optimal development of Latino children and families. This social developmental approach locates individual developmental outcomes within nested structures of family, community, and culture, each offering resources as well as potentially presenting stresses. This model also considers social attitudes such as racism or as potential risks or burdens for Latino families and suggests ways to address these social risks at individual, familial, and social levels. The article describes two exemplary prevention and early intervention programs for Latino parents and children; focusing on early infancy and transition to parenthood, they work from a multi-dimensional, risk-reduction, and resource-enhancement approach. A social developmental conceptual framework that recognizes the conditions of social adversity which characterize the lives of many Latino families highlights the resourcefulness and resilience of Latinos when their cultural and collective strengths are mobilized on behalf of their own development.

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