Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect (HACAN) was founded in 1988. Our mission is to strengthen families, empower youths, and prevent child abuse and neglect through culturally competent education, intervention, and advocacy, with a focus on the Latino community. In recent years, our service has included minorities and immigrants from many different backgrounds.
One of HACAN’s early accomplishments was advocating successfully for the hiring of bilingual/bicultural professionals in Social Services (especially in child protective services), the court system, schools, and health services. This effort resulted in the awareness of the need to offer parenting classes in Spanish to immigrant families who were trying hard to hold their families together amidst the struggles of surviving and adapting to a new culture.
In 1994, HACAN initiated “Morning Star” a weekly program that provides children and adolescents in with educational, social, and recreational activities in a safe, nurturing atmosphere. Morning Star has worked very closely with the Early Identification Program (EIP) at George Mason University (GMU). Approximately 40 students in 7th grade that were referred to EIP by HACAN have already graduated from college.
In 2008, HACAN expanded its outreach program to include high school students and initiated the Students Training in Advocacy and Responsibility (STAR) program. STAR is a leadership and advocacy training program focused on high school students’ educational achievements and their roles as future advocates.
In 2016, HACAN re-organized its Board of Directors to better align with its strategic goals. The Board is committed to implementing HACAN’s mission, ensuring that the organization operate at its fullest capacity.