Ivan Echeverry speaks at the launch of a report on Latino youth. County Council Member George Leventhal (left) and County Executive Ike Leggett (right) announce how they will address the challenges presented in the report Monday.
Ivan Echeverry's story resembles those of many Latino teens in Montgomery County.
"I never knew my parents. I lived in seven or eight different foster homes. I've been homeless and dropped out of school," he says.
Echeverry's experience reflects a list of problems that threaten many in a generation of youth.
"This is about the future of Montgomery County, very clearly. We are talking abut the future population," says County Council Member George Leventhal.
Leggett's new initiative includes efforts to target more social programs and services for Latinos and to use schools as a resource center for Latino families.
"It is important for us to respond and to respond quickly. Otherwise, we will have a large number of youth who fall through the cracks," Leggett says.
Council Member Nancy Navarro says an oversight committee will make sure the recommendations are implemented in the next several years.
"By the year 2050, 30 percent of our workforce will be comprised of Latinos," she says. "It means we need to start now in a very targeted, strategic way to build the capacity of our Latino youth."Maryland Latino Youth: Key Findings