Centro de la Familia de Utah is a non-profit agency devoted to strengthening the Latino community in Utah – economically, socially, and politically. For 40 years, Centro has served the Latino population throughout the state with an acute appreciation for the community’s specialized social, cultural, and linguistic strengths and needs.
The organization originally incorporated in April 1975 as the Institute of Human Resource Development (IHRD), and has its roots in the early years of the Chicano movement in Utah. At the time, community leaders were frustrated with the minimal involvement Chicanos had in the implementation and delivery of social services to the community in a culturally appropriate manner.
Since its inception, the agency took an interest in serving youth. Esperanza Para Mañana (Hope for Tomorrow) was the agency’s longest running program and marked the beginning of the organization’s involvement in youth issues. The program placed children and teens who were in state custody with proctor parents who provided a stable living environment until the children could return to their families.
During the 1980s and 90s, funding to prevent substance abuse and its associated problems were incorporated into the agency’s mental health services. Programs such as Proyecto La Familia, Proyecto Sabiduria, Proyecto Salud, and Proyecto Adelante were part of the agency during this time period and continued as funding was available. In 1991, Centro de la Familia initiated its Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (HYLI) program via a federally-funded grant. During its tenure as an agency-sponsored program, HYLI staff provided prevention and services to more than 300 high-risk Latino youth in schools throughout Salt Lake County. Our Teen Fatherhood Program also began in the 1990s and taught young fathers and fathers-to-be (ages 14 -19) critical parenting and life skills.
In 1991 the federal government contracted with IHRD to implement the Migrant Head Start Program (MHSP Region XII) for the state. After twenty three years of service delivery, the agency's Head Start Program currently serves more than 500 migrant and seasonal farm working families in three centers located in Honeyville (Box Elder), Providence, and Genola. In addition, Centro runs two Head Start Region VIII centers in Centerfield and Mount Pleasant in central Utah. Head Start provides a comprehensive set of services that included full-day childcare, health and dental care, nutrition, educational, and social services to children from birth to five years old and their families.
In April of 1994, the board and staff, with the help of community leaders, decided the name Institute of Human Resource Development no longer exemplified the mission of the agency and changed its name to Centro de la Familia de Utah.