In recent years, she has been particularly interested in the mental health of very young Hispanic/Latino children.
“I had been trained originally to work with young children in therapeutic nurseries in New York City,” Leon said. “So I’m actually returning to the work I used to do with very young children of all races and ethnicities, only now my focus is more on Hispanic/Latino children.” Her expertise on the subject is now sought after by organizations both here and abroad.
In the fall of 2008, Leon shared her knowledge of the obstacles facing Hispanic/Latino children in need of mental health care in an article* distributed nationwide to members of the National Association of Social Workers.
She also spoke on the subject at the 2008 “Meeting the Needs of Young Children in the Family and Community Conference” in Tampa.
This March, Leon will speak about the mental health of Latino infants and toddlers at the School of Social Work’s conference “Latinos in the New America: Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Population.”
And in July, she will present an invited paper on the subject at the International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Athens, Greece. Last fall, Leon was recognized as an “outstanding Hispanic social worker” on the NASW Web site, where she shared:
“Children are ‘under construction’ for a long period of time and therefore influenced greatly by their parents, families, communities and society. I feel strongly that children and especially Latino children represent one of the most vulnerable client groups social workers serve.”