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HACAN Hispanics Against Child Abuse & Neglect is a nonprofit educational and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening families in Northern Virginia through parent education and out-of-school activities that serve and support youth. Founded in 1985, HACAN fosters strong family relations and promotes community child abuse awareness and prevention.


Today, hundreds of families in Fairfax County benefit from HACAN’s diverse, culturally sensitive programs. HACAN’s programs operate along the continuum of family needs, beginning with young children, where life skills mentoring provides a positive role model; to teens seeking to find their voice constructively through advocacy; to their parents who are seeking to support their children as they grow and confront issues that are common or specific to the culture.

Our Board Members

Board Members Anchor

Our Board members guide and continue the legacy of Carmen Fernandez.
Their passion and commitment to community service are inspiring. 

Our Staff

Below are the staff that support our mission and values in serving our community. 

Our History

Our Founder, Carmen Fernandez
December 26, 1932 - September 17, 2021

Our founder, Carmen, has been a lifelong advocate for the underprivileged. Her journey began in her youth, ministering to impoverished families in La Lisa, a small rural town, and deepened during a faith-affirming mission trip to Mexico. After studying social work at the University of Havana, Carmen immigrated to the United States in 1960. She continued her education at George Mason University, balancing academics with family life alongside her husband, Jorge. Her passion for social work led her to obtain a Master’s degree from The Catholic University of America, culminating in a rewarding 25-year career with Arlington County’s Child Protective Services.

Here, Carmen recognized the unique challenges Spanish-speaking immigrants face in child protective services and the broader struggles of parenting in a new cultural landscape. In 1985, this insight and commitment to service inspired her to establish Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect (HACAN). Her vision was clear: to fortify families, empower youth, and prevent child abuse through culturally aware education and advocacy. Under her leadership, HACAN has become a beacon of hope and support in the community.

Our Hisotry
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