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Cultural Competency is an important principle guiding the planning and delivery of effective services. See the new section on Cultural Competency/Cultural Effectiveness for more information.


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Data Haven Cultural Competence / Cultural Effectiveness

As the population in the US becomes more diverse, the need for culturally competent and linguistically appropriate health, education and family support services becomes ever more important to ensure favorable outcomes for all racial and ethnic groups.

DataHaven is pleased to contribute this information as an introduction to the topic of cultural competence and resources to promote its understanding and practice. Clink on the following for the type of information you want:

Resources / Reports & Papers / Tools / Training / Connecticut Links

Definition: Cultural competence is defined as a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together to enable systems, agencies, or professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. Culturally effective systems integrate and transform knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes. Quite simply, culturally effective services are respectful of and responsive to the beliefs and practices, and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations. Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills along a cultural competence continuum.

There are five essential elements that contribute to a system's ability to become more culturally competent. The system should:

  1. value diversity,
  2. have the capacity for cultural self-assessment,
  3. be conscious of the "dynamics" inherent when cultures interact,
  4. institutionalize cultural knowledge, and
  5. develop adaptations to service delivery reflecting an understanding of diversity between and within cultures.

Further, these five elements must be reflected in attitudes, structures, policies, and services manifested in every level of the service delivery system.

Resources

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Below is an extensive, but by no means exhaustive, list of resources on cultural competence/effectiveness in health, education and early childhood services.

Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice

The CECP supports efforts to foster the development and the adjustment of children with or at risk of developing serious emotional disturbance. To achieve that goal, the Center is dedicated to a policy of collaboration at Federal, state, and local levels that contributes to and facilitates the production, exchange, and use of knowledge about effective practices. The website contains a variety of resources on cultural competence in education, health and mental health settings.

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health

This department operates the OMH Resource Center (OMHRC), which serves as an information and referral service on minority health issues for professionals, community groups, consumers, and students. OMHRC maintains a minority health knowledge center and database; distributes publications; manage exhibits; publishes funding opportunities; maintains a list of volunteer resource experts available to the public; and conducts literature searches. The Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care (CLCCHC) was established in FY 1995 as a vehicle to address the health needs of populations who speak limited English.

Early Childhood Research Institute on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)

The CLAS Institute identifies, evaluates, and promotes effective and appropriate early intervention practices and preschool practices that are sensitive and respectful to children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This Web site presents descriptions and reviews of current early childhood materials, selected for their potential usefulness with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families. Many of the reviewed materials were developed for use with children at risk for developmental delays.

National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC)

The mission of the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) is to increase the capacity of health and mental health programs to design implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems. NCCC maintains a database of a wide range of resources on cultural and linguistic competence (e.g. demographic information, policies, practices, articles, books, research initiatives and findings, curricula, multimedia materials and Web sites, etc.).

Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

The Partnership provides technical assistance to system of care communities funded by the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program. It supports the system of care values that emphasize family- and youth-driven services, cultural competence, effective and evidence-based interventions, and sustainability within a coordinated community-based service system.

Zero to Three

Zero to Three promotes the healthy development of infants and toddlers by: advancing current knowledge; promoting beneficial policies and practices; communicating research and best practices to a wide variety of audiences; and providing training, technical assistance and leadership development. Their website contains several resources on cultural competence and early childhood development including:

Reports & Papers

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Building Culturally and Linguistically Competent Services to Support Young Children, Their Families, and School Readiness (May 2004)

This paper, by Kathy Seitzinger Hepburn, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides guidance, tools, and resources to assist communities in building culturally and linguistically competent services, supports, programs, and practices related to young children, and their families.

A Concept Paper on Responsiveness to Family, Culture, Values, and Education

The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) is part of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) - the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. DEC is especially for individuals who work with or on behalf of children with special needs, birth through age eight, and their families. Founded in 1973, the Division is dedicated to promoting policies and practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of children.

Compendium of Cultural Competence Initiatives in Health Care

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation developed a compendium of public and private sector activities that seek to reduce cultural and communication barriers to health care. The initiatives included in the compendium are from 1990 to 2003 and it is divided into two categories: Public Sector Initiatives (Federal/state/local) and Private Sector Initiatives (health care institutions or professional organizations, foundations, academic institutions/policy research organizations, and other). This resource also includes brief definitions for the major terms, organizational descriptions of initiatives and a list of experts in the field.

Early Developments 2004: Diversity (Spring 2004), Volume 8 No.1

This paper, published by the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute, highlights some of the work developed at FPG regarding cultural diversity and early childhood education.

Factors Affecting Choice of Kith and Kin Care by Families Receiving Child Care Subsidies

An article in the journal Hulili, Vol. 1 2004, topics examine the nature, needs, and strengths of Hawaiians, their families, and their communities.

National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care

These standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) are proposed as a means to correct inequities that currently exist in the provision of health services, and ultimately contribute to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities and to improve the health of all Americans. The CLAS standards are primarily directed at health care organizations; however, individual providers are also encouraged to use the standards to make their practices more culturally and linguistically accessible.

Responding to Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Recommendations for Effective Early Childhood Education

A position statement from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This position statement includes recommendations for a responsive learning environment with a) recommendations for working with children; b) recommendations for working with families; c) recommendations for professional preparation of early childhood educators; and d) recommendations for programs and practice.

The Role of State Early Childhood Comprehensive Service Systems in Promoting Cultural Competence and Effective Cross-Cultural Communication

This report examines the importance of cultural competence in the delivery of comprehensive early childhood services, and promotes the notion of cultural "proficiency" as the desired standard.

Understanding the Impact of Language Differences on Classroom Behavior

A "What Works Brief" from the Center on the Emotional and Social Foundations for Early Learning.

Tools

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A Practical Guide for Implementing the Recommended National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care

The Office of Minority Health, Office of Public Health and Science, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is working to develop practical, flexible, and easy-to-use guidelines to lead health organizations through the adaptation and implementation of the CLAS standards.

Promoting Cultural and Linguistic Competency: A Self-Assessment Checklist for Personnel Providing Services and Supports in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Services

This checklist is intended to heighten the awareness and sensitivity of personnel to the importance of cultural diversity and cultural competence in human service settings. It provides concrete examples of the kinds of values and practices that foster such an environment.

Planning for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Systems of Care

One of several tools available on the NCCC website, this is a checklist to help plan systems that have policies, practices and structures that support culturally and linguistically competent care.

Training

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Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training (MECTT)

This training is a model for preparing parent and professional teams to improve services to diverse families of young children with special needs - infusing cultural competence in early childhood programs. The project has produced a training package consisting of a Participant Manual and Trainer's Guide, which includes an orientation section.

New Voices/Neuvas Voces

New Voices is a four-year, federally funded demonstration project conducted by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC at Chapel Hill. The project has developed, refined, demonstrated, and evaluated a training and technical assistance program for service providers working with young children from culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse backgrounds, with a special focus on Latino children with special needs and their families.

Connecticut Links

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Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), Division of Multicultural Affairs

The Division of Multicultural Affairs was created to develop, implement, and sustain diversity initiatives and policies designed to support the diverse needs of staff and clients of DCF regardless of their race, religion, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, social economic status, or language.

Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA)

This department functions to enhance the delivery of DMHAS services for mental health and substance use disorders in a way that acknowledges the impact of individual differences - such as race, ethnic or cultural background, age, gender, sexual orientation, and physical or mental status - on client treatment.