Culture & Diversity
What is Cultural and Linguistic Competence?
Culture refers to the beliefs, values, behaviors, language and history of a group of people. A person’s culture may determine the different approaches they adopt to meet their needs. Culture can affect the way people view mental health and mental illness. It can affect the way they seek help and it may affect the way they use and respond to treatment.
Cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) is one of the core values of systems of care. Cultural Competence is “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enable them to work effectively in cross-cultural situations” (Cross et al., 1989). Linguistic competence is “the capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, and individuals with disabilities” (Goode & Jones, 2004). http://www.tapartnership.org/COP/CLC/default.php
How can you be Involved?
One of the values of OnCare is that services and supports are community-based. Members of different cultural communities often get all of their services and supports within their own community. They may go to community centers, places of worship, grassroots organizations or the person in the neighborhood that knows everyone and knows how to get things done. Each entity has something unique to offer OnCare youth and families. As a community member, you can play a large part in the success of a family. You can:
- Act as a natural support for a family or young person in your neighborhood,
- Provide information about your neighborhood or organization,
- Participate in various workgroups and committees,
- Act as a resource to providers that are looking to find out more about different cultural groups,
- Act as a bridge builder between the formal mental health system and our children and families, and
- Help to develop alternate, culturally appropriate services and supports for families.
OnCare encourages participation by caregivers, young people, providers and community allies in all of its work groups. Those specifically related to CLC include:
- The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Workgroup focuses on increasing the level of cultural and linguistic competence among OnCare’s provider community.
- The Mental Health Needs of Refugee Children Learning Community is comprised of people from the mental health system, education system and community members interested in helping refugee children. The goal is to understand the most culturally appropriate way of offering services and support to refugee children that may be experiencing trauma as a result of migration or events that took place in their home country.
- The Disproportionate Minority Representation Steering Committee is focused on reducing the disproportionate rate of placement of children of color in the foster care system. This is a partnership between OnCare and the Onondaga County Department of Social Services.