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
It is important to incorporate CLC into programs and organizations to be able to respond to the changing demographics of the United States, to eliminate disparities in the health status of people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and to improve the overall quality of services and health outcomes (Georgetown National Center for Cultural Competence). http://nccc.georgetown.edu/foundations/need.html
Cultural Competence And Your Agency
Cultural competence requires that organizations:
- value diversity,
- conduct self assessments,
- understand cross cultural dynamics,
- acquire and institutionalize knowledge of cultural groups in the service and geographic area, and
- adapt policies, procedures, and practices to reflect the population it serves
The National Center for Cultural Competence lists many benefits of self assessment for organizations. OnCare’s Director of Cultural and Linguistic Competence (CLC) can assist your organization with self assessment by offering technical support and consultation. OnCare’s evaluation team then assists the Director of CLC with analyzing the results of the assessment process as the Director of CLC works with agencies to identify strengths and develop an action plan for areas of improvement.
For more information on cultural and linguistic competence assessments, contact Tashia Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources For Cultural And Linguistic Competence
- National Center for Cultural Competence
- Technical Assistance Partnership- Cultural and Linguistic Competence Content Area
- NYS Office of Mental Health Bureau of Cultural Competence
- NAMI: Multicultural Action Center
- The Office of Minority Health National Standards and Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)
- Closing the Gap: Cultural Perspectives on Family Driven Care
- Integrating “Youth Guided” and “Cultural and Linguistic Competence” Values Into Systems of Care
- “Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention in a Culturally Diverse World” from NYS Office of Mental Health Bureau of Cultural Competence
- Cultural Competence: It All Starts at the Front Desk. PDF
- Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care: A Monograph on Effective Services for Minority Children Who Are Severely Emotionally Disturbed. PDF
- Cross, T, Bazron, B., Dennis, K. and Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health.
How Can You Be Involved?
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 supports 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.