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Cultural Competence

What is FRIENDS role in cultural competence issues?
Cultural issues vary from family to family, program to program, community to community, and state to state. The FRIENDS National Resource Center for CBCAP helps states become more culturally competent in their work with children and families by identifying and creating tools that will foster an understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of diverse populations. For more information on how to access FRIENDS technical assistance on this issue, CBCAP State Leads can contact your T/TA coordinator.

What is the definition of Culture and Cultural Competence?
Culture is a constantly changing, learning pattern of customs, beliefs, values, and behaviors, which are socially acquired and transmitted through symbols, rituals, and events and which convey widely shared meanings among its members.  Culture includes gender, age, sexual orientation, geographic location, ethnicity, values, personality, ability status, marital status, and job position (CWLA, n.d.). 

Cultural Competence is defined as the ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, ability statuses, and faiths or religions, in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, tribes, and communities, and protects and preserves the dignity of each.  Cultural competence is a continuous process of learning about the differences of others and integrating their unique strengths and perspectives into our lives (CWLA, n.d.).

What are some other culturally competent guiding values and principles?
(taken from the National Center on Cultural Competence at Georgetown University)

• Systems and organizations must sanction, and in some cases mandate the incorporation of cultural knowledge into policy making, infrastructure and practice.
• Cultural competence embraces the principles of equal access and non-discriminatory practices in service delivery.

Practice & Service Design
• Cultural competence is achieved by identifying and understanding the needs and help-seeking behaviors of individuals and families.
• Culturally competent organizations design and implement services that are tailored or matched to the unique needs of individuals, children, families, organizations and communities served.
• Practice is driven in service delivery systems by client preferred choices, not by culturally blind or culturally free interventions.

What are the resources and activities FRIENDS has in the area of Cultural Competency?
FRIENDS has many resources and activities in the area of Cultural Competency. These include:

  1. FRIENDS Cultural Competence Workgroup
    The Cultural Competence Work Group is made up of a diverse group of FRIENDS staff and partners, parent partners, State Lead Agencies (SLAs), representatives of the FRIENDS National Advisory Committee , the Child Welfare Gateway, and representatives from other federally funded National Resource Centers that have a particular focus on building cultural competence capacity in states, agencies, and programs This Work Group is guided by a work plan developed from input by the.  The group has been meeting since 2006 and has focused on integrating the issue of cultural awareness, relevance and appropriateness into the daily practice of FRIENDS work and identifying resources and tools that might be of assistance to the SLAs.
  2. FRIENDS Work in Parent Roles for CBCAP Programs
    A critical component for assuring cultural competence in services to families is the involvement of parents and communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of strategies and programs.  In 2006 FRIENDS formed a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) to infuse parent leadership in all levels and activities of the organization. The PAC members include parent leaders from diverse communities and backgrounds who are either currently or formerly connected to Circle of Parents, Parents Anonymous, CBCAP programs, and/or other family support programs.  The PAC’s goal is to ensure the parent voice is integrated into FRIENDS’s policies, practices, and products.
  3. FRIENDS Webinar and Teleconference Archive
    The archive has a number of relevant resources in the area of Cultural Competency. These are:
    • Applying Evidence-Based Practices in Communities of Color
    • Evidence-Based Programs in American Indian Communities
    • Cultural Competence for CBCAP Lead Agencies
    • Culturally Competent Strategies for Strengthening Families
  4. FRIENDS Print Materials and Resources
    icon Every Name Tells a Story (English)
    icon Every Name Tells a Story (Spanish)
    icon Family Support and Intergenerational Programming
    icon Honoring Diverse Voices and Restoring Effective Practice in Child Welfare and Family Services
    icon Making Family Support Programs Accessible to Children with Disabilities and their Families
    icon Native Americans and Child Welfare

Introduction to Cultural Competence: A Training Tool:


What are some resources on the web that you can look to for more information on Cultural Competency?

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Section on resources in cultural competence

Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services
Wide array of resources and tools for addressing the needs of refugee youth, children and their families

Community Toolbox
Online exchange among those doing work related to cultural competence

Child Welfare League of America
Cultural Competence Self Assessment Instrument

Early Childhood Research Institute
Culturally and linguistically competent early intervention / preschool practices

National Association of School Psychologists
Cultural competence guidelines and background information for working with children and families

National Association of Social Workers
NASW’s Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice

National Center for Cultural Competence
Tools to help health and mental health programs design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems