Cultural Competency ~ Part One: Creating a Cultural Continuity Plan for Our Children

This is the first of a three- part blog post related to Cultural Competency.

Michele FriedMichele Fried, Adoption STAR Founder & CEO is the author of Creating a Cultural Continuity Plan for Our Children and frequently speaks at national conferences on the topic.

Below is an abstract outlining the focus of the article, as well as an excerpt.

Abstract: Implementing a Cultural Continuity Plan for each child should be the responsibility of every organization involved in child welfare.

  • Cultural competency does not only affect the immediate family, but also the extended family and community.
  • Help families develop strategies to advocate for their child in a community setting and school setting.
  • Help agencies by providing strategies to develop plans for children and their families that illustrate that every child has a right to build racial pride within their home and community.

Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures while being aware of one’s own cultural analysis. While many will look at the term specific to race, Michele extends cultural competence to include a respect for people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations.

Michele addresses a list of responsibilities for child welfare agencies as they strive to be culturally competent. Agencies willing to accept these responsibilities will be able to produce families committed to cultural competency and continuity.

Continuity is synonymous with permanence, the most important word in the child welfare glossary. Developing a cultural continuity plan will set the tone much like a mission statement. It says you are an agency dedicated to all children and you are ready to assist in identifying and creating and maintaining committed, competent and healthy families.

Michele has found that moving away from the typical cultural diversity themes and training sessions, agencies routinely implement to actually being a culturally competent organization requires the implementation from top to bottom of at least eight areas she outlines. Michele says, “It is necessary to genuinely be a competent organization versus just saying you are.”

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