The effectiveness of both family support and family preservation services depends on the skills and ability of service providers to work closely with families from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. To provide optimal support and assistance to families with children, practitioners must strive to be culturally competent, ensuring that services are respectful of and compatible with the cultural strengths and needs of the family.
The culturally competent worker is guided by the following principles:
- Respect for the client's home and family is of utmost concern
- Local etiquette should prevail in the worker's behavior as he or she enters the family's environment
- Careful work in establishing the role of the worker as a partner in helping is essential to establishing trust
- The family remains in charge of their own lives while the worker motivates, facilitates, and creates a climate of respect and caring.1
Becoming culturally competent is considered a lifelong process that requires continual study and effort.
1Heritage and Helping: A Model Curriculum for Indian Child Welfare Practice; Module IV
National Indian Child Welfare Association (1996) (back)