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Technical Assistance & Training: Organizational Cultural Competence

Racial and ethnic minorities are a growing segment of the U.S. population and currently are either underserved and/or inappropriately served in the mental health system. Within a framework of addressing these mental health disparities, the level of a human service organization’s/system’s cultural competence can be described as the degree of compatibility and adaptability between the cultural/linguistic characteristics of a community’s population AND the way the organization’s combined policies and structures/processes work together to impede and/or facilitate access, availability and utilization of needed services/supports.

The Department Child & Family Studies has produced a number of rexource materials to help organizations and communities identify and operationalize culturally competent organizational practices that can be implemented to improve access to services for diverse children and their families. CFS faculty and staff are available to provide technical assistance and training for organizations and systems in need of identifying organizational strategies that operationalize cultural competence.

Resources:

 

This monograph was developed to increase awareness of the impact of culture on the utilization of mental health services and to provide field-based examples of strategies that can increase utilization for culturally/racially diverse children and families.

The strategies outlined in this monograph are derived from a series of interviews conducted as part of a larger study of the Research and Training Center for Children’s Mental Health at the University of South Florida (RTC, 2004).

The overall purposes of this study were to (1) identify and; (2) describe measurable systemic organizational factors associated with increased accessibility for ethnically/racially diverse children with serious emotional/behavioral disorders and their families to an array of quality mental health services/supports; and (3) develop a cultural competence organizational assessment protocol, based on information collected from the field, existing research literature, opinions of experts, and published cultural competence standards and measures.

This monograph aims to increase awareness of the impact of culture on the availability of mental health services with the goal of improving services for culturally/racially diverse families in ways that reduce mental health disparities. The monograph is second in a series outlining successful strategies for increasing access, availability, and utilization of services at the organizational and direct service levels. Availability strategies were identified through interviews conducted with personnel from 12 organizations that met study criteria.

The Accessibility of Mental Health Services study was designed to identify and operationalize culturally competent organizational practices that can be implemented within systems of care to improve access to services for diverse children and their families. This issue brief presents a conceptual model that defines organizational cultural competence in terms of increased access and reduced disparities.

This publication shares results of interviews conducted with personnel from selected organizations and focuses on key practices that were reported to increase accessibility of mental health services for underserved populations. It includes a description of each of the target populations served by the participating study sites, as well as information about the history and context of, and general service delivery information for each organization.

This review identifies and describes organizational factors associated with increased access for ethnically/racial diverse children and their families to quality mental health services and supports.

This monograph contributes to understanding how cultural competence is currently operationalized and measured at the organizational level.

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