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Examining the Research Base Supporting Cultural Competence in Children’s Mental Health Services

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Cultural competence, systems of care, access, disparities, Culture, children's mental health, disparity, literature, organization, planning, services, system


Nancy Burrus


Hard Copies Available.

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.

These monographs are products of research which will result in a new understanding of field-based, systemic and measurable organizational factors that lead to cultural competence in organizations and systems. This new knowledge can assist in addressing a key issue related to health disparities identified by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) and the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health (U.S. DHHS, 1999).

Examining the Research Base Supporting Cultural Competence in Children’s Mental Health Services shares results of an in-depth literature review which will become the basis of an attempt to operationalize cultural competence, with the eventual result being an organizational cultural competence assessment tool. 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.

Organizational Cultural Competence: A Review of Assessment Protocols contributes to understanding how cultural competence is currently operationalized and measured at the organizational level. This monograph compares organizational assessment instruments through the following questions:


Hernandez, M., Nesman, T., Isaacs, M., Callejas, L. M., & Mowery, D. (Eds.) (2006). Examining the research base supporting culturally competent children's mental health services. (Making children's mental health services successful series, FMHI pub. No 240-1). Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, Research & Training Center for Children's Mental Health.