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Cultural Competence and Immigrant Families

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Liezel Ambalina

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of Cultural Competence and Immigrant Families

Cultural Competence and Immigrant Families
By: Declan, Jamee, and Liezel
Cultural competence is an essential component in social work practice as social work is such a diverse
cross-cultural setting

Canada is such a multicultural country

Immigrant families often need assistance adapting to new customs, lifestyles, and laws

Social workers should be culturally competent in order to effectively work with immigrant families
Cultural competence has its roots in the civil rights movement of the 1960's and the 1970's

Council on Social Work Education's adoption of standards that mandated information on people of colour

A new focus for early literature which hoped to cause awareness and an alternative way of thinking
Cultural competence ignores systemic and institutionalized oppressions (Abrams & Moio, 2009)
Cultural competence empirical (outcome-based research) to support its efficacy (Furness, 2005; Thackrah & Thompson, 2013)
Lack of clarity on the use of the concept of cultural (Thackrah & Thompson, 2013)

History & Development of
Cultural Competence

Description of Cultural Competence

Description of Topic and it's
Relevance to Social Work Practice

Critique of Cultural Competence

Alternative Perspectives


History and Development
What is cultural competency?
Cultural competence is the ability to engage in actions or create conditions that maximize
the optimal development of client
and client systems.

What is culturally competent social work?
Culturally competent social work practice is defined as the service provider's acquisition of awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to function effectively in a pluralistic democratic society and on an organizational/societal level , advocating effectively to develop new theories, practices, policies, and organizational structures that are more responsive to all groups.
Cultural competence can be seen as residing in three domains:
Four goals of a culturally competent social worker:

Understands other worldviews
Developing culturally appropriate interventions
Understanding how organizations could effect the development of culture
Ethical Guidelines for Cultural Competence and Social Diversity (NASW, 1999)
Social workers should understand cultural and its function in human behavior and society
Have a knowledge base of their clients' cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients' cultures
Obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression
Components/Principles of Culturally Competence Social Work
Understanding and respecting the worldview of culturally diverse clients
Developing appropriate intervention strategies and techniques
Understanding organizational and institutional forces that enhance or negate cultural competence
Critical areas of importance while working with immigrant families
Understanding the concept of family (marriage, child services, and domestic violence)
Mental health of immigrant families
Canada as a multicultural nation welcomes between 240, 000 to 265, 000 immigrants yearly
Immigrants come with diverse culture, religion, language, history, and ethnicity (CIC, 2012; 2014; 2015)
Working with a culturally diverse population has become an everyday reality for social workers in Canada (Yan, 2005)
In order to address this challenge, we need to be culturally competent social workers
Critique cont...
The focus on comfort with 'others' is framed as self-awareness
The use of 'culture' as a proxy for minority racial/ethnic group identity
The emphasis on attempting to 'know' and become competent in understanding another culture or cultures
The lack of transformative social justice agenda that addresses and challenges social inequalities (Fisher-Borne, Cain, & Martin, 2014)
Cross-Cultural clinical practice look insurmountable and subsequently make clinicians feel overwhelmed and less effective/confident in delivering services to individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds (Lee, 2010)
Competence is a myth coming from the metaphor of American "know-how" and maintaining an awareness of one's own lack of competence s a goal rather than the establishment of competence (Dean, 2001)
CASW Guidelines for Ethical Practice (2005)
1.2 Demonstrate Cultural Awareness
and Sensitivity

Social Justice is a separate guideline
Alternate Perspectives to Cultural Competence
Cultural Competence and working
with Immigrant Families
Cultural Safety:
Adds an emanicipatory/neocolonial theoretical perspective; we must acknowledge structural violence and inequality
Practitioners must want to understand differences ("cultural desire") (McEldowney & Connor, 2011)
Cultural Humility
Acknowledges power differentials between provider and client and challengers institutional-level barriers
We must have personal accountability in challenging structural barriers that cause inequalities and impact marginalized communities
Critical Race Theory:
(Abrams & Moio, 2009)
Cultural competence diffuses a focus on race and minimized the significance of racism in social systems and society
CRT demands ongoing critical reflection and recognition of unearned privilege
Challenges individualism underlying policy and practice, reframes problems through critical consciousness
Critiques institutional structures of oppression
The social work profession itself needs to re-examine its goals regarding cultural competence
(Sue, 2006)
(Sue, 2006)
The limited literature suggests that this specific topic of applying cultural competence when working with immigrant families requires further research and attention.

This topic should be explored by all social workers, especially those working directly with immigrants, such as social workers for newcomer resources.

This presentation allowed us to research the qualities of being a culturally competent social worker and allowed us to reflect on our practice and competence.

We invite you all to do the same!
Full transcript