July/August 2023Vol. 24, No. 6Assessing the Cultural Responsiveness of Support Services
Providing culturally appropriate and responsive services to families from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds is vital to supporting children and youth in child welfare. However, child welfare systems have historically failed to meet the needs of families of color and other marginalized communities. To help agencies assess the cultural competence of their services and how their programs and policies may affect children and families of color, AdoptUSKids created an assessment tool for service providers.
The tool is designed to help service providers reflect on how they engage and support parents of color to identify areas for improvement. Its goal is to help agencies and other organizations build more culturally responsive support services.
The assessment contains multiple fillable forms with prompts about families served, staff, training, organization environment and community, and service design with rating scales of “excellent,” “satisfactory,” and “needs work.”
The tool includes recommendations for preparing for the assessment, including videos and resources about unconscious bias. Recommendations for preparing and starting the discussion include gathering a team, noticing who is at the table, considering power dynamics, accounting for different communication styles and accessibility needs, making plans for handling disagreements, and thinking about handling hard feelings.
Once a team has completed the assessment, the tool has a section for understanding results. Depending on those results, there are several recommended actions organizations can take to work toward meaningful change, including the following:
- Determine what goals you can take action on immediately, in the near term, and in the long term.
- Create workgroups to address goals.
- Collect better data.
- Learn from others.
- Get capacity-building support.
Assessing the Racial and Ethnic Cultural Competence of Your Support Services is available on the AdoptUSKids website.