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March 2024Vol. 25, No. 2FRIENDS Framework Details Elements of Culturally Effective Organizations

Cultural humility among individual members of an organization is important for the equitable treatment of families. But organizations must also implement policies and practices that speak to an overall culturally responsive and equitable organizational culture. Family-serving organizations and agencies can work toward achieving a culture of equity and inclusion using the FRIENDS (Family Resource Information, Education, and Network Development Service) framework for culturally effective organizations.

The framework originates from the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity at Brandeis University. It was originally developed for health care but can be adapted for many organizations and disciplines. It is a systems change effort that includes seven elements:

  1. Leadership
  2. Policies and procedures
  3. Data collection and analysis
  4. Community engagement
  5. Language and communication access
  6. Staff cultural responsiveness
  7. Workforce diversity and inclusion

The FRIENDS website features an overview of each element and additional resources that users can apply to their efforts to strengthen families. According to FRIENDS, implementing changes in the seven elements and working to become a culturally effective organization can have the following benefits:

  • Improved engagement by program participants
  • Enhanced relationships between participants and practitioners
  • Improved outcomes for participants who have experienced historic disparities
  • Increased sustainability as a result of cost-effective and culturally relevant services

For more information, visit the FRIENDS "Culturally Effective Organizations" webpage.