UM SSW The Institute  

Cultural & Linguistic Competence

Contact Info:

Deirdre Berry, CLC Training Specialist, Rural CARES

The Institute for Innovation and Implementation provides training and technical assistance related to cultural and linguistic Competence.

Cultural and linguistic competence is a central value of systems of care. Cultural Competence is defined as "the integration of knowledge, information, and data about individuals and groups of people into clinical standards, skills, service approaches and supports, policies, measures, and benchmarks that align with the individual's or group's culture and increases the quality, appropriateness, and acceptability of health care and outcomes" (Cross et al., 1989). Linguistic competence is "the capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, and individuals with disabilities" (Goode & Jones, 2004).

Cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) is a way to ensure that the services and supports identified and utilized by children, youth and their families are culturally appropriate and accessible in accordance with an individual or group's gender, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, religious background, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation. The experts housed at The Institute provide technical assistance to cross-system workforce, stakeholders, and community partners regarding effective strategies for implementing various CLC approaches and in moving toward achieving and maintaining cultural and linguistic competence in policies, procedures and service delivery. This is accomplished through resource development and dissemination, onsite and virtual technical assistance and training around various CLC areas.

Currently, the Institute is providing training and coaching to organizations as they create, build, and strengthen approaches that demonstrate SOC values in their work with families. Thus far, CLC has assisted with trainings such as Diversity Summits, Cross Systems trainings, trainings specifically on cultural groups such as multi-racial and LGBTQI2-S people. Additionally, there is a current project underway to bring Faith Based Communities together to assist in our efforts of streamlining families into the Community. Open Table, a concept whereby the local churches assist our families with goals and life skills that will better their lives is being piloted in Maryland as an integrated model with High Fidelity Wraparound in a system of care.

In addition to experts in specific topic areas related to CLC, the Institute has two Cultural and Linguistic Competency Coordinator's on staff who serve as a bridges between the broader system of care and cultural communities, resources, youth and their families, providers, community agencies and other stakeholders. This is done by developing connections and formal/informal agreements with racial, ethnic, cultural and other diverse groups in the community, creating mechanisms to receive cultural community input that informs the design and implementation of the broader system of care or smaller agency, interacting and participating in cultural and linguistic competence activities in the community, and developing education and outreach strategies in partnership with cultural and community/neighborhood leaders and organizations to foster partnerships and coordination so that the cultural community is included in the development and implementation of the system of care.