Santa Clara County Research CC the Evolving Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1975 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Anthropology

Santa Clara County Research CC

The evolving concept of Cultural Competence is an area of reformation that is changing the delivery of many aspects of health and social work services. The delivery of social work services, especially in periods of client and family duress can and usually do place a screener or an emergency response social worker in a position that requires rapid response and decision making, regarding the best interest of the clients and the state. It is for this reason and, many others that those who specifically deal with situations that require rapid and appropriate response must enlist cultural competence not as a thought process or a set of ideas but almost as a second hand and integrated pattern of behavior in the system and the individual. Cultural competence is essential to the development of social workers and social work systems that are responsive and capable of dealing with the results of social and cultural discrimination, poverty, inadequate housing and even more blatant discrimination. James Green posits the idea that as a profession social work has several choices, regarding how to deal with the issue of desires egalitarianism, "the first choice is that of the pessimist, the second that of the romantic, and the third that of the serious change agent who sees human difference as an opportunity to help and to learn, not as a problem to be overcome." (1999, p.5)

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Cultural competence in health care can be defined in a number of ways, delving into many aspects of the definitions of both culture and competence. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) created in 2002 a printed and lengthy document pertaining to the ethical responsibilities of social workers, with regard to cultural competence in the profession. The operational definition of Cultural Competence, as expressed by NASW in a brief regarding this document the operational and institutional definitions of cultural competence are extensive and broad:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Santa Clara County Research CC the Evolving Assignment

cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services, thereby producing better outcomes (Davis & Donald, 1997). Competence in cross-cultural functioning means learning new patterns of behavior and effectively applying them in appropriate settings. (NASW, June 23, 2001, NP)

In addition the organization points out the institutional or system elements that must be in place to define a system as culturally competent. According to NASW there are five essential elements that work together to contribute to the development and implementation of cultural competence. Each level of competence is therefore gained through such learning, on the part of the individuals and those who work together to make up a system. (Nybell & Gray, 2004, p. 17)

The system should (1) value diversity, (2) have the capacity for cultural self-assessment, (3) be conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact, (4) institutionalize cultural knowledge, and (5) develop programs and services that reflect an understanding of diversity between and within cultures. These five elements must be manifested in every level of the service delivery system. They should be reflected in attitudes, structures, policies, and services. (NASW, June 23, 2001, NP)

Lastly to further define and understand cultural competence, one must understand that it is not associated only with language awareness, but a broad understanding of cultural needs and situations that works for the individual only within a system that is aware of culture as an aspect of necessary social need. (Nybell & Gray, 2004, p. 17) the social worker and the system that he or she works within must be conducive to this goal, not simply be aware of it and utilize it as so much dogma. (Walker & Staton, 2000, p. 449)

In California's Santa Clara County screening and emergency response social work arena call for action has increased in frequency and at the same time the diversity of the state is also increasing, creating a situation where the need for cultural competence is outstanding. Screeners and emergency response social workers are at the acme of need for cultural competence in both systems and individuals. The ability of an individual and a social work system to appropriately advocate for a client, as Green would attest relies on his or her ability to be aware of diversity and to act in such a way as to elicit for clients the things they need, but have been unable to obtain from the broader community. (1999, pp. 24-25)

This work will analyze the current perception of cultural competence on the part of screeners and emergency response social workers in the Santa Clara County system, through a quantitative study utilizing a focus group and a questionnaire to elicit pertinent data for graphing in an SPSS format. The intention of the work is to develop a sense of cultural competency within the Santa Clara County system as well as to elicit answers regarding the perceptions of individuals in the system in relation to the perceived ideas of cultural competency and the perceived abilities to act upon those standards within the social work setting they are a part of. This work will act as a litmus test for the current state of cultural competency in this system and hopefully act as a starting point for future research and awareness of need.

Review of Literature:

As James Green expresses in his work Cultural Awareness in the Human Services: A Multi-Ethnic Approach, the social work field has not always been keenly aware of cultural issues and has been traditionally populated by and an aspect of a dominant race institutions. (Green, 1999, pp.4-6) for this reason and several others Green stresses the importance of a change in internal and external perception of cultural competence, and his focus is on defining cultural competence not through simplified means but through an emphasis on the social worker as an advocate, that acts as a go between for clients and the community in which they live. (p. 24) to Green the idea of ethnic group relations is essential to this goal, as the social worker must be aware of both opportunity and potential obstacles that may be presented as an aspect of defined ethnicity, a definition defined by self or other.

Green also stresses that specialization in cultural awareness may be needed, as an accepted and welcomed, standard associated with cultural competency. For this reason Green stresses the need to individualize care and apply resources adequately in a culturally diverse system, i.e. one that is populated by diversity rather than by a majority dominant group of individuals with a few "token" examples of dominant minority individuals. (p. 26) Green's opinion is mirrored by many other social workers and educators, who believe that the kinship one is offered by at least a visible definition of sameness is valuable to the system, as a whole. The ethnic diversity of the system is then appropriate to both teach and learn from alternative group members the needs and desires of the broader community which they serve. (pp. 26-28) Trust development can of course also develop when a community is made aware through decisive actions of sensitive social need recognition and change on the part, even of an individual who is not seen as the same but shows examples of awareness and compassion that supersedes presumed differences. (pp. 26-28)

Green stresses that the persistence of social discrimination is both overt and subtle and that language, or linguistic definition is only a part of it, a large part but a part nonetheless. (P. 10-12) Green stresses that the nature of definitive change is empowerment, in that communities of diversity and cohesion need to be able to define their own needs and wants and that the social worker is poised to offer a helpful ear for the development of such community involvement for change. (p.6) One way in which Green proposes that such advocacy take place is through a more applicable definition of multiculturalism. In Walker & Staton one can get a basic idea of the problems and dimension of cultural competency:

The current representation of multiculturalism as a knowledge area and type of social worker competence is inaccurate, and subject to promoting unintended stereotyping. Further, it's unclear whether or not licensing boards can accurately measure skill in this area. It has become more of a creed to which social workers feel compelled to adhere than a body of knowledge that informs practice. The logical positioning of the idea is as an ethical principle regarding virtuous social work practice. The principle embraces understanding a client's behavior, thinking, and feeling in the full context of the sociocultural, religious, ethnic, and economic life within which all of these arise (Comas-Diaz, 1996; Green, 1995). Empathy, respect, and appreciation for the client are the ultimate expressions of whatever might be intended by the notion of multiculturalism. Traditional biomedical ethics perhaps captures the concept of cultural sensitivity more generally, but more effectively, in the principle of respect for autonomy (Beauchamp & Childress, 1994). By this… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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