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PROMOTING CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND CULTURAL COMPETENCY Self-Assessment Checklist

Self-Assessment Checklist for Personnel Providing Behavioral Health Services and Supports to Children, Youth and their Families Children. 

This checklist, developed by the National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, is intended to heighten the awareness and sensitivity of individual personnel to the importance of cultural diversity and cultural competence in behavioral health settings. It provides concrete examples of the kinds of values and practices that foster such an environment. (For a downloadable version of this tool, click here.)

Directions: Please select A, B, or C for each item listed below.
A = Things I do frequently
B = Things I do occasionally
C= Things I do rarely or never

PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT, MATERIALS & RESOURCES
_____ 1. I display pictures, posters and other materials that reflect the cultures and ethnic backgrounds of children, youth, and families served by my program or agency.
_____ 2. I insure that magazines, brochures, and other printed materials in reception areas are of interest to and reflect the different cultures of children, youth and families served by my program or agency.
_____ 3. When using videos, films, CDs, DVDS, or other media resources for mental health prevention, treatment or other interventions, I insure that they reflect the cultures of children, youth and families served by my program or agency.
_____ 4. When using food during an assessment, I insure that meals provided include foods that are unique to the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of children, youth and families served by my program or agency.
_____ 5. I insure that toys and other play accessories in reception areas and those, which are used during assessment, are representative of the various cultural and ethnic groups within the local community and the society in general.

COMMUNICATION STYLES
_____ 6. For children and youth who speak languages or dialects other than English, I attempt to learn and use key words in their language so that I am better able to communicate with them during assessment, treatment or other interventions.
_____ 7. I attempt to determine any familial colloquialisms used by children, youth and families that may impact on assessment, treatment or other interventions.
_____ 8. I use visual aids, gestures, and physical prompts in my interactions with children and youth who have limited English proficiency.
_____ 9. I use bilingual or multilingual staff or trained/certified interpreters for assessment, treatment and other interventions with children and youth who have limited English Proficiency.
_____ 10. I use bilingual staff or multilingual trained/certified interpreters during assessments, treatment sessions, meetings, and for other events for families who would require this level of assistance.
11. When interacting with parents who have limited English proficiency I always keep in mind that:
_____ * limitations in English proficiency is in no way a reflection of their level of intellectual functioning.
_____ * their limited ability to speak the language of the dominant culture has no bearing on their ability to communicate effectively in their language of origin.
_____ * they may or may not be literate in their language of origin or English.
_____ 12. When possible, I insure that all notices and communiqués to parents, families and caregivers are written in their language of origin.
_____ 13. I understand that it may be necessary to use alternatives to written communications for some families, as word of mouth may be a preferred method of receiving information.
14. I understand the principles and practices of linguistic competency and:
_____ * apply them within my program or agency.
_____ * advocate for them within my program or agency.
_____ 15. I understand the implications of health/mental health literacy within the context of my roles and responsibilities.

VALUES AND ATTITUDES
_____ 16. I use alternative formats and varied approaches to communicate and share information with children, youth and/or their family members who experience disability.
_____ 17. I avoid imposing values that may conflict or be inconsistent with those of cultures or ethnic groups other than my own.
_____ 18. In group therapy or treatment situations, I discourage children and youth from using racial and ethnic slurs by helping them understand that certain words can hurt others.
_____ 19. I screen books, movies, and other media resources for negative cultural, ethnic, or racial stereotypes before sharing them with children, youth and their parents served by my program or agency.
_____ 20. I intervene in an appropriate manner when I observe other staff or parents within my program or agency engaging in behaviors that show cultural insensitivity, bias or prejudice.
_____ 21. I understand and accept that family is defined differently by different
cultures (e.g. extended family members, fictive kin, godparents).
_____ 22. I recognize and accept that individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds may desire varying degrees of acculturation into the dominant or mainstream culture.
_____ 23. I accept and respect that male-female roles in families may vary significantly among different cultures (e.g. who makes major decisions for the family, play and social interactions expected of male and female children).
_____ 24. I understand that age and life cycle factors must be considered in interactions with individuals and families (e.g. high value placed on the decisions of elders or the role of the eldest male in families).
_____ 25. Even though my professional or moral viewpoints may differ, I accept the family/parents as the ultimate decision makers for services and supports for their children.
_____ 26. I recognize that the meaning or value of behavioral health prevention, intervention and treatment may vary greatly among cultures.
_____ 27. I recognize and understand that beliefs and concepts of emotional well-being vary significantly from culture to culture.
_____ 28. I understand that beliefs about mental illness and emotional disability are culturally-based. I accept that responses to these conditions and related treatment/interventions are heavily influenced by culture.
_____ 29. I understand the impact of stigma associated with mental illness and behavioral health services within culturally diverse communities.
_____ 30. I accept that religion, spirituality and other beliefs may influence how families respond to mental or physical illnesses, disease, disability and death.
_____ 31. I recognize and accept that folk and religious beliefs may influence a family's reaction and approach to a child born with a disability or later diagnosed with a physical/emotional disability or special health care needs.
_____ 32. I understand that traditional approaches to disciplining children are influenced by culture.
_____ 33. I understand that families from different cultures will have different expectations of their children for acquiring self-help, social, emotional, cognitive, and communication skills.
_____ 34. I accept and respect that customs and beliefs about food, its value, preparation, and use are different from culture to culture.
_____ 35. Before visiting or providing services in the home setting, I seek information on acceptable behaviors, courtesies, customs and expectations that are unique to families of specific cultures and ethnic groups served by my program or agency.
_____ 36. I seek information from family members or other key community informants that will assist in service adaptation to respond to the needs and preferences of culturally and ethnically diverse children, youth, and families served by my program or agency.
_____ 37. I advocate for the review of my program's or agency's mission statement, goals, policies, and procedures to insure that they incorporate principles and practices that promote cultural diversity and cultural and linguistic competence.
_____ 38. I keep abreast of new developments in pharmacology particularly as they relate
to racially and ethnically diverse groups.
_____ 39. I either contribute to and/or examine current research related to ethnic and racial
disparities in mental health and health care and quality improvement.
_____ 40. I accept that many evidence-based prevention and intervention approaches will
require adaptation to be effective with children, youth and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

There is no answer key with correct responses. However, if you frequently responded "C", you may not necessarily demonstrate values and engage in practices that promote a culturally diverse and culturally competent service delivery system for children and youth who require behavioral health services and their families.

Tawara D. Goode - Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research & Service
Adapted from – “Promoting Cultural Competence and Cultural Diversity in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Settings” - June 1989. Revised 2006.