A core value in a system of care is to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) for children, youth and families. A culturally responsive system values diversity, understands differences and develops services and supports to meet the unique needs of each community.
Cultural competence is the ability to successfully engage with children, youth and families who come from a culture or cultures other than our own. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that, taken together, underlie effective cross-cultural and culturally responsive services and supports.
Culture is often defined and perceived as the celebration of important people, religions, traditions, and holidays, as well as an appreciation of the customs of different groups. It is also more than that. Culture is as much, or as little, as the everyday experiences, people, events, smells, sounds, and habits of behavior that characterize individuals’ lives.
Cultural responsiveness can be summarized and described as a continuum.