Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

Cultural and Linguistic Competence Implementation Guide

The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Implementation Guide provides community examples, best practices, and information on specific tools and resources that can assist system of care communities, partnering agencies, and organizations to build and promote CLC. The Implementation Guide is a living document that will be updated at regular intervals. The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Checklist for Communities (PDF) is a companion piece to the Implementation Guide, addressing larger-scale strategic questions organized by category.

The Implementation Guide is organized around six domains. Each domain contains:

  • Descriptions of specific implementation strategies;
  • Examples of best practices in the field;
  • Internet links to important resources that can help leaders and practitioners design culturally and linguistically competent practices and policies; and
  • Performance indicators and measures that can be used to assess the outcomes of approaches used to actualize CLC.

Domain 1: Governance and Organizational Infrastructure. This domain addresses the organizational resources, policy-making, leadership, and oversight mechanisms an organization needs to deliver or facilitate the delivery of culturally competent care.

Domain 2: Services and Supports. This domain addresses how an organization should plan, deliver, and facilitate services, supports, and interventions that respond to the unique cultural and linguistic needs of the populations it serves. Key areas of focus addressed include access, prevention and education, screening and assessment, early intervention, treatment and supports, and aftercare planning. 

Domain 3: Planning and Continuous Quality Improvements. This domain includes the mechanisms and processes that an organization or agency can use to assess its level of CLC; strategies for tracking and maintaining relevant data and information on the populations served; and the development of long- and short-term policy, programmatic, and operational cultural competence planning informed by external and internal consumers. Specific topics include organizational self-assessment, collection and use of cultural and linguistic information and data, and conflict and grievance resolution techniques and processes. 

Domain 4: Collaboration. This domain describes specific strategies that support the development of effective working relationships between provider organizations, consumers, and the community at large to promote CLC.

Domain 5: Communication. This domain describes strategies for promoting effective exchange of information, and for developing collaborative relationships among systems of care, providers, consumers, and the community at large. Issues related to language and communication, outreach and engagement, and social marketing appear in this section. 

Domain 6: Workforce Development. This domain addresses an organization’s efforts to recruit and retain a culturally and linguistically representative staff to ensure that staff and other service providers have the requisite attitudes, knowledge, and skills for delivering culturally competent services. Areas of focus include recruitment and retention of diverse staff, linguistic competence, training, and supervision.