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Defining Cultural Competence

Cultural competence is defined as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

Cross T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care, volume I. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center

Isaacs, M. and Benjamin, M. (1991). Towards a culturally competent system of care, volume II, programs which utilize culturally competent principles. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center.

Operationally defined, 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, K. (1997). Exploring the intersection between cultural competency and managed behavioral health care policy: Implications for state and county mental health agencies. Alexandria, VA: National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning.