Diversity and Cultural Competency

I. Policy

Unyeway, Inc. believes that our agency must acknowledge and respect the diverse and culturally rich population to whom we provide services, employment, interact, and collaborate. Unyeway, Inc. also believes that the agency must provide not only an environment in which diversity and cultural considerations are included, but also an environment in which staff utilize knowledge, information, and data to serve and respect the diversity of the population we serve. Unyeway, Inc. also is concerned with fostering a diverse and respectful workplace for staff, people we serve, families, our providers, personnel from other agencies, as well as employers of the consumers we serve.

II. Procedure


Cultural Competence Plan

Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. ‘Culture’ refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of culture, ethnicity, nation of origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, spiritualism/religion, socioeconomic status, languages, history, traditions, practices, beliefs, and values. ‘Competence’ implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs present by consumers and their communities. Cultural competence includes attaining the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enable personnel within systems of services to provide effective training, supervision, and care for diverse populations and within diverse populations of other professionals.

Cultural competence is the ongoing practice of gathering and utilizing knowledge, information, and data from and about individuals and their families, communities and groups. That information is integrated and transformed into specific practices, standards, service approaches, techniques and accommodations that match the population we serve and the people we employ. “Competency” refers to the ability of staff to acknowledge and understand the influence of cultural histories, life experiences, language differences, beliefs, values, traditions, practices and other personal, environmental and spiritual influences on an individual.

At Unyeway, Inc. our commitment is to foster a robust network of culturally competent staff, volunteers, Board Members, and participants by recognizing and honoring diversity in all forms; Assessing cultural competency within our staff, volunteers, Board Members, and participants; Offering culturally appropriate work environments at our sites and training, supervision, and care for participants; Offering continuous, comprehensive cultural competency/diversity education and training for staff and provider; and Promoting the recruitment of bilingual/bicultural staff of the prevalent secondary language/culture of our region.

A. Methods

Cultural competence planning should focus on cultural considerations in service design and delivery establishment of community based networks, and inclusion of natural supports and methods to help assure an efficacious cultural fit. The hiring of qualified culturally diverse, bicultural, and bilingual staff is a priority of the agency.

In order to ensure a culturally competent plan, Unyeway employees should include methods to ensure that cultural information is collected at intake, is updated throughout the engagement process, and is then utilized to develop and enhance services and their delivery. Unyeway Directors and Administrators will ensure that, as is possible, appropriate accommodations are provided for persons served and employees of the agency who bring forth culturally specific needs. Unyeway employees will incorporate methods to address access to services, service adaptations, community networking, and assurances that language assistance, sensory deficits, and literacy needs are met (e.g., through use of interpreters) will be available for persons served by the agency. Unyeway employees will utilize staff and consumer input into program operation and service delivery as necessary to ensure that services reflect consumer preferences and needs. The manner by which consumer input can be gathered is to corporate having a consumer representative give input to program’s advisory board or governing body, use of satisfaction surveys, focus groups, meetings, and committees. Unyeway Managers, Directors, and Administrators will acknowledge and respond to complaints by consumers or staff in accordance with Unyeway, Inc.’s grievance policies.

Unyeway, Inc. includes in its description of diverse cultures as including, but not being limited to: culture, ethnicity, nation of origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, spiritualism/religion, socioeconomic status, languages, history, traditions, practices, beliefs, and values as contributing to an individual’s cultural identity and background.

B. Use Demographic Information

Unyeway will gather demographic information pertaining to the individuals served by the program and staff. This information will be reported annually in the program evaluation report. Information pertaining to consumers can be obtained through the use of comprehensive intake assessment tools and ongoing documentation of culturally relevant information from consumers and when appropriate family or care providers. Information pertaining to staff is obtained by use of employment information gathered upon or after hire. The cultural make-up of the agency will be reported on ethnicity, age, gender, and primary language.

C. Needs Identification

Unyeway, Inc. will ensure cultural competence by, when appropriate, modifying or augmenting service plans or employment arrangements that are culturally congruent with the individual. The goal is to ensure culturally appropriate services and employment. Unyeway will contrast and compare who is currently served to the population(s) present in the community. Identify gaps in available community resources and apparent service needs, based upon who is being served, and elicit feedback from consumers and families. Unyeway will perform assessments based upon the wide variety of services provided by the agency as well as gather the consumers’ history and assessment that reflects the consumers’ unique background, strengths, needs, and choices. Service plans should be developed through a process of shared decision-making between the consumer and the agencies’ staff. Unyeway will plan to use cultural assessment information when information is included in discussions and meetings about the consumers services received through Unyeway, Inc.  Unyeway will include the gathering of information about the culture of the consumer and his/her family to effectively work within the individual desires and family structure whenever there is family involvement. The consumer who is not conserved by another must consent to the family’s involvement in such decisions.

D. Supports

Whenever possible consumers will have access to employees familiar with his or her culture and who speak a language in which the consumer is competent, this includes spoken and signed languages. The program’s management will give the consumer access to those staff throughout their program or work day by phone or in-person. When a consumer competently speaks languages or needs culturally appropriate assistance that are not available through agency staff, access to other resources will be the responsibility of the inner-disciplinary team and the program’s managers to coordinate. People who can serve in the role as an interpreter or cultural representative can include, but is not limited to: the consumer’s family members, a service coordinator or employee of the funding agent approved to communicate with consumers who need language or cultural assistance, a community resource interpreter or educator from a college/university, community service agency, or a paid service agency that the consumer and/or his or her conservator consents. Additionally, devices such as handheld translators, tablets to type communications (for people who have hearing loss), picture or symbol communicators, TTY, closed captioning devices and NC Relay may also be available and appropriate. Staff will be trained on the avenues for access to the resources the consumer needs.

E. Staff Development

Unyeway program managers will ensure that there are mechanisms in place to inform staff who need specific relevant information on an individual’s cultural needs and accommodations. Unyeway will hold upon hire and annually trainings on Cultural Competency and train staff individually on the unique cultural needs of the consumers to whom they provide services. Ongoing assessment, training, and goal setting that includes cultural considerations will occur. Whenever possible access to culturally appropriate events, resources, and public services will also be available to management and staff. Opportunities afforded to the agency to address and identify mechanisms to renew, enhance, and increase the cultural sensitivity, cultural awareness, and ability of staff to provide culturally relevant services will be utilized.

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