Childhood Neglect - pg. 7

Cultural Factors Barriers

  • Cross-cultural competence of professional helpers, who are informed about diverse cultural heritages, values, customs, child rearing norms and practices, communication styles, and aware of their own cultural heritage and biases.
  • Culturally sensitive and responsive outreach to people of color by organizations and communities.

A complete assessment of neglectful families includes consideration of all factors that may be contributing to the child's neglect, as well as factors that may contribute to problem resolution. The diagnostic assessment and service/treatment plan is based on this information with revisions occurring as additional information about the family is obtained.   

Resources to Overcome Obstacles

  • Housing; e.g., adequacy of space for family size; condition of housing; safe conditions for children; and availability of stable, affordable housing.
  • Neighborhood supports for parenting; e.g., safety of neighborhood and recreational facilities; safety of play areas for children; level of neighborhood organization; and communicative, mutually supportive networks.
  • Supportiveness of informal social networks; e.g., availability of relatives, neighbors, friends, pastors, etc., to provide tangible aid, advice, guidance, and emotional support to assist parents.
  • Availability of organized parenting support services; e.g., availability of affordable child care, emergency assistance, after-school programs, recreational programs, parks, high-quality school programs for children with special needs, mental health, and health care, family counseling, parent education, and peer support groups.

Cultural Factors - Strengths

  • Strong loyalty to family, family cohesiveness, and family ownership of children's problems in families.
  • Strong, supportive extended family linkages, and sharing in child care tasks by family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Cultural emphasis on discipline, obedience to rules, and respect for elders who are sources of advice for child rearing.
  • Bicultural competence of children and adults, which permits preserving cultural identity while negotiating the dominant culture.
  • Cultural emphasis on independence of children in Native American families, and interdependence of siblings in Hispanic families.
  • Strong religious values, customs, rituals, and institutions that provide spiritual support and reinforce strong, ethical values for life decisions, respect for elders, and give meaning to life. Churches provide group socialization activities and supplementary child care for children.
  • Value placed on education of children, who are seen as the hope for the future.
  • Strong ethnic community representatives and organizations that help people of color to bargain, negotiate, and obtain resources from the larger societal systems.

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