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Culturally appropriate social work practice : perceptions among social workers Parmar, Sandy

Abstract

This paper acknowledges that culturally appropriate social work practice does not take place on a regular and consistent basis by social workers in the field. An aspect of social work practice is concerned with helping individuals, families, groups, and communities in need of assistance for a variety of reasons. This quantitative research study investigates culturally appropriate social work practice in the social work field. Minority persons and groups are prevalent in Vancouver and the South Fraser Region. It is important to appreciate and understand their experiences and respond to their needs through culturally appropriate social work practice. In this thesis, I present the different concepts related to culturally appropriate social work practice, different theoretical viewpoints, and the results of my quantitative research with social workers on this subject matter. I examine the research results in relation to the literature and research. I discuss the responses from the questionnaires that were distributed to social workers to explore their knowledge, perceptions, and experiences of culturally appropriate social work practice. The research results show that social workers are challenged when providing services to culturally diverse clients. Communication barriers such as differences in cultures, language, a lack of education and appreciation of culture and diversity, cultural insensitivity on the part of the practitioner, lack of support in the workplace, personal and institutional biases, and system ineffectiveness prevent culturally appropriate social work practice from taking place. The research findings suggest that social workers from the sample are aware of the concept of "culturally sensitive social work practice". However, many of them are not confident in carrying out this type of practice due to the various reasons mentioned above. The social workers state that more specialised training on this subject is needed. I present ideas on how the MCFD can improve culturally appropriate social work practice in the field. The findings suggest that the MCFD needs to be more accountable to culturally diverse clients by providing more in-depth and appropriate training regarding culturally appropriate social work practice to its employees, which includes management, policy developers, and front line staff.

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