Chapter 4: Family Life Education and the Practice of Cross-Cultural Competence

by William D. Allen and Karen R. Blaisure

Cross-Cultural Competence in Family Science

In this webinar, you'll learn from licensed marriage and family therapist William D. Allen, Ph.D., the fundamentals of cross-cultural competence — developing a common language to discuss cultural diversity, learning a three-step process for developing cross-cultural competence, and learning strategies for building cross-cultural skills in a variety of settings.

This webinar is intended for family practitioners, scholars, and students interested in deepening their understanding of why and how culture matters in the work they do with families.

Length: 60 minutes. Approved for 1 CFLE contact hours of continuing education credit.

Article: Organizational Cultural Competency: Shifting Programs for Latino Immigrants from a Client-Centered to a Community-Based Orientation


Uttal, L. (2006). Organizational cultural competency: Shifting programs for Latino immigrants from a client-centered to a community-based orientation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 251–262. doi:10.1007/s10464-006-9075-y

The author provides ideas on how organizations can shift agencies' "operating assumptions" so that culturally specific services and programs emerge from the worldview of the local community. Ideas includes giving staff the autonomy and support to acknowledge cultural and material circumstances of audiences when designing programs; redesigning program materials to fit the knowledge of the audience; adding topics of interest to the curriculum; relying on dialogical rather than didactic interactions to better understand the worldview of the participants and thus make necessary changes to a program; and encouraging staff to examine how programmatic changes can actually help to meet broader goals of an organization.

Textbook: Family Life Education with Diverse Populations


Ballard, S. M., & Taylor, A. C. (Eds.). (2012). Family life education with diverse populations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

This is a must-have book for family life educators serving U.S. audiences. The editors and contributing authors present practical information and guidance on offering programs and services to diverse families: rural, court-mandated, military, grandparents, American Indian, Latino immigrant, Asian immigrant, Arab immigrant, Black, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender. In each of the chapters the authors define the population; its unique aspects, strengths, and assets; current state of family life education with the population; needs of the population; marketing and recruitment; barriers to participation; environmental consideration; modes of learning; educator characteristics; ethical considerations; best practices; and future directions.

Textbook: Family Life Education: Working with Families across the Lifespan


Darling, C. A., & Cassidy, D. (with Powell, L.). (2014). Family life education: Working with families across the lifespan (3rd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Contemporary family life educators operate within a wide range of settings and with increasingly varied populations and families. In the third edition of Family Life Education, Darling and Cassidy expertly expose readers to the diverse landscape of the field while laying a comprehensive, research-based, practical foundation for current or future family life educators. The authors broad overview of the field includes a brief history and discussion of family life education as an established profession. The authors incorporate theory, research, and practice, while also providing guidelines for planning, implementing, and evaluating family life education programs.


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