Karolyn Sanchez

Major and Classification

Sociology and Minor Children and Families in Urban America

Faculty Mentor

Allen Lipscomb, M.S.W., Veronica Terriquez, Ph.D.


Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, & Sciences

McNair Project

“Latino Social Workers Perspective on Cultural Competence”

Project Abstract

This paper addresses the failure of previous research to qualitatively explore social workers perspective of cultural competence in respect to education and training. In social work, culturally competent practice is responsive to the needs of diverse populations and promotes effective work in cross-cultural situations. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Saint Johns Child and Family Development Center (CDFC) social workers to understand themes regarding attitudes of cultural competence and methods practitioners use to cater to diverse populations. Variations among social work perspectives are highlighted and the definition of cultural competence is explored in detail. Specific attention is given to worker’s personal views of cultural competence and how this translates into techniques that are applied when working with multi-cultural clients. Finally, suggestions are made on how to accurately reflect the needs and attitudes of social workers in education and training. Findings are significant for educators, policy makers, patients, and field workers who are in constant contact with the dynamics of social work and cultural competence.