OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Client-Worker Linguistic Matching at a California Child Welfare Agency


Client-Worker Linguistic Matching at a California Child Welfare Agency Koressa Castillo Abstract With the growing presence of Latino families across the United States, service providers must remain cognizant of this group’s unique sociocultural characteristics. Culturally competent service provision requires child welfare professionals to remain aware of the stressors often faced by this population. Immigration and acculturation issues, language and cultural barriers, poverty, discrimination, fear of deportation, and lack of access to a variety of services are a few of the stressors that are commonly experienced by this group. Linguistic competent practice requires service provision to be in a families’ native language; however, there are many other factors to consider even when doing so. Cultural unfamiliarity, inadequate bi-lingual worker training in professional terminology, and issues with translators and interpreters are all factors to be considered. It was hypothesized that the relationships between clients and workers may depend on shared culture, that cultural differences due to different backgrounds and countries of origin may hinder working relationships. Through qualitative face to face interviews, the proposed research study seeks to gain insight into Spanishspeaking client and worker perspectives on their working relationships. The study aims to understand the advantages and limitations to matching clients and workers solely on shared language. Preliminary findings suggest that cultural similarities or differences were not the primary relationship concerns for either workers or clients. Rather, both clients and workers expressed more salient concerns related to clients’ citizenship status, the lack of resources for translation and interpretation, and clients’ limited willingness/ability to advocate for themselves

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