Family Connections’ Culture Connections is a program designed to improve mental health and substance use services and outcomes in northern New Jersey by enhancing the cultural competence of mental health professionals and their organizations.
The program does this through the provision of cultural competence resources, on-site and virtual training, and technical assistance consultation for agencies, self-help centers, and community wellness centers seeking to develop cultural proficiency plans and improve organizational cultural competence.
Services are free-of-charge for staff of Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) -contracted agencies and self-help centers in the northern New Jersey region.
National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
Culture Connections adheres to the competence definitions and measures developed by the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS standards), issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. These standards “are intended to inform, guide, and facilitate required and recommended practices related to culturally and linguistically appropriate health services.” (National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care, OMH, 2014)
Why we Do what we do?
Research shows that cultural competence improves/increases/enhances mental health providers’ capacity to:
- Respond to current and projected demographic changes
- Foster social justice
- Eliminate disparities in the mental health status of people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups
- Improve the quality of their services and outcomes
While cultural competence is critical to an effective mental health system, agencies often struggle to find the time and resources to improve organizational cultural competence. Therefore, The NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services has funded Culture Connections and encouraged licensed agencies to engage in creating plans that utilize the CLAS standards to grow in their cultural competence journey.
Culture Connections emphasizes viewing cultural competence not as an add-on, but as a vital, core component of any mental health organization’s mission.
Our team, Director of Programs, Konniesha Moulton, LMFT, and Program Manager, Jayme S. Ganey, LPC are also the current co-chairs of Family Connections’ Cultural Competence Committee, a committee that began in 2006 as part of the agency’s Quality Improvement Program. Since then, Family Connections has systematically continued committed to embed cultural competency in all aspects and at all levels of the agency.
To learn more about the Culture Connections team, click here.
Email the Culture Connections team at FCCultureConnections@FamilyConnectionsNJ.org
Contact the Family Connections’ Administrative Office: 7 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 101, East Orange, NJ 07017, 973-323-3454