Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Cultural Competence Continuum

Developing cultural competence is an evolving, dynamic process that takes time and occurs along a continuum.1 The National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development describes the six stages of this continuum:2

  • Cultural destructiveness – Attitudes and practices (as well as policies and structures in organizations) are destructive to a cultural group. 
  • Culture incapacity – The capacity to respond effectively to the needs, interests, and preferences of culturally and linguistically diverse groups is lacking. 
  • Cultural blindness – The predominant philosophy is one that views and treats all people as the same. 
  • Cultural pre-competence – There is awareness of strengths and areas for growth to respond effectively to culturally and linguistically diverse populations. 
  • Cultural competence – Acceptance and respect for culture is consistently demonstrated in policies, structures, practices, and attitudes. 
  • Cultural proficiency – Culture is held in high esteem and used as a foundation to guide all endeavors. 

 

Sources:

  1. Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care, volume 1. Washington, DC: CASSP Technical Assistance Center, Center for Child Health and Mental Health Policy, Georgetown University Child Development Center.  
  2. National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. (2004). Cultural competence continuum. Washington D.C.: Author. Retrieved from http://www.nccccurricula.info/; Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: CASSP Technical Assistance Center, Center for Child Health and Mental Health Policy, Georgetown University Child Development Center.