National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Designing Responsive Interventions

Mental health consultants should demonstrate awareness and knowledge of cultural beliefs and perceptions that may influence use and acceptance of interventions to address emotional and behavioral concerns for young children and their families. In designing strategies to support individual child and family focused concerns or ECE program concerns, a culturally competent consultant must reflect on the following questions:

  • Is the intervention goal congruent with the family’s cultural frame of reference?
  • Is the strategy representative of the home culture(s) of the child or children?
  • Does the strategy assign culturally familiar and acceptable roles for parents, providers, and the consultant in the intervention?
  • Is the strategy familiar to ECE providers and does it “fit” within the culture of classroom practices? Can current approaches be adapted to accommodate cultural and linguistic differences?
  • Is the strategy supportive of the home language of the child or linguistic diversity represented by the children and their families?
  • Does the strategy build on cultural and linguistic strengths of the child? Family? Program?
  • Can the strategy support continuity of care between the contexts of home and the program? Cultural and linguistic continuity between home and the program?
  • How might traditional healers and healing practices be incorporated if preferred by a family?
  • Does the strategy engage culturally familiar and important social support networks or community partners?

(Mackrain et al, 2011, California’s Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Training Guidelines Workgroup 2009; Garcia Coll & Meyer, 1993)




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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation