THE AWARENESS AND IDENTIFICATION OF SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS IN THE INITIAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PUERTO RICAN FAMILY IN CHILD WELFARE

ANGEL LUIS MERCADO, Fordham University

Abstract

Within the last few decades, the behavioral sciences or disciplines such as cultural anthropology, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology, have paid much attention and conducted research studies, related to the influences of different cultural variables upon the behavioral patterns of different cultural groups. Most of the findings in this area have revealed that different cultures have their own perceptions, interpretations, and adaptive patterns to their respective external environment or society. Moreover, people of different cultures share their own interpretation, classification and provide distinct therapeutic approaches or treatment (i.e., folk healing) to more disturbed or malfunctioning individuals. More specifically, western therapists or mental health practitioners in the United States today have found that the diagnostic classification system and different treatment modalities related to their psychiatric orientation, do not accurately correspond to patients coming from another culturally distinct background. This dilemma has also led to not only an inaccurate diagnostic assessment and inappropriate treaatment plan, but it has also created a therapeutic and communication gap between the practitioner and their culturally distinct patient or client(s).^ In some cases, for example, children were separated from their extended families, or removed from their biological parents because of a misinterpretation of culturally related behavior, or due to a lack of awareness, understanding, and sensitivity to the client's belief system, and available natural support systems. The new trend or the most recent concern on "Permanency Planning" and "Prevention of Child Placement," serves as some evidence of this growing dilemma; of children being unnecessarily, or immediately removed from their homes, without consideration of other alternative strategies of intervention. This author felt compelled to focus on the initial assessment interview and the recommended service plans of social workers within the Child Welfare setting. One of the main research questions under investigation was to determine whether there were any significant differences between the case assessments and service plans of social workers in their formulation of a diagnostic assessment of clients coming from a similar or different cultural background. In this study the Puerto Rican family represented the client system.^ The findings or results of the study reflects the interplay and role between different socio-cultural variables and other characteristics related to the respondents. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.) ^

Subject Area

Social work

Recommended Citation

MERCADO, ANGEL LUIS, "THE AWARENESS AND IDENTIFICATION OF SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS IN THE INITIAL ASSESSMENT OF THE PUERTO RICAN FAMILY IN CHILD WELFARE" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615687.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615687

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