Population: CYSHCN, Family Care
Topic Area: Family & Youth Engagement, Health Equity,
NPMs: NPM 11: Medical Home
Research has documented that the intersection of different cultural identities, such as nationalities, races, ethnicities, disabilities, and/or languages, can create strong barriers for culturally diverse families and service providers to understand each other and build effective partnerships. Cultural brokering has been increasingly used in healthcare and education to provide appropriate and effective services to culturally & linguistically diverse families. Cultural brokers are people who build trust between groups or persons of differing cultural systems. A cultural broker can be an intermediary between individuals, hospitals (for example) or different cultural groups with the aim of helping people effectively navigate the health, education or human service system. Since 2009, the Center for Family Involvement @ VCU has employed cultural brokers representing Black, African American, Arabic, Asian, Latino/a/x, and refugee/immigrant communities. The cultural brokers are parents of children with disabilities or special health care needs who work 12–20 hours per week 1) providing enhanced one-to-one emotional, informational, and systems navigational support to culturally & linguistically diverse families of children with disabilities and special health care needs, and 2) partnering with agencies in the community to improve equitable access to services and supports. The goal of our cultural broker initiative is to help culturally & linguistically diverse families understand and effectively navigate the education, health, and disability systems, build their resiliency, and successfully get resources and services that meet the needs of their children.
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