We understand that hard work is critical in ensuring that all families feel welcome and have access to ways of strengthening the home and program connection. It is essential that all young people, regardless of their differences, are successful, and the same understanding is shared in our work with engaging families. This requires staff to be very thoughtful about the four components of cultural competence: awareness of one’s own culture, attitudes toward cultural differences, knowledge of different cultural practices and world views, and cross-cultural skills (Martin & Vaughn, 2010). Being willing to acknowledge families as experts not only in their young people but also their culture, promotes culturally responsive practices that allow families to take the lead in teaching in our programs.

It is also important to recognize that each program and community has its own history, culture, values, and norms. The following strategies and tips will help you customize your program’s engagement practices for working with specific populations that DYCD engages.