The thought of the word “family” brings with it images of people living in endless love, happiness, and togetherness. Many people believe that those in family situations should allocate time and resources for their families. Another image that comes with the thought of the word “family” is people walking down the streets holding hands and hugging one another. These thoughts, images, and perceptions have been shaped by my family structure having been brought up in a nuclear type of family where I had both parents and siblings. Our family lived happily and did several activities together hence the images of people living in happiness, love, and togetherness come to mind upon the mention of the word “family.”
Factors that impact families based on socioeconomic backgrounds include education, housing, and health. Families from high socioeconomic classes can have access to better education services, which involves sending their children to good schools with sufficient resources and facilities. In other words, when a family is successful from a financial perspective, it can afford to send children to better and improved private schools, hire a private tutor for them, or send them to after school programs. These cannot be afforded by families that do not make a lot of money, and therefore, they end up sending their children to nearby public schools without further access to private tutors or after-school programs. Also, families making a lot of money have access to proper housing or good neighborhoods that are safe from frequent criminal activities such as drug use and violence. On the other hand, families that do not make a lot of money are forced to live in old houses or those near waste sites, which is as significant threat to human health. Families from high socioeconomic classes have access to better, improved, and advanced healthcare services thanks to health insurance coverages offered to them. With the health insurance coverages, these families can access better doctors, get routine check-ups and shots, and live healthy lifestyles. When families are poor, they will not access better healthcare services and they are likely to suffer from malnutrition because of buying and consuming unhealthy foods.
Cross-cultural competence is when a person or family goes beyond their culture and embraces and learns practices from another culture. In the real sense, people’s understanding of others people and families is enhanced when they know more about their traditions, beliefs, views on life, and heritage. On the other hand, family-centered practice is when a person prioritizes and thinks more about what is best for individual family members than about self. Family-centered practice should be embraced by families other than those with disability issues as it provides a platform for the family to become successful. Of course, by focusing more on each individual’s needs and building around these needs and what the family needs as a whole, a family is likely to come across more opportunities that will set the stage for success.
There is no doubt that cultural competence is an essential part of working successfully with families. It is highly likely that understanding other people’s cultural backgrounds enhances or helps understand who they are and why they behave or do things differently. The good understanding between families makes members open about their views on and perceptions of other cultures paving the way for good family relationships and interactions. Submergence into another culture makes people develop interest and respect for existing cultural similarities and differences as well as have patience with other people’s values and beliefs.
Racial discrimination and inequality, ethnicity, language diversity, and socioeconomic backgrounds have adverse impacts on equal and equitable access to education, healthcare, housing, food security, and community resources or services. For instance, in the US, historically and in the present, access to the mentioned aspects is greatly dependent on racial backgrounds. Unlike whites, Latin Americans’ access to education, health services, and employment opportunities is regrettable. Latinos are considered immigrants, and as such, they often have no or minimal access to proper housing, health care services, food, community resources or services, and education. On the other hand, African Americans in selected states in the US are viewed as criminals, and this has compromised the latter’s access to education, health services, and employment opportunities/
In the US, there are laws and regulations in place to curb discrimination based on disabilities. One of these is the Individuals with Disabilities Act 1990 (IDEA). IDEA requires that every student with a disability or learning difference receives a free and appropriate education. Part B of IDEA provides services to eligible 3 to 21-year-old individuals through the local school district while part C of the same provides services to eligible infants and toddlers from birth to age three via local, regional centers. Eligibility for Part B of IDEA stresses on a child’s intellectual disability, hearing impairment or deafness, speech or language delay, visual impairment or blindness, emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, specific learning disabilities, and other health impairments. Conversely, to be eligible for Part C of IDEA, a child must have a developmental delay in either cognitive, communication, social or emotional, adaptive, or physical and motor development including vision and hearing and under 36 months of age at the time of referral. Also, eligibility for this part considers whether a child has an established risk condition of known etiology, with a high probability of resulting in delayed development.