TERM:

Cultural Competence

Formal Definition

NJCDD defines cultural competence in our members and staff as (a) being aware of each of our cultures, beliefs, values and identities, how these may be different from the individuals and families that we serve, and of the dynamics of difference; (b) valuing this diversity; (c) adapting to the diversity and cultural contexts of the communities we serve and ensuring that our policies and practices respect and reflect cultural beliefs, values and identities; (d) having institutionalized cultural knowledge; and (e) having the capacity for and commitment to conducting organizational self-assessment, , institutionalizing its cultural knowledge


Plain Language

NJCDD defines cultural competence in our members and staff as understanding and respecting cultural differences, beliefs, values, and identities and how these may be different from the individuals and families that we serve.

NJCDD is committed to:
(a) valuing this diversity on an everyday basis;
(b) adjusting our work to include people from diverse backgrounds and cultures with
diverse beliefs and values;
(c) using the history of the organization to make informed decisions; and
(d) checking ourselves to ensure we are doing better.


Practical Application

Much like diversity, the practice of cultural competence should never be considered achieved. Always start with your user data. That data vs the data from the area as a whole can tell you if you are reaching across cultures. The practice of cultural competence should look like (among other things) regular staff training and diversity within your hiring.

TERM:

Diversity

Formal Definition

NJCDD defines diversity as recognition of the uniqueness of individuals. NJCDD will foster and value individuals’ differences. In our decision making and service delivery, NJCDD will have a deeper and more inclusive view of the full range of human experiences in New Jersey’s population.


Plain Language

NJCDD defines diversity as knowing that everyone is unique and is committed to:

a) encouraging and valuing the differences in each person.
b) including voices from New Jersey’s diverse residents when making decisions.


Practical Application

Regularly review user demographics watching for trends and anomalies. The practice of diversity should be a constant goal that is never considered achieved. Diversity touches all aspects of an organization. The staff should be reflective of the community they serve. Your office should be in a location easily accessible by public transit. Virtual options for service should be available. User forms should have a place for chosen names to allow transgender individuals to access services without having to constantly “out themselves” or be “deadnamed”. Outreach materials should be created with this goal as well. If an in-office visit is required any waiting area should have materials for children as childcare is far from affordable for a large segment of the population. Representation matters, consider this in any picture models for literature.

TERM:

Equity

Formal Definition

NJCDD recognizes that not everyone has the same access to resources and opportunities. NJCDD will promote that everyone accessing services through our system will be provided with meaningful access to opportunities and resources to address their needs. All Council activities and functions are conducted in a manner that ensures persons with I/DD are provided with different levels of support and assistance depending on need, circumstances, interests, or abilities.


Plain Language

NJCDD understands that not everyone has the same resources and opportunities and addresses this by:

a) giving information to individuals with I/DD and their families about the services and resources that can help them.
b) offering support that people with I/DD and their families need to participate in our activities


Practical Application

Regularly review user demographics and programming with a goal of ensuring equal outcomes for all community members. Eg- A rural county with a high percentage of people in poverty might need a disproportionate amount of the budget to ensure things like transportation to the office or virtual meetings are in place. A community with a high immigrant population might need a bigger percentage of bilingual staff members or they might use services like interpreters and or translation language lines more frequently.

TERM:

Inclusion

Formal Definition

NJCDD defines inclusion as an ongoing practice of implementing behaviors, attitudes, and actions and fosters an organizational culture that allows our employees, members, and constituents across all racial, ethnic, cultural, and identity groups the opportunity to fully participate in every aspect of the organization’s programs and services to the fullest extent possible.


Plain Language

NJCDD defines inclusion as encouraging and valuing everyone’s contribution by:

a) making constant efforts to welcome and keep people from diverse backgrounds joining in NJCDD activities.
b) offering opportunities and support for the full participation of those from New Jersey’s diverse communities.


Practical Application

● Regular review of the organizational culture through ongoing self-reflection and active self-assessment to ensure keeping current with demographics of the organization and the individuals served
● Establish a process of soliciting feedback from constituents in a way that they feel heard so ongoing work of inclusion will be incorporated into the work of the Council

TERM:

Linguistic Responsiveness

Formal Definition

NJCDD recognizes that language is a crucial aspect of culture. Language is the primary way for communicating one’s knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and social expectations. NJCDD defines linguistic responsiveness as supporting the learning, development, understanding, and engagement of people from diverse language backgrounds in the policies, programs and practices of our work in the mode of communication that works best for their participation.


Plain Language

NJCDD recognizes that language is one of the main ways that we communicate and is an important communication tool.

NJCDD is committed to:
a) supporting people who speak languages other than English to participate in all NJCDD activities through language support and/or assistive technology.


Practical Application

● Having materials available in languages that are reflective of your area population is helpful, however to be linguistically competent bilingual staff should be utilized whenever possible. At a minimum, all materials given to users should also be reviewed by bilingual staff to ensure there are no phrases within the document that may cause confusion to an English language learner. If a bilingual staff member is not available qualified translators should be utilized to minimize any confusion.
● NJCDD will have a Language Access Plan that continues to be updated based on current data to ensure all constituents are able to fully participate in the Council’s programs and services