ChildSavers’ Journey Towards Cultural Competency

We were founded to reach out and help children. Today ChildSavers is making a deliberate effort to develop culturally responsive services. We aim to address the needs of those we serve respectfully. Further, we understand the importance of recognizing the different beliefs, practices, cultural, and linguistic needs of our diverse populations. To this end, we formed the Cultural Responsiveness Ad Hoc Committee (CRC). The CRC will guide our employees into greater understanding and sensitivity to those we serve.

As humans it is natural to define others in reference to our own experience. This tendency can lead us to pull away from those we view as different. It also draws us toward those whom we view as similar. The experience of being drawn toward sameness is the root of how cultural norms and patterns are formed. Identity with a particular culture is completely natural. The fact that other cultures are different from our own should not alarm us. On the contrary, it should reinforce our own identity.

At ChildSavers, the voices of those we serve are important to us. We want to hear them. So we are seeking greater input from those we serve. We are becoming more competent in how we receive this information. We hope to have communication that is more effective. The CRC’s goal has specific objectives. It aims for ChildSavers’ staff to become expert practitioners in the delivery of culturally responsive mental health and child development services.

When fully achieved, these objectives will yield improvements in service delivery. It will also improve training/professional development for our employee. Additionally, it will improve organizational processes and practices. We want to increase staff knowledge and understanding of the diverse populations we serve.

The truest measure of our work is not simply the number of people who walk through our door. It is how welcome and safe they feel. It is also how we help improve their lives. By improving our understanding of our client’s cultures we see a greater possibility of positive outcomes.

The ChildSavers’ mission is to guide our community’s children through life’s critical moments with trauma-informed mental health and child development services. As we become more culturally competent we will be better equipped and more proficient in fulfilling the mission of ChildSavers.

By Linda Whitaker

Linda Whitaker is Vice President of Administration and Human Resources at ChildSavers, where she has been employed since moving to Richmond in 2002. She was promoted to Vice President, Administration and Human Resources in 2011.

Linda recognizes the ever changing environment of the nonprofit arena and the impact on its employees.  She understands the importance of employee oriented workplaces and programs that meet the needs of employees for meaningful work, growth, challenge, communication and effective leadership.

She was previously employed in healthcare administration at Carilion Health Systems in Roanoke Virginia.  Linda earned a Bachelor degree from University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies with a concentration in Human Resources Management.

She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management. She graduated from Leadership Metro Richmond Leadership Quest Class of 2012. She has been affiliated with the Tuberculosis Foundation Board of Virginia for many years.

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