Are the staff members interested in and respectful of different cultures and family structures?
Although it is obvious that a child who doesn’t speak English won’t benefit from a program that literally does not speak their language, there are many other cultural issues that are not so immediately visible. There are also other family dynamics now to consider, divorced families, same sex parents, LBGT parents.
These can have a huge impact on how a child or young adult fares in an outdoor therapeutic or residential program.
The best programs are culturally competent and “family oriented competent” that is, they recognize that different cultures and different family structures have different approaches to child-rearing, different norms for family roles, and different understandings of mental health.
These programs work with families to ensure that cultural and family differences are recognized and valued, not dismissed or misunderstood.
Other questions to ask:
- How does your program work to understand cultural differences / family differences and address them?
- How much experience do you have working with children and young adults from other backgrounds or those who are non-binary or transgender?
- What training has your staff had in addressing these issues and types of children and families?
- Does the program hire staff members from different cultures and family backgrounds?
- When a child or young adult is a minority in the program, or is a LBGT, non-binary, or transgender child, how do you address that?