Cultural Brokers Inc.’s Cultural Broker Program is designed to raise and address concerns related to disproportionality and disparities that exist in the child welfare system, as well as concerns that involve issues of fairness and equity. The core belief that drives the work is that every family regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic status will be empowered to develop their own strengths and capacities. The Cultural Broker Program provides brokering, advocacy and support to families who are involved or who are at risk of involvement with the child welfare system.
The Cultural Broker Program uses the model approach, Cultural Broker Paraprofessional an Agency Community Partnership© with child welfare agencies to insure that their practice approaches with families from diverse populations are culturally congruent and specific to their unmet needs.
Through partnerships the program has developed with the community and the child welfare agency, cultural interpretations are provided to decrease the likelihood of cultural misunderstandings. This is made possible by partnering with the community and the child welfare agency.
Cultural Brokers Inc.’s Parent Partner Program is designed to support reunification of children with their parents. Parent Partners are typically defined as “life trained professionals” (i.e., those who have successfully negotiated the child welfare system). CBI utilizes an expanded definition of Parent Partners created by Cynthia Billups the former Annie E. Casey Parent Engagement Technical Assistant for Fresno County, and CBI’s Parent Partner Program Manager/Consultant. The definition is as follows:
A community dweller parenting a child (children) biologically or otherwise, Previously removed from his/her/their home, who has successfully navigated Fresno County’s Child Welfare System through reunification or other permanency planning. This individual now opts to ally with the Department as a team change agent, participating in policy and practice reform decision making providing support, wisdom, guidance and components of direct service to parents in and outside the child welfare system.
CBI’s Parent Partners serve as mentors by providing support at critical moments in the parent’s interface with the child welfare system, such as court hearings, important meetings like Team Decision Making (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002), and when appropriate, during meetings between the parent and caseworkers. CBI Parent Partners serve as parent leaders identifying and recruiting other Parent Partners, training child welfare staff on working with Parent Partners, and collaborating with agency staff in designing and improving services. In addition, they also provide informal support outside of scheduled meetings.