A Guide for Working with Children and Their Families, Fourth Edition
Developing Cross-Cultural Competence
The gold-standard text on cross-cultural competence, the fourth edition of this trusted bestseller prepares professionals to honor different customs, beliefs, and value systems as they work with young children and families.
75309 978-1-59857-530-9
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As the U.S. population grows more and more diverse, how can professionals who work with young children and families deliver the best services while honoring different customs, beliefs, and values? The answers are in the fourth edition of this bestselling textbook, fully revised to reflect nearly a decade of population changes and best practices in culturally competent service delivery.

The gold-standard text on cross-cultural competence, this book has been widely adopted by college faculty and trusted as a reference by in-service practitioners for almost 20 years. For this timely NEW edition, the highly regarded authors have carefully updated and expanded every chapter while retaining the basic approach and structure that made the previous editions so popular. Professionals will

  • Get a primer on cultural competence. Readers will examine how their own cultural values and beliefs shape their professional practice, how the worldviews of diverse families may affect their perceptions of programs and services, and how providers can communicate more effectively with families from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Deepen their understanding of cultural groups. Learn from in-depth chapters with nuanced, multifaceted explorations of nine different cultural backgrounds: Anglo-European, American Indian, African American, Latino, Asian, Filipino, Native Hawaiian and Samoan, Middle Eastern, and South Asian. Readers will get up-to-date insights on history, demographics, traditions, values, and family structure, and they'll examine the diverse ways each culture approaches child rearing, medical care, education, and disability.
  • Discover better ways to serve families. Readers will get concrete recommendations for providing more effective, sensitive, and culturally competent services to children and families. They'll find practical guidance for every step in the service delivery process, from initiating contact with families to implementing and evaluating services. Vivid case stories and photos bring the principles of cultural competence to life, and the helpful appendixes give professionals quick access to cultural courtesies and customs, key vocabulary words, significant cultural events and holidays, and more. Plus an expanded list of resources points readers to books, films, theater, and other media that will enhance their understanding of other cultures.

New to this edition is a revised chapter on African American roots; thoroughly updated and expanded chapters; expanded coverage of disabilities; more on spiritual and religious diversity; and strategies for helping families make decisions about language use (English-only vs. preservation of native language).

Equally valuable as a textbook and a reference for practicing professionals, this comprehensive book will prepare early interventionists and other professionals to work effectively with families whose customs, beliefs, and values may differ from their own.

About the Editors
About the Contributors
For the Reader


  1. Diversity in Service Settings
    Marci J. Hanson
  2. Conceptual Framework: From Culture Shock to Cultural Learning
    Eleanor W. Lynch
  3. Developing Cross-Cultural Competence
    Eleanor W. Lynch


  1. Families with Anglo-European Roots
    Marci J. Hanson
  2. Families with American Indian Roots
    Jennie R. Joe and Randi Suzanne Malach
  3. Families with African American Roots
    Tawara D. Goode, Wendy Jones, and Vivian Jackson
  4. Families with Latino Roots
    Maria E. Zuniga
  5. Families with Asian Roots
    Sam Chan and Deborah Chen
  6. Families with Filipino Roots
    Rosa Milagros Santos and Sam Chan
  7. Families with Native Hawaiian and Samoan Roots
    Noreen Mokuau and Pemerika Tauili'ili
  8. Families with Middle Eastern Roots
    Virginia-Shirin Sharifzadeh
  9. Families with South Asian Roots
    Namita Jacob

Postlude Children of Many Songs: Diversity within the Family
Eleanor W. Lynch and Marci J. Hanson


  1. Steps in the Right Direction: Implications for Service Providers
    Eleanor W. Lynch and Marci J. Hanson

Suggested Readings and Resources

Author Index
Subject Index


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Family-Centered Early Intervention and Cross Cultural Competence     Undergraduate

Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Programs     Undergraduate     (CDEB 93)

Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families     Undergraduate/Graduate

Sociocultural Perspectives: Building Family, Community, and School Relationships     Graduate     (EDCG 406)

Multicultural Issues in Disability Studies   Graduate     (DIS 691)

Diversity in Human Development and Family Systems   Graduate     (HDPS 4330)