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Home Visiting with Families in Poverty: Introducing the Concept of Culture

Diana T. Slaughter-Defoe
The Future of Children
Vol. 3, No. 3, Home Visiting (Winter, 1993), pp. 172-183
Published by: Princeton University
DOI: 10.2307/1602549
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1602549
Page Count: 12
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Home Visiting with Families in Poverty: Introducing the Concept of Culture
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Abstract

In this article Diana Slaughter-Defoe asserts that those planning home visiting programs must pay careful attention to the cultural context in which the services will be delivered. She illustrates this assertion by relating her experience with programs serving African-American families and discussing how cultural characteristics of this group have implications for the design of home visiting programs. Slaughter-Defoe also recommends additional steps for program planners to take to ensure a culturally consonant program. They should encourage ongoing dialogue between providers and participants about how well the program is meeting their needs and expectations. They should pay careful attention to the culture of the program staff, with the goals of fostering positive staff attitudes and a realistic and clearly understood mission. Finally, program planners should be open to altering the home visiting format, introducing group- and center-based care when the culture of the program participants suggests that these service delivery formats can be effective. Throughout her article, Slaughter-Defoe observes that too often home visiting services are used inappropriately, to respond to multiply vulnerable families in a treatment or crisis mode. In these situations, home visitors do not have the time, resources, or mission to assess carefully the adaptive strengths and cultural ecology of participating children and families. As a result, home visiting as a strategy is neither useful nor effective.

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