Ethnicity and Social Services
The primary role of social services is to improve the functioning of the individual, family, group, or community. But this role can be enacted only if the need for assistance is recognized. Mainstream agencies using ethnic sensitive interventions are increasingly concerned with serving the needs of diverse clients and groups, frequently competing with ethnic agencies composed of community members. Although the latter may be more attractive to persons through their innate understanding of culture and traditions and the similarity of the staff, many prefer outside programs. Middle class persons may prefer mainstream agencies, while some may be reticent to share intimate or possibly culturally deviant information with persons from their own community. Availability, accessibility, and acceptability of services are critical factors in service utilization. Having a clear ethnic lens, free of stereotypes and prejudices is tantamount to effectively serving the community.
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