Date of Conferral





Human Services


Mary Bold


Social workers have no clear professional guidelines about the application of culturally competent mental health service delivery. Without culturally competent mental health service delivery, clients from diverse cultures do not access needed mental health services and they experience less effective therapy treatment outcomes and overall disparity of service delivery throughout the therapeutic process. The purpose of this descriptive case study was to better understand how community-based social workers are delivering culturally competent services to clients. The theoretical framework for the study was multiculturalism and the primary research questions addressed how associate clinical social workers who provide in-home mental health services in Los Angeles deliver culturally competent services to their clients. Through 8 interviews with associate clinical social workers, this descriptive case study revealed that without clear direction on what culturally competent services are, or how to deliver them, social workers are using a combination of personal experience and personal culture, educational and practice knowledge, and in some cases no attention to culture, to meet the mental health needs of their clients. This study emphasized the need for an industry wide understanding of the term cultural competency, so it could serve as the frame of reference by which practice professional skill level could be assessed, practice protocols measured, and could lead to social change through greater access to counseling services for clients.