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The Clackamas County Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) is an advisory committee to the Board of County Commissioners and is a result of the work from the Complete Communities Cultural Diversity Committee. The Council is representative of Clackamas County and includes a diverse membership of ethnic representation, senior citizens, disabled citizens, youth, and, others.


Gender Specific Services | Cultural Competency

Members of the Council have knowledge of issues facing minority populations in the county, experience working with hard-to-reach communities, or language proficiency in dominant languages within Clackamas County other than English. The Council advises the Board of County Commissioners on how best to reach and serve these populations by leveraging the resources of the county to assist agencies to better serve the public.

On July 19, 2012 the Board of County Commissioners adopted the resolution entitled “Valuing Diversity in Clackamas County.” The adoption of this resolution was both monumental and historic. It advances the hopes and dreams of Clackamas County citizens and employees who aspire to live and work in a community where everyone is welcomed and included.

If you are interested in serving on this council call Judi Martin 503-650-5693 for more information.

Current members:
Ronald G. Guerra, Chair
Vladimir Shubin
Stephenie Jahnke
Kristy McKercher
Relford Drayton
Amy Pena
Rodney Cook, Director, Children, Youth & Families
Emmett Wheatfall, Clackamas County Diversity Manager

Gender-Specific Services

It is the policy of the Commission on Children & Families to assure a gender-fair system of care that acknowledges and incorporates at all levels the importance of gender, the assessment of gender specific differences, vigilance toward the dynamics that result from gender-specific knowledge and the adaptation of services to meet gender-unique needs.

Gender Specific Services for girls and young women is defined as providing, "services that are designed to meet the unique needs of females, that value the female perspective, that celebrate and honor the difference of female experience, that respect and take into account female development and that empower young women to reach their full potential." Prevention and Parity: Girls in Juvenile Justice, Indianapolis: 1996, p.24.

The Gender Specific Services Committee consists of service providers, educators, policy-makers and advocates for gender issues. The group meets monthly to oversee implementation of gender specific services in Clackamas County and advise on assessment and education surrounding issues of gender. For more information or to attend a meeting, please call (503) 650-5678.

The following excerpt is taken from "How to Implement Oregon's Guidelines for Effective Gender-Responsive Programming for Girls". Written by Pam Patton and Marcia Morgan for the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission Juvenile Crime Prevention Program and the Oregon Commission on Children & Families, October 2001.

Why Gender-Specific Services are Important for Girls

To talk about why services should be gender specific for girls, it must first be acknowledged that girls and boys are socialized differently. Many things influence the definition of what it means to be male (masculine) and what it means to be female (feminine) in the United States. Culture, the media, and the family all play significant roles in girls' and boys' socialization and perceptions of self. As girls and boys mature, they experience things differently, chart different pathways to problem behaviors, and face different issues and challenges. Therefore, the mechanisms and models for responding to girls' and boys' needs must be different in order to be effective.

Gender-specific services comprehensively address the needs of a gender group (male or female), fostering positive gender identity development. Gender-responsive programming for girls intentionally allows gender to affect and guide services, creating an environment through site selection, staff selection, program development, content, and material that reflects an understanding of the realities of girls' lives, and is responsive to the issues and needs of the girls and young women being served.

Programs often state that they are gender neutral. However, on closer examination, many times these programs' approaches are based on a male model. That is, they respond more to the needs related to males. If we examine why many programs serving youth are based on a male model, we find that historically in education, juvenile justice, and social services these programs serve those individuals who act out in a public manner. And as a society, we have generally responded more to boys' aggressive acting-out behavior, while giving less attention to girls' self-destructive, internal behaviors. Although the effectiveness of male models with boys is basically undocumented, most studies on boys do not focus on gender-specific services. Instead, existing research tends to focus on changing male stereotypes and our preconceptions of the boys' role in society. Evaluations also show that the integration of gender-specific approaches with girls also broaden our approaches with boys to better meet their needs, especially those boys who don't respond to the male model.

One of the reasons that gender-specific services for girls is such an important focus in our state is that in 1993 an organization called the Coalition of Advocates for Equal Access for Girls helped pass a bill that resulted in Oregon becoming the only state in the nation with a law (ORS 417.270) that requires state agencies serving children under 18 to ensure that girls and boys have equal access to appropriate services, treatment, and facilities. State agencies are also required to implement plans to ensure girls are receiving equal access to social, juvenile justice, and community services statewide; that barriers to these services are removed; and that the services provided are gender-specific. Ensuring that services are gender-specific is also a requirement of Oregon counties' Juvenile Crime Prevention Plans.

Cultural Competency

Clackamas County is experiencing an increase in its minority population. The increase creates a challenge of providing services to Youth and Families from an expanding range of cultural groups who are growing up in increasingly diverse communities. It is the policy of the Commission on Children & Families to assure a culturally competent system of care that acknowledges and incorporates at all levels the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance toward the dynamics that result from cultural knowledge and the adaptation of services to meet culturally-unique needs.

The following excerpt is from "A Guide to Enhancing the Cultural Competence of Youth Programs", U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "…Culture runs throughout our organizations and enhancing the cultural competence of programs and services requires looking at the organizational goals and mission. The dynamic process of exploring cultural diversity, however, may require some shifts in organizational policies or procedures. Program managers will need to continually balance between the need for organizational boundaries and the need to push o the edge of those established development approaches."

The Commission on Children & Families believes that it is imperative for all agencies serving youth and family-serving be inclusive of and address all families and children in the community and further, to assure access to appropriate supports and services.

ADA: American With Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, program and services provided by state and local governments, goods and services provided by private companies, and in commercial facilities.

Culture: An entire set of values, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs, social interactions and communication patterns that distinguishes a group of people.

Cultural Diversity: Differences in race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, physical ability, language, beliefs, values, behavior patters, or customs among various groups within a community, organization, or nation.

Cultural Awareness: Recognition of the nuances of one's own and other cultures.

Cultural Appropriate: Exhibiting sensitivity to cultural differences and similarities, and demonstrating effectiveness in translating that sensitivity to action through organizational mission statements, communication strategies, and services to diverse cultures.

Cultural Competence: The ability of individuals to use academic, experiential, and interpersonal skills to increase their understanding and appreciation of cultural differences and similarities within, among, and between groups. Encompasses individuals' desires, willingness, and ability to improve systems by drawing on

Discrimination: The act of discriminating or distinguishing differences; the ability to make or perceive distinctions, perception, discernment; a showing of partiality or prejudice in treatment; specific action or policies directed against the welfare of minority groups.

Diversity: A quality, state, fact, or instance of being different or dissimilar; difference; variety.

Hispanic Interagency Networking Team

The Clackamas County Hispanic/Latino Interagency Networking Team (HINT) is dedicated to working with private and public agencies and the Hispanic/Latino community to coordinate and integrate social and educational services and promote the cultural heritage of the Hispanic/Latinos within the community.