This post will explore the term “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse” (CALD), shedding light on what it means and why it is essential.
What is CALD?
Cultural diversity has grown significantly as the world becomes more interconnected. As a result, communities in various countries have become more multicultural. Queensland, for instance, has more than 220 languages spoken, 100 religious beliefs, and people from over 220 countries. Consequently, around 1996, “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse” (CALD) was introduced to encompass Australia’s non-indigenous groups with cultural heritage differing from the dominant Anglo-Australian culture.
First, let’s break down the different types of CALD groups:
Migrants: These are people born overseas and now residing in Australia. They usually enter the country under-skilled, in business or family streams.
Temporary Residents: They live and work in Australia on temporary visas, including work, student, prospective partner, and provisional partner visas. Generally, they need private health cover and are ineligible for Medicare services.
Humanitarian Entrants: Individuals who come to Australia under a humanitarian visa class are considered to need resettlement due to significant humanitarian concerns. They include refugees and those with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or political opinion.
Why Does “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse” Matter?
As we become more interconnected globally, we must be mindful of our communities’ cultural differences. Moreover, embracing cultural diversity enables a more harmonious and inclusive society in the following ways. Firstly, we ensure equitable access to services for all community members. Secondly, by encouraging empathetic and informed interactions between people from diverse backgrounds. And lastly, by enhancing communication and collaboration through cross-cultural understanding.
CALD and Developmental Vulnerability
It is essential to note that being CALD does not automatically mean someone is at risk for developmental vulnerability. However, it is crucial to prioritise or modify typical practices to ensure equitable access to services for specific culturally and linguistically diverse groups that may experience additional vulnerability.
For example, children from non-English speaking backgrounds who start school without English proficiency may likely encounter vulnerability in other domains of development. So, to enhance access and continued engagement, health services need to be aware of cultural considerations during diagnostic assessment and service provision.
Cultivating Cultural Awareness
For a truly inclusive community, everyone must try to understand the cultural profile of their local surroundings. Furthermore, being culturally sensitive creates an environment where everyone feels welcome and appreciated. Therefore, building cultural awareness is vital to fostering better communication and ensuring everyone has equal access to the opportunities society offers.