Culturally Competent Policy Practice in Minority Communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Contextual and Structural Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Minority communities have borne a disproportionate burden of health, social and economic consequences during the pandemic. By engaging in policy-shaping processes, social workers can contribute to the development of beneficial policies for minority communities. When working in cross-cultural environments with majorities and minorities, social workers must develop cultural competence to be effective in policy practice. Despite the importance associated with cultural competence in policy practice (CCPP), little empirical evidence exists regarding what is required of social workers in order to engage in culturally competent policy change during the pandemic. In the present study, we address this lacuna through the theoretical framework of culturally competent policy practice. Drawing on twenty-one in-depth interviews, which were conducted at two time points during the pandemic with social workers who work with ultra-Orthodox minority communities in Israel, we demonstrate that CCPP involves the combination of two perspectives-contextual and structural. These include identifying and analysing social problems from a local and global perspective, reshaping the problem through self-Awareness and critical awareness of power relations, and applying cultural competence skills that reflect the unique characteristics of the communities. This article discusses the strengths and limitations of CCPP, especially when implemented in changing social and political situations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1183-1203
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • COVID-19
  • anti-oppressive practice
  • cultural competence
  • majority and minority
  • multicultural societies
  • pandemic
  • policy practice
  • social workers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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