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Bringing CLAS to the Community

Change Inc. is excited to announce that it has been awarded the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). This two-year grant represents a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering inclusivity and diversity within our organization and the communities we serve. With this grant, Change Inc. is on track to make transformative changes both internally and externally, enhancing our ability to provide culturally relevant care and support to our clients.

With this grant, Change Inc. is responsible for bringing CLAS trainings, services, and materials not only to our own staff and clients, but to organizations across Minnesota. We will work with DHS to create engaging print and digital materials in several languages spoken by local communities that will promote health equity (Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Karen, and attractive to Native American, African American, LGBTQIA+ and disabled populations). Change Inc. is committed to improving the accessibility of our services to individuals and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The first goal marker of the CLAS grant is to expand and sustain Change Inc.’s CLAS Team to include support for the MN CLAS Roll Out. Internally, Change Inc. is dedicated to ensuring that our workforce is reflective of the diverse populations we serve. Led by our very own CLAS Team, this grant will allow us to invest in comprehensive staff training programs that focus on cultural sensitivity, diversity awareness, and language proficiency. By equipping our team with the knowledge and tools to better understand and communicate with clients from various cultural backgrounds, we aim to create an inclusive and welcoming environment within our organization. This includes recruiting and retaining a diverse staff and leadership team, which will enrich our perspectives and enhance the quality of care we provide.

The second goal of the CLAS grant will be focused around providing relevant and impactful CLAS trainings and other professional development for staff and external providers. We will work with community partners to learn about and provide at least one CLAS training quarterly, as well as regular opportunities for providers across agencies to share stories and expertise and be in community with one another. We will also compile CLAS-related references and resources for our staff and external providers to access on an on-going basis.

The final goal addresses CLAS standards related to communications and language assistance. We will further use the CLAS grant to expand our outreach efforts, develop tailored resources in multiple languages, and strengthen partnerships with community organizations to ensure that our services are culturally sensitive and responsive. We will work with a translation service to establish an ongoing process for translating new materials. Our objective is to break down language and cultural barriers that may prevent individuals from seeking the care and support they need, ultimately promoting health equity and well-being for all.

Change Inc. believes that the CLAS grant represents not only an opportunity for growth but also a responsibility to advocate for the principles of cultural humility and inclusivity in the broader mental health landscape. We are excited to embark on this transformative journey, guided by our commitment to fostering an environment where every individual, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background, can access the care and support they deserve. This grant is a testament to our dedication to improving the lives of those we serve and will reaffirm our position as a leader in delivering culturally competent services in Minnesota.

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