An introduction to working with families with heritage from Jamaica
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Cultural Family Life Library



The Cultural Family Life Library

CFAB has initiated this project because serious case reviews have highlighted that social work professionals sometimes require further support and training to work with families whose culture or religion differs from their own. Culture-specific training can help inform practice and avoid the risk of inadvertently enabling situations that put some children at risk. Some professionals also feel they lack the tools or confidence to build on cultural strengths, or to question specific cultural practices, potentially hindering better outcomes for children. This is an introductory guide intended for social workers supporting families in the UK. This guide may also be of interest to education, health and legal professionals, supporting children and families from different communities.  

We are delighted that this guide has been endorsed by the Jamaican High Commission and a foreword by Deputy High Commissioner Laird Grant has been included.

An introduction to working with families with heritage from Jamaica

Jamaican culture has been described as a wonderful melting pot of influences from across the world, which represent its diverse communities and history. This is exemplified by the national motto: “Out of Many, One People”. This introductory guide contains information to help build an understanding of the cultural context within which a family of Jamaican heritage may be operating. However, not everything in this guide will be applicable to all families. No culture is homogeneous, and culture can be influenced by regional, age, gender, class and other factors. Furthermore, there are differences between culture in country of origin versus diaspora communities in UK. There are also differences in generational attitudes, for example between first generation immigrants to the UK versus third generation, which are also highlighted throughout.

This introductory guide covers topics including:

  • Short history of Jamaica and the UK
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Celebration
  • Food  
  • Genealogy in Jamaica
  • Family structure
  • Communication
  • Perception of childhood
  • Forms of chastisement
  • Perception of social services
  • Experiences of the British Jamaican community
  • Culturally relevant networks and resources


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