Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Colleen Loomis

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Cultural competence among child welfare practitioners is imperative given rapidly changing Canadian demographics, current inadequacy in the delivery of social services due to ethnocentric bias, and the insufficiency of educational programs in providing multicultural training for future practitioners. This study investigated the extent to which a specific training program influences multicultural competencies. In Ontario, child welfare employees (N = 61) completed the Multicultural Awareness Knowledge and Skills Survey (MAKSS) (D'Andrea, Daniels, & Heck, 1991) on two separate occasions. A 2 (pre, post) x 2 (experimental, comparison) mixed-model design was used to test the hypothesis that experimental participants would score significantly higher than comparison participants at post-test on measures of multicultural competence. Significant group by time interactions were detected for the Awareness measure, F (1, 49) = 12.07, p < .001, and the Knowledge measure, F (1, 45) = 14.62, p < .001, of the MAKSS, supporting the hypothesis; the Skills model was non-significant. A second research question explored participant responses to the training experience through open-ended focus groups (N = 13). Overall, participants are satisfied, despite the perception that only 1 of 3 learning objectives were met. In general, reactions to training are positive, although participants expected a traditional curriculum. A linear regression analysis tested a third research question, exploring whether participant demographics predict cultural competency scores at baseline. Age and level of education significantly predicted 25% of the variance in overall multicultural competency scores. The findings have implications for establishing similar training programs in other organizations, potentially mitigating the negative consequences of discrimination.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons