Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, DES will take reasonable steps to ensure that persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) have meaningful access and an equal opportunity to participate in our services, activities, programs, and other benefits. It is the policy of DES is to ensure meaningful communication with LEP participants and/or their authorized representatives; the policy also provides for communication of information contained in vital documents. All interpreters, translators and other aids needed to comply with this policy shall be provided without cost to the person being served and their families will be informed of the availability of such assistance free of charge.
Language assistance will be provided through use of competent bilingual staff, staff interpreters, contracts or formal arrangements with local organizations providing interpretation or translation services, or technology and telephonic interpretation services. All staff will be provided notice of this policy and procedure, and staff that may have direct contact with LEP individuals will be trained in effective communication techniques, including the effective use of an interpreter.
What is a vital document?
"Vital documents" are generally documents that affect access to, retention in, or termination or exclusion from a recipient’s program services or benefits. Vital documents include but are not limited to applications, consent forms, complaint forms, intake forms, letters or notices pertaining to eligibility for benefits, letters or notices pertaining to rights and the reduction, denial or termination of services or benefits or that require a response from the LEP person; actions affecting parental custody or child support.
Use of Family and Friends
Some LEP persons may prefer or request to use a family member or friend as an interpreter. However, family members or friends of the LEP person will not be used as interpreters unless specifically requested by that individual and after the LEP person has understood that an offer of an interpreter at no charge to the person has been made by the facility; DES will not utilize minor children as interpreters unless it’s an emergency situation and no other option is available. Such an offer and the response will be documented in the person’s file. If the LEP person chooses to use a family member or friend as an interpreter, issues of competency of interpretation, confidentiality, privacy, and conflict of interest will be considered. If the family member or friend is not competent or appropriate for any of these reasons, competent interpreter services will be provided to the LEP person.
For More Information
Anyone who believes that he/she has been discriminated against because of race, color or national origin may file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity within 180 days of the date on which the discrimination took place.