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«Section I: Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policy Mississippi, DFCS Policy Section I 3-25-14 LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP) I. LIMITED ENGLISH ...»

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STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

DIVISION OF FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S SERVICES

Section I:

Limited English Proficiency

(LEP) Policy

Mississippi, DFCS Policy Section I

3-25-14

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________

I. LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP) OVERVIEW

II. DEFINITIONS

III. PROCEDURES

A. MDHS-DFCS Shall Provide All LEP Clients with any Language Assistance Needs....5 B. Identifying LEP Persons and Their Language

1. Documentation

2. “I Speak” Cards

C. Providing Notice to LEP Persons

D. Obtaining a Qualified Interpreter

E. Use of Family and Friends as Interpreters

F. Providing Written Translations

G. Timely, Competent Language Assistance

H. Language Assistance Standards

I. Monitoring Language Needs and Implementation

J. Complaint Procedures

K. Prohibition Against Retaliation and Intimidation

L. Notice of Non-Discrimination Policy

M. Monitoring

N. MDHS-DFCS Sub-Recipients and Contractors

O. MDHS-DFCS Internal Data Collection

IV. APPENDICES

Appendix A – I Speak Cards

Appendix B – Complaint Form (English)

Appendix C – Complaint Form (Spanish)

–  –  –

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________

The Mississippi Department of Human Services will hereinafter be known as “MDHS” and its Division of Family and Children’s Services hereinafter will be known as “DFCS”.

I. LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP) OVERVIEW

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d Prohibition against exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on grounds of race, color, or national origin.

No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity overseen by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) and receiving Federal financial assistance.

Mississippi Department of Human Services – Division of Family and Children’s Services (MDHS-DFCS) shall 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. The policy of MDHS-DFCS is to ensure meaningful communication with LEP clients and their authorized representatives while they are involved with MDHS-DFCS. The policy also provides for communication of information contained in vital documents, including but not limited to, waivers of rights, consent to treatment forms, financial and insurance benefit forms, etc. (documents applicable to our agency). All interpreters, translators and other aids needed to comply with this policy shall be provided without cost to the person being served, and clients and their families will be informed of the availability of such assistance free of charge.

Language assistance shall be provided through use of competent bilingual staff, staff interpreters, contracts or formal arrangements with local organizations providing interpretations or translation services, or technology and telephonic interpretation services. All staff shall be provided notice of this policy and procedure, and staff that may have direct contact with LEP individuals shall be trained in effective communication techniques, including the effective use of an interpreter.

MDHS-DFCS shall conduct a regular review of the language access needs of our client population, as well as update and monitor the implementation of this policy and these procedures, as necessary.

–  –  –

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________

II. DEFINITIONS

For the purpose of this policy, the terms listed below shall have the following meaning:

• Client is any person who inquires about or is eligible to receive services under any MDHS-DFCS foster care and adoption program or service.

• Bilingual/ Multilingual Staff is a MDHS-DFCS staff member who has demonstrated proficiency in English and at least one other language, and who can interpret accurately, impartially, and effectively to and from such language(s) and English using any specialized terminology necessary for effective communication, but whose main job responsibilities are other than interpretation. A MDHS-DFCS staff member who only has a rudimentary familiarity with a language other than English, or who has not demonstrated proficiency in that language and English, shall not be considered “Bilingual/Multilingual Staff” under this agreement.

• Volunteer is any individual that performs work or provides services on behalf of MDHS-DFCS without payment for their time or services.





• Contractor is any entity that provides services directly to applicants or participants on behalf of MDHS-DFCS under a contractual agreement, which includes monies allocated to MDHS-DFCS as Federal financial assistance from HHS.

• Frequently-Encountered Language is any language spoken by a significant number or percentage of the population eligible to be served to likely to be directly affected by MDHS-DFCS’s programs and services.

• Interpreter is a person who has demonstrated proficiency in both spoken English and at least one other language; and who can interpret accurately, impartially, and effectively to and from such language and English using any specialized terminology necessary for effective communication; and who understands interpreter ethics and client confidentiality needs. A person who has rudimentary familiarity with a language other than English, or who has not demonstrated proficiency in that language and English, is not to be considered an “interpreter” under this agreement.

• Language Assistance is oral and written language services needed to assist LEP individuals to communicate effectively with MDHS-DFCS staff and contractors to provide LEP individuals with meaningful access to, and an equal opportunity to participate fully in the services, activities, programs or other benefits administered by MDHS-DFCS.

• Limited-English Proficient (LEP) Individual is an individual who does not speak English as his or her primary language and who has limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English in a manner that permits him or her to communicate Mississippi, DFCS Policy Section I 3-25-14

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________

effectively with MDHS-DFCS and have meaningful access to and participate fully in the services, activities, programs, or other benefits administered by MDHS-DFCS.

• Participant is any person who receives services under any MDHS-DFCS foster care and adoption program.

• Primary Language is the language that an LEP individual identifies as the language that he or she uses to communicate effectively, and is the language that the individual prefers to use to communicate with MDHS-DFCS.

• Sub-recipient is an entity that receives Federal assistance which is received as a pass-through from MDHS-DFCS in order to carry out a federally-funded program for participants in the same manner if MDHS-DFCS if MDHS-DFCS were to administer the program directly, but does not include an individual applicant or participant who is a beneficiary of the program.

• Mississippi Automated Child Welfare Information System (MACWIS) is a case management system that allows caseworkers to document casework activities across all stages of service delivery.

• Vital Documents shall include, but are not limited to: Documents that must be provided by law; Notices of Privacy Practices; Consent and Release forms; Letters or notices for: visitation with children, Family Team meetings, Reasonable Efforts or Foster Care Review Conferences, referrals for services; Time-sensitive notices, including notices of court appearances, child neglect or abuse investigation and or litigation-related deadlines; Form or written material related to individual rights;

Notice of rights, requirements, or responsibilities; and Notices regarding the availability of free language assistance services for LEP individuals.

III. PROCEDURES A. MDHS-DFCS Shall Provide All LEP Clients with any Language Assistance Needs Pursuant to MDHS-DFCS policy, MDHS-DFCS is committed to providing competent language assistance at no cost and in a timely manner to LEP individuals to ensure meaningful access to and an equal opportunity to participate fully in the services, activities, programs or other benefits administered by MDHS-DFCS. This includes ensuring effective communication between MDHS-DFCS staff members, contractors, and/or sub recipients and LEP individuals.

MDHS-DFCS also recognizes that child welfare services are necessary for the protection of life and safety of children. To that end, MDHS-DFCS is committed to ensuring that

–  –  –

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________

children in mixed-status or immigrant households have equal and meaningful access to child welfare programs and services administered by MDHS-DFCS.

B. Identifying LEP Persons and Their Language MDHS-DFCS shall identify the language and communication needs of the LEP person.

Staff will use a language identification card and/or posters to determine the language. If the LEP person does not read or recognize any of the languages included in one of the methods described above, DFCS staff shall use a telephone interpreting service to identify the individual’s primary language then contact the MDHS-DFCS interpreter assigned to their specific region for further assistance.

If an LEP individual requests an interpreter, one shall be provided. Under no circumstances shall a staff member deny a request for an interpreter based solely on whether an LEP individual can answer short questions by nodding or through the use of questions to which the answers are simply “yes” or “no”. Regardless of the type of language assistance provided, the language assistance provider, bilingual/multilingual staff, contract/volunteer interpreter, language telephone interpreting service and/or community organization, shall be competent to interpret or translate.

1. Documentation

The primary language of each LEP individual shall be documented in MACWIS and in a conspicuous location in the individual’s record to alert staff that language assistance services must be provided. In addition, when records are kept of past interactions with clients or family members, the language used to communicate with the LEP person will be included as part of the record. Coordination between all MDHS-DFCS departments concerning language assistance needs will be handled through, but not limited to, telephone, email, or written communication.

2. “I Speak” Cards To serve as an aid to the LEP population, “I Speak” cards have been developed for Spanish and Vietnamese speaking clients and are available to all county offices and are also posted on the DFCS connection website. These cards may be used by clients to introduce themselves to county staff and indicate their need to have interpreter services. The cards provide the person’s name and a reference to Federal regulations regarding language assistance. As LEP clients are served in county offices, workers should provide the cards to these clients for future use when requesting services. See Appendix A.

–  –  –

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________

C. Providing Notice to LEP Persons MDHS-DFCS will inform LEP persons of the availability of language assistance, free of charge, by providing written notice in languages LEP persons will understand. At a minimum, notices and signs will be posted and provided in intake areas of all county offices and other points of entry. Notification will also be provided through one of the following: outreach documents, telephone voice mail menus, local newspapers, radio and television stations, and/or community-based organizations.

D. Obtaining a Qualified Interpreter

1. The DFCS Interpreter Supervisor and Staff shall ensure that each LEP individual receives competent oral and written language assistance services necessary to ensure meaningful access to all aspects of MDHS-DFCS foster care and adoption programs.

This includes emergency child protective encounters, in-home contacts, prevention services contacts, child visitation, and office visits. MDHS-DFCS may offer to schedule appointments for LEP individuals at specified times in order to minimize waiting times and to ensure the availability of appropriate qualified language interpreters, provided that the use of an appointment facilitates the provision of the language assistance and does not impede or delay the individual’s access to benefits and/or services provided by MDHS-DFCS.

2. The DFCS Language Assistance Coordinator shall continue to work with appropriate personnel at each level of the organization (i.e. division, county office, etc.) and coordinate language assistance services for their respective levels.

The DFCS Language Assistance Coordinator is responsible for the following, but

not limited to:

–  –  –

LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP)

______________________________________________________________________________



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