Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Rights and Responsibilities




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In order to ensure compliance with Title VI, DHS must take steps to ensure that LEP persons who apply for or receive Families First and our related programs have meaningful access to those programs.  The most important step in meeting this obligation is to provide the language assistance necessary to ensure such access, at no cost to the LEP person.


The type of language assistance provided depends on a variety of factors, including:


·        The size of the organization providing the service.

·        The size of the LEP population the organization serves.

·        The nature of the program or service.

·        The objectives of the program.

·        The total resources available to the organization providing the service.

·        The frequency with which particular languages are encountered.

·        The frequency with which LEP persons come into contact with the program.


The key to providing meaningful access for LEP persons is to ensure that the Department and the LEP person can communicate effectively.  The steps taken must ensure that the LEP person:


·        Is given adequate information.

·        Is able to understand the services and benefits available.

·        Is able to receive those benefits and services for which he/she is eligible.

·        Is able to effectively communicate the relevant circumstances of his/her situation to the Department.


In order to ensure that persons are not excluded from equal program participation due to limited English proficiency (LEP), the Department must provide trained and competent interpreters and other oral language assistance services to accommodate our LEP clients.  We may:


·        Hire bilingual staff.

·        Hire staff interpreters.

·        Use volunteer staff interpreters.

·        Use volunteer community interpreters.

·        Contract with an outside interpreter service.

·        Use a telephone interpreter service.


Friends and family members may be used as interpreters at the request of the LEP customer provided the use of such a person would not compromise the effectiveness of the services, violate confidentiality, and the client is first advised that a free interpreter is available.  The LEP customer’s declination of the offer of free interpreter services must be documented.  DHS must also suggest that a trained interpreter (in addition to the friend/family member) sit in during the interview to ensure reliable and correct interpretation of information.  Minor children cannot be used as interpreters.


Written materials that are routinely provided in English to applicants, recipients, and the public must be made available in regularly encountered languages other than English.  We must ensure that communication tools are provided to LEP customers.  The following is a list of the minimum requirements for written documents that should be in the language of the customer:


·        Any documents that have to be signed.

·        Documents that describe the eligibility requirements to participate in a program.

·        Notifications of changes in status.

·        Documents informing customers of rights.

·        Communications informing clients of meetings and reviews for the purpose of renewal.


OCR (Office for Civil Rights) will consider the Department to be in compliance with its Title VI obligation to provide written materials in non-English languages for:


·        LEP language groups that constitute 10 percent or 3,000 (whichever is smaller) of a service area, if the Department provides translated written materials, including vital documents, for each eligible person to be served or likely to be directly affected by the FF program.

·        LEP language groups that constitute 5 percent or 1,000 (whichever is smaller) of a service area, if the Department ensures that, at a minimum, vital documents are translated into the appropriate non-English languages for each eligible person to be served or likely to be directly affected by the FF program.

·        LEP language groups that constitute fewer than 100 persons in a service area if the Department does not translate written materials but provides written notice in the primary language of the LEP language group of the right to receive competent oral translation of written materials for each eligible person to be served or likely to be directly affected by the FF program.


The “service area” is defined as the county served by each DHS office.  The LEP population in each county would determine how individual offices apply the Title VI directives.



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