Hi everybody. I’m Jackie Strohm, employed
by PCAR and I will be your moderator for this webinar today. We are really excited to have
you all here to discuss developing an effective language access plan. You might notice that
there is some captioning going on in your screen. We just wanted to let folks know this
is there and there are different options you can have by changing the size of the captioning
and all of that. We also wanted to let folks know that there is a way to make the PowerPoint
full screen. So, if you hover over the top right-hand corner of the PowerPoint pod there
is an option where you can maximize the PowerPoint. And if you wanted to make it go back to the
way it looks right now, you’ll be able to hit the restore button. If you have any questions
as we go along, we encourage you to type into the chat box, because during this webinar
we’re not going to have folks be able to speak via the phone or audio but encourage questions
to come in through the chat box. At this point in time I will ask taunt onto.
Hi everyone. We are so excited to be joined by Lumarie who is a project manager at the
National Latino Network for Healthy Families and Communities. So Lumarie is an expert in
Latino youth development and advocacy community leadership and engagement language access
organizational development and implementation of culturally responsive intervention that
is target Latino communities. So, we are in good hands today and are excited for you all
to be hearing from Lumarie. So, at this point I’m going to turn it over to her and as we
said if you want to type any questions into the chat box, we’ll be able to answer them
either as we go through or towards the end of the webinar.
Good afternoon everyone. And welcome. Thank you, Jackie, for that wonderful introduction.
I greatly appreciate it. Thank you everyone for joining us this afternoon. We appreciate
it, you taking time to learn a little bit about language access planning. Just a few
things before I start, just wanted to say if you looked at the PowerPoint you will see
there are a lot of slides. I’ll be presenting quite a bit of information in a very short
amount of time. And as a result, I’ll be moving through these slides pretty quickly, however,
we wanted to make sure that you at least have as much written information on how to develop
or start thinking about developing a language access plan with you after this webinar is
over. And so, like Jackie mentioned, please do stop me if you have any questions, just
type them in the chat. Jackie will go ahead and keep an eye on those for me and kind of
prompt me ever so often to make sure I’m able to answer your questions in real time. Also,
given it is I am going to try to cover a lot of information, we’re also going to be hosting
a call next Monday. It will be a Q & A. Primarily to answer any additional questions that you
all might have about language access, and particularly how to get started on developing
the plan if you haven’t done so already. Also, if you do have a plan and you’re looking to
enhance it, you know, just being able to provide some training, some TA and being able to answer
those questions during that call next week. So, if for some reason I’m not able to answer
your questions during our webinar today, I’ll certainly do my best to at least provide answers
in written to Jackie and she can send those out to the group or if you’re able to join
us on the call next week we might be able to address them there as well. A couple of
things. Today I’m going to be providing an overview of a few things. First are the federal
requirements pertaining to the position of language access. Also, we’re going to be taking
a look at what it means to take reasonable steps to providing language access. And then
I’m going to take you through a really high-level overview of the information gathering process.
Really looking at the different components that you want to be thinking about the information
you want to be gathering in preparation for starting to draft your language access plan.
If I get a chance, I will also walk you through one of the tools, the tool kit we put together
and it’s a very comprehensive tool kit. It will help you either start a plan from scratch.
It will take you step by step through all the thinking, all the documentation that needs
to happen, it provides you a template of a language access plan and other resources.
And the same tool kit can be utilized in the event you have an existing plan already, it
will give you a process on how to enhance that existing plan. So, I encourage you to
visit the tool kit. I provided the link on the PowerPoint to its accessible to you all.
If you have questions pop them in the chat and we’ll go ahead and take those as they
come. So, to get started here, before we jump into developing a language access plan and
getting familiar with the why we need to have a language access plan, looking at the legal
requirements and the moral and ethical part of our work, around ensuring safety and ensuring
the safety and well being of the survivors that we work with. And get a feel for all
of you on the call, as far as where do you feel where do you feel your organization stands
when it comes to providing meaningful language access?
You know, is your organization one that has a plan already? You started having these conversations?
In the chat, if you could just type in your response to where does your organization stand.
Are you unsure? Which is perfectly fine. Or are you at least starting to have conversations
around it and the importance of language access. Are you working on a plan? Do you have a plan?
Are you looking to enhance a plan? Have you implemented a plan or looking to revisit it
to see what things need to change, et cetera? Okay. So right now, from the responses that
I’ve gotten so far it looks like a lot of you already have a plan and are looking to
enhance it. So, some I will share with you today.
[Inaudible]. Preparing yourself to develop a language access
plan but these same steps also perfect pain to those looking to enhance. Especially if
you haven’t had an opportunity to be an integral part of the team that actually puts your language
access plan together. So, it will be very helpful for you either way. So, thank you
for responding to that. I really appreciate it. So, let’s get started.
So, we will talk about who are individuals with limited English proficiency. So, individuals
with LEP, limited English proficiency are those individuals who do not speak English
as a primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand
English. We know many individuals with LEP are in the process of learning English and
may read, write, speak and understand some English but not proficiently. So, something
to understand and remember as we look at this, often times advocates working in the field
or in our organizations we might come across an individual with limited English proficiency.
Someone’s whose dominant language is not English. However, they might present themselves often
times makes us believe or feel that sometimes they might be able to understand the English
language. So, we need to be very careful in those situations. Right?
Something that we like to keep in mind as a best practice is that working with individuals
with limited English proficiency that it’s best to err on the side that also they might
acknowledge that they might understand what we’re saying to them but they acknowledge
that they understand the English language, we need to be very mindful that because they
might be saying that they understand doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re comprehending
exactly what we’re trying to communicate with them. So, it’s very important to remember
that we need to be able to ensure that we provide meaningful language access to these
individuals, whether it’s by way of an interpretation line or possibly an in person interpreter.
And we’ll talk a little bit more about that. Even if you have bilingual staff within an
organization, providing opportunities to an individual to be able to communicate in the
best way possible for them and also giving yourself opportunity to communicate in the
best way possible. So, it’s really important to remember that, that they do not speak English
as a primary language but have a limited ability to read, write and understand these critical
things we do. So, individuals with LEP. So recently the trend has been with the rise
of immigration and the shift in the U.S. and U.S. settlement patterns over the past 15
years we’re encountering many more communities all over the country who are facing.
[Inaudible]. Working with individuals with limited English
proficiency and not just in our field, but in the medical field, educational field, we’re
seeing this all across the board. When we take a scan of individuals across the country,
this is data that’s provided by the CDC in the U.S. census, the most recent one conducted.
What we’ve learned is that the U.S. census has identified 6 states with the highest number
of individuals with limited English proficiency. The state of California, state of Texas, New
York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, accounts for about 68 percent of the total limited
English population. And also, with what we’ve been able to learn from the census is the
majority of those individuals are Spanish speaking individuals. Which is very similar
to what the data shows in the state of Pennsylvania and I’ll be sharing that with you too in just
a second. And so, what you can see is is that the 21
percent of the population in the United States over the age of 5 years old speaks a language
other than English in the home. And what we also know is that the language spoken in the
home is a great indicator of who may qualify as individuals with limited English proficiency.
So, this is data that’s collected by the U.S. Census Bureau but locally it’s also collected
by your school based your School District. Your School Districts usually do a student
survey every couple of years and they collect this data and based on this data they’re able
to predict, you know, the number of students coming into their school systems well limited
English proficiency. It helps them develop a program they need to develop to support
those individual students. So, it’s very important to understand that this data is not only collected
on a national basis but also collected on a local level by your local School Districts.
So now we’re looking at languages in Pennsylvania. We can see the 11 million people in Pennsylvania,
over the age of 5 years old, 4 percent of those folks speak Spanish with 1 percent speaking
German and this includes Pennsylvania German. Also, half percent of the population speaks
Chinese and half Italian. And according to demographic data that I was able to locate
in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvanians are largely from Asia, so about 36 percent of the Pennsylvania
population is from Asia. 36 percent being from Europe and 31 percent from Latin America.
And the majority of Hispanics are of Puerto Rican dissent, having one of the largest and
fastest growing populations in the country. So why provide meaningful language access?
Why do we want to be able to do that? There are a couple different reasons. The first
reason being is it’s a legal requirement. Right? So, for any program that receives any
federal funding from the federal government, you are required to provide meaningful language
access. And we’ll talk a little bit about what meaningful language access means. Right?
Because that will look different for us serving organizations or it will look different for
a statewide coalition in terms of what is meaningful for your program in your community.
So, we’ll talk a little bit about that. But also, what we learn is.
[Inaudible]. Right thing to do. We all have a responsibility
in ensuring that access to critical services for survivors with limited English proficiency One of the ways in which we can assure or
ensure access to critical services is by making sure that we each have a documented language
access plan that clearly outlines the steps that all organizations need to take to ensure
meaningful access. For many of the organizations we’re providing that by way of practices that
we employ within our organizations. You know, what do you do when someone with limited English
proficiency calls your hot line? What do you do when you have someone who comes to the
shelter with limited English proficiency. For many of us we have practices in place.
What we’re trying to do of developing a language access plan is we’re trying to put those practices
into a formal written document, into a plan. And that plan will not only guide us in our
provision of language access, but it also provides information to those who come to
us wanting to know what kind of services we provide. It also provides opportunities for
us to outline who will be responsible for what in terms of language access provision.
It will also highlight for example how we would train our staff in doing some of this
work. And, you know, it’s organizations who are really dedicated to supporting survivors,
you know, we’re all committed to ensuring the safety and healing and those harmed by
violence and as such it’s important we invest in being proactive and by having a language
access plan, we’re able to ensure that survivors are able to access our services in meaningful
and equitable ways. It’s important for us to recognize that how the lack of a proactive
plan for meaningful language access individuals with limited English proficiency can undermine
meaningful access to those services and ultimately compromise their safety and the options that
may be available to them in seeking safety and support. You know, meaningful language
access clearly enhances safety if you consider that without it, individuals cannot interact
fluently with advocates or providers in other systems. So, what I wanted to share with you
right here is an example of why it’s important for us to provide meaningful language access,
it’s the story of this young woman here daisy Garcia. She’s actually been a victim of homicide.
But Daisy was a victim of domestic violence in the Bronx New York. She made multiple reports
to the NYPD about what she encountered and dealing with in terms of being a victim of
domestic violence. She had filed multiple reports with the NYPD. All these reports were
taken in Spanish. The challenge here is that the NYPD did not follow through and had these
reports taken in Spanish translated into English. Which meant that there was not advocate follow
up with Daisy and her case on those separate occasions when she came in to file the police
reports indicating she was fearful for her life, she was fearful for the life of her
daughters, her husband at that point had made multiple threats to her and to hurt her daughters.
And at the end of the day what happened is was her husband ended up killing Daisy and
both of her daughters. It didn’t come to light that she had filed police reports to her family
after she had passed, her family had been cleaning up her apartment and gathering they
things and came across the 3 police reports that had been filed in Spanish. As a result,
a lawsuit was brought up against the NYPD by a local Latino serving organization in
New York, demonstrating a lack of language access. Of course, at one of the nation’s
largest law enforcement agencies. Recently I want to say last year, this organization
actually won the lawsuit against the NYPD in terms of their inability to provide meaningful
language access to Daisy in this situation. And how had the NYPD had a language access
plan in place and the necessary protocols in place on what to do when a report is taken
in Spanish, a foreign language, how those reports are translated, how that information
is shared and followed up on. And so, it really has brought to the forefront the importance
of ensuring that we all in this field whether you’re DV service provider, a law enforcement
agency, you know, prosecutor’s office, any service that receives money from the federal
government has that responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. I think at
the end of the day this is why we provide meaningful language access. Right? It’s not
just another thing to add to the list of the myriad of things we have to do every day.
It really is about ensuring the safety and well being and livelihood of survivors with
limited English proficiency who come to us seeking services. It’s really ensuring that
we’re able to provide access to those in a way where there’s parity and equitable access
to services. So, we talked a little bit about this being a legal requirement. And it is.
As outlined by title 6 of the civil rights act, any organization like I said that receives
federal funding either directly or indirectly. So, if you receive OV or OVC grantee requirements,
you are required to provide language access. If you happen to receive moneys from your
state administrator or through your coalition who has received money from the federal government,
you are still responsible for ensuring that you provide meaningful language access. If
your organization let’s say I work with a lot of organizations that are for example
social service organizations that have a DV program. And the only federal funding that
they receive is specifically for that DV program. That organization is still responsible for
ensuring that they provide meaningful language access. And that meaningful language access
isn’t just limited to that DV program that’s funded by the federal government, but it actually
extends to the entire organization. So, the entire organization by way of accepting those
federal funds for that particular program also is responsible for ensuring that everyone
that comes to that particular organization has meaningful language access, not just the
DV service program. All organizations are obligated to take reasonable steps to ensure
individuals with limited English proficiency have meaningful access. Under the civil rights
act, the civil right acts actually talks about that no person in the U.S. shall be excluded
from participation in, be denied benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under
any program or activity receiving federal funding. And so, you know, often times people
ask how does the civil rights act actually relate to this language access provision and
the provision of meaningful language access. It’s because the language access component
falls under the category of national origin. So, based your national origin and the language
that you speak, you can’t be discriminated against. You can’t be excluded from participating
in any program for example, let’s say you have a support group for English speaking
survivors. You cannot exclude a non English speaking survivor from attending that group.
It’s your responsibility to ensure that person has equitable and has equitable access to
those services, meaning that it’s your responsibility to ensure that that survivor has access to
that service. And that might mean, you know, having to find an in person interpreter to
be available during that group. That might mean maybe working with an interpretation
line to be available on the phone during that group session. It’s trying to figure out what
is meaningful for your organization. Like what is the thing that you are able to do
that are not going to put the organization under any significant stress or duress or
anything like that. Again, just talking a little more about the requirements for those
organizations who receive federal funding. Then we talk about, you know, it’s just the
right thing for us to do. At the end of the day, because our work really is about making
sure that survivors have access to services, we’re responsible for their safety, healing
and ensuring they have access to justice. Right?
And it’s also the ethical thing to do. Agencies and organizations who haven’t had a chance
to develop a language access plan often find themselves operating from this place of operating.
[Inaudible]. When it comes to providing language access.
And that’s basically meaning we’re responding to the needs of individuals with limited English
proficiency when they come to us. Like on the spot. Sometimes we just have to do that.
By the nature of the work that we do. But it’s also very critical for us to be able
to be able to prepare for those instances. So, we’re not putting a new advocate in a
situation where they’re not able to handle or used to handle interactions with the survivor
with limited English proficiency. What we hope to do by sharing this information with
you all today is really help agencies and organizations to be proactive, by having an
effective language access plan in place prior to engaging with individuals with limited
English proficiency. And although we know that advocates have been have often been thought
to be resourceful and creative and we find creative ways to communicate with individuals
with limited English proficiency that relying on patchwork of ad hoc kind of communication
methods, um, is guaranteed to at some point either make the advocates feel ineffective
or frustrated and often makes victims feel frustrated, isolated, confused. Which it’s
not supported overall. So, it’s critical to acknowledge that, you know, our lack of a
proactive plan for meeting the language access needs of individuals with limited English
proficiency can significantly undermine meaningful access to services and support and really
compromise safety of victims. And those options that are available to them. Also, you know,
an improved services and enhances outcomes. And what we learned is we’ve done research,
oh my gosh about 3 or 4 years ago on the national hot line and we surveyed Latinos or Spanish
speaking individuals who called and asked a myriad of questions around their safety,
how they felt when talking to someone who spoke their own language. Did they have a
preference to interact with someone who understood exactly what they were saying and did they
feel comfortable communicating with those individuals. And what we learned was that
research shows the survivors with limited English proficiency were more likely to seek
out services if the services were provided in their language. Right? And what this means
is what’s meaningful for some organizations might be, you know, something as simple as
hire a bilingual advocate or contracting either on their own or through the state coalition
to have access in that way. It doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to have staff members
that speak Spanish or who are bilingual or bicultural but it’s able to be able to figure
out how to ensure that we’re able to provide a certain level of comfort for those victims
and survivors and also being able to start to develop those trusting relationships to
ensure that we’re able to provide the best services that we’re able to provide to those
individuals. And safety, if you consider that, without
it the survivor cannot interact fluently with the advocate and other service providers and
systems. That’s why it’s a best practice to be able to figure out how to provide the best
meaningful language access. Again, either by in your own organization, by hiring bilingual
staff or by having access to that interpretation line. In a court, it’s more around ensuring
that advocates are able to advocate and hold the court responsible for providing meaningful
language access. Courts are systems that receive federal funding just like law enforcement
agencies. They all receive some sort of federal funding. So really it is about building capacity
of our advocates to be able to hold those systems accountable when it comes to providing
meaningful language access. Often times we hear from advocates that we went to court
and the court says they don’t have an interpreter for the survivor or the survivor has to bring
her own interpreter. And that’s not the case. If we’re able to advocate in a way that’s
effective we will be able to hold those services accountable for those we’re seeking services
for. So, before I jump into developing a language access plan, are there any questions for now?
Does anybody have any questions on the information I provided thus far?
Okay. I’ll move right along. So, language access plan. So, language access plan is a
strategy to assess, identify and manage to a system to ensure individuals with limited
English proficiency are able to fully access services and experience them as any other
individual would. So, it’s really about, again, providing equitable access to services to
ensure that there’s parity in services, to ensure survivors with limited English proficiency
is are experiencing the services you offer in the same way as English-speaking individuals
who seek your services. So, it really is about providing a general overview of the components
that are needed to develop an effective language access policy. And so, I will talk a little
bit about documenting your current language access practices and turning those into a
formal plan. So, this overview that I’m going to share with you now really does provide
a practical and easy to follow approach to help make language access planning less intimidating.
Because given the number of steps it takes it can sometimes be intimidating for individuals.
What I’m showing here is a quick overview of what the process looks like. I’m actually
going to go ahead and break it down a little bit more for you. So, before you even begin
to kind of do this work, whether it’s developing or revising a written language access plan,
it’s most efficient and that’s what I found as I was doing this work about 4 or 5 years
ago when we started developing our own language access plan. I was actually tasked with putting
together the languages access plan. I thought I got this. I can go ahead and knock it out
in a couple of weeks and I’ll be good to go. And as I started kind of developing the plan
and thinking things through, it kind of hit me that this is work that can’t be done by
just one person. So, for us what we’ve identified as a best practice is really identifying 4
6 staff members to be actively engaged in the process of developing the organizational
plan. And you want to be able to do that because it’s critical that we get organizational buy
in. It’s also to ensure the diversity of the group by identifying staff across the office
with varying areas of skills and expertise. For example, whether we were putting our plan
together it was pretty clear to me that folks who needed to be involved in this team had
to be folks who worked across different business sections of the organization.
So, I was fortunate enough to be able to recruit staff from our family advocacy program who
are advocates. We included staff from our national team, we do national work. We reached
out to receptionists, they’re the first person that comes in contact with anyone who has
limited English proficiency whether it’s through a phone call or someone who might walk into
the office. We also recruited our Director of sign. At the end of the day we need to
figure out how you’re going to pay for language access and how we’re going to sustain it going
forward. So, it’s really important that this work group that you bring together has a deep
insight and access across staff. So, consider everyone at your organization and kind of
bring them together. Think about who needs to be at the table, think about who will be
the individuals who will lead the initiative. And think about the responsibilities of each
of the staff on your team. And also consider that your work group or your team needs to
identify a lead. So, the lead will be the person responsible for driving this process.
To ensure the progress of the work group, to be able to communicate with all of staff,
coordinate the developing of the written plan. Also, if the work group has completed assignments
and work sheets, that they provide analysis, someone who is going to oversee the entire
process and with the help of the team develop a time line for the development of this plan,
figure out who will be responsible for training. So, I added this slide here just to give you
some additional insight on some additional things to think about once you bring your
group together. Something that we did is that once I was able to identify who the group
of folks was that I needed to have at the table, we took the time to focus on these
6 questions. And we kind of made these 6 questions the foundation for the development of our
language access plan. One of the benefits to increase language access for the organization
and the service areas or the community that you serve. How important are the services
we provide to the lives of people who seek our services? What are the costs of not having
language access? Is it going to cost us more money? Are we going to have more people seeking
our services? So, these are here to help you think through those things a little bit more.
And additional added information. Who is in charge? Who are you serving? Who pays for
language access? So just that we’re clear on this, given the fact that the federal requirements
that anyone who receives federal funding is required to provide language access , what
we often hear from folks is that well I don’t have money in my budget. Well, by the pure
nature of the federal government giving you money to fund your program, the federal government
expects, right, that you will utilize some of those moneys for developing your language
access plan, for the implementation of your plan, for any costs associated with interpretation
line, any cost associated with in person interpreters, any cost associated with translation of documents.
So, it really is about working with your finance folks to figure out how you make that happen.
You know, where in your budget are you going to have to make some changes? Where do you
have some flexibility to ensure that you’re able to set aside X number of dollars to be
able to support your language access initiatives? So, the next step we were thinking about developing
a language access plan and just remember what I’m sharing with you here is the components
to information gathering. This is all the information that you’re going to want in front
of must once you get ready to start developing your language access plan. You want to identify
the number or proportion of limited English proficient individuals. You want to identify
who are the people in your community, in the community you serve. And so, you can actually
identify those folks by a number of different resources or accessing a number of different
resources. The U.S. Census Bureau has tons of data. The only thing is it’s tons of data.
Right? So, it’s hard sometimes to decipher for your particular regional area or for your
particular community. In that case, what I was suggest is, you know, actually looking
at local government data, looking at local School District data and also your local hospitals.
The majority of local hospitals in county-based governments actually have a language access
plan and many of them have those posted on the website. So, for example, if you were
to do a search on languages spoken in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania you can find it in the local
School Districts and hospitals and the local hospitals actually identify what are the top
4 5 languages spoken in that particular area. So, it will help inform some of the information
that you’ll be gathering and helping you to identify who are the folks in your community
that you need to be that you’re providing services to.
Also, you can identify languages spoken by those who seek your services. So really looking
at the demographic data that you collect for reporting purposes for your funders. And so,
looking at, you know, who you served in the past 2 years for example, will give you an
idea of who are the folks seeking your services and may help you to identify what languages
they speak. Now they might not necessarily tell you what languages these individuals
speak if you’re not asking that question in intakes or if you’re not documenting that
information by way of conversations you’ve had with individuals. But at least it will
give you an idea of geographical areas folks come from which helps you think about what
languages you might potentially be providing services for in your shelter or in your program
within the past couple of years. So again, those are your program demographic data, pull
numbers from the hotline, shelter, support groups, any outreach materials you might have
translated, how many of those you’re distributing a year and that will give you some idea of
who you might be providing services to already. And then again this is just an extra slide
with some additional information for you to think about. Looking at who is your limited
English proficient population, how does your organization serve limited English proficient
individuals already? What trainings do you have in place for staff in terms of providing
services to populations with limited English proficiency? What are your current policies
and procedures? So just again something to think about so you have it when you’re walking
through this process. The next step, step 3 really is about looking at your current
language access practices. Like I mentioned earlier, even though we might not have it
in a plan often times many of us do have language access practices in place.
So, really it is about having conversations with your staff around when you encounter
an individual with limited English proficiency, how do you provide services? What are you
currently doing? Do you currently have access to a telephonic network? Kind of look thanking
at those things. Looking at how you’re currently progress services with individuals with limited
English proficiency and if you use it, where is the number housed? Who has access to the
800 number? Has your staff been trained on the telephonic interpretation line? Specifically,
those staff members who may never encounter an individual with limited English proficiency.
But we never know that’s going to happen or not. I know that often times when we are writing
our plan it would come up that what are the odds that our HR manager is going to have
to provide services to someone who is limited English proficient? We kept going back to
well she works in the office. Right? She can be walking out of the front door and an individual
can be walking in. So, our expectation as an organization was that the HR manager would
figure out how to communicate with that individual. At least know what it is they’re supposed
to do. Right? And that can be something as easy as bringing the individual in, introducing
them the best you can to the receptionist, the receptionist being able to talk to them
themselves, either locating a staff member who might be able to speak to them or jumping
on the line and calling the telephonic interpretation line to figure out what it is that’s going
O we ran into this a lot. The building we’re housed in in St. Paul has a multitude of social
service agencies within the building and often times we would run into or we would have individuals
come into our office from the Somalia community. Not necessarily looking for DV services but
just looking for other social service agencies within the building. And so, part of our language
access plan included, we were located right across an office for personal injury lawyer
and he had staff who spoke Somalian. So, we had some conversations with him about, hey,
this is what we do. You know, often times we get members of the Somalian community who
come to our office seeking services but we’re not sure how to support them. So, we want
to make sure that, you know, if someone comes into our office, if we might be able to walk
them over to your office or come over and have your staff come over and kind of interpret
and help us kind of identify what services need to be provided for that individual. And
that was a meaningful step that we took, because what we knew was that a lot of the folks coming
into our office were not necessarily looking for DV services. So, we wanted to ensure to
be able to provide them with access to whatever services they were seeking but also being
mindful that knowing that we also had very limited resources available to us and so that
we couldn’t be using our telephonic interpretation line for every individual that came into the
office. So, we would work it in that way. If we weren’t able to communicate with them
or no one available we made that call to the telephonic interpretation service but it’s
thinking about what is meaningful for you in your organization given the financial resource
that is you have available to you. And so here is some additional steps you can take
in trying to identify your current language access practices. Some more information about
things for you to think about as you’re going through this process. Again, it’s just here
for your reference to help jog your thinking a little bit and kind of help you come up
with some additional information. Planning for meaningful access. Services you provide
are critical to the individual’s safety and emotional safety. You must take reasonable
steps to ensure individuals with LEP has meaningful access to your services. So, then we talk
about what does it mean to provide meaningful access. At the end of the day, meaningful
access is really about thinking about what is feasible for your organization. What is
it that you can do to ensure meaningful language access?
It really is about looking at your current language access practices like I mentioned
before and identifying what you’re currently doing and how well you’re doing it and really
looking at what can we do better and how can we do it better. But it’s also the opportunity
to identify what additional reasonable steps you as an organization can take in providing
meaningful language access, whether it’s identifying what materials need to be translated. Likely
you’ll conduct an assessment like in step 3 looking at the community you serve and who
come into your services and really identifying which are the vital documents that I need
to have translated into a different language. Since, you know, a lot of the folks in the
state of Pennsylvania most likely you might be running across might be Spanish speaking
folks. You know, it might be worth considering what are those vital documents that we need
to translate into Spanish. Is it the family left the services you provide, your in take
form if you have somebody fill in their own in take form? Is it the order for protection
process? Right? And does your court have the request for one in Spanish? Was it only provided
in English? So really thinking as an organization what are those documents that need to be looked
at in terms of making them more accessible to folks who come to seek your services. Also
looking at again hiring bicultural bilingual advocates is a considerable reasonable step.
Hiring interpreters is considered reasonable. You know, if you have the funding that allows
for you to do that. For some organizations given the current financial situation and
what is allotted they might not be able the language access. You might not be able to
hire in person interpreters. So, thinking about are you able to contract with the language
line. If you’re not able to do that, then it’s maybe looking at what other organizations
within the state might already contract with the language access line. Like for example,
in St. Paul, we don’t have our own interpreter telephonic interpretation line. It’s costly.
We’re a small group but we’re fortunate enough through our state coalition, the coalition
works with a program called Day One and they provide services, support services to member
programs across the state. And so, they they’re the ones who have the telephonic interpretation
line, the contract with them and we actually subcontract with Day One. So basically, they
have provided us with an 800 number to be able to have the telephonic line. We use that
as needed. So initially we only used that line for in takes and crisis intervention
situations. After we did our language access plan or as we were doing our language access
plan we also decided that that line was also to be used for daily communication with anybody
in our shelter who may be limited English proficient. And so, we were able to then utilize
that line where Day One would bill us on a monthly basis for the times for the total
number of minutes that we used from that interpretation line. And I will move here fairly quickly
because I just realized that I don’t have much time left. And so, also again talking
about what is reasonable, it’s depending on the demographic assessment of your agency.
So, looking at who is in your community, figuring out who you are serving. Again, it looks reasonable
for every single organization. The level of language access that an organization must
provide really depends on the demographic assessment and the most commonly encountered
languages. And what we’re looking at, taking this floor to ceiling approach, really is
about looking at what can I provide right now? What is the floor? What is the minimal
that I can do and yet provide meaningful language access? And then over time, work our way up
to providing the ceiling. Right? But most optimal language access, meaningful language
access that we can provide. So, it really is about looking at what can you do right
now. It’s what you can do right now as an organization, if it’s to hire a bilingual
staff member and that bilingual staff member will support the work of any individuals in
the limited English proficiency provided they speak that language, then that’s your meaningful
access. If you can’t hire a bilingual staff member because you’re working in a rural area
or smaller program and you have access to contracting through someone else or working
with someone else through their telephonic interpretation line then that’s your meaningful
access. Meaningful access can be something as simple as ensuring that you have, you know,
bilingual posters posted in your office, that people know that you’re willing to provide
language access and also helping people understand when you say to them I suggest that you have
an interpreter work with you, then it really is about taking a step further and saying
these services are free of charge to you because our language access services are free of charge.
It’s very clear to help people understand that because what we’ve often seen is folks
will refuse to have an interpreter because they’re making the assumption that they’re
somehow going to be financially responsible for securing that interpreter to provide services.
Because we’ve seen that happen often times as well. And again, more information on taking
reasonable steps. Allocating and building resources. Again, really thinking through
with your finance folks how much moneys do we have available to provide language access
with. You know, I’ve seen organizations set aside a thousand dollars for the fiscal year
and being able to work with that. You know, we have set moneys aside in our language in
our budgets for language access and over the course of the year we may not even touch those
moneys. Right? Only because we’re a Latino serving organization, primarily our staff
are all bilingual. The sometimes where we’ve had to reach out to hire interpreters has
been a situation where first come first serve shelter meaning we provide services to anyone
who comes to our shelter. And so, we’ve had women from the Mung community come to our
shelter and Somalian community come to our shelter and often times what we do is we’ve
been able to communicate with them through the telephonic interpretation line but we
also do something that’s called co advocacy. And co advocacy is when we have formal agreements
with other DV service providers within our service area, the Twin Cities and out skirts
of St. Paul and we work together with those organizations to provide co advocacy. So,
in the situation where we had a survivor at a shelter we used the telephonic interpretation
while she was there. We did the in take and provided crisis intervention and to communicate
with her throughout the day. We had a cell phone, we would go to her room and call and
the telephonic interpretation line and ask how she was doing and making sure she was
okay. In the meantime, we work with the mung American partnership which is an oranges that
works with that community and we work with that advocate. So, we share what we have noticed
and what we’ve been talking to the survivor about and how she’s been doing in shelter.
So, we did that work in partnership and we do that quite a bit. And that’s all in kind.
There’s no exchange of moneys in those situations. Because it’s something that we do for each
other. A lot of the non culturally specific organizations in the cities reach out to them
often times to provide that service when they have Spanish speaking survivors staying in
their shelters or who come to their program and they might not have bilingual advocates
to help support them. So, they’ll also work with the interpretation line and interpreters
and we also provide co advocacy for that individual in the shelter. So it’s also not only figuring
out what moneys can be set aside, but looking at creative ways of being able to provide
some of those services and being able to figure out what those resources might look like whether
it’s writing them into your RFP as you’re seeking funding, making sure you include that
in your budget line as part of moneys you would need to do, you know, to provide effective
advocacy for your constituency. Looking at, you know, opportunities for funding, developing
concrete short term or long-term goals in terms of what this looks like going forward.
You know, are you going to translate documents every year? Are you going to budget to translate
documents every 3 years depending on the need, depending on what you have identified in the
shift, in terms of who are folks coming to your programs? You know, has your community
changed in any way that’s going to impact what materials need to be translated? Kind
of looking at those individual factors. And so, once you gathered all this information,
that’s when you’ll start looking at formalizing the plan. So, formalizing your plan, I highly
suggest that you visit language access plan.org. It’s where our LEP tool kit is housed and
again it will take you step by step. You can pick from how to start a language access plan,
you can go to enhance a language access plan and it will take you through a very detailed
process on how to take all this information that you’ve gathered and synthesize it and
include it in this language access policy. So, when you formalize the planets really
about looking at articulating what you’re trying to accomplish, describing how meaningful
access supports are connected to your organization’s mission, articulating your reasons for establishing
this policy, developing a concrete policy and procedures and instruct guide and staff.
So, you do this for the A, federal requirement and many other reasons you might want to do
this. But it’s also looking at this as the template and the guide to ensure that your
staff is able to provide language access in the most effective way. So, once this plan
is created, you’re able to train your staff and build their capacity on not only understanding
language access and what it means but also on how they are to provide language access
given the situation. Let’s see what else? Also working with interpreters
is one you will be able to identify. What does that process look like? So, do you have
a process for first contact, your first step is to identify a staff member who might be
able to take that call or support that individual and if that’s not available what’s your step
2 then, to contact the telephonic interpretation line. If that’s not available, what is your
step 3? So, going to a pool of interpreters you’ve already spoken to. So, something that
you want to do as you’re developing this plan I lost my PowerPoint there. I’m not sure what
happened. There we go, thank you very much. Also, so thinking about assessing an interpreter’s
skills. What I was able to do is I called random interpretation services and I came
up with a list of questions of interview questions. And basically, asking for cost, what’s your
turn around time. You know, if I call you today, how soon can you have an interpreter
out to my office? I talked about if we were if we were to contract with you, are you willing
for us to train your staff on DV and SA and maybe on some vicarious trauma? Also, trauma
formed procedures. So usually you’re not used to DV or SA. So, we don’t want to cause harm
to those utilizing our services. So, it’s important when thinking about reaching out
to interpreters to identify who you might be able to contract with for you to really
be able to think through the list of questions that you want to ask. It’s pretty much like
an interview. Right? I found often times interpreter services, knowing we’re nonprofit and knowing
we provide DV services, often times would say, you know, we’ll do an agree to work with
you all but we won’t call it a contract. Right? Because often times with a contract, you have
to pay for a certain amount of hours or the expectation is you contract for 3 hours at
a time when we might need 15 minutes to an hour. So really thinking those things through
and as you go through the process if you have questions you can certainly reach out to me,
send me an email. My email is at the end of this PowerPoint. There’s a team of us of 3
or 4 that work around language access doing this work. So, we would be more than happy
to walk you through that process, help identify or answer or address any questions you might
have, all that good stuff. Planning for implementation. So, once you gathered all this great information
and want to start putting it into your plan I will refer to the language access tool plan.
It doesn’t need to be super fancy, your language access plan can be anywhere from 6 7 pages.
It’s just a plan to outline why you’re doing this, how it ties into your organizational
mission, the steps you will take in providing language access. What we did was two language
access plans. So, we did a public facing language access plan which is maybe 10, about 10 pages
or so and our internal language access plan, which is about 30 pages. And what we did,
since we have so many different components in our organization, we have our family advocacy,
we have our community engagement work, we have our administrative office, we have our
training and technical assistance work, we have our research work, so what we did is
each manager or Director in charge for those work areas then developed a protocol on how
they would handle providing language access within their sphere of work. For example,
community engagement work. If we had a community engagement team through a local firm and someone
with limited English proficiency came to them to seek services, you know, how would we communicate
with them at that point? You know, given we all have the 800 number, so we thought of
a couple of things. They felt that if it’s a community health fair for example we would
go to one of the other tables to see if someone can help interpret for us at that moment.
If that wasn’t possible, because like for example in Minneapolis the community is very
small and so we wouldn’t want to risk confidentiality by going to another community member to interpret.
We would just pull out our cell phones and call the telephonic interpretation line. So,
we provided that to come up with their own protocols for their own work area on how they
handle working with individuals with limited English proficiency. And so, when we were
talking about implementing the plan you want to look at who is responsible for what. Who
is going to provide the initial training to staff? Or, are you just going to train your
leadership and then your leadership be responsible for training their staff? You know, what do
you do with new hires? Who is responsible for training them on the language access plan?
Is it your HR person or is it during the on boarding process if you have someone designated
specifically to do language access work, will they then be responsible for training those
folks on your language access plan and protocols and policies? Will you be including that language
access plan in your new hire manual? How will you distribute that language access plan?
Is it via email or housed on a server somewhere that someone has access to? When you for example
enhance your plan, how are you going to communicate those changes to your staff? So, thinking
about those and what they look like. And those are steps that you want to include in your
language access plan under a heading called training of staff or something like that.
You know, how are you going to implement this plan? Who is going to be responsible for what?
How are you going to ensure everyone is trained properly on your protocols? We talked about
training of staff. What is it you’re going to train staff on? You want to train staff
on the federal requirements and why we have to do this. You want to train on it’s the
right thing to do because we’re in the business of saving lives. You want to talk about how
we go about identifying an interpreter. Right? How do we go about identifying is the telephonic,
if we have that gut feeling they’re not doing a good job, that they’re not communicating
what we’re communicating based on the survivor’s body language or the look on her face or,
you know, whatever? If for example if the survivor is saying 5 7 words to the interpreter
and what you get back is a huge story, it’s kind of a red flag. Where did all the other
stuff come from? So, kind of helping your staff identifying what it looks like to work
with a telephonic interpretation line and maybe setting guidelines in terms of not using
family members as interpreters, not using children as interpreters, not using others
as interpreters because confidentiality issues but also, we want to ensure that the safety
and well-being of those individuals as well and thinking about advocates as interpreters.
You know, within the context of your work in community or in shelter, if that’s what’s
reasonable for you, then fine. Then let that be what you do. But also, be very clear with
advocates that they’re an advocate first. Their job is to advocate for survivors. You
don’t want them to be in a position of being an interpreter for the courts because then
they won’t be able to advocate be effectively advocate for the survivor they were sent there
to serve. It would be best and I think on the LEP tool kit on our national page for
the national Latino network page if you scroll to the bottom you will see we have multiple
tool kits. One of the LEP tool kits which I think the link has been provided to you
and the other one is a tool kit that is developed to build capacity of advocates and their comfort
level with advocating within the courts to ensure that survivors with limited English
proficiency have access to those services and to be able to hold the courts accountable
for providing language access, so that advocates don’t find themselves in a situation where
they’ll have to serve as an advocate and interpreter in the court. Again, just some additional
questions for you to think through as you’re collecting data, as you’re gathering additional
information to help facilitation of putting together your language access plan. Another
component of the language access plan really is about identifying how are you going to
let folks know you provide language access. You know, is it just on your materials? Will
you have a poster in your office that says we provide free interpretation services? You
know, um, is it training your staff to communicate that, you know, this survivor, they do health
fairs and different meetings across town and represent an organization. So, it really is
coming up with a plan on how you’re going to let folks know you’re providing this service.
And just know that when you let folks know you’re providing the service, folks are going
to come. So, you’ll need to be prepared to provide language access. So that’s why it’s
critical to really look at and invest some time in identifying what languages are spoken
in your service area and really looking at a look at the demographic information of folks
you’ve provides service to in the past and trying to figure out what’s reasonable for
you. If you provide services, language access services in Spanish because that’s the largest
population in your community, but who are the second and third populations in your community?
And why are they not coming to you? They might not be coming because you’re not providing
services A, and they don’t know you’re providing services. So how do you connect to those communities
to let them know, hey, we’re here and we can provide services to you in your language should
you need them. So that’s very important to consider as well.
So, here’s some ideas on how you might be able to go about reaching out to the community
and kind of sharing with them that you’re able to provide language access services.
Just some additional questions for you to reflect on and think about as you’re working
your way through this piece of the plan. And then monitoring and compliance. So, for those
of you that already have a language access plan and looking to enhance, a critical piece
and this goes for I guess both sides of those development plans for the first time and those
that have a plan they’re looking to enhance. It’s really about establishing a process for
revisiting your language access plan. Whether that’s an annual review or a review every
2 years. But really looking at, you know, how have the demographics changed. Doing another
community assessment, another community demographic assessment, to see if there’s been any shift
in the communities that you serve. Has there been a new refugee community that moved in
or emerging community you might not have noticed in your prior? You know, have conversations
with your staff about how has your plan affected services. Has it affected services? Has there
been an increase in services being sought by members of communities with limited English
proficiency? You know, how would you address unexpected languages? We do see a lot of organizations
who are dealing with communities that speak languages of lesser diffusion. Within the
Latino community we have a lot of indigenous communities. And they speak indigenous languages.
Right? And what we learned is often times we are not able to find interpreters for the
indigenous community. Right? So, in those situations what do we do? Right? I mean we
try our hardest to reach out to our network of folks across the community who work with
interpreters, who, you know, who work with different populations to kind of help identify
if one of their staff members can help us with a quick call or if they know of any interpreters
within their regional area that might be able to help. So really thinking about those things.
You know, thinking about what you need to change or adopt for the next year. And once
you make those changes, it really is about training your staff on it, letting them know,
you know, this is what the we accessed, here is what we learned, here is what we’re going
to do different. You know, and kind of provide training and capacity building opportunity
around that. Then we talk about putting it altogether.
And so here is a link and I will go to this really quick. Can y’ all see this? Jackie
can you tell me if I see this if I go to the link or not?
>>It looks like it’s showing putting it altogether. It doesn’t look like it opened up a link.
>>No problem. Okay, okay. I apologize for that then. Let me go back here. Okay. So,
on this link right here, this is the link to our language access tool kit, LEP tool
kit and as you can see right here it shows start a new plan. So, for those of you who
are going to undertake this journey for the very first time, do not fret. There is hope.
Start by clicking on start a new plan. It will take you to a landing page that will
take you step by step by step, all the things you need to consider by putting a team together
and it walks you through the entire process. So, you basically just read along, click on
the different links, they’ll take you to additional information, it will take you to example language,
it will take you to the sample LEP template and by the way the sample LEP template I believe
is from the state coalition. I believe everybody has used that template. So, if you use it
you are in a great group because I use that template for my plan. So, you don’t have to
reinvent the wheel from scratch. There are plenty of templates, LEP.gov is a great resource
you might be able to use as well. You can click here and it takes you to a landing page
that talks about enhancing the language access plan and it will take you through all the
individual steps you need to think about that will help you in your planning, that will
help you in thinking through steps you need to take place next and just in general it’s
a great resource to provide examples of language plans, language access plan. Some of the things
you need to think about. You’ll find this information on the LEP template within that
tool kit. And basically, you know, the first step is just the general policy statement.
So, as an organization, what is your organizational policy regarding serving individuals with
LEP? Like why are you doing this? How does this policy connect to your mission? Why are
you establishing this policy? And then establishing measures, figuring out how you will let folks
you’re providing these services. This is just a sample. I pulled this straight out of the
LEP tool kit template. Staff compliance, compliance for improvement. There’s even a section on
definitions. So, within the language access plan, you’ll want to define certain key terms.
You’ll want to define what limited English proficient means. You’ll want to define what
meaningful access means to you. You might want to define what interpreter means and
what translation means and what vital documents mean. So, all of these are things that you
want to consider, including your plan and then again, they’re all noted and identified
in the language access tool kit as well as language access template that we have available
there. And then these are just some samples. So, this is what I showed in the two previous
slides. You have the general policy statement, purpose and authority, language assisting
measures, notification of language assistance services and sample languages, sample language
for you to look at, figure out yeah, I like it, I’ll use it or I can come up with my own
language. However you want. It’s just a guide to give you an idea of what those could potentially
look like. And here’s some more to go to as well. Some additional sample language. And
then the tool kits that we have. So, the language access plan.org has our tool kit and wonderful
information there. If there’s ever anything you need on there that you cannot find, shoot
me an email, give me a call, I’ll be more than happy to help support you however I can.
Then this is the other tool kit I mentioned earlier which is our language access in the
courts tool kit and it really is about helping advocates advocate for language access in
the court and how to go about that. There are some print outs they can print out and
take with them when they go to court and someone tells them we don’t provide interpreters they
can say here, look at this paper. According to this you have to provide interpreters.
It’s kind of a way of holding systems accountable. Right? And we created this tool kit specifically,
we had done a survey of advocates around language access and one of the things that came up
for them is how do we advocate for survivors in court to ensure that the courts are held
responsible to provide language access? So, this tool kit was created out of that. And
so, with that, that’s all the information that I have. I apologize if I went too fast.
I just wanted to cover as much as I could. I am very grateful that you again took your
time to join me today. Any questions you might have, we have a few minutes I’m more than
happy to answer those. As I mentioned next Monday we will be hosting a Q & A call so
training and TA call open to whomever would like to join us and it’s basically whatever
questions you have about what I presented on today, what my colleague Jose Juan Lara
did last month, any questions you might have regarding anything related to language access,
whether hiring bilingual staff or what your job postings should look like, any of that,
certainly join us on that call. If for some reason we’re not able to answer your question
on that call, we will certainly look into it and get back to you. We are actually working
with Rose our direct supervisor and she’s the senior Director with policy and she is
the language access guru. Anything that we don’t know we can certainly go to her and
get you whatever information you need as it pertains to language access and policies and
the directives. You know, what’s the latest happening on the Hill regarding language access?
We also have a tremendous resource, so with that I’ll wrap it up and I think that’s all
I’ve got for you all. So, thank you again. I greatly appreciate you all.
Thank you, so much. I just wanted to say that there was a comment in the chat about language
access in the courts and it looks like Beth shared a couple of links here. It was asked
what’s the link for the court tool kit. I’m not sure if that question is directed to Beth
or to Lumarie. So, we can figure that out though, Vince. But if there are any other
questions like Lumarie said feel free to contact anyone from PCAR or Lumarie and we will get
you the information. We hope you can join us on Monday, August 6 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
for our third webinar about language access. Perfect. I appreciate that. Looks like Vince
was going to type something. Thank you everybody. Have a great rest of your day and have a great
wonderful rest of your week. Thank you. Thanks, so much.
Okay, Bye bye. Bye.