Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Limited English Proficiency Plan - Southwest Health and Human Services

Limited English Proficiency Plan

REVISION DATE: 05/20/15; 04/18/2018
AUTHORITY: Southwest Health and Human Services Board – Human Services Board

  • Instructional Bulletin #00-89-04
  • Instructional Bulletin #04-89-01

Deputy Director: Nancy Walker 507-532-1256
Social Services Division Director: Cindy Nelson 507-532-1260
LEP Coordinator:  Kathryn Herding, Supervisor 507-836-6144
Financial Services: Jennifer Beek, Supervisor 507-532-1235
Social Services: Jenifer Klein, Supervisor 507-532-1228 or 507-532-1260
Child Support & Fraud: Ann Schiller, Supervisor 507-637-1262

Table of Contents
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    Section 1 - Purpose and Legal Basis

    1. The following document serves as the Southwest Health and Human Services (SWHHS) plan to meet the legal obligation of language access requirements in compliance of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; 7 CFR, 273 et seq; and 42 CFR 435 et seq. There are four components to this document.
      • 200 - Assessment
      • 300 - Policy
      • 400 - Training
      • 500 - Monitoring

    Section 2 - 200 - Assessment

    201 - Needs Assessment

    SWHHS will on at least an annual basis make a needs assessment of the unique language needs within Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties. Consultation will be done with the school districts in the six counties along with the Legal Aid offices located in Willmar and Worthington to determine the types of non-English languages that are most dominant to the populations of Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties.  The common agency will also incorporate county specific data from the Department of Human Services to assist in this form of needs assessment. The following non-English languages have been identified as being the most likely to be encountered in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties: Spanish, Somali, Hmong.

    202 - Case Finding

    Specific language needs of each applicant with LEP will occur at the time of intake or application. This will primarily be done by reviewing the language preference questions on the Health Care Application (HCAPP) and the Combined Application Form (CAF). Language preferences will be entered into the applicant’s primary language field in the MAXIS system. If an interpreter is needed, it will be recorded in MAXIS case notes. If the main receptionist or intake worker suspects that the applicant is a person with LEP, the worker will provide the LEP person with a list of possible languages to determine which language is spoken.  The list includes; “I Speak” cards, “I Speak” posters, “Language Identification Card” from Language Line Services.  It is expected that reasonable efforts will be made by SWHHS to provide same-day interpreter services.

    203 - Points of Contact

    The greatest likelihood of need for interpreter services will be at the point of intake - at the time of an emergency or application for financial assistance. The principal point of contact will most likely be in the office setting in Ivanhoe, Marshall, Slayton, Pipestone, Luverne, and/or Redwood Falls. The most appropriate form of interpreter services will likely be language assistance in completion of an application for financial assistance or health care. The other point of contact may involve field-based contact when conducting child protection assessments. These contacts will typically take place in the home of the child’s caretaker or parent.

    204 - Resources Needed

    SWHHS will utilize its contract with private interpreters and those interpreters employed by contracted agencies located in Marshall, Minnesota for Spanish, Somali, Hmong, and Laotian interpreter services. Additionally, SWHHS will contract with Language Line Services (1-800-367-9559) for the languages involved with Language Lines Services “tier” system. When feasible, on-site interpreter services will be made available and will be the first preference. (Note: The closest available Spanish interpreter for Lincoln, Murray, and Pipestone Counties is 30 miles from each office.)

    Use of reciprocal faxing processes will be used when necessary, this to facilitate completion of applications and processing of interviews.

    205 - Timely Access

    Interpretive services are available during customary business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They also provide emergency service outside of regular business hours when needed. Language Line Services are available 24x7. Contact with any entity will be made by phone. When on-site interpreter services are to be used, it will be necessary to schedule appointments at mutually convenient times for the client and the interpreter.

    Section 3 – 300 - Policies and Procedures

    301 - Agency Commitment

    SWHHS is committed to the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We recognize the importance of providing meaningful access to all persons, including persons with LEP, to the various programs provided by SWHHS. SWHHS has, by prior action, adopted a policy statement entitled Civil Rights Compliance Requirements effective 1-1-95 and affirmed again on 1-1-01, this in conformity with DHS Bulletin #94-84A dated 12-27-94.

    302 - Range of Oral Language Assistance

    Due to the current absence of bi-lingual employees at SWHHS, use will be made of the formal linkage with our contracted agencies and other privately contracted interpreters. With Spanish, Somali, and Hmong seen as the primary non-English language in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties, use of our contracted agencies and privately contracted interpretive services are seen as encompassing close to 100% of the LEP needs of SWHHS.  Use of Language Line Services for all other non-English language will take place as necessary. SWHHS will take advantage of the 10 brief “notice of rights to language services” documents for persons with LEP as they are made available by the Department of Human Services.

    303 - Uncommon Languages

    There may be circumstances when customers come to the office for services that use a language other than those most commonly used in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties. There may be languages such as Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Laotian, Oromo, Khymer/Cambodian, etc.  After identifying the language need, the receptionist staff or intake worker will consult with their Supervisor or Director to determine the most appropriate and expedient interpreter service.

    304 - Affirmative Action

    The SWHHS employee handling the case will inform either the customer or the interpreter once it has been determined that interpreter services are needed, that there is no charge or fee for the service. This will be communicated in verbal form. At no time in the service delivery process will the customer incur any costs associated with LEP-directed interpreter services.

    305 - Use of Family and Friends

    Use of family or friends as interpreters is not the preferred method of providing interpreter services. But when the intake worker has determined that it is not feasible to use formalized interpreter services, a consultation will be made with that worker’s immediate Supervisor or Director. Alternative methods of customer service will need to be discussed. If the worker has determined that a family member, friend or other responsible party can adequately perform the interpreter service, approval may be given. The worker needs to feel confident that the client’s data privacy rights will be protected and that the quality of the interpreter services to be provided by the family member or friend will be acceptable. The worker will need to document in the case file the extenuating circumstances for use of family or friends, particularly that the family was offered other interpreter services and that the client insisted that a family member or friend be used. Under no circumstances may minor children be used for interpreter services.

    306 - Competency Standards for Interpreters

    Any interpreter used for LEP services must be bi-lingual: fluent in English and fluent in the language of the customer needing the service. When using interpreter services provided from a recognized agency, contracted interpreters and Language Line Services, competency is presumed. When using family, friends or significant others, the intake worker must make a judgment as to the competency of the proposed interpreter. “Certification” as an interpreter is not a pre-requisite.

    307 - Dissemination of LEP Plan

    Copies of the LEP Plan will be provided to the following: all SWHHS employees who have direct customer contact, area Legal Aid offices, Private Industry Council, and Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Government Agencies. A copy of the main public announcement, “I Speak” poster, will be prominently displayed in the SWHHS central reception areas.  LEP requirements will also be included in all contracts maintained by SWHHS.

    308 - Services to Illiterate

    When confronted with a situation in which the customer is illiterate - cannot read or write in his or her native language - it is required that SWHHS find a suitable interpreter; one who can assist the person in completion of necessary forms, documents and the like. The SWHHS intake worker needs to make the determination, in conjunction with the interpreter, about the customers’ literacy skills. The clear choice in dealing with cases of illiteracy will be to have an on-site interpreter.  It may be necessary to schedule interviews when face-to-face interpreter services can be provided. Use of faxing of forms and over-the-phone services may be required on a case-by-case basis.

    309 - Emergency Situations

    When programs require access to services within short time frames, SWHHS will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that all clients, including clients with LEP, have access to services within the appropriate time frames. For example, when a client needs an interpreter or other language assistance services to obtain expedited program services, SWHHS’s goal is to make the services accessible within the required time frame, whether that means using an interpreter or any other appropriate type of language assistance.

    310 - Access to and Costs of Interpreters

    Under no circumstances will SWHHS indicate - either verbally or in writing - that any applicant or client in need of LEP services will be charged for an interpreter or translation service. All such services shall be at no expense to the applicant or client. Such services will be provided during all normal business hours and, when necessary, during non-business hours when an emergency has been determined to exist.

    311 - Notice of Service Availability

    LEP clientele will be informed of the availability of free interpreter and translation services at the point when it appears that the customer is not able to communicate in English. Notice of service availability will come from the “I Speak” poster document in the central reception areas of the six county offices. Distribution of the LEP Plan to various parties cited above will help by putting those entities on notice that interpreter and translation services are available on a timely basis and free of charge. Material that has been translated into Spanish, Somali, and Hmong will be used immediately when it has been determined that the person presenting for service is not able to understand English. Insofar as the Department of Human Services has translated many forms into multiple languages, SWHHS will access these forms as necessary through the Department’s website. Additionally, translated income maintenance forms located in TEMP Manual 12.01.13 will be accessed as needed.

    312 - County-Produced Materials

    At this time it is not anticipated that SWHHS will develop any SWHHS produced material. Rather, SWHHS will rely on the state-produced documents as the primary source of translated materials. Downloading of documents from the DHS web-page will also be used as necessary. SWHHS will follow DHS’ translation numerical guidelines as required.

    313 - Complaint Resolution Protocol

    Any action taken by SWHHS with which an applicant or recipient disagrees is subject to complaint. SWHHS has a formal complaint process that can be utilized to try to resolve any dispute. In the absence of local resolution, the person making the complaint will be informed in a language understandable to the grievant, of the process to follow in making a complaint to DHS or the Office of Civil Rights. The complaint process will follow SWHHS’s procedures included in Civil Rights Compliance Requirements. Appropriate use of interpreter services with contracted agencies, contracted interpreters, or Language Line Services to facilitate the dispute resolution process will take place. All such complaints can be made to any of the parties listed at the top of this LEP Plan.

    314 - Posting

    A copy of the SWHHS LEP Plan will be posted on the main bulletin board in the central lobby of each agency office.

    Section 4 – 400 - Training

    401 - Distribution of LEP Plan

    All SWHHS employees who have direct contact with customers will be provided a copy of the LEP Plan upon its adoption. If any changes are made in the document, a revised copy will also be provided to the same entities listed in #307. At this time, all employees of SWHHS will be recipients of the document.

    402 - Training of Staff - Initial

    With approval of the LEP Plan, there will be initial training on the document. This training will take place for current staff in their individual unit meetings. For any new employee affected by the LEP Plan, this document will be incorporated into that person’s “generic orientation” protocol at the time of hire.

    403 - Training of Staff - Ongoing

    On an annual basis the LEP Plan will be reviewed and updates clarified.

    Section 5 - 500 - Monitoring

    501 - Evaluation of the LEP

    On at least an annual basis, the LEP Plan will be reviewed for effectiveness. This review will normally take place in December. It will be coordinated by the SWHHS LEP Coordinator. The evaluation will involve consultation with representatives of the Financial Services Unit and Social Services Unit to determine compliance with the LEP Plan, identification of any problem areas and development of required corrective action strategies. Elements of the evaluation will include the following:

    • Number of persons with LEP in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock
    • Assessment of current language needs of SWHHS applicants and clients to determine if the client needs an interpreter and/or translated materials; updating case files which lack information about a client’s language preference; determining if clients need to be asked their language preference at the time of certification.
    • Determining whether existing assistance is meeting the needs of applicants and clients with LEP.
    • Assessing whether staff members understand SWHHS LEP policies and procedures and how to carry them out, and whether language assistance resources and arrangements for those resources are still current and accessible.
    • Seeking and obtaining feedback from non-English or limited-English speaking communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties including applicants and clients as well as any known community organization or advocacy group working with non-English or limited-English speaking communities.

    502 - LEP Contact Person

    For purposes of the LEP Plan, Southwest Health and Human Services designated contact person is the Financial Assistance Supervisor/LEP Coordinator with appropriate delegation made to the Agency Director, Deputy Director and the Social Services Supervisors of the agency.

    Southwest Health and Human Services
    607 West Main Street, Suite 100
    Marshall, MN. 56258


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