ACL 06-20 – Interpretive Services (June 30, 2006)

With a little lawsuit prodding, DSS has issued this reminder and clarification regarding the county requirements to provide interpretive services, going over general obligations as well as specific information regarding the relation between the county’s interpretation obligation and usage of self-provided interpreters. Of note: “It is always the county’s obligation to affirmatively offer interpretive services. … Once the county has been informed that the applicant/recipient needs an interpreter, the county must offer and provide an interpreter at each client contact.” The ACL clarifies that if a person cannot be made or encouraged to use a self-provided interpreter, and that the county must still offer interpretive services if the person arrives at an appointment without the interpreter. The CWD is told to take reasonable steps to determine whether a conflict of interest, confidentiality or other concerns make the use of a friend or family member interpreter inappropriate. If the friend or family member is not competent or appropriate, the county shall provide interpreter services in place of or in addition to the person selected by the applicant/recipient. [Download]