Instructions on interpreter services and confidentiality agreement

County welfare departments must offer free bilingual or interpreter services to all non-English speaking or limited English proficient persons. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a new form, the CR 6181, to inform non-English speaking or limited English proficient persons of the risks of using their own interpreter instead of using a free interpreter provided the county.  Counties must use this form when applicants or recipients choose to use their own interpreter after being offer a free interpreter by the county.  The CR 6181 form replaces any county form previously used for this purpose.

The county must ensure that the applicant or recipient and their interpreter have read and understood the CR 6181 form.  The county must provide the CR 6181 form in the applicant or recipient’s primary language (if it has been translated into that language), and provide an interpreter to help with understanding the form.   If the applicant/recipient or their interpreter refuse to sign the form, the county must use a county-provided interpreter or bilingual staff member.

The form must be completed at redetermination, if it was signed over a year previous, or if the applicant/recipient chooses a different interpreter.

For telephone or virtual communication, the county must use a county provided interpreter unless a CR 6181 is already on file.  If there is a CR 6181 on file, the applicant/recipient can use their own interpreter.  If there is not a CR 6181 on file, it was signed over a year previous, or a different interpreter was named on the form, the county must read the form to the applicant/recipient in their primary language age get verbal consent to the risks of using their own interpreter.

The CR 6181 does not replace the GEN 1365 Notice of Language Services which informs individuals of their right to free language assistance services.  Counties are reminded that they must advise clients of their right to a free interpreter, and must provide interpreter services promptly and without delay.  Although clients can use their own interpreter, a county must not compel or encourage them to do so.  A client can use a minor as an interpreter only in extenuating circumstances.  (ACL 21-128, November 12, 2021.)