FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 21, 2016
CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy and Communications – 202.481.3773; [email protected]
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today the District’s citywide Language Access Program, housed within the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), launched a comprehensive online resource aimed at improving language access for limited and non-English proficient (LEP/NEP) customers seeking services at District agencies. The Language Access Information Portal includes new and existing tools and resources for agencies, and vital information and materials for LEP/NEP residents and the general public.
“The Language Access Information Portal provides agencies with the tools and resources necessary to prepare for serving all customers, and we encourage those who are limited and non-English proficient to visit the Portal and learn more about language access rights in the District,” said OHR Director Mónica Palacio. “District government is continuing its efforts to ensure limited and non-English proficient customers receive the same quality services its English-speaking customers receive.”
The Portal was designed to expand the Program’s technical assistance capabilities, and to better support the increased number of agencies needing to meet new coordination and reporting requirements mandated by 2014 changes to Language Access Act regulations. Guides on interpretation and translation vendors, compliance requirements, and language access signage are among the many resources provided to agencies. Information on language access rights, the language access complaint process, and printable “I Speak” cards are available for LEP/NEP customers. It is expected to result in more consistent and quality language access services across covered agencies.
The public and government officials can access the Language Access Information Portal at ohr.dc.gov/page/LAportal.
About the Language Access Program
The Language Access (LA) Program exists to ensure District residents who are limited or non-English proficient are afforded equal access to information and services provided by the District. Residents who speak little English must be offered interpretation services and/or translated documents when obtaining government services, as required by the Language Access Act of 2004. The LA Program staff engage in extensive community outreach, provide training and technical support to District agencies working with LEP/NEP residents, and measure the effectiveness of agencies in serving such populations by examining resource allocation and service delivery.
About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.