The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) issued today the FY09 Language Access Compliance Report. Ranking seventh out of the top ten metropolitan areas in the nation with the largest foreign born population, the Washington Metropolitan Area (DC/MD/VA) experienced a 25 percent increase in its foreign born population and joined New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as a “gateway” for immigrants in the year 2000. Presently, Washington, DC is home to over 74,000 immigrants (12.6 percent of city’s resident population) of which 28.4 percent acknowledged a language barrier by self-identifying as individuals who speak English “less than very well” (4.6 percent of the city’s total resident population).
The purpose of the DC Language Access Act (“Act”) is to provide limited and non-English proficient (LEP/NEP) individuals access and participation in the District’s public services, programs and activities at a level equal to English proficient individuals. Oversight of the Act’s implementation rests with the DC Office of Human Rights that operates a citywide Language Access Program (“Program”). The mission of the Program is to effectuate change within the government by researching best practices, tailoring existing measures to fit the needs of the District and instituting policy that both reflects the law’s intent and meets the needs of the target population. The Program aids, guides and monitors 34 District agencies’ implementation of the requirements of the Act.
OHR’s FY09 Annual Report on District Government compliance with the DC Language Access Act of 2004 reflects that agencies have progressed significantly in meeting their legislative and programmatic requirements. The District’s overall compliance rating was partial for FY09. Highlights from the Compliance Report issued today include:
- Training increased by 52% as compared to FY08;
- The provision of oral language services (i.e., interpreter services) increased by 53%; and
- The Language Access Program trained over 700 District employees and 40 providers from 15 agencies on the law’s requirements in FY09.
To view a copy of the Compliance Report select here.