The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) issued today the FY10 Language Access Compliance Report. Presently, the Washington, DC metropolitan area has more than 1 million foreign-born residents. The District ranks eighth (8th) among major U.S. cities with large immigrant populations totaling over 70,000 foreign born residents (12.6 percent of the District’s resident population), many of which acknowledge language as a barrier to receiving services.
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 and enforcement of the Act rests with the DC Office of Human Rights who operates the 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 was designed to support, guide, and oversee the 34 agencies’ compliance with the Act.
OHR’s FY10 Annual Report on District Government compliance with the Act demonstrates that agencies continue to make gradual progress in meeting their legislative and programmatic requirements. The District’s overall compliance rating was 1.38 (average rating), which is a .08 improvement from FY09. Highlights from the Compliance Report issued today include:
- 63% of agencies improved their language access customer service telephone test scores,
- 48% of agencies improved their language access customer service face-to-face test scores,
- 10% of agencies increased the number of language access staff training,
- 37% of agencies increased the number outreach activities to LEP/NEP communities, and
- 14% increase in District-wide spending in translations and interpretation services was also seen in FY10.
To view a copy of the Compliance Report click here.