Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

1.14.1 Access to Interpreters and Effective Communication for Those Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 1-Fundamentals of Practice
Effective:
2/18/2019
Section:
1.14.1 Access to Interpreters and Effective Communication for Those Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Version:
1

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Legal Authority/Introduction

  
 
 
 

Procedure

  

Individuals who are deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language must have access to qualified interpreters during all points of contact with CHFS staff.  Effective communication is mandated by federal and state law.  Services provided by the Cabinet must be equal to those provided to a person who does not have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or a disability.

 

There is a wide range of language ability and language modality among people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Individuals may use ASL, other sign languages, gesture, speech, or a combination of methods. It is the responsibility of the cabinet staff to determine a client’s specific language and to provide services that match communication needs.  Staff are responsible for assessing communication needs and determining if an ASL interpreter, other sign language interpreter, assistive listening device, or other accommodation is needed for the individual(s) to fully access cabinet services.

 

 

Division of Protection and Permanency (DPP) staff can access American Sign Language (ASL)

interpreters by: 1

 
 
    1. Completing the online request form for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) Interpreter Access Center available at http://www.kcdhh.ky.gov/forms/.

    2. Calling the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) Access Center at (502)573-2604. 2

    3. Utilizing video relay services (VRS) where DPP staff will speak to a sign language interpreter who will translate English to sign language utilizing a videophone with the client. 3

    4. Utilizing the list of sign language interpreting agencies that serve Kentucky to access interpretation services afterhours.

 

Division of Protection and Permanency (DPP) staff can access captioners by: 4

 
    1. Completing the online request form for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) Interpreter Access Center available at http://www.kcdhh.ky.gov/forms/.

    2. Calling the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) Access Center at 502-573-2604. 5 

    3. Utilizing the KCDHH listing of Kentucky Computer Assisted Real Time Captioning (CART) providers to access captioner services afterhours.

Division of Protection and Permanency (DPP) staff pay for interpreter or captioner services by:

 
 
    1. Obtaining the original invoice from the individual interpreter/captioner or interpreting/captioner agency.

    2. Uploading the invoice into the Kentucky Invoice Tracking System (KITS) for payment.

    3. Directing any invoice related questions to: 

CHFS Payables Section

275 E. Main Street 4E-A

Frankfort, KY 40621

Telephone: (502)564-8890

If there are questions regarding who is responsible for the payment of interpreting or captioning services, when working with other public or private agencies involved, consult with the EEO Civil Rights Compliance Branch are available at:

 

EEO Civil Rights Compliance Branch

275 E. Main St 5C-D
Frankfort, KY  40621
Telephone: (502) 564-7770

Practice Guidance

 Obtaining and Using Interpretation Services:

 
  • Clients must be provided a licensed interpreter at no charge to them for all points of contact with cabinet staff.  Due to a possible conflict of interest and varying levels of signing skill, family members or friends cannot be used. Only licensed interpreters shall be used for department business, per KRS 309.301. A cabinet employee may be utilized if they are licensed by the Kentucky Board of Interpreter for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and no actual or perceived conflict exists.

  • A child’s school ASL interpreter should only be used in an emergency situation or linguistically relevant situation due to the risk of an unethical and dual relationship. If an interpreter cannot be obtained and the child’s safety is immediately at risk, a school interpreter may be used. Similarly, if a child’s school ASL interpreter is more likely to be able to interpret more accurately than an interpreter that is not familiar with the child due to a child’s language dysfluency, a school interpreter may be used.6 However, in all other situations an objective interpreter should be used. The SSW, interpreter, and school interpreter should consult as a team to determine how best to proceed with interpreting.

  • If there are concerns about language deprivation or dysfluency, staff may contact the Out of Home Care Branch in central office, the KY Commission for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or a professional skilled in deaf services for recommendations on bridging language needs.

  • All deaf and hard of hearing consumers or community partners should be offered access of communication through email or text message, if possible. Email or text message communication should be offered for the access of brief communication, such as the scheduling/rescheduling of home visits or appointments. Detailed or extensive meetings, such as case plan meetings should occur in person with an interpreter present.

  • American Sign Language does not have a written format. For individuals who are deaf and need to sign forms, such as prevention plans, informed consent must be provided by providing access to an in-person interpreter to interpret the documents for them. 

 
To provide notice of the availability of interpreting services or other language access services, DPP staff will post a NOTICE OF INTERPRETATION SERVICES sign in the office. Utilizing office signs will indicate the compliance of cabinet staff to provide meaningful communication access during all points of contact, per federal law. 

 

 Footnotes

 
  1. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are used with individuals that sign.

  2. This is recommended for emergency requests or those that need immediate attention.

  3. Video Relay Services (VRS) are free; however, the client must have videophone equipment and videophone (VP) number to access the service. 

  4. DPP clients who are deaf or hard of hearing and do not sign must also have access to other accommodations including but not limited to assistive listening devices, note takers, or Computer Assisted Real Time Captioning(CART).

  5. This is recommended for emergency requests or those that need immediate attention.

  6. Language dysfluency refers to the child's skill level with language and irregularities.

 

 
 
 

 

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