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

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Legal Authority/Introduction


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 for Health and Family Services (CHFS/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 American Sign Language (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.1  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. 
  • 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.
  • ASL 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, Division of Protection and Permanency (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. 


When a child who is deaf or hard of hearing enters out-of-home care (OOHC), a communication assessment may be necessary. It should not be assumed that all deaf or hard of hearing children have the same communication needs.  When a child who is deaf or hard of hearing enters OOHC,  the SSW shall notify the deaf and hard of hearing liaison in DPP within ten (10) working days.  The liaison will contact the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) and request that a communication assessment be completed.  Once the assessment is completed, it will be shared with the SSW who shall document the date of the assessment in the daily living conditions section of TWIST.   Recommendations from the assessment should be considered when coordinating communication services for the child.

Individuals who are deaf and use 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. 2

DPP staff can access ASL interpreters by: ​3 

  1. Completing the online request form for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) Interpreter Access Center available at
  2. Calling KCDHH access center at (502)573-2604. 4
  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. 5
  4. Utilizing the list of sign language interpreting agencies that serve Kentucky to access interpretation services afterhours.

DPP staff can access captioners by: 6

  1. Completing the online request form for the KCDHH Interpreter Access Center available at
  2. Calling KCDHH access center at 502-573-2604.  7
  3. Utilizing the KCDHH listing of Kentucky Computer Assisted Real Time Captioning (CART) providers to access captioner services afterhours.

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 at:
EEO Civil Rights Compliance Branch
275 E. Main St 5C-D
Frankfort, KY  40621
Telephone: (502) 564-7770

  1. ​Language dysfluency refers to the child's skill level with language and irregularities.​
  2. If a communication assessment has been completed, the SSW shall document the date of the assessment in the “​Daily Living Conditions” section of TWIST.
  3. ASL interpreters are used with individuals that sign.
  4. This is recommended for emergency requests or those that need immediate attention.
  5. VRS are free, however, the client must have videophone equipment and a videophone (VP) number to access the service. 
  6. 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).
  7. This is recommended for emergency requests or those that need immediate attention.



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