LOS ANGELES, CA – The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda L. Solis, First District, and co-authored by Janice Hahn, Fourth District, on strengthening language access in County government services.
According to a report on the State of Immigrants in Los Angeles County, one-third of all immigrant-headed households are linguistically isolated, meaning no one over the age of 14 in that household speaks English “very well.” This includes 33 percent of Asian Pacific Islander (API) households and 29 percent of Latino households. Additionally, there are over 200 indigenous language groups from Latin America.
“There are many services that the County provides on a daily basis to residents, some of which are easily accessible to non-English speaking residents because of translated materials and onsite, multi-lingual County employees,” said Supervisor Solis. “However, significant gaps remain when it comes to having culturally and linguistically competent County services. When we talk about vulnerable populations, one of their main obstacles to accessing government services is the lack of in-language materials and County employees who can communicate with them. This motion, which calls for a comprehensive needs assessment and recommendations, is the first step towards the ultimate goal of developing a Countywide strategic plan to institutionalize equitable language access.”
There are 6 state and 39 local language access policies across 40 governmental jurisdictions that serve as standardized plans to improve language accessibility. The City of Los Angeles recently adopted Executive Order 32 outlining its language access plan.
“The County is the safety net for our residents. We help for people when they need it the most and we cannot let language barriers stand in our way,” said Supervisor Hahn. “Developing a countywide language access and equity plan will help us understand what needs to be done to make sure that everyone can access our services, no matter what language they speak.”
The motion approved today directs the County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), in consultation with County Counsel, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Alliance for Health Integration, the Department of Public Social Services, other impacted County departments, as well as strategic external partners and stakeholders, to develop and submit to this Board, a Countywide Language Access and Equity Plan (Report) that includes: a comprehensive assessment of the County’s current language capacity to equitably serve its immigrant and Indigenous residents; a set of recommendations and strategies for the County to elevate its language access capacity by leveraging the County’s labor force, partnerships, and technology; a review of the Federal, State, and local legal requirements governing language access; a strategic plan and timeline to implement, regularly review, and update the recommendations in the Report; and the projected fiscal and other anticipated impacts on the County to implement the recommendations in the Report in a sustainable manner Countywide.
The motion additionally authorizes the DCBA to enter into agreements with consultants, community-based organizations, and/or other agencies to assist OIA in developing the Report.
To view the full motion, click here.