White House Releases Executive Order on Improving Access To Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency
On August 11, 2000, the President released a statement issuing an Executive Order on improving access to Federal services for persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Many people who are eligible for Federal services cannot effectively use those services because they are not proficient in English. The Executive Order directs federal agencies to improve the language-accessibility of their programs by December 11, 2000. This Executive Order also directs Federal agencies to break down language barriers by implementing consistent standards of language assistance across agencies and among all recipients of federal financial assistance. The Department of Justice (DOJ) shall consult with the agencies in creating their guidance. Following approval by the DOJ, each agency shall publish its guidance document in the Federal Register for public comment. A new webpage has been added to the DOJ website on the Executive Order.
On August 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued written policy guidance to assist health and human services providers in ensuring that person with limited English skills can effectively access critical health and social services. The HHS announcement and the policy guidance are now available from the Office for Civil Rights.