Needs and Challenges
The NCSC has been committed to helping states improve their delivery of language access services to LEP individuals. Through LASS, NCSC has been providing state courts with resources to overcome language barriers in the courts and to ensure that providing individuals with limited English proficiency with access to the courts is a core function of the courts. As discussed above, LASS works closely with the CCJ/COSCA through LAAC and CLAC.
In addition to providing resources, NCSC provides technical assistance directly to states. Also, NCSC organizes and hosts the Annual CLAC Conference.
As enumerated above, NCSC has received grant funding from SJI to continue providing the necessary level of assistance to jurisdictions to improve their language access services. NCSC assists states through CCJ, COSCA, and LAAC in developing consistent national standards for increased ability to share resources, including the ability to share interpreters, tests, and training opportunities. It facilitates the creation of regional and/or national databases of interpreter resources. NCSC houses a website of interpreter resources, including self-assessment tools and testing and written and oral exam resources. Also on its website, NCSC hosts valuable resources for program managers.
NCSC helps state and local courts with developing LEP plans, including assistance in determining when interpreter resources are required, and the necessary resources, as a part of case management. Also, it helps develop model training for judges and court staff on cultural and interpreter use issues and disseminate information about the effective ways to respond to, and manage, the many facets of LEP individuals and their impact on the state courts. NCSC conducts evaluations to identify gaps with meeting DOJ guidelines, and establish a plan of action to address those gaps.
NCSC worked with courts across New England, assessing their language access services and helping them find ways to share interpreters at the regional level. The NCSC also assisted the Tennessee Judiciary in conducting a summit of stakeholders to plan for providing language access services at no cost in civil cases throughout the state. NCSC assisted states in the following additional projects: the 2015 Language Need and Interpreter Use Study – California; the 2015 – 2016 California Language Access Plan Implementation (Phase I); the 2016-2017 CA Language Access Plan Implementation (Phase II); the California Collaborative Testing Projects (2013 – 2017) – annual contracts that have included in-person rater trainings and test development and maintenance activities; and the 2017 – 2018 Indiana Needs Assessment and Language Access Plan Development.
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