SJI Funding for Language Access Programs at National, State, and Local Levels

Over the past decade, SJI has been committed to improving language access services throughout the country.  It has dedicated support through Project Grants, Technical Assistance Grants, Curriculum Adaptation & Training Grants, and Strategic Initiative Grants.  Since 2006, SJI has granted a total of $2,769,266 for language access grants.[13]

SJI Language Access Grant Awards - FY 2006 to 2016

Project Grants

Project grants are the centerpiece of SJI’s efforts to improve the administration of justice in state courts nationwide.  They support innovative technical assistance, education and training, and demonstration projects that are aimed toward improving the administration of justice.  Between 2006 and 2016, SJI awarded $501,730 in Project Grants for language access improvements.  Listed below are the projects and brief descriptions.

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts - 2006
Coordinating Access to Justice in New Mexico

Coordination of a statewide effort for the delivery of civil legal services for the poor, as part of a multi-pronged approach to the Access of Justice issues in the State.  ($120,000)

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts - 2008
NM Justice System Interpreter Resource Partnership

Support to develop and sustain an Interpreter Resource Partnership among justice agencies in New Mexico.  The primary objective of the partnership is to ensure that individuals with limited English proficiency who become involved with the justice system (criminal and civil) have access to culturally appropriate services.  ($48,616)

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts - 2009
New Mexico Justice System Interpreter Resource Partnership: Phase II

Funding to continue building the Interpreter Resource Partnership mentioned above. ($97,639)

California Administrative Office of the Courts - 2011
Enhancing LEP Services for California Court Users.

Funding to initiate a statewide LEP planning effort across regional teams of administrators, clerks, interpreters, and self-help center staff. ($35,000)

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts - 2012
Ensuring Language Access Outside the Courtroom: Training for Judicial Employees

Assistance to provide a language access training and qualification program for employees of state courts in order to improve the quality of language access services outside the courtroom for LEP individuals.  ($160,475)

Center for Court Innovation - 2016
Domestic Violence Risk Factor Guide for Civil Courts: Enhancement Project

Translation of the Domestic Violence Risk Factor Guide for Self-Represented Litigants into Spanish, and adaptation of the Domestic Violence Risk Factor Guide for Civil Courts for use by other, non-judicial court staff who assist with temporary orders for protection. ($40,000)

Technical Assistance (TA) Grants

Technical Assistance Grants are designed to provide state and local courts with funding to obtain expert assistance in order to diagnose a problem, develop a response to that problem, and initiate implementation of any needed changes. Between FY 2006 and 2016, SJI awarded $684,694 in TA Grants, which are described below.>

Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office - 2006
Document Translation

Funding for development and implementation of proper court document translation standards and or translation of appropriate forms and brochures into at least three exotic languages. The initiative is a direct response to a recent influx of immigrants and refugees from various global hot spots. ($30,000)

The Superior Court, County of Alameda - 2007
CA Language Access Plan

Funding to develop and implement a language access plan for the benefit of Alameda County courts and an increasing population of non-English speaking court users. ($30,000)

Washington Administrative Office of the Courts - 2008
Interpreter and Language Services Initiative

Funding to support an interpreter and language services initiative that established service pilot sites, interpreter needs assessments, and state, regional, and local interpreter service delivery networks.  ($30,000)

Vermont Supreme Court  -  2008
Action Plan for Strengthening the Court Interpreter Program

Funding to create an action plan for the Court Interpreter Program to develop and manage the program, and assist the State in improving access to justice for limited English proficient individuals.  ($21,000)

Vermont Supreme Court  -  2010
Implement Action Plan Developed for Court Interpreter Program

Funding to implement an action plan for strengthening the foreign language interpreter program, and continue meeting the due process requirements in Vermont court proceedings.  ($21,000)

Sonoma Co., CA, Superior Court  -  2010
Improvement Project for Immigration, Cultural Competency, & Litigant Access

Technical assistance to address the changes of activities resulting from state court unification efforts and the rapidly changing community demographics.  ($50,000)

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts  -  2010
Language Access Planning for New Mexico State Courts

Funding to expand the Language Access Planning project statewide.  ($45,000)              

Massachusetts Trial Court  -  2011
Translation of Documents in Small Claims Proceedings

Translation of all small claims documents and some web content into seven different languages for use by the public.  ($26,611)

Vermont Supreme Court Interpreter Action Plan: Phase II  -  2011

Funding to continue progress with the second phase of the foreign language interpreter program action plan through training development and distribution of an interpreter resource list. ($25,000)

Vermont Supreme Court  -  2012
Language Access Program: Centralized Training, Testing, & Interpreter Services

Support to engage a technical service provider for staff training and implementation of a self-sustaining centralized language access program.  ($25,000)       

Massachusetts Trial Court  -  2012
Video Instructions in English & Other Languages for Small Claims Proceedings

Creation of a small claims self-help video in English and several other languages. ($20,288)

Rhode Island Judiciary Language Access Project  -  2012

Assistance to translate forms, signs, notices, and components of the Judiciary's website. ($32,786)

Delaware Justice of the Peace Court Resource Center Initiative  -  2013

Technical assistance to develop and implement a Community Court Resource Center to serve self-represented and limited English proficient individuals in accessing critical information and services.  ($50,000)    

Supreme Court of Louisiana,  Louisiana Court Interpreter Program  -  2013

Funding to develop a first-ever statewide court interpreter training and certification program in Louisiana to serve limited English proficient individuals.  ($50,000)              

Massachusetts Trial Court Model Courthouse for Language Access  -  2013

Developed a plan to assist in establishing the Worcester Trial Court complex as a national model courthouse for delivery of justice to LEP individuals.  ($50,000)              

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts  -  2013
Ensuring Language Access Outside the Courtroom: Training for Judicial Employees: Phase II

Funding to move the New Mexico Center for Language Access (NMCLA) under the New Mexico AOC.  ($11,332)        

9th Judicial Circuit, FL  -  2013
Guarding the Guardians: Keeping Our Wards Safe

Provide LEP guardians with a guardianship handbook, plans, and forms translated into the most frequently encountered languages.  ($20,084)

Oregon Judicial Department  -  2013
Oregon Language Access: The Counter Encounter

Support to develop, pilot, and implement a frontline service strategy designed to improve language access in Oregon’s courts.  The project will result in translated signage, increased availability of translated forms and information in the top 4 languages, and improved visual, written, and online resources for LEP and self-represented litigants.  ($50,000)

Missouri Office of the State Courts Administrator  -  2013
Access to Family Courts Website/Forms Translation

Funding to translate 17 forms and the “Representing Yourself in Missouri Courts” website into the 6 most common languages encountered in the Missouri courts.  ($43,593)   

1st Judicial District, PA Language of Justice Institute  -  2015

Support to develop and launch a formal academic course of study for court interpreters designed to prepare graduates for state court interpreter certification exams.  ($50,000)              

Superior Court of Ventura Co., CA Mixteco Video  -  2016

Support to the development of an informational video about accessing the court in the Mixteco Baja language.  ($3,000)   

Curriculum Adaptation & Training (CAT)

Curriculum Adaptation and Training Grants enable courts and regional or national court associations to modify and adapt model curricula or course modules to meet state or local jurisdiction educational needs; train instructors to present portions or all of the curricula; and pilot-test them to determine their appropriateness, quality, and effectiveness.  Since 2006, SJI has awarded $97,922 in CAT Grants, which are listed below:

Vermont Supreme Court Improve Court Interpreter Services  -  2007

Develop three curricula related to court interpreter services for legal proceedings in the trial courts.  ($18,100) 

Washington Administrative Office of the Courts  -  2012

Targeted Court Interpreter Training Initiative

Support to launch an intensive court interpreter training initiative, which will target specific languages, identify candidates who have a high propensity to do well as court interpreters, and utilize hybrid learning modules to accelerate the program.  ($19,140)              

Oregon Judicial Department Language Access Training & Development  -  2016

Support to continue implementation of the Oregon Language Access Plan’s objectives related to education and training.   ($30,000)      

Connecticut Judicial Branch  -  2016
Court Interpreter Assessment & Training Program

Support to ensure meaningful access to limited English proficient (LEP) individuals by improving the quality of oral language interpretation provided by certified staff court interpreters and interpreters working towards certification.  ($6,682)    

Supreme Court of Ohio Court Interpreter Training Program  -  2016

Assistance to meet the certification needs for court interpreting effectively through collaboration with a post-secondary educational institution.  ($24,000)

Strategic Initiatives Grants (SIG) 

Strategic Initiative Grants provide SJI the flexibility to address national court issues as they occur, and to develop solutions to those problems.  The SJI Board of Directors awarded $1,484,920 in SIG Grants between FY 2006 and 2016. 

National Center for State Courts  -  2012
National Summit on Language Access and the Courts

A summit of state court leaders that focused on the needs of LEP individuals.  Fifty-five (55) state teams, consisting of the chief justice, state court administrator, and three other members selected by the chief justice attended.  Each state developed a statewide LEP plan, and a National Call to Action report was issued.  ($448,282)

California Administrative Office of the Courts  -  2012
LEP Training for the Self-Help Center Environment

Project to develop training for bilingual JusticeCorps volunteers to provide enhanced services to self-represented litigants.  The project piloted a process for identifying and training JusticeCorps staff with bilingual skills.  The program was expanded to the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas.  ($36,638)

National Center for State Courts  -  2013
Improving Access to Justice for Litigants with Limited English Proficiency

During the December 10, 2012 meeting, the Board approved a $500,000 Strategic Initiatives Grant (SIG) to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to address limited English proficiency (LEP) issues. Through this grant, the NCSC's newly established Language Access Services Section has provided direct technical assistance to state courts.  These grant projects are described below in the next section, NCSC Support to State Courts.  ($500,000) 

National Center for State Courts  -  2014
National Virtual Remote Interpreting (VRI) Project

Support to establish a national call center that will assist state courts in providing VRI services. ($500,000)

Language Access Basic Training Module (LABT)

The LABT is a downloadable interactive training module for bilingual court employees who interact with people outside of the courtroom.  It was funded by SJI and developed by the New Mexico Center for Language Access along with the NCSC, CLAC, and LAAC.  The purpose of the training is to ensure that all court employees have a basic understanding of their ethical and legal obligations, as well as current best practices in serving limited English proficient and non-English speaking individuals. Available in Spanish and Language Neutral (all spoken languages) versionsLABT also provides a training module and an optional skills assessment for bilingual court employees.

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