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Issue Alert - 04-10-05

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Date:

Oct 21, 2004

Issue Summary:

Local offices must assist customers who need an interpreter.

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607 (989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441 Fax: (989) 755-3558E-mail: info@ccj-mi.org


Background

All Programs<BR>PAM 105

What's Happening?

A client who needs a bilingual interpreter must be informed by FIA that s/hemay choose one of the following:
  • Use of his own interpreter
  • Arrangements for an interpreter by FIA, including payment of anycosts
If the client does not identify his or her own interpreter, the caseworker must select one of thefollowing, if available, and inform the client:
  • FIA staff person with bilingual ability
  • Community agency or other volunteer.The volunteer must have adequate bilingual ability and must beinformed of FIA policy on confidentiality.
If an FIA staff person is not available to interpret and the client does not want to use of a volunteer, one of the following must be offered:
  • a contractual provider of interpreter services or
  • an interpreter hired on an as-needed basis.

What Should Advocates Do?

FIA regulations state that "particularsensitivity must be shown to customers who are illiterate, disabled or not fluent in English. Remind individuals and agencies that FIA must provide interpretive services to those that need them. FIA must pay for the interpreter if the client does not have one that s/he wishes to use.

What Should Clients Do?

If you are in need of an interpreter and FIA does not comply with assisting you in finding and/or paying for one, contact one of the agencies listed below.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp web site (http://MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.