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Language Access

As of 2013, over 20% of individuals living in the United States speak a language other than English in their home. About 8% of the total population, or 25 million people, is limited English proficient.

Though the states with the highest limited English proficient populations are well known, the states with the most growth are less obvious. Legal aid organizations need to develop capacity to deliver quality legal services to this growing population.

Change in LEP Population Since 1990

Source: US Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey
(Table B16001) and 1990 Decennial Census (Table 1).

The language access materials available are designed to help LSC grantees identify, plan for, and meet the language needs of limited English proficient clients.

Resources are divided into six categories:

Language Data

Language data resources include national and local data sources.

Planning and Evaluation

Planning materials include guidance based on the LSC program letter, and sample plans by LSC grantees. Evaluation materials are self-assessments, in the form of checklists.

Language Assistance

Language assistance materials include notices of available services in multiple languages, oral language assistance such as interpretation, and translated and digital documents.

Training

Training materials address legal requirements for language access, as well as information about working with limited English proficient clients and interpreters.

Projects

Projects include legal services programs with exemplary or innovative approaches to language access.

Resources

Links to LSC Guidance, articles, and language access organizations.