As required by contract and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), persons who need assistance due to being deaf, hard of hearing or with limited English proficiency, have the right to accommodations which will facilitate communication. The Florida Department of Children and Families and contracted providers are required to provide FREE interpreters and other communication assistance for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. (under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) settlement agreement, interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing are required to be certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf)
Appropriate auxiliary aids and services must be furnished, where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. Such auxiliary aids and services may include: qualified sign language or oral interpreters, note takers, computer-assisted real time transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, phones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, videotext displays, and TTYs.
The best way to determine if any type of interpreter services are needed, is to ask. Do not try to guess what the needs of the person being served may be. There are a variety of services available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. There are also guidelines requiring the use of certified interpreters under certain circumstances.
Accommodations which may be used by those who are deaf or hard of hearing include:
Florida Relay Services - telecommunications
Interpreter Services - in person communication
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) - an interpreter documents what is said for the deaf or hard of hearing person so they have a record of information discussed. This is not a legal document.
Voice Over Communication - an operator will type the information being relayed by the hearing party and the deaf or hard of hearing party will respond verbally
Video Relay Service - the deaf or hard of hearing party will use a sign language interpreter to convey what the hearing part is saying and will translate verbally to the hearing party when the deaf or hard of hearing person is speaking
Video Remote Interpreter - an interpreter will provide verbal and sign language communication between the parties.
Accommodations for those who have limited English proficiency must include:
- A person who is fluent in both written and verbal communication of the language being used.
- A person who does not have a conflict of interest. If a party insists on using a friend or relative to interpret, we must still have an interpreter present who does not present a conflict of interest.
Before setting up these services, always consult with your agency Point of Contact (POC) for Interpreter Services.