4320. Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

Approval By: Jennifer Strus, Asst. Secretary

Effective Date: June 1, 1989

Revised Date: May 1, 2014

Sunset Review: June 2018

Purpose Statement

To provide Limited English Proficiency (LEP) clients access to CA programs and services in a timely manner and at no cost. LEP means persons are limited in their ability to read, write or speak English or have a limited ability to speak or read English well enough to understand and communicate effectively.


Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

RCW 74.04.025

Chapter 49.60 RCW

Chapter 388-271 WAC


  1. Provide each Limited English Proficient (LEP) client verbal and written information in his or her own language through certified or qualified interpreters and translators at every phase of service delivery, at no cost and without significant delay as outlined in DSHS Administrative Policy 7.21 Access to Services for LEP Clients.
  2. Post multilingual signs in CA office reception areas, that explain LEP services are available at no cost to the client and without significant delay.
  3. Obtain interpreter services for LEP clients whenever there is difficulty in communication, even if the client has not requested interpreter assistance.
  4. Use only DSHS certified/qualified interpreters or certified/authorized bilingual staff for in-person communications when serving LEP families. Informal interpretation through family, friends, or office staff members who are not certified is not appropriate. Children, family members, family friends, neighbors, etc., should not serve as interpreters.
  5. LEP clients have the right to secure, at their own expense, their own interpreter or have an adult family member or adult friend serve as their interpreter. This does not waive the CA worker's responsibility to arrange for a certified/qualified interpreter to assist CA staff in communicating in-person with the client.
  6. Do not allow an interpreter unsupervised access to clients (i.e., do not leave an interpreter alone with clients).
  7. Use only DSHS contracted translation companies or DSHS certified bilingual staff for translation work.


  1. Establish with the client the primary language in which the client prefers to communicate.
  2. Arrange interpreter and translation language services for LEP clients as needed. If the assigned CA worker is a certified/authorized bilingual employee, document in a case note.
  3. Mark the client as LEP in FamLink (on the "Basic Person Management Page"). Record each client's primary language in FamLink and the case file, and mark "LEP" on the outside of each LEP client's file/binder.
  4. Document the use of all LEP services (e.g., use of interpreters or when clients are given translated documents or publications) in FamLink or by documenting on DCYF 15-245 LEP Client Service Record.
  5. File copies of all translated client specific documents (e.g. Court Report) in the case file with the corresponding English document or upload translated document(s) into FamLink.

Forms and Tools

DCYF 15-245 LEP Client Service Record


The following resources are located on the CA Intranet.

Interpreter Services

  • How to get an in-person interpreter (not for court)
  • On-Demand telephone Interpreter Services
  • Court interpreters
  • List of Interpreter Referral Agencies on the WA State Department of Enterprise Services Interpreter Contract
  • Guidelines for hiring a non-certified/qualified interpreter
  • Guidelines for working with spoken language interpreters
  • Court interpreter payment guidelines

Translation Services

  • How to get documents translated
  • DSHS Forms in other languages
  • DSHS Publications in other languages