FY15 Linguistic and Cultural Competency Guidelines and Assurances

These Linguistic and Cultural Competency Guidelines and Assurance (LCC Guidelines) are attached to the Community Services Agreement (Agreement) and incorporated into it. Throughout this attachment, DHS is referred to as the Agency.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Christine Hammond, IDHS, via email.

Printable Version: Linguistic & Cultural Competency Guidelines and Assurances FY15 (pdf)



1.1. Introduction. The purpose of these LCC Guidelines is to improve access to culturally competent programs, services, and activities for Limited English Proficient (LEP) customers, persons who are hard of hearing or Deaf, and persons with low literacy (collectively, the Goal). LEP Customers, as used herein, includes LEP Customers, persons who are hard of hearing or Deaf, and persons with low literacy.

1.2. Linguistic and Cultural Competency Mandate: These LCC Guidelines were developed because the State of Illinois must comply with the Constitution of the United States, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, Illinois Human Rights Act, the 1970 Constitution of the State of Illinois and any laws, regulations or orders, federal or state, which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, ancestry, marital status, disability, or the inability to speak or comprehend the English language.


Key Concepts

2.1. Cultural Competence. A set of behaviors, attitudes and policies in a system, agency or among professionals that affect cross-cultural work, evolving over time.

2.2. Individual Cultural Competence. Acquisition of the values, knowledge, skills and attributes that allows an individual to work appropriately in cross-cultural situations.

2.3. Organizational Cultural Competence. Systems and organizations approve, and in some cases mandate, the incorporation of cultural knowledge into policymaking, infrastructure and practice. An example of an LEP practice would include: requiring written material translated, adapted, and or provided in alternative formats based on needs and preferences of the populations served.

2.4. Language Access. Assuring language access means providing language assistance services, including bilingual personnel and interpreter services, at no cost to each LEP customer, at key points of contact, in a timely manner. Interpretation and translation services must comply with all relevant federal, state and local mandates governing language access. Consumers must engage in evaluation of language access and other communication to ensure quality and satisfaction. Importantly, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin including actions that delay, deny, or provide different quality services to a particular individual or group of individuals. See Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pub. L. 88-352, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 241, as amended.

2.5. Meaningful Access. Providers and their subcontractors, providing services subject to 7 C.F.R. § 272.4(b) are required to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their services and programs by LEP Customers. Compliance involves the balancing of four factors: 1) the number and proportion of eligible LEP Customers, 2) the frequency of contact with LEP Customers, 3) the importance or impact of the contact upon the lives of the person(s) served, and 4) the resources available to the organization. This four-factor analysis (LEP Assessment) may be applied to the different types of programs or activities the Provider provides to determine the level of language assistance measures sufficient to assure full compliance or to demonstrate reasonable efforts.



3.1. Plan Development. Providers are required to develop a plan (the LCC Plan) to meet the Goal, which must include a description of the customer base served by the Provider and an analysis of the four factors discussed in section 2.5, following the LCC Guidelines contained herein. Appendix A provides the plan elements with corresponding indicators of plan compliance. Appendix B provides a guide for drafting the LCC Plan.

3.2. Language Assistance Services. The LCC Plan should explain how the Provider will meet the needs of LEP Customers, either through direct assistance, use of private interpretation services or use of State-funded or other interpretation programs, via both short-term and long-term strategies. For example, a Provider may solicit, through all reasonable and available means, the services of a subcontractor to provide interpretation, translation or other services to assist the Provider in meeting the Goal.

3.3. Personnel Strategies. The LCC Plan should include a description of how the Provider will promote strategies to increase recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of personnel with bilingual and bicultural backgrounds representative of the target population served, such as establishing requirements for specific language skills in job descriptions and compensation for bilingual skills or American Sign Language skills.

3.4. Data-Driven Approach. Providers must incorporate data-driven rationale for the approach in its LCC Plan. Providers should collect customer data on race, ethnicity, and primary spoken language to ensure every effort is made to provide consumers with effective, understandable and respectful services provided in the consumers' preferred language and in a manner sensitive to cultural beliefs and practices. Providers should maintain current demographic and cultural profile of the community to plan for services that respond to the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the service area.

3.5. Additional Information. The LCC Plan should include any additional information that will aid the Agency in assessing the Provider's ability to provide access to services for LEP Customers.

3.6. Contract Inclusion. If applicable based on the Provider's customer base, the LCC Plan will include any executed agreements specifying the terms and conditions of the relationship between the Provider and any entity providing language access support to programs, services, and activities to meet the Goal.

3.7. Plan Submission. The Provider shall submit to the Agency its LCC Plan by June 30, 2015.

3.8. Plan Amendments. The Provider may amend the LCC Plan and provide written notice to the DHS of such amendment. The Provider must ensure that any amendments to the LCC Plan do not result in a reduction in access to programs, services, and activities for LEP Customers.

3.9. Plan Implementation. It is expected that once the initial LCC Plan has been submitted to the Agency, in subsequent years, the Provider will submit an annual report detailing progress toward implementation (LCC Plan Implementation Progress Report) at the time of contract execution, commonly July 1st. The LCC Plan Implementation Progress Report shall identify all goals met and describe any efforts made toward meeting additional goals still in progress.



4.1. Compliance. Compliance with the LCC Guidelines, as described herein, is an essential part of the Agreement.

4.2. Records. The Provider shall maintain a record of all relevant data with respect to the access of programs, services, and activities by LEP Customers for a period of at least five years after the completion of this Agreement. Complete access to these records, and data reasonably related to a representation by the Provider regarding these LCC Guidelines or the LCC Plan, shall be granted by the Provider upon 48 hours' written notice by the Agency.

4.3. Periodic Review. The Agency may periodically review the Provider's compliance with these LCC Guidelines, its LCC Plan and the terms of its contract. Without limitation, the Provider's failure to cooperate in providing information regarding its compliance with these LCC Guidelines or its LCC Plan, or the provision of false or misleading information or statements concerning compliance, customer base, good faith efforts, or any other material fact or representation shall constitute a material breach of this Agreement and entitle the Agency to declare a default, terminate the contract, or exercise those remedies provided for in the Agreement or at law or in equity.




Important Links

American Community Survey 2006-2010 - Illinois


Linguistic and Cultural Competency Plan Template