TANF-ACF-IM-2000-05 (Policy Guidance on the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination as It Affects Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP))
State Agencies Administering or Supervising an Approved TANF (IV-A) Program and Other Interested Parties
Policy Guidance on the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination as It Affects Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et. Seq. and its implementing regulation at 45 C.F.R. Part 80 provides that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin under any program or activity that received Federal financial assistance. In Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974), the Supreme Court recognized that recipients of Federal financial assistance have an affirmative responsibility, pursuant to Title VI, to provide LEP persons with meaningful opportunity to participate in public programs.
The purpose of this policy guidance is to clarify the responsibilities of providers of health and social services who receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities to persons with LEP. All entities that receive Federal financial assistance from HHS, either directly or indirectly, through a grant contract or subcontract, are covered by this policy guidance.
States and many other providers of health and social services have legal obligations to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulation. The policy guidance reiterates HHS’ longstanding position that in order to avoid discrimination against LEP persons on grounds of national origin, health and social service providers must take adequate steps to ensure that such persons receive the language assistance necessary to afford them meaningful access to their services, free of charge. The guidance also clarifies for health and social service providers, and members of the public, that a recipient or covered entity must assess what steps it can take to ensure that eligible LEP persons have meaningful access to programs and services. This guidance also provides examples of policies and practices that the Office for Civil Rights, HHS, would find in violation of Title VI, and sets out the policies, procedures and other steps that recipients can take to ensure meaningful access to their programs by LEP persons. Appendix A to the guidance is a series of questions and answers that provides a useful summary of a number of the major aspects of the guidance.
This information was developed by the Office for Civil Rights, HHS, and is consistent with a Department of Justice (DOJ) directive noting that recipient/covered entities have an obligation pursuant to Title VI’s prohibition against national origin discrimination to provide oral and written language assistance to LEP persons.
Use of Funds:
Expenses incurred in the provision of LEP services to potential TANF populations may be covered with Federal TANF or State Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funds in accordance with all appropriate cost principles. Expenditures for LEP services for eligibility determinations would be subject to the 15 percent administrative caps that apply separately to Federal and State administrative costs.
Inquiries should be directed to ACF Hub Directors/Regional Administrators or the Regional Managers in the Office for Civil Rights, HHS.
Alvin C. Collins
Office of Family Assistance