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Deaf and Hard of Hearing

At some time in your career at DCF, you may have the opportunity to work with a Deaf or Hard of Hearing parent or child. There are specific laws and general guidelines that should be adhered to when working with this population. 

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Legal Requirements

“Deaf and hard of hearing people are entitled to effective communication with state and local government agencies. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ŠŠ12131-12134, forbids discrimination by any public entity.”

“Under the ADA, local and state agencies are required to give equal access and equally effective services to people with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. 35.130. They may not deny people an opportunity to participate in their programs, or give them an opportunity that is less effective than the opportunity given to others. Often, the public entity must provide qualified interpreters, TTYs, visible warning devices, or captioned materials and other auxiliary aids to ensure effective communication with deaf and hard of hearing people.”

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Ways To Communicate With a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individual

Brochure (prepared specifically for the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families.)

  1. All DCF offices have a TTY available. The keyboard is similar to a standard computer keyboard. There is TTY etiquette you need to follow. Type “GA”, which means go ahead, at the end of your sentence to inform the other person it is their turn. Also watch for “GA” which means it is your turn to talk. Type “SK” to end the conversation.
  2. Call 711 for relay services.  Tell the 711 operator the number you wish to call. The relay operator will dial it and then communicate using a TTY with the individual.  Remember to use “go ahead” and “SK” just as you would with using a TTY. Please speak directly to the individual, not the operator.
  3. Some individuals use video relay. They utilize a computer equipped with a video camera and use sign language to communicate with an interpreter instead of a TTY. Not many have access to this, but if they do, it is very helpful for an individual with limited English who is not able to communicate with a TTY.

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Practice Standards for DCF Workers
 
ALL visits, which include home visits, court appearances and treatment meetings (ACRS), must include interpreting services. Interpreting services must be provided by a certified interpreter. Certified interpreters are provided by two agencies in the state of CT, CDHI and FSW. You may be able to find other local agencies that have certified interpreters.

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When Requesting an Interpreter
  1. Request a certified interpreter through CDHI or FSW. (numbers listed on back)
  2. Always try to obtain the individuals preferred mode of communication prior to scheduling the interpreter. Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals can use a variety of communication to include (ASL – American Sign Language, Oral – lip reads and uses voice, PSE- Pidgin Signed English, Signed English, MLS – Minimal Language Skills or Gestural) If you cannot determine their preferred mode of communication, then ask the individual when the interpreter is present. 
  3. Try to schedule interpreting services two weeks in advance. A suggestion is to plan your home visits (even unannounced) a month at a time to ensure the availability of interpreter services for your home visits. Interpreter services are available on an emergency basis.
  4. There are different types of interpreters for different uses.  Interpreters are certified nationally at different skill levels (medical, legal). Some situations may require the use of more than one interpreter to ensure effective communication between all parties.

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Things to Know About Deaf Culture
 
There are many barriers to effective communication and they may not all be apparent to you. Try to be mindful of your body language, facial expression, and maintaining eye contact with the deaf individual. When an interpreter is present, look and speak to the individual, not the interpreter.

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Policy

Language of Child and Family, services provided in, 21-3

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Links
Best Practice Guide:  Preferred Languages (Delivery of Service in a Client's Preferred Method of Communication)

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Acronyms

ASL: American Sign Language
CART: Communication Access Real Time Translation
NAD: National Association of the Deaf
RID: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
NTECU: National Training, Evaluation & Certification Unit
VRI: Video Remote Interpreting

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DCF Approved Interpreting Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The American School for the Deaf: (Source Interpreting)
139 North Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107
Contact: Jeff Bravin:  jeff.bravin@asd-1817.org
                   Maeve Gavigan: Maeve.Gavigan@asd-1817.org
                   Patricia Clark: patricia.clark@asd-1817.org
#: 860-570-1816
Fax: 860-570-2293
www.asd-1817.org
www.sourceinterpreting.com

Bilingual Professional Agency, INC
1663 East 17th Street
Brooklyn New York, 11229
Contact: Suzanne Hersher:  shersher@comprehensivenet.com
#: 718-382-2020x 313
Fax: 718-732-1130
www.signtalk.org
 
CoSign CT, LLC
34 Shelley Road
Middletown, CT 06457
Contact: Leslie Warren: lawcrdr@gmail.com
#: 800-212-3300
www.cosignct.com

Interpreters Unlimited:
11199 Sorrento valley Rd  Suite 203
San Diego, CA
Contact: Shamus Sayed
#: 800-726-9891
Fax: 800-726-9822
www.interpretersunlimited.com

Language Link Corp (My Language link)
420 East Main St. Suite 7 Bldg 2
Branford Ct 06405
Contact: Santiago Achinelli: gillio@mylanguagelinnk.org
#203-305-6960
Fax: 203-285-8656
www.mylanguagelink.org

Northwest Interpreters, INC (NWI GLobal)
12500 SE 2nd Circle, Suite 140
Vancouver, WA 98684
Contact: Vic Marcus
# 360-566-0492
www.nwiglobal.com

Voiance Language Services, LLC
5780 North Swan Road
Tuscon, AZ 85718
Contact: Bill Martin: bmartin@ cyracom.com
#: 520-573-2367
www.cyracom.com

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Interpreting Services:

Life Bridge (Formerly FSW)
475 Clinton Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06605
Phone: 203-368-4291
Toll free and emergency:  888-676-8554
Fax 203-696-0714
Email: csls@LifeBridgeCT.org
Link to Life Bridge Interpreter Request form: 
http://www.lifebridgect.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Sign-Language-Interpreter-Req-Form.pdf

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Contact:  Monica Rams, MS (she, her, hers)
CT Department of Children and Families
Director, Multicultural Affairs
505 Hudson Street, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
(O) 860-550-6569
monica.rams@ct.gov