¿Se habla español en Douglas County?
Asking for help is frustrating, especially when you aren't speaking the same language - literally. Douglas County Social Services recognizes this hurdle with a limited English proficiency component added to the 2013 Civil Rights Compliance Plan.
Social Services Director Mike Woods said the plan includes the second language section in preparation for upcoming years.
The plan will be assessed annually to determine the unique language needs within the county. The county will consult with major school districts and the legal aid office to determine which languages are most predominant.
Spanish has been identified as the non-English language most likely to be spoken in Douglas County. During intake interviews, applicants who do not speak fluent English will be provided with a card that lists 10 major languages. Less common languages like Russian, Hmong, Vietnamese, Kymer/Cambodian, Lao and Somali will be referred to a supervisor or the director.
Reasonable efforts will be made to provide same-day interpreter services. If on-site interpretation is not available, Language Line Services, a 24 hour a day, seven days a week telephone number (1-800-752-0093) will be used. Interactive television and faxing are alternate processes.
Interpretation services are free and will be used in cases of applying for health care or financial assistance and during child protection assessments. Family members and friends will be last resort interpreters in extenuating circumstances and must pass social services staff approval.
Douglas County Social Services will rely on printed materials already created by the Department of Human Services.
PUBLIC HEALTH SUMMER SESSIONS
Douglas County Public Health will continue educating its staff to better serve the public by attending two commissioner-approved out-of-state conferences this summer.
Public Health Director Sandy Tubbs will attend a National Association of City and County Health Officials session in Dallas, Texas this July to explore communication tools and collaboration efforts that will help maximize the health departments efforts. An estimated $1,362 will cover Tubbs' attendance.
Assistant Public Health Director Kathy Werk will be headed to New Orleans, Louisiana in June for a Case Management Society of America conference to learn about keeping up with new changes in case management. An estimated $1,935 will cover Werk's trip.
Commissioners made two official proclamations at Tuesday's meeting. The entire month of April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month. The proclamation supports raising children in healthy environments free from harm that can lead to criminal behavior, substance abuse, health problems and risky behavior in later years.
Sister Patrice Kiefer will be honored on April 9, 2013 in Douglas County for her 53 years of service to the area. The original proclamation only included Alexandria, but Commissioner Bev Bales had the document amended to include all of Douglas County since Sister Patrice worked at the county hospital. Kiefer is recognized as being a role model for women especially but also all people in the area by demonstrating compassion for those in need physically, mentally and spiritually.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.