As New Jersey grows in diversity, government systems and agencies struggle to communicate with the communities they serve. Lack of language access means lack of access to basic needs, resulting in costly emergencies! New Jersey needs language access so families can make informed choices about their rights, health, work, safety, and family.
New Jersey is more diverse than we have ever been! Nearly one in three New Jersey households speak a language other than English at home and over 155 languages are spoken in the state.
Despite progress to expand eligibility for certain public services, Limited English Proficiency prevents many from accessing the supports they deserve. At state government agencies, the language access bill would provide:
- Translation of vital documents in the 15 most spoken languages by Limited English Proficient New Jerseyans
- Oral interpretation at state government agencies offering direct services
- Designated language access coordinators and robust annual reporting requirements
- Highly visible informational posters and signage about language access services and downloadable "I Speak" cards
Lack of access has enormous fiscal costs due to duplicated efforts and unfocused outreach. It also results in incalculable human costs when New Jerseyans cannot access the support they need.
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