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Limited English Proficiency - Four Factor Analysis

Factor 1: Determining the Number and Proportion of LEP Persons Served or Encountered in the Service Area.

States should:
Examine their prior experiences with LEP individuals and determine the breadth and scope of language services that are needed. Seek and examine demographic information regarding minority populations and foreign languages predominately spoken in the service. Such information may be attained from the U.S Census, school systems, community organizations, and local governments.

Factor 2: Determine the Frequency with Which LEP Individuals Come into Contact with NRCS Programs, Activities, and Services.

States Should:
Assess as accurately as possible, the frequency with which they have or should have contact with LEP individuals from different language groups seeking assistance. This information should be gathered from NRCS’ staff who interact with customers daily.

Consider the frequency of different types of language contacts. For example, the State of Texas is highly populated with Hispanic individuals. If U.S Census data indicated a high percentage of Hispanic individuals with limited ability to speak and/or read English in the State of Texas, it is likely that NRCS Texas would have more frequent contact with those individuals. Frequent contacts with LEP Spanish-speaking people may require certain/various assistance in Spanish dialects. Less frequent contact with different language groups may suggest a different and/or less intensified solution.

Factor 3: Determine the Importance to LEP Persons of Your Program Activities and Services.

States Should:
Identify the programs, services, or activities that would have a serious consequence if language barriers prevented LEP person’s access to them. For example, a serious consequence may apply to areas that are responsible for providing critical information regarding NRCS’ federally conducted and assisted programs.

A determination should be made as to the impact on actual and potential services to LEP beneficiaries. For example, if an LEP individual in a respective service area did not understand and/or have knowledge of NRCS’ Emergency Watershed Protection Program, and the soil on the individual’s property was eroding due to water runoff retardation; this may lead to critical change such as flooding and threaten the property and safety of individual’s living on a adjoining property. This type of impact would be prolonged if the individual is LEP and the service area is not equipped/prepared to handle an LEP individual. 

Factor 4: Determine the Resource Available to the Recipient and Costs.

This last step in the four-factor analysis allows an area to weigh the demand for language assistance against the organization’s current and projected financial and personnel resources. This analysis should help determine if the language services it currently provides are cost effective, and should also help the organization plan future investments that will provide the most needed assistance to the greatest number of LEP persons within the limits of organization resources.