Language Access Task Force

2017 Welfare Advocates Conference

The 2017 Welfare Advocates Conference is coming up on November 2 at the Radisson Hotel in Timonium, MD. This year, we are excited that our keynote speaker will be Marc Steiner, and he'll be talking about how to amplify the stories and voices of individuals who are marginalized. We are also having an interactive closing plenary where local leaders –including the CEOs of United Way, Catholic Charities, Advocates for Children and Youth, and the Jobs Opportunity Task Force - are being pitched the question "How Do We End Poverty?" that they’ll each answer from their own perspectives. Our theme this year is Casting a Wide Net, speaking to the need for inclusivity in our organizations, in our communities, and in our policies. Along that theme, we are having workshops on assisting our immigrant neighbors, working with LGBTQ youth, and violence prevention efforts in West Baltimore, among others. Our 1-day conference also offers 5 Category 1 CEUs for social workers! Need more convincing? On top of a delicious Italian lunch, we have incredible door prizes this year including (for the first time) tickets to the National Aquarium, tickets to see Madam Butterfly, two different ski packages at two different resorts, and several area restaurant gift cards! 

For more information - and to register - please follow this link: It's really a great conference and we hope to see you there!

Language Access Task Force meeting

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 2:30pm - 4:00pm

Meetings will be held in the Baltimore City office of Maryland Legal Aid.

Find the GoToMeeting lInk at If you cannot see this link, you are not a member of the Task Force, contact the moderators to become a member.

Location Name: 
Maryland Legal Aid
500 East Lexington Street
Veronique Felix
MD Legal Aid

Caregiver Conference

The Howard County Office on Aging is hosting a conference for people caring for aging loved ones on Saturday, November 14th from 8am-3pm at the North Laurel Community Center in Laurel, MD. Details and registration are here: www.howardcountyaging/org/caregiver and in the attached flier.

4th Annual Caregiver Conference Nov 14 2015.pdf187.6 KB

Survey About Mediation in Circuit Court Non-Family Cases


The Salisbury University Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution is working with the Maryland Judiciary on a survey research project about attorney experience in Circuit Court Mediation Programs for Civil Non-Family Cases. The survey takes on average 7 minutes to complete and any attorney in Maryland that practices in the circuit court is eligible. The purpose is to examine the rate of use and explore issues and concerns that attorneys say enhances or limits the use of mediation.


This survey research is being overseen by the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution. The results will be disseminated by MACRO at the conclusion of the project and will be used to improve the use of mediation, when appropriate, in civil non-family cases.

Questions regarding the research can be directed to Brian Polkinghorn, Ph.D., Executive Director, Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution at

New Pro Bono Program From the SSA

A new pro bono program seeks volunteers to act as representative payees.  A flyer is attached.  For more information, go to

Rep Payee Pro Bono Program.pdf193.87 KB

Pretty cool new demographic website

Esri is an exciting company doing important work. Our technology enables organizations to create responsible and sustainable solutions to problems at local and global scales.

At Esri, we believe that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. Governments, industry leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) trust us to connect them with the analytic knowledge they need to make these critical decisions that shape the planet.

We invite you to discover ways that you can leverage our technology and expertise in your own organization. 

Zip Code look up:

Other demographics:

Reminder: Family Law Task Force Meeting TOMORROW in Baltimore City

Hello all,

As a reminder, the Family Law Task Force is meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in the Baltimore City office 2nd floor boardroom. GoToMeeting info is pasted below.

Attached is an agenda for tomorrow; please let me know if you have anything additional you would like to add.




1. Go to to join the meeting

2. To participate in audio via phone, call the conference line at 636-277-0134

Access code/meeting ID is 353-214-086; Audio Pin will be shown after joining the meeting

Family Law Task Force Meeting - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 in Baltimore City

Hello everyone,


The next meeting of the Family Law Task Force is one week from today, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in the Baltimore City office (2nd floor boardroom).  Please RSVP to me at if you are coming and let me know if you will participate in person or via GoToMeeting.  GTM info stays the same for every meeting, but I will send the information out closer to the date.


Please let me know if you have any agenda items.




Enroll in Health Coverage at HealthConnectNow on March 1 at the B'More Healthy Expo

Please pass along this information froim Health Care Access Maryland to clients, friends and family:

Come to the HealthConnectNow! Enrollment Event from 10 am – 5 pm on March 1st at the B’More Healthy Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. HCAM’s Certified Navigators will be on hand to answer your questions and help you enroll. Visit us on Level 300!

Click here for the event flyer.


HealthConnectNow! Enrollment events will be scheduled across the state throughout March - check out the event list at for more dates and locations. Remember, open enrollment for Maryland Health Connection ends March 31!

(Sorry for the duplicate postings).

Extension of interpreters for court-ordered services

The Judiciary recently issued a policy to expand interpretation services to court-ordered services and programs, including:

-- Mediation

-- Court evaluations

-- Court-appointed attorneys

-- Self-Help Centers

and many more.

The attached list is intended to be inclusive. Please contact the Administrative Office of the Courts Program Services Unit at (410) 260-1291 for more information about coverage of particular services.

Feel free to bring to the attention of the Language Access Task Force if you think an interpreter should be appointed for a particular service, but a court refuses to assign one.

MD Judiciary's Language Access Plan

Here is the plan issued by the Maryland Judiciary as to their efforts to maintain and increase accessibility for limited English proficient clients in the courts.

Highlights include:

-- Plans to improve data collection re: LEP participation in the courts

-- Expand interpretation services to court-ordered services and programs

-- Hiring court-employed interpreters in several courts, including AA County, B. County and B. City, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's County

-- Improving the numbers of translated forms available on the courts' websites



MD Judiciary's Language Access Plan.pdf1.04 MB

Language Access Task Force

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 2:30pm - 4:30pm

If you are a member of the Task Force, find the GoToMeeting information at:

Be sure to sign in to see the page.

All meetings are in Baltimore City.

Location Name: 
MD Legal Aid
500 East Lexington
Virginia Rosa and Veronique Felix
Phone: and
MD Legal Aid

Affordable Care Act FAQs

From HHS:

On January 9, 2014, the Department of Labor, the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released its Frequently Asked Questions on the Affordable Care Act. These FAQs are intended to assist the public in understanding the law so they can benefit from it as intended.

The FAQs address:

· Coverage of Preventive Services

· Limitations on Cost-Sharing under the Affordable Care Act – Maximum Out of Pocket costs

· Expatriate Health Plans

· Wellness Programs

· Fixed Indemnity Insurance – Excepted Benefits

· The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

The tri-department FAQs are available at and .

ABA training on cultural competency and victims of domestic violenc

The American Bar Association presents the following in February:


Two-day Training on Use and Integration of Interpreters in Civil Protection Order Representation of Victims of Domestic, Sexual & Stalking Violence


Location: Washington, D.C.

Dates: February 26-27, 2014


This Training is designed to provide attorneys who represent victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking with the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge about providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to victims who are Limited English Proficient and/or Deaf or Hard of Hearing. 


Registration will close January 10. For more information, click here.

Verizon Reduces Free Directory Assistance Calls from 4 to 2 Calls

Office of People’s Counsel


Verizon Reduces Free Directory Assistance Calls from 4 to 2 Calls

October 16, 2013

Verizon Maryland has reduced the number of free directory assistance calls from 4 to 2 calls per month effective October 16, 2013 for landline (wired) telephone service. Each directory assistance call above 2 calls per month will cost $1.99 per call. This change may impact your clients, including Lifeline customers, if they rely on landline service and 411
Directory Assistance from Verizon.

The Company took this action after a new law went into effect on October 1, 2013 permitting Verizon to do this and preventing the Commission from denying the call reduction. The law was passed after OPC successfully opposed this change in two cases heard by the Public Service Commission.

OPC had opposed this change for a simple reason. Even in this age of smart phones and broadband access, adults who are older or with lower incomes will be disproportionately impacted by this bill, since they are more likely than other adults to rely on landline phones and have the need for directory assistance. They will now be subject to additional expenses if they make more than two calls per month.

These are some options for customers to obtain free Directory Assistance information:

  • Internet:
  • Hard copy residential directory: Call 800-888-8448 to obtain a paper or CD-ROM version of the white pages.
  • Physical or visual disabilities: Verizon cannot charge for directory assistance when these disabilities prevent a customer
    from using a telephone directory. If a customer has such disabilities, she should contact Verizon to get this restriction in the customer’s record.

If the customer with disabilities does not get a satisfactory response from Verizon, she should contact the Public Service Commission to make a complaint at 800-735-0474 or 800-735-2258 (TTY/Voice).

OPC also recommends that cell phone users without data plans should check their cell phone plans for the cost of directory assistance calls charged by their cell phone providers.

Alert Directory Assistance Call Reduction.doc64.5 KB

Preparing for Enrollment: New Resources to Help You Through the Process

From Maryland Health Connection:

Whether you’re enrolling online or in person, Maryland Health Connection is providing you with ways to prepare for the enrollment process. Please visit the new “Prepare for Enrollment” page on where you can review health plans, including Qualified Health Plans and Managed Care Organizations, and review rate estimates. Keep these resources on hand when selecting the plan options best for you and your family. The consumer support center is available to answer questions about Maryland Health Connection at 1-855-642-8572 (1-855-642-8573 services for the deaf or hard of hearing).

The Consumer Information Update page has been updated. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. We appreciate the tremendous interest in, and support of, We will address issues as they arise, and will continually improve the function of the website so that Marylanders can access quality, affordable health coverage.

health care resources for uninsured Marylanders

Maryland Health Connection opened its doors this week, and our clients have a new opportunity to access quality, affordable health insurance.  I want to make sure all legal service providers and pro bono attorneys have the resources you need to help your clients access the health care they need.   



Maryland Health Connection has a network of consumer assistance organizations that they call Connectors to offer health insurance assistance in Maryland. They are located in communities around the state and are staffed by navigators and assisters who are certified to help Marylanders enroll in Medicaid or a qualified health plan. By going to a local Connector organization, clients can get one-on-one, in person help to find and select health coverage.  You can find the list of each Connector organization across the state, the map showing what counties they cover, and the hours and locations here.


Clients can also go directly to Maryland Health Connection through the website, and call the Consumer Support Center at 1-855-642-8572.  The Consumer Support Center can handle 200 languages and has services for the deaf and hard of hearing at 1-855-642-8573.


Fact Sheets for Clients

Maryland Health Connection includes a lot of fact sheets for clients.  These documents include:

·         Maryland Health Connection Overview (in English and Spanish)

·         Medicaid Fact Sheets (in English and Spanish)

·         Income Eligibility Chart (in English and Spanish)

·         Health Coverage Glossary (in English and Spanish)


There’s more – check out everything herePlease print out any of these that seem particularly helpful and put them out in your waiting room, distribute them during outreach sessions, and provide them to your clients.

Thanks - and let me know how it goes.  (Sorry for the duplicate postings - I want to make sure this information gets to everyone!)

Earn $80 by participaing in a study about voting accessibility

**Participants Needed for Accessibility and Usability Evaluations of Voting Systems**

Maryland will be moving to a new voting system by 2016. The State Board of Elections has contracted with the University of Baltimore (UB) to conduct a study of potential voting systems to ensure that the system chosen is fully accessible to voters with disabilties.

UB is looking for testers with a range of disabilities for the study, which will take place in Baltimore at UB. The study pays $80 per hour. Testers must be over 18 and eligible to vote.

Please encourage individuals to contact UB to be considered to be a tester. Potential testers can reach UB by email at or 410-837-1974.

A letter from MDLC and a flier announcing the study are attached.

Voting accessibility and usability study.pdf222.33 KB
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