As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) settlement agreement, the Department in 2010 employed the services of an Independent Consultant who will further ensure that the DCF’s Office of Civil Rights has provisions in place to provide services for those customers and/or companions who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Justice Research & Advocacy, Inc. (JRA) has conducted assessments, reviewed documents, policies and/or procedures in connection with the provisions of the settlement agreement. JRA continues to assist DCF in meeting its requirements, including:
- Assessing DCF’s current ability to provide auxiliary aids and services to deaf and hard-of-hearing Customers or Companions, and identify additional communication resources as necessary;
- Assisting DCF in creating a monitoring plan to monitor DCF Direct Service Facilities and contract providers to ensure that customers and companions who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are provided with appropriate auxiliary aids and services;
- Working with the DCF Advisory Committee composed of professionals from the nonprofit and government sectors who work with or on behalf of deaf or hard-of-hearing persons in Florida;
- Monitoring DCF’s tracking and recording the provision of auxiliary aids and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing Customers or Companions accessing each DCF Direct Service Facility;
- Evaluating DCF services using Customer Grievance/Feedback Forms; and
- Reviewing and approving documents and policies and/or procedures required by the Settlement Agreement.
Michelle L. Riske-Morris is the Independent Consultant with JRA. Her bio and CV may be found through the following links: