At the time of enrollment in the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program, the MWA case manager must assess the recipient for language barriers immediately. If a refugee requires language interpretation, use any practical means to provide that service effectively. Determine if the refugee is already working with a local resettlement agency and if appropriate, enlist their assistance to overcome the language barrier. Keep in mind that using children or other community members for language services may compromise the recipient’s confidentiality. The resettlement agency and/or the sponsor for the refugee may be the best source to provide information or the services needed to effectively communicate with the refugee recipient. When working with the refugee and the resettlement agency, use the following questions as a starting point to determine the best mix of services to the refugee:
- Is the refugee able to speak and understand English without interpreter services?
- If the refugee needs interpreter services, does the resettlement agency provide those and in what manner?
- If the resettlement agency provides interpreter services, do they agree to do so for the purposes of MWA?
- How does the communication between the MWA service provider and the recipient take place (i.e., is correspondence sent to the recipient or to the resettlement agency)?
- Does the MWA service provider make the recipient appointments with the recipient or the resettlement agency?
Remember, the inability to communicate in English does not exempt or exclude a refugee from the employment and training requirement. Make appropriate referrals to English as Second Language (ESL) providers or other resources as applicable.