"The stakes can be very high when the Department of Children & Families intercedes between a parent and their child. Now imagine if the parent doesn’t speak English.
That’s what happened to Juan Abad, a Dominican immigrant who’s been a Lynn resident for roughly a decade. Abad didn’t know he had fathered twins until one of them died from severe physical abuse inflicted by the mother’s boyfriend. The state’s Office of the Child Advocate reviewed the horrific case and found that DCF failed to protect the three-month-old baby. The mother, who along with her boyfriend was charged in connection with the baby’s death, called Abad to tell him he was the babies’ father and that the surviving twin, Anthony, had been put in foster care.
And so began Abad’s five-year ordeal to get custody of Anthony, in a case that was hampered by DCF’s language-access shortcomings. The case exemplifies the inconsistent and more than often substandard language access practices across state government agencies. Even though it is required by federal law to provide timely and culturally competent oral language services to individuals with limited English proficiency, the law is rarely enforced."
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Coincidentally, the biliteracy achievement award issued by the Commonwealth recognized 5 students from FHS last year and 11 for this year. Each student achieved this with at least 2 languages. I recall a School Committee meeting that revealed that there are more than 20 languages spoken in the halls and corridors of FHS.
|"Nearly 1 in 4 people in Massachusetts speaks a language other than English at home"|