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Office of Equity Department

For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors adopts language access policy

SANTA ROSA, CA | May 14, 2024

En español »

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today approved a language access policy and implementation plan, in a commitment to improve access to County services for residents who do not speak English as their primary language or who do not speak any English. The policy was created by the County’s Office of Equity.

As part of the policy, the County will bolster efforts to provide timely interpretation and translation services to County residents and visitors in their preferred language. The County also committed to using plain language in public communications including writing in short sentences, using simple words, avoiding technical jargon and designing documents for easy reading. The policy also establishes the Office of Equity, in partnership with the County Administrator’s Office, as the administrative agency to assist all County departments and agencies in the implementation of the policy as resources allow.

“We need to make sure that government services are accessible to anyone who needs them, and that starts with communicating in a language that people understand,” said David Rabbitt, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “The language access policy represents our commitment to inclusivity and equity for communities that have experienced marginalization from government processes and services.”

The County of Sonoma is linguistically diverse with almost 12 percent of residents 5 and older, or 54,847 people, speaking a language other than English at home, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. More than 40,000 of these individuals speak Spanish, comprising almost 10 percent of the county’s population. Overall, more than 75 other languages are spoken by residents.

The policy meets federal and state law, including the California Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act, which requires state and local public agencies, serving a population where at least 5 percent of people do not speak English well, to provide services and materials in the languages spoken by those individuals.

Media Contact:
Matt Brown, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403