FAQs for Civil Rights Coordinators
Questions1. What is the role of the Civil Rights Coordinator (CRC)?
2. Who are the Civil Rights Coordinators?
3. What is the role of the CDSS Civil Rights Bureau (CRB) analyst?
4. How do I get Civil Rights Coordinator's training?
5. Do I have to do a face-to-face interview with a complainant?
6. What happens if the complainant doesn't sign a release before an investigation?
7. We have a complainant that doesn't think we will investigate his situation fairly because we work for the county. What can we do?
8. Why is my county reviewed every year and others only every 2 or 3 years?
9. What should I do to prepare for a compliance review?
10. What is a monitoring review?
11. I need to order posters. What do I do to get them from CDSS or the Civil Rights Bureau?
You are an immensely important part of the civil rights program in your department. You are a vital contact for the Civil Rights Bureau, our guide to your department's practices and your county's needs. You are the official point of contact for discrimination complaints; you are responsible for compiling the Civil Rights Annual Plan; and you are the main organizer for the compliance review.
You act as subject matter expert, policy consultant, trainer, investigator, mentor, and sympathetic ear. And this is on top of any other duties you might normally perform!
You have a CRB analyst assigned as your liaison. Please go to CRB County Point of Contact to find out who the contact person is. You can always call or email your CRB analyst whenever you have a question about Division 21 requirements. Not sure how to interpret a passage in Division 21? Unclear about how to document bilingual services? Wondering how often your department's staff needs to have civil rights training? Looking for a second pair of eyes on the new policy for providing auxiliary aids? The CDSS Civil Rights analyst will provide you with technical assistance on civil rights issues that you encounter as a Civil Rights Coordinator. We hope you use the expertise of your CRB analyst often.
Call your CRB analyst to discuss your training needs. Several Regional Meetings are scheduled throughout the calendar year to provide learning and training opportunities for Civil Rights Coordinators. Investigation trainings may also be available for you and your investigators. One-on-one sessions with your CRB analyst might also be arranged.
Yes, Division 21-203.32 requires a face-to-face interview. However, certain circumstances may render a face-to-face meeting impractical. In these instances, the complainant and Investigator can agree to other ways of completing an interview (i.e., telephone interview, written correspondence, etc.). When this occurs, be sure to document the circumstances in the investigation report.
Division 21-203.32 states that the complainant must be informed that the information will be sent to the state and federal agencies, but only personnel involved with the processing of the discrimination complaint will have access to it. Because the discrimination investigation report is completed at the county level, that report and all its attendant documents (correspondence, NOAs, completed forms, etc.) must be sent to CRB for review, the complainant must give their consent for that information to be shared. The complaint report will also be shared with the appropriate federal oversight agency, as well. The consent form allows the complainant to give or deny consent. If consent is denied, then the report cannot be submitted to CRB. Because not giving the report to CRB would be a violation of Division 21-203 requirements, the county will not be able to continue with the investigation and the complaint is effectively closed.
Explain to the complainant that as Civil Rights Coordinator, you were chosen because you are a neutral third party, an objective fact finder who is not associated with the case or even the program in question. Your duty as a discrimination complaint investigator is not to protect the county or to be the complainant's advocate; your duty as an investigator is to uncover enough evidence to determine whether or not the complainant was discriminated against.
In unusual circumstances, such as when you as the Civil Rights Coordinator are included in the allegations of the complaint, please discuss the situation with your CRB analyst for other possible arrangements. You can always refer complainants to the Civil Rights Bureau or to the appropriate federal agency; keep in mind that complaints are always referred to the most local level possible for resolution or investigation so the complaint will likely come back to your office for action.
USDA regulations at 7 CFR 275.5(b)(1) set the frequency for compliance reviews. Large counties must be reviewed every year, medium every two years, and small every three years. Large counties are those that have a Food Stamps caseload of 25,000 households or more. Medium counties have 5,001 to 24,999 FS households, and small counties have 5,000 and below.
You don't need to do anything special to prepare! You have been implementing and overseeing civil rights requirements in your department all year long, and the compliance review is a chance for CRB to see what a great job you've done. It's also a chance for you to ask questions about those issues that may seem particularly troublesome, and to receive first-hand technical assistance on those tricky aspects of civil rights compliance. If you have further concerns, please be sure to call your CRB analyst.
Several weeks before your compliance review, your CRB analyst will get in touch with you to make arrangements for the compliance review visit, including arranging case reviews, program manager surveys, facility disability access inspections, contracts review, reconciling your discrimination complaint log with our state log, and interviews with some public contact staff.
This is a review conducted outside of the mandated frequency schedule, generally unannounced, to follow up on the compliance review corrective action plan, checking to ensure corrections were made in accordance with the corrective action plan. Repeat findings (from prior reviews) reported in the regular compliance reviews and/or a large number of corrective actions needed as a result of a current review are the main reasons for a monitoring review. Division 21-201.32 explains more detail about these special reviews.
You may order posters and Pub 13's by contacting the Civil Rights Bureau at (916) 654-2107, or by e-mail at email@example.com .