U.S. Judge to Aid State’s Deaf Human Service System Clients

Lexington School for the Deaf

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A federal judge is being asked to approve a settlement of a class-action lawsuit that would ramp up the state’s responsibility to individuals who are deaf.

A key provision of the proposed deal U.S. Middle District Chief Judge Yvette Kane is weighing would require the state Department of Public Welfare to hire sign language interpreters and other specialists to improve communications with deaf clients in the human services system.

About 250 such clients have been identified so far in the state’s system of group homes and other service providers, according to filings in the case.

Also, DPW would have to pay $450,000 to the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, which filed the lawsuit against DPW in 2010 on behalf of a client identified in court papers only as Harry M.

In seeking approval of the settlement, the rights network stated that DPW officials also have signed off on the proposed…

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