Saturday, 30 July 2016

Connecticut Lays Off Dozens of Sign Language Interpreters

The state will no longer be providing sign language interpreters.

State officials have laid off more than two dozen interpreters in an effort to close the budget deficit.

Members of the deaf community are voicing their concerned that the layoffs could make it harder for them to access much-needed interpretation services. People who are deaf or hard of hearing said they rely on the state's interpreters, especially for things like legal matters or dealing with paying bills. 

The state has argued that the cuts would likely not harm access to services, as there are still interpreters available in the private sector. The layoffs are expected to save the state $1.2 million this year.

But many in the deaf community said this is part of a wider statewide trend aimed at cutting back on services to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Union officials or the Department of Rehabilitative Services could not be reached for comment.

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