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Press Release

Goochland Powhatan Community Services Agrees to Settle Americans with Disabilities Act Complaint

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The United States Attorney’s Office announced a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Goochland Powhatan Community Services (GPCS), which is the Community Service Board and local government mental health agency for Goochland and Powhatan Counties.

The settlement agreement resolves allegations that GPCS failed to furnish sign language interpreting services during multiple consequential and complex interactions with an individual who is deaf during a 33-month period, including monthly interactions when GPCS personnel were supposed to assess the individual for, among other things, previously unidentified risks, injuries, needs, or other changes in status, and the individual was supposed to have an opportunity to provide meaningful input and feedback about the services being provided. In Virginia, Community Service Boards, like GPCS, provide a continuum of community-based education, prevention, crisis intervention, counseling and rehabilitation to individuals, families and groups in need of mental health, intellectual and developmental disability, and/or substance use disorder services, including support coordination services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Entities covered by the ADA, such as state and local government agencies, are required to furnish appropriate auxiliary aid or services, including sign language interpreter services, when providing to people with communication disabilities. Ensuring that such services are provided is especially important for communication-intensive programs that human and social service providers offer to the public.

To resolve this complaint, GPCS agreed to adopt new ADA policies. These policies will make their services accessible to individuals with communication disabilities, including those who require the services of a sign language interpreter, by requiring GPCS to designate an ADA Administrator who will be responsible for ensuring the agency’s compliance with the ADA; requiring GPCS to enter into agreements with sign language interpreting service providers to provide their services to individuals who need them; and requiring GPCS to provide training for its personnel on the ADA’s effective communication requirements.

This resolution is particularly significant because Community Service Boards in Virginia are essential to ensuring that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are able to receive community-based services and be integrated into their communities, and individuals who are deaf are entitled to have access to such services.

The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Gordon, who is the Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The civil claims settled by this ADA agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.

The Department of Justice has a number of publications available to assist entities in complying with the ADA including Effective Communication, a Business Brief on Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings and ADA Update: A Primer for State and Local Governments. For more information on the ADA and to access these publications, visit or call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

2022 marks the ADA’s 32nd anniversary. The Justice Department continues to advance the nation's goal of equal opportunity, integration, full participation, inclusion, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Through its enforcement and technical assistance tools, the Justice Department strives to eliminate unlawful discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Updated August 8, 2022

Disability Rights