Agencies When Providing Federal Financial Assistance Should Ensure Compliance With Title VI

HRD-80-22: Published: Apr 15, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 1980.

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A request was made for a review of Federal agencies' compliance with title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI provides that no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin under any Federal financial assistance program. Each executive department and agency is responsible for determining which of its activities and programs provide Federal financial assistance subject to title VI. The Department of Justice is responsible for coordinating agencies' enforcement of title VI and assisting agencies to implement their title VI responsibilities.

Based on responses to GAO questionnaires, agencies were not always certain which assistance activities and programs were subject to title VI, and some said many activities which GAO believed to be subject to title VI were exempt. Some agencies lacked reasonable assurance that title VI was fully implemented. Agencies did not collect racial and ethnic data, negotiate voluntary compliance, resolve complaints promptly, or know the adequacy of State compliance systems. They claimed that they had problems enforcing the title because they lacked: (1) adequate agency title VI policies, regulations, and guidelines; (2) sufficient staff for effective enforcement; (3) adequate title VI knowledge or training for agency personnel with title VI responsibilities; and (4) enough title VI enforcement funds. In order to evaluate these problems, two Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) programs, foster child care and health planning, were reviewed. HEW had not provided adequate guidance to program managers on their responsibilities, collected sufficient racial and ethnic data to permit managers to evaluate compliance, or complied adequately with monitoring and enforcing the two programs under title VI.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct Justice's Civil Rights Division to: (1) clarify criteria and cite examples for agencies to use in determining which Federal assistance activities and programs are covered or not covered by title VI; (2) provide technical assistance to, and review the determinations of, title VI coverage of those agencies uncertain about title VI coverage; (3) ensure that Justice regulations requiring agencies to issue title VI regulations and guidelines are implemented; and (4) improve its monitoring of agencies' enforcement of Justice's title VI requirements. The Attorney General should also amend Justice regulations to: provide for review and approval of agencies' title VI guidelines; define "continuing assistance programs;" require agencies to collect racial and ethnic data for their programs; develop criteria for agencies' use in conducting onsite compliance reviews; and establish time limits for agencies to investigate complaints, negotiate voluntary compliance, and initiate administrative hearings. The Secretary of HEW should: include in the proposed Bureau of Health Planning project review regulations a provision for assessing title VI compliance; direct the Office for Civil Rights and HEW program managers to assign sufficient staff to permit timely reviews of title VI compliance; require the collection of sufficient racial and ethnic data to enable health planning and foster care managers to establish program goals that recognize the needs of all people to be served, and determine compliance with title VI; and direct health planning and foster care program managers to train their staffs and those in the State and local governments about their title VI responsibilities, possibly using the regional centers for health planning to train health planning personnel. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should: require that executive department and agency heads determine their personnel and training needs and consider whether the agencies need additional staff and training. This determination should include considering agencies' use of program personnel for enforcing title VI.

    Agency Affected:


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