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

Gao ID: HRD-80-22 April 15, 1980

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.


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