Review finds language bias at Alabama child-welfare agency

A federal review has found Alabama's child-welfare system wrongly denied services to people who couldn't speak proficient English.

The civil rights branch of the U.S. Health and Human Services department said in a statement Wednesday that it reviewed a Justice Department complaint accusing the state of discriminating against a Guatemalan man who was trying to get custody of his daughter from foster care after his wife's death.

The statement says the state didn't do enough to accommodate the needs of the man, who didn't speak English. It says a subsequent investigation found the state consistently failed to help Latino people with limited English proficiency.

The federal agency says the state agreed in a settlement to provide better language assistance.

A spokesman for the state agency says officials are working on a public response.