ED/OSERS/RSA
Rehabilitation Services Administration
U.S. Department of Education

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Florida Division of Blind Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Florida Department of Education is authorized to submit this State Plan under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended [1] and its supplement under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act [2].

1.2 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, the Florida Department of Education [3] agrees to operate and administer the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program in accordance with the provisions of this State Plan [4], the Rehabilitation Act, and all applicable regulations [5], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Section 111 of the Rehabilitation Act are used solely for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and the administration of the State Plan for the vocational rehabilitation services program.

1.3 As a condition for the receipt of federal funds under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act for supported employment services, the designated state agency agrees to operate and administer the State Supported Employment Services Program in accordance with the provisions of the supplement to this State Plan [6], the Rehabilitation Act and all applicable regulations [7], policies and procedures established by the secretary. Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, are used solely for the provision of supported employment services and the administration of the supplement to the Title I State Plan.
Yes

1.4 The designated state agency and/or the designated state unit has the authority under state law to perform the functions of the state regarding this State Plan and its supplement.
Yes

1.5 The state legally may carry out each provision of the State Plan and its supplement.
Yes

1.6 All provisions of the State Plan and its supplement are consistent with state law.
Yes

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Commissioner of Education

... has the authority under state law to receive, hold and disburse federal funds made available under this State Plan and its supplement.

1.8 The (enter title of state officer below)...
Yes

Commissioner of Education

... has the authority to submit this State Plan for vocational rehabilitation services and the State Plan supplement for supported employment services.

1.9 The agency that submits this State Plan and its supplement has adopted or otherwise formally approved the plan and its supplement.
Yes

State Plan Certified By

As the authorized signatory identified above, I hereby certify that I will sign, date and retain in the files of the designated state agency/designated state unit Section 1 of the Preprint, and separate Certification of Lobbying forms (Form ED-80-0013; available at http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/ed80-013.pdf) for both the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Gerard Robinson

Title of Signatory
Commissioner of Education

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/18/2012

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2013
Yes

Comments:

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Gerard Robinson

Title of Signatory
Commissioner of Education

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/18/2012

* The signatory of the assurance with the authority to execute and submit the State Plan will maintain a signed copy of the assurance(s) with the signed State Plan.

Section 1 Footnotes

[1] Public Law 93 112, as amended by Public Laws 93 516, 95 602, 98 221, 99 506, 100-630, 102-569, 103-073, and 105-220.

[2] Unless otherwise stated, "Rehabilitation Act" means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

[3] All references in this plan to "designated state agency" or to "the state agency" relate to the agency identified in this paragraph.

[4] No funds under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act may be awarded without an approved State Plan in accordance with Section 101(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR part 361.

[5] Applicable regulations include the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR Parts 74, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85 and 86 and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program regulations in 34 CFR Part 361.

[6] No funds under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act may be awarded without an approved supplement to the Title I State Plan in accordance with Section 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act.

[7] Applicable regulations include the EDGAR citations in footnote 5, 34 CFR Part 361, and 34 CFR Part 363.

2.1 Public participation requirements. (Section 101(a)(16)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.10(d), .20(a), (b), (d); and 363.11(g)(9))

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

The designated state agency, prior to the adoption of any substantive policies or procedures governing the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under the State Plan and supported employment services under the supplement to the State Plan, including making any substantive amendments to the policies and procedures, conducts public meetings throughout the state to provide the public, including individuals with disabilities, an opportunity to comment on the policies or procedures.

(b) Notice requirements.

The designated state agency, prior to conducting the public meetings, provides appropriate and sufficient notice throughout the state of the meetings in accordance with state law governing public meetings or, in the absence of state law governing public meetings, procedures developed by the state agency in consultation with the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council.

(c) Special consultation requirements.

The state agency actively consults with the director of the Client Assistance Program, the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council and, as appropriate, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and native Hawaiian organizations on its policies and procedures governing the provision of vocational rehabilitation services under the State Plan and supported employment services under the supplement to the State Plan.

3.1 Submission and revisions of the State Plan and its supplement. (Sections 101(a)(1), (23) and 625(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; Section 501 of the Workforce Investment Act; 34 CFR 76.140; 361.10(e), (f), and (g); and 363.10)

(a) The state submits to the commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration the State Plan and its supplement on the same date that the state submits either a State Plan under Section 112 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 or a state unified plan under Section 501 of that Rehabilitation Act.

(b) The state submits only those policies, procedures or descriptions required under this State Plan and its supplement that have not been previously submitted to and approved by the commissioner.

(c) The state submits to the commissioner, at such time and in such manner as the commissioner determines to be appropriate, reports containing annual updates of the information relating to the:

  1. comprehensive system of personnel development;
  2. assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
  3. innovation and expansion activities; and
  4. other updates of information required under Title I, Part B, or Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act that are requested by the commissioner.

(d) The State Plan and its supplement are in effect subject to the submission of modifications the state determines to be necessary or the commissioner requires based on a change in state policy, a change in federal law, including regulations, an interpretation of the Rehabilitation Act by a federal court or the highest court of the state, or a finding by the commissioner of state noncompliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361 or 34 CFR 363.

3.2 Supported Employment State Plan supplement. (Sections 101(a)(22) and 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.34 and 363.10)

(a) The state has an acceptable plan for carrying out Part B, of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act that provides for the use of funds under that part to supplement funds made available under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the cost of services leading to supported employment.

(b) The Supported Employment State Plan, including any needed annual revisions, is submitted as a supplement to the State Plan.

4.1 Designated state agency and designated state unit. (Section 101(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.13(a) and (b))

(a) Designated state agency.

  1. There is a state agency designated as the sole state agency to administer the State Plan or to supervise its administration in a political subdivision of the state by a sole local agency.

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and includes a vocational rehabilitation unit as provided in paragraph (b) of this section (Option B was selected/Option A was not selected)

  1. In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.

(b) Designated state unit.

  1. If the designated state agency is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(B) of this section, the state agency includes a vocational rehabilitation bureau, division or unit that:

  1. is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and is responsible for the administration of the designated state agency's vocational rehabilitation program under the State Plan;
  2. has a full-time director;
  3. has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
  4. is located at an organizational level and has an organizational status within the designated state agency comparable to that of other major organizational units of the designated state agency.

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Florida Division of Blind Services

4.2 State independent commission or State Rehabilitation Council. (Sections 101(a)(21) and 105 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.16 and .17)

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

(a) The designated state agency is an independent state commission that

  1. is responsible under state law for operating or overseeing the operation of the vocational rehabilitation program in the state and is primarily concerned with the vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(A) of this section.
  1. is consumer controlled by persons who:
    1. are individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities; and
    2. represent individuals with a broad range of disabilities, unless the designated state unit under the direction of the commission is the state agency for individuals who are blind;
  1. includes family members, advocates or other representatives of individuals with mental impairments; and
  1. undertakes the functions set forth in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4).

(b) The state has established a State Rehabilitation Council that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.17

(c) If the designated state unit has a State Rehabilitation Council, Attachment 4.2(c) provides a summary of the input provided by the council consistent with the provisions identified in subparagraph (b)(3) of this section; the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations; and, explanations for the rejection of any input or any recommendation.

(Option B was selected)

4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)

The designated state agency takes into account, in connection with matters of general policy arising in the administration of the plan and its supplement, the views of:

(a) individuals and groups of individuals who are recipients of vocational rehabilitation services or, as appropriate, the individuals' representatives;
(b) personnel working in programs that provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(c) providers of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(d) the director of the Client Assistance Program; and
(e) the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.

4.4 Nonfederal share. (Sections 7(14) and 101(a)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 80.24 and 361.60)

The nonfederal share of the cost of carrying out this State Plan is 21.3 percent and is provided through the financial participation by the state or, if the state elects, by the state and local agencies.

4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)

The State Plan provides for the administration of the plan by a local agency. No

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

(a) ensures that each local agency is under the supervision of the designated state unit with the sole local agency, as that term is defined in Section 7(24) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47), responsible for the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program within the political subdivision that it serves; and
(b) develops methods that each local agency will use to administer the vocational rehabilitation program in accordance with the State Plan.

4.6 Shared funding and administration of joint programs. (Section 101(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.27)

The State Plan provides for the state agency to share funding and administrative responsibility with another state agency or local public agency to carry out a joint program to provide services to individuals with disabilities. No

If "Yes", the designated state agency submits to the commissioner for approval a plan that describes its shared funding and administrative arrangement. The plan must include:

(a) a description of the nature and scope of the joint program;
(b) the services to be provided under the joint program;
(c) the respective roles of each participating agency in the administration and provision of services; and
(d) the share of the costs to be assumed by each agency.

4.7 Statewideness and waivers of statewideness. (Section 101(a)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.25, .26, and .60(b)(3)(i) and (ii))

X This agency is requesting a waiver of statewideness.

(a) Services provided under the State Plan are available in all political subdivisions of the state.
(b) The state unit may provide services in one or more political subdivisions of the state that increase services or expand the scope of services that are available statewide under this State Plan if the:

  1. nonfederal share of the cost of these services is met from funds provided by a local public agency, including funds contributed to a local public agency by a private agency, organization or individual;

  1. services are likely to promote the vocational rehabilitation of substantially larger numbers of individuals with disabilities or of individuals with disabilities with particular types of impairments; and

  1. state, for purposes other than the establishment of a community rehabilitation program or the construction of a particular facility for community rehabilitation program purposes, requests in Attachment 4.7(b)(3) a waiver of the statewideness requirement in accordance with the following requirements:

  1. identification of the types of services to be provided;

  1. written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;

  1. written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and

  1. written assurance that all other State Plan requirements, including a state's order of selection, will apply to all services approved under the waiver.

(c) Contributions, consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR 361.60(b)(3)(ii), by private entities of earmarked funds for particular geographic areas within the state may be used as part of the nonfederal share without the state requesting a waiver of the statewideness requirement provided that the state notifies the commissioner that it cannot provide the full nonfederal share without using the earmarked funds.

4.8 Cooperation, collaboration and coordination. (Sections 101(a)(11), (24)(B), and 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.22, .23, .24, and .31, and 363.11(e))

(a) Cooperative agreements with other components of statewide work force investment system.

The designated state agency or the designated state unit has cooperative agreements with other entities that are components of the statewide work force investment system and replicates those agreements at the local level between individual offices of the designated state unit and local entities carrying out the One-Stop service delivery system or other activities through the statewide work force investment system.

(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.

Attachment 4.8(b) (1)-(4) describes the designated state agency's:

  1. cooperation with and use of the services and facilities of the federal, state, and local agencies and programs, including programs carried out by the undersecretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture and state use contracting programs, to the extent that those agencies and programs are not carrying out activities through the statewide work force investment system;

  1. coordination, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 4.8(c) of this section, with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. establishment of cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 5.10(b) of the State Plan; and,

  1. efforts to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and entities with respect to the provision of supported employment and extended services for individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with the requirements of subsection 6.5 of the supplement to this State Plan.

(c) Coordination with education officials.

  1. Attachment 4.8(b)(2) describes the plans, policies and procedures for coordination between the designated state agency and education officials responsible for the public education of students with disabilities that are designed to facilitate the transition of the students who are individuals with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under the responsibility of the designated state agency.

  1. The State Plan description must:

  1. provide for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment in accordance with 34 CFR 361.45 as early as possible during the transition planning process but, at the latest, before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting; and

  1. include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:

  1. consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to postschool activities, including vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and the educational agency for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs under Section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;

  1. roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and

  1. procedures for outreach to students with disabilities as early as possible during the transition planning process and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

(d) Coordination with statewide independent living council and independent living centers.

The designated state unit, the Statewide Independent Living Council established under Section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364, and the independent living centers described in Part C of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 366 have developed working relationships and coordinate their activities.

(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.

  1. There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. No

  1. If "Yes", the designated state agency has entered into a formal cooperative agreement that meets the following requirements with each grant recipient in the state that receives funds under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act:

  1. strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;

  1. procedures for ensuring that American Indians who are individuals with disabilities and are living near a reservation or tribal service area are provided vocational rehabilitation services; and

  1. provisions for sharing resources in cooperative studies and assessments, joint training activities, and other collaborative activities designed to improve the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities.

4.9 Methods of administration. (Section 101(a)(6) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.12, .19 and .51(a) and (b))

(a) In general.

The state agency employs methods of administration, including procedures to ensure accurate data collection and financial accountability, found by the commissioner to be necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the plan and for carrying out all the functions for which the state is responsible under the plan and 34 CFR 361.

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

The designated state agency and entities carrying out community rehabilitation programs in the state, who are in receipt of assistance under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and this State Plan, take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities covered under and on the same terms and conditions as set forth in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

(c) Facilities.

Any facility used in connection with the delivery of services assisted under this State Plan meets program accessibility requirements consistent with the provisions, as applicable, of the Architectural Barriers Rehabilitation Act of 1968, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the regulations implementing these laws.

4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)

Attachment 4.10 describes the designated state agency's procedures and activities to establish and maintain a comprehensive system of personnel development designed to ensure an adequate supply of qualified state rehabilitation professional and paraprofessional personnel for the designated state unit. The description includes the following:

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

Development and maintenance of a system for collecting and analyzing on an annual basis data on qualified personnel needs and personnel development with respect to:

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

  1. The number of personnel who are employed by the state agency in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in relation to the number of individuals served, broken down by personnel category;

  1. The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and

  1. Projections of the number of personnel, broken down by personnel category, who will be needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services in the state in five years based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, including individuals with significant disabilities, the number of personnel expected to retire or leave the field, and other relevant factors.

  1. Personnel development.

  1. A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;

  1. The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and

  1. The number of students who graduated during the prior year from each of those institutions with certification or licensure, or with the credentials for certification or licensure, broken down by the personnel category for which they have received, or have the credentials to receive, certification or licensure.

(b) Plan for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel.

Development, updating on an annual basis, and implementation of a plan to address the current and projected needs for qualified personnel based on the data collection and analysis system described in paragraph (a) of this subsection and that provides for the coordination and facilitation of efforts between the designated state unit and institutions of higher education and professional associations to recruit, prepare and retain personnel who are qualified in accordance with paragraph (c) of this subsection, including personnel from minority backgrounds and personnel who are individuals with disabilities.

(c) Personnel standards.

Policies and procedures for the establishment and maintenance of personnel standards to ensure that designated state unit professional and paraprofessional personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including:

  1. standards that are consistent with any national- or state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or, in the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services.

  1. To the extent that existing standards are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to a particular profession or discipline, the steps the state is currently taking and the steps the state plans to take in accordance with the written plan to retrain or hire personnel within the designated state unit to meet standards that are based on the highest requirements in the state, including measures to notify designated state unit personnel, the institutions of higher education identified in subparagraph (a)(2), and other public agencies of these steps and the time lines for taking each step.

  1. The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:

  1. specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;

  1. the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(1);

  1. procedures for evaluating the designated state unit's progress in hiring or retraining personnel to meet applicable personnel standards within the established time period; and

  1. the identification of initial minimum qualifications that the designated state unit will require of newly hired personnel when the state unit is unable to hire new personnel who meet the established personnel standards and the identification of a plan for training such individuals to meet the applicable standards within the time period established for all state unit personnel to meet the established personnel standards.

(d) Staff development.

Policies, procedures and activities to ensure that all personnel employed by the designated state unit receive appropriate and adequate training. The narrative describes the following:

  1. A system of staff development for professionals and paraprofessionals within the designated state unit, particularly with respect to assessment, vocational counseling, job placement and rehabilitation technology.

  1. Procedures for the acquisition and dissemination to designated state unit professionals and paraprofessionals significant knowledge from research and other sources.

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

Availability of personnel within the designated state unit or obtaining the services of other individuals who are able to communicate in the native language of applicants or eligible individuals who have limited English speaking ability or in appropriate modes of communication with applicants or eligible individuals.

(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Procedures and activities to coordinate the designated state unit's comprehensive system of personnel development with personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.

(Sections 101(a)(15), 105(c)(2) and 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.17(h)(2), .29, and 363.11(b))

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

  1. Attachment 4.11(a) documents the results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted every three years by the designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the state has such a council). The assessment describes:

  1. the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

  1. individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

  1. individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this State Plan; and

  1. individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.

  1. The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.

  1. For any year in which the state updates the assessments, the designated state unit submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding updates to the assessments.

(b) Annual estimates.

Attachment 4.11(b) identifies on an annual basis state estimates of the:

  1. number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;

  1. number of eligible individuals who will receive services provided with funds provided under Part B of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and under Part B of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection in accordance with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of this State Plan, estimates of the number of individuals to be served under each priority category within the order; and

  1. costs of the services described in subparagraph (b)(1), including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection, the service costs for each priority category within the order.

(c) Goals and priorities.

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(1) identifies the goals and priorities of the state that are jointly developed or revised, as applicable, with and agreed to by the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council, in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

  1. The designated state agency submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding any revisions in the goals and priorities for any year the state revises the goals and priorities.

  1. Order of selection.
    If the state agency implements an order of selection, consistent with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of the State Plan, Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

  1. shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

  1. identifies the service and outcome goals, and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.

  1. Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds.
    Attachment 4.11(c)(4) specifies, consistent with subsection 6.4 of the State Plan supplement, the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of supported employment services.

(d) Strategies.

  1. Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:

  1. the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, including how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to those individuals at each stage of the rehabilitation process and how those services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis;

  1. outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities in accordance with subsection 6.6 of the State Plan supplement, and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program;

  1. as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;

  1. strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and

  1. strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.

  1. Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:

  1. address the needs identified in the assessment conducted under paragraph 4.11(a) and achieve the goals and priorities identified in the State Plan attachments under paragraph 4.11(c);

  1. support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and

  1. overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and State Supported Employment Services Program.

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

  1. The designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state unit has a council, jointly submits to the commissioner an annual report on the results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program and the progress made in improving the effectiveness of the program from the previous year.

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

  1. provides an evaluation of the extent to which the goals identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3) were achieved;

  1. identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;

  1. describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;

  1. assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and

  1. provides a report consistent with paragraph 4.12(c) of the plan on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion activities were utilized in the preceding year.

4.12 Innovation and expansion. (Section 101(a)(18) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.35)

(a) The designated state agency reserves and uses a portion of the funds allotted to the state under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for the:

  1. development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under this State Plan, particularly individuals with the most significant disabilities, consistent with the findings of the statewide assessment identified in Attachment 4.11(a) and goals and priorities of the state identified in Attachments 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3); and

  1. support of the funding for the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 105(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(i), and the funding of the Statewide Independent Living Council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 705(e)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364.21(i).

(b) Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the reserved funds identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) will be utilized.
(c) Attachment 4.11(e)(2) describes how the reserved funds were utilized in the preceding year.

4.13 Reports. (Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.40)

(a) The designated state unit submits reports in the form and level of detail and at the time required by the commissioner regarding applicants for and eligible individuals receiving services under the State Plan.
(b) Information submitted in the reports provides a complete count, unless sampling techniques are used, of the applicants and eligible individuals in a manner that permits the greatest possible cross-classification of data and protects the confidentiality of the identity of each individual.

5.1 Information and referral services. (Sections 101(a)(5)(D) and (20) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.37)

The designated state agency has implemented an information and referral system that is adequate to ensure that individuals with disabilities, including individuals who do not meet the agency's order of selection criteria for receiving vocational rehabilitation services if the agency is operating on an order of selection, are provided accurate vocational rehabilitation information and guidance, including counseling and referral for job placement, using appropriate modes of communication, to assist such individuals in preparing for, securing, retaining or regaining employment, and are referred to other appropriate federal and state programs, including other components of the statewide work force investment system in the state.

5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))

The designated state unit imposes no duration of residence requirement as part of determining an individual's eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services or that excludes from services under the plan any individual who is present in the state.

5.3 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. (Sections 12(d) and 101(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.36)

(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. Yes

(b) If No:

  1. Individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with criteria established by the state, are selected first for vocational rehabilitation services before other individuals with disabilities.

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

  1. shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;

  1. provides a justification for the order of selection; and

  1. identifies the state's service and outcome goals and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.

  1. Eligible individuals who do not meet the order of selection criteria have access to the services provided through the designated state unit's information and referral system established under Section 101(a)(20) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.37, and subsection 5.1 of this State Plan.

5.4 Availability of comparable services and benefits. (Sections 101(a)(8) and 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.53)

(a) Prior to providing any vocational rehabilitation services, except those services identified in paragraph (b), to an eligible individual or to members of the individual's family, the state unit determines whether comparable services and benefits exist under any other program and whether those services and benefits are available to the individual.
(b) The following services are exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits:

  1. assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;

  1. counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice consistent with the provisions of Section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act;

  1. referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies, including other components of the statewide work force investment system, through agreements developed under Section 101(a)(11) of the Rehabilitation Act, if such services are not available under this State Plan;

  1. job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;

  1. rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and

  1. post-employment services consisting of the services listed under subparagraphs (1) through (5) of this paragraph.

(c) The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply if the determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits under any other program would interrupt or delay:

  1. progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;

  1. an immediate job placement; or

  1. provision of vocational rehabilitation services to any individual who is determined to be at extreme medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate qualified medical professional.

(d) The governor in consultation with the designated state vocational rehabilitation agency and other appropriate agencies ensures that an interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination that meets the requirements of Section 101(a)(8)(B)(i)-(iv) of the Rehabilitation Act takes effect between the designated state unit and any appropriate public entity, including the state Medicaid program, a public institution of higher education, and a component of the statewide work force investment system to ensure the provision of the vocational rehabilitation services identified in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, other than the services identified in paragraph (b) of this section, that are included in the individualized plan for employment of an eligible individual, including the provision of those vocational rehabilitation services during the pendency of any dispute that may arise in the implementation of the interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination.

5.5 Individualized plan for employment. (Section 101(a)(9) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.45 and .46)

(a) An individualized plan for employment meeting the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and implemented in a timely manner for each individual determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, except if the state has implemented an order of selection, and is developed and implemented for each individual to whom the designated state unit is able to provide vocational rehabilitation services.
(b) Services to an eligible individual are provided in accordance with the provisions of the individualized plan for employment.

5.6 Opportunity to make informed choices regarding the selection of services and providers. (Sections 101(a)(19) and 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.52)

Applicants and eligible individuals or, as appropriate, their representatives are provided information and support services to assist in exercising informed choice throughout the rehabilitation process, consistent with the provisions of Section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.52.

5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)

The designated state unit provides vocational rehabilitation services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing in the state to the same extent as the designated state agency provides such services to other significant populations of individuals with disabilities residing in the state.

5.8 Annual review of individuals in extended employment or other employment under special certificate provisions of the fair labor standards act of 1938. (Section 101(a)(14) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.55)

(a) The designated state unit conducts an annual review and reevaluation of the status of each individual with a disability served under this State Plan:

  1. who has achieved an employment outcome in which the individual is compensated in accordance with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 214(c)); or

  1. whose record of services is closed while the individual is in extended employment on the basis that the individual is unable to achieve an employment outcome in an integrated setting or that the individual made an informed choice to remain in extended employment.

(b) The designated state unit carries out the annual review and reevaluation for two years after the individual's record of services is closed (and thereafter if requested by the individual or, if appropriate, the individual's representative) to determine the interests, priorities and needs of the individual with respect to competitive employment or training for competitive employment.
(c) The designated state unit makes maximum efforts, including the identification and provision of vocational rehabilitation services, reasonable accommodations and other necessary support services, to assist the individuals described in paragraph (a) in engaging in competitive employment.
(d) The individual with a disability or, if appropriate, the individual's representative has input into the review and reevaluation and, through signed acknowledgement, attests that the review and reevaluation have been conducted.

5.9 Use of Title I funds for construction of facilities. (Sections 101(a)(17) and 103(b)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.49(a)(1), .61 and .62(b))

If the state elects to construct, under special circumstances, facilities for community rehabilitation programs, the following requirements are met:

(a) The federal share of the cost of construction for facilities for a fiscal year does not exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the state's allotment under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for that fiscal year.
(b) The provisions of Section 306 of the Rehabilitation Act that were in effect prior to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 apply to such construction.
(c) There is compliance with the requirements in 34 CFR 361.62(b) that ensure the use of the construction authority will not reduce the efforts of the designated state agency in providing other vocational rehabilitation services other than the establishment of facilities for community rehabilitation programs.

5.10 Contracts and cooperative agreements. (Section 101(a)(24) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.31 and .32)

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

The designated state agency has the authority to enter into contracts with for-profit organizations for the purpose of providing, as vocational rehabilitation services, on-the-job training and related programs for individuals with disabilities under Part A of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, upon the determination by the designated state agency that for-profit organizations are better qualified to provide vocational rehabilitation services than nonprofit agencies and organizations.

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) describes the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers.

Section 6: Program Administration

6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))

The designated state agency for vocational rehabilitation services identified in paragraph 1.2 of the Title I State Plan is the state agency designated to administer the State Supported Employment Services Program authorized under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act.

6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))

Attachment 4.11(a) describes the results of the comprehensive, statewide needs assessment conducted under Section 101(a)(15)(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and subparagraph 4.11(a)(1) of the Title I State Plan with respect to the rehabilitation needs of individuals with most significant disabilities and their need for supported employment services, including needs related to coordination.

6.3 Quality, scope and extent of supported employment services. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(c) and .50(b)(2))

Attachment 6.3 describes the quality, scope and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive supported employment services. The description also addresses the timing of the transition to extended services to be provided by relevant state agencies, private nonprofit organizations or other sources following the cessation of supported employment service provided by the designated state agency.

6.4 Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(d) and .20)

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) identifies the state's goals and plans with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act.

6.5 Evidence of collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. (Sections 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(e))

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) describes the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities to assist in the provision of supported employment services and other public or nonprofit agencies or organizations within the state, employers, natural supports, and other entities with respect to the provision of extended services.

6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))

Attachment 4.11(d) includes a description of the designated state agency's outreach procedures for identifying and serving individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities.

6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)

The designated state agency submits reports in such form and in accordance with such procedures as the commissioner may require and collects the information required by Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act separately for individuals receiving supported employment services under Part B, of Title VI and individuals receiving supported employment services under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.

7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))

The designated state agency expends no more than five percent of the state's allotment under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for administrative costs in carrying out the State Supported Employment Services Program.

7.2 Use of funds in providing services. (Sections 623 and 625(b)(6)(A) and (D) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.6(c)(2)(iv), .11(g)(1) and (4))

(a) Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act are used by the designated state agency only to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive such services.
(b) Funds provided under Title VI, Part B, are used only to supplement and not supplant the funds provided under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act, in providing supported employment services specified in the individualized plan for employment.
(c) Funds provided under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act are not used to provide extended services to individuals who are eligible under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.

8.1 Scope of supported employment services. (Sections 7(36) and 625(b)(6)(F) and (G) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54), 363.11(g)(6) and (7))

(a) Supported employment services are those services as defined in Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54).
(b) To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site.
(c) Supported employment services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

8.2 Comprehensive assessments of individuals with significant disabilities. (Sections 7(2)(B) and 625(b)(6)(B); 34 CFR 361.5(b)(6)(ii) and 363.11(g)(2))

The comprehensive assessment of individuals with significant disabilities conducted under Section 102(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and funded under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act includes consideration of supported employment as an appropriate employment outcome.

8.3 Individualized plan for employment. (Sections 102(b)(3)(F) and 625(b)(6)(C) and (E) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.46(b) and 363.11(g)(3) and (5))

(a) An individualized plan for employment that meets the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and updated using funds under Title I.
(b) The individualized plan for employment:

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

  1. identifies the source of extended services, including natural supports, or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the individualized plan for employment plan is developed, a statement describing the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that sources will become available.

(c) Services provided under an individualized plan for employment are coordinated with services provided under other individualized plans established under other federal or state programs.

Required annually by all agencies except those agencies that are independent consumer-controlled commissions.

Identify the Input provided by the state rehabilitation council, including recommendations from the council's annual report, the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction, and other council reports. Be sure to also include:

  • the Designated state unit's response to the input and recommendations; and
  • explanations for the designated state unit's rejection of any input or recommendation of the council.

The Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (FRCB) continued its collaboration and working partnership with the Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) and played an active role in marketing FDBS.

Governor Crist appointed or reappointed eight (8) members to FRCB in November 2010 and approved the addition of a new advocacy group to represent the Deaf-Blind consumers and appointed its representative. The four expired terms as of August 31, 2011 and one vacant position since April 2011 had not been appointed by the Governor as of September 30, 2011. The Council voiced its concern with the untimely appointments and at the October 2011 meeting, after the RSA-TAC-12-01 was shared; the Council approved the Chair to send a letter to the Commissioner of Education asking that he intervene with the Governor to resolve the issue concerning appointments.

An Orientation for the new members was conducted during the February 2011, quarterly meeting and included an overview of the Sunshine Law presented by the Department of Education’s Legal Counsel.

The Council attended the Vision Summit on February 8, 2011. The Summit is conducted by the Florida Legislature’s Vision Caucus and the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB). A reception buffet was held the night before and a Vision Summit Breakfast, open to the public, was held on the 22nd floor of the State Capitol at 7:30 AM, followed by a three-hour Vision Summit Session in the Chamber of the Florida House of Representatives in the old Capitol building.

FRCB and FDBS recognized the Marriott Hotels Global Reservations with a plaque of appreciation for employing individuals with visual disabilities in the Miami-Dade area during its April quarterly meeting.

The Council continues its practice of scheduling four meetings around the state and conducting a public forum the first afternoon of each quarterly meeting. Agenda items have included:

o Election of new officers – February 2011. o Orientation for New Council Members. o Committee Break-Outs (Planning Committee & Evaluation Committee). o Local Community Rehab Program reports at each meeting. o Updates with Florida State University (FSU) concerning data on the Client Satisfaction Survey. o Presentation from the new Bureau Chief and update on the Braille and Talking Books Library. o Update on the Daytona Beach Complex. o Tour of the new student dormitory at the Rehab Center. o Vision Summit Updates. o Presentations by other state agencies and professionals from the private sector:

? Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services

? Director of Vocational Rehabilitation

? Director of Volunteer Florida o Employer Recognition – April 2011 meeting in Miami.

The Council requested FDBS to include updates and training at each meeting. Items conducted by FDBS included:

o Director’s Report (each meeting). o Report from the local District Administrator (each meeting). o DBS Capacity Building: Status of Job Development; Placements and Outcomes; Contract Management; Quality Assurance. o Strategic Planning asking the Council to identify the critical needs where DBS needs to improve; where DBS is doing well; DBS opportunities and any future threats. o Policy Reviews to receive Council input. o DBS Budget Report and Legislative updates. o Discussion of the State Plan for Council input. o Discussion of the Needs Assessment for Council input.

The FRCB Planning Committee participated in reviewing minor changes in the VR State Plan update involving corrections with typos and staff and placement numbers. The Committee also reviewed FDBS updated and/or new policies and gave its recommendations or acceptance. The Committee was informed of the Needs Assessment material and its status to date.

The FRCB Evaluation Committee assisted with the planning of this year’s Needs Assessment which is being conducted by Florida State University College of Education. The FRCB commented on the results of the Needs Assessment:

• There is no explanation provided for the significant increase in persons served in the VR program (Table 1) from 2008 to 2011. Might it be a result of the stimulus funding provided to CRP’s that went out and did a lot of public awareness activities? I think it would be useful to have an explanation/guess of what happened to increase the numbers served-it is certainly not a result of there being more vision loss in working aged persons.

• The prevalence data reported in the study from the last Needs Assessment was information that was extremely useful, and should be accumulated again, which can be done through the use of the new census data and possible other sources. It seems that the Needs Assessment scope only includes VR clients DBS and FSU are aware of-and there are many more out there.

• With this proposal is that there is not sufficient focus on blindness-specific needs.

• What needs to come out of the Needs Assessment is more information about the specific and unique nature of what DBS does and a reinforcement of the need to continue to do those unique and indispensable things.

• Overall, the Council should be more involved with the Needs Assessment and working on the format each year leading up to the next Needs Assessment.

FDBS concurred with the FRCB over-all comments towards the Needs Assessment and welcomed FRCB increased involvement in the planning and development phase of the next Needs Assessment.

The Committee also addressed the timeframe with obtaining the Client Satisfaction Survey and requesting a review of a draft survey before it is finalized. FRCB comments to the VR Satisfaction Survey include:

In the fall of 2009, the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind modified the previous survey to streamline the interviews and update information in new areas. Some minor modifications to the survey were made October 2010. During the April 2011 quarterly meeting the FRCB agreed to amend the current CSS’s dates so the survey will adhere to the State Fiscal Year and the final report will be delivered June 30th each year. The FRCB is still in agreement with how the survey is being conducted and with the division’s insight and willingness to address the areas of concern. An interim discussion of the Survey is on the agenda each January and the final discussion is on the agenda every July.

The FRCB continues to contract with Dr. Mary Stutzman, Director of FSU Survey Research Laboratory to conduct the Client Satisfaction Survey.

FRCB overall recommendations to FDBS include but not limited to:

• Train those counselors and service providers to work with the Deaf-Blind individuals

• There is a GREAT need to provide all types of services that are available to the visually impaired individuals who are also hearing impaired. The Deaf-Blind individual may have either a varying degree of vision loss or total blindness plus a varying degree of hearing loss or total deafness.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 11:44AM by David Heron

This agency has requested a waiver of statewideness.

Identify the types of services to be provided by the program for which the waiver of statewideness is requested.

The waiver request should also include:

  • a written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the designated state unit the non-federal share of funds;
  • a written assurance that designated state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect;
  • a written assurance that all state plan requirements will apply to all services approved under the waiver.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 2:15PM by saflsmithj

Describe interagency cooperation with and utilization of the services and facilities of agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system with respect to

  • Federal, state, and local agencies and programs;
  • if applicable, Programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture; and
  • if applicable, state use contracting programs.

The FDBS believes that cooperation and collaboration with agencies and entities is essential to assisting people with disabilities to work in Florida. Such ongoing collaboration maximizes resources and addresses all aspects of individuals’ lives that impact their ability to obtain, retain, and maintain employment.

FDBS district offices continue to establish cooperative relationships with community organizations and businesses that affect the lives of people with disabilities. These organizations include, but are not limited to, chambers of commerce, local governments, Urban Leagues, Churches, health care and social assistance services and educational institutions. The FDBS has a working relationship with the following organizations.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. (FAAST)

FDBS and FAAST agree that consumers will benefit from each organization by sharing specific information about their consumers to optimize service delivery.  Both entities agree to specific procedures to facilitate the delivery of services to their respective and mutual consumers.  The Alternative Financing Program offered by FAAST can be of benefit to some FDBS consumers.

Florida Independent Living Council (FILC)

FDBS carries out coordination with FILC through its cooperative agreement, and FDBS assures that it has a working relationship with FILC and the Centers for Independent Living in the state.  The cooperative agreement outlines the roles of the two entities and their responsibilities regarding the State Plan for Independent Living Services, other planning issues, resources for the Council, and annual reports.

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind

The School and FDBS agree to cooperate in serving students and clients who are deaf or hard of hearing and in establishing transition meetings. Activities have been implemented to increase public awareness of programs serving these clients and to improve transition linkage between the school and local counselors.

Institutions of Higher Education

The FDBS has an agreement between the Department of Education, and the State University System of Florida and the Divisions of Community Colleges and Workforce Education.  This agreement clarifies the roles and responsibilities of each party in order to ensure the provision of vocational rehabilitation services that are included in the Individualized Plan for Employment for FDBS customers attending postsecondary education programs.

Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Act (TWWIA)

Continual Improvement was the central theme and focus of FDBS in its participation in the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Program (TWWIA Program).  Efforts were primarily directed toward improving data integrity of the management information system, designing a more reliable and accurate system to identify SSA beneficiaries and improving staff performance in the application of program policies and procedures.

One of FDBS’s objectives for the TWWI Program is to increase the number of partnerships with Community Rehabilitation Providers for the purpose of expanding the resources available to consumers to meet the current and future level of demand.  It is also the goal of FDBS to ensure that consumers have a choice in the service providers available within their respective communities.  Florida is among the top States with regards to the number of tickets assigned to Employment networks.

Other Entities/Interagency Collaboration

FDBS also has developed a Division Policy entitled Cooperation and Coordination with Other Entities/ Interagency Collaboration. This policy was developed by FDBS to ensure effective working relationships with partners in the quest to provide quality services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired.  Further, according to Florida Statute 413.74(2), every public agency shall cooperate with FDBS to ensure that rehabilitation services are available. Cooperation and communication between agencies is essential to ensure that all necessary services are provided and to prevent the duplication of services.

The Rural Development Council is no longer in Florida. We are currently one of thirteen states who do not have this Council.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 2:15PM by saflsmithj

  • Describe the designated state unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, including provisions for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or, if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting.
  • Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency with respect to
    • consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services;
    • transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs;
    • roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services;
    • procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.

Plans, policies, and procedures for coordination between FDBS and education officials responsible for the public education of students with disabilities that are designed to facilitate the transition of the students who are individuals with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under this State plan are described in this attachment which also includes information on formal interagency agreements with the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) that, at a minimum, provides for:

  • Consultation and technical assistance to assist education agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities including vocational rehabilitation services.
  • The provision of technical assistance including, but not limited to, staff support and information resources for the purpose of developing cooperative working arrangements with district school boards as needed to ensure the delivery of educational and other developmental services to students with visual impairments.
  • Transition planning by personnel of FDBS and FDOE agency personnel for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • FDBS recognizes that it is responsible for service planning and the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to eligible students, including the development of Individual Plans for Employment (IPE), to achieve an employment outcome. DBS will address eligibility of students no later than age fourteen.  The IPE is developed prior to transition aged individuals exiting high school; this ensures that the IPE is aligned with the individual’s area of interest. This also allows the transition team to have input on the individuals strengths and weaknesses, which aids in the planning process.
  • IPE development will be done in conjunction with the Transition Individualized Education Plan process, and will emphasize the provision of vocational rehabilitation services leading to appropriate career/education choices by the student upon exiting the school system.
  • The roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining State lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services.

Roles and Responsibilities

In order to achieve the stated goals and to implement the Florida Statutes and federal laws and regulations, FDBS and the Division of K-12 Education agree to coordinate their activities in serving  students who are blind and visually impaired through the following:

  1. The development of the Florida State Plan under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
  2. The preparation and implementation of guidelines, policies, rules, and regulations which affect the interests of students with visual impairments through joint planning committees and publications, as appropriate;
  3. The development of new programs or the initiation of new services for students with visual impairments;
  4. Interchange of information on the monitoring and evaluation of special programs for students with visual impairments, the FDOE registry for American Printing House for the Blind, and follow-up studies;
  5. Promotion and provision of training for teachers and FDBS staff who work with students who are blind and visually impaired; and
  6. The dissemination of information and other activities to increase public awareness of visual disabilities and services available to students with visual impairments.

The FDBS, through its state and district offices agrees to:

  1. Develop and implement cooperative working arrangements with classroom teachers as needed to ensure the delivery of educational services, developmental services, and instruction in the activities of daily living such as orientation and mobility and personal and home management to eligible students with visual impairments.  For students ages 12-21, this will include cooperation in preparation of transition individual educational plans (IEP’s) and individual plans of employment (IPE’s);
  2. Provide or obtain diagnostic services necessary to determine eligibility for the Children and Families Program and Vocational Rehabilitation Program of the FDBS and, within the limits of regulations concerning confidentiality, share such evaluations with appropriate school personnel for the benefit of programming for individual students;
  3. Cooperate with school personnel in referring students to the appropriate state or local agency for medical care, financial assistance, and other social services;
  4. Provide appropriate non-educational services such as information and counseling for parents of eligible children with visual impairments, vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance, vocational preparation, summer or after-school personal management activities, work evaluation and work adjustment services, work-related experiences, job development and placement, and any other goods and services needed for the client’s self-sufficiency;
  5. Inform FDBS administration and personnel for the purpose of sharing information, evaluations, and resources in preparation of IEP’s and IPE’s and to ensure a comprehensive program of services.
  6. Refer to the district school superintendents (with a copy to the Chief, Bureau of Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services), all children who are not enrolled in school and those adults under age 21 who have not completed a high school education, but for whom further public education would be appropriate; and
  7. Develop and implement working arrangements with classroom teachers and staff of FDOE to provide training on the availability and eligibility standards for services in both the Children and Families (CFP) and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs.

The Division of K-12 Education, through the Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services, agrees to:

  • Ensure that the Florida State Plan under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 1997, adequately provides for the needs of students with visual impairments, including orientation and mobility training, and special instructional materials and equipment needed for students to benefit from an appropriate program of education in the least restrictive environment;
  • Encourage school districts to ensure that all students found to be blind or visually impaired are referred to FDBS for a determination of their eligibility to receive medical, social, or vocational rehabilitation services;
  • Inform administrators of exceptional student education and other local school personnel of the content of this agreement for the purpose of sharing information, evaluations, and resources in preparation of IEP’s and IPE’s and to ensure a comprehensive program of services;
  • Register all legally blind students, including those reported in adult basic education programs or private school programs, for the annual registry to the American Printing House for the Blind; and
  • Register all students with visual impairments through the Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Handicapped.

Financial Responsibility

So that the mutually agreed upon objectives of this agreement can be adequately met, resources from the Division of K-12 Education and FDBS will be allocated based on the previously identified roles and responsibilities of each Division.

For the purpose of determining what costs are to be incurred by the Division of K-12 Education and the FDBS, it is agreed that the following general guidelines apply:

  • Technical assistance and monitoring procedures which ensure that local education agencies provide orientation and mobility training, Braillists, typists, and readers for the blind and special instructional materials and equipment needed to ensure that all students with visual impairments ages 3-21 are provided a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment;
  • Technical assistance (to school districts and FDBS) designed to ensure that school districts refer students with visual impairments to FDBS for a determination of their eligibility to receive medical, social, or vocational rehabilitation services;
  • Technical assistance regarding the development and provision of a report of the results of statewide testing programs for students with visual impairments to the FDBS;
  • Technical assistance which is designed to inform school districts of the services provided by the FDBS; and
  • The development and implementation of a registry of all legally blind students for the purpose of providing this information to the American Printing House for the Blind and registration of all visually impaired students with the Florida Instructional Materials Center for Visually Handicapped for planning purposes.

The FDBS agrees to provide the following instruction and related services as necessary for the benefit from rehabilitation:

  • The identification and reporting of all students under the age of 21 who have not completed a high school education for whom further public education may be appropriate.  This information will be disseminated to district school superintendents with a copy to the Chief, Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services;
  • The provision of technical assistance including, but not limited to, staff support and information resources for the purpose of developing cooperative working arrangements with district school board as needed to ensure the delivery of educational and other developmental services to students with visual impairments;
  • Diagnostic medical services necessary to determine visual eligibility for Children and Families Program clients, after client resources or similar benefits have been exhausted and within budgetary restraints, and diagnostics necessary to determine eligibility of clients for Vocational Rehabilitation services;
  • Evaluation and training services for eligible students with visual impairments ages 12-21 and those persons 16-21 who are not enrolled in any school; and
  • The provision of rehabilitation services needed by clients of FDBS and that assist in the development of self-sufficiency and long-term vocational goals. 

Agency Representatives

Within the Division of Public Schools it will be the responsibility of the Chief, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services to ensure that this agreement is implemented.  It will be the responsibility of the Supervisor of Program Development, Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services, to monitor the implementation of this agreement.

Within FDBS it will be the responsibility of the Director, FDBS, to ensure that this agreement is implemented.  It will be the responsibility of the Chief, Bureau of Client Services and Program Support to monitor the implementation of this agreement.

  • Procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.
  • Dissemination of information and other activities to increase public awareness of visual disabilities and services available to students with visual impairments.  

FDBS has established the following Memorandum of Understandings within the Florida Department of Education:

  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Division of Blind Services and the Division of K-12 Education
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Education and the Division of Blind Services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Division of Blind Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Florida Community College Systems
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Division of Blind Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Board of Governor’s State University System of Florida

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 2:15PM by saflsmithj

Describe the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers.

Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) historically contracts with community rehabilitation programs to provide vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with visual impairments. 

FDBS has established in excess of 20 private nonprofit community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) agreements, all of which exclusively serve individuals with visual impairments. This ongoing commitment to providing personal and social adjustment, vocational development, and supported employment services comprises a major financial investment from FDBS. FDBS contracts with CRPs for specified services for a specified number of individuals with disabilities.  These contractual agreements reflect the results of needs assessments and collaboration with these community partners. These contracts are established in accordance with federal and state requirements.  Contract compliance is monitored by staff in FDBS compliance unit.

FDBS meets regularly with consumer groups and the service provider network to review and plan for improvements in meeting the needs of individuals with visual impairments.  Collaboration between this public and private sector partnership is expected to continue due to shared interests and investments.  Public demand for increased accountability is strengthening outcome-oriented service agreements.  Limited resources will most likely result in the satellite expansion of existing agencies, rather than the additional establishment of new community rehabilitation programs.

FDBS attributes its success in part to long-standing relationships with this network of private and nonprofit community rehabilitation facilities/programs located throughout Florida. These facilities provide a wide variety of employment and work readiness services to FDBS clients that include vocational evaluation and training; work adjustment and skills training; supported employment and job coaching; job development; and other specialized training activities. FDBS understands the need for additional service providers to maximize service efforts for unserved and underserved populations. Through these partnerships, FDBS has agreements that it contemplates to meet the needs of those unserved and underserved populations.

Service Category

CRPs typically offer the following vocational rehabilitation services:

  1. Intake
  2. Assessment of Need - O&M
  3. Orientation and Mobility - Travel Training
  4. Assessment of Need - ADL, Pre and Post
  5. Adjustment to Blindness Counseling (Individual or Family)
  6. Information and Referral of Complementary/Collateral Services
  7. Communication Skill Training
  8. Personal Management Training
  9. Home Management Training
  10. Adaptive Aids and Devices Training
  11. Management of a Secondary Disability Training
  12. Assessment of Need - Assistive Technology
  13. Assistive Technology Training
  14. Rehabilitation Engineering Services
  15. Assessment of Low Vision Needs (Examination or Functional)
  16. Optical Devices Training
  17. Non-Optical Devices (lighting, contrast, etc.) Training
  18. Peer or Facilitated Support Group
  19. Community Integration
  20. Work Adjustment/Experience Services
  21. Personal and Social Adjustment Services
  22. Vocational Evaluation
  23. Job Development
  24. Job Coaching

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 2:16PM by saflsmithj

Describe the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide the following services to individuals with the most significant disabilities:

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

Pursuant to Section 413, Florida Statutes, the Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) is mandated to provide services to individuals of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. FDBS partners with community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) to provide services that enhance the lives of people with vision loss. The extent of services provided through the CRPs is based, in part on the types of services available through a specific CRP, the needs of the specific community, and the resources available within FDBS.

The purpose of supported employment services is to assist individuals who cannot benefit from traditional vocational rehabilitation services in reaching their agreed upon employment outcome. Services may include work adjustment services; personal and social adjustment cervices; job placement services (supported employment only), job coaching services, on-going supported services, and extended services to the most severely disabled.

Because of the multitude of resources, both human and fiscal, typically required for successful employment for clients requiring supported employment services, FDBS has acquired the knowledge that collaboration with all available entities is essential. FDBS continues to collaborate with community organizations such as the Conklin Center, Helen Keller, Goodwill and Easter Seal to directly provide services to its clients.

The process for transitioning to extended services after the stabilization period is identified below:

  • Stabilization occurs after job placement and employee verification has been completed.
  • Transition from job placement occurs when the employee’s extended support plan, including Provider and funding source, or other documentation has been confirmed.
  • Transition to extended services occurs when the individual and the employer are satisfied with the employment arrangement. It is not limited to employer acceptance of FDBS closure letter, employee’s performance evaluation, employer evaluation of Provider services, or individual satisfaction survey.

It is the continued goal of FDBS to provide quality supported employment services which are delivered in an effective, efficient and timely manner. FDBS has implemented contracts and standards for supported employment services that require the community organizations to make the commitment to provide for the time limited services and to provide or arrange for extended services. Extended services are to maintain the individual in supported employment and enhance the individual’s involvement in the workplace culture and career advancement. The nature of services provided during the extended services components of supported employment may be basically the same with the primary difference being the intensity of services being provided.

FDBS will continue to seek CRPs to provide supported employment services to underserved disability groups with the most significant disabilities who, because of their disability, have not been able to enter traditional competitive employment or whose employment is intermittent or interrupted due to a most significant disability.

This screen was last updated on Jun 26 2009 2:16PM by saflsmithj

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Personnel

There is no state-approved or recognized certification, licensure, or registration of Vocational Rehabilitation counselors; therefore, the Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) indicates that specific personnel must meet the academic standards which are located within this document. Personnel information related to hiring and staff records are maintained in the State of Florida’s human resource system called PeopleFirst. A staff directory is also kept by the Bureau of Client Services that indicates the caseload of each district office staff serving FDBS clients. Data is pulled from PeopleFirst which indicates the vacancy reports and personnel enrolled in the State Retirement Program called Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).

The personnel who are employed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services in relation to the number of individuals served include the following breakdown:

Personnel Employed by FDBS

Staff Title No. of Staff

Administrative Staff 49.50

Counselor Staff 68

Staff Supporting Counselor Activities 55

Other Staff 95.50

Total 268

However, most personnel do not provide direct services to clients and are not included in the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) requirements. Agency personnel directly affected by these approved CSPD requirements include the following positions:

• District Administrators

• District Supervisors

• Rehabilitation Counselors providing services to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) participants

Staff required to meet CSPD standards have until 2015 to obtain the academic standards. Individuals hired in subsequent years who do not meet the standard have five years to do so. Those individuals hired in 2012 will have until 2017 to meet the standard; those hired in 2013 will have until 2018, and so on. Paraprofessionals (e.g., rehabilitation technician and customer service personnel) and support personnel (i.e., word processors) were not directly identified as part of the approved CSPD plan; however, FDBS still provides them with training to ensure quality services to all personnel.

Data to determine the counselor to client ratio is obtained from the Accessible Web-based Activity and Reporting Environment (AWARE) case management system. During FY 2011, FDBS served 5,407 individuals in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The average ratio of customers per counselor was 83 to 1 in the VR Program. A comparison of the previous year indicates a slight change in the ratio of people served per counselor.

Counselor to Client Ratio

Fiscal Year Number served Ratio(person served/counselor)

2011 5,407 83

2010 5,448 60

2009 5,190 56

2008 5,221 56

2007 4,746 50

The federal indicator for the number of closed cases with an employment outcome has not been met for the last three years and is still not met. However, in the FFY 2010/2011, the successful closure outcomes did increase by 8.1% over prior year closure outcomes. Moreover, FDBS attributes this unmet indicator to an increase of the number of people with secondary disabilities, as well as persons with criminal backgrounds. Additionally, the economy has not recovered from the economic decline and there is a high unemployment rate among the general population. For this reason, FDBS is seeking to hire an Employment Consultant to strategize, develop and increase activities statewide that will foster improvement in our closure outcomes.

The table below indicates the number of staff by job titles serving VR clients; the number of positions, the current vacancies; and the projected vacancies over the next five years.

Personnel Serving VR Clients: Vacancy Information

Job Title Total Positions Current Vacancies Projected Vacancies Over 5 Year

District Administrator 10 2 2

Supervisor 14 3 2

Rehabilitation Specialist (VR) 51 7 5

2. Describe the development and maintenance of a system for collecting and analyzing, on an annual basis data, on personnel development with respect to:

• a list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;

• the number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and

• the number of students who graduated during the prior year from each of those institutions with certification or licensure, or with the credentials for certification or licensure, broken down by the personnel category for which they have received, or have the credentials to receive, certification or licensure.

The Florida Division of Blind Services works closely with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to track the number and type of graduate students from state universities offering rehabilitation counseling degrees and state universities offering counseling degrees.

Additionally, district administrators in the same geographic region of a university build relations with the institution(s) of higher education by providing presentations, addressing students, and informing key personnel of anticipated or current vacancies.

The following Florida state universities offer rehabilitation graduate programs:

• Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

• University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

• University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Each of the following nine state universities offers a graduate counseling degree that fulfills the educational requirements for Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification with a minimum of other required classes.

• Florida Gulf Coast University

• Florida International University

• Florida State University

• New College of Florida

• University of Central Florida

• University of Florida

• University of South Florida

• University of West Florida

• Florida Atlantic University

Program Data for Institutions of Higher Education

Described below is information from Florida institutions of higher education that prepare vocational rehabilitation professionals. The information is categorized by institution and type of program.

Institution: Florida Atlantic University

Type of Program: Rehabilitation Training – Graduate Only

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 29 Master’s graduate students, 2 Ph.D. students.

Number of Graduates with certification, licensure or eligibility: 8 graduate level. All passed CRC examination.

Number of graduates anticipated:

• 2011 8 MS

• 2012 12 MS

• 2013 10 MS

Institution: Florida State University (FSU)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation Counseling and Services (BS, MS, Ph.D.)

In the future, the BS and Ph.D. programs will be closed; no new students are being accepted.

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 17 total; 5 BS, 3 MS, 2 Ph.D.

Number of Graduates with certification, licensure, or eligibility: 7

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 5 BS, 3 MS, 2 Ph.D.

• 2012 – 0 BS, 5 MS, 2 Ph.D.

• 2013 – 0 BS, 15 MS, 0 Ph.D.

Institution: University of Florida (UF)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation Counseling (BHS, MHS, RSD).

The MHS and RSD programs at UF have been phased out and are not accepting new admissions. Numbers in the categories below reflect students who are currently enrolled and completing their degrees.

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 50 total; 46 BHS, 2 MHS, 2 Ph.D.

Number of Graduates with certification, licensure, or eligibility: All MHS graduates are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) or CRC-eligible

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 45 BHS, 12 MHS, 1 Ph.D.

• 2012 – 45 BHS, 0 MHS, 1 Ph.D.

• 2013- Program to be phased out. No graduates anticipated

Institution: University of South Florida (USF)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (MA)

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 185 graduate students

Number of Graduates with Certification, Licensure, or Eligibility: 70 All CRC and RMHI eligible.

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2010 – 70 MA

• 2012 – 60 MA

• 2013 – 50 MA

Institution: Florida International University (FIU)

Type of Program: Master’s of Science in Counselor Education – Rehabilitation Counseling Track (MS)

The FIU program is not CORE-accredited, but is a source of master’s-level rehabilitation counseling graduates.

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 11 MS

Number of Graduates with Certification, Licensure, or Eligibility: 2

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 3 MS

• 2012 – 4 MS

• 2013 – 3 MS

Universities indicated that none of the graduates in any of the programs referenced above were sponsored by Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

All Florida state employees are able to take up to six credit hours per semester using the Florida Tuition Waiver Program. FDBS expects employees who do not meet CSPD requirements to take advantage of the state’s Tuition Waiver program or participate in federal grant/stipend programs (i.e. Auburn, San Diego State University). When necessary, FDBS will pay for tuition e.g., when a state university is not within driving distance, or when a staff member is unable to use Tuition Waiver for any required courses.

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

Describe the development (updated on an annual basis) and implementation of a plan to address the current and projected needs for qualified personnel. Include the coordination and facilitation of efforts between the designated state unit and institutions of higher education and professional associations to recruit, prepare, and retain personnel who are qualified, including personnel from minority backgrounds and personnel who are individuals with disabilities.

FDBS plans for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel are updated on an annual basis.

FDBS has used and will continue to use PeopleFirst for recruitment efforts. Additionally, personnel must be hired using minimum qualifications with the expectation that standards will be met within a specified period of time.

The Division has implemented recruitment, preparation, and retention of qualified personnel strategies to meet some known barriers. Salary issues were the number one factor in recruitment and retention, and it has been a focal point of efforts by FDBS. The Division is recruiting persons with disabilities and is referring employment opportunities to disability organizations. FDBS is an equal opportunity employer and hires persons with and without disabilities at all levels of employment.

Specific recruitment strategies include the following:

• When cash resources are available, FDBS will award $2,000 upon receipt of CRC over the counselor’s base salary. If a counselor has a CRC at time of hire, his/her beginning salary is set at $2,000 above base based on CRC.

• FDBS will continue to work with the four state universities that provide master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling. Activities include attending board meetings and presentations to college classes upon requested to share permanent information related to the Division and recruitment efforts.

• FDBS routinely encourages clients who have pursued Master’s Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling to apply for vacant positions.

Specific retention strategies include the following:

FDBS’s current personnel opportunity to obtain higher salaries if they receive their CRC.

Personnel Standards

Describe the state agency’s policies and procedures for the establishment and maintenance of personnel standards to ensure that designated state unit professional and paraprofessional personnel are adequately trained and prepared, including:

1. standards that are consistent with any national or state-approved or -recognized certification, licensing, registration, or, in the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services; and

2. to the extent that existing standards are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to a particular profession or discipline, the steps the state is currently taking and the steps the state plans to take in accordance with the written plan to retrain or hire personnel within the designated state unit to meet standards that are based on the highest requirements in the state, including measures to notify designated state unit personnel, institutions of higher education, and other public agencies of these steps and the timelines for taking each step.

Be sure to include the following:

• specific strategies for retraining, recruiting, and hiring personnel;

• the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards;

• procedures for evaluating the designated state unit’s progress in hiring or retraining personnel to meet applicable personnel standards within the established time period;

• the identification of initial minimum qualifications that the designated state unit will require of newly hired personnel when the state unit is unable to hire new personnel who meet the established personnel standards;

• the identification of a plan for training newly hired personnel who do not meet the established standards to meet the applicable standards within the time period established for all state unit personnel to meet the established personnel standards.

Because of the difficulty in hiring individuals that meet the current CRC certification standards, FDBS has elected to hire personnel that meet the academic standards. Personnel that have a master’s degree in a discipline other than counseling need to meet the following academic course work.

For this degree to be considered a related degree, in addition to the master’s degree, the individual will be required to document at least 18 credit hours of coursework at the master’s level or above, acquired post-master’s, in the core areas as discussed below.

Candidate or employee must have a master’s degree in any discipline with at least 18 credit hours specified as follows:

• One graduate course with a primary focus on the Theories and Techniques of Counseling. (This is a basic requirement for future consideration of relatedness of degree.)

• Three graduate courses, each with a primary focus in one of the following areas: o Occupational Information o Job Development and Placement o Medical Aspects of Disabilities o Foundations of Rehabilitation o Psychological Aspects of Disabilities o Personal and Vocational Adjustment

• Two graduate courses, each with a primary focus in one of the following areas: o Assessment o Research Methodology o Vocational and Career Development o Community Resources o Case Management o Delivery of Rehabilitation Services

• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course of study in a social, behavioral or rehabilitative science, education or visual disabilities, and two years of professional experience involving direct services to rehabilitation clients.

• A master’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course of study in one of the above areas can substitute for one year of the required experience.

Additionally, FDBS has transferred existing staff that previously served other clients (blind babies, children, or independent living adult programs) to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Existing staff that are transferred under the FDBS reorganization will be required to meet these standards by 2015. Individuals hired in subsequent years who do not meet the standard have five years to do so. Thus, individuals hired in 2011 will have until 2016 to meet the standard; those hired in 2012 will have until 2017, and so on.

All newly hired VR counseling staff not meeting CSPD requirements will complete and update their CSPD Education Plan on an annual basis. Individuals who are hired for positions that require master’s degrees have three years from the time hired to meet standards, allowing date adjustments based on an academic year. Persons who have master degrees in areas other than rehabilitation counseling or counseling have two years to obtain required courses noted on their CSPD Education Plan, allowing date adjustments based on an academic year.

The CSPD Education Plan includes the following type of information:

• a description of current educational status;

• the courses to be taken during the year;

• the timeframe in which the required education will be completed;

• the institution that the individual will attend; and

• annual progress reports on course completion.

FDBS has implemented statewide procedures, Division Procedure 12.12, updated in 2011 and reviewed annually, for meeting the federal mandate. The procedure addresses issues that include payment of educational expenses by FDBS, class attendance, individual education plans, class assignments and homework, use of FDBS computer equipment, and professional certification. For the 2011 FFY, Policy 12.12 was updated to reflect certification for Orientation and Mobility and Visual Rehabilitation Therapy for employees at the residential Center who provide adjustment to blindness services as a part of Rehabilitation. FDBS tracks the current educational status of personnel as well as their progress in complying with the CSPD requirements. The following indicates the eligibility status of staff by position.

FDBS Personnel Standards by Position (Dec. 2011)

Position Description Vacancy Not Eligible/Eligible Total

Rehabilitation Services

Dist Admin-Blind -SES 0 1 6 7

Rehabilitation Supervisor

-Blind - SES 2 3 2 7

Senior Rehabilitation

Specialist-Blind 5 23 14 42

Total 7 27 22 56

While not required, FDBS encourages personnel to obtain certification from the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Currently, FDBS has 33 personnel that earned the CRC designation.

FDBS has been granted the authority by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification to provide Continuing Education Units (CEU) for all certified rehabilitation counselors. he new five year in-service training plan will continue to provide for on-going CEUs, especially in the area of ethics. FDBS’s reimbursement policy for certification is addressed in the Division Policy 12.12, Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. The Division, as recommended by the Council, will reimburse counselor for certification.

Staff Development

Describe the state agency’s policies, procedures, and activities to ensure that all personnel employed by the designated state unit receive appropriate and adequate training in terms of:

1. a system of staff development for professionals and paraprofessionals within the designated state unit, particularly with respect to assessment, vocational counseling, job placement, and rehabilitation technology; and

2. procedures for the acquisition and dissemination to designated state unit professionals and paraprofessionals significant knowledge from research and other sources.

FDBS monitors personnel development needs on an annual basis. Training is provided both through funding acquired under the in-service training grant and by using basic support. FDBS has based its core training programs on the areas emphasized in the federal regulations: rehabilitation technology, career guidance and counseling, job development, placement and assessment.

In brief, the training needs assessment is an on-going process that consists of: ensuring that federal and state mandates are in compliance and; examining individual personnel training requirements related to current job performance, future job requirements, and promotional or career advancement needs.

Based on analyses of training needs compiled from the performance reviews FDBS Strategic Plan, consumer comments, training surveys and, training in the following areas will be provided:

• serving individuals with dual disabilities,

• overcoming employment barriers for consumers with a criminal history, and

• providing rehabilitation counseling for individuals with substance abuse issues and psychiatric disorders.

In keeping with this theme, it has been determined that counselors would benefit from training in the area of supported employment, identifying appropriate candidates, and working through the rehabilitation process with these individuals, and recording accurate information for federal reports. All counselors are provided annual training in career counseling and assessment.

Because job placement and development are so important, FDBS mandates all VR counselors and supervisors to participate in job placement, assessment, and development training. Training is concentrated for the first level in the process of developing jobs which include: generation of leads, selection for time management purposes, holding face-to-face meetings with employers to identify needs and to close the deal (actual placement). VR staff is presented with a comprehensive manual including group exercises and the completion of planners in order to prepare meetings and to work with objections and barriers. This level builds a tool for self-assessment of the staff as job developers.

The second level is focused on the job placement as it relates to clients. VR staff is trained to identify the essential elements needed to obtain/maintain a job including motivation, abilities, access to employers and credibility. In this second level, staff learns intervention tools and marketing strategies to manage their caseloads as job developers.

A third level is provided to VR supervisors and district administrators in by explaining how to set up placement goals, and how to monitor and coach daily activities from their staff as related to the FDBS business model in job placement and development.

FDBS has developed a two-tiered rehabilitation technology training program for all professional and paraprofessional personnel. This training includes a week long introduction to rehabilitation technology for blind and visually impaired individuals. The second level of training incorporates the use of rehabilitation technology in job development activities. Currently, FDBS offers a third level for personnel who completed the second level five or more years ago to ensure personnel possess current knowledge related to technology advances.

All existing rehabilitation specialists, senior rehabilitation specialists, supervisors, and district administrators have been trained in both levels. Federal in-service training dollars are used to fund both levels of the rehabilitation technology training. FDBS will continue to train new personnel in both levels, as well as conduct annual training to update existing personnel on new technology issues.

Dissemination of Knowledge from Research and other Resources

All FDBS personnel members have Internet access and are provided with relevant rehabilitation research and information sites. Each FDBS District Office is required to provide a quarterly in-service training for personnel on topics such as blindness rehabilitation, informed choice, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Social Security work incentives. When funding is available staff is encouraged to attend various conferences in the field of rehabilitation or blindness.

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

Describe how the designated state unit has personnel or obtains the services of other individuals who are able to communicate in the native language of applicants or eligible individuals who have limited English speaking ability or in appropriate modes of communication with applicants or eligible individuals.

FDBS maintains or obtains the services of individuals able to communicate in the native languages or other appropriate modes of communication of applicants or eligible individuals. Most FDBS offices in highly populated areas of non-English speaking consumers have personnel that speak in the native languages of those individuals. FDBS requires that language interpreter services (including sign language) be purchased when necessary to communicate with an applicant or eligible individual. FDBS has the capability to print in Braille and large print. Documents provided to clients such as an application for services, Client Rights, guidelines for developing an Individual Plan for Employment and informational brochures are available in Spanish.

Coordination of Personnel Development Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act

Describe the procedures and activities to coordinate the designated state unit’s comprehensive system of personnel development with personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

FDBS has a cooperative agreement with the Florida Division of Public Schools in order to coordinate activities in serving students who are blind and visually impaired. This is accomplished through the preparation and implementation of guidelines, policies, rules, and regulations that affect the interests of students with visual impairments through joint planning committees and publications, as appropriate.

Both Divisions promote and provide training for teachers and FDBS personnel who work with students who are blind and visually impaired. FDBS shares information and coordinates other activities with the Division of Public Schools in order to increase public awareness of visual disabilities and services available to students with visual impairments.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 District Administrator 10 2 2
2 Supervisor 14 3 2
3 Rehabilitation Specialist (VR) 51 7 5
4 0 0 0
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

The Florida Division of Blind Services works closely with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to track the number and type of graduate students from state universities offering rehabilitation counseling degrees and state universities offering counseling degrees.

Additionally, district administrators in the same geographic region of a university build relations with the institution(s) of higher education by providing presentations, addressing students, and informing key personnel of anticipated or current vacancies.

The following Florida state universities offer rehabilitation graduate programs:

• Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

• University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

• University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Each of the following nine state universities offer a graduate counseling degree that fulfills the educational requirements for Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification with a minimum of other required classes.

• Florida Gulf Coast University

• Florida International University

• Florida State University

• New College of Florida

• University of Central Florida

• University of Florida

• University of South Florida

• University of West Florida

• Florida Atlantic University

Program Data for Institutions of Higher Education

Described below is information from Florida institutions of higher education that prepare vocational rehabilitation professionals. The information is categorized by institution and type of program.

Institution: Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation Training – Graduate Only

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 29 Master’s graduate students, 2 Ph.D. students.

Number of Graduates with certification, licensure or eligibility: 8 graduate level. All passed CRC examination.

Number of graduates anticipated:

• 2011 8 MS

• 2012 12 MS

• 2013 10 MS

Institution: Florida State University (FSU)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation Counseling and Services (BS, MS, Ph.D.)

In the future, the BS and Ph.D. programs will be closed; no new students are being accepted.

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 17 total; 5 BS, 3 MS, 2 Ph.D.

Number of Graduates with certification, licensure, or eligibility: 7

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 5 BS, 3 MS, 2 Ph.D.

• 2012 – 0 BS, 5 MS, 2 Ph.D.

• 2013 – 0 BS, 15 MS, 0 Ph.D.

Institution: University of Florida (UF)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation Counseling (BHS, MHS, RSD).

The MHS and RSD programs at UF have been phased out and are not accepting new admissions. Numbers in the categories below reflect students who are currently enrolled and completing their degrees.

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 50 total; 46 BHS, 2 MHS, 2 Ph.D.

Number of Graduates with certification, licensure, or eligibility: All MHS graduates are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) or CRC-eligible.

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 45 BHS, 12 MHS, 1 Ph.D.

• 2012 – 45 BHS, 0 MHS, 1 Ph.D.

• 2013 – Program to be phased out. No graduates anticipated.

Institution: University of South Florida (USF)

Type of Program: Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (MA)

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 185 graduate students.

Number of Graduates with Certification, Licensure, or Eligibility: 70 All CRC and RMHI eligible.

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 70 MA

• 2012 – 60 MA

• 2013 – 50 MA

Institution: Florida International University (FIU)

Type of Program: Master’s of Science in Counselor Education – Rehabilitation Counseling Track (MS)

The FIU program is not CORE-accredited, but is a source of master’s-level rehabilitation counseling graduates.

Number and Type of Students Enrolled: 11 MS

Number of Graduates with Certification, Licensure, or Eligibility: 2

Number of Graduates Anticipated:

• 2011 – 3 MS

• 2012 – 4 MS

• 2013 – 3 MS

Universities indicated that none of the graduates in any of the programs referenced above were sponsored by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

All Florida State employees are able to take up to six credit hours per semester using the Florida Tuition Waiver Program. FDBS expects employees who do not meet CSPD requirements to take advantage of the state’s Tuition Waiver program or participate in federal grant/stipend programs (i.e. Auburn, San Diego State University). When necessary, FDBS will pay for tuition e.g., when a state university is not within driving distance, or when a staff member is unable to use a Tuition Waiver for any required courses.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

FDBS has used and will continue to use PeopleFirst for recruitment efforts. Additionally, personnel must be hired using minimum qualifications with the expectation that standards will be met within a specified period of time.

The Division has implemented recruitment, preparation, and retention of qualified personnel strategies to meet some known barriers. Salary issues were the number one factor in recruitment and retention, and they have been a focal point of efforts by FDBS. The Division is recruiting persons with disabilities and is referring employment opportunities to disability organizations. FDBS is an equal opportunity employer and hires persons with disabilities at all levels of employment.

Specific recruitment strategies include the following:

• When cash resources are available, FDBS will award $2,000 upon receipt of CRC over the counselor’s base salary. If a counselor has a CRC at time of hire, his/her beginning salary is set at $2,000 above base, based on CRC.

• FDBS will continue to work with the four state universities that provide master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling. Activities include attending board meetings and counselors presenting to college classes.

• FDBS routinely encourages clients who have pursued Master’s Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling to apply for vacant positions.

Specific retention strategies include the following:

FDBS’s current personnel and opportunity to obtain higher salaries if they receive their CRC.

 

Because of the difficulty in hiring individuals that meet the current CRC certification standards, FDBS has elected to hire personnel that meet the academic standards. Personnel that have a master’s degree in a discipline other than counseling need to meet the following academic course work.

For this degree to be considered a related degree, in addition to the master’s degree, the individual will be required to document at least 18 credit hours of coursework at the master’s level or above, acquired post-master’s, in the core areas as discussed below.

Candidate or employee must have a master’s degree in any discipline with at least 18 credit hours specified as follows:

• One graduate course with a primary focus on the Theories and Techniques of Counseling. (This is a basic requirement for future consideration of relatedness of degree.)

• Three graduate courses, each with a primary focus in one of the following areas: o Occupational Information o Job Development and Placement o Medical Aspects of Disabilities o Foundations of Rehabilitation o Psychological Aspects of Disabilities o Personal and Vocational Adjustment

• Two graduate courses, each with a primary focus in one of the following areas: o Assessment o Research Methodology o Vocational and Career Development o Community Resources o Case Management o Delivery of Rehabilitation Services

• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course of study in a social, behavioral or rehabilitative science, education or visual disabilities, and two years of professional experience involving direct services to rehabilitation clients.

• A master’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course of study in one of the above areas can substitute for one year of the required experience.

Additionally, FDBS has transferred existing staff that previously served other clients (blind babies, children, or independent living adult programs) to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Existing staff that are transferred under the FDBS reorganization will be required to meet these standards by 2015. Individuals hired in subsequent years who do not meet the standard have five years to do so. Thus, individuals hired in 2011 will have until 2016 to meet the standard; those hired in 2012 will have until 2017, and so on.

All newly hired VR counseling staff not meeting CSPD requirements will complete and update their CSPD Education Plan on an annual basis. Individuals who are hired for positions that require master’s degrees have three years from the time hired to meet standards, allowing date adjustments based on an academic year. Persons who have master’s degrees in areas other than rehabilitation counseling or counseling have two years to obtain required courses noted on their CSPD Education Plan, allowing date adjustments based on an academic year.

The CSPD Education Plan includes the following type of information:

• a description of current educational status;

• the courses to be taken during the year;

• the timeframe in which the required education will be completed;

• the institution that the individual will attend; and

• annual progress reports on course completion.

FDBS has implemented statewide procedures. Division Procedure 12.12, updated in 2011 and reviewed annually, for meeting the federal mandate. The procedure addresses issues that include payment of educational expenses by FDBS, class attendance, individual education plans, class assignments and homework, use of FDBS computer equipment, and professional certification. For the 2011 FFY, Policy 12.12 was updated to reflect certification for Orientation and Mobility and Visual Rehabilitation Therapy for employees at the residential center who provide adjustment to blindness services as a part of rehabilitation. FDBS tracks the current educational status of personnel as well as their progress in complying with the CSPD requirements. The following indicates the eligibility status of staff by position.

FDBS Personnel Standards by Position (Dec. 2011)

Position Description Vacancy Not Eligible Eligible Total

Rehab Services Dist Admin-Blind -SES 0 1 6 7

Rehabilitation Supervisor-Blind - SES 2 3 2 7

Senior Rehabilitation Specialist-Blind 5 23 14 42

Total 7 27 22 56

While not required, FDBS encourages personnel to obtain certification from the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Currently, FDBS has 33 personnel that earned the CRC designation.

FDBS has been granted the authority by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification to provide Continuing Education Units (CEU) for all certified rehabilitation counselors. The new five year in-service training plan will continue to provide for on-going CEUs, especially in the area of ethics. FDBS’s reimbursement policy for certification is addressed in the Division Policy 12.12, Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. The Division, as recommended by the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (FRCB), will reimburse counselor for certification.

 

FDBS monitors personnel development needs on an annual basis. Training is provided both through funding acquired under the in-service training grant and by using basic support. FDBS has based its core training programs on the areas emphasized in the federal regulations: rehabilitation technology, career guidance and counseling, job development, placement and assessment.

In brief, the training needs assessment is an ongoing process that consists of: ensuring that federal and state mandates are in compliance and; examining individual personnel training requirements related to current job performance, future job requirements, and promotional or career advancement needs.

Based on analyses of training needs compiled from the performance reviews FDBS Strategic Plan, consumer comments and training surveys, training in the following areas will be provided:

• serving individuals with dual disabilities,

• overcoming employment barriers for consumers with a criminal history, and;

• providing rehabilitation counseling for individuals with substance abuse issues and psychiatric disorders.

In keeping with this theme, it has been determined that counselors would benefit from training in the area of supported employment, identifying appropriate candidates, and working through the rehabilitation process with these individuals, and recording accurate information for federal reports. All counselors are provided annual training in career counseling and assessment.

Because job placement and development are so important, FDBS mandates all VR counselors and supervisors to participate in job placement, assessment, and development training. Training is concentrated for the first level in the process of developing jobs which include: generation of leads, selection for time management purposes, holding face-to-face meetings with employers to identify needs and to close the deal (actual placement). VR staff is presented with a comprehensive manual including group exercises and the completion of planners in order to prepare meetings and to work with objections and barriers. This level builds a tool for self-assessment of the staff as job developers.

The second level is focused on the job placement as it relates to clients. VR staff is trained to identify the essential elements needed to obtain/maintain a job including motivation, abilities, access to employers and credibility. In this second level, staff learn to use intervention tools and marketing strategies to manage their caseloads as job developers.

A third level is provided to VR supervisors and district administrators explaining how to set up placement goals, and how to monitor and coach daily activities from their staff as related to the FDBS business model in job placement and development.

FDBS has developed a two-tiered rehabilitation technology training program for all professional and paraprofessional personnel. This training includes a week long introduction to rehabilitation technology for blind and visually impaired individuals. The second level of training incorporates the use of rehabilitation technology in job development activities. Currently, FDBS offers a third level for personnel who completed the second level five or more years ago to ensure they possess current knowledge related to technology advances.

All existing rehabilitation specialists, senior rehabilitation specialists, supervisors, and district administrators have been trained in both levels. Federal in-service training dollars are used to fund both levels of the rehabilitation technology training. FDBS will continue to train new personnel in both levels, as well as conduct annual training to update existing personnel on new technology issues.

Dissemination of Knowledge from Research and other Resources

All FDBS personnel members have Internet access and are provided with relevant rehabilitation research and information sites. Each FDBS District Office is required to provide a quarterly in-service training for personnel on topics such as blindness rehabilitation, informed choice, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security work incentives. When funding is available staff is encouraged to attend various conferences in the field of rehabilitation or blindness.

 

FDBS maintains or obtains the services of individuals able to communicate in the native languages or other appropriate modes of communication of applicants or eligible individuals. Most FDBS offices in highly populated areas of non-English speaking consumers have personnel that speak in the native languages of those individuals. FDBS requires that language interpreter services (including sign language) be purchased when necessary to communicate with an applicant or eligible individual. FDBS has the capability to print in Braille and large print. Documents provided to clients such as an application for services, Client Rights, guidelines for developing an Individual Plan for Employment and informational brochures are available in Spanish.

 

FDBS has a cooperative agreement with the Florida Division of Public Schools in order to coordinate activities in serving students who are blind and visually impaired. This is accomplished through the preparation and implementation of guidelines, policies, rules, and regulations that affect the interests of students with visual impairments through joint planning committees and publications, as appropriate.

Both Divisions promote and provide training for teachers and FDBS personnel who work with students who are blind and visually impaired. FDBS shares information and coordinates other activities with the Division of Public Schools in order to increase public awareness of visual disabilities and services available to students with visual impairments.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 12:31PM by David Heron

Provide an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

  • individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
  • individuals with disabilities who are minorities;
  • individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program; and
  • individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.

The Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) commissioned a three-year comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) study to investigate the vocational rehabilitation (VR) needs of individuals with significant visual disabilities. This research study was led by Linda Schrader, Ph.D., a Research Associate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Florida State University, and affiliated with the FSU Center on Education Policy. Two research assistants, Michelle Chandrasekhar, M.S., a doctoral candidate specializing in program evaluation, and Megan Cobb, a former special education teacher and master‘s student, also assisted in this research.

This report provides district and statewide information on clients’ characteristics and perceptions about the range of rehabilitation services received to enhance their employment opportunities. In addition, this report provides suggestions for improvements to sustain employment outcomes for individuals with visual impairments. The research activities included:

• Develop research design and sampling strategy;

• Review documents and related literature for assessing VR and educational needs of target population;

• Develop focus group instruments;

• Administer one focus group of target populations at the Daytona Rehabilitation Center;

• Administer two telephone focus group sessions with DBS Counselors and Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (FRCB) members;

• Conduct analysis and validation of quantitative and qualitative data from all data sources and develop final results;

• Develop recommendations for program and policy improvement from data results and literature;

• Provide draft report to DBS for review and submit final report to (FRCB) and Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA); and

• Meet with contract manager and debrief FDBS and (FRCB) Board.

The research team conducted descriptive statistical analyses of secondary data obtained from the FDBS AWARE case management system. Narrative text data from focus group interviews and minutes of public forums were analyzed using qualitative data analysis techniques. Focus groups interviews were audio-taped, with permission from interviewees, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative data analysis software to address efforts to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state of Florida. Furthermore, the study results provided a comprehensive description of the range of Vocational Rehabilitation Services provided to target populations, identification of supportive factors and impediments to services and suggestions for program and policy improvements.

The findings from this study revealed that the overall number of FDBS clients served has remained rather steady, with a slight decline (-2%) from 2008-2011. At the district level, there was variability among growth trends in the twelve districts and three satellite offices. Two of the three satellite offices (Lakeland and Bradenton) experienced strong growth 29% and 23%, respectively. Two districts, Tampa and Gainesville, showed declines in the number of individuals served, -26% and -19%, respectively. Despite the decline in the total number of VR cases, there was a substantial increase (123%) in the number of open cases. FDBS attributes this increase to stimulus funding provided to Community Rehabilitation Providers to augment public awareness activities across the state.

Although there were declines in the number of individuals employed, individuals with most significant disabilities had higher employment rates than those with significant disability throughout the three year period. In 2008-2009, 62% of individuals with most significant disabilities were employed compared to 38% of individuals with significant disabilities. In 2010-2011, these numbers decreased to 55% for individuals with most significant disabilities and to 45% for individuals with significant disabilities.

FDBS data identified the ethnicity of VR clients. Over the three year period, there were increases in the number of Hispanic, Asian, and American Indians receiving rehabilitation services. This increase in Hispanic Floridians followed the trend in the South which experienced a growth of 57% in its Hispanic population, four times the growth of the total population in the South according to 2010 Census data (2010 Census Briefs). The number of African Americans receiving services remained rather steady over the three-year period. There was a slight decline in the number of Caucasian and Native Hawaiian clients.

In the focus group sessions, VR counselors, (FRCB) members, and current clients identified groups of individuals underserved by the DBS-VR system. Results noted the following characteristics of individuals perceived to be underserved: Individuals living in rural areas who have limited or no transportation options; People with secondary disabilities (physical disabilities, hearing impairments, cognitive deficits, mental health conditions, or learning disabilities); Seniors (age 60 or older) who want to work; and individuals who have transient living conditions, move frequently, and have gaps in cell phone service.

The findings unveiled that there were four districts that were identified as offices serving rural populations. These districts include Pensacola, Tallahassee, Gainesville and Ft. Myers. Note that a district office was designated as serving rural populations if more than 50% of the counties in its jurisdiction were designated as low-density populations. Furthermore, data from focus groups, forum minutes, and customer satisfaction surveys identified eight areas related to the needs and interests of current and former VR clients: VR goal development process, provision of VR services to clients, supports for current employment and seeking employment, outreach strategies to underserved and unserved populations, supports and training for VR counselors, and transportation concerns.

There were a number of recommendations derived from this report. The recommendations include:

• Enhance communication about the goal-setting process with clients and provide VR counselor training as needed so that there is a better understanding and agreement on the steps needed to accomplish vocational goals.

• Guidance from a job coach and technology training would be useful in helping individuals with secondary disabilities seek and maintain employment.

• Consider the development of a support network of employed alumni and successful former clients who could provide insight and mentoring to new and current clients.

• Consider research grant opportunities to strengthen pre-transition programs for youth 6 to 14.

• Continue to expand outreach activities and networks with other organizations that serve target populations.

• Consider webinars and other social media to educate diverse groups and raise awareness among service provider organization about the abilities of individuals with visual impairments.

• Consider pairing experienced counselors as formal mentors with newly hired counselors , and

• Reduce the size of the VR counselors’ caseloads to ensure continuity of rehabilitation services for individuals with visual impairments.

FDBS has made strides to address a number of the recommendations through training activities, staff augmentation, employment initiatives partnering and collaborating with other agencies, marketing and communication efforts statewide and intends to address all of the said recommendations.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 12:31PM by David Heron

The Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) estimates that the number of individuals to be eligible for services in the state and served during FFY 2013 will be approximately 5,500. This estimate was based upon a combination of a trend analysis and findings from the Needs Assessment. Of this number, FDBS estimates that approximately 60 will be provided services under the Title VI, Part B program. Estimates were based on a review of historical information such as:

a) the number of individuals served 5407, b) the caseload size 83, c) the number of applications 2,073, d) the number of Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs) written 1,482, and e) the number of consumers who continue to require services from one year to the next 3,172.

The estimated cost per person for the provision of traditional vocational rehabilitation services is $5,592.68. This cost is based on taking the total amount of VR dollars spent in FY 2011, excluding expenditures for the Supported Employment and Bureau of Business Enterprise Program (BBE), and dividing it by the number of persons to be served. This is shown in a formula below:

• (Total dollars divided by number to be served) o Ex: ($19,425,664.07 /5,407= $3592.69)

The cost for individuals served under supported employment is at $6,265 per person. This is based on the total amount of supported employment dollars which is $375,900 divided by the number of estimated persons served which is 60. This is shown in the formula below:

• $375,900/60 =$6,265

The dollar value is lower than the previous FFY (2010) because it only includes the cost for three contract providers as oppose to four. It is estimated that next year supported employment cost will range between $3,000 and $12,000. Details regarding supported employment are outlined in Attachment 4.11(c)(4): Goals and Plans Regarding Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds.

FDBS is not currently under an order of selection so cost of services by priority category is not provided.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
0
Totals   $0 0

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 12:34PM by David Heron

The goals and priorities are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment, on requirements related to the performance standards and indicators, and on other information about the state agency. (See section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act.) This attachment should be updated when there are material changes in the information that require the description to be amended.

  • Identify if the goals and priorities were jointly developed and agreed to by the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
  • Identify if the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, jointly reviewed the goals and priorities and jointly agreed to any revisions.
  • Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
  • Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas:
    • the most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates;
    • the performance of the state on standards and indicators; and
    • other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including any reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

The goals and priorities are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment, strategic plan, requirements related to the performance standards and indicators, and on other information about the state agency. (See section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act.) This attachment should be updated when there are material changes in the information that require the description to be amended.

• Identify if the goals and priorities were jointly developed and agreed to by the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.

• Identify if the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, jointly reviewed the goals and priorities and jointly agreed to any revisions.

• Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.

• Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas: o the most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates; o the performance of the state on standards and indicators; and o other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including any reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.

The Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) has modified its state goals and priorities to match its strategic plan. The strategic plan was developed jointly with the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind along with other stakeholders. Additionally, FDBS has met with the Council to discuss the state plan requirements. The Council agreed with the state plan goals. The new goals and priorities are part of a strategic plan for which the Council assisted in the development.

Four goals, and strategies specifically addressed the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs. In brief, the goals are as follows:

1. Create an environment that provides job opportunities for visually impaired and blind Floridians.

2. Create a service delivery system that provides comprehensive services to visually impaired and blind Floridians.

3. Create an environment that fosters an exemplary division workforce.

4. Create a well-managed and accountable organization that ensures high quality.

Goal 1.0 Create an environment that provides job opportunities for visually impaired and blind Floridians.

Measure: This goal will be measured by increase in the number of statewide employment activities at the local level geared toward front end assessment and existing case management activities.

Strategy 1.1 Increase successful job outcomes in the Bureau of Business Enterprise Program.

Strategy 1.2 Increase successful job outcomes in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Goal 2.0 Create a service delivery system that provides comprehensive services to visually impaired and blind Floridians.

Measure: This goal will be measured based upon a comparison of the number of clients and their demographics served in the current and previous years.

Strategy 2.1 Increase the number of individuals receiving services.

Strategy 2.2 Increase services in unserved and underserved populations.

Goal 3.0 Create an environment that fosters an exemplary division workforce.

Measure: This goal will be based upon employee satisfaction surveys and staff development training surveys.

Strategy 3.1 Increase staff development and continuing education.

Strategy 3.2 Improve employee satisfaction.

Goal 4.0 Create a well-managed and accountable organization that ensures high quality.

Measure: This goal will be measured based upon federal and state program and fiscal audit findings.

Strategy 4.1 Develop and implement a comprehensive quality assurance program in order to obtain zero audit findings from the Offices of the Inspector General, Auditor General, and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Strategy 4.2 Develop strong fiscal policy and procedures that promote responsible stewardship of available resources.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 12:38PM by David Heron

  • Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Identify the justification for the order.
  • Identify the service and outcome goals.
  • Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
  • Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Aug 7 2009 9:24AM by saflsmithj

Specify the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under section 622 of the Act for the provision of supported employment services.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 413, the Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) is mandated to provide services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired of all ages. The FDBS routinely partners with community rehabilitation programs to provide services that enhance the lives of people with vision loss. The extent of services provided through the community rehabilitation services is based, in part, on the types of services available through a specific community rehabilitation program, the needs of the specific community, and the resources available within the FDBS.

During Federal FY 2011, FDBS contracted with three community rehabilitation programs to provide supported employment services.

However, one community rehabilitation provider did not receive supported employment funds. They utilized basic support funds to provide supported employment services. The table below shows how the funds were used.

Community Rehab Program Title VI Basic Support (82011)

Lighthouse of Central Florida $144,375.00 $103,125.00

Tampa Lighthouse $30,800.00 $61,600.00

Lighthouse of Pinellas $24,000.00 $12,000.00

Conklin Centers for the Blind $0 $1,172,576.00

Commercial Rehab. Facility $0 $0.00

Total $199,175.00 $1,349,301.00

It was estimated that the FDBS would serve not less than 25 individuals during the 2011 Federal Fiscal Year with approximately 12 successful closures. The Community Rehabilitation Programs provided services to a total of 94 persons during the contract period. Of the 35 participants coded as supported employment, 6 were closed as competitively employed. FDBS will continue to disperse the Title VI funds as it has previously done. Purchase orders for supported employment in parts of the state without contract providers will continue to be utilized to ensure that all clients have access to the same quality of services.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 12:43PM by David Heron

This attachment should include required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the vocational rehabilitation and the supported employment programs. (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)).

Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.

Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.

If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state.

Describe strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators.

Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.

Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:

  • achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
  • support innovation and expansion activities; and
  • overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.

FDBS has incorporated the following goals and strategiesinto an agency strategic plan for which each strategy has been assigned personsresponsible for executing and reporting measurement criteria.

In order to accomplish the FDBS FFY 2009 Strategic Planthere are five Goals and several strategies that form the overall framework toensure successful achievement of the Goals. These strategies and goals are listed subsequently.

Strategies Related to Assistive Technology Services and Devices

Assistive technology services and assistive technology devices are provided for applicants and clients at each stage of the rehabilitation process. The following ongoing strategies are employed by FDBS to ensure that individuals can benefit from assistive technology services and assistive technology devices.

Strategy 1: Continue to provide Assistive Technology training to all new VR counselors. This is part of the VR in-service training plan.
Strategy 2: Continue to provide opportunities to VR clients to see various types of equipment available for their specific vision problem and loan equipment to clients for demo purposes.
Strategy 3: Ensure that all clients talk to at least three vendors that provide the product that will meet an individual’s vocational goal.

Measure for strategies:

  1. Number of staff trained.
  2. Number of clients receiving assistive technology.

Goal 1.0: Increase Client Satisfaction

Strategy 1:Develop methods to expandand improve services to the Most Significantly Disabled including their needsfor Supported Employment.

The Supported Employment Goals are aggregated in ManagementObjectives: 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.Thesuccessful achievement of the Supported Employment Goal is ensured bycontinuing to accomplish Strategy 1 and Strategy 2.

The FDBS comprehensive assessment noted that staff mayrequire more training in working with persons with significant secondarydisabilities.This training will takeplace in FFY 2009 as part of the VR in-service training grant.

Strategy 2:Increase the number ofemployed clients at higher wages.

The FDBS comprehensive assessment noted that clients withmore training resulted in higher wages. Therefore clients who traditional do not see training as a means to endwill be encourage to participate in training even if it is vocational ratherthan academic.

Strategy 3:Develop a working relationship with the workforce investment system.

Currently most of the One-Stop facilities are notaccessible.The FDBS has signedMemorandums of Understanding with the Florida Workforce Boards to ensure thedistribution of pamphlets that identify the services that the FDBS provides toclients.We will continue to do so on anannual basis

Goal 2.0: Increase Market Share

Strategy 1:Develop outreachprocedures to identify and serve minorities, and the Unserved and Underserved.

Title I funds for Innovation and Expansion will continue to beused for projects in creating public relations campaigns and any accompanyingexpenses related to public relations and marketing materials.

During 2009, Spanish public service announcements will bemade.

Funds will be used to meet the needs of minorities.This will assist in accomplishing this Goaland impact favorably on Goal 1.0 Increase Client Satisfaction by increasing thenumber of individuals employed. The requirements of Section 427, GeneralEducation Provisions Act (GEPA), are considered and appropriately addressed inthese projects.These funds have beenalso been used to accomplish Strategy 3 of Goal 1.0: Increase ClientSatisfaction which includes the SRC and Strategy 2 of Goal 4.0: Improve FiscalResults.

Goal 3.0: Increase Employee Satisfaction

Strategy 1: Maximize training availability for FDBS staff to improveefficiency of service delivery and to learn and apply best practices forimproved case management.

Title I funds for Innovation and Expansion funds will alsobe used for an employee training project. This will ensure the FDBS has a welltrained workforce.It will also impact favorablyon Goal 1.0: Increase Client Satisfaction.

The following table outlines the training being used.

Program Activities using Title I funds for Innovation and Expansion
Program ActivityDescription
Employment Outcomes CoachingJob developers will get on site sales call coaching involving preparing for the call, making the employer call and debriefing after the call so they are succeeding with the skills taught.
Employment Outcomes - The IdeasOne-day program that provides the foundation models and strategic framework to ensure employment outcomes for all clients regardless of employment barriers.
Employment Outcomes Management ProfessionalThree-day workshop for the job development manager or job development team on enhancing management effectiveness in generating employment outcomes through better operational planning
Employment Outcomes ProfessionalThree-day program that teaches the practical marketing skills needed for successful job development.
Reframing the Hiring DecisionTwo-day program that provides the advanced marketing and sales skills needed to generate specialized employment for people with skill limitations but the motivation to work.
NegotiationStaff will learn how to negotiate with employers on purchasing of reasonable accommodations.

Goal 4.0: Improve Fiscal Results

Strategy 1:Develop a Return onInvestment (ROI) calculation.

The Florida State Legislature has become very dataoriented.During the budget committeesessions the FDBS has been able to identify the return to taxpayers for clientsthat have been employed by the Vocational rehabilitation Program.This calculation will be revised to includecost avoidances to federal funds if applicable. (i.e. Social Security Trust Fund).

Strategy 2: Strengthening FDBS infrastructure by utilizing strategicplanning and process improvement projects that will identify best practices andto identify FDBS internal/external strengths, weaknesses, opportunities andthreats.

FDBS deployed strategic goals, objectives and measures toall district offices and developed tactical plans:

  • Development of training materials, guidelines and templates to be used by all FDBS personnel.
  • Development of tactical action plans at each field location which aligns all offices to the FDBS goals, objectives and measures.
  • Development of tactical action plans, as appropriate, to support state-level projects, including staff support departments
  • FDBS implemented the Strategic Plan by:
  • Providing regular status reviews and technical assistance to 12 districts and 5 satellite offices in the execution of all tactical action plans.
  • Providing regular status reviews and technical assistance in the execution of all tactical action plans
  • Alignment of the Strategic Plan to the Departments' Objectives and projects, resulting in detailed tactical plans at all levels:
  • Strategic summary scorecard to include objectives, projects, measures and targets.
  • Alignment of all Bureaus and Areas and/or Districts to the division's objectives and priority projects.
  • Development of priority projects at the Area/District/Department level which will have measurable impact on FDBS objectives.

The above collective activities provide a basis for the performanceimprovement of the Federal evaluation standards and performance indicators.

Goal 5: Increase the employment outcome of persons of specific economicbackgrounds, African Americans, and Hispanic customers

Strategy 1: Maximize training availability for FDBS staff to improveefficiency of service delivery of persons of specific economic backgrounds,African Americans, and Hispanic customers

FDBS will focus on diversity training by incorporatingcultural diversity modules into annual staff training. Then staff will develop outreach plans based on this training.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 7 2009 9:44AM by saflsmithj

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals

VR Program Goals

The Evaluation and Reports of Progress of the most recently submitted version of Attachment 4.11(c)(1), are briefly discussed. However, Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) has modified its state goals and priorities to match its agency’s Strategic Plan to ensure that the goals and strategies are measureable.

Goal 1.0 Improve the Bureau of Business Enterprise Program

Measure: Increase the percentage of clients awarded their first facility that are able to stay gainfully employed in the program for at least one year by two percent per year over the next five years relative to current success rates. This will be measured using benchmark data.

Strategy 1.1 Raise entry level educational qualifications for individuals entering the Bureau of Business Enterprise Program.

Strategy 1.2 Provide background screening.

Strategy 1.3 Implement one year term requirement for first Type One contract assignment.

Sufficient time has not yet passed to measure the effectiveness of these strategies. The first licensed vendors to enter the program, complete training, and be awarded a facility with these strategies in place, have not yet completed one year. Therefore, sufficient data is not available to measure the results. However, preliminary results look very good.

Goal 2.0 Expand Community Outreach

This goal was developed because the federal standards and indicators displayed a decline in the ratio and the percentage of individuals with a minority background exiting the VR Program compared to the percentage of individuals without a minority background who were exiting the program. Also, the statewide comprehensive study indicated that individuals from lower economic groups were provided less training and had a larger number of persons closed who were not rehabilitated. This is a proactive goal. FDBS met Performance Indicator 2.1 — Minority Background Service Rate.

• Strategy 2.1 Visit underserved community-businesses and community centers; and participate in community fairs. o Measure: Districts will maintain a log of community- business and community centers; and participate in community fairs.

Based on an analysis of districts’ participation in community outreach activities, assertive efforts continue to address the underserved communities. Each district has identified the unique underserved populations in their area. Every month the identified underserved populations are targeted in order to increase services to said individuals. These efforts range from participation in Early Steps Coalition Fairs, Callaway Lion’s Club focus groups, Open House for Community Trolley meetings, Calhoun County Health Department Fairs and more. The District Administrators are responsible for maintaining a district log of activities of underserved populations. The log is submitted to the Client Services Program Administrator, who compiles a statewide quarterly log for statewide analysis and record keeping purposes.

• Strategy 2.2 Increase community outreach for individuals who are African American, Hispanic, or for groups identified as being underserved ethnic groups in various geographic regions of Florida (district specific) by implementing and maintaining district action plans. o Measure: Maintain action plan findings and submit an annual report.

Districts continue to strategize to increase their outreach efforts to underserved communities as documented in the district coordinated action plan reports.

Goal 3.0 Maximize Resources

• Strategy 3.1 Coordinate and participate in activities that would increase interaction with state and national resources.

This goal was developed to improve the ability to identify comparable resources available for clients.

Measure: District logs of interaction/participation with state and national entities.

FDBS districts continue to expand and develop relationships with state and national entities to broaden comparable benefit resources by serving on boards and participating in community activities. Additionally, each district maintains a resource log for their coverage area. One staff person in each district maintains the log electronically. The log is available on a shared network drive to ensure availability to all staff.

Goal 4.0 Develop and Improve Employment Outcomes

The state of the economy is challenging and FDBS is acquiring more customers with secondary disabilities and some with criminal backgrounds. As a result the percentage of persons who receive services with an employment outcome have been decreasing. FDBS has still not met the federal indicator for this standard. FDBS has two goals to try and increase the percentage of persons who receive services with a positive employment outcome.

• Objective 4.1 Increase career opportunities

o Strategy 4.1a Increase job development activities by designating a Statewide Customer Service Specialist (CSS) position to coordinate the implementation of strategies, training and planning based on the Employment Outcome Professional (EOP) Model.

? Measure: Increase in placements.

Unfortunately, during this reporting period FDBS lost its Statewide Customer Services Specialist. Thus the employment activities were hindered. However, the Division recognizes the need to increase its efforts towards securing jobs for visually impaired and blind Floridians. Thus we have developed a plan to further our employment placement efforts. Below is a list of our efforts.

1. Heighten accountability among our districts (competition) through measuring performance expectations related to VR Goals for both District Administrators and VR Counselors.

2. Secured an Employment Consultant who is responsible for tracking and monitoring employment efforts among the districts and organize an Employment Taskforce to address known employment barriers.

3. Promote the Business Enterprise Program as another employment option for qualified clients.

4. Promote Work Experience as an opportunity to make employers aware of an untapped population.

5. Promote external educational programs that offer immediate job opportunities.

6. Establishment of Job Placement Initiatives through joint efforts.

7. Embark upon two new employment initiatives

a) Discovery Model

b) Self-employment

8. Seek other employment initiatives

Strategy 4.1 b Conduct statewide training to CSS employees on job development strategies based on the EOP Model.

? Measure: Results of the annual on-site district visits to document implementation of EOP Model strategies.

Ongoing EOP II course training and materials is being provided to new CSS and many VR Counselors. Additionally, the EOP II course training is provided to our Contract Providers to ensure we are all on the same page with regard to employment and placement for individuals with visual disabilities. The overall participation is consistent.

Goal 5.0 Improve Counseling

FDBS is seeing more customers with mental health issues, alcohol or drug abuse issues, and criminal backgrounds. Additionally, the percentage of persons who have been provided services with an employment outcome has slightly increased.

Objective 5.1 Improve counseling to better address emotional and behavioral issues.

o Strategy 5.1a Create informational training on mental health and substance abuse issues for FDBS counselors and Rehabilitation Technicians.

? Measure: Training documentation.

FDBS continues to generate mental health informational materials to new and existing VR staff. The content of the material involves an explanation of mental health and substance abuse warning signs and its impacts on daily living activities and employment outcomes.

o Strategy 5.1b Designate a mental health consultant available for each district.

? Measure: List of available consultants.

FDBS has employed one Statewide Mental Health Consultant who serves the state. FDBS has determined that having one Statewide Mental Health Consultant is sufficient and feasible. The role of statewide Mental Health Consultant is to provide technical assistance to staff across the state of Florida with regard to clients with possible mental health issues. The Statewide Mental Health Consultant has expertise in mental health.

Goal 6.0 Improve Employee Satisfaction

Increased employment satisfaction is measured by the overall percentage employee satisfaction using the following management objectives:

? Objective 6.1 Improve information located on the FDBS network drive. o Strategy 6.1a Review and organize information related to Client Services.

? Measure: Information on the FDBS network drive is current.

FDBS continues to organize current information related to Client Services on the FDBS network drive. This will be an ongoing activity.

? Objective 6.2 Improve Staff Development (Training will be tracked) o Strategy 6.3a Provide customer service training “(Give’em the Pickle)” to all staff.

FDBS has purchased the Give’em the Pickle customer service training material and has identified a trainer to conduct training throughout the Division. At this time, the Give’em the Pickle Customer Service Training has been provided throughout the state to all staff.

o Strategy 6.3b Develop specific training focused on clients with a secondary disability (e.g., drug and alcohol, mental impairments, social/emotional).

FDBS has collaborated with the Technical Assistance Center for Continuing Education to provide statewide training on co-existing disabilities. The training objective was to provide VR Staff with strategies and information that would increase the effectiveness of services to individuals with co-existing disabilities.

Goal 7.0 Improve Infrastructure for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs

FDBS implemented a new case management system, the Accessible Web-based Activity and Reporting Environment (AWARE), in October 2006. However, the business process and the case management techniques have never been coordinated. Data pulled from the AWARE system relies on counselors inputting items correctly. The following strategies will help to improve infrastructure for the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs, and better ensure that data is accurate.

• Strategy 7.1 Align Client Services business practices and Client Service data base to meet federal regulation and reporting requirements. o Measure: Modify and develop Client Services data base to support business practices and provide data for accurate reporting and program evaluation.

FDBS has successfully re-aligned its case management system such that it interfaces with existing business practices. This system has aided in our efforts to streamline processes and strengthen relationships with contract providers.

 

During Federal FY 2011, FDBS had two strategies to provide services to the most severely disabled and improve supported employment outcomes. This was done through its partnership with community rehabilitation providers.

Strategy 1: FDBS contracted with four community rehabilitation programs to provide supported employment services.

Strategy 2: FDBS used case service funding to support supported employment activities especially in the area of the state where there were no contracting agencies.

As noted in attachment 4.11(c)(4), during Federal FY 2011, FDBS contracted with four community rehabilitation programs to provide supported employment services. It was estimated that the FDBS would serve no less than 25 individuals during the 2011 federal fiscal year with approximately 12 successful closures. The Community Rehabilitation Programs provided services to a total of 94 persons during the contract period. Of the 35 participants coded as supported employment, six were closed as competitively employed. During the Federal FY 2011, FDBS continued to disperse the Title VI funds as it has previously done. Purchase orders for supported employment in parts of the state without contract providers will continue to be used to ensure that all clients have access to the same quality of services.

 

Below are tables that indicate the Federal FY 2010 and Federal FY 2011 Federal Standard, and whether FDBS met the standard. A brief discussion of FDBS performance standards and indicators are noted in the tables below.

Findings: Standard One

Federal FY2010/Federal FY2011 Difference

Standard

1.1 Number of Closed Cases with an Employment Outcome. 688 720 32

Standard Description Federal FY 2010 Federal FY 2011 Standard Met?

1.2 Of the Closed Cases that received services, the percentage with an

Employment Outcome. 47.9 percent 47.9 percent Standard 68.9 percent Not met

1.3 Of the Closed Cases with an Employment Outcome, the percentage that has a wage greater than or equal to the Minimum Wage. 99.1 percent 97.6 percent Standard 35.4 percent Met

1.4 Of the Closed Cases with an Employment Outcome, the percentage that has a wage greater than or equal to the Minimum Wage and have Significant Disabilities. 100 percent 100 percent Standard 89.0 percent Met

1.5 Ratio of Average

State Wage to the average wage of

Closed Cases with

Employment Outcome that have wages greater than or equal to Minimum Wage. 0.71 0.74 0.59 Met

1.6 Difference between the percentage of

Closed Cases with

Employment Outcomes that have a wage greater than or equal to the Minimum Wage that are Self Support at Application and the percentage of Closed

Cases with Employment

Outcomes that have a wage greater than or equal to the Minimum

Wage that are Self

Support at Closure. 36.5 35.7 30.4 Met

2.1 Ratio of Minority

Service Rate to

Non-Minority Service Rate 0.938 0.980 0.80 Met

Standard 1.1 Number of Closed Cases with an Employment Outcome and Standard 1.2 of the Closed Cases that received services, the percentage with an Employment Outcome are closely related. The number of closed cases with an employment outcome has increased by 32 individuals. The percentage of the closed cases with an employment outcome increased as well. This year as in the previous year, FDBS did not meet this standard.

Factors attributed to failure to meet standard are as follows:

1. FDBS is promoting clients obtaining careers rather than obtaining jobs in order to achieve long-term employment and job satisfaction.

2. Florida has experienced a downturn in the economy.

3. Due to the unemployment rate in Florida, there are fewer jobs available.

4. FDBS has an influx of individuals with multiple disabilities. This limits the number of placements.

Given the economic decline, FDBS performed well in meeting standards related to wage requirements. Of the participants provided jobs, a high ratio met or exceeded the minimum standards.

The Ratio of Minority Service Rate to Non-Minority Service Rate has increased again after two or three years of a slight but steady decline.

 

Innovation and Expansion funds were used in Federal FY 2011 to support the State Rehabilitation Council. The table below indicates the expenses for the State Rehabilitation Council.

Expense Category October 2010 February April June July

2011 Total

Council Travel $4,282 $ 11,186 $8,255 $0 $6,975 $30,698

Personal Care Assistants Travel $742 $1,454 $358 $0 $1,344 $3,898

Misc. Expenses $90 $2,315 $2,433 $0 $2,376 $7,214

Client Satisfaction Survey 0 0 0 $15,750 $0 $15,750

Total $5,114 $14,954 $10,984 $15,750 $10,695 $57,560

Summary of the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind Accomplishments and Activities FY 2010/2011.

• Governor Crist reappointed three, and appointed five new members, to the Council November 2010.

• A new Advocacy Group was added to the Council to represent the Deaf-Blind consumers.

• Orientation for new members included an overview of the Sunshine Law presented by the DOE Legal Counsel during the February 2011, quarterly meeting.

• Election of Officers occurred during the February quarterly meeting.

• FRCB Officers for 2011 are: Paul Edwards, Chair; Bruce Miles, First Vice Chair; Paul Kaminsky, Second Vice Chair.

• The Council attended the Vision Summit on February 8th held in the House Chambers of the old Capitol.

• The Council and DBS recognized the Marriott Hotels Global Reservations with a plaque of appreciation for employing individuals with visual disabilities in the Miami-Dade area.

• The Council scheduled four quarterly meetings and conducted a Public Forum during each meeting.

Quarterly Meeting Agenda Items have included:

• Election of new officers – February 2011.

• Orientation for New Council Members.

• Committee Break-Outs (Planning Committee & Evaluation Committee).

• Local Community Rehab Program reports at each meeting.

• Updates with FSU concerning data on the Client Satisfaction Survey.

• Presentation from the new Bureau Chief and update on the Braille and Talking Books Library.

• Update on the Daytona Beach Complex.

• Tour of the new student dormitory at the Rehab Center.

• Vision Summit Updates.

• Presentations by other state agencies and professionals from the private sector: o Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services. o Director of Vocational Rehabilitation. o Director of Volunteer Florida. o Employer Recognition – April 2011, meeting in Miami.

Agenda Items conducted by DBS include:

• Director’s Report (each meeting).

• Report from the local District Administrator (each meeting).

• FDBS Capacity Building: Status of Job Development; Placements and Outcomes; Contract Management; Quality Assurance.

• Strategic Planning asking Council to identify the critical needs where FDBS needs to improve; where FDBS is doing well; FDBS opportunities and any future threats.

• Policy Reviews to receive Council input.

• DBS Budget Report and Legislative updates.

• Discussion of the State Plan for Council input.

• Discussion of the Needs Assessment for Council input.

The Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind continues to collaborate closely with the Florida Division of Blind Services and plays an active role in marketing.

This screen was last updated on Sep 11 2012 1:20PM by David Heron

  • Describe quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities
  • Describe the timing of the transition to extended services

Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) provides supported employment services through State level service agreements noted in Attachment 4.11 (c) (4) on a contractual basis to provide meaningful career opportunities for those persons considered to have the most severe disabilities. Supported employment services are provided through four district level contracts and in all districts on a fee for service basis to those individuals with the most severe disabilities.

To increase the effectiveness of the transition from a supported employment outcome to extended services, FDBS now requires an individual to be in the employment outcome for 150 days prior to closure. This increase not only reflects the change from 60 to 90 days for non supported employment outcomes, but provides opportunity for more extensive transitional services. These services include building effective natural supports in the community and on the job. More substantial services during this time will help minimize the need for extended services and increase the opportunity of success for the supported employment outcome.

All persons will be served using the individual job placement model of supported employment. Based on current year figures, the following have been calculated:

• Hourly wages range from $6.00 to $26.00, with a $7.31 per hour average wage.

• Work weeks range from 8 hours to 40 hours, with a 25.7 hour average work week. Average annual salary incomes exceed $8,265.74.

• Approximately 22.5% of persons employed will have employer-sponsored health insurance benefits.

These figures reflect an increase in the numbers of persons served over previous years.

The quality and type of services received will continue to meet Federal requirements, be provided through a statewide network of specifically trained providers, and be subject to ongoing program reviews. Additionally, FDBS will continue to be involved locally within district supported employment service networks.

This screen was last updated on Aug 7 2009 9:45AM by saflsmithj

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Last updated on 09/11/2012 at 1:23 PM

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Completed on 09/11/2012 at 1:27 PM

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