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
Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (submitted FY 2012)

1.1 The Illinois Department of Human Services 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 Illinois Department of Human Services [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

Secretary Department of Human Services

... 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

Secretary Department of Human Services

... 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
Michelle R.B. Saddler

Title of Signatory
Secretary, Department of Human Services

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/29/2012

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
No

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
Division of Rehabilitation 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. No

(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 following constitutes the report generated by the State Plan Committee and approved by the State Rehabilitation Council. DRS responses are provided for each major point in the report.

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meets quarterly with the Department of Human Services’, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS/DRS) executive and administrative staff to gather information and provide perspective on key issues of concern to the Council. SRC meetings include a presentation from the State VR Acting Director updating members on issues pertinent to VR and the disability community.

The working relationship between DRS and SRC has evolved over the years with executive staff participating on council sub-committees, council members receiving quarterly updates on the progress towards meeting standards and indicators, updates on proposed changes to policies and administrative rules, and program information needed to conduct the business of SRC.

The State Plan Committee discussed the State Plan for Fiscal Year 2013, reviewed last year’s SRC letter, and formulated recommendations to include in this year’s section 4.2.

Following is a summary of specific recommendations of the SRC.

A. Over the past year, it has come to SRC’s attention that services are reportedly not always provided in a consistent manner among VR counselors and VR offices across the State. Therefore, the Stakeholders Committee has developed a recommendation to address this inconsistency:

In order to promote consistency and continuity of services across all Illinois DHS/Division of Rehabilitation Services’ offices across the State, and in order to support front-line DRS counselors who face increasing case-loads and strained budgets, the SRC Stakeholder Committee recommends the development and implementation of a checklist that will provide a quick check-off of activities, procedures, and information-sharing that should happen for every consumer in every local office. The SRC will take the lead and work collaboratively with DRS to develop and test the checklist. After finalization, DRS executive, administrative, and training staff will scale-up and support implementation across all DRS field offices. The checklist(s) will seek efficiency of function and optimal, consistent service to clients.

It is the belief of the SRC that developing and implementing a checklist will enhance unified service delivery to all consumers with disabilities in Illinois.

DRS Response: DRS administration will work with SRC members to develop the checklist concept and identify appropriate methods to ensure program consistency.

B. The SRC is pleased that the second phase of the Needs Assessment has been completed and was a partnership between DRS, SRC and the generous assistance of Illinois State University (ISU) marketing students. The graduate students developed an on line survey for CRP’s and a hard copy mailer for customers. After the data was collected, they provided an analysis of the information which will be shared with DRS staff. Their time was a graduate level project and did not require Federal or State funding.

SRC members wish to be included in the third phase of this project as well and have expressed a strong desire to assist in making data-based decisions to impact future directions of DRS. When developing the next two year State Plan, the SRC would like to be at the table from start to finish.

DRS Response: DRS welcomes the input of the SRC members and appreciates the effort that resulted in the participation of Illinois State University in the survey process this year. DRS will continue to work with the SRC Stakeholder Committee to pursue data collection and analysis options.

C. It has taken approximately 3 years for DRS to review all of the administrative rules pertaining to the Vocational Rehabilitation process and guide them through the appropriate channels for review and approval within the Department of Human Services and the Joint Committee on the Administration of Rules (JCAR). This included 11 sets of rules in their entirety and was no small accomplishment.

Now that the rules have been adopted, the SRC will assist and monitor the implementation and quality assurance of counselors and their knowledge of new rules and putting them into practice. This will be done by reviewing quarterly reports from DRS administration and training staff.

DRS Response: DRS administration appreciates the efforts of SRC members to monitor implementation of the newly adopted VR program rules.

D. The SRC is pleased to learn that the focus on Transition continues as evidenced by DRS awarding transition contracts to providers to enhance transition outcomes. The SRC is recommending quarterly updates on these projects, given this is a major goal as identified in the State Plan.

DRS Response: DRS will provide quarterly updates on the transition projects for review by the SRC.

E. Many of the goals included in the State Plan are based on meeting or exceeding RSA Standards and Indicators (i.e. number of referrals, applications, certifications, new IPE’s, competitive outcomes…) and are top priorities for the agency. These goals will likely be challenged due to the economic climate and unemployment rate in Illinois. In addition, the agency has experienced the retirement of over 60 staff statewide in the past year and the State’s hiring process does not automatically seek to fill each and every position.

DRS Response: DRS administration agrees that the current situation presents a challenge to the effective operation of the VR program. However it is likely that current vacancies will be filled within a period of months, particularly those at the direct service level. DRS is committed to achieving its goals and hopes to move forward in spite of the present difficulties.

F. There are two ongoing concerns about the receipt and timely public review of this draft. We did not receive this until the middle of June and there were only two public hearings (one in Chicago and one in Springfield). This is problematic as it allows little time for professional review (reading and providing constructive feedback) of this document and more importantly creates a potential time crunch for persons with disabilities to attend and participate in public review of this document.

DRS Response: DRS has faced staff shortages in a number of areas, including the central office planning section, delaying completion of some planning work. It is hoped that staff assignments can be arranged to provide additional assistance in the state plan effort. The number of public hearings has varied over the years, typically with two hearings, although at times only one and at other times as many as five. DRS will work with the SRC to develop an approach that is mutually satisfactory.

G. The Chair of SRC would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of all council members during this past year. The council continues to develop and strengthen ties with RSA and participated on the recent Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) document; worked with RSA Audit Teams (Program and In-Service Training) in planning the on-site reviews and participating in discussions; actively participated in monthly conference calls with other members of the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC); and attend CSAVR Conferences annually.

DRS Response: DRS administration has observed an increase in activity in the last year by SRC members and committees, and joins the Chair in acknowledging these contributions.

H. We ask that each of these items will be added to Section 4.2 of the State Plan and the following year (fiscal year 2013), the DRS administration reports specific actions that happened with regard to each of these points. We truly believe in the role and responsibilities the SRC is charged with and are committed to helping DRS provide consistent, high quality services to all consumers with disabilities across the state of Illinois.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 12:56PM by Douglas Morton

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.

Attachment 4.7(b)(3) Request for Waiver of Statewideness

The Division of Rehabilitation Services maintains a considerable number of Third Party Agreements with other units of government, primarily school districts. These Third Party Agreements are designed to increase the availability of vocational rehabilitation services to specific populations of people with disabilities. DRS has a contract with each entity that is consistent with Federal regulations (34CFR361.26) and includes the following provisions: (a) the vocational rehabilitation services to be provided are identified; (b) the local agency assures that non-Federal funds are made available to DRS; (c) the local agency assures that DRS approval is required before services are provided; and (d) the local agency assures that all other State plan requirements, including the Order of Selection policy, are applied to persons receiving services through the agreement.

The following is a list of the Third Party Agreements now in place.

1. William Rainey Harper College

The purpose of this agreement is to provide post-secondary training to students in northern Cook County with hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and other disabilities who are eligible for VR program services. The college is a two-year community college, which serves the northern part of Cook County. It is located in Palatine, Illinois.

2. The Evaluation and Development Center

The purpose of this agreement with the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is to provide a continuing program of rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities in Southern Illinois. This agreement provides evaluation and placement, independent living, residential, information and referral, and rehabilitation engineering services to customers eligible for services from the VR program. This program primarily serves the Illinois counties of Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Perry, Saline, Williamson, and Union.

3. Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP)

The purpose of this program is to provide rehabilitation services for customers who are still in secondary school. DRS has 146 contractual arrangements with school districts and cooperatives throughout the state. Of that number 136 are third-party contracts and 10 are not. These arrangements resulted in VR services being provided to approximately 15,750 students during FY2011. STEP services typically include: classroom instruction that provides opportunities for career exploration and the development of job readiness skills; independent living and community mobility skills training; and multiple work experiences in both school and community-based work sites. DRS anticipates that approximately 16,000 students will be served in the STEP program in FY2012.

List of School Districts and Cooperatives with

Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP) Contracts

Third-Party STEP Contracts

Alton Community School District 11

Alton, IL

Anna Jonesboro Community High School

Anna, IL

Belleville Township High School District 201

Belleville, IL

Bethalto Community Unit 8 Schools

Bethalto, IL

Carlyle Community Unit 1

Carlyle, IL

Collinsville Unit 10

Collinsville, IL

East Alton - Wood River High School

Wood River, IL

East St. Louis District 189

East St. Louis, IL

Edwardsville Community Unit 7

Edwardsville, IL

Frankfort Community High School

West Frankfort, IL

Granite City School District 9

Granite City, IL

Highland Community Schools District 5

Highland, IL

JAMP Special Education Services

Grand Chain, IL

Jersey Community Schools District 100

Jerseyville, IL

Regional Office of Education - Madison County

Edwardsville, IL

Mascoutah Community School District 19

Mascoutah, IL

Mt. Vernon Township High School

Mt. Vernon, IL

Nashville High School 99

Nashville, IL

O?Fallon High School

O?Fallon, IL

Perandoe Special Education District

Red Bud, IL

South Eastern Special Education

Ste. Marie, IL

Education Development Center of St. Clair County

Belleville, IL

Triad Community Unit School District 2 (Educational Dev. Ctr)

Troy, IL

Tri-County Special Education District

Murphysboro, IL

Wabash & Ohio Valley Special Education District

Carmi, IL

Williamson County Special Education District

Marion, IL

Belvidere Community Unit School District 100

Belvidere, IL

Bi-County Special Education Cooperative.

Sterling, IL

Black Hawk Area Special Education District

East Moline, IL

Bradley-Bourbonnais Community HS

Bradley, IL

Canton Union School District 66

Canton, IL

Community Unit School District 2 (Serena HS)

Serena, IL

Dixon Unit School District 170, LCSEA

Dixon, IL

Freeport School District 145

Freeport, IL

Galesburg Community Unit School District 205 (Knox Warren)

Galesburg, IL

Harlem Community Unit School District 122

Machesney Park, IL

Henry-Senachwine Community Unit School District 5

Henry, IL

Henry-Stark Special Education District c/o Kewanee HS

Kewanee, IL

Kankakee School District 111

Kankakee, IL

Kankakee Area Special Education Cooperative.

Kankakee, IL

LaSalle County School District 160 (Seneca High School)

Seneca, IL

LaSalle-Peru Township High School

LaSalle, IL

Northwest Special Education Cooperative

Freeport, IL

Ogle County Educational Cooperative

Byron, IL

Ottawa Township High School District 140

Ottawa, IL

Peoria Public School District 150

Peoria, IL

Princeton Township High School

Princeton, IL

Putnam County Unit District 535

Granville, IL

Rockford Public School. District 205

Rockford, IL

Special Education Association of Peoria County

Bartonville, IL

Special Education District of McHenry County

Woodstock, IL

Streator Township High School

Streator, IL

Sycamore Community Unit School District - Northwestern Illinois Association

Sycamore, IL

Tazewell Mason County Special Education Association

Pekin, IL

West Central Community Unit School District 235

Biggsville, IL

Winnebago County Special Education Cooperative

Rockton, IL

Woodford County Special Education Association

Metamora, IL

Board of Education District U-46

Elgin, IL

Community High School District 99

Downers Grove, IL

Community Unit School District 155

Crystal Lake, IL

Community School District 200

Wheaton, IL

Community Unit School District 300

Algonquin, IL

Community Unit School District 303 Mid-Valley Joint Agreement

St. Charles, IL

DeKalb Community Unit District 428

DeKalb, IL

DeKalb County Sp Ed Association

DeKalb, IL

DuPage High School District 88

Villa Park, IL

Easter Seals Therapeutic Day School

Tinley Park, IL

Aurora East High School District 131

Aurora, IL

Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205

Elmhurst, IL

Fenton High School District 100

Bensenville, IL

Glenbard Township H S District 87

Glen Ellyn, IL

Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204

Aurora, IL

J. Sterling Morton High School

Berwyn, IL

Joliet Township High School District 204

Joliet, IL

Kendall County Sp Ed Cooperative

Yorkville, IL

LaGrange Area Dept. of Special Ed

LaGrange, IL

Lake Park High School

Roselle, IL

Lincoln-Way Community High School

New Lenox, IL

Lockport Area Special Education

Lockport, IL

Marengo Community H S Dist 154

Marengo, IL

Naperville Community Unit School District 203

Naperville, IL

Peotone Community Unit School

Peotone, IL

Plainfield Community Community School District 202

Plainfield, IL

School Association for Special Education DuPage County

Naperville, IL

Southern Will County Cooperative for Special Education

Wilmington, IL

Sycamore Community School District 427

Sycamore, IL

Valley View School District 365U

Romeoville, IL

West Aurora School District 129

Aurora, IL

AERO Special Education Cooperative

Burbank, IL

Board of Education of City of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Community High School District 218

Oak Lawn, IL

Lansing School (ECHO/TIE Joint Agreement)

South Holland, IL

Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401

Franklin Park, IL

Evanston Township High School

Evanston, IL

Northfield Twp District 225 Glenbrook High School

Glenview, IL

Lake Forest High School

Lake Forest, IL

Leyden HS - Martin Enger School

Northlake, IL

Maine Township High School District 207 TS 3rd party also has SEP contract

Park Ridge, IL

Mannheim School District 83

Franklin Park, IL

New Trier Township High School

Winneka, IL

Niles Township District Special Education 807

Morton Grove, IL

Northern Suburban Special Education District

Highland Park, IL

Northwest Suburban Special Education Org.

Mount Prospect, IL

Oak Park River Forest High School

Oak Park, IL

Proviso Township High School

Maywood, IL

Ridgewood Community High School District 234 - Maple Park Academy

Norridge, IL

Southwest Cook County Cooperative. Assoc. Special Education

Oak Forest, IL

Special Education District of Lake County

Gages Lake, IL

SPEED Special Education Joint Agreeement 802

Chicago Heights, IL

Thornton Twp High School District 205

Harvey, IL

Township High School 113

Highland Park, IL

Waukegan Community School District 60

Waukegan, IL

Decatur Public Schools District 61

Decatur, IL

Eastern IL Area Special Education (Matton)

Charleston, IL

Educational SVC Reg. Office Champaign and Ford Counties

Rantoul, IL

Ford County Special Education Cooperative

Gibson City, IL

Franklin Community High School

Franklin, IL

Iroquois Special Education Association

Gilman, IL

Jacksonville High School

Jacksonville, IL

Livingston Co. Special Services

Pontiac, IL

Mid-State Special Education

Taylorville, IL

Quincy Public Schools (Special Education Adams County)

Quincy, IL

Regional Office of Education (McLean-Dewitt)

Normal, IL

Sangamon Area Special Education District

Springfield, IL

Schulyer County Community Unit District 1

Rushville, IL

Scott County Unit District 1

Winchester, IL

Springfield School District 186

Springfield, IL

Staunton Unit District 6

Staunton, IL

Vermillion Association for Special Education

Danville, IL

Villa Grove Community Unit 302

Villa Grove, IL

West Central II Special Education Cooperative.

Macomb, IL

Non-Third Party STEP Contracts

South Central Community Services

Chicago, IL

The Cove School

Northbrook, IL

Allendale Association

Lake Villa, IL

Arlyn Day School

Wilmette, IL

Beacon Therapeutic & Treatment Center

Chicago, IL

Summit School

East Dundee, IL

Larkin Center

Elgin, IL

Nexus (Indian Oaks Academy)

Manteno, IL

Bartlett Learning Center

Bartlett, IL

Children’s Home Association of Illinois

Peoria, IL

This screen was last updated on Aug 8 2011 2:35PM by Douglas Morton

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.

General Information on Interagency Cooperation

Illinois DRS maintains cooperative agreements and working relationships with a wide variety of state, local and education entities that provide services to individuals with disabilities. DRS presently has over 25 interagency agreements in effect with other state agencies. DRS has a long-standing agreement with the Illinois State Board of Education regarding the provision of transition services to students with disabilities age 14 and older. This agreement was re-written in 2012 and is under review prior to submitting for department signatures. The revised agreement will place greater emphasis on the roles of each party in preparing students for the transition to employment, education and training.

Presently DRS provides VR services to around 15,000 students with disabilities each year through contracts with 141 school systems. DRS provides vocational rehabilitation services to another 3,000 high school students with disabilities outside of the contractual system. DRS also has agreements with 12 state universities and 36 community colleges in Illinois regarding funding for services to students who are VR customers.

DRS has contracts and working agreements with over 120 not-for-profit community rehabilitation programs, which serve around 4,500 VR customers each year, providing vocational evaluation, job placement and supported employment services. DRS maintains working relationships with the Statewide Independent Living Council, as well as the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and has contracts with centers for independent living to provide a variety of rehabilitation services.

Illinois does not have an agency receiving a grant under part C of Title I of the Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians. Also, Illinois does not have a separate VR agency for individuals who are blind.

State Use and Rural Development Programs

DRS does not presently have formal interagency agreements with state use programs operated within Illinois. The Department of Human Services Procurement Office, which coordinates purchasing activities, maintains procedures for purchasing from designated state use sources on behalf of the Department. DRS does not have formal interagency agreements with Rural Development Programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Agreements with Components of the Workforce Investment System

Each DRS local office has developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with local one-stop workforce centers in their service area. The MOU process has been in place since 2001 and is well understood by all parties. The local office supervisor takes an active role in representing the VR program in the one-stop system, and is responsible for updating the MOU each year. The MOU detailed information on referral procedures when there is no physical VR program presence at the one-stop center. When there is a VR presence at the center, the MOU describes the funding arrangements regarding utilization of the space and infrastructure costs. To the greatest extent possible, DRS prefers to make in-kind contributions to the one-stop center.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 12:57PM by Douglas Morton

  • 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.

Cooperation with Education Officials

The DRS interagency agreement with the State Board of Education identifies financial roles and responsibilities for transition services. This agreement has been re-written and is under review pending signatures by department heads. The overall responsibility for funding a student’s educational program lies with the local education authority, with support from the State Board of Education. DRS provides funding for vocational rehabilitation services, both through the STEP program and through general VR caseloads. DRS has contracts with 141 school districts, of which 131 involve the use of school funds as VR matching funds. DRS coordinates and provides support for operational costs of regional Transition Planning Councils. DRS establishes qualifications for personnel it employs, and the State Board establishes qualifications for personnel working for school districts.

Since 2009 DRS has worked with schools that have third-party cooperative agreements to ensure that federal VR requirements are followed in the provision of transition services. This has included a contract addendum as well as specific exhibits that are now incorporated into the contract package itself. DRS believes that these measures have resulted in an environment where all parties understand and are in compliance with these requirements.

DRS provides consultation and technical assistance to educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities. This is accomplished through a number of mechanisms. DRS has assigned qualified rehabilitation counselors to act as liaison to every high school in Illinois. A fundamental part of the liaison role is to provide consultation and technical assistance to educators involved in the transition process.

Transition Planning Councils in each area of the state work with school districts to identify students with disabilities needing transition services. Aggregate services needs are reported annually to the State Transition Council. Through the counselor liaison relationships, students with disabilities have ready access to the VR program. DRS counselors provide consultation regarding vocational services and provide general information on disability services available in the community. DRS also sponsors the Next Steps parent-training program to assist families in understanding their children’s needs regarding transition services.

Illinois has a committee dedicated to transition issues, the Interagency Coordinating Council, that develops policy and establishes roles and responsibilities. DRS participates on the Council along with the State Board of Education and other state agencies involved in serving youth with disabilities. DRS also coordinates regional Transition Planning Councils, with school and community rehabilitation programs also participating. State law requires that transition planning begin at age 14 ½. DRS assists local schools in building a vocational focus as the student progresses through the school system. The Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP) is funded by DRS and provides financial support for students with disabilities during the high school years. Participation in DRS services for students in STEP is incorporated in the IPE during the time the student is in school. For transition students not participating in STEP, an IPE is developed no later than the last semester of high school, per state rule (89 Ill. Admin. Code 572.50 (c)).

Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education

In Illinois there is no single government agency responsible for the administration of higher education in the state. There are two agencies with regulatory responsibility for higher education in Illinois. The Illinois Board of Higher Education is responsible for regulating the activities of public and private colleges and universities in the state that offer four-year programs and graduate programs. The Illinois Community College Board has a similar role for two-year community colleges throughout the state. Because there is no single administrative entity, DRS must initiate individual agreements with each institution.

In recent years DRS has worked to develop cooperative working agreements with institutions of higher education that serve vocational rehabilitation program customers. The primary focus of the agreements has been arrangements for payment of auxiliary services and supports provided to students who are VR customers. In particular, the agreements have focused on payment for sign language interpreter services and computer-assisted real time captioning services for students who are deaf. While there are many other types of services involved in the agreements, these represent the highest cost services.

Consequently, DRS has pursued a strategy of a gradual reduction in financial support for auxiliary services to students with disabilities. In 2001 DRS developed a plan to reduce the VR share of auxiliary services to a maximum of 50 percent by 2004. DRS announced a statewide schedule in its 2007 State Plan that has no reached its conclusion, with DRS contributing no funds to pay for auxiliary services for students with disabilities in Illinois colleges and universities.

In 2009 DRS distributed agreements to each public institution of higher education in Illinois which reiterated the new policy, and which also specified the general categories of services VR will pay for, and provided a mechanism for dispute resolution. These agreements will continue to be in effect throughout the 2012-2013 school year.

It should be noted that there have been few disputes about payment for auxiliary aids and services since DRS began this process six years ago. It is DRS policy that no student be denied services due to a dispute between DRS and an institution of higher education. In such circumstances, DRS will pay for the auxiliary services and seek reimbursement from the institution at a later date.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 12:58PM by Douglas Morton

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

Non-Profit Rehabilitation Providers

DRS has contractual agreements with non-profit rehabilitation providers to provide services to VR customers. DRS works with the Facilities Advisory Council consisting of provider representatives to discuss issues and identify service needs in an ongoing manner. Cooperative agreements with non-profit rehabilitation service providers are developed when necessary to specify responsibilities relating to a project. Development of such cooperative agreements are initiated by local office supervisor and completed with approval from the community resources division of DRS. DRS believes that cooperative agreements provide flexibility in developing service options and improve the ability to respond to community needs.

DRS has contracts and working agreements with over 120 not-for-profit community rehabilitation programs, which serve around 4,500 VR customers each year, providing vocational evaluation, job placement and supported employment services. DRS maintains working relationships with the Statewide Independent Living Council, as well as the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and has contracts with centers for independent living to provide a variety of rehabilitation services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 1:06PM by Douglas Morton

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.

General Information

DRS has contracts and working agreements with not-for-profit community rehabilitation programs, which serve around 4,500 VR customers each year, providing vocational evaluation, job placement and supported employment services. DRS also has contracts with centers for independent living to provide a variety of rehabilitation services. DRS believes that supported employment services are generally available when needed for individuals with most significant disabilities.

Supported Employment and Extended Services

For many years DRS has had a number of contracts and cooperative working agreements with community provider agencies to provide both supported employment and extended services to individuals with most significant disabilities. DRS has a standing committee of community rehabilitation programs known as the Facility Advisory Committee which meets regularly to discuss service arrangements, including but not limited to, supported employment and extended services. DRS believes that this group is the best mechanism for communicating with provider agencies and maintaining a grasp of the demand for these services. DRS also has an interagency cooperative team that involves the DHS Division of Mental Health to provide ongoing support services to individuals with serious mental illness.

In FY2013 DRS expects to continue the following levels of funding for supported employment activities.

Supported employment services provided with Title VI-B funds: approximately 200 individuals, total funding $1.1 million, with 27 provider agencies..

Supported employment provided with Title I funds: approximately 2,000 individuals, total funding $5.0 million, approximately 40 provider agencies.

Beginning in July 2012 DRS will implement a new rate structure for supported employment services.

DRS will not be able to provide the same level of extended services as in the past, due to an elimination of state general revenue funding for this program. In state fiscal year 2011 $1.04 million in state funds were used for extended services, with 47 provider agencies receiving contracts. In state fiscal year 2013 no state funds will be available for extended services.

DRS is working to identify other sources of funding for extended services. DRS has entered into discussions on possible funding arrangements with the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities and Division of Mental Health. DRS will also work with community provider agencies to further emphasize the use of natural supports as an alternative to paid extended services.

DRS also intends to pursue ongoing changes in its supported employment program. In 2010 DRS issued a notice of changes to supported employment policy, emphasizing the need to limit the amount of time spent on pre-employment activities (known collectively as “job development”) and focus on gradual reduction in worksite support services through use of the support reduction plan portion of the IPE. It is expected that these changes will reduce the number of individuals expected to require paid extended services during the next two years, with a corresponding increase in the utilization of natural supports.

DRS intends to work with provider representatives to develop new methods of provision of supported employment services that promote independence and reduce reliance on paid extended services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 2:57PM by Douglas Morton

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is dedicated to ensuring an adequate supply of qualified professionals and paraprofessionals are available. This is accomplished through the strong commitment to providing and making available training programs to all staff especially staff who provide direct services to individuals with disabilities

Personnel Data

Sufficiency of Current Staffing Levels

DRS believes it has sufficient staff on hand to staff the VR program. Each staff category has a normal number of vacant positions, and DRS works aggressively to fill vacancies as soon as possible, in conjunction with DHS personnel managers. There has been little growth in the overall VR caseload in the last several years, which means that DRS has sufficient staff available to serve people with disabilities meeting its order of selection policy, and has the capacity to fill vacant positions to continue to meet that level of need.

DRS has 238 VR counselors with 208 on hand and 30 vacant positions, and 27 rehabilitation and mobility instructors, with 23 on hand and four vacant position. These staff are supported by 136 rehabilitation case coordinator positions, of which DRS has 112 on hand with 24 vacant positions. The number of vacancies is higher than normal due to a retirement surge in May 2012. However DRS anticipates that it will be able to fill these positions in the near future and return to a more normal pattern of vacancies.

Specialty counselor positions have a slightly higher vacancy rate, but one that still allows DRS to provide services to select populations. DRS has 25 counselors certified to communicate in sign language and five vacancies in this category, as well as 27 counselors fluent in Spanish, and four vacancies in that category.

Remaining positions in the VR system have very few vacancies.

The job titles of field office supervisor, field support unit staff, business enterprise for the blind program staff, central office staff and management personnel (bureau chiefs and assistant bureau chiefs) have limited vacancies, and in most cases an individual in an acting capacity is awaiting permanent appointment.

Caseload Data

The 208 VR counselors on staff had an average caseload of 134 individuals as of May 31, 2012, with a statewide total of 27,926 active cases and a total of 40,806 served during the preceding 11 months. The 23 rehabilitation and mobility instructors on staff had an average caseload of 27 individuals and a statewide total of 629 active cases and a total of 1,003 served during the preceding 11 months. This is consistent with historical patterns and represents a manageable number of cases given the number of staff on hand.

Projected Number of Replacement Staff in Next Five Years

DRS experienced a sudden increase in retirements in May 2012 due to pending changes in the state pension system. Division wide over 60 individuals retired in May, including 22 in the VR program. The long-term replacement rate for staff during the next five years will likely remain the same, although the immediate replacement needs in FY2013 will be much higher than anticipated prior to the surge in retirements.

The number of staff on hand and projected annual number of replacements by title are: rehabilitation counselors 208 (15 projected replacements); rehabilitation case coordinators 112 (10) ; rehabilitation and mobility instructors 23 (2); field office supervisors 34 (4); field office administrative support 12 (2); field support unit staff 19 (2); business enterprise program for the blind staff 12 (1); central office staff 60 (5); bureau chiefs 2 (0); assistant bureau chiefs 4 (1).

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Rehabilitation counselor 238 30 75
2 Rehabilitation case coordinator 136 24 50
3 Rehabilitation and mobility instructor 27 4 10
4 Field office supervisor 41 7 20
5 Field office administrative support 17 5 10
6 Field support unit staff 25 6 10
7 Business enterprise program for the blind staff 12 0 5
8 Central office staff 64 5 25
9 Bureau chief 2 0 1
10 Assistant bureau chief 6 2 3

 

Illinois Rehabilitation Education Programs

There are five counselor education programs in Illinois:

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago; Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; and the University of Illinois, Champaign.

The first four programs listed are accredited by CORE. The University of Illinois lost its CORE accreditation in late 2011. The university reports that this was due to a technical compliance error that has been remedied and anticipates re-accreditation soon. Discussion in this section assumes that the re-accreditation will take place as planned.

Enrollment and Expected Graduates

The most recent available data on enrollment in and graduation from the MA programs in rehabilitation counseling at the five universities is shown in the table below. A total of 179 students were enrolled and 49 graduated. The estimated replacement rate for DRS counselors is 15 per year, although the replacement rate will be higher in FY2013 due to retirements. While many of these graduates will choose not to work for DRS, DRS believes that these programs make a significant contribution to its ability to hire new staff and replace staff who leave DRS.

In Illinois graduates with an MA in rehabilitation counseling who pursue CRC certification are eligible to become licensed as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) through the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 University of Illinois 0 0 0 4
2 Southern Illinois University 97 0 0 12
3 Northern Illinois University 16 1 0 15
4 Northeastern Ilinois University 23 0 0 6
5 Illinois Institute of Technology 43 0 0 12

 

Recruitment and Retention

Each year DRS estimates the number of staff needed to operate the VR program, particularly the number of rehabilitation counselors needed. In addition, DRS works with university programs to estimate the number of students graduating from the programs. DRS has strengthened its relationships with the five university programs providing master’s degree training for rehabilitation counselors, through formation of the University Coordinators Meeting which meets regularly to discuss educational needs, hiring practices and internships.

It must be noted that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign lost its CORE accreditation in 2011. The university administration attributes this to a technical error that has since been corrected. DRS is monitoring the situation and believes it is likely that accreditation will be granted in the near future. The analysis and discussion in this plan assumes that such accreditation will be forthcoming.

DRS has surveyed the five university programs and has information on the expected number of graduates each year. This information is analyzed in relation to administration estimates of the number of rehabilitation counselor positions that will need to be filled in the next year. In the last 12 months DRS has hired 12 new VR counselors.

Based on the information available from the university programs and the number of applications for posted vacancies, DRS believes that there are adequate numbers of qualified personnel available to fill all needed rehabilitation counselor positions.

The newest counselor-training program was established in 2005 at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). The program is available to all students but especially focuses on Hispanic enrollments. DRS administration has been in frequent communication with the new NEIU program, and has arranged for a presentation to the faculty and students. DRS has made several presentations to program staff and students regarding employment with our agency.

DRS actively recruits minority individuals and individuals with disabilities for rehabilitation counselor and other positions.

The Department of Human Services personnel unit works with DRS to publicize available positions in DRS, attending numerous job fairs likely focusing on minority students and students with disabilities. The State of Illinois has recruiting policies, which assist minority individuals in obtaining employment in key positions, and also encourages training and education for current employees. State policy also encourages the hiring of individuals with disabilities. DRS worked with the state personnel agency to create a position dedicated to monitoring and assisting with the hiring of persons with disabilities in state jobs.

In addition to recruitment, DRS works actively to promote the retention of individuals with disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds. These efforts include those sponsored by the Department of Human Services, of which DRS is a part, as well as through other state government organizations and membership associations. The purpose of these activities is to facilitate the training and professional development of staff from these populations, to promote understanding of the need for a diverse workforce, and to encourage the participation of staff in a variety of cooperative efforts aimed at making a contribution to the organization.

These efforts include: (a) the Upward Mobility program, which is designed to further the careers of state employees from minority backgrounds as well as individuals with disabilities. This program provides support for a variety of training and educational opportunities for staff during the course of their employment with the state. (b) the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities, which engages state employees with disabilities in activities related to promoting the hiring and career advancement of people with disabilities. DRS administration is closely involved in the operations of the ICED. (c) The Illinois Association of Minorities in Government sponsors an annual conference addressing issues of concern to state employees from minority backgrounds. Each year DRS sponsors the attendance of staff to attend the IAMG conference. (d) the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees also holds an annual conference, which focuses on state employees from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. DRS sponsors staff to attend this conference each year. DRS believes that its sponsorship of attendance at these conferences and encouragement of membership in these organizations is a positive step in promoting a diverse workforce and a means of ensuring a high rate of job retention among its employees with disabilities and employees from minority backgrounds.

Internships

DRS has informal agreements with the five rehabilitation counselor training programs in the state to provide internship and practicum placement options for graduate students. At present DRS is not able to offer paid internships to counseling students. We continue to provide unpaid internships whenever possible, both to support the universities and students as well as to provide a job preview to students interested in working for DRS when they complete their training.

Strategies for Retaining, Recruiting and Hiring Personnel

DRS uses several strategies to recruit, hire and retain rehabilitation personnel. Key elements are promotion and publicizing the VR program, locating job candidates, monitoring the state hiring process, and identifying methods to encourage retention of staff.

The University Coordinator Committee is composed of representatives from the five rehabilitation education programs in the state. DRS administrators meet regularly with this committee to develop an understanding of the current training capacity of the programs, and to facilitate communication about DRS hiring practices and vacancies. DRS works with the DHS personnel unit to conduct outreach activities to individuals who may be interested in state employment. DHS maintains a regular schedule of job fairs, community events and recruitment initiatives that include a focus on hiring minority individuals.

DRS offers unpaid internship and practicum opportunities in its field offices to graduate students from the five rehabilitation education programs. These are arranged with the university faculty and DRS administrators as needed. DRS also makes presentations to undergraduate students to expose them to the field of vocational rehabilitation and provide them with information on graduate rehabilitation education programs.

DRS has an ongoing team composed of staff and administrators that focuses on issues related to hiring and retention of qualified staff. This group attempts to identify strategies that motivate staff to continue their employment, including rewards and recognition for high-level performance.

 

State Degree Standard.

For several years, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has had the requirement for all new counselors of a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related field. The Master’s degree requirement for DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors is supported by state licensing categories as well. The applicable licensing requirement in the state is for a "Licensed Professional Counselor" license, which is issued by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. This license is a generic counseling license and is not specifically for vocational rehabilitation counselors. The license requires a Master’s degree in counseling, rehabilitation counseling, psychology or related field. For purposes of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), the requirement of a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field will be considered the state standard.

Completion of 1998 Goal. On October 1, 2008 DRS completed its 10-year plan to implement its degree standard for all rehabilitation counselors employed by the agency. All counselors now meet the standard.

Counselor Participation in Graduate Education.

DRS is no longer involved in providing graduate training for rehabilitation counselors. DRS does assist staff hired as social service career trainees (SSCT) with the cost of graduate training to reach the state degree standard. These individuals are employed to serve specialty caseloads and must demonstrate fluency in either Spanish or American Sign Language. They are hired as trainees without meeting the state standard and are allowed four years to complete a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. During that time they do not perform any of the non-delegable functions of a qualified rehabilitation counselor.

DRS uses a computer data base for tracking the progress of each staff person employed as a SSCT.

The DRS personnel unit maintains ongoing contact with each SSCT and keeps a record of all courses taken and credits earned in his or her graduate training program. Individuals must make progress that will enable them to complete their MA degree in 48 months, and are terminated if it is determined that they cannot complete course requirements in the remaining time. SSCT staff must also obtain positive performance reviews from the field office supervisor and participate in required inservice training throughout their term of training.

Hiring of Individuals Not Meeting the State Standard

DRS hires individuals who do not meet the state degree standard only when the individual has a language skill that will meet the needs of VR customers and when an individual with such skills who also meets the degree standard is not available. DRS hires Social Service Career Trainees who have a bachelor’s degree in counseling or social services and who can demonstrate fluency in Spanish or in American Sign Language. DRS has experienced ongoing difficulties in hiring individuals with Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling who also possess these language skills. Therefore, DRS has chosen to hire trainees with language skills who can work effectively with VR customers while pursuing a Master’s degree.

Individuals hired as Social Service Career Trainees attend graduate school at DRS expense and are required to obtain a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling within 48 months of the date they are hired. DRS provides assistance in identifying a graduate program and allows for flexible work hours to attend classes.

Counselor Data by Degree Status and Trainee Status

DRS employs 65 individuals with a Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling: 59 of these are certified rehabilitation counselors and six are counselor trainees. DRS employs 143 individuals with Master’s degrees in a field closely related to rehabilitation counseling: 134 of these are certified rehabilitation counselors and nine are counselor trainees. DRS employs two individuals as social service career trainees who do not have a Master’s degree and are currently in graduate training. SSCT staff are not qualified rehabilitation counselors. Their work must be signed off by an office supervisor who meets the qualifications of the CSPD. If the office supervisor in their location does not meet CSPD qualifications, the work is signed off by a supervisor at another location.

 

The DRS Staff Development Section (SDS) oversees the needs assessment, development, implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all training programs offered within DRS. SDS has three full-time trainers and a manager position that is currently vacant, in addition to three support staff. SDS is responsible for providing training to DRS VR staff as well as coordinating training from other sources and maintaining the training data base which tracks the number of training hours for each staff person.

Training Requirements. All DRS staff are expected to participate in training events annually. Annual employee performance evaluations are designed to include training needs and expectations as identified by both the employee and the supervisor. Certain training events sponsored by DRS are mandated for attendance by staff in particular titles, such as rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation case coordinators.

SDS initiates new training activities and also responds to specific requests for training from DRS administrators and field office supervisors. SDS coordinates the New Employee Orientation (NEO) training in which each new DRS staff person participates in the first months of his or her employment. This includes an overview of agency policies as well as a review of how the VR program operates in Illinois.

While the NEO training is conducted centrally, nearly all other training is conducted in local offices or at convenient locations around the state to save on travel costs. In many cases, training events are provided at the initiation of field office supervisors or regional administrators in response to local concerns. DRS has initiated a proposal to secure funding for additional distance learning opportunities, both for staff convenience and to reduce travel expenses. DRS anticipates that new equipment for conducting webinars and other distance training will be installed during FY2013 for use in a variety of training events.

The following section lists training courses provided by the Staff Development Section in the last year, as well as statewide conferences attended by DRS staff with financial support from DRS.

Training Provided by DRS Staff Development Section

Rehabilitation Instructor Group Training

Job Placement - Using the Social Networking for Job Placement

Job Placement - Social Media, Placement Strategies and Options

Job Placement Issues

Casework Perspectives in VR

Casework for College Training Cases

Valuing Diversity in the Workplace

Conflict and Stress Management for Professionals

Real Colors (Working Effectively in Teams)

Platinum Customer Service

Customer Service and Telephone Skills

Projecting a Professional Image

Deafblindness Training - Helen Keller National Center

Conferences Supported by DRS

Illinois Rehabilitation Association

Illinois Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired

Illinois Association of Agencies and Community Organizations for Migrant Advocacy

Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees

Illinois Association of Minorities in Government

Latino Mental Health Conference

Statewide Transition Conference

Ongoing Staff Development

DRS provides ongoing training to staff in all areas of counseling, including counseling and guidance. All staff are required to take a five-day New Employee Orientation training course that focuses on the role of the counselor in the counseling relationship. A major emphasis is placed on role-playing various situations where counseling and guidance skills are used. Another major emphasis is on assessment of the individual’s rehabilitation needs, beginning with the initial interview.

Placement skills are emphasized in training activities including regional meetings held annually, as well as on-site training in field offices. Training focuses on job development skills, communication with employers and preparing customers for job interviews. Job placement assistance is also provided to counselors through relationships with Employment Resource Specialist (ERS) staff located around the state. Each field office has an ERS assigned to assist counselors with job placement concerns. ERS staff can also act as a companion to the counselor on the computerized case management system, sharing information and making case notes to promote effective job placement.

DRS makes training available in rehabilitation technology to all staff. DRS employs rehabilitation technology specialists who provide on-site consultation to counselors and assist them in developing plans for provision of rehabilitation technology to VR customers. DRS also has contractual staff who focus on rehabilitation technology issues and provide on-site training and consultation. DRS works in conjunction with the Illinois Assistive Technology Project, the state’s AT grant recipient, to promote understanding of rehabilitation technology needs and identification of technology resources. DRS makes use of the rehabilitation technology program at the University of Illinois at Chicago as both a training resource and a service provider for VR customers.

Dissemination of Research Materials to Staff.

DRS makes use of its intranet system to provide linkages to research sources and other new information relating to the field of rehabilitation. DRS also maintains a close relationship with the Illinois Rehabilitation Association (IRA) including providing assistance in sponsoring the IRA annual conference. The IRA conference features presentations on new developments in the rehabilitation field including presentations on research from university professionals as well as rehabilitation practitioners. Staff are encouraged to become members of the IRA and NRA and therefore receive the NRA’s professional publication Journal of Rehabilitation. In addition, key categories of staff such as rehabilitation counselors for the deaf and mental health specialist counselors, participate in regional and statewide groups that share current research relevant to their fields of study. The DRS initiative in evidenced-based services for persons with mental illness (also known as individual placement and support services) involves sharing research findings in a structured way with staff.

Training Technology

In 2010 DRS was awarded a quality improvement grant to implement technology solutions as a means of providing training to staff throughout the state. The emphasis of the quality proposal was on the use of distance learning methods to provide timely training at a reduced cost in staff time, travel and other expenses. DRS purchased computer equipment, video cameras, microphones and other devices necessary to carry out training events in each of 45 office locations around the state. While there have been delays in implementing this process due to state bidding and purchasing requirements, DRS intends to complete the process in FY2013. While the two-way video methodology has been delayed, DRS has implemented webinar technology that enabled us to provide time-sensitive training to over 300 staff on changes in our state VR administrative rules. DRS has also begun an effort to develop self-paced online instruction for VR counselors as a supplement to in-person training and training provided by the office supervisor. DRS expects to implement at least one online training course in FY2013.

 

Communication with Diverse Populations

DRS maintains rehabilitation counseling staff with expertise in communicating with diverse populations. A group of Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf (RCDs) are employed throughout the state. These individuals are fluent in sign language and conversant with deaf culture, and provide the full range of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are deaf. The Bureau of Blind Services employs rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation instructors who are professionally qualified to provide rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. DRS strongly encourages the use of Braille as part of training for individuals who are blind. In addition, rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation case coordinators are employed who are qualified to communicate with individuals whose primary language is Spanish. Staff are tested in order to qualify for bilingual positions.

At times, DRS has difficulty locating staff who meet the degree requirements for a rehabilitation counselor and who also speak Spanish or are fluent in sign language. As noted above, DRS policy allows individuals with these skills to be employed as Social Service Career Trainees if they have the relevant communication skills and are enrolled in a graduate program that will enable them to meet the degree standard and become a rehabilitation counselor. A relatively new option for DRS is the counselor training program at Northeastern Illinois University, which was established in order to train individuals who are bilingual in Spanish and English.

DRS also works with individuals whose primary language is one other than English, Spanish or sign language. While the numbers of such individuals is relatively small, it is equally important to be able to communicate effectively with them about their rehabilitation needs. The Illinois Department of Human Services maintains a computerized resource directory, which includes information on translation services for a variety of languages, including Polish, Vietnamese and Arabic among others. DRS counselors can link with these resources to provide translation services. DRS has also piloted the use of a telephone-based translation service which can provide instant translations in over 100 languages and which requires only the use of two telephones. When professional translators are not available, DRS works with family members or volunteer translators from community or religious organizations who can assist the individual.

 

Coordination of the CSPD and Inservice Training

Relationship to IDEIA: DRS staff provide services annually to thousands of young people with disabilities, most of whom receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Approximately 15,000 young people participate in the Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP), which provides work experience during the high school years. The Next Steps program provides advocacy training to parents of students with disabilities. Part of the Next Steps training program includes providing information on the importance of transition planning.

DRS staff who work with high school students participate in training offered by the Illinois State Board of Education and its Transition Systems Change project. DRS maintains an administrative liaison position with the State Board to facilitate communication about transition issues, including available training options. Also, DRS has staff who serve on the Education of Students with Disabilities Advisory Committee.

There is no direct connection between DRS training efforts and the personnel development plan under IDEIA. DRS staff are closely involved in the statewide network of Transition Planning Councils (TPCs), which consist of rehabilitation and education professionals, as well as employers and school administrators. The purpose of the TPCs is to facilitate transition from school to work and to identify local issues that affect transition. DRS staff are involved with the schools in their communities and frequently attend training events sponsored by schools.

Relationship to Inservice Grant: DRS training is based on its needs assessment and the leadership of its administration. The RSA inservice training grant is used to fund much of the training needed by DRS staff. Other grant opportunities are sought out as they become available. Two separate proposals have been submitted for training related to graduate education for targeted rehabilitation counselors, for example. In addition, state funds are requested each year based on the anticipated training needs.

The focus of the most recent inservice grant is on casework procedure with new training opportunities being offered in the following areas: state and federal VR program regulations; conducting an effective assessment and eligibility determination; IPE development; the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits system; supported employment; and medical and psychological aspects of disability.

The in-service training grant also focuses on the necessity for the Director, key administrators and other identified presenters as determined by the needs assessment to hold semi-annual regional meetings for all staff and supervisory meetings three times per year.

State Rehabilitation Council

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is actively involved in DRS training. Staff Development Section staff make presentations to SRC on relevant training topics at the request of SRC. In addition, an SDS staff member serves as staff liaison to the SRC. SRC also makes recommendations to DRS administration regarding training issues it considers relevant. SRC staff are involved in discussions relating to graduate training issues. DRS maintains open communication with SRC members relating to training issues throughout the year.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 3:16PM by Douglas Morton

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 DRS comprehensive needs assessment is conducted every three years, with the last CSNA completed in FY 2010, which covered FY 2008-FY 2010. In 2010 a series of data collection activities was undertaken to provide a new focus for evaluating the needs of VR customers in the state. The comprehensive needs assessment was conducted jointly by DRS and the State Rehabilitation Council. The statewide needs assessment was completed in FY2010 and the next comprehensive needs assessment will be completed in FY2013 and cover FY 2011-2013.

Overview of Needs Assessment Activities

The 2010 needs assessment activities included surveys of the following groups: (a) a sample of current and former VR customers; (b) all community provider agencies with a financial agreement with DRS; (c) all school districts involved in the STEP program; (d) DRS council members and other stakeholders; and (e) DRS staff. The sample of VR customers was stratified to insure inclusion of individuals with low-incidence disabilities, individuals from minority backgrounds and individuals with most significant disabilities. Members of each of these groups has a different perspective on the service needs of people with disabilities in Illinois.

In addition, DRS held a series of four community forums around the state to solicit input on local service needs and the future direction of the Illinois VR program. In the past DRS has found the community forum format to be a productive means of engaging with stakeholders.

DRS also completed a special survey transition age youth being served by DRS regarding their future service needs and expectations.

Demographic Information

DRS has analyzed demographic data from a number of sources to obtain a perspective on trends that are likely to have an impact on the operation of the VR program. Illinois is a state with low population growth, with the overall population growing by only 3.3 percent from the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census.. In part, this is due to a negative rate of domestic migration, that is, more people move out of the state than move into the state. This has been offset by international migration, particularly in the Chicago metropolitan area. While the overall birth rate in Illinois remains around the national average, the birth rate among persons themselves born outside the U.S. is significantly higher and the source of primary population growth excluding immigration. Overall the Latino population in Illinois is the only notable source of population growth, with declines or negligible growth noted for other population groups. The very low average age of the Latino population means that the greatest impact on the adult VR services system will not be felt for several years.

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2008 (released in 2009) presents a problem for estimating the needs of people with disabilities. Due to a change in the questions asked of ACS respondents, the overall proportion of working age individuals with a disability declined from 9.9 percent in 2007 to 8.2 percent in 2008. For the most part this was due to eliminating a question about “employment disability”, that is, asking respondents if they had a physical or mental condition that interfered with their ability to work at a job or business. In addition, wording of other questions was changed and the overall estimate of people with disabilities was lowered.

The 2007 ACS estimate was around 830,581 individuals aged 16-64 with a disability, while the 2008 estimate was 675,300 persons in that age group with a disability, a reduction of 155,300 persons. It can be assumed that the reduced estimate would not affect the overall estimate of persons likely to need VR services, since those individuals are likely to have been counted in either survey formulation. The 2008 survey found that around 370,000 individuals reported one type of disability, while around 306,000 reported two or more types of disabilities. These individuals can be presumed to be more likely to need VR services in order to be employed.

Using the ACS disability prevalence rates and the 2010 Census population values, the number of working age individuals (18 to 64) with a disability is estimated to be 665,096, a rate of 8.22 percent with any type of reported disability. For the 16 to 64 age group, the number of persons with a disability is estimated to be 679,903. Of the number, 305,993 are estimated to have two or more disabling conditions, an indication of the significance of disability as it relates to possible participation in the vocational rehabilitation program.

The 2008 ACS survey found that only around 40 percent of working age individuals with a disability were employed, compared to 78 percent of working age individuals who do not have a disability were employed. In other words, individuals with a disability in Illinois are only half as likely to be employed as those who do not have a disability. This is consistent with previous Census surveys and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Other data sources consulted included the Cornell University disability statistics center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk assessment survey. These rely to a greater or lesser extent on Census surveys, including the ACS. The Cornell data is useful for comparison of Illinois to other states. Overall the rate of disability in these data sets suggests that the rate of disability in Illinois is somewhat lower than in other states.

In summary, Illinois is a state with slow growth and a population of persons with disabilities that is fairly stable in size. While this suggests that demand for service is unlikely to increase significantly in the near future, it is worrisome that the employment rate for people with disabilities is declining in Illinois, particularly the rate of year-round, full-time employment. Individuals in the latter category are most likely to achieve self-sufficiency, and persons who lose such employment would be highly likely to seek VR services in order to return to work.

Needs of Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

DRS collected survey data on individuals with a primary disability of intellectual disability, mental illness, and brain injury since these individuals are very likely to be classified as having a most significant disability, and constitute the overwhelming majority of individuals who receive supported employment services. Survey results indicated that the most urgent needs were for job placement (45.4% rated as “need now”), vocational training (35.9%), job coaching or supported employment (36.7%) and on-the-job training (36.8%). There was less interest in assistive technology (12.1%) or self-employment (14.1%), and moderate interest in benefits planning services (22.9%).

In addition, an analysis was conducted of all customer responses to the needs assessment survey, with 892 individuals responding. Respondents were grouped according to the number of disabling conditions reported, comparing persons indicating only one condition to those reporting two or more. Results of this analysis were mixed. In some instances, individuals reporting one condition reported a higher level of need than did those reporting multiple conditions. For example, persons reporting a single condition indicated a more urgent need for college training services (36.2% “need now”) than did individuals reporting multiple conditions (20.04%). In most other instances, however, individuals reporting multiple conditions indicated a more urgent need. This included: vocational counseling (32.6% vs. 26.8%); job coaching (33.5% vs. 22.1%); assistive technology (27.3% vs. 15.8%); and advocacy (34.9% vs. 18.7%). This suggests that survey respondents were reporting a level of need consistent with their reported disabilities, with individuals having more disabling conditions having more urgent service needs.

DRS proposes to address these needs in several ways. First is through our ongoing efforts to maximize the availability of supported employment services. From 1998 to 2002 DRS implemented a major expansion of supported employment services, and has since maintained that level of effort. Utilizing for targeted SEP funds as well as general VR funds, DRS provided supported employment services to 2,700 individuals with most significant disabilities. While few respondents to the needs assessment surveys used the term “supported employment”, our experience suggests that this service option is the most flexible means of addressing the needs of this population. Also, the DRS Quality Assurance unit has conducted an ongoing study of supported employment service cases in order to identify patterns of successful service provision.

Another method of addressing the needs of the most significantly disabled population is the use of benefits planning services, now known as work incentives planning and assistance (WIPA) services. DRS has coordinated the provision of WIPA services in most counties in the state, and works in close cooperation with other benefits entities to assist VR customers in the management of Social Security and Medicaid benefits while they are working. This includes training for individuals with disabilities and an emphasis on the use of PASS plans to promote independence.

In addition, DRS continues to work in cooperation with the network of centers for independent living to coordinate necessary independent living services for VR customers. This includes the ongoing effort to assist individuals with most significant disabilities in moving out of nursing facilities and into their own homes in the community. This is accomplished through contractual relationships between DRS and independent living centers around the state. DRS also works to increase the number of persons in the VR program who also participate in independent living or home care programs.

Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Minorities

Analysis of results of the 2010 needs assessment surveys show that individuals who are minorities with disabilities expressed a stronger need for services and indicated a lower availability of services, than did respondents who were not from a minority group. This resulted from a consistently higher usage of the “need now” rating category among minority respondents. This difference was statistically significant, although there were no significant differences among the various minority groups in their survey ratings. The rankings of service needs for minority and white customers were nearly identical, however, presenting a challenge for interpreting the results. Although the minority customers expressed a more urgent need, the services they indicating needing were ranked the same as for non-minority customers.

Respondents expressed a stronger need for most services compared to non-minority respondents. These include: job placement services (51.6% rated as “need now”), vocational evaluation (36.3%), vocational training (45.2%) transportation (36.5%), job coaching (34.9%), supported employment (40.1%) and on-the-job training (51.3%). Overall, minority respondents utilized the “need now” rating category for 37.4 percent of their responses, compared to 16.5 percent of responses from non-minority respondents.

Statistical data from the Census and from DRS service data indicate that the minority population is increasing at a faster rate than the general population, and therefore DRS anticipates that the proportion of minority individuals with disabilities in the VR program will increase in the near future. The growth of the Latino population is a consistent phenomenon that can be observed in all areas of the state, including less densely populated areas in the south.

DRS will address these needs in several ways. First, DRS has developed a set of monthly and quarterly data reports that provide information on employment outcomes, rehabilitation rates and average case expenditures for customers from different racial and ethnic groups. A new report in 2010 provides data at the statewide, regional and office level for the RSA service rate ratio. Second, DRS local offices will include outreach goals as part of local office plans developed for the ongoing organizational transformation effort. Finally, DRS participates in efforts coordinated by the Department of Human Services that aim to improve communication with minority individuals and communities in Illinois, including individuals who speak languages other than English and Spanish, and who may be immigrants.

The population in Illinois grew significantly for three demographic categories: persons who are Hispanic or Latino, persons of Asian backgrounds, and persons classified as multiracial. The Latino population grew 33 percent overall and 31 percent among those aged 17 or younger, while the Asian population grew by 38 percent overall and 32 percent among those aged 17 or younger. The multiracial category increased by 20 percent overall and by 44 percent among persons aged 17 or younger.

DRS intends to develop an initiative to identify additional individuals in both the Latino and Asian categories during the next two years. It is important for DRS to be able to respond to population growth in a meaningful way and make the VR program available to individuals who can benefit from services.

Needs of Individuals Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved by the VR Program

The needs assessment survey attempted to identify individuals who are deaf-blind by sampling individuals classified as blind and individuals classified as deaf. Individuals from either group who subsequently identified as having a second sensory impairment were included. A total of 18 individuals were included in the deaf-blind respondent group. Most of the individuals tended to give relatively low urgency ratings. As a group they were more likely than other groups to use the rating category “may need in the future”. The greatest level of need indicated by respondents in this group was for assistive technology (52.1% indicating a need), advocacy (44.8%) and job placement (38.4%). Further investigation will be needed into the relatively low ratings of service needs by this group.

In 2011 DRS held two major training sessions for staff to increase knowledge of the deaf-blind population and increase skills in working with this population. Specialists from the Helen Keller National Center came to Illinois to conduct the training for counselors specializing in serving deaf and blind customers. DRS typically assigns deaf-blind customers to deaf specialist counselors, who consult with blind services staff in developing a service plan.

DRS will address the needs of these groups through continuing efforts that target specific disability groups. In 2006 DRS began providing an ongoing program of training in the medical aspects of rehabilitation to all counseling staff, both as a refresher course as well as an update on disability trends and current disability issues.

DRS is involved in an ongoing effort to implement a system of individual placement services (IPS) programs, formerly known as evidence-based supported employment programs, for individuals with serious mental illness. The IPS model is designed to provide employment services that are tailored to the specific needs of this population, which have traditionally been underserved by VR programs nationally. This has been a major undertaking involving extensive cooperation with the DHS Division of Mental Health, community providers, and university consultants. A number of new agencies have received placement contracts from DRS and a special evaluation process is underway.

Needs of Individuals with Disabilities Served Through Other Components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System

Persons responding to the DRS needs assessment surveys made few mentions of the workforce system as such. It is likely that people with disabilities have not yet come to view the one-stop centers as a focus for receiving services. DRS will continue its efforts in making use of the workforce system, but it is acknowledged that much additional work is needed to increase awareness of the services available from that system for Individuals with disabilities. DRS receives a regular data report on referrals made to and received from one-stop centers across the state. Overall patterns of referrals have changed little in the last few years.

DRS also is exploring additional opportunities to work more closely with one-stop employment centers. Memorandums of understanding are updated each year between the local DRS office and the corresponding one-stop center. These agreements address financial and in-kind contributions towards the operation of the one-stop center, as well as methods of referral and sharing of resources and equipment. In FY2013 DRS does not anticipate any additional co-location into one-stop centers, but efforts to increase cooperation will continue. These include expanding methods of communication, including electronic and computer connections, between DRS offices and local workforce centers.

Community Rehabilitation Programs

DRS believes that the system of community rehabilitation programs in the state is adequate to meet the needs of vocational rehabilitation program customers. Nothing in the needs assessment process suggests a need to establish or expand the CRP system. DRS meets regularly with a statewide committee of CRP representatives (the Facility Advisory Council) to improve services provided by CRPs in Illinois.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 3:07PM by Douglas Morton

Annual Estimates of Individuals to Be Served and Costs of Services

This section provides the estimates for Illinois of the number of individuals eligible for the VR program under Title I and Title VI B, including the number likely to meet the order of selection, the number to be served by the VR program, as well as the costs of the services to be provided during Fiscal Year 2013, defined as the period beginning October 1, 2012 and ending September 30, 2013.

Population Estimate

Based on Census data, DRS estimates that there are 679,900 individuals with disabilities in Illinois who are potentially eligible for VR services under Title I, Part B, of which an estimated 374,000 are unlikely to meet the DRS order of selection policy. In addition, DRS estimates that there are 76,500 individuals with disabilities who are potentially eligible for VR services under Title VI, Part B.

Service Estimates

DRS estimates that there are 305,900 individuals who are potentially eligible and likely to meet the DRS order of selection policy, with 44,300 being served under Title I, Part B and 200 served under Title VI, Part B, for a total of 44,500 persons to be served in FY2013.

Of that number, DRS estimates that 28,325 will be classified in the most significant disability category and 15,925 in the very significant disability category. DRS estimates that 250 individuals previously certified in the significant category will be served although that category has been closed since FY2005.

DRS estimates that there will be about 13,250 new cases in FY2013, of which one-third will be in the very significant category and two-thirds in the most significant category.

DRS changed its order of selection policy in 2005. Individuals who were receiving services prior to that time constitute the individuals in the significant disability category. DRS does not anticipate opening that category of the order of selection at any time in the future. The number of individuals in the significant disability category will continue to decrease as those individuals now receiving service are closed from the system.

Projected Outcomes

DRS projects that it will achieve a total of 7,125 employment outcomes in FY2013. Of that number, 3,920 are projected to be in the most significant disability category, while 3,135 will be in the very significant disability category and 70 will be in the significant disability category.

Projected Spending

DRS estimates that total spending for FY2013 will be $145,000,000, of which $114,000,000 will be VR funds and $31,000,000 will be state funds. The estimated average spending per customer is $3,258, of which $2,557 will be VR funds and $701 will be non-federal funds.

DRS estimates that $10,875,000 of the total will be administrative costs while the remainder will go toward provision of rehabilitation services. In addition, DRS estimates that the cost of serving individuals not meeting the order of selection policy would be prohibitive. DRS projects that about 15 percent of individuals estimated to be eligible will be served in FY2013. If only five percent (18,700) of the estimated 374,000 individuals were to be served, the projected cost using the average cost of $3,258 per person would be $60,924,600. This is clearly not possible given the program budget

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Most significant disability Title I $94,714,000 28,325 $3,343
Very significant disability Title I $49,720,500 15925 $3,122
Significant disability Title I $565,500 250 $2,262
Non-significant disability Title I $0 0
Totals   $145,000,000 44,500 $3,258

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 1:15PM by Douglas Morton

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.

Goals and Priorities

The major goals for DRS for FY2013 are listed below. They are based on the needs assessment process described elsewhere in the state plan, an internal staff and administrative process, and surveys of stakeholder groups. The goals and priorities in this Plan were jointly developed and agreed to by DRS and the State Rehabilitation Council. Any revisions to the goals and priorities were jointly reviewed and agreed to by DRS and the SRC. Many of the goals included in this plan are also incorporated into the DHS Strategic Plan. DRS intends that the goals established here will be for a two-year period of FY2012 and FY2013.

Goals and priorities contained in this Plan are based on an analysis of DRSs performance on the RSA standards and indicators, as well as other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including reports from the SRC and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted by RSA under Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act.

DRS conducted a Future Direction Survey of stakeholders and staffing early 2011 that consisted of both goal ratings as well as open ended responses to questions about expansion of VR services and key priority areas. Survey responses were used extensively in development of the goals.

The Illinois VR program has identified three goal areas for FY2013 (from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2013): performance goals; program initiatives; and policy review.

Performance Goals

1. Employment Outcomes

DRS will increase the number of competitive employment outcomes to 6,000 in FY2012 and 6,600 in FY2013.

2. Average Wages

DRS will increase the average hourly wage earned by individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome from $ 10.20 in FY2011 to $ 10.45 in FY2012 and $ 10.65 in FY2013.

3. Average Hours Worked

DRS will increase the average hours worked per week by individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome from 27.5 in FY2011 to 28.3 in FY2012 and 29.0 in FY2013.

4. Timely IPE Development

DRS will increase the percentage of IPEs developed on time from 91 percent in FY2011 to 92 percent in FY2012 and 93 percent in FY2013.

5. Timely Certification of Eligibility

DRS will increase the percentage of eligibility certifications completed on time from 89.5 percent in FY2011 to 90 percent in FY2012 and 91 percent in FY2013.

6. BBS Independent Living Closures

The DRS Bureau of Blind Services will increase the number of individuals achieving an independent living outcome from 340 in FY2011 to 360 in FY2012 and 385 in FY2013.

7. Casework Quality

DRS will achieve and maintain a 90 percent casework quality rating in FY2012 and FY2013 as determined by Quality Assurance reviews of a statewide sample of cases.

8. Customer Satisfaction

DRS will achieve and maintain an 85 percent overall customer satisfaction rating in FY2012 and FY2013 as determined by a survey of a random sample of VR program customers.

9. Employer Satisfaction

DRS will achieve and maintain an 80 percent overall employer satisfaction rating in FY2012 and FY2013 based on a survey of a random sample of businesses employing VR program customers.

Program Initiatives

Based on responses to the Future Direction Survey, DRS has developed the following initiatives for the next two fiscal years.

Transition Momentum Initiative

Survey respondents expressed a concern that more needed to be done to assist transition age youth with disabilities beyond the STEP program and other traditional approaches. There was a sense that any momentum established during the high school period was lost during the time immediately following graduation.

DRS will establish transition initiative projects in selected offices across the state. Each office will develop a plan designed to maintain skills and work habits gained during the high school years. Emphasis will be placed on making improvements in IPE development, case tracking and ongoing support services.

The goal of the transition initiative projects is to have 90 percent of transition students exiting school be gainfully occupied in employment, postsecondary education or vocational training by 2013.

Outreach to Underserved Populations

There were many comments on the Future Direction Survey that DRS needed to improve services to minority customers from various groups, specifically Latinos and Asian groups. Data from the 2010 Census demonstrated that these are the two fastest growing groups in Illinois. In addition to assuring that communication is available in a customer’s preferred language, there is a need to provide services in a culturally sensitive manner.

DRS will develop outreach initia6tive projects in selected offices across the state. These offices will be selected based in part on Census data indicating a higher need for outreach. Each office will develop a plan designed to increase the number of service applications made by individuals in the targeted groups.

The goal of the outreach initiative projects is to increase the number of individuals receiving VR services in the targeted groups by 15 percent by 2013.

Business Partnership Initiatives

DRS received a wide variety of suggestions from the survey, with the general notion that DRS could do a better job relating to employers.

In this initiative, targeted offices will develop partnerships with at least three new employers in their communities. A particular focus will be on employers with several different types of jobs available, opening up job possibilities for a wider range of VR customers.

The goal of the business partnership initiative is to achieve 150 employment outcomes directly traceable to newly-established partnerships in FY2012 and an additional 200 employment outcomes in FY2013.

Policy Review Goal

This goal has been achieved. DRS conducted an extensive policy review in FY2012 relating to services purchased from community rehabilitation programs (CRPs). This is part of an ongoing process in recent years which has focused on obtaining the greatest value for funds spent on purchased services, while maintaining an effective service provider network across the state.

DRS contracted with a consulting firm to conduct an impartial review of the rates paid for CRP services. A new set of rates was developed and will be implemented beginning July 1, 2012.

Public Hearing Comments

Public hearings on the FY2013 State Plan were held in Chicago on June 22, 2012 and in Springfield on June 25, 2012. Comments from the hearings as well as those submitted online are summarized below.

Comment: What plans does DRS have for including more individuals with autism or autism spectrum disorder in the VR program?

DRS Response: DRS is well aware of the increase in diagnosis of autism among youth with disabilities. From 2003 to 2010 to number of children with IEPs in Illinois schools with a diagnosis of autism increased from 5,080 to 14,869, an increase of 192 percent. This is similar to the 212 percent increase observed at the national level. As of 2010 there were 4,962 transition age students in Illinois schools diagnosed with autism. In Illinois as well as nationally students with autism make up about five percent of the transition age population (14-21).

There is a concern among state VR agency administrators across the country that the VR system is not prepared for the number of likely referrals of individuals with autism. Some states have attempted to identify specific services that might be of benefit to people with autism, while others have attempted to analyze how typical VR services might be adjusted to accommodate the needs of this population. At present there is no clear answer and DRS will continue to study the issue.

Comment: Does DRS anticipate expanding the STEP program in the near future?

DRS Response: There are no plans for an expansion of STEP services in the near future. The number of youth with disabilities served by DRS has remained approximately 15,000 in recent years. As of 2010 there were 101,894 transition age students with disabilities in the Illinois school system. STEP was never intended to reach all transition age students. Rather, DRS uses the STEP approach to reach out to schools in meeting the vocational needs of a portion of students with IEPs in each STEP school.

Comment: DHS is in the process of shutting down some of its state residential facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. How is DRS involved in this process?

DRS Response: DRS administration is closely involved in discussions around this issue. DRS has met with the key state personnel responsible for moving individuals into community residences. It is anticipated that many of the individuals will benefit from supported employment services, although it is too early to estimate the specific number of individuals.

Comment: Illinois recently become involved in the Employment First initiative. What plans does DRS have to participate in the initiative? Does this include use of customized employment as a service strategy?

DRS Response: DRS supports the Employment First initiative as an important step forward in moving more people with disabilities into the world of work. As noted at the Employment First Summit in January, it is expected that the customized employment approach will play a major role in helping individuals who have not been able to benefit from other employment services. DRS has limited experience with customized employment in pilot projects, but we have begun studying how other states are approaching customized employment with a VR framework.

Comment: Does DRS have a formal process for becoming a service provider and establishing a contract for services? The information on the web site is not very informative.

DRS Response: There is presently no application form or formal process for becoming a DRS provider and establishing a contract. DRS has a rule (89 Ill. Admin. Code 530) which specifies how DRS evaluates a new provider, but the rule does not indicate how that process is initiated. Typically an agency that seeks to establish a contract meets with DRS managers at the local and regional level to explain the services they are able to provide and begin the process of establishing a relationship.

Comment: Some DRS providers report having difficulty keeping programs going financially using the performance based or milestone contracts. Will DRS consider going back to previous types of contracts where funding was more certain?

DRS Response: DRS intends to take a performance based approach for most of its service contracts moving forward. The Illinois Budgeting for Results is a statewide effort to establish performance based financial arrangements wherever possible. This is consistent with the DRS emphasis in recent years regarding outcome based or milestone contracts. DRS realizes that payment for performance places a burden on some providers, but this cannot be avoided and still maintain the accountability of a performance system.

Comment: What can providers do to make sure that DRS sends enough referrals to a CRP? With performance contracts providers can’t earn enough unless DRS sends referrals.

DRS Response: DRSs experience is that patterns of referrals between DRS and community providers vary from year to year. Counselors are more likely to make referrals to providers who have a high degree of success in helping VR customers obtain employment. If a provider believes that DRS is not providing referrals sufficient to meet contract obligations, they should contact the local office supervisor or regional administrator with their concerns.

Comment: Can DRS provide training to counselors on how to deal with cooperative working agreements? Our experience is that counselors don’t understand the procedures and consequently it takes a long time to receive payment through the voucher system.

DRS Response: Cooperative working agreements are less formal arrangements than contracts. Payments are made through the vouchering system by the local office rather than from the DRS central office. DRS believes that the contract system provides a greater level of accountability and has determined that existing cooperative working agreements will be converted to contracts beginning in FY2014. Cooperative working agreements will be limited to new providers, special projects and innovative efforts that are less conformable to contract structures.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 10:56AM by Douglas Morton

  • 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.

Justification for order of selection

Illinois DRS has operated under an order of selection since 1979. Illinois last made a major change to its Order of Selection process in June 2005. That policy was modified in 2009 as described in this plan. The overall purpose of the policy is to reflect the priorities of the agency and provide for an equitable distribution of resources to individuals with most significant disabilities.

The 2005 policy changes included: (a) an addition of a fourth category, known as very significant disability, which is in between the significant disability and most significant disability categories; and (b) an increase in the number of serious functional limitations and the number of required services in order to be placed into the most significant disability category,

The category of significant disability was closed for two reasons. First, rising costs and budget pressures meant that DRS believed there was a probability that funds would not be sufficient to serve individuals in open order of selection categories. Second, a policy decision was made to target individuals with most significant disabilities, and to re-define that category to include individuals with a higher number of functional limitations. DRS continues to serve individuals who were receiving VR services in the significant disability category prior to the policy change.

Funding Considerations

All funding arrangements for providing services will be consistent with the order of selection. If any funding arrangements are determined inconsistent with the order of selection, DRS will renegotiate these funding arrangements so that they are consistent with the Order of Selection.

Estimated Spending

DRS estimates that total spending for the VR program in FY2013 will be $145,000,000. Of that amount, an estimated $114,000,000 will be VR funds, while $31,000,000 will be non-federal matching funds. This is equivalent to the required non-federal match for FY2013 and therefore there is no projected surplus match for the fiscal year.

Average Spending per Person

DRS estimates that average spending per person served in the VR program in FY2013 will be approximately $3,258, of which $2,557 are VR funds and $701 are non-federal funds.

 

Description of Priority categories

The priority categories established under this rule are based solely on the definition of “individual with a significant disability” defined in the Rehabilitation Act (section 7 (21) (A) ) and in regulations (34CFR361.36(d)(2) and 34CFR361.5(b)(31)).

Waiting List

Individuals certified as eligible for VR services but who do not meet the order of selection policy are offered the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list. Individuals who choose to be placed on a waiting list are informed that the probability is very low that DRS will open the order of selection, based on the history of the OOS policy. The computerized case management system reminds the counselor once a year to send a letter to the individual asking if they wish to continue having his or her name on the list. Individuals on the waiting list are entitled to receive information and referral services, as well as guidance and counseling services, and are encouraged to make use of other elements of the state’s workforce investment system.

Funding Considerations

All funding arrangements for providing services will be consistent with the order of selection. If any funding arrangements are determined inconsistent with the order of selection, DRS will renegotiate these funding arrangements so that they are consistent with the Order of Selection

Description of the Order of Selection Policy

There are three key elements to the order of selection policy: Categories of Eligible Individuals; Criteria for Significant Disability, Very Significant Disability and Most Significant Disability; and Determination of Serious Limitation to Functional Capacities. Together these elements define the relevant concepts and methods used to evaluate individuals and place them into a category under the policy. Each of these elements is described in detail in the following section.

Categories of Eligible Individuals a) Pursuant to the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 USC 701 et seq.), DHS-DRS has established the following Order of Selection for the priority of provision of services to eligible individuals which counselors must follow when purchasing services for customers:

1) those individuals determined to have the most significant disabilities;

2) those individuals determined to have very significant disabilities;

3) those individuals determined to have significant disabilities; and

4) individuals determined to have disabilities. b) For the purposes of administering services under the Order of Selection, the Director of DHS-DRS will determine at the beginning of each fiscal year, or more often as necessary, which of the categories under subsection (a) will be open for service. c) Eligible individuals in a closed category under subsection (a) may choose to be placed on a waiting list for services.

Criteria for Significant Disability, Very Significant Disability and Most Significant Disability

Documentation of the determination that an individual has a most significant disability, a very significant disability, or a significant disability must be in the individual’s VR case file, as well as documentation concerning the evaluation of his or her rehabilitation potential. a) Prior to determining the significance of an individual’s disability, it must be determined that he or she:

1) has a disability, or a combination of disabilities, that causes a substantial physical or mental impairment that is similar, but not limited to, the following list of disabilities:

A) amputation,

B) arthritis,

C) autism,

D) blindness,

E) burn injury,

F) cancer,

G) cerebral palsy,

H) cystic fibrosis,

I) deafness,

J) head injury,

K) heart disease,

L) hemiplegia,

M) hemophilia,

N) respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction,

O) mental retardation,

P) mental illness,

Q) multiple sclerosis,

R) muscular dystrophy,

S) musculo-skeletal disorders,

T) neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy),

U) paraplegia,

V) quadriplegia (and other spinal cord conditions),

W) sickle cell anemia,

X) specific learning disabilities, or

Y) end stage renal failure disease;

2) has a disability, or a combination of disabilities, that seriously limits his or her functional capacities, as listed in Section 553.150 of this Part; and

3) requires VR services over an extended period of time at least six months or longer.

b) If an individual meets the requirements of Section 553.140(a), then the following criteria must be met to determine the significance of his or her disability:

1) To be considered an individual with a most significant disability, he or she must be an individual who has a disability that seriously limits three or more of his or her functional capacities and who requires two or more substantial VR services, in addition to the routine services of counseling and guidance, and information and referral to ensure a successful employment outcome.

2) To be considered an individual with a very significant disability, he or she must have a disability that seriously limits two of his or her functional capacities, and must require one or more substantial VR services, in addition to the routine services of counseling and guidance, and information and referral to ensure a successful employment outcome.

3) To be considered an individual with a significant disability, he or she must have a disability that seriously limits one of his or her functional capacities and must require one or more substantial VR services, in addition to the routine services of counseling and guidance, and information and referral to ensure a successful employment outcome.

c) An individual who has been determined eligible for disability benefits pursuant to Title II (SSDI) or Title XVI (SSI) of the Social Security Act is considered to be presumed eligible for VR services and an individual with a significant disability, unless the analysis of his or her functional limitations and service needs, as described above, place the individual into a higher category of the order of selection.

Determination of Serious Limitation to Functional Capacities

a) For the purpose of determination of the degree of significance of disability, functional capacities shall include:

1. mobility - the physical ability of an individual to move from place to place and move the body into certain positions. This includes such activities as: walking, climbing, kneeling, stooping, sitting, standing, and similar activities;

2. self-care - the ability of an individual to perform activities related to his or her health and hygiene. This includes such activities as: grooming, bathing, eating, house keeping, medical management, and money management;

3. self-direction - the ability of an individual to organize, control and regulate his or her own personal, social, and work life. This includes such activities as: maintaining schedules and routines, following directions and established rules, organizing activities for oneself, and adjusting to changing circumstances;

4. work skills - the ability of an individual to demonstrate skills necessary to perform jobs that exist in the current employment market, regardless of demand for the particular occupation or the individual’s prior work experience. This includes such activities as: learning and maintaining work skills, cooperating with others in a work setting, using adequate decision making and problem solving skills, and using academic skills commonly required in the workplace;

5. work tolerance - the ability of an individual to consistently and adequately perform a job based on the physical, emotional, environmental, and psychological demands of a specific work environment. This includes such activities as: maintaining performance on the job regardless of changes in environment such as cold and heat, demonstrating the strength and endurance to perform the job in question, and working the schedule typical of other employees in the same job;

6. interpersonal skills - the ability of an individual to establish and maintain appropriate relationships with other individuals in the work place. This includes such activities as: engaging in necessary work-related communications, demonstrating behavior that is appropriate and acceptable in the work environment, cooperating with others in a team setting, and showing understanding and tact in dealing with others; and

7. communication - the ability to convey and receive information efficiently and effectively. This includes such activities as: hearing and understanding ordinary spoken language; making one’s self understood in ordinary conversation; writing or printing short notes and communications; and reading and correctly interpreting short notes, signs, and instructions.

b) A serious limitation to a functional capacity shall exist when the rehabilitation counselor determines it or instructor that the customer, because of his or her disability, has functional limitations in performing the major components of the activity or activities listed in subsections (a)(1) through (7) or needs accommodation to perform the activity.

c) The rehabilitation counselor or instructor shall use the criteria of consistency and substantiality when evaluating the degree of limitation to functional capacity. Consistency means that the individual’s disability always or almost always limits the individual’s functioning. Substantiality means the individual’s disability has a major, significant impact on functioning and that the individual cannot perform the activity or finds it very difficult to perform the activity.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

The priority of categories to receive VR services under the DRS order of selection policy are:

1. Individuals determined to have the most significant disabilities;

2. Individuals determined to have very significant disabilities;

3. Individuals determined to have significant disabilities; and

4. Individuals determined to have disabilities.

For FY2013 the categories of most significant disability and very significant disability will be open to services, unless a determination is made by the DRS Director that circumstances allow for a change in the categories open to service.

 

Service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals will be achieved

Service Projections for FY2013

Projections for services to be provided and expected outcomes are listed below, as well as in the table on the following page.

Persons Served

DRS estimates that 44,500 persons will be served in the VR program in FY2013, of which 250 will be persons with significant disabilities, 15,925 will be persons with very significant disabilities, and 28,325 will be persons with most significant disabilities. FY2013 is defined as the period from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.

Persons Rehabilitated

DRS estimates that 7,125 persons will be rehabilitated by the VR program in FY2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013), of which 70 will be persons with significant disabilities, 3,135 will be persons with very significant disabilities, and 3,920 will be persons with most significant disabilities. The same time period applies to all categories listed above, as reflected in the data table below.

Estimated Spending

DRS estimates that total spending for FY2013 will be $144,000,000, of which $113,000,000 will be VR funds and $31,000,000 will be non-federal matching funds. This is equivalent to the required non-federal match for FY2013 and therefore there is no projected surplus match for the fiscal year.

Average Spending per Person

DRS estimates that average spending per person served in the VR program in FY2013 will be $3,258, of which $2,557 will be VR funds and $701 will be non-federal funds.

Justification for the Order of Selection Policy

Based on many years experience working with an order of selection policy, DRS maintains that only individuals in the most significant and very significant categories can be served under the program budget. The average cost per person served continues to rise each year. The cost to serve only five percent of the estimated population of potentially eligible persons not expected to meet the existing order of selection policy is approximately $60 million. DRS believes that the potential demand for services, particularly for college training services, is significant and that opening additional categories would result in a higher average cost per person served.

DRS estimates that there will be no excess matching funds for FY2013. Due to technical changes in the state’s budgeting process, DRS no longer is assigned a level of matching funds higher than the expected requirement for the year. In the DRS budget a significant portion of matching funds are provided by entities with third-party contracts, and cannot be estimated with great precision.

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 28,325 3,920 2,835 Oct 1 2012 to Sept 30 2013 $94,714,000
2 15,925 3,135 2,270 Oct 1 2012 to Sept 30 2013 $49,720,500
3 250 70 50 Oct 1 2012 to Sept 30 2013 $565,500
4 0 0 0 Oct 1 2012 to Sept 30 2013 $0

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 1:16PM by Douglas Morton

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.

A. Goals

During FY2013, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) has set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

1. Serve customers recently placed into supported employment in a manner consistent with federal regulations, with an emphasis on moving as many individuals as possible into natural supports at the conclusion of ongoing support services.

2. Continue to expand the scope of those who receive services to include persons who are deaf-blind, persons with traumatic brain injuries, persons who are mentally ill, persons with significant hearing impairments and other persons with the most significant disabilities.

3. Develop new mechanisms for funding paid extended services, including cooperative agreements with other state agencies and local units of government.

4. Evaluate the most effective means of achieving employment outcomes for individuals traditionally served in supported employment services.

5. Evaluate the rates paid to providers for supported employment services and adjust rates as necessary to ensure the availability of supported employment services.

For FY2013, DRS will serve and employ 200 persons in supported employment. In FY2011 DRS served 209 individuals in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds and an additional 1,962 using other funds.

B. Utilization and Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Title VI, Part B funds are used to purchase SEP services for customers. The Department administers its Supported Employment Program using two mechanisms: contracting with community organizations to provide supported employment services or arranging individual placements through DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors in local offices (case services). Contracts have been established with 26 entities throughout Illinois to provide services to eligible customers.

DRS has maintained a system of negotiated rates with individual service provider agencies. Beginning July 1, 2012 DRS will implement a new rate policy for supported employment, based on a research study conducted by a consultant in 2011. The new policy establishes two hourly rates, one for the six counties in the metropolitan Chicago area and the other rate for the remaining 96 counties in the states.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 1:16PM by Douglas Morton

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.

Methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities

Expansion and improvement of VR services is an important goal for DRS. While budget concerns in recent years limited to expansion of services, DRS made use of ARRA funding to provide a significant expansion of services to customers. While ARRA funding was time limited, it provided the opportunity to test new ideas and approaches to services. For example, DRS issued $10.6 million in grants to community providers in 2010 to develop innovative approaches in two categories: job placement for adults with disabilities; and job placement and work experience training for transition age youth with disabilities.

In June 2012 DRS announced awards to 33 community provider agencies who had participated in the ARRA initiative. The approximate investment in these awards is $2.2 million for FY2013, with 60 percent of the funds directed at services to transition age youth with disabilities. The agreements with providers are based on successful completion of employment objectives for customers, tying this effort in with the State’s performance budgeting initiative.

Service improvement is an ongoing concern for the agency. Quality assurance efforts have proven useful in achieving performance improvements in the area of timeliness of IPE development and certification of eligibility, as well as in completion of assessment summaries. DRS worked with the University of Illinois to review quality assurance data and make recommendations for improvements in the QA system that will contribute to positive program results.

Other activities have centered on tightening control over the fiscal system that drives payments to providers. In the last two years DRS has significantly decreased payment errors due to increased monitoring of billing statements, additional checks on status changes, and development of a better notification system for initiating CRP services. DRS is continuing this improvement process through the development of an online data entry system for community providers. Nearly all information exchanged between providers and DRS is on paper, typically faxed or scanned. While this is a quick method of transferring information it does allow for entry into either the customer data base system or the fiscal payment system.

DRS management information staff have developed a secure method for community providers to enter service data into the customer data base system. This will be verified by DRS counselors who will initiate the payment process. Implementation of this system was somewhat delayed, with initial provider access beginning in early 2012. Full implementation is expected in late 2013.

 

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.

Strategies Relating to Assistive Technology Services

DRS recognizes the importance of assistive technology services in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. It is the intention of DRS to provide a broad range of AT services at all stages of the rehabilitation process, and to make the services available on a statewide basis. Toward this end, DRS provides training to staff on AT services, both at the initial staff training an on an ongoing basis. DRS employs technology specialists and arranges for contractual staff to be available to work with VR counselors to identify customer needs, locate AT providers, write plans and provide AT services. Staff are available to provide on-site consultation with VR counselors as well as on-site evaluation of customer needs. DRS also has a central office purchasing specialist that works one-on-one with VR counselors to arrange purchasing of AT equipment and maximize use of VR funds.

DRS also works closely with the Illinois Assistive Technology Project (the state AT grant recipient) to educate people with disabilities about AT products and services as well as demonstrate products that may be of use to individuals with disabilities. DRS provided a large award of ARRA funds to enable IATP to upgrade and modernize assistive technology supporting its services.

DRS is in the process of creating new job descriptions for staff in the rehabilitation technology unit, so that individuals with more specific credentials will be hired into vacant positions. This will enable DRS to hire staff with better qualifications for working with assistive technology and improve our capacity to provide services to customers.

 

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.

Strategies for Identifying and Serving Individuals with the Most Severe Disabilities Who Are Minorities.

Individuals with most severe disabilities who are minorities are included in general efforts to expand services to minority persons with disabilities. DRS has an ongoing outreach program for Latinos with disabilities, utilizing community agencies and bilingual, bicultural staff. DRS targets African Americans with disabilities in communities with a primary African American population through the local office planning process. DRS provides a monthly report to each office supervisor that gives detailed data on persons served and persons achieving employment outcomes by race. This report enables managers to better understand the results experienced by individuals from various racial groups served by the local office. Any significant disparities are to be addressed in the local office plan. The purpose of the local office plans is to identify solutions based on local needs and resources.

DRS maintains a contract with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to work with community agencies to conduct outreach to Asian Americans with disabilities. In 2010 DRS developed contracts with three community agencies that are not traditional providers of rehabilitation services to implement outreach activities in conjunction with UIC. DRS also sponsored training for counselors working with transition students in Chicago Public Schools regarding cultural awareness in providing rehabilitation services.

Strategies for Serving Individuals Unserved or Underserved by the VR Program

DRS recognizes that many groups do not have access to the VR program to the same degree as others. DRS has a number of strategies to address these needs and improve access. DRS employs specialist staff for services to deaf-blind individuals, a low-incidence disability with a high need for vocational assistance. DRS specialists work in consultation with VR counselors to provide services to deaf-blind customers, including training and job placement. DRS used ARRA funding in 2011 to conduct two training events on deaf-blindness for counselors serving either blind or deaf specialty caseloads. The training events featured experts from the Helen Keller National Center, the primary resource in the US for deaf-blind services.

DRS also seeks to improve response to underserved groups by providing training to improve staff knowledge of various disabilities. DRS provides an ongoing program of training in the medical aspects of rehabilitation to all counseling staff, both as a refresher course as well as an update on disability trends and current disability issues.

DRS continues in its efforts to implement a system of individual placement and support services (IPS) programs, formerly known as evidence-based supported employment programs, for individuals with serious mental illness. The IPS model is designed to provide employment services that are tailored to the specific needs of this population, which have traditionally been underserved by VR programs nationally. This has been a major undertaking involving extensive cooperation with the DHS Division of Mental Health, community providers, and university consultants. A number of new agencies have received placement contracts from DRS and a special evaluation process is underway. The results of the program thus far have been encouraging, and therefore DRS intends to continue a gradual expansion of the IPS program. In 2010 DRS developed a post-employment support pilot project (the job stability initiative) for individuals who have achieved a successful employment outcome but who can benefit from ongoing support. This pilot project has been well-received by the IPS provider agencies.

 

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

Strategies to Establish, Develop or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs

Illinois has a well-developed network of community rehabilitation programs across the state, as well as an active trade association for those organizations. DRS does not believe that new community rehabilitation programs need to be developed at this time. DRS remains in contact with these organizations through ongoing discussions with the Facility Advisory Council, which has a rotating membership of program directors, who meet regularly with DRS administrators. The program manager for contracts as well as the bureau chief for field services attends meetings. The VR Director is closely involved with discussions about CRP services, both with the trade association as well as individual CRP directors.

DRS also has specific liaison relationships between VR counselors and community rehabilitation programs in their service area. In addition, DRS has project officers who monitor contracts with community rehabilitation programs and are very knowledgeable regarding the service capacity of the agencies and the needs of their customers. These organizational arrangements provide a high level of communication about service needs as they relate to community rehabilitation programs.

DRS believes that community rehabilitation program agencies will continue to play an important part in the overall system of services in Illinois. DRS anticipates that the overall percentage of outcomes associated with CRPs will remain relatively stable, and that an increase in employment outcomes overall will mean an increase in employment outcomes associated with CRPs.

While DRS continues to emphasize the need for counselors to purse direct placements whenever possible, this does not mean a reduction in the number of outcomes associated with community provider agencies. Making effective use of both state and private resources is the most certain way to continue to achieve quality results for DRS customers.

 

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

Strategies for Improving Performance on the Standards and Indicators

DRS believes it is capable of meeting the majority of the indicators set forth by RSA. The most problematic indicator for DRS is 1.5, which compares the wages of persons closed into competitive work with the average state wage. Because Illinois is a high-wage state, it is unlikely that DRS will pass this indicator. DRS has a high rating on many of the other indicators, based on the priority for serving individuals with most significant disabilities and a positive ratio for services to minority persons with disabilities. DRS has refocused its overall goals for rehabilitated closures for the next two year period, given the failure to pass Indicator 1.1 in recent years.

DRS also failed on indicator 1.2, the rehabilitation rate. DRS’s performance has been near the standard, sometimes above and sometimes below. DRS is developing a training strategy to help counselors improve performance in this area. DRS believes that performance should remain consistently above the minimum for this indicator.

Although Illinois failed on Indicator 2.1 in 2008, it has succeeded in obtaining a passing score from FY2009 to FY2011. This indicator measures the equitability of service provision for minority and non-minority customers. DRS developed a monthly data report to track competitive closures by minority status and encourages program managers to monitor this data regularly. DRS believes it should be possible to pass this indicator each year.

In addition, DRS contracted with the University of Illinois at Chicago to conduct an extensive analysis of VR closure data over the last five years. One element of the analysis we to identify any discrepancies in service provision or successful outcomes for minority customers. Preliminary data show that there were few discrepancies noted for minority customers, although analysis in ongoing. UIC investigators will complete their analysis in the fall of 2011. Results will be shared with VR program administrators who will address any pattern of underserving minority customers.

Finally, DRS has submitted a performance improvement plan (PIP) to RSA dealing with the three indicators which it failed in FY2011. DRS will implement the plan once approval is received from RSA.

 

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

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

DRS will continue its efforts in making use of the workforce system, but it is acknowledged that much additional work is needed to increase awareness of the services available from that system for Individuals with disabilities. DRS is exploring additional opportunities to work more closely with one-stop employment centers. Memorandums of understanding are updated each year between the local DRS office and the corresponding one-stop center. These agreements address financial and in-kind contributions towards the operation of the one-stop center, as well as methods of referral and sharing of resources and equipment. In FY2013 DRS does not anticipate any additional co-location into one-stop centers, but efforts to increase cooperation will continue. These include expanding methods of communication, including electronic and computer connections, between DRS offices and local workforce centers. DRS Employment Resource Specialists work with VR counselors and customers to make effective use of one-stop centers, and make efforts to raise the visibility of people with disabilities and their needs when working with one-stop center staff.

 

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.

Strategies

In order to make a significant increase in competitive outcomes, DRS is placing a strong emphasis on increasing the number of referrals to the program and the number of applications taken. DRS administrators began a round of visits to local offices in April 2011, bringing the message that considerably more effort needed to be made to reach out to new sources of referrals and to reduce the proportion of referrals who do not complete an application for VR services. Staff have been encouraged to reach out to disability advocacy organizations and centers for independent living, as well as physicians, psychologists and social service agencies who come into contact with people with disabilities. Each office is expected to develop a plan for outreach and will be given a target number of referrals for the upcoming year.

DRS will also continue its series of focused training on job placement issues. In the last year this has included training on job placement for individuals with mental illness, individuals who have hearing impairments, individuals with disabilities who have drug and alcohol problems, and individuals who have a record of a criminal conviction. Since 2009 DRS has placed an emphasis on counselors increasing their skills in the area of direct job placement.

In addition, DRS will provide training to counselors in developing on-the-job training opportunities with employers. While OJT opportunities have been a longstanding option in VR, the utilization of this service has been reduced somewhat in recent years. DRS intends to place an emphasis on development of OJTs as a way of developing relationships with employers and expanding employment opportunities for customers.

DRS conducted a series of quality assurance forums across the state in FY2012. These differed from a traditional staff training activity in that there was a focus on quality assurance concepts, the laws and regulations that govern the VR program, and the relationship between the day-to-day activities of a VR counselor and the performance of the VR agency on key quality measures. Another series of forums is planned for FY2013.

DRS is developing a new training strategy focusing on barriers to effective performance. This strategy is based on an analysis of the range of effective counselor performance with a focus on specific barriers that prevent some counselors from being as effective as others. The analysis of this phase will be completed in 2012 and targeted training will begin in early 2013.

Program Initiatives

Based on responses to the Future Direction Survey, DRS has developed the following initiatives for the next two fiscal years.

Transition Momentum Initiative

Survey respondents expressed a concern that more needed to be done to assist transition age youth with disabilities beyond the STEP program and other traditional approaches. There was a sense that any momentum established during the high school period was lost during the time immediately following graduation.

DRS will establish transition initiative projects in selected offices across the state. Each office will develop a plan designed to maintain skills and work habits gained during the high school years. Emphasis will be placed on making improvements in IPE development, case tracking and ongoing support services.

The goal of the transition initiative projects is to have 90 percent of transition students exiting school be gainfully occupied in employment, postsecondary education or vocational training by 2013.

Outreach to Underserved Populations

There were many comments on the Future Direction Survey that DRS needed to improve services to minority customers from various groups, specifically Latinos and Asian groups. Data from the 2010 Census demonstrated that these are the two fastest growing groups in Illinois. In addition to assuring that communication is available in a customer’s preferred language, there is a need to provide services in a culturally sensitive manner.

DRS will develop outreach initiative projects in selected offices across the state. These offices will be selected based in part on Census data indicating a higher need for outreach. Each office will develop a plan designed to increase the number of service applications made by individuals in the targeted groups.

The goal of the outreach initiative projects is to increase the number of individuals receiving VR services in the targeted groups by 15 percent by 2013.

Business Partnership Imitative

DRS received a wide variety of suggestions from the survey, with the general notion that DRS could do a better job relating to employers.

In this initiative, targeted offices will develop partnerships with at least three new employers in their communities. A particular focus will be on employers with several different types of jobs available, opening up job possibilities for a wider range of VR customers.

The goal of the business partnership initiative is to achieve 150 employment outcomes directly traceable to newly-established partnerships in FY2012 and an additional 200 employment outcomes in FY2013.

Strategies Relating to Initiatives

The main strategy behind these three program initiatives is a revision to the concept of the office plan that has been used in DRS for several years. While each office will work on all three initiatives, there will be a key initiative assigned to each office. So around a third of DRS offices will place their major emphasis on the transition initiative, while the others will concentrate on either the business partnership initiative or the outreach initiative. Assignments will be made based on an analysis of needs and performance. Offices serving areas where the population of minorities with disabilities is not reflected in the caseload composition, for example, would be more likely to have a major emphasis on minority outreach, while offices that have numerous business partnerships would be less likely to have that as their emphasis.

Each office will be directed to identify a set of external resources. This may include community agencies serving minority communities, university resources with knowledge of transition services, or the national business network established by CSAVR. All offices will need to identify how they will make use of the other components of the workforce system in their community.

DRS central office will provide support to the office teams in developing their plans. This will include specialized training in each area along with financial resources consistent with the office plan. DRS will establish communication networks using its intranet system, encouraging sharing of ideas and techniques among offices around the state.

Strategies for Innovation and Expansion Activities

DRS has two approaches for the use of funds set aside for innovation and expansion. The first involves to continuation of ARRA-funded projects that have been determined most successful and effective. When the ARRA process began, DRS informed providers that the most worthy projects would be considered for ongoing funding. DRS has fulfilled that commitment by evaluating all ARRA projects and selecting a subset of those projects for continuation funding.

After making a determination of available funding, DRS initiated a competitive process to determine which projects would receiving continuation funding. DRS completed the evaluation process and notified community providers of awards for FY2013 in June 2012.

The second innovation approach involves the decentralized planning process initiated several years ago. Each DRS office is responsible for identifying a mechanism to reach its goals as part of overall agency goals. For the goals established in this plan, this will include developing a plan concentrating on one of the three program initiatives: transition; business partnerships; and outreach to minority communities. The office plan concept has proven successful in many instances over the years, although at times the plans were lacking in focus. This year the idea is to have a sharp focus on a particular initiative and concentrate staff on that concept.

DRS will also set aside some of the innovation and expansion funds for supporting activities identified in local office plans. Rather than assign a specific dollar amount to each office, DRS will make funds available based on an internal proposal process. Funding will be awarded to projects in support of office plans to the degree that the plan demonstrates a relationship between the project and achievement of the agency’s goals. For example, an office concentrating on the business partnership initiative may request funding for hiring an expert consulting in cooperative business ventures, while an office focusing on the transition initiative may request funding for resume kits for 500 students.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 3:36PM by Douglas Morton

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

A. Evaluation Findings

DRS actively evaluates the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program on an ongoing basis. This section provides an annual update regarding developments in the evaluation process.

Achievement of State Goals

The following section discusses each of the current DRS goals for the VR program, the progress made in achieving the goal. Data are reported for federal fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011).

The Illinois VR program has identified five goal areas for FY2011. The planning concept developed by DRS envisions a small number of key goals with multiple indicators for each goal. For each indicator, a target value is identified for each year.

The five goal areas are: Independence, Productivity, Job Quality, Service Quality and Customer and Staff Experience.

Goal Area: Independence

Goal : Provide services that will enable DRS customers to achieve the highest level of independence

Indicator 1: Number of persons moved from nursing homes into the community through the reintegration project in conjunction with independent living centers and who are referred for VR services.

Target: Serve 35 individuals in the VR program in FY2011 who are enrolled in the reintegration program

Result: DRS identified 12 individuals with active VR cases who were participants in the reintegration program.

Indicator 2: Number of Bureau of Blind Services customers completing independent living rehabilitation plans through the VR program

Target: Achieve 308 non-competitive rehabilitated closures in BBS.

Result: BBS achieved 327 non-competitive rehabilitated closures during the fiscal year.

Indicator 3: Number of persons receiving core independent living services through independent living centers who are concurrently served in the VR program

Target: Jointly serve 100 individuals in the VR and IL programs

Result: DRS identified 71 individuals with active VR cases who were receiving core services from a center for independent living.

Indicator 4: Number of new cases concurrently served by the VR program and the Home Services Program

Target: Jointly serve 125 individuals in the VR and Home Services programs

Result: DRS identified 138 individuals jointly served by the VR and Home Services programs.

Goal Area: Productivity

Goal: Achieve a high level of productivity by efficiently serving eligible customers and helping them attain successful outcomes

Indicator 1: Index of pre-employment VR measures . Note: this index is a weighted combination of the number of applications (weight=1), certifications (weight=2) and new IPEs (weight=3), designed to reflect the productivity steps that precede a successful employment outcome.

Target: Achieve a statewide score of 86,514 for FY2011

Result: The statewide score achieved was 68,180 for the fiscal year.

Indicator 2: Number of competitive outcomes achieved by VR program customers

Target: Achieve a total of 5,927 competitive outcomes in FY2011

Result: DRS achieved 4,523 competitive outcomes in FY2011.

Indicator 3: Number of transition students becoming employed within 6 months of leaving school

Target: Achieve a total of 750 students who graduated in 2010 and are closed as competitive outcomes by December 31, 2010

Result: DRS documented 519 transition students who met this criterion.

Goal Area: Job Quality

Goal: Increase the quality of jobs obtained by VR program customers

Indicator 1: Average hourly wage achieved by VR program customers entering competitive employment

Target: Achieve an average hourly wage of $10.78 for FY2011.

Result: DRS achieved an average hourly wage of $10.43 in FY2011.

Indicator 2: Average hours worked per week by VR customers in competitive employment

Target: Achieve an average work week of 32.2 hours in FY2011.

Result: DRS achieved a figure of 27.5 average hours worked per week.

Indicator 3: Percentage of jobs obtained by VR customers, which provide health insurance coverage

Target: Achieve an average of 31.6 percent of workers receiving employer paid health insurance in FY2011

Result: DRS achieved an average of 24.5 percent of workers with employer-provided insurance.

Indicator 4: Dollars received in Social Security reimbursement for VR customers who become employed and earn above the substantial gainful activity level

Target: Achieve a total reimbursement of $4,500,000 in FY2011

Result: DRS achieved a total reimbursement of approximately $3,200,000.

Goal Area: Service Quality

Goal: Continually improve the quality of services provided by DRS in all program areas

Indicator 1: Index of key Quality Assurance indicators. Note: this index is based on case review data showing regulatory compliance and best practices with a maximum score of 100.

Target: Achieve a compliance rate of 90 percent in FY2011

Result: DRS achieved a compliance rate of 83.2 percent.

Indicator 2: Compliance with RSA timeliness requirements for eligibility and plan development. Note: a case is compliant only if both the eligibility and IPE timeliness criteria are met.

Target: Achieve a combined rate 90 percent timeliness for FY2011

Result: DRS achieved a combined rate of 89.8 percent timeliness for the year.

Goal Area: Customer & Staff Experience

Goal: Create a work environment that results in a positive experience for customers and staff.

Indicator 1: Overall customer satisfaction measure. Note: this is based on a statewide survey conducted by DRS Strategic Management.

Target: Achieve a base rate of 85 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2011

Result: DRS achieved an overall satisfaction rate of 86.2 percent in FY2011.

Indicator 2: Statewide staff morale measure. Note: this is based on a statewide survey conducted by DRS.

Target: Achieve a rate of 85 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2011

Result: Due to staff shortages the morale survey was not completed.

Indicator 3: Satisfaction survey of community providers. Note: this is based on a statewide survey conducted by DRS Strategic Management in conjunction with provider representatives.

Target: Achieve a rate of 85 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2011

Result: A survey of community providers resulted in an overall satisfaction rate of 78 percent.

Indicator 4: Satisfaction survey of employers hiring DRS customers Note: this is based on a statewide survey conducted by DRS Strategic Management.

Target: Achieve a rate of 85 percent satisfied or very satisfied in FY2011.

Result: The employer satisfaction survey was not completed.

B. Strategies Contributing to Success

The key factors contributing to DRS success in making progress include: a focus on measurement of performance; follow up on quality assurance findings; targeted staff training; outreach to employer and business groups; and an emphasis on serving individuals with most significant disabilities. Through use of its OneNet intranet system, DRS has provided a great deal of data on performance that is available to all staff, supervisors and administrators in DRS. This gives all DRS personnel an opportunity to focus on results and be aware of trends.

DRS also makes use of a new online report distribution system for providing performance feedback to field supervisors. This makes data more readily available to supervisors who can use the information to work with staff in need of additional support. DRS has also begun incorporating supervisor reports into the case management system, which provides more immediate feedback on office-level performance.

Qualify assurance findings, particularly those emphasizing a need for improvement in casework quality, are made available through training events as well as online reports. This gives staff and supervisors another element on which to focus attention and develop improvement plans.

Working with business and employer groups has increased in recent years, centering on identifying employers who offer good jobs with benefits and who are willing to cooperate with VR counselors in meeting the needs of customers. While many VR counselors are not accustomed to working with business groups, the assistance of employment resource specialists have helped develop many new employment opportunities for customers.

C. Factors Limiting Success

DRS has had made limited progress or seen declines in quality variables such as hours worked per week and the percentage of customers with employer-paid health insurance. This is part of a national trend in the work environment where fewer employers offer health insurance benefits and more jobs are of the part-time variety.

Jobs in retail and food service- which are traditional areas for entry-level jobs- only magnify these trends of the larger workforce. Manufacturing jobs, which offered long hours, including overtime, and health benefits, are disappearing in Illinois and elsewhere. There is little VR can do to overcome these trends.

Another factor is the relative youth of DRS customers. DRS has a high percentage of cases who begin receiving VR services while in high school. While some go on to college, most pursue employment and face limited earning opportunities given their skills and level of education. DRS customers who attend college have earnings 45 percent higher than those who complete only high school. However, the high-school educated group makes up about a third of all competitive outcome closures for DRS, resulting in wages that rise slowly. Similarly, individuals with less education and lower wages are also less likely to receive health insurance benefits with their job.

In addition, data provided by RSA indicate that about half of the transition age youth closed into competitive work by DRS work in food service, retail, or building and grounds maintenance, compared to about a third of transition age customers in comparable VR agencies. Concentration on these lower skilled jobs further contributes to the overall lower wage and lesser level of benefits experienced by customers earning competitive outcomes through DRS.

Another factor limiting success in casework quality is the relatively low level of experience of the VR counseling staff. In recent years the rate of turnover has increased in the counseling base, and additional retirements have left an overall reduced level of organizational knowledge. In addition, due to changes in the state hiring process, many field office supervisors are individuals who do not have a background in the VR program and thus do not have a wealth of experience to offer. Therefore, training and remediation efforts have increased to meet the needs of staff. DRS continues efforts to ensure that counselors receive effective supervision and guidance.

Staff have shown performance improvements in the area of timely certification of eligibility and in timely IPE development, following extensive data reporting and training by DRS administration. The cause of the poor performance is difficult to identify, although it appears to be related to counselor experience and capacity for planning caseload activities. DRS has devoted resources to improvement of its computerized case management system to assist in effective scheduling. Additional resources are being investigated which for providing training on time management and personal organization for counselors.

 

Goal: For FY2011, DRS will serve and employ 200 persons in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds. This figure is lower than in previous years, due to the increased cost of providing supported employment services.

Results

In FY2011 DRS served 209 individuals in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds and an additional 1,962 using other funds. A total of 408 individuals were closed into competitive employment after having participated in supported employment services.

Other Supported Employment Goals:

During FY2011, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

1. Serve customers recently placed into supported employment until they move to the Extended Services program or receive natural supports.

Results: Through June 2011, all DRS customers served in supported employment were moved into either paid extended services or unpaid natural supports at the conclusion of their VR case. The DRS computerized case management system requires the counselor to enter the planned post-SEP environment when developing an IPE including supported employment. After July 1, 2011 paid extended services are not available until alternative funding sources are identified.

2. Continue to expand the scope of those who receive services to include persons who are deaf-blind, persons with traumatic brain injuries, persons who are mentally ill, persons with significant hearing impairments and other persons with the most significant disabilities.

Results: DRS supported employment services are targeted only at individuals who are classified in the order of selection policy as having a most significant disability.

3. Continue to work on developing agreements with other state agencies to cover the cost of extended services.

Results: DRS has not been able to establish agreements with either the Division of Developmental Disabilities or the Division of Mental Health.

4. Explore and develop other means of providing job support for SEP customers after DRS closes their cases, such as development of natural supports and mentoring in the workplace, increased use of Social Security work incentive programs, as well as Work Incentives Planning and Assistance services.

Results: DRS counselors are strongly encouraged to move customers into a natural supports environment at the conclusion of a supported employment case. The availability of paid extended services remains very limited.

 

3. Assessment of the performance of the VR program on the standards and indicators for FY 2011.

The following table shows how the Illinois VR program performed relative to the RSA evaluation standards and indicators for the most recent period reported.

Illinois VR Performance on Standards and Indicators

Federal FY2011 Data

Indicators FY 2011

Description Minimum and Achieved Values

1.1 Change in number of employment outcomes +1 -46 Fail

1.2 Percent employed after receiving services 55.8: 54.65 Fail

1.3 Percent competitively employed 72.6 90.79 Pass

1.4 Percent of competitive outcomes with a significant disability 62.4 100.0 Pass

1.5 Earnings ratio compared to state average earnings 0.52 .424 Fail

1.6 Percent indicating they are self-supporting 53.0 60.25 Pass

2.1 Service rate ratio for minority customers .80 .831 Pass

As shown in the table above, Illinois passed on four of the seven indicators. Illinois failed on indicator 1.5 as it has done each year. DRS failed to increase rehabilitated closures (1.1) in FY2011 after having passed this indicator the previous year. In addition DRS failed indicator 1.2 after having passed the previous year. For standard 2, DRS passed Indicator 2.1 for the third successive year.

Discussion: Indicator 1.1 The number of rehabilitated closures fell by 46 or about one percent in FY2011 compared to FY2010. This is a smaller percentage decrease than observed the previous year. DRS believes that this is due to the deterioration in the employment market in Illinois, as well as to having a relatively larger percentage of less experienced rehabilitation counselors. Performance on this indicator in the first 11 months of the state fiscal year has increased by 11.5 percent over the same period in the previous fiscal year. We have every reason to believe that DRS will pass indicator 1.1 for the federal fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.

In terms of Indicator 1.2, DRS has experienced varying levels of performance, sometimes just above and sometimes just below the standard of 55.8. DRS believes that staff training in the areas of work organization and customer communication will make a notable improvement in this statistic.

For Indicator 1.5 DRS has developed a program improvement plan and is awaiting RSA approval. Strategies for performance center on identifying more customers with work experience and skills who are likely to work at a higher salary level. This does not mean a reduction in efforts to serve transition age youth, although those individuals tend to work in entry-level jobs for lower wages. DRS believes it can continue to serve transition age youth while expanding services to adults with work experience.

 

Use of Expansion and Innovation Funds

DRS used funds allotted for expansion and innovation to initiate and maintain its World Class Customer Service effort. As noted above, the World Class initiative is an organizational transformation project that has an ongoing focus on changing business processes. Since 2007 many elements of the World Class initiative has been incorporated into DHS initiatives known as Platinum Customer Services and Going the Extra Mile. DRS played a key role in helping expand World Class concepts to the larger DHS agency. A major expense has been the training of staff. Over 900 staff participated in a three-day training process facilitated by an organization development consultant and trainer. Additional innovation expenses involved implementation of local office plans developed as part of the World Class initiative.

Each DRS local office team developed objectives designed to help achieve the agency’s goals, provide services more quickly and to enhance the customer experience to the point of delighting customers. Requests for funds to implement local office plan objectives were approved on a case-by-case basis. Another significant expense has been the implementation and continuing development of a new computerized virtual case management system, which is designed to improve the efficiency of staff, reduce paperwork and eliminate duplicate data entry. In addition, this system has significantly improved our capacity to monitor the quality of services provided to customers. DRS community providers began entering data directly into the case management system in FY2012. DRS expects all data entry to be accomplished electronically by the end of FY2013.

State Rehabilitation Council Activities

DRS works closely with the State Rehabilitation Council. In FY2012 SRC members continued their efforts to work collaboratively with DRS through the Stakeholder Committee. This committee has worked on needs assessment activities and procedures, including development of a special survey of transition age youth that was conducted in late 2011. In addition, SRC members developed an agreement with Illinois State University to use their resources to conduct a VR customer satisfaction survey as well as a provider satisfaction survey.

Title I funds are used each year for SRC activities that include quarterly Council meetings, committee meetings, printing costs, travel and other miscellaneous expenses. Title I funding is also used to fund other SRC activities, such as community meetings. A DRS administrator serves as the Council Liaison and handles all aspects of the Council’s activities. The Bureau Chiefs for Field Services and Blind Services alternate their attendance at each meeting and the Director participates in Council meetings unless a scheduling conflict prevents it. In those instances, the Bureau Chiefs and the Liaison serve as the representative. In the last two years, the SRC has made greater use of videoconferencing facilities to reduce travel for members, thereby reducing travel costs. DRS spent approximately $10,000 on SRC expenses in the last fiscal year.

This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2012 3:01PM by Douglas Morton

  • 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

A. Goals

During FY2013, the Supported Employment Program (SEP) has set forth the following goals using Title VI, Part B funds.

1. Serve customers recently placed into supported employment in a manner consistent with federal regulations, with an emphasis on moving as many individuals as possible into natural supports at the conclusion of ongoing support services.

2. Continue to expand the scope of those who receive services to include persons who are deaf-blind, persons with traumatic brain injuries, persons who are mentally ill, persons with significant hearing impairments and other persons with the most significant disabilities.

3. Pursue development of new mechanisms for funding paid extended services, including cooperative agreements with other state agencies and local units of government.

4. Evaluate the most effective means of achieving employment outcomes for individuals traditionally served in supported employment services.

5. Implement a new rate structure for providers of supported employment services.

For FY2013, DRS will serve and employ 200 persons in supported employment. In FY2011 DRS served 209 individuals in supported employment using Title VI Part B funds and an additional 1,962 using other funds.

B. Utilization and Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

Title VI, Part B funds are used to purchase SEP services for customers. The Department administers its Supported Employment Program using two mechanisms: contracting with community organizations to provide supported employment services or arranging individual placements through DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors in local offices (case services). Contracts have been established with 25 entities throughout Illinois to provide services to eligible customers.

DRS completed an independent rate review study in 2011 and will implement the new rates for supported employment services beginning July 1, 2012.

C. Supported Employment Models to be Used During FY2013

DRS utilizes two supported employment models: (1) the individual work model; and (2) the enclave (clustered) model. With the support of DRS, supported employment services in recent years has moved more in the direction of the individual work model. Currently, over 90 percent of the models used are the individual work model and fewer than 10 percent utilize the enclave model (with up to eight persons in a group).

DRS intends to complete the phase out the use of the enclave model during FY2013. DRS believes that this model is not consistent with achievement of competitive employment in integrated settings.

D. Transition to Extended Services

Due to the elimination of state funds for extended services, DRS is placing a renewed emphasis on the use of natural supports in the workplace as the best means of providing extended services at the conclusion of supported employment services. This means that providers must pay attention to the importance of maintaining a support reduction schedule during the time an individual is receiving supported employment services. DRS issued a policy directive in 2010 emphasizing the need to reduce support consistently throughout the supported employment time period.

E. Scope of Services

In FY2013 DRS expects to continue the following levels of funding for supported employment and extended services activities. Supported employment services provided with Title VI-B funds: approximately 200 individuals, total funding $1.1 million through fiscal arrangements with 27 provider agencies.. Supported employment provided with Title I funds: approximately 2,000 individuals, total funding $5.3 million, approximately 45 provider agencies.

DRS does not have a state appropriation for extended services for FY2013. Therefore the level of services maintained to date will not be able to continue. DRS is investigating additional sources of funding to support individuals who require paid extended services at the conclusion of supported employment services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2012 1:19PM by Douglas Morton

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/13/2012 at 11:03 AM

Last updated by rsastellart

Completed on 08/13/2012 at 11:03 AM

Completed by rsastellart

Approved on 08/13/2012 at 11:04 AM

Approved by rsastellart

Published on 09/11/2012 at 12:53 PM

Published by kschelle

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  • Monitoring Report for Illinois — as of August 26, 2011
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