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

Published September 4, 2014.   Print   Print preview   Export to MS Word   Export to Excel  

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Texas Division for Blind Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (submitted FY 2013)

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

1.1 The Division for Blind 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 Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative 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

Assistant Commissioner

... 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

Assistant Commissioner

... 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 SignatoryBarbara J. Madrigal

Title of SignatoryAssistant Commissioner

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/27/2013

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 2014Yes

Comments:

No

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryBarbara J. Madrigal

Title of SignatoryAssistant Commissioner

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)06/27/2013

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 2: Public Comment on State Plan Policies and Proceduress

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.

Preprint - Section 3: Submission of the State Plan and its Supplement

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.

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of 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 primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B 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 for Blind Services

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not 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.

Preprint - Section 5: Administration of the Provision of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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.

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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.

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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 Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT), which is the State Rehabilitation Council for Texas, met with Division of Blind Services (DBS) quarterly as a part of the Council meeting. During these meetings, DBS provided quarterly updates to the council and the RCT provided input and recommendations to DBS.

The RCT uses a committee structure to provide more focused review and comment to DBS. These committees are: the executive committee; the program planning and review committee; the policy, procedures and personnel development committee; the consumer satisfaction and needs assessment committee; and the advocacy and education committee. Much of the interaction included exchanges of information in order to achieve greater clarity and understanding. While the detail work is done in the committee structure, all comments and recommendations are made from the full RCT.

The following is a summary of the input and recommendations made from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. Recommendations are transmitted to the DBS both verbally at the RCT meetings and in writing throughout the year by committee reports, the full RCT minutes, and the “to do” list.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: In order to better plan for the future staffing need of DBS, the RCT recommends that more detail about the future VR staffing needs be included in the CSPD attachment including the following:

Specific optimum caseload size by position;

Specific projected needs by position for each of the next 5 years;

Specific number of personnel expected to retire as a separate category for the next five years;

Specific number of additional positions needed to respond to population growth per year; and,

Provide more specific information on the types of positions for Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center staff.

DBS response: DBS added the detail requested to attachment 4.10 of the 2014 State Plan and will continue to provide these details in future state plans.

2014 State Plan Input: The RCT applauds the optimum caseload size for general and transition counselors.

DBS response: DBS thanks the RCT for this feedback and will continue this practice.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: The RCT recommends that DBS consider including recruitment information for positions that require a bachelor’s degree such as the positions of rehabilitation teacher and orientation and mobility specialist. The RCT further recommended that DBS encourage opportunities to engage undergraduate students in rehabilitation studies and special education to work with consumers in the regions through service learning programs and other mechanisms.

DBS response: DBS has sponsored internships and practicums for undergraduate students in rehabilitation programs and has also hired some of the graduates from these programs, but will consider incorporating this recommendation as part of any recruitment activities performed.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: The RCT requested that DBS reword the phrase “3 are expected to master their job responsibilities before beginning graduate school” to make it clear that the new employees must complete core internal training within the first year of employment before they begin graduate school.

DBS response: DBS updated attachment 4.10 to improve the clarity of the statement referenced in this recommendation.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: The RCT recommended to DBS that employment services providers be required to take training on serving persons who are blind or visually impaired if they had little experience working with this population.

DBS response: DBS agrees and will continue working on developing a more formalized orientation process for providers to provide them with the information needed to work more effectively with DBS consumers.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: The draft attachment 4.11 (b) presented the number of persons served to increase and the funds to serve eligible persons decreased by $1 million. The RCT questioned how the agency could serve more people with less funding. DBS responded that the figures from last year may be questionable. DBS will re-assess to see if the 2013 figures were in error. DBS further explained that with the use of carryover funds, there should be no issues with case services funds.

DBS response: Upon further review, DBS realized that the numbers served information initially documented on attachment 4.11(b) in the 2014 plan was incorrect. Attachment 4.11(b) was corrected.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: RCT recommends the agency increase measure 1.2 (related to the goal of the minimum of individuals exiting the VR program to achieve an employment outcome) to 70%.

DBS response: DBS agrees with this recommendation and has updated measure 1.2 for the 2014 State Plan to reflect this.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: RCT recommended the agency gather more data and provide an analysis as to the factors related to employment outcomes that do not earn at least minimum wage.

DBS response: DBS has completed the analysis recommended by the RCT for 2012 closures and will be providing this information to the RCT at the July 2013 meeting.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: RCT suggested that measure 4.3, related to the goal of increasing the number of supported employment providers; provide a more specific goal such as 10% of baseline or a quantifiable number such as 4.

DBS response: DBS updated measure 4.3 to improve the specificity of the goal based on the RCT recommendation.

2014 State Plan Recommendation: Specific strategies related to achieving Standards and Indicators need to be included.

DBS response: DBS agrees and updated the 2014 state plan to include this information and will continue this practice with future state plans.

Policy Recommendation: The RCT requested to work with the Division for Rehabilitation Services, DBS, and Disability Rights to develop a plan to provide services from both divisions to one consumer at the same time when it was in the best interest of the consumer.

DBS response: DBS agrees with this recommendation. DBS has begun working on developing a process for jointly serving consumers with DRS and welcomes input from Disability Rights.

2015 State Plan recommendations: Consider the following when developing goals:

• When looking at expanding the availability of SSP to Deaf Blind consumers, ensure that this service is coordinated with DADS and in particular DADS DB interveners program as well as the Deaf Blind project.

• When DBS exceeds a goal, address the factors that contributed to that success.

• When DBS is struggling with meeting a goal such as 1.5, discuss the factors that impede achievement, such as skill level of consumers to capture higher wage jobs.

• Goals need to be higher than just passing the standards and indicators which is set as minimum performance level for each indicator.

DBS response: DBS agrees these recommendations and will plan to address each in the development of the 2015 State Plan.

Recommendation for the upcoming year:

The RCT provided input on the selection of a hearing officer which was not accepted. The RCT recommends that DARS continue the discussion to clarify the role of the RCT in hearing officer selection.

DBS response: The DARS legal department requests input from the RCT on the applicants for hearing officers and then chooses the most qualified individuals to provide this services.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 3:29PM by Mel Fajkus

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 1:57PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System

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

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

 

 

The Division for Blind Services falls within the purview of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and is a division of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. Other Departments within Health and Human Services include:

·      The Department of Aging and Disability Services,

·      The Department of Family and Protective Services,

·      The Department of State Health Services.

and the Texas Department of Insurance- Division for Worker’s Compensation to facilitate the referral process of injured workers to DARS

The Division for Blind Services has cooperative and collaborative working relationships with each of these departments. Department Commissioners meet on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual concern and to identify and resolve problems related to service delivery.

 

The Division for Blind Services works closely with the Division for Rehabilitation Services, which is the designated state unit for vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities other than blindness and is also part of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. The two Divisions have worked together in areas such as policy and procedures; purchasing of consumer services, specialized services for specific disability groups, and a common database to collect and report consumer information.  

 

The Division for Blind Services works with the Texas Education Agency and local school districts in providing services for transition age consumers. There is also close collaboration with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. A number of specialized services have been developed to prepare students at TSBVI as they move toward the world of work.

 

There is also interaction with other agencies, such as:

·      Texas Department of Transportation, since lack of adequate transportation is often a major factor in terms of a consumer’s ability to maintain employment;

·      Social Security Administration for the purpose of collaboration on employment incentives and supports and the maximization of the SSA/VR reimbursement activity through the Ticket to Work; and,

·      Department of Veterans Affairs to enhance access to comparable benefit.

 

Interaction at the local level also occurs on a routine basis. Field staff participate in resource planning designed to assist those consumers who need assistance from multiple agencies.   Staff participate in Community Resource Coordination Groups (CRCGs) which are local interagency groups comprised of public and private providers who come together to develop individual service plans for children, youth and adults whose needs can be met only through interagency coordination and cooperation. Efforts to maximize employment are pursued through local Chambers of Commerce and local Mayor’s Committees for People with Disabilities to promote full integration and opportunity within the local community.

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 3:33PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

  • 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.

 

The Division for Blind Services (DBS) works closely with the education system through the DBS’ Transition Program. 

 

Training Coordination: DBS works with the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Special Education Division, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI), Texas School for the Deaf, Educational Service Centers (ESCs), and local education agencies to provide a variety of training opportunities. One example of this training is the DBS-sponsored “Working with Children and Families”.  A key component is extensive training in the Special Education process, which includes transition planning in the Individualized Education Program (IEP).

 

DBS established an Interagency Letter of Agreement with TEA for coordination of transition planning services for students receiving special education services in Texas. This Letter of Agreement provides for:

 

·         Consultation and technical assistance in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including vocational rehabilitation services;

·         Transition planning for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of the IEP;

·         Clarifies the agencies’ respective roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, for providing transition planning services for students who are blind or significantly visually impaired; and,

·         Describes procedures for outreach and identification of students with disabilities who are in need of transition services.

 

Educational Counseling: DBS policy states that Transition is a collaborative, student-centered and student-driven process. Transition is an integral part of the education and rehabilitation process and is based on the student’s individual needs, interests and preferences. Effective Transition planning happens as early as possible to help students develop skills and attitudes necessary to work and live in the community.

 

The DBS Transition Program provides consumers who are at least ten years of age and under 24 years of age (and who may have multiple disabilities) with vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to prepare them for employment and enable them to make informed decisions about their future goals. The program is often the link between the DBS Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development program and the adult VR program. As a result, consumers benefit from seamless delivery of services throughout each stage of development.

 

Twenty-four Transition Counselors throughout the state take strong advocacy roles in preparing students with visual loss for entry into the world of work. They serve as informational resources for teachers and other educational staff, and provide resources and information about blindness for parents and transitioning youth throughout development of the youth’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). They work closely with parents, education staff, and community service providers to promote development of skills needed for students to become as independent as possible and competitive in terms of employment. 

 

In addition to training parents and consumers about their Special Education rights and responsibilities, DBS provides educational support by working with the transition team to develop and implement the IEP. Goals developed in the IEP are included in DBS’s IPE to facilitate successful completion of the goals developed in the IEP. DBS’ practice is to complete the IPE as early as possible during the Transition process, and to have the IPE in place before students exit secondary education.  DBS provides services for youths as early as ten years of age to ensure IPE’s are completed early. Services prepare students to be confident and competent to maximize their potential to achieve success. 

 

Services focus on these six skill areas:

 

·         Adjustment to Blindness

·         Independent Living Skills

·         Travel Skills

·         Communication

·         Support Systems

·         Vocational Skills

 

DBS transition counselors offer current vocational, career and educational information to help students identify potential career pursuits.

 

Referral:   DBS staff work closely with local education agencies, TEA, TSBVI, and regional ESCs to ensure youths who are blind and visually impaired are referred to DBS.  DBS staff participate in outreach activities to help identify students who are blind or significantly visually impaired and who need Transition services. Outreach activities include:

·         provision of information about the Transition program,

·         description of available services, eligibility requirements, and

·         the application process for services. 

 

DBS staff serve in local communities to identify referral sources for the local schools and local education agencies.

 

Interagency Agreements: DBS and TSBVI have a long-standing Interagency Agreement to coordinate services for blind and visually impaired youth. DBS and TSBVI co-produce the SenseAbilities newsletter, a publication with worldwide readership. They also coordinate to provide a post-secondary program and a summer work experiences for transition consumers. 

 

Fiscal Coordination with Educational Resources: Local education agencies are fiscally responsible for services and accommodations documented in the IEP. While a student is in secondary school, DBS purchases services and provides a technology evaluation for equipment for use in post-secondary education, training, or pursuit of long-term vocational goals. Students then have opportunities to gain skills needed for success in the transition to post-secondary education, training or employment.

 

Other Coordination Activities:   DBS representatives participate in the Children’s Policy Council and local community resource coordination groups to help facilitate cooperation and coordination of services among agencies and community organizations for transition-age consumers. 

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 4:54PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

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

The DARS Division for Blind Services (DBS) has a long history of utilization of private non-profit community rehabilitation service providers. These were originally limited to facilities designed to provide opportunities for individuals with visual loss, namely organizations in the Lighthouse Industries for the Blind of Texas (LIBT) network. Contractual agreements covered basic services such as vocational evaluation, orientation and mobility, work adjustment, job readiness and placement, specific training programs, etc. Establishment grants were also used within this network to promote training and employment assistance directed toward integrated competitive employment.

Over the last few years, the number and diversity of non-profit vendors has grown extensively. A wide variety of community organizations are now involved in service delivery to DBS consumers. The system was expanded via publication of several Request for Proposals (RFPs) soliciting potential vendors, including non-profit community rehabilitation service providers. These RFPs are the foundation for contracts for services such as vocational evaluation, vocational adjustment training, job readiness training, and job development training.

 

DBS has developed the “VR Resource Guide” which provides basic information about blindness. The guide answers questions regarding vision loss and provides information on resources available to assist consumers in terms of maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle with a focus on achieving and maintaining successful employment outcomes. The guide assists local DBS staff and consumers with identifying and contacting private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers at the national, state and local levels. It is available in paper and electronic format, allowing DBS staff to provide this information to consumers in their preferred medium and the guide is also available in Spanish.

 

A system is in place for electronic postings via the Texas Marketplace, an internet notification to vendors potentially interested in providing services for DBS consumers.   This will further expand the visibility of DBS within the community and increase the availability of service providers around the state.

 

 

                               

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 11:17AM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.8(b)(4) Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

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.

Due to the multitude of resources (human and fiscal) typically required for successful employment of individuals who are the most significantly disabled needing supported employment services, the DARS Division for Blind Services (DBS) has learned that collaboration with all available entities is essential. DBS collaborates with community organizations providing direct services and with other state agencies funding supported employment components for various disability populations.

DBS has implemented supported employment service contracts and standards requiring community organization commitment to providing individualized, time-limited services consumers need and providing or arranging for extended services. These organizations are responsible for locating or creating each consumer’s needed extended services and securing necessary funding. Extended services are provided or arranged by the community organizations and through developing natural supports. Potential funding sources include Medicaid waivers, Social Security work incentives, the state mental health division, Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the state mental retardation division, Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS) and a variety of local community level sponsorships.

The Outcome Based Supported Employment Payment System, implemented January 2, 2007 was developed through a collaboration between DBS and the Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS). It standardized required forms, documentation, and expectations for quality provider performance. The collaboration allows DBS and DRS to share providers which have afforded DBS a significant increase in provider resources.

DBS and the Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) collaborated on an ARRA-funded project to develop a Supported Employment training curriculum for current and potential providers. This online training and certification is being provided by the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment program.

DBS and DRS continue working with DADS to improve communication and further align DARS’ and DADS’ employment services. To further collaborations providing seamless service delivery, DARS and DADS has in place since 2007 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This MOA defines each Department’s responsibilities in coordinating services to consumers mutually served by both Departments. An amendment to the MOA signed in 2009 provides for a systematic exchange of consumer identifying information on consumers receiving services from both DARS and DADS. This amendment will help facilitate collaboration and communication between agencies to enhance consumer services.

.

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 11:23AM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Complete data on current employees is maintained in the Health and Human Services Administrative System (PeopleSoft Personnel/Payroll) database. Information is entered at employment and is updated when employees are promoted or change jobs. The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Program Reporting and Analysis Unit (PRA) is able to access this information and, upon request, prepare specific analytical personnel reports.

In FY 2012, DBS had 351.75 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions available to meet vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumer needs directly. Four out of the 12 Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinators positions were changed to Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisors. Of the 99 FTEs in Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) 74 provide direct services for consumers. Following is a breakdown by personnel category:

- 75 VR Counselors and VR Coordinators FTEs (includes CCRC VR Counselors)

- 24 Transition Counselors FTEs

- 8 Program Coordinators FTEs

- 94.75 Rehabilitation Assistants FTEs

- 42 VR Teachers FTEs

- 4 VR Supervisors FTEs

-12 Field Director FTEs

- 74 CCRC FTEs

A CSPD Coordinator reviews transcripts of newly hired VR and Transition Counselors to evaluate compliance with standards. Educational information is entered into a database; the Coordinator tracks graduate enrollment, academic progress, and graduation. By helping counselors in the admission process, the Coordinator collects enrollment and graduation statistics from institutions preparing VR professionals.

In FY 2012 75 VR and 24 Transition Counselors served consumers. Fourth Quarter figures for FY 2012 indicate average active caseload sizes were one VR Counselor per 59 consumers and one Transition Counselor per 77 consumers. Projections for numbers of employees needed are, and continue to be, based on:

- historical numbers of eligible consumers served,

- historical turnover rates for each position,

- Projected turnover.

From FY 2009 – FY2012 an average of 7.6 VR and Transition Counselors per year retired, left DBS for other reasons, or moved into non-counseling positions within DBS. Should this trend continue, it is projected that 48 replacement counselors will be needed over the next five years to maintain current staffing levels and counselor/consumer ratios.

The following table identifies the number of staff needed to provide direct consumer services and projections of numbers needed over five years based on estimates of:

- numbers of consumers to be served,

- numbers of staff expected to retire or leave the field of rehabilitation, and

- other relevant factors.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VR Counselors 99 5 48
2 VR Teachers 41 1 30
3 Program Coordinators 8 0 0
4 Rehabilitation Assistants 96 4 45
5 VR Supervisors 4 0 0
6 Field Directors 12 0 1
7 CCRC 74 2 38
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Texas has a total of seven university rehabilitation programs available at the Master’s degree level. The seven universities in Texas offer a Masters degree accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education. While all seven schools report combined enrollment of 417 students during the same time frame, many of these students are already employed by public rehabilitation agencies. Schools reporting the largest number of students are providing instruction in a distance format, which means graduates living elsewhere in the United States may never be available to fill vacant positions in Texas. Reported enrollment and graduation rates are somewhat lower than in past years, which mean the number of new, qualified graduates will continue to be lower than combined replacement needs of DBS and DRS.

The University of North Texas, University of Texas Pan American, Texas Tech and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center offer distance learning. Of the DBS Rehabilitation Counselors presently enrolled in Master’s programs, 100% participate via distance learning.

The following table lists five Universities in Texas that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals and two additional universities are listed below.

Stephen F. Austin University - students enrolled: 10 employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA -0

graduates sponsored by agency or RSA- 5 graduates from previous year -2

University of Texas- El Paso - students enrolled: 33 employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA -0

graduates sponsored by agency or RSA- 10 graduates from previous year -0

 

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 Texas- Southwestern Medical Branch 16 0 32 25
2 Texas Tech University 108 4 25 28
3 University of North Texas 119 3 44 36
4 University of Texas- Pan American 110 0 17 29
5 University of Texas- Austin 21 0 11 9

 

DBS has forged productive, proactive working relationships with Texas universities training rehabilitation professionals. Division representatives serve on Rehabilitation Education Advisory Committees, serve as guest lecturers, and make recruiting trips to acquaint students with career opportunities in public rehabilitation. DBS campus involvements result in pre-service student requests for practicum and internship placement with the division. Paid internships have been offered since 1999 for students completing Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling or Rehabilitation. In FY 2012 DBS hosted 1 paid internship, 1 unpaid internship and 13 unpaid practicums.

Job vacancy notices are routinely posted on the Health and Human Services Jobs Center and on WorkinTexas.com, the statewide job site maintained by the Texas Workforce Commission. Blind individuals meeting division minimum standards may submit records of verifiable unpaid experience, such as a practicum or internship, in lieu of paid work experience. This practice is consistent with 34 CFR 361.18 provisions and is valuable in recruiting individuals with disabilities.

Efforts to recruit personnel from minority backgrounds include requiring fluency in Spanish for selected positions located in areas of high Hispanic populations. Opportunities to promote employment to all community sectors continue as job postings are routinely shared with universities and academic programs, including those serving minority populations.

DBS strives to ensure staff diversity represents diversity of the state and the consumers we serve. Ethnic distribution of division employees is:

- 51% White,

- 30% Hispanic,

- 18% Black, and

- 2.0% other (including Asian American and American Indian).

According to the Texas State Data Center and Office of the State Demographer, these figures mirror the state’s ethnic distribution pattern fairly closely. In terms of disability, approximately 13% of DBS employees have a reported disability, primarily blindness or visual impairment. When possible, DBS strives to continue applying the above actions and strategies proven effective in hiring staff from minority backgrounds and staff with disabilities.

PRA calculates the overall DBS FY 2012 attrition rate to be 7.46%, while the VRC and TVRC attrition rate was 7.6%. Counselor turnover reflects retirement of seasoned staff as well as movement to higher paying positions both in the private sector and within DBS.

The Texas Legislature sets the states classification schedule, which determines pay grades for counselors and other classified positions, as well as the salary schedule setting the pay range agencies must use for compensation. Working within current classification and salary schedules, DBS creatively uses alternative methods to reward staff:

- Continuing Education Units are provided to staff maintaining various certifications upon completing in-house training; and

- DBS’ succession program, FUTURES, is open to all employees who have two years of DBS employment, perform job duties at expected levels, and express interest in and commitment to personal and professional growth. The program expressly states there is no guarantee of promotion, only the opportunity to develop skills to compete for posted vacancies. This appears to be a successful strategy for developing and retaining personnel and for preserving institutional knowledge as experienced staff retire.

- A second professional growth program, The Academy, was implemented in FY 2009. A second cohort group was initiated during FY 2012. . While participation in FUTURES is open to all employees regardless of position, The Academy focuses on professional support staff offering leadership training and opportunities for skill development and improvement based explicitly on the needs of support staff within DBS. The second cohort made the following recommendations: Consumer Intake Process, Administrative Support Professionals Electronic Site, Rewarding Staff, Consumer Service, and New Technology in the Workplace.

 

The State of Texas does not have a certification standard for rehabilitation counselors, so DBS opted to base new hiring and personnel development policies on academic preparation consistent with national requirements for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs). This includes, at a minimum, a course in Counseling Theories and Techniques and a course in Medical or Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities.

DBS recognizes the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) as an acceptable alternate standard, because coursework required for this license also meets educational requirements.

Job vacancy notices identify a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling as the preferred academic preparation for VR and Transition Counselors. When the applicant pool does not hold anyone with this preparation, positions may be filled by applicants with a (in decreasing order of preference):

- Masters degree in Counseling, Social Work, or Psychology with one year of related work experience;

- Bachelors degree in Rehabilitation with one year of related work experience;

- Bachelors degree in Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, or Education and two years of related work experience; or

- another Bachelors degree with three years of related work experience.

Currently 69 DBS VR and Transition Counselors meet the required academic standards.

Of the 30 VR Counselor positions not meeting academic standards:

- 22 are enrolled in graduate programs

- 3 are within their first year of hire and are completing required core trainings before beginning graduate school; and,

- 5 are vacant positions.

Candidates who do not meet academic standards are informed at the time of hiring that they have seven years following completion of initial training to do so. Candidates for VR Coordinator positions must meet standards to be eligible for posts. DBS has encouraged but has not required counselors to obtain CRC certification though 10 are presently certified as CRCs and another 4 hold LPC certification.

The In-Service Training Grant funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration is earmarked for retraining staff. Because of the disparity between needed numbers of qualified VR counselors and annual numbers of university graduates, DBS plans to continue applying retraining procedures indefinitely.

DBS employs other professional staff in full-time or contractual capacities. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and Orientation and Mobility Specialists are required to have valid licenses from certifying bodies appropriate to their professions. DBS is 100% compliant in these areas.

 

DBS is committed to ensuring its workforce is highly skilled, professionally trained and thoroughly prepared to provide the highest quality service to Texans who are blind or visually impaired. All staff has access to internal and external training designed to develop knowledge and skills necessary to achieve success in their positions, provide developmental activities for new and emerging leaders, and enhance service delivery for consumers.

1. Although VR counselor job descriptions are developed with the requirement for an applicant to have a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling, or closely-related fields as preferred academic preparations, in some parts of the state a scarcity of graduate level applicants exists. It is essential to hire Bachelors level counselors to ensure services to consumers are not unduly delayed. VR and Transition Counselors who do not meet academic standards at the time of hiring have seven years from completion of their initial training period in which to comply. DBS finances graduate degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling if alternate funding sources are not available.

2. All new staff participates in a week-long program providing:

- orientation to DBS,

- familiarization with skills and techniques individuals who are blind use to develop independence, and

- extensive exposure to legislation (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998) enabling the continuum of DBS services.

All staff is encouraged to stay abreast of research findings by accessing the Internet Resources link available through DBS Intranet site. Information disseminated by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and a variety of other government and university research centers can be reached from this link. DBS works closely with the Mississippi State University Research and Training (R&T) Center on Blindness and Low Vision and other R&T Centers to stay current in the field of blindness. Many DBS’ staff is leaders or active members of the Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). Staff has become active in the Texas Rehabilitation Action Network (TRAN) and has presented educational programs to familiarize participants with blindness-related issues. DBS also participates in the National Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (NIRI) and is regularly involved in prime study work groups.

In FFY 2012 DBS continued to develop staff training for ReHabWorks, a new automated, statewide caseload management system that will serve both DBS and DRS. Training will be provided to DBS in FY 2013. Primary training will be provided by webinar and hands on training will be provided to the assistive technology users. Not only will this training familiarize staff with functionality of the system, but it will also serve as a refresher to ensure the rehabilitation process is being properly followed.

3. Training plans for new employees foster competencies in skills required for different job categories. Structured on-the-job trainings supervised by experienced colleagues are common to all positions; Center for Learning Management (CLM) provides or coordinates more formal, extensive trainings for caseload carrying staff.

4. A three-year Initial Training Plan (ITP) is developed for all VR and Transition Counselors, normally within two weeks of hiring.

During the first year of employment, almost seven non-consecutive weeks of mandatory training provide counselors critical information regarding process and procedures, medical issues surrounding blindness, and employment assistance strategies.

In the second and third years, counselors receive training in skills needed to facilitate consumer career choice and decision-making as well as counseling techniques to help consumers adjust to blindness.

Many of these courses mirror university graduate-level work in Rehabilitation Counseling programs and provide opportunities for practical application on actual caseloads. Counselors and other staff learn about assistive technologies (screen readers, Braille devices, closed circuit televisions, portable note takers, etc.) as part of the intensive Employment Assistance Training program.

5. VR Teachers are provided with a three-year ITP that includes:

- four weeks under blindfold at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) participating in classes with consumers,

- four weeks of teaching skills, process and procedures training and Employment Assistance training for VRTs.

All teachers receive extensive Braille training and must demonstrate competency annually by completing a Braille project and submitting it for review by the Braille Consultant. Training transcripts, letters of recommendation from a certified VR teacher, and funding are available to help interested teachers become Academy-certified.

7. CLM offers ongoing training for all DBS employees through the annual training calendar or through use of vendors. CLM provides a wide array of courses on blindness-specific topics, such as Eye Medical Training and Counseling/Adjusting with Blindness. While many courses are mandatory for caseload carrying staff, all other employees may request participation.

8. All staff members participate with their supervisors in planning annual goals and identifying training needs and goals in their Employee Development Plans. These processes, combined with input received from DBS managers and administrators, serve as needs assessments that determine annual training calendar offerings.

9. DBS is aggressively working on capacity building and leadership development by nominating select managers to participate in the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Leadership Institute Class for potential executive level candidates and by continuing to participate in programs offered by the Texas Governors Center for Management and Development. Two additional trainings have been developed: 1) Extraordinary Contributors and 2) The Advanced Leadership Institute. FUTURES and The Academy are offered in alternating years with the goal of ensuring that DBS has a supply of well-trained, well-developed workers ready and qualified to assume leadership roles in a wide variety of positions.

 

DBS meets adaptive communication needs. For example, with the AT&T Language Line, staff can establish communications with consumers in dozens of languages, including those commonly found in Texas.

Many consumers and staff members who are blind or visually impaired need alternate formats for printed communications. A full-time employee in the DBS Braille Unit prepares documents in Braille, large print, or in electronic format. Dedicated computers with Braille translation software and Braille embossers are available in each field office. Staff uses these to produce documents such as letters to consumers or meeting agendas.

DBS employs an Assistive Technology Specialist to support staff using assistive programs with standard agency software to complete their job duties. This Specialist assesses staff skill levels, recommends and implements training approaches, and coordinates service delivery statewide. The AT Specialist also: tests accessibility of internal electronic forms, proposes training software, works closely with caseload management system developers, advises vendors to ensure that electronic educational options are equally accessible to all staff, and plays a crucial role in testing accessibility within the Health and Human Services system.

In areas of Texas where a high percentage of the population speaks only Spanish, hiring preference is given to candidates bilingual in Spanish and English. Most employees in El Paso, Harlingen, Laredo, McAllen and Corpus Christi offices are fluently bilingual.

The Deaf/Blind Unit serves consumers who are blind and deaf or hearing impaired. Specialists fluent in sign language consult with caseload-carrying staff, consumers, and community resources to develop and implement plans and services. DBS also purchases state certified interpreter services as needed.

 

DBS works closely with the education system through the Transition program. Transition counselors participate in training covering the Admission, Review and Dismissal process, Individualized Family Service Plans, and Individualized Transition Plans. Trainers are parents and representatives from:

- the Special Education Division of the Texas Education Agency (TEA),

- Advocacy, Inc.,

- Partners Resource Network, Inc.,

- the DARS Division for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), and

- the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI).

DBS staff participates in cross trainings with other entities involved in education for students with visual loss, such as the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TAER), and sponsor and participate in workshops/seminars to help education staff develop expertise in working with these students.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 6:20PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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.

 

 

DBS conducts a Comprehensive Statewide Assessment every three years to identify rehabilitation needs of individuals residing in Texas who are blind or significantly visually impaired, particularly the vocational rehabilitation (VR) service needs of individuals:

·      with the most significant disabilities, including needs for supported employment;

·      who are minorities and have been unserved or underserved by the VR program;

·      with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce system; and

 

The Assessment also surveys the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs in Texas. The most recent Assessment was conducted in the fall of 2010 and winter of 2011 The VR Needs Assessment Guide was utilized to assist in completing the statewide needs assessment.

 

Methodology

 

These activities were completed as part of  the CSNA:

    ·      Consumer Satisfaction Review

·      Survey of Key Informants

·      Consumer Data Analysis

·      Stakeholder Input Review

·      VR Counselor Survey

 

 

·      Consumer Satisfaction Review

 

The Consumer Satisfaction Survey for Fiscal Year 2010 was reviewed as part of the assessment. The percentage of consumers satisfied with services continues to be high, greater than 98%. No significant trends or issues were identified.

 

  • Survey of Key Informants

 

DBS worked with the Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) to develop an instrument surveying persons knowledgeable about needs of people who are blind or significantly visually impaired. The survey purpose was to capture opinions regarding who they consider to be unserved or underserved by the VR program. The survey asked for recommendations about populations identified as unserved or underserved, and intervention strategies that could be used with those populations. Recommendations were sought regarding Community Rehabilitation Program establishment, development, or improvement. The survey also asked respondents to identify barriers to serving unserved or underserved populations as well as recommendations for potentially effective intervention strategies. The key informant survey was completed over the phone with respondents.  

 

  • Consumer Data Analysis

 

Census data was used to determine the overall profile of the Texas population. This profile was compared to the profile of persons DBS serves. Factors reviewed included age, ethnic composition, and metropolitan/non-metropolitan residential status compared to persons DBS determined eligible in FY 2010.

   

  • Stakeholder Input Review

 

The Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT), DBS and DRS conducted three public meetings to gather public input on VR service needs of people with disabilities, and needs to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the State. Meetings were  held in Austin on August 31, 2010, in  Dallas on December 7, 2011 and in San Antonio on January 7, 2011. RCT, DBS and DRS Representatives attended both meetings. Information gathered at the public meetings, including comments submitted electronically, was used as part of analysis. Comments and recommendations from the RCT and other advocacy groups were also considered.

 

  • VR Counselor Survey

 

DBS conducted a survey of all VR Counselors across the state.The survey asked for recommendations about populations identified as unserved or underserved, and intervention strategies that could be used with those populations along with the identification of barriers to the provision of VR services. 93 counselors were emailed the survey and 78 responded. The survey tool used is the accessible web based application “Survey Monkey”.

 

Identified Barriers to Serving Unserved and Underserved Populations

 

The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment identified these barriers to serving unserved and underserved populations:

 

 

·             Public Awareness of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Potential consumers, service providers and employers are unaware of services DBS provides.

 

Mitigation Strategies

DBS over the years has implemented various strategies to increase public awareness of services provided to help persons who are blind retain or attain employment. 

DBS maintains relationships with consumer and advocacy organizations as one means of ensuring people who are blind or visually impaired are informed about VR services.  Contacts are made with the local medical community, specifically with ophthalmologists. DBS staff also has established relationships with businesses as part of efforts to help consumers locate or maintain employment. DBS will review each strategy to determine if refinements are needed.

 

  • Transportation

Transportation services are limited in some areas of Texas.

 

Mitigation Strategies

Transportation is a major issue for many persons who are blind where public transportation is limited and sometimes is simply not available.   

 

DBS policy allows VR counselors to purchase transportation services related to a program of rehabilitation services for consumers. DBS also provides O&M training for consumers, including training on use of public transportation in areas of the state where it’s available. DBS staff around the state participates in Health and Human Service Regional Coordination Forums related to public transportation to advocate for system improvements.

 

·             Employment Services provided by Workforce Centers

In general, workforce areas with Disability Navigators provide more effective employment services for persons who are blind or significantly visually impaired. 

 

Mitigation Strategies

The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that includes all state agencies involved in the workforce system. The MOU is to ensure the workforce system operates effectively and efficiently for all persons needing employment services, including persons with disabilities. DBS has developed agreements with each of the 28 local workforce boards across the state. These agreements address issues related to effective working partnerships. One key issue addressed is accessibility; the intended result is that persons with disabilities will have increased opportunities related to employment services and, ultimately, jobs. 

 

In addition, a DBS staff person has been assigned liaison responsibilities with each of the Local Workforce Development Boards. Responsibilities include:

·         Informing the board and workforce centers about vocational rehabilitation services and eligibility criteria;

·         Processing referrals from workforce centers;

·         Referring to workforce centers consumers who can benefit from employment services provided at the workforce centers;

·         Providing technical assistance to local workforce boards regarding adaptive technology; and

·         Providing sensitivity and awareness of blindness training to workforce centers staff.

 

DBS has established relationships with Disability Navigators in all 28 of local workforce areas.  

 

  • Supported Employment

 More persons who are blind or significantly visually impaired could benefit from supported employment services. Currently there are only 29 supported employment providers statewide that work with persons who are blind and in many parts of the state there are no providers available. Many supported employment providers lack the confidence and skills to work effectively with individuals who are blind and because of this are reticent to work with DBS consumers.

 

Mitigation Strategies

DBS continues to provide supported employment training for field staff. Administrative and program specialist support continues to be available. DBS also continues to find ways to more effectively assimilate supported employment within the VR services system. Working with DRS and the RCT, DBS will identify specific provider needs and determine a course of action to increase the number of supported employment providers available to work with blind consumers.

  • Services for blind consumers with significant secondary disabilities and attendant factors

    

More persons who are blind and have significant secondary disabilities or attendant factors could benefit from access to functional assessments and trial work experiences to assist with eligibility determination and ongoing training and service provision to prepare for employment.

 

Mitigation Strategies

DBS will work with current Community Rehabilitation Providers of employment services to identify if work trial experiences can be developed across the state. 

 

DBS VR Counselors have been provided training on how to work more effectively with consumers with significant secondary disabilities and attendant factors at the 2010 statewide conference and ongoing training and support will continue to be made available to DBS staff to improve their confidence and skills in working with these consumers. DBS also continues to partner with DRS statewide to coordinate service provision for consumers with serious secondary disabilities.  

 

 

Conclusion

 

DBS conducted a comprehensive statewide assessment jointly with the RCT to determine the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state, as well as the rehabilitation needs of individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired residing in Texas, particularly the VR service needs of:

  • Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
  • Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and 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.

 

Assessment results indicate:

  • More individuals with the most significant disabilities could benefit from supported employment services;
  • More individuals with the most significant disabilities could benefit from trial work experiences and situational assessments
  • Expanded community rehabilitation programs in the area of Supported employment services are needed; 
  • An issue exists of public awareness of VR services for persons who are blind or significantly visually impaired;
  • Services for individuals who are minorities appear to be satisfactory; and 
  • Individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired could benefit from continued, closer collaboration between the VR program and other components of the statewide workforce investment system.   

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 3 2011 10:52AM by Edward West

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

The DARS Division for Blind Services (DBS) estimates that for FY 2014 the number of individuals in Texas who are blind or significantly visually impaired and eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services under Part B of Title I is 8,102. This estimate considers a number of factors including:

• A review of the number of individuals applying for VR services in previous years;

• A review of the number of eligible individuals served in previous years;

• The anticipated population growth in Texas; and

• Other variables that may impact the number of eligible individuals in the State.

The estimated amount required to provide services for all eligible individuals in the state in FY 2014 is $ 49,022,169.

DBS anticipates being able to provide the full range of services for all eligible individuals in the state in FY 2014.

For FY 2014, the estimated number of individuals who will receive supported employment services under Part B of Title VI is 409. The projected cost of supported employment services in FY 2014 is $ 524,019.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Vocational Rehabilitation Title I $49,022,169 8,102 $6,050
Supported Employment Title VI $524,019 409 $1,281
Totals   $49,546,188 8,511 $5,821

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 4:45PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.11(c)(1) State Goals and Priorities

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

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

The Division for Blind Services (DBS) and the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) has collaborated to establish goals and priorities to advance the continued provision of high quality vocational rehabilitation services for eligible consumers. Both DBS and the RCT agree that the following priorities are critical to the successful accomplishment of these goals:

• The quality and scope of services must be enhanced through appropriate coordination with other agencies and organizations; and,

• Funding for the program must be maximized by identifying and utilizing available comparable services and benefits.

Information obtained from the following sources was used to establish the DBS goals and priorities:

• Division for Blind Services (DBS) performance on Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators;

• Quarterly RSA-113 reports;

• Quarterly consumer satisfaction reports;

• Input from consumers, advocacy organizations and providers; and,

• Information obtained in the most recent statewide needs assessment.

It is important to note that some targets set for FY 2013 are either at or below the baseline number. In these instances, the baseline achievement is considered satisfactory. Many targets are based on Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Because of the importance of these goals, they remain as goals even when past performance has been satisfactory.

Following are DBS goals and priorities for FY 2013.

Goal 1:

To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired achieving a quality employment outcome.

Measure 1.1: The number of employment outcomes (successful closures) achieved will meet or exceed 1,409. Baseline FY 2011: 1409

Measure 1.2: Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services, a minimum of 68.9% will have achieved an employment outcome. Baseline FY 2011: 70.37%

Measure 1.3: Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome, the average hourly earnings when compared to the State’s average hourly earnings will equal or exceed a ratio of .59. Baseline FY 2011: .607

Measure 1.4: Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome, a minimum of 85% will be employed in competitive employment, self-employment, or managing a business through Business Enterprises of Texas; and earning at least minimum wage. Baseline FY 2011: 88.65%

Goal 2:

To effectively provide VR services for individuals from minority backgrounds who are blind or significantly visually impaired and to ensure they are satisfied with the services provided.

Measure 2.1: Of the total number of consumers: (1) who receive services under an IPE, and (2) who achieve an employment outcome, at least 46% will be from a minority background. Baseline FY 2011: 58.27%

Measure 2.2: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of respondents from minority backgrounds will indicate they were satisfied with their overall experience with DBS. Baseline FY 2011: 98%

Goal 3:

To provide a consumer service delivery system that: (1) enhances available information about service providers, employment options and other choices, and (2) is based on informed consumer choice and designed to enhance the delivery of quality and timely services for VR consumers.

Measure 3.1: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of all respondents will indicate they were satisfied with their overall experience with DBS. Baseline FY 2011: 97.9%

Measure 3.2: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate they were satisfied that services were provided within a reasonable time period. Baseline FY 2011: 97.4%

Measure 3.3: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate they were actively involved in choosing their employment goal and the services received. Baseline FY 2011: 99.2%

Measure 3.4: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate that their counselor listened to and considered their needs and concerns. Baseline FY 2011: 99.4%

Goal 4:

To increase access to and provide effective and quality based supported employment services

Measure 4.1: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services who achieve an employment outcome will equal or exceed 45. Baseline FY 2011: 48

Measure 4.2: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services will equal or exceed 360. Baseline FY 2011: 409

Measure 4.3: Expand consumer employment opportunities by increasing the number of supported employment service providers that can work effectively with consumers who are blind by 10%. Baseline FY 2011: 28 supported employment vendors provided services to DBS consumers.

Measure 4.4: DBS will develop a training process for supported employment providers across the state.

Goal 5:

To provide effective transition services to meet the needs of eligible students.

Measure 5.1: A minimum of 2,200 eligible students will be provided vocational rehabilitation services. Baseline FY 2011: 2109

Measure 5.2: A minimum of 115 transition students will transfer to the adult VR program. Baseline FY 2011: 117

This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2012 12:01PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 2:09PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

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.

With the availability of Federal funds designated for supported employment, the goals and priorities of the DARS/Division for Blind Services (DBS) relate to serving VR consumers with the most significant disabilities. In addition to vision loss, these individuals have multiple disabilities or functional limitations which result in the requirement for extended support services in order to retain community integrated employment.

Goals and priorities for the distribution of the separate supported employment funds include the following:

• Maintain the number of consumers receiving supported employment services within their home communities.

Measure: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services will be maintained at 409.

• Increase the number of consumers receiving supported employment services who achieve employment outcomes.

Measure: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services who achieve employment outcomes will increase to 48.

• Continue expanding the availability of supported employment services statewide through joint collaborative efforts with the Division for Rehabilitation Services in sharing supported employment service providers already contracted with the Division for Rehabilitation Services.

Measure: The number of providers available to provide supported employment services will be increased by 10% statewide during FFY 2014. As of the end of FFY 2012, there were 34 supported employment service providers working with DBS consumers statewide.

Consistent with prior years, Title VI, Part B allotment will be used primarily to purchase supported employment services for individual consumers on a statewide basis. It is anticipated that the 5% administrative allowable on the allotment amount will be used toward partial salary and fringe benefits of the statewide program consultant for supported employment.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 4:48PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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.

Strategies to expand and improve vocational rehabilitation (VR) services

The DARS Division for Blind Services (DBS) developed these innovation and expansion activities to address needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

1. System of Quality Assurance

The Division for Blind Services strives to provide quality vocational rehabilitation services for persons who are blind and significantly visually impaired. To that end, DBS has implemented various methodologies to ensure that consumers receive services effectively and efficiently. These various methodologies would be more effective if they were part of a well-designed system of planning, implementation and oversight, as pointed out in the FY 2009 Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) monitoring report on the vocational rehabilitation program. In that report, RSA recommended that DBS:

• Create a written description of the QA system including, but not limited to, reporting structure, accountability measures, and performance outcomes; and,

• Develop a comprehensive reporting and communication system to report out processes and regular progress throughout the agency.

In response to this recommendation, DBS has developed and implemented a QA system.

Strategy

In February 2013, DBS moved to a new consumer case management system. New databases and tools are being developed, so that staff can continue to effectively utilize and monitor QA tools and measures. In FY 2014, DBS will continue to monitor progress on the implementation of the QA system to ensure that it becomes part of the established custom of how the agency does business.

Measure

DBS will continue monitoring progress throughout FY 2014 to assist staff in incorporating the QA tools and processes developed through the new case management system into their ongoing work performance.

2. Increased Emphasis on Braille Literacy

Goal: To use the Simply Braille Curriculum to improve provision of Braille training to blind Texans. Strategy: Continue to use a Braille Training program for new Vocational Rehabilitation Teachers that incorporates the Simply Braille Curriculum and is delivered by the Braille Program Specialist. In addition, staff that are currently enrolled in braille courses and have not fulfilled requirements according to their Individual Training Program will be offered training through use of the Simply Braille Curriculum with the Braille Program Specialist to fulfill requirements for Braille proficiency. As this curriculum has been used over the last year, it has been identified that the new VR Teachers complete the training program in less than half the time it took to complete the training that was previously required. The VR Teachers were able to start working sooner with consumers and felt more comfortable with the training material as they received training through the same curriculum.

Measure: All new VRTs will the complete Simply Braille curriculum for un-contracted and contracted braille within a 12 month period of beginning the training.

3. Support Service Providers (SSPs) for Deafblind consumers

People who are Deafblind face vision and hearing challenges in all aspects of everyday life. People with dual sensory loss must find ways to communicate, navigate their surroundings, and find social, living and employment situations that fit their individual needs and abilities.

Communication and mobility are the two areas most affected by a loss of sight and hearing. The most pressing need people with dual sensory loss have is for reliable, skilled Support Service Providers (SSPs).

SSP services in Texas are arranged informally, typically on a volunteer basis.

SSPs do not fill the roles of personal care attendants, sign language interpreters, or caregivers, but instead help people who are Deafblind participate more fully in society, and achieve a greater level of independence, by:

• relaying visual and environmental information

• helping with mobility and access to transportation

• facilitating communication

• helping to reduce communication barriers that could otherwise result in

o unemployment

o underemployment

o social isolation

o inability to participate within the community

o institutionalization (when necessary)

The DARS Division of Blind Services (DBS) Deafblind Services Unit offers a variety of services to help consumers who are Deafblind find and/or maintain employment and live as independently as possible. Services include help with establishing communication systems, training on use of adaptive equipment, and employment.

DARS recognizes the need for SSP services, but the Deafblind Services Unit does not currently include SSP services, and there are no other programs that provide SSP services in Texas.

SSPs are not yet universally recognized as a profession. No state or national certifications, licensures or credentials exist for SSPs at this time, though 17 states have one or more SSP programs.

Strategy: DBS has partnered with the University of Arkansas to complete a study to identify how SSP services are being provided across the nation, the need for SSP services in Texas, and resources within the state that could be utilized to support this effort. DBS has provided $ 34,607 to complete the study to gather information needed to support the establishment of SSP services in Texas.

The study has been completed and the results are proving very useful in the exploration of how an SSP program could be implemented in Texas. The results of the study were recently presented at an RSA-sponsored conference for state coordinators of programs for people who are deaf, late-deafened and Deafblind, so that agencies who serve people who are Deafblind in other states can also learn how SSP programs are funded and operated across the United States.

Measure: The final report utilizing feedback from the state coordinators of programs for people who are Deafblind will be shared with agencies and stakeholders with the goal of beginning discussions on how SSP services could be established for Texans who are Deafblind.

 

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 Related to Assistive Technology Services and Devices

Assistive technology services and assistive technology devices are provided for consumers at each stage of the rehabilitation process.

Strategies:

1. The DBS Employment Assistance Services (EAS) unit includes staff with expertise regarding assistive technology services and devices. These staff are proficient in:

a. assessing specific consumer needs,

b. training consumers to use technology devices, and

c. performing job-site evaluations

2. Employment Assistance Specialists are located throughout the state to ensure services are available statewide.

3. DBS contracts with providers around the state who train consumers to use various technologies. Systems have been developed to ensure assistive technology services and devices are provided timely.

4. DBS currently has 25 VR Teachers and 10 Rehabilitation Assistants across the state that are providing basic technology assessments and training on use of the computer and keyboarding. Most of the assessments and training are taking place in the field offices. Each of the VR Teachers have also been issued a net book that they can loan out to consumers who live in rural areas to assist them in practicing their computer skills and in these cases the computer training takes place in the consumer’s homes.

Measure:

DBS staff will provide assistive technology services to 1100 consumers in FY 2014.

 

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.

Outreach Activities to Identify and Serve Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities who are Minorities and who are Unserved or Underserved

According to the Texas Diabetes Institute report from November 2010 Responding to the Epidemic: Strategies for Improving Diabetes Care in Texas: “Type 2 diabetes is preventable, but annual incidence rates continue to grow, and the associated costs of treating diabetes and its complications represent a significant threat to the financial solvency of the Texas public and private health infrastructure. The reach, impact and diabetes-associated costs to the State of Texas, its taxpayers and those suffering from the disease must be addressed… Despite numerous efforts to improve the social and lifestyle factors that often lead to diabetes, the age-adjusted incidence rate for diabetes among Texas adults almost quadrupled between 1995/1997 and 2005/2007, according to a study by the Office of the State Demographer. This translates into approximately 156,000 new cases of diabetes each year. The State Demographer projects a quadrupling of the number of adult Texans with diabetes from approximately 2.2 million in 2010 to almost 8 million by 2040.” (Change rate 259%)

Not only does the diabetes epidemic impact the number of Texans requiring DARS services, but it also impacts the businesses that DARS serves. According to the HHSC Report to the Legislature on the Direct and Indirect Costs of Diabetes in Texas dated December 2012: Diabetes in Texas was responsible for an estimated $18.5 billion in costs during CY2011 (Calendar Year 2011): $12.3 billion in direct medical costs and $6.2 billion in indirect costs. Indirect Costs include work absenteeism, reduced productivity, inability to work, and premature mortality.

Businesses are increasingly concerned with the impact of employee health on their bottom line. Not only are increased healthcare expenditures a concern, but the impact of absenteeism, presenteeism, productivity, and other indirect costs to employers. It is important that DARS staff understand the impact of diabetes on both employers and employees.

Providing diabetes education to the blind has some unique challenges including providing health education materials in a format that the blind can access on their own. Since daily self-care is a vital part of diabetes management, the consumer must be the expert in their diabetes. Having easy access to tools and resources to assist in self-care is important.

There is currently a lack of diabetes education materials available in a media accessible to the blind. Most materials on the market are created as PDFs that are unable to be read by screen reader software. Most diabetes education materials are not available in large print or audio format. While there is emerging technology to read print materials, they are not always portable and portable optical character recognition devices are still in their early stage of development and not always reliable. There continues to be a need to provide quality diabetes education materials and for consumers to be able to easily obtain the pages or resources that are needed to problem solve.

Training individuals who are blind is uncommon among healthcare professionals. Practitioners may be accustomed to treating the clinical issues surrounding the consumer’s diabetes and/or disability, but they often not accustomed to the techniques and adaptive tools available for self-management. People with vision impairment have unique learning needs which should be considered in order for the diabetes education to be most effective. Diabetes Education Providers need sensitivity training along with practical teaching techniques and tools when working with the blind.

In addition, according to the data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau & Texas Workforce Commission, the dominant occupations for Texans who are visually impaired include Nursing Aides, Psychiatric Aides, Home Health Aides, and Personal and Home Care Aides. People with vision impairment could also be successfully employed as Patient Advocates, Elder Care Services Consultants and other health related occupations. Many have had success continuing their careers as Registered Nurses or Medical or Health Services Managers, two careers high in the job listings in Texas and the need continues to grow.

Faculty at health science programs must also know how to train a person with a disability such as blindness to qualify for these healthcare positions as consumers enter their programs

Strategies:

Measures:

1. The Diabetes Program will deliver training on the impact of diabetes on businesses and other current issues on disabilities and the complications of diabetes.

2. The Diabetes Program will address the lack of accessible diabetes education materials by creating new resources in large print and audio formats.

3. The Diabetes Program will develop innovative ways to educate providers of diabetes education on the abilities of consumers who are blind to self-manage their diabetes, the adaptive techniques, equipment and supplies, and the challenges of managing diabetes at work. In addition, the education of providers will include teaching tactics and approaches that are effective when working with individuals who are blind.

Measures:

1. Will provide diabetes education to 100 rehabilitation professionals

2. Will identify accessible diabetes education materials from internal and external sources available in FY2014

3. Will provide training to 30 healthcare professionals in blind services and diabetes and in teaching strategies.

 

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

Strategies Related to Establishing, Developing or Improving Community Rehabilitation Programs

A critical shortage of O&M instructors exists nationwide as well as statewide. Only two university programs in Texas offer a specialized degree in O&M training.

As a result, DBS collaborates with these universities to provide internship programs for O&M students to result in completion of their university programs and allow them to seek national certifications. In addition, DBS staffs are trained to provide basic O&M skills for consumers. Finally, O&M vendors are trained to integrate confidence building and structured discovery learning into their established curricula as a means of ensuring that consumers completing the program are independent and confident.

Strategy: Design and implement training opportunities for O & M vendors to improve established O & M services to blind Texans.

Measures:

1. Train 20 people through the Texas Confidence Builders in O & M vendor training.

2. Host up to 4 O & M internships at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC)

 

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

Strategies Related to Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators

Evaluation Standard 1 – Employment Outcomes

• Indicator 1.1 – The total number of employment outcomes for Fiscal Year 2012 was 1409. This represents a slight increase when compared to the 1,339 employment outcomes achieved in Fiscal Year 2011. DBS plans to maintain approximately the same number of employment outcomes each year, placing more emphasis on maintaining a high level of quality services than on increasing the total number of employment outcomes.

• Indicator 1.2 – Percentage of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving services who achieve an employment outcome. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this indicator above the required level.

• Indicator 1.3 – Percentage who exit the VR program with earnings at least equivalent to the minimum wage. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this primary indicator well above the required level.

• Indicator 1.4 – Of the consumers who exit the VR program with earnings at or above minimum wage, the percentage who have a significant disability. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this primary indicator well above the required level. Indicator 1.5 – The average hourly earnings of all consumers who exit the VR program in employment as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings. DBS exceeded this measure with average hourly earnings of $13.85 at approximately 61% of Texas’ estimated average hourly earnings. In 2014, DBS is planning to implement an initiative that will focus on the provision of short term training for needed technical skills as identified by the local labor market as a way to continue to increase consumer wages.

• Indicator 1.6 –DBS exceeded the required performance for Indicator 1.6, which compares the percentage of consumers who report being self-supporting at application to the percentage who are self-supporting at closure.

Evaluation Standard 2 – Equal Access to Services

• Indicator 2.1 – Service rate for consumers from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority consumers. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this indicator above the required level.

 

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

Strategies Related to the Statewide Workforce Investment System

DBS is involved with the statewide workforce investment system at the state and local levels. DBS works closely with the Texas Workforce Investment Council (the state workforce investment board) and other workforce partners in terms of strategic planning and implementation of the strategic plan. DBS participates on the Council’s Strategic Implementation and Technical Advisory Committee, which focuses on accomplishing activities listed in the strategic plan. DBS reports its performance related to several performance measures on an annual basis.

The workforce system in Texas includes twenty-eight local workforce development boards. DBS has established a relationship with each board to address issues such as:

• referral of consumers from local workforce centers to DBS and from DBS to the centers,

• services each organization provides, and

• cross-training for staff as appropriate.

DBS staff at local levels travels to local workforce centers to meet with consumers. DBS also provides blindness awareness training for staff of the local workforce centers. DBS accesses labor market information provided by workforce centers to improve staff knowledge of employment opportunities which in turn has a positive effect on DBS consumer service provision and employment outcomes. DBS in coordination with the DARS training department utilize the services of the Texas Workforce Commission labor market economists who provide information and direction regarding current and future employment trends to DBS staff to assist in career planning with consumers.

The plan for 2014 is to continue all of the above activities to maintain and continue to develop the relationships within the statewide workforce investment system.

 

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.

Agency Strategies for Achieving Goals and Priorities

The following strategies will be utilized to assist in achieving FY 2014 goals:

1. Clear direction, training and support will be provided to VR staff to assist DBS in effectively serving consumers from all backgrounds and in achieving quality employment outcomes.

2. Outreach will be provided to assist in identifying supported employment service providers who are interested in working with DBS consumers.

3. Support and training will be provided to supported employment service providers to assist them in providing quality services to DBS consumers.

4. A computerized consumer data system will be maintained to enable VR staff to manage and monitor services more effectively.

5. Designated counselors will be available for transition age consumers.

Agency Strategies to support Innovation and Expansion Activities

1. Support and training will be provided to counselors to assist their utilization of the QA tools and direction developed as part of the DBS QA project.

2. Training on the Simply Braille curriculum will be provided to all DBS staff who teach Braille to consumers.

3. Upon completion of the study on Support Service Providers (SSP), DBS will utilize the results to support the establishment of SSP services in Texas.

Agency Strategies to support access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the VR and Supported Employment services programs

1. Training and support will be provided to VR staff regarding the utilization of assistive technology necessary for consumers to achieve employment outcomes.

2. Recruitment and training will be provided to Orientation and Mobility (O&M) vendors through ongoing partnerships with O & M university training programs. The diabetes program will provide training to staff and providers that focuses on the impact of diabetes has on businesses.

Strategies Related to the Statewide Workforce Investment System

DBS is involved with the statewide workforce investment system at the state and local levels. DBS works closely with the Texas Workforce Investment Council (the state workforce investment board) and other workforce partners in terms of strategic planning and implementation of the strategic plan. DBS participates on the Council’s Strategic Implementation and Technical Advisory Committee, which focuses on accomplishing activities listed in the strategic plan. DBS reports its performance related to several performance measures on an annual basis.

The workforce system in Texas includes twenty-eight local workforce development boards. DBS has established a relationship with each board to address issues such as:

• referral of consumers from local workforce centers to DBS and from DBS to the centers,

• services each organization provides, and

• cross-training for staff as appropriate.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) previously expanded the “Disability Navigator” position so that now each of the 28 boards had a Disability Navigator, but due to SSA cutting funding to this grant there are no longer 28 dedicated disability navigator positions. TWC focused on integrating the disability navigator functions and activities into local Workforce Solutions staffing and operations. When the initiative funds ended last October, Workforce Boards chose varied strategies depending on their budget demands and ongoing priorities.

17 of 28 Boards retained their navigator staff from the initiative. Those whose budget would not allow them to retain the staff identified workforce staff to be responsible for assigned navigator responsibilities.

• 3 funded a full-time comprehensive disability navigator position (Dallas, Gulf Coast, East Texas)

• 12 funded a “blended position”, coupling disability navigator functions with other non-related responsibilities i.e., WIA youth; training; monitoring; planning, etc. Many use the “disability navigator” title, but some do not.

• 1 created a new half-time navigator position, supervised by former navigator

• 10 distributed/assigned specific navigator duties to designated Board or Center staff

• 1 relies on their MOU with DARS to address needs, and

• 1 has no plan to continue the disability navigator functions, yet maintains a designated contact in the statewide network.

DBS continues to work with the Disability Navigator staff to provide services effectively and efficiently for consumers. DBS staff at local levels travels to local workforce centers to meet with consumers. DBS also provides blindness awareness training for staff of the local workforce centers.

 

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 6:36PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Reports of Progress

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

The DARS Division for Blind Services (DBS) reports the following progress toward achieving goals and priorities identified for FY 2012.

Goal 1:

To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals who are blind or significantly visually impaired achieving a quality employment outcome.

Measure 1.1: The number of employment outcomes (successful closures) achieved will exceed 1,409.

Performance: DBS assisted 1417 individuals in achieving an employment outcome in FY 2012.

Measure 1.2: Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services, a minimum of 68.9% will have achieved an employment outcome.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure in 2012 with 72.04% of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services achieving an employment outcome.

Measure 1.3: Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome, the average hourly earnings when compared to the State’s average hourly earnings will equal or exceed a ratio of .59.

Performance: DBS achieved a ratio of 0.571. DBS did not meet the performance target for this measure in FY 12 with consumers making an average of $13.67 in hourly earnings.

Measure 1.4: Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome, a minimum of 85% will be employed in competitive employment, self-employment, or managing a business through Business Enterprises of Texas; and earning at least minimum wage.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 87.9% of the individuals who achieved an employment outcome being employed in competitive employment, self-employment, or managing a business through Business Enterprises of Texas.

Goal 2:

To effectively provide VR services for individuals from minority backgrounds who are blind or significantly visually impaired and to ensure they are satisfied with the services provided.

Measure 2.1: Of the total number of consumers: (1) who receive services under an IPE, and (2) who achieve an employment outcome, at least 46% will be from a minority background.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 60.99% of consumers receiving services under an IPE and achieving an employment outcome being from a minority background. The current census data for Texas indicates that 55% of the population is from a minority background.

Measure 2.2: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of respondents from minority backgrounds will indicate they were satisfied with their overall experience with DBS.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 95% of the respondents from a minority background indicating they were satisfied with the services received.

Goal 3:

To provide a consumer service delivery system that: (1) enhances available information about service providers, employment options and other choices, and (2) is based on informed consumer choice and designed to enhance the delivery of quality and timely services for VR consumers.

Measure 3.1: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of all respondents will indicate they were satisfied with their overall experience with DBS.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 92.3% of the consumers surveyed indicating they were satisfied with their overall experience with DBS.

Measure 3.2: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate they were satisfied services were provided on a timely basis.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 98.5% of the consumers surveyed indicating they were satisfied services were provided on a timely basis.

Measure 3.3: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate they were sufficiently involved in planning and choosing work goals and services.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 94.5% of the consumers surveyed indicating they were sufficiently involved in planning and choosing work goals and services.

Measure 3.4: On the consumer satisfaction survey in, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate that their counselor listened to and considered their needs and concerns. .

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure with 93.4% of the consumers surveyed indicating they were treated with courtesy and respect

Goal 4:

To increase access to and provide effective and quality based supported employment services

Measure 4.1: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services who achieve an employment outcome will equal or exceed 48.

Performance: DBS had a total of 37 consumers who achieved an employment outcome after receiving supported employment services in FY 2012. The number of closures varies from year to year for supported employment cases.

Measure 4.2: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services will equal or exceed 360.

Performance: DBS exceeded this measure, with 409 consumers receiving supported employment services in FY 2012.

Measure 4.3: Expand consumer employment opportunities by increasing the number of supported employment service providers that can work effectively with consumers who are blind by 10%.

Performance: DBS exceeded this measure in FY 2012 increasing the number of supported employment providers by 18% which is an increase in our number of providers from 28 to 34.

Goal 5:

To provide effective transition services to meet the needs of eligible students.

Measure 5.1: DBS will provide vocational rehabilitation services for a minimum of 2,200 eligible students.

Performance: DBS exceeded the performance target for this measure providing services to2209 eligible students.

Measure 5.2: A minimum of 115 transition students will transfer to the adult VR program.

Performance: DBS exceeded this goal with 119 transition students transferring to the adult VR program.

 

Goal 4: To increase access to and provide effective and quality based supported employment services

Measure 4.1: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services who achieve an employment outcome will equal or exceed 48.

Performance: DBS had a total of 37 consumers who achieved an employment outcome after receiving supported employment services in FY 2012. The number of closures varies from year to year for supported employment cases.

Measure 4.2: The number of consumers receiving supported employment services will equal or exceed 360.

Performance: DBS exceeded this measure, with 409 consumers receiving supported employment services in FY 2012.

Measure 4.3: Expand consumer employment opportunities by increasing the number of supported employment service providers that can work effectively with consumers who are blind by 10%.

Performance: DBS exceeded this measure in FY 2012 increasing the number of supported employment providers by 18% which is an increase in our number of providers from 28 to 34.

 

Analysis of performance regarding the Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators

Standard 1

DBS exceeded the required performance on five of the six indicators of Standard 1. Standard 1.5 which measures the ratio of average hourly earnings to the State’s average hourly earnings was not met by a narrow margin. Texas’ average hourly earnings as of September 2012 were $23.92 and ratio of .59 is $14.11. DBS average hourly earnings were $13.67.

Standard 2

DBS has routinely exceeded the required performance on Indicator 2.1, which relates to the ratio of minority individuals receiving services when compared to non-minority individuals receiving services.

Strategies Related to Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators

Evaluation Standard 1 – Employment Outcomes

• Indicator 1.1 – The total number of employment outcomes for Fiscal Year 2012 was 1417. This represents a slight increase when compared to the 1,409 employment outcomes achieved in Fiscal Year 2011. DBS plans to maintain approximately this number of employment outcomes each year, placing more emphasis on maintaining a high level of quality services than on increasing the total number of employment outcomes.

• Indicator 1.2 – Percentage of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving services who achieve an employment outcome. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this indicator above the required level.

• Indicator 1.3 – Percentage who exit the VR program with earnings at least equivalent to the minimum wage. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this primary indicator well above the required level.

• Indicator 1.4 – Of the consumers who exit the VR program with earnings equivalent to minimum wage, the percentage who have a significant disability. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this primary indicator well above the required level.

• Indicator 1.5 – The average hourly earnings of all consumers who exit the VR program in employment as a ratio of .59 to the State’s average hourly earnings. DBS did not meet this measure with average hourly earnings of $13.67 at 57% of Texas’ estimated average hourly earnings.

• Indicator 1.6 –DBS exceeded the required performance for Indicator 1.6, which compares the percentage of consumers who report being self-supporting at application to the percentage who are self-supporting at closure.

Evaluation Standard 2 – Equal Access to Services

• Indicator 2.1 – Service rate for consumers from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority consumers. DBS has consistently maintained satisfactory performance for this indicator above the required level.

 

Strategies to expand and improve vocational rehabilitation (VR) services

The DARS Division for Blind Services (DBS) developed these innovation and expansion activities to address needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities.

Strategies to expand and improve vocational rehabilitation (VR) services

1. System of Quality Assurance

The Division for Blind Services strives to provide quality vocational rehabilitation services for persons who are blind and significantly visually impaired. To that end, DBS has implemented various methodologies to ensure that consumers receive services effectively and efficiently. These various methodologies would be more effective if they were part of a well-designed system of planning, implementation and oversight, as pointed out in the FY 2009 Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) monitoring report on the vocational rehabilitation program. In that report, RSA recommended that DBS:

• Create a written description of the QA system including, but not limited to, reporting structure, accountability measures, and performance outcomes; and,

• Develop a comprehensive reporting and communication system to report out process and regular progress throughout the agency.

In response to this recommendation, DBS has developed the following strategy.

Strategy

In FY 2012, DBS will continue to monitor progress on the implementation of the QA system to ensure that it becomes part of the established custom of how the agency does business.

Measure

DBS will continue monitoring progress throughout FY 2012 to assist staff in incorporating QA tools and processes developed into their ongoing work performance. .

Performance: DBS implemented the QA system in September 2011. The VR policy manual was updated to include direction to staff regarding the quality assurance system developed In FY 2012, continued to monitor staff progress in effectively utilizing the QA system developed. Overall staff and managers are using the QA policy and tools developed to keep up with key performance measures related to VR case management. VR funds in the amount of $12,670.79 were spent on Quality Assurance innovation and expansion activities in FY 2012. .

2. Increased Emphasis on Braille Literacy

To promote maximum options for consumers seeking employment, DBS staff will address issues of limited literacy.

Strategy: Design a Braille Training program for new Vocational Rehabilitation Teachers and Independent Living Workers that incorporates the Simply Braille Curriculum and is delivered by the Braille Field Specialist.

Measure: All new Vocational Rehabilitation Teachers and Independent Living Workers hired after September 1, 2011 will participate in this training.

Performance:

In FY 2013, four new VRTs participated in Simply Braille Curriculum training and $3000 was spent on Braille Literacy innovation and expansion activities in FY 2012.

3. Support Service Providers (SSPs) for Deafblind consumers

People who are Deafblind face vision and hearing challenges in all aspects of everyday life. People with dual sensory loss must find ways to communicate, navigate their surroundings, and find social, living and employment situations that fit their individual needs and abilities.

Communication and mobility are the two areas most affected by a loss of sight and hearing. The most pressing need people with dual sensory loss have is for reliable, skilled Support Service Providers (SSPs).

SSP services in Texas are arranged informally, typically on a volunteer basis.

SSPs do not fill the roles of personal care attendants, sign language interpreters, or caregivers, but instead help people who are Deafblind participate more fully in society, and achieve a greater level of independence, by:

• relaying visual and environmental information

• helping with mobility and access to transportation

• facilitating communication

• helping to reduce communication barriers that could otherwise result in

o unemployment

o underemployment

o social isolation

o inability to participate within the community

o institutionalization (when necessary)

The DARS Division of Blind Services (DBS) Deafblind Services Unit offers a variety of services to help consumers who are Deafblind find and/or maintain employment and live as independently as possible. Services include help with establishing communication systems, training on use of adaptive equipment, and employment.

DARS recognizes the need for SSP services, but the Deafblind Services Unit does not currently include SSP services, and there are no other programs that provide SSP services in Texas.

SSPs are not yet universally recognized as a profession. No state or national certifications, licensures or credentials exist for SSPs at this time, though 17 states have one or more SSP programs.

Goal: Gather the information needed to support the establishment of SSP services in Texas.

Strategy: DBS partnered with the University of Arkansas to complete a study to identify how SSP services are being provided across the nation, the need for SSP services in Texas, and how resources within the state could be utilized to support this effort.

Measures: Of the 23 active SSP providers in the United States, 18 contributed information to the study.

Measure 1.1 Identify typical service parameters.

Performance: Achieved - The study identified the following service parameter and compiled the responses: eligibility criteria, total Deafblind persons served annually, SSP service hours allowable weekly, types of service assignments allowed/prohibited, if transportation services are offered and if so, how paid.

Measure 1.2 & 1.3 Identify potential service providers and potential entities to administer the program.

Performance: Achieved - Surveys were sent to 90 organizations in Texas that serve people with disabilities, including people who are deaf, blind and Deafblind. 31 organizations responded with 15 organizations indicating a definite interest in providing SSP services and administering an SSP program.

Measure 1.4 Identify funding sources and strategies.

Performance: Achieved – Useful information about funding sources and strategies was collected, including: funding sources, funding streams, funding cycle, annual budget, and cost projection strategies used formulas and/or dependencies that impact funding, frequency of funding commitment review, use of data in funding decision-making process, and other information.

DBS provided $34,607 of VR funds to complete the study.

Strategies Related to Assistive Technology Services and Devices

Assistive technology services and assistive technology devices are provided for consumers at each stage of the rehabilitation process.

Strategies:

1. The DBS Employment Assistance Services (EAS) unit includes staff with expertise regarding assistive technology services and devices. These staff are proficient in:

a. assessing specific consumer needs,

b. training consumers to use technology devices, and

c. performing job-site evaluations.

2. Employment Assistance Specialists are located throughout the state to ensure services are available statewide.

3. DBS contracts with providers around the state who train consumers to use various technologies. Systems have been developed to ensure assistive technology services and devices are provided timely.

4. DBS currently has 25 VR Teachers and 10 Rehabilitation Assistants across the state that are providing basic technology assessments and training on use of the computer and keyboarding. Most of the assessments and training are taking place in the field offices. Each of the VR Teachers have also been issued a net book that they can loan out to consumers who live in rural areas to assist them in practicing their computer skills and in these cases the computer training takes place in the consumer’s homes.

Measure:

DBS staff will provide assistive technology services to 1100 consumers in FY 2012.

Performance: 1210 consumers were provided with assistive technology services by DBS staff in FY 2012.

No funds were spent on Assistive Technology innovation and expansion activities in FY 2012.

Strategies Related to Establishing, Developing or Improving Community Rehabilitation Programs

A critical shortage of Orientation and mobility (O&M) instructors exists nationwide as well as statewide. Only two university programs in Texas offer a specialized degree in O&M training.

As a result, DBS collaborates with these universities to provide internship programs for O&M students to result in completion of their university programs and allow them to seek national certifications. In addition, DBS staff in the field and at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center is trained to provide basic O&M skills for consumers. Finally, O&M vendors are trained to integrate confidence building and structured discovery learning into their established curricula as a means of ensuring that consumers completing the program are independent and confident.

Strategy: Design and implement training opportunities for O & M vendors provided by the DBS O & M Field Specialist to improve O & M services to blind Texans.

Measures:

1. Train 20 people through the Texas Confidence Builders in O and M vendor training.

Performance: 26 potential vendors were trained through Texas Confidence Builders in 2012.

2. Host four O & M internships at CCRC

Performance: Only two O and M internships were sponsored at CCRC in 2012. The O and M Specialist was out on medical leave and then left the agency the last quarter of the year which affected performance on this measure.

3. Train 10 established vendors in Structured Discovery Cane Travel techniques

Performance: A total of eight established vendors were trained in structured discovery cane travel techniques. The O and M Specialist was out on medical leave and then left the agency the last quarter of the year which affected performance on this measure

A total of $6384.15 was spent on Orientation and Mobility innovation and expansion activities in FY 2012.

Outreach Activities to Identify and Serve Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities who are Minorities and who are Unserved or Underserved

The extent to which individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities participate in VR and other services available in their communities can be very culturally driven. Value systems regarding appropriate roles, expected behaviors, and family relationships influence individual consumer options in those settings. Not being functional in English is a major deterrent for individuals attempting to work and live in this country.

Similar yet unique factors have bearing in other ethnic communities. Concerns about potential loss of benefit programs, particularly health care, are often a hurdle for persons with disabilities who contemplate employment yet face extensive medical costs.

As part of the Health and Human Services Commission, DBS has paid considerable focus on minority populations in border areas and their related service needs. Limited health services and concerns for at-risk youth influence successful rehabilitation. DBS offices are located in key cities and staffed with bilingual individuals. An active outreach program in the “colonias” helps inform residents about vision-related issues and receive needed services.

Statewide, the most significant demographic factor affecting the DBS service population is the continued growth in the Hispanic population. The growth rate is more accelerated among individuals over age 65. Frequency of diabetes poverty levels and limited health insurance all influence successful rehabilitation in this rapidly growing population.

According to the Texas Diabetes Council, an estimated 1.8 million persons aged eighteen years and older in Texas (10.3% of this age group) have been diagnosed with diabetes. Nationwide, 18.3 million persons eighteen years of age and older have been diagnosed with diabetes (9.0% of this age group).

Another estimated 460,040 persons aged eighteen years and older in Texas are believed to have undiagnosed diabetes (based on 1999-2000 NHANES age-adjusted prevalence estimates of 2.5% of persons twenty years of age and older). The total for both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes is more than 2.2 million.

For this reason, a major target population for outreach involves individuals with diabetes. Because of the high frequency rate of diabetes in the Hispanic and Black populations, it is very important that staff have a clear understanding of the relationship between diabetes and blindness. To that end, program specialists conduct one-on-one training with new caseload carrying staff and coordinate statewide training sessions that address best practices and practical implications of diabetes in terms of going to work and living independently. Local workshops provide the opportunity for staff, consumers, and the community for increased awareness of the critical nature of diabetes education and training for self-care, monitoring of blood sugars with adaptive equipment, and diet.

Outreach efforts are facilitated by active participation in the Texas Diabetes Council who sponsors education and screening services in areas with the highest population concentrations at risk for diabetes. DBS staff works closely with the Council to make them aware of appropriate referrals for VR services, and the potential adaptations that may be needed for someone to benefit from educational materials.

Staff in the border areas of Texas routinely participates in public awareness campaigns through Spanish speaking radio stations in major metropolitan areas. Migrant and other non-English speaking individuals are likely to miss information commonly available in the Anglo community. The combination of field staff and the expertise of the diabetes specialist enhance the likelihood of reaching individuals in a way that encourages participation and awareness of the correlation between diabetes and blindness.

Networking with local chapters of the American Association of Diabetes Educators is yet another avenue for outreach. Chapter involvement presents an opportunity for DBS staff to stay current with latest developments, network with individuals who may be potential service providers, and promote appropriate referrals for DBS services.

Strategies:

1. The diabetes program specialist will ensure staffs receive information about current knowledge and trends of diabetes by developing an updated educational program on diabetes and blindness for rehabilitation professionals.

2. The diabetes program specialist will expand relationships and affiliations to increase DBS impact including relationships with the Texas Diabetes Council and Prevent Blindness.

3. The diabetes program will assist consumers with the basic health resources for diabetes self-care that are accessible to those who are blind.

4. The diabetes program will increase the professional competence of diabetes educators in the State of Texas by providing training in blind services with a focus on making diabetes self-care accessible to all.

Measures:

1. Eighty staff will receive diabetes education in FY 2012

Performance: In FY 2012 the diabetes specialist trained 125 staff.

2. Thirty-five diabetes educators will receive training in blind services and diabetes in 2012

Performance: In FY 2012 28potential vendors were trained. Finding qualified diabetes educators in Del Rio, Beaumont and other rural areas of Texas continues to be an issue.

3. Will monitor amount spent on delivery of diabetes education to DBS consumers

4. Will monitor amount spent on adaptive equipment and supplies for diabetes self-care

Performance: In FY 2012 $511,320.98 were spent on diabetes education, equipment and supplies for DBS consumers.

The total amount spent on diabetes innovation and expansion activities in 2012 was $16,088.26.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 5:13PM by Mel Fajkus

Attachment 6.3 Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services

  • 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

The Division for Blind Services (DBS) is committed to the provision of quality services for persons with the most significant disabilities. DBS has developed collaborative programs with appropriate public and private non-profit organizations, employers and other appropriate resources for training, employment and other time-limited services leading to Supported Employment.

Supported Employment provides competitive employment in the community for consumers with the most significant disabilities who need individualized assistance finding the most appropriate job matches, and will most likely require ongoing accommodations and support within their work environments. DBS consumers who benefit from supported employment services are those for whom traditional vocational rehabilitation (VR) approaches and training programs have not been effective. Although consumers can work competitively, they need assistance to compete in the open market, be represented to potential employers and receive ongoing supports to maintain jobs.

Supported employment services provided for DBS consumers finds the best possible match between consumer skills, interests, abilities and support needs and employers’ unmet needs. Employment specialists either put supports in place or arrange for supports to be in place to accommodate consumers. DBS uses the “place then train" concept to describe supported employment, which is a two-part process:

• First, place individuals with significant disabilities in competitive jobs; and

• Second, provide training and support directly related to the job.

Consumers determined by a DBS counselor to be eligible for supported employment services are those:

• who have a significant disability;

• who require considerable assistance competing in the open job market;

• who have not benefited from traditional vocational rehabilitation services;

• for whom competitive employment has not occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability;

• who have had difficulty finding the appropriate job match;

• for whom supported employment has been identified as the appropriate employment outcome by the consumer and the counselor; and

• for whom another individual, organization, or other resource agrees to provide extended services after DBS-funded services cease.

DBS has identified specific employment outcomes (benchmarks) for which payments are made to providers during the supported employment process.

Extended services are ongoing support services are identified ensure job stability for the duration of the consumer’s employment. Extended services are provided and/or funded by sources other than DBS which might include the employer and involve either on-site or off-site monitoring, as requested by consumers.

Extended services begin at job stability, continue beyond service closure, and are provided as long as the consumer needs them. These services may include (but are not limited to):

• consultation with the employer for problem areas or training needs (including direct skills training, if necessary);

• facilitation of natural supports on and off the worksite; and

• other services the consumer requires to maintain employment.

Title VI, Part B and/or 110 funding is available to all VR counselors to serve Texans with the most significant disabilities thus integrating supported employment into the VR service delivery system. DBS continues providing supported employment training for field staff, in addition to administrative and program specialist support available ongoing.

To ensure quality of supported employment provider services, DBS adopted standards and qualification criteria all Supported Employment providers must meet. Only providers who meet the standards and qualifications are approved to provide Supported Employment services. DBS and the Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) collaborated on an ARRA-funded project to develop a Supported Employment training curriculum for current and potential providers. This online training and certification is being provided by the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment program.

Beginning January 2, 2007, DBS in collaboration with the Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) implemented an Outcome Based Supported Employment process which included standardizing required forms and documentation and expectations for quality performance. Training in the new payment structure and best practices in outcome based supported employment were conducted statewide to DBS/DRS field staff and providers of Supported Employment services Every new DBS counselor receives two days of training on the supported employment process.

A key component of the Outcome Based System for Supported Employment is the emphasis on making use of the naturally occurring work supports and building those into extended services for consumers. The payment structure creates financial incentives for Supported Employment providers to assist employers to train and supervise supported employees rather than supplanting with direct training provided by outside job skills trainers. Additionally, the documentation requirements for job maintenance, job stability and service closure outcomes require the Supported Employment providers to identify strategies for using naturally occurring work or social supports for extended services and ongoing supports.

VR counselors monitor Supported Employment cases closely prior to closure. Specific criteria ensure quality of VR outcomes. A case is closed when the consumer:

• has been provided substantial services that have had a discernible impact on the consumer ’s employment outcome;

• has achieved the employment outcome consistent with the consumer’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice;

• is employed at closure;

• along with family member(s) if applicable and the counselor consider the employment outcome to be satisfactory, are satisfied with supports, and agree that the consumer is performing well on the job;

• substantially met the goal for hours of employment listed on the Individualized Plan for Employment;

• has maintained suitable supported employment for a transition period of at least 60 days; and

• has maintained the employment outcome for a total of at least 90 days.

At case closure, or at the conclusion of any time limited post-employment services, the services paid for by the Title VI, Part B and/or 110 funds are terminated.

This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2013 5:16PM by Mel Fajkus

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:06/27/2013 6:41 PM

Last updated by:satxbfajkusm

Completed on: 06/28/2013 11:24 AM

Completed by: satxbfajkusm

Approved on: 08/20/2013 3:08 PM

Approved by: rsaweste