View VR State Plan
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.
(b) Notice requirements.
(c) Special consultation requirements.
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:
- comprehensive system of personnel development;
- assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
- innovation and expansion activities; and
- other updates of information required under Title I, Part B, or Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act that are requested by the commissioner.
(d) The State Plan and its supplement are in effect subject to the submission of modifications the state determines to be necessary or the commissioner requires based on a change in state policy, a change in federal law, including regulations, an interpretation of the Rehabilitation Act by a federal court or the highest court of the state, or a finding by the commissioner of state noncompliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361 or 34 CFR 363.
3.2 Supported Employment State Plan supplement. (Sections 101(a)(22) and 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.34 and 363.10)
(a) The state has an acceptable plan for carrying out Part B, of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act that provides for the use of funds under that part to supplement funds made available under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the cost of services leading to supported employment.
(b) The Supported Employment State Plan, including any needed annual revisions, is submitted as a supplement to the State Plan.
4.1 Designated state agency and designated state unit. (Section 101(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.13(a) and (b))
(a) Designated state agency.
- 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.
- 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 B was not selected/Option A was selected)
- In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.
(b) Designated state unit.
- 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:
- 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;
- has a full-time director;
- has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
- 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.
- The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
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)
(a) The designated state agency is an independent state commission. (Option A was not selected/Option B was selected)
(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 and the designated state unit.
- jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council develops, agrees to and reviews annually state goals and priorities and jointly submits to the commissioner annual reports of progress in accordance with the provisions of Section 101(a)(15) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.29 and subsection 4.11 of this State Plan;
- regularly consults with the State Rehabilitation Council regarding the development, implementation and revision of state policies and procedures of general applicability pertaining to the provision of vocational rehabilitation services;
- includes in the State Plan and in any revision to the State Plan a summary of input provided by the State Rehabilitation Council, including recommendations from the annual report of the council described in Section 105(c)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(5), the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction described in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4), and other reports prepared by the council and the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations, including explanations for rejecting any input or recommendation; and
- transmits to the council:
- all plans, reports and other information required under 34 CFR 361 to be submitted to the commissioner;
- all policies and information on all practices and procedures of general applicability provided to or used by rehabilitation personnel in carrying out this State Plan and its supplement; and
- copies of due process hearing decisions issued under 34 CFR 361.57, which are transmitted in such a manner as to ensure that the identity of the participants in the hearings is kept confidential.
(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.
4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)
(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)
4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)
(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)
(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))
(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:
- 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;
- 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
- 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:
- identification of the types of services to be provided;
- written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;
- written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and
- 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.
(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.
- 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;
- 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;
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- The State Plan description must:
- 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
- include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:
- 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;
- 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;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and
- 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.
(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.
- 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
- 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:
- strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;
- 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
- 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.
(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.
4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)
(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.
- Qualified personnel needs.
- 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;
- The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and
- 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.
- Personnel development.
- A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;
- The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and
- The number of students who graduated during the prior year from each of those institutions with certification or licensure, or with the credentials for certification or licensure, broken down by the personnel category for which they have received, or have the credentials to receive, certification or licensure.
(b) Plan for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel.
(c) Personnel standards.
- 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.
- 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.
- The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:
- specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;
- the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.
(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.
- 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:
- the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services 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 carried out under this State Plan; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.
- The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
- 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.
- number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:
- 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;
- 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;
- as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;
- 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
- strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:
- 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);
- support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and
- 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.
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(e)(2):
- 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;
- identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;
- describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;
- assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- 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:
- 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
- support of the funding for the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 105(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(i), and the funding of the Statewide Independent Living Council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 705(e)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364.21(i).
(b) Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the reserved funds identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) will be utilized.
(c) Attachment 4.11(e)(2) describes how the reserved funds were utilized in the preceding year.
4.13 Reports. (Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.40)
(a) The designated state unit submits reports in the form and level of detail and at the time required by the commissioner regarding applicants for and eligible individuals receiving services under the State Plan.
(b) Information submitted in the reports provides a complete count, unless sampling techniques are used, of the applicants and eligible individuals in a manner that permits the greatest possible cross-classification of data and protects the confidentiality of the identity of each individual.
5.1 Information and referral services. (Sections 101(a)(5)(D) and (20) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.37)
5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))
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:
- 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.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order of selection; and
- 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.
- 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:
- assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
- 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;
- 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;
- job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;
- rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and
- 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:
- progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;
- an immediate job placement; or
- 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)
5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)
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:
- 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
- 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))
(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.
(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.
Section 6: Program Administration
6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))
6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))
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))
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)
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))
6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))
6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)
7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))
7.2 Use of funds in providing services. (Sections 623 and 625(b)(6)(A) and (D) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.6(c)(2)(iv), .11(g)(1) and (4))
(a) Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act are used by the designated state agency only to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive such services.
(b) Funds provided under Title VI, Part B, are used only to supplement and not supplant the funds provided under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act, in providing supported employment services specified in the individualized plan for employment.
(c) Funds provided under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act are not used to provide extended services to individuals who are eligible under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.
8.1 Scope of supported employment services. (Sections 7(36) and 625(b)(6)(F) and (G) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54), 363.11(g)(6) and (7))
(a) Supported employment services are those services as defined in Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54).
(b) To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site.
(c) Supported employment services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
8.2 Comprehensive assessments of individuals with significant disabilities. (Sections 7(2)(B) and 625(b)(6)(B); 34 CFR 361.5(b)(6)(ii) and 363.11(g)(2))
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:
- specifies the supported employment services to be provided;
- describes the expected extended services needed; and
- 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.
The Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) is comprised of representatives from many backgrounds including business, industry and labor; the Client Assistance Program; the Statewide Independent Living Council; service providers; VR counselors; the Workforce Investment Board; the Texas Education Agency; and consumers and consumer advocates from all over the state of Texas.
Prior to making recommendations, the RCT obtained information through the following sources:
· Designated state unit’s performance on Evaluation and Standards and Performance Indicators;
· Quarterly RSA-113 Reports;
· Quarterly consumer satisfaction reports;
· Input received from consumers, advocacy organizations and providers;
· Information obtained in the most recent statewide needs assessment;
· Quarterly updates provided by the director of the designated state agency; and
· Program updates provided by designated state unit staff.
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) takes into account the views of the RCT in connection with matters of general policy arising in the administration of the State Plan.
The RCT presented this summary of recommendations for inclusion in the State Plan for General VR Services, Fiscal Year 2012. The RCT assumes and supports informed consumer choice in all of its recommendations.
DRS General Comments: DRS is committed to maintaining an effective working relationship with the RCT. Both the RCT and DRS have realized that we have not made the most effective use of the RCT’s interest and commitment to the DRS programs in the past. In subsequent months, DRS plans to work with the RCT leadership to rethink the RCT/DRS committee structure and purpose to connect RCT members to “real time” activities. This will help to more effectively align RCT interest and capabilities to provide input and support to DRS. This will also help DRS to be clearer on the efforts of the RCT for collaboration.
Recommendation 1: A trial work experience is recommended in the Rehab Act in section 361.42 as a means of determining potential for employment before closing a person from the VR program as ineligible due to the severity of a disability. The RCT recommends that DRS establish a more effective system to develop trial work experiences for consumers who might benefit from this approach. The RCT will offer to work with DRS toward this goal.
DRS Response: DRS agrees and would welcome the opportunity to work with the RCT in this area.
Recommendation 2: The rehabilitation council recommends that DRS involve the RCT in the development of counselor training as they have with Consumer Satisfaction Surveys and the CRP report card. The council would like the opportunity to provide ongoing feedback to the Center for Learning Management and program’s management staff regarding training topics and methodologies.
DRS Response: DRS welcomes the RCT participation. While this will not take place through a committee or workgroup as occurred with the Consumer Satisfaction Survey, RCT members with interest in this area will have the opportunity to become part of ongoing discussion and planning in this area as noted in the general comments.
Recommendation 3: The Council commends DRS’s prompt attention to the issue of unsuccessful closures. The RCT recommends that DRS continue to reduce and monitor unsuccessful closures.
DRS Response: Agreed.
Recommendation 4: The rehabilitation council recommends that DRS initiate a mentor network for VR consumers, who need peer support and encouragement toward attaining independence and employment goals. To facilitate this approach, a database of successful consumers could be developed and updated for DRS counselor and consumer use.
DRS Response: DRS has explored this option in the past and does not find this to be a practical use of time and resources. The multitude of disabilities, coupled with the appropriate disengagement from VR of consumers who have become employed makes it very difficult to foster any mentoring relationship. As an alternative, DRS did explore involving consumers in disability specific support groups for mentoring (i.e., MS Society, Epilepsy Association) but found that many of these support groups focused less on employment and more on benefits. Where DRS does have a relationship with a larger business, which has hired multiple consumers, DRS does work with that employer to help cultivate mentors who have disabilities to work with new employees with disabilities. DRS is also exploring relationships with community based services such as Clubhouse models and certified Peer Support Specialists for the referral of consumers who can use these services.
Recommendation 5: The RCT recommends that regional meetings be conducted between the DRS and DBS independent living programs and area independent living centers to promote understanding and collaboration. These meetings could be structured similar to those conducted through the CHIRP project.
DRS Response: DRS agrees with the idea of such meetings. We assume the term “regional” refers to geographic areas covered by a center and not a DRS or DBS designated region.
Recommendation 6: The rehabilitation council recommends that DARS accelerates the development of partnerships with programs at community colleges, which promote skills building for specific employers and leads to subsequent placement for students.
DRS Response: DRS is willing to discuss these further with the RCT after reviewing current information regarding current usage of community colleges and projected gaps.
Recommendation 7: The RCT recommends that the method in which DRS presents the concept of job coaching in counselor training be reviewed and that the scope of this service be expanded to consumers who don’t fit the traditional profile for supported employment, but who need additional supports on the job. An example might be consumers with attention deficit disorder and accompanying learning disabilities.
DRS Response: DRS would need to work with the RCT to explore this further. DRS is willing to look for evidence based examples of the effectiveness of job coaching for individuals with these challenges. It is not clear at this point whether job coaching would be a viable or effective support, since the supports needed usually fall under the scope of minor reasonable accommodations to the work environment and/or information to build natural supports. DRS has hired a Board Certified Behavior Analyst to work with business, community rehabilitation partners and staff to provide behavioral intervention for consumers with challenging behaviors.
Recommendation 8: The rehabilitation council recommends that DRS specifically cultivate business relations with companies and other entities that have employment opportunities in jobs that are in high demand. Additionally, the RCT recommends DRS discuss employment opportunities with employers for professional positions for consumers with college degrees.
DRS Response: DRS bases its business relations strategy both on the demand side and the supply side. DRS works with local business organizations to identify high demand occupations and markets to some of these companies. However, this must be balanced with strategic marketing and outreach to businesses that have a demand that MATCHES the career and work goals of DRS consumers. DRS plans to continue with this strategy. DRS agrees with the goal to increase the employment opportunities for professional positions. The focus on working with a business account is to meet their most immediate needs. However, once DRS has been successful in establishing credibility in meeting immediate needs of the business, we have been successful introducing the option of hiring DRS consumers who have degrees into professional positions. DRS plans to continue with this strategy.
Recommendation 9: The consumer satisfaction surveys have indicated lower levels of satisfaction among consumers with mental health disorders, traumatic brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries. The rehabilitation council recommends DRS provide additional training in these disability areas in an effort to increase the ability of counselors to work with individuals from these disability groups.
DRS Response: DRS agrees. Region 5 recently held a physical disability conference, providing information from professionals in brain injury and spinal injury. DRS will continue to develop training in these areas. The Regional Program Specialist for Behavioral Health will be doing a series of trainings on Motivational Interviewing and strategies working with consumers with Mental Health disorders. Additionally, we believe there are a myriad of factors that may affect satisfaction of consumers that are beyond the counselor level intervention, not the least of which is community resources and available systems from which to access a variety of services. DRS is preparing to partner with an Austin based Psychosocial Clubhouse program to create transitional employment opportunities for consumers with Mental Heath disorders. We are hopeful that broadening service opportunities and relationships statewide will enhance the rehabilitation experience of consumers.
Recommendation 10: The RCT acknowledges the progress made by DRS in presenting supported self employment as a career option and recommends expansion of this approach.
DRS Response: DRS agrees that work in expanding the options and alternatives for a variety of employment outcomes is important and we are committed to creating partnerships where beneficial to all concerned to continue these achievements.
Recommendation 11: The RCT proposes that DRS and DBS encourage a dual approach to service delivery when doing so would be of maximum benefit to a consumer with multiple disabilities in reaching a vocational goal.
DRS Response: DRS agrees and continues to work with DBS to establish effective solutions on a case by case basis.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:26PM by Jim Hanophy
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) enters into appropriate cooperative arrangements with, and utilizes the services and facilities of, various federal, state, and local agencies and programs. DRS coordinates with other agencies and programs to ensure people with disabilities receive appropriate services. These agencies and programs include: • Texas Health and Human Services Commission for the purpose of creating administrative efficiencies and better services to consumers of health and human services statewide. Initiatives include co-location of offices across the HHS enterprise for improved access by consumers and to reduce administrative costs; • Texas Education Agency and Education Service Centers for the purpose of coordinating services to transition age students with disabilities; • Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers’ Compensation for the purpose of enhanced referrals for return-to-work efforts; • Social Security Administration for the purpose of collaboration on employment incentives and supports and the maximization of SSA/VR reimbursement activity through the Ticket to Work; • Department of Veterans Affairs to save case service funds through better access to comparable benefits. A Memorandum of Agreement provides for concurrent employment plans to enhance case management while avoiding duplication of services; • Texas Workforce Commission for the purpose of facilitating for Texas businesses the electronic verification that job applicants for the Work Opportunities Tax Credit program are receiving or have received vocational rehabilitation services under an individualized plan for employment; • Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) for the purpose of reducing duplication and fragmentation of employment services provided to the shared client population of Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and DADS; • Other federal, state, and local public agencies providing services related to the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. For example, to provide services to eligible consumers, DRS participates in Community Resource Coordination Groups (known as 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; • Other private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit entities: corporations; partnerships; and sole proprietorships for the purpose of providing a number of rehabilitation services purchased only from entities that have been approved as Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs). Contracts with these providers reference the DRS Standards for Providers and specify the terms and conditions of the relationship, including approved services, expected outcomes, fees, staff qualifications, and required documentation; and • Texas AgriLife Extension Services and the Texas AgrAbility work in partnership with DARS/DRS to assist consumers with modifications of agricultural equipment and tools to allow agricultural producers to continue with farming and ranching in spite of disabilities. The system of health and human services changed significantly due to the passage of House Bill 2292 during the 78th Texas legislative session. This bill consolidated all health and human service activities into: • Health and Human Service Commission (HHSC) • Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) • Department of State Health Services (DSHS) • Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) • Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) DRS cooperates with the HHSC, DADS, DSHS, and other DARS divisions on projects and workgroups such as the Promoting Independence Advisory Council which works to coordinate efforts across agencies to help persons with disabilities move from institutions into the community. DRS remains an active participant in the implementation of HB 2292 and will work with other HHS agencies and programs to improve administrative efficiencies and the provision of services to people with disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:26PM by Jim Hanophy
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) works closely with the education system through the DRS VR Program. DRS has established an Interagency Letter of Agreement with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for coordination of transition planning services for students receiving special education services in Texas. The agreement represents each agency’s continued commitment to collaborate and cooperatively facilitate the successful transition of students with disabilities through outreach, consultation, coordination and the provision of transition services. The letter of agreement also outlines the responsibility of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) for the provision of transition planning services as required by the Rehabilitation Act as well as the financial responsibility of TEA for the provision of services as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Fiscal responsibility for services and accommodations outlined in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) rests with the local education agency. DRS may purchase services for high school students with disabilities to help develop work skills. This is done so that students have an opportunity to gain the skills needed for success in making the transition to post-secondary education, training or employment.
DRS recognizes the importance of providing timely transition planning services for students with disabilities as they prepare to exit the high school setting. Agency staff work closely with local high schools to ensure all youth with disabilities are referred to DRS. To improve service delivery and maintain student retention rate, DRS will define measurable parameters for retention as well as set clear, realistic goals and expectations to enhance accountability. (DRS Business Plan Activity 9.2)
DRS remains committed to the continued maintenance of a collaborative working relationship with public education in Texas. DRS works in conjunction with TEA’s Special Education Division, Texas School for the Deaf, Education Service Centers, Independent School Districts and high schools to provide a wide variety of VR services. These services help strengthen the connections between school, student, parents and community to promote a smooth transition to adult life.
In addition to working with consumers and parents on their Special Education rights and responsibilities, DRS provides educational support by working with the education team to contribute as needed to the IPE. The goals developed in the IEP are included as necessary in the DRS Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to facilitate the successful completion of the goals developed in the IEP. Agency staff offer current vocational information to assist students in identifying a potential career pursuit.
DRS will continue to provide technical assistance and consultation services to education officials and provide timely and appropriate transition planning services to eligible students. All 588 VR counselors located throughout the state take part in preparing students with disabilities for entry into the world of work. VR counselors:
· Utilize individual school plans to: develop consistent schedules for time spent in schools, arrange specific meeting times with students for planning, counseling and guidance, connect with school contacts and referral sources, and coordinate time for connecting students to community resources;
· Actively seek and identify all students (freshman-seniors) with disabilities enrolled in regular and special education, including those students with physical disabilities not traditionally in special education;
· Provide transition planning services to students with disabilities and their families with a goal of accepting applications on transition students beginning their freshman year;
· Complete the federally established IPE prior to the eligible student leaving high school;
· Coordinate transition planning activities with the IEP using developmentally appropriate DRS Transition plans;
· Provide appropriate vocational assessments that focus on career interests, aptitudes and preferences that are consistent with the individual’s abilities;
· Assess the developmental stages of youth to assist in the development of age appropriate services that enhance vocational skill building;
· Link students with no impediment to employment (ineligible) to the Texas Workforce Commission or other appropriate community resources;
· Provide age appropriate activities that enable transition students, parents, education personnel, and others to actively plan for and assist the transition student to prepare for life after leaving high school; and
· Through the use of community forums and support groups, form collaborative relationships with others working to promote transition from school to work in the community.
Among its state-wide network of 588 counselors, DRS has designated 100 VR positions focused on schools and appropriate referrals of students with disabilities. These counselors are called Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (TVRCs). DRS has a unique procedure in place for the outreach and identification of transition age youth with disabilities who need VR services. TVRCs are connected with the schools to identify and work directly with students with disabilities. TVRCs have a significant amount of contact with students and families before application as well as maintain variable work schedules for access to parents, community resources and schools. TVRCs access schools to develop individual school plans in an effort to help identify service gaps between the schools and DRS. Unique to Texas, this system helps to close gaps and aid in outreach efforts to students being referred for services.
TVRCs develop partnerships with schools and communities to help students with disabilities make a smooth transition to adulthood and work. Additionally, TVRCs’ flexible work schedules allow them to:
· Work with students (freshman-seniors) with disabilities on an ongoing basis and be available to participate as needed in Admission, Review and Dismissal, in school activities, parent meetings, community forums, summer skill building activities, job clubs and flex schedules;
· Be assigned to schools to work with the students determined eligible for DRS services and assist schools make appropriate referrals for students not determined eligible; and
· Be available through use of flex schedules to work with families and students as needed.
DRS is examining the roles and expectations of TVRCs to determine what is appropriate and relevant for all VRCs. This activity is expected to assist DRS develop valuable tools and resources for all VRCS to use that will improve service delivery and VR outcomes. (DRS Business Plan Activity 9.3)
Additionally, DRS makes available in each of its five regions a Regional Transition Specialist to work with VR counselors to assist in the development of greater interagency cooperation between DRS, local school districts, and other community organizations as resources for students with disabilities.
Regional Transition Specialists work with all VR staff to assist in the development of local Community Support Groups. This partnership helps students and families understand what students need to know to transition effectively into the community.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:26PM by Jim Hanophy
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has identified a number of services that are purchased only from entities that have been approved as being in compliance with the DRS Standards for Providers. These services are provided in the most integrated settings possible and consistent with the informed choices of the individual. Services include: Vocational Evaluation and Assessment; Personal Social Adjustment Training; Work Adjustment Training; Room, Board and Supervised Living; Supported Employment Services; Vocational Adjustment Training; Job Placement; Job Coaching; Vehicle Modification; Durable Medical Goods; and Post Acute Brain Injury Services. Approved Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) include private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit entities; they may be sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations; they may be facility based or non-facility based.
DRS has entered into contractual relationships with many of its providers of rehabilitation services, including all CRPs. Contracts with these providers reference the DRS Standards for Providers and specify the terms and conditions of the relationship, including approved services, expected outcomes, fees, staff qualifications, and required documentation. In an effort to expand opportunities and efficiently recruit additional providers, DRS posts notification of contracting opportunities on the Texas Marketplace.
The DRS Standards are made available to providers and to DRS staff. Along with the Rehabilitation Policy Manual (RPM),the DRS Standards contain information and policies for VRCs and consumers regarding the availability of and the appropriate utilization of CRPs and other providers that offer approved services. Information on all providers, including CRPs, is available in the electronic case management system, ReHabWorks, making this information immediately available to VRCs and consumers as they choose services and service providers.
A CRP Specialist in each of the five DRS regions is responsible for identification and development of providers who are interested in providing CRP services. The regional CRP specialist provides technical assistance and guidance as new providers are approved and as existing providers add new services. On-site monitoring of each approved CRP service is performed regularly by assigned Liaison Counselors and on a risk assessment basis by Central Office staff. Monitoring visits may also include considerable technical assistance and recommendations for refinement and improvement of the services reviewed. In 2011 DRS implemented CRP/DRS Staff Training regarding supported self employment services and new credentialing requirements for service provider staff.
DRS is developing a “CRP Report Card” which will be made available to consumers as they exercise informed choice of providers. The report card will include such information as types of services offered, success rates and consumer satisfaction information. (DRS Business Plan Activity 6.6)
DRS will continue to evaluate CRP roles by determining and evaluating the need to change or modify CRP services based on the emerging needs of consumers and businesses. For example, through the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, DRS has established cost reimbursement contracts with several CRPs to create partnerships with businesses and provide training and job placement within those businesses, with the expectation that these will result in fee for service contracts once ARRA funded contracts are completed. (DRS Business Plan Activity 6.1).
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:26PM by Jim Hanophy
The timing of services leading to Supported Employment is important to successful outcomes for Texans with disabilities. When developing the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), the counselor must list the VR services leading to Supported Employment, specify the expected extended services needed after VR services are successfully completed, and include the name of the public or private provider of the extended services or a statement explaining that there is a reasonable expectation that extended services will become available before transition to extended services. 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.
A key component of the Outcome Based Payment System for Supported Employment is the emphasis on making use of the naturally occurring work supports and building those into extended services for the consumer. This payment structure creates financial incentives for the Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) provider to assist the employer with training and supervision of the supported employee rather than supplanting with direct training provided by outside job skill trainers. Additionally, the documentation requirements for the benchmarks at Supported Employment Support Plan-Part 1, Supported Employment Support Plan-Part 2, four weeks, eight weeks, stability, and service closure require the CRP to identify strategies for using the naturally occurring work or social supports for extended and ongoing supports.
Due to the multitude of resources (human and fiscal) typically required for successful employment of consumers needing supported employment services, the DARS Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has learned that collaboration with all available entities is essential. Efforts to develop collaboration with respect to Supported Employment services are on-going. DRS collaborates with community organizations providing direct services and with other state agencies funding supported employment components for various disability populations.
Potential funding sources include Medicaid waivers, Social Security work incentives, the state mental health division, Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the state intellectual and developmental disabilities, Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and a variety of local community level sponsorships.
Currently, DRS has a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DADS, the state agency operating authority for state Medicaid waivers. DRS is also committed to the continuation of extended supports with the state mental health entity, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). DRS Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) routinely provide technical assistance to DADS and DSHS as both agencies implement changes to their employment services. This creates opportunities for joint responsibilities and effective use of resources. These improvements are expected to enhance the employment success of shared consumers. DRS SMEs also actively participate in the State Employment Leadership Network, which is also working to clarify the definitions related to employment services offered through Medicaid Waivers.
DRS is committed to developing partnerships with Social Security Employment Network Providers to improve the extended services and long term supports provided to supported employment and job placement consumers served by DRS. (DRS Business Plan Activity 6.3)
In addition to collaborating with DSHS and DADS, DRS continues to collaborate with community organizations directly providing services to consumers and also with other state agencies which fund the various components of supported employment for various disability populations. This helps identify and establish the continuum of supports needed from the services leading to supported employment to the extended services. Development of these “learning communities” should enhance DRS’ partnerships with these organizations to ensure coordination of services and long term supports after DRS closes a supported employment case. (DRS Business Plan Activity 6.4)
For students with significant disabilities for whom employment is seen as the best outcome, DRS has partnered with independent school systems to jointly fund the DRS Supported Employment Outcome Based Services leading to a successful competitive placement. An MOU between DRS and the participating school districts is in place. This arrangement will enable students with significant disabilities to leave school employed or leave school connected with DRS and a CRP.
DRS and the Division for Blind Services (DBS) are collaborating on a project to develop a competency and Supported Employment web-based training for new and existing providers. This training will ensure all providers of supported employment services can demonstrate entry level competency as it relates to the provision of services to DRS and DBS consumers. Training will also be made available to other state agencies, staff and providers as appropriate.
DRS conducts trainings across the state of Texas regarding the Outcome Based Payment System. These trainings are targeted to DRS staff working with Supported Employment consumers. Trainings focus on:
· Payment structure;
· Best practices regarding outcome based supported employment;
· Counselors’ and providers’ roles in successful supported employment;
· Monitoring for quality services;
· Internal processes for purchasing supported employment; and
· Use of natural supports and community resources for extended service upon the completion of the DRS funded Supported Employment program.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:26PM by Jim Hanophy
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS), Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) is committed to maintaining Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) standards as set forth in section 101 (a) of the Act and 34 CFR 361.18. Toward this goal, DRS has established procedures and supporting activities to ensure the administration of a comprehensive system of personnel development designed to provide an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation personnel including professionals and paraprofessionals. DRS has a State Rehabilitation Council to assist both DRS and the Division for Blind Services (DBS) in addressing issues related to personnel development. The CSPD Committee meets quarterly, and the Council contributes to development and maintenance of policies and procedures to support these efforts.
DRS has developed and maintains an electronic database that communicates with relevant fields from the Health and Human Services Human Resources databases. Academic achievement is gathered from official transcripts submitted as part of the personnel hiring process. Transcripts are reviewed to determine whether the indicated degree meets the agency standard for Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (QVRC). In addition, systems are in place with DARS’ internal Program Reporting and Analysis department to confirm specific information necessary for frequent analysis of positions and projection of need.
As of September 30, 2010, DRS had the following Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to meet the needs of agency consumers: 487 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs), 101 Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (TVRCs), and 371 Rehabilitation Services Technicians (RSTs).
Based on this complement of VRC/TVRC FTEs and the 2010 Texas population of 25,145,561, DRS had a ratio of one VRC/TVRC to 42,765 people at the beginning of FY2011. As a result of the population growth and increased demand for Vocational Rehabilitation services, additional counselors are needed to serve eligible consumers with significant and most significant disabilities.
Projected needs for the next five years are based on the number of counselors needed (1) to maintain an optimum caseload size in relation to Texas population growth and (2) to continue to focus on serving consumers with significant disabilities that require multiple, comprehensive and complex services over an extended period of time. Using this methodology, we project the need for additional FTEs to support the rehabilitation program during the next five years as follows: 75 additional VR/TVRC FTEs needed between 2012 and 2017 and 48 additional RST FTEs needed between 2012 and 2017.
|Row||Job Title||Total positions||Current vacancies||Projected vacancies over the next 5 years|
DARS conducted a Work Measurement Study of DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors’ time beginning in FY2011 and ending in early FY2012. A Work Measurement Study is an intensive analysis of staff time that assists agencies in determining how much time is spent on various services and tasks. Participating counselors were prompted at random (by a device that looks like a pager/beeper) to record the service and task in which they were engaged at the time the prompt occurred. Each counselor participated during a randomly selected period of approximately 2 to 2½ weeks duration during the course of the study period. - The data generated by the study will be analyzed early in FY2012, and the results will be used to support programmatic and management decisions.
For FY2012, DRS will continue to pilot subcontracting certain important, but noncore, VR functions previously performed by the VRC and RST in order to address increasing caseload sizes, to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of VR services and to reduce the number of unsuccessful closures with plans. (DRS Business Plan Activity 6.2)
Texas has a total of six university rehabilitation programs available at the Master’s degree level, and a seventh program is in the last stages of development at the University of Texas – El Paso. A total of 104 students graduated during the previous year (2009-2010) from the institutions listed below with credentials consistent with academic preparedness to meet national certification requirements. Texas has also developed partnerships with out-of-state university distance programs. These universities include University of Arkansas at Little Rock, George Washington University, University of Kentucky, Southern University at Baton Rouge, Virginia Commonwealth University, and West Virginia University.
Texas Tech University 2009-2010
Students enrolled 19
Employees’sponsored by agency 13
Graduates from previous: 10
|Row||Institutions||Students enrolled||Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates from the previous year|
|1||Stephen F. Austin 2009-2010||9||1||0||4|
|2||University of North Texas 2009-2010||132||28||9||41|
|3||University of Texas at Austin 2009-2010||25||0||0||5|
|4||University of Texas Pan Am 2009-2010||85||0||0||36|
|5||Univ of TX Southwestern Medical Ctr 2009-2010||22||0||0||8|
DRS has established a number of strategies for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel. Plans are in place that reflect continued annual needs assessment, quarterly review of strategies and interventions for recruitment, and updated review of the QVRC program following each semester to ensure satisfactory progress.
DRS has a recruitment plan that identifies in-state and out-of-state entities from which qualified personnel may be hired. DRS also has a designated recruitment coordinator who works closely with each of these organizations. For each identified organization, the coordinator has made contact to establish specific recruitment strategies for each program. The Recruitment Plan coordinator regularly reviews and updates the plan. Depending on location, size/nature of the class and need of the institution, the following approaches to recruitment are employed:
· DRS participates in advisory committees for partnering universities allowing access and contribution to program improvement processes and to students for on-site visits;
· DRS staff conducts classroom orientations and distributes recruitment information for graduating students;
· DRS works with administration of distance programs to determine effective processes for recruiting distance students;
· DRS contracts with universities for graduate VR internships to recruit rehabilitation counselors. DRS had 24 active interns in FY2010 (DRS Business Plan Activity 8.2); and
· DRS annually participates in job fairs or employment conferences to recruit individuals from minority backgrounds and persons with disabilities.
DRS is committed to the development and continued growth of professional staff who reflect the communities we serve. All strategies for DRS’ CSPD programs encourage the retaining and hiring of staff from minority backgrounds and staff with disabilities. DRS collaborates with a number of constituency organizations in order to build a better understanding of consumer needs and encourage contributions to the field of rehabilitation. For example, staff regularly attend training in public workshops delivered by contractors for deaf and hard of hearing services. As a result, the staff not only have the opportunity for training but also for networking and outreach. Additionally, DRS staff attend functions of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE), Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Technical Assistance Education Center (TACE) to maintain focus on information and professional training to meet the needs of staff who meet standards for CSPD. DRS encourages professional development of all staff through community involvement, membership in state associations such as the Texas RehabACTion Network and membership in national associations such as the National Rehabilitation Association. Regular attendance in national conferences and state and local subchapters as available offers opportunities for training, outreach and relationship building.
DRS will continue to access internal training opportunities as well. Training focused on emerging trends is routinely developed. A needs assessment process has been developed that provides information regarding training needs. Staff perceptions, personnel development data and management information are all considered and evaluated.
The training provided in FY2010 included topics such as: Basic and Advanced Workers’ Compensation, Choices/O’Net, Outcome Based Supported Employment, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services, Transition Services, Internal Continuous Quality Improvement, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Coaching, Dealing with Ex-Offenders and Autism and Vocational Strategies for Behavioral Health Issues. In addition, skill building modules are made available to managers to use as training tools for staff. These modules focus on decision-making in the VR process and are designed to improve accuracy in eligibility decisions and effectiveness in the assessment and plan development phases. New counselors attend internal training to enhance skills and develop a basic operational understanding of policy and implementation of processes during the initial training year. Opportunities for professional and competencies based development are also offered through leadership and other professional development workshops and academies.
In order to build a more qualified workforce, DRS has initiated a number of processes to recruit and hire individuals as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors who have Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling. DRS maintains a database to monitor the number of counselors who do not meet CSPD qualifications. In order to encourage a focus on CSPD standards, DRS policy requires Area Managers and counselors to discuss the counselor’s plans for meeting the CSPD standard.
Since some DRS rehabilitation counselors do not meet the highest requirements in the state, DRS continues with recruiting and preparation strategies. DRS has policies and procedures for administration of the funding for academic coursework, textbooks, and when necessary, in-state travel, for counselors to meet the standard. This policy prioritizes funding for staff participating in the QVRC program and applies to all counselors who are not on new hire or disciplinary probation:
Priority One — Highest funding priority for participation in the program is given to a VRC/TVRC who does not meet the standard and holds a Ph.D. or Master’s degree in a field other than rehabilitation counseling.
Priority Two — This funding priority for participation in the program is given to a VRC/TVRC who does not meet the standard and holds a Bachelor’s degree.
Newly employed VRCs/TVRCs must complete the QVRC program within seven years from the end of the initial training year.
DRS has encouraged staff to reinstate their Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) status where it has expired. As part of the QVRC incentive program initiated by DRS, the division will pay for certification exam fees and related in-state travel to encourage staff to obtain their CRC certification.
DRS continues close monitoring of the percentage of counselors who meet the standard in order to determine progress toward the goal. Monitoring includes the number of counselors with Master’s Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling or closely related fields, those with doctoral degrees and the number who are CRCs or Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). DRS management is provided a monthly status report identifying our counselors’ achievements in reaching CSPD standards.
As part of its comprehensive statewide training program, DRS supports a wide range of learning activities for all classifications of employees. Staff view professional growth and development activities as a benefit that enhances retention. All staff have professional development plans created in coordination with managers in the performance management process. Other retention strategies developed are as follows:
· Flexible work schedules allow for 4 or 4 ½ day workweeks, as well as teleworking opportunities, when feasible;
· A variety of training opportunities in leadership skill development are available;
· Financial incentives have been established for those achieving a degree or coursework related to meeting CSPD standards;
· DRS will cover the cost of the exam and in-state travel to achieve CRC examination;
· There is a recognition award program in place to highlight staff achievement;
· Access to training to support credential maintenance is available at no cost to the employee; and
· There is an educational reimbursement program in place for support staff working toward attainment of Bachelor’s degrees.
Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (QVRC)
DRS is committed to ensuring the agency workforce is highly skilled, professionally trained and duly prepared to serve Texans with disabilities with the highest quality service delivery. Toward this goal, DRS has a plan to achieve standards for counseling staff in compliance with 34 CFR 361.18 (c) 1 (i). There are no state-approved or recognized certifications or licensing requirements in Texas. Therefore, DRS has established standards for academic preparedness consistent with national requirements of the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) for CRC certification. This includes, at a minimum, a course in Counseling Theories and Techniques and a course in Medical or Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities. A counselor meets the CSPD standard by holding a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling; or Master’s degree in “Counseling or Counseling-related” with specific coursework; or Master’s, Specialist or Doctoral degree in specific majors with specific coursework; or current CRC certificate from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification; or current licensure for LPC.
A counselor with an undergraduate degree or a counselor with an “other” Master’s degree, who does not meet the QVRC minimum standards at the time hired, is informed by management of the requirement to successfully meet those standards within seven years from completion of the initial training year. Administrative systems are in place to monitor hire dates, transcripts and use of in-service training funds to assist staff in accomplishing necessary coursework, or in some cases, obtain a full Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.
Existing counselors and all newly hired counselors are required to sign an acknowledgement of QVRC requirements. In-Service Training funds are used in coordination with partner universities for RSA grant slots to assist these counselors in meeting minimum standards. In order to facilitate successful class completion, DRS has allowed flexible work scheduling, tuition reimbursement, textbook reimbursement, computer resources and financial incentive pay upon meeting CSPD standards. DRS will continue to utilize available resources in both distance learning and on-campus programs to support academic preparedness.
Although DRS has taken steps to hire rehabilitation counselors who have Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling, a number of other factors require that DRS hire counselors with other degrees. DRS uses a values-based interviewing system to ensure counselors hired have individual values that align with the organization. A significant barrier to hiring counselors with Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling is the expanse of Texas that must be served. DRS affords RSTs who attain an undergraduate degree the opportunity for employment in DRS as VRCs. RSTs may apply for financial assistance through the Educational Leave and Financial Assistance program if they choose to attain their undergraduate degree and pursue employment as a VRC. The years of knowledge and experience on a caseload coupled with their undergraduate degree have proven beneficial to DRS.
DRS is committed to maintaining support for in-service and academic training that ensures all staff receive necessary knowledge and skills to be successful and to provide developmental activities for new and emerging leaders. DRS has identified a needs assessment system to develop internal and external training initiatives to address programmatic needs. While there are a number of positions within the division that support field operations, the focus of statewide training typically addresses those programmatic areas of concentration to enhance direct service delivery for consumers. All staff have access to training opportunities through the professional development plan created through the professional development process in the management chain. Content for field staff is typically developed within the system of statewide modules of training products disseminated through field management staff. Content learning includes topics that directly address the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes necessary to perform jobs as expected by management and as described through job descriptions. The content training strategies include:
· Continued focus on the foundation of the vocational rehabilitation process for counselors and rehabilitation services technicians, including: accurate eligibility determination, inclusion of consumers in planning for service delivery, thorough assessing and planning practices, models for vocational counseling, informed consumer choice, service to culturally diverse populations, good purchasing practices, supported employment, customized employment, other strategies for quality employment assistance, service delivery and effective case note documentation;
· Training in working with employers and consumers to increase knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the Olmstead decision, available independence initiatives, and VR participation in the Workforce Investment Act to enhance employment options and employment knowledge;
· Training in Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), appropriate options and alternatives for effective transition services and Social Security Work Incentive Programs, including programs under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act of 1999;
· Training in assessing appropriate rehabilitation technology interventions;
· Extending opportunities to take advantage of training available from sources external to the agency for ongoing dissemination of timely trends related to disability and treatment modalities within the field of rehabilitation; and
· Creating leadership training opportunities for field level staff that will develop skills and potential for succession into management positions in the rehabilitation industry. Opportunities such as participation in the DARS Leadership Academy and the Texas DRS Leadership Academy will continue to be available to field staff. Area Managers as part of routine planning, will identify leadership opportunities for staff at all levels in the unit. (DRS Business Plan Activity 8.3)
· DRS will ensure that staff have access to training opportunities focusing on targeted disability groups identified by the various regions. DRS will coordinate with TACE and other entities as appropriate to develop localized training in targeted disability areas. (DRS Business Plan Activity 4.1)
· Implementation of training for new counselors that focuses on critical thinking and sound decision making. (DRS Business Plan Activity 5.5)
Managers receive training in a variety of management issues including ethics, communication, leadership, monitoring for quality service delivery and compliance and the use of management information system tools.
DARS provides on-going quality improvement training to staff to ensure that they have every opportunity to achieve. As described above, learning opportunities in a wide variety of topics are also provided as a part of the comprehensive statewide Center for Learning Management effort using a variety of delivery strategies. These include self-directed learning, coaching, Intranet and workshops at the unit, regional and state levels.
DRS also has developed partnerships with organizations such as the NCRE, the American Society for Training and Development, and the TACE centers to ensure that the agency is active in the dissemination of research development for the field of rehabilitation. In addition, Texas DRS uses studies from the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues to assist in the development of practices for service delivery.
The following are examples of the types of training DRS provides to staff members with emphasis placed on new counselors:
All new counselors are trained using a sequence of learning events. The sequence includes an assigned coach who uses a published coaching guide that outlines their learning during their probationary period. Training is provided throughout the initial training year and focuses in detail on specific rehabilitation issues such as effective decision making in the VR process, ensuring that services are provided to those eligible individuals who are interested in actively participating in the VR program, informed consumer choice, employment assistance, and successful closures. In addition, staff learn effective strategies for caseload management and working within a team structure, practical guides for applying liaison responsibilities for consumers receiving community rehabilitation program services, the intricacies of working with schools and the transition of students to work. At the completion of nine months, the counselor and supervisor create a professional development plan which addresses the CSPD requirements. The professional development plan is updated annually regarding in-service training activities and progress toward meeting the CSPD requirements.
Rehabilitation Services Technician (RST):
All new RSTs are trained using a sequence of learning events. The sequence includes an assigned coach who uses a published coaching guide that outlines their learning during their probationary period. Training is provided throughout the initial training year and focuses in detail on specific rehabilitation issues such as effective decision making in the VR process, ensuring that services are provided to those eligible individuals who are interested in actively participating in the VR program, informed consumer choice, employment assistance, and successful closures. The RST and supervisor develop a professional development plan at month six that identifies the job and classroom training for the next six months. The plan is then updated annually and designed to enhance the growth of RSTs through their tenure. A program of educational assistance encourages RSTs to consider application of their experience in an academic arena where they may grow into the pool of degreed professionals available for hire as rehabilitation counselors.
New Area Managers:
New Area Managers also have a sequence of activities to develop their skills for the job. There is a regional orientation followed with self-directed activities using a comprehensive Orientation Outline. These activities train new managers in the specific components of the job as described in the job description and competency model. New Area Managers also attend training in the Central Office that includes agency-specific management, leadership, and monitoring topics. Following completion of the sequenced learning activities, the new Area Manager attends professional development training from among a selection of management courses available through the Governor’s Center for Management Development and other available resources. The Regional Director and a mentor Area Manager guide the new Area Manager through this process.
DRS maintains a formal system for evaluating the performance of VR staff within the division. This system requires that supervisory personnel formally evaluate an employee’s performance in the essential functions of the employee’s position.
The main purposes of this system are to:
· Document the employee’s performance,
· Provide a development plan,
· Improve performance,
· Provide a basis for personnel management decisions, and
· Facilitate open communication.
The three central aspects of the system for VR staff are:
· Consumer satisfaction with services and outcomes,
· Area manager and other management review of case records to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, and
· Evidence of quality service provision for consumers to access the most appropriate employment outcomes.
This system promotes clear understanding between the supervisor and the employee of the priorities and objectives for the upcoming period. In reviewing performance against expectations, emphasis is placed on results achieved through delivery of world class service, identification of reasons for variance from expected results, and establishment of appropriate development plans that serve to deliver skill enhancing, practical learning opportunities.
The Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) has the opportunity to review and comment on the policies, procedures and programmatic direction of DRS. Representatives from the RCT are invited to fully participate in development and review of policy and procedures. The Assistant Commissioner for DRS meets regularly with the RCT to present updates and share input regarding knowledge, skills, and abilities of the VR staff and overall VR program outcomes.
In summary, a comprehensive and overarching training design is in place to meet the learning needs of all DRS staff. While these activities are provided in a myriad of venues and through multiple modalities, all opportunities for training are specifically directed toward skill enhancement and credential building to form the most qualified staff possible to deliver services for consumers in Texas. Although all staff do not have direct consumer contact, all staff do have direct impact on the success of this program designed to provide vocational and independence opportunities for the community of people with disabilities we serve.
DRS continues to provide effective modes of communication for staff, applicants, eligible individuals with disabilities and our community partners and stakeholders based upon individualized needs. Alternate formats include, but are not limited to: American Sign Language interpreters, Spanish language interpreters and use of the AT&T Language line for interpreters of many other languages such as Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese dialects, etc. Also available are captioning, Braille through our partner DBS Braille unit, large print, reader services, electronic formatting and use of readers. DRS also recruits staff that are bilingual for caseloads with heavy concentrations of languages other than English. Additionally, all DARS staff are required to take web-based Language Services Training for People with Limited Language Proficiency (LEP). This training provides guidance on best practices and DARS-specific resources for effectively communicating with LEP consumers. Some unit management decisions lead to the development of specialty caseloads where a concentration of consumers is in need of services requiring additional counselor skills. For example, both counselors and rehabilitation services technicians who are hired to serve caseloads with a concentration of deaf and hard of hearing consumers are preferred to have manual communication skills at the time of hire. All counselors and technicians who are assigned a specialty caseload to serve individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing receive ongoing professional development specific to this target population. The professional development plan created for these individuals includes specific skill maintenance or enhancement activities that may be accessed through external training providers, in addition to traditional training opportunities within DRS.
Similarly, caseloads with significant numbers of Spanish-speaking consumers are typically served by counselors proficient in Spanish or an interpreter is available.
In some areas, community partners such as churches, workforce centers, or cultural community centers assist in locating appropriate interpreter services. Training objectives that include sensitivity to cultural issues are integrated in the provision of the principles of ethics in service delivery. Given the cultural diversity within the expanse of Texas, this is an issue often addressed in external conferences and topic learning to ensure that staff are sensitive and aware of the manner in which the VR process is applied. In the area of transition, DRS also focuses on the requirements of IDEA and concerns of the No Child Left Behind initiatives.
DRS has increased specialty Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors in an intentional effort to partner with the educational system to more appropriately serve those transition age students seeking assistance to access adult service provision. Partnering with Independent School Districts allows counselors to use office space on campus to ensure that student consumers have access to the resources available through the workforce investment system, community, business, and other necessary partners to build a web of support. The increase in the number of students we will be serving with autism, physical, psychiatric or dual diagnoses reinforces the need to continue best practices of those programs expected through components of IDEA. State and local staff work closely with the Education Agency, Centers for Independent Living and other related agencies and community services to address collaboration, effective programming and consumer satisfaction with efforts to improve the effectiveness of transition services. These collaborations take many different forms to accomplish training of agency staff, educational staff and impacted families. DRS staff are often invited to Education Service Centers to participate in educator training and to present training, particularly for more effective transition programming for students. Family nights are hosted in some areas to invite interested public to the vocational rehabilitation offices for sharing of resource information, discussion of service delivery issues and to gain input regarding best practices that would better support students and their families. DRS successfully supports a network of vocational programs to enhance the ability of students to enter the workforce with services needed and community partners contributing to their outcomes.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:16PM by Jim Hanophy
Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
TheRehabilitation Act of 1973calls for periodic comprehensive statewide needs assessments to be conducted jointly by each state’s vocational rehabilitation agency and State Rehabilitation Council to inform the VR State Plan. The Act is specific regarding areas that a needs assessment should address. In addition to the overall need for rehabilitation services in the state, the Act focuses on several VR subpopulations and services:
· Individuals with most significant disabilities, including those in need of supported employment;
· Unserved and underserved individuals, including minorities;
· Individuals served by other parts of the statewide workforce investment employment system; and
· Establishment, development or improvement of community rehabilitation programs (CRPs).
The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services’ (DARS) Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS), Division for Blind Services (DBS), the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT), and the State Independent Living Council (SILC) conducted a Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CSNA) to learn more about vocational rehabilitation and independent living needs in Texas. The information gathered will aid DARS and the SILC to better plan for the expansion and improvement of VR and Independent Living (IL) services throughout Texas. This report will also inform the 2012-2014 VR State Plans.
In addition to the CSNA, DRS undertook a comprehensive self-study in the fall of 2010 through a contract with the Virginia Commonwealth University. The purpose of the self-study was to reaffirm the values and activities that the agency views as most critical to achieving its overall mission, assess the agency’s current performance in these highly critical areas, and identify areas where gaps may exist between the values the agency holds and the extent to which these values and activities are being implemented across the state. The assessment focused on three major areas: the Adult Vocational Rehabilitation Services program (Adult Services); Business Relations activities and services; and Transition Services. A summary of the results is at the end of this attachment.
Frequency of CSNA:
The DARS Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment is conducted every three years. The most recent CSNA occurred during fall-winter of 2011-2012.
The methodology to complete the CSNA is outlined in the VR Needs Assessment Guide, provided by the Rehabilitation Services Administration to help state agencies conduct assessments with an approach that satisfies the Act’s requirements and produces useful and timely information. DRS was asked to pilot the Guide and had an onsite visit by the authors of the Guide. During that visit, previous CSNA strategies used by DRS were reviewed and enhanced approaches were explored.
DRS and DBS collaborated with the RCT to develop an action plan designed to guide development of the CSNA.
The assessment was accomplished through a range of data collection techniques to ensure broad representation from the public. These techniques included town hall meetings in various locations in the state, phone surveys of VR consumers, online surveys of VR counselors, IL workers and Centers for Independent Living (CIL) staff members, and interviews with individuals considered to be “key informants” (stakeholders.) The model included two new approaches: obtaining information via focused key informant interviews rather than via a key informant survey, as was administered in the past, and the use of a survey monkey to obtain feedback from VR counselors, IL workers and CIL staff.
Elements of the CSNA included:
· Consumer Satisfaction,
· Key Informant Interviews,
· Town Hall Meetings,
· Surveys of VR Counselors, IL workers, and CIL staff, and
· Consumer Data Analysis.
Consumer Satisfaction–The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) staff compared the trends identified by the Consumer Satisfaction Survey contractor over the past three fiscal years to determine if there are any indications of populations that are unserved or underserved or indications of comprehensive rehabilitation services that need to be established, developed, or improved.
Key Informant Interviews – Based on consultations with the authors of the Guide, the RCT CSNA committee decided to use key informant interviews instead of a key informant survey as a method of obtaining stakeholder feedback. RCT CSNA committee members developed a list of key informants to be contacted. Skilled interviewers were necessary to ensure consistency and quality of information gleaned from the interviews. To this end, DBS and DRS asked DARS Center for Program and External Relations staff to conduct the key informant interviews, using an interview tool from the RSA Guide and tailored for DRS/DBS use by the RCT.
Town Hall Meetings – Town hall meetings hosted by Centers for Independent Living and facilitated by a member of the RCT were held in Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston, Beaumont, and Austin. VR staff were also present to facilitate responses to any critical issues identified during these meetings. In addition, a town hall meeting specifically for on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Stakeholders was hosted by DRS. Information gleaned from these meetings was used in the CSNA analysis.
Surveys of VR Counselors, IL Workers, and CIL staff – An on-line survey was developed to obtain information from staff who work directly with our target populations throughout the state. Of the 660 respondents to the survey, 501 were DRS VR and IL counselors, 127 were DBS VR and IL counselors or teachers, and 32 were CIL staff. Their feedback provided a broad grass-roots perspective to inform the CSNA.
Consumer Data Analyses – – DARS staff analyzed aspects of the population of Texans with work disability based on projections from the latest available U.S. Census source that addressed work disability. Comparisons were made to the DRS eligible served consumer population on the aspects of age, ethnic composition, metropolitan/non-metropolitan residential status, and in three general categories of impairment: mental, physical and sensory.
The findings of the Comprehensive Statewide Assessment rest primarily on the stakeholder surveys, town hall meetings, consumer data analysis, and key informant interviews. The review of the consumer satisfaction data did not yield findings that would be helpful in determining which population groups are unserved or underserved. The consumer satisfaction survey focuses on the experience of the consumer during the provision of services and the satisfaction with the outcome of the VR process.
Consumer Data Analysis
Results from the comparison of persons served by DRS with current projections based on the latest available U.S. Census sources for Texans with a work disability are as follows:
Persons aged 16 to 22 comprise 33.2% of consumers served, while the percentage of Texans with a work disability in that age range is 2.6%. DRS consumers aged 23 to 65 comprise another 65.1% of those served, and the remaining consumers served are aged 66 and up or under age 16. The percentage of DRS consumers served between the ages of 16 and 22 reflect an emphasis on services provided to transition youth.
Texans with a work disability identify their ethnicity as 17% African American, 31% Hispanic, and 52% Anglo. Consumers served in fiscal year 2010 identify1 their ethnicity as 24% African American, 27% Hispanic, and 74% Anglo.
1 Consumer percentages exceed 100% because many consumers designated themselves in more than one ethnic category.
87.9% of Texans with a work disability and 87.5 % of consumers served have a metropolitan2 residence, with 12.1% of work-disabled Texans and 12.5% of DRS consumers residing in a non-metropolitan situation.
2 Metropolitan/Non-metropolitan from federal Office of Management and Budget assignments to Texas counties in 2007 American Community Survey (census).
51% of consumers served have a primary impairment that is mental (cognitive or mental/emotional), 36% have a primary impairment that is physical, and 13% have a primary impairment that is sensory / communicative, predominantly a hearing impairment or deafness at DRS, since persons with vision impairment in Texas are served by the Division for Blind Services. Comparatively, of Texans with work disabilities, 45.01% have a mental impairment, 68.51% have a physical impairment, and 20.15% have a sensory impairment3.
3 Census percentages exceed 100% because some census respondents designated themselves in more than one impairment category.
Underserved Populations and Needs Identified in CSNA:
Services for Persons with Developmental Delays, Intellectual Disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Results from the CSNA revealed a perception that Texans with developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders (including persons with Asperger’s syndrome) are underserved. DRS has recently enhanced its program expertise in services for consumers by adding a program specialist who is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). A BCBA is an expert in analyzing & creating behavior change plans for socially significant behaviors. Typically in the areas of ASD, developmental & intellectual delays, challenging behavior is a barrier to employment. DRS is adding behavioral analysts as a new category of providers to help remove these barriers and is enhancing policy to reinforce this focus. DRS is taking a two-pronged approach to enhance services to these consumers. First, the new program specialist is presenting training seminars throughout the state to build field staff capacity to serve consumers. The trainer of trainers’ model will be implemented to keep staff continually updated on best practices for these consumers. The second focus is to partner with businesses to educate, create and or adapt their work environments to promote sustainable employment opportunities. (DRS Business Plan Goal 4)
Supports to Help VR Consumers Succeed
The CSNA identified a perceived need for additional supports to help persons with disabilities successfully prepare for and compete in the workplace. DRS is engaged in several initiatives in this regard including the following:
- Child care support - In recognition of the fact that many consumers need child care services so they can participate in planned vocational activities and start working, but are not able to pay for child care on their own, DRS piloted a Child Care Pilot Project using dedicated stimulus funds during FFY 2010 and FFY 2011. The pilot was successful, and the new support service will be published in policy and implemented statewide September, 2011. Through this new service, DRS may paid for child care necessary for consumers to participate in planned VR activities for the duration of a consumer’s work training and for a limited time after the consumers began to work. Maximum payments are decreased each week as the consumer’s income allows their increasing participation in child care costs. (DRS Business Plan Activity 4.2)
- On-the-job training enhancement- While OJT is not a new service, policy has been revised to reinforce its use (after a successful pilot supported by AARA funds). The new policy allows the VR counselor greater flexibility in negotiating payment rates/length of service with employers. There is also an incentive for CRPs to facilitate OJT situations as the CRP will receive payment for job placement. The OJT report is now much simpler for the employers to complete and submit for billing. Also, an OJT brochure is available to use as an external marketing tool. There has been more interest from VRCs in OJT based on questions from the field. There have also been questions from CRPs as to how they can be utilized. DRS’ expectation is that VR counselors who have purchased OJTs in the past, will continue to do so and that other VR counselors will consider OJT as an excellent service leading to a successful outcome with the OJT employer/or providing experience for consumers to take with them on other jobs. (DRS Business Plan Activity 4.2)
- Peer support for consumers with mental illness – DRS is exploring the use of peer supports to support people with mental illness throughout their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Under this model, the consumer would be assigned a trained peer support specialist (who also has a mentalhealth diagnosis and is stable) to assist the consumer in progressing through the various stages of their IPE. (DRS Business Plan Activity 4.2)
- Employment supports - The Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) is providing assistance to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on their “Money Follows the Person” behavioral health pilot, as well as their proposed 1915(i) Medicaid State Plan Amendment. MIG funding and DRS collaboration will modify and test existing evidence-based services, such as Cognitive Adaptation Training to provide employment supports to consumers with serious and persistent mental illness, as well as create standards and expectations for supported employment. In addition, DRS and the MIG are working with the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and DSHS to create cross-training on systems eligibility and processes, so that consumers may maximize services from each funding agency, and eliminate any possible duplication. The MIG will continue to partner with Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) on the Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) Program. The MBI is in the process of being redesigned to be a more consumer and staff user friendly process. DRS will continue participation as a key member of the MBI workgroup facilitated by HHSC. (DRS Business Plan Goal 6)
Barriers to Serving Unserved and Underserved Populations Identified by CSNA:
· Some potential consumers do not know that there are government services that
can help them;
· Consumers have a fear of working resulting in the loss of benefits;
· There is inadequate funding for services, and
· Scarcity of available transportation creates challenges for potential consumers,
especially in rural areas, to access DRS offices, providers, and jobs.
Mitigation Strategies to Address the Identified Barriers:
Public Awareness of VR Services and Community Resources
Information taken from public meetings and electronic comments suggests there is aperception that DRS should enhance public awareness of its services and other community resources across the state and develop more business community partnerships with potential employers for people with disabilities.
DRS has enhanced its public website to include a video, narrated by former consumers who are now DRS employees, that explains the vocational rehabilitation process. Plans are underway to enhance the website by adding an interactive self-screen tool for potential consumers interested in vocational rehabilitation services. Additionally, DARS is developing an additional website for businesses and job seekers.
DRS has created an Integrated Employment Plan and established a Business Services Unit that reports directly to the DRS Assistant Commissioner. This unit’s charge is to work with area managers to assist them in building an infrastructure aimed at strengthening relationships with businesses throughout the state. As part of this effort, DRS has implemented an agency-wide initiative to train and equip counselors to develop effective relationships with business community partners. This relationship will continue to expand awareness of DRS services as well as broaden the availability of job placement opportunities in the market place for persons with disabilities and include a broad range of services such as:
- Providing qualified applicants, saving employers time and money in recruiting;
- Evaluating applicants to improve job matches;
- Following up to ensure satisfaction;
- Helping new employees come ready to work;
- Offering services for some employees who have been injured on the job to help them return to work as early as possible; and
- Providing leading edge technology.
(DRS Business Plan Goal 2)
Addressing Consumers’ Fear of Returning to Work
In November 2010 the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was transferred to DRS. The MIG will be doing statewide training for all VRCs and other community partners on basic benefits and work incentives supports and services. Additionally, the MIG has collaborated with Virginia Commonwealth University to train eight DRS staff to become Subject Matter Experts in benefits and work incentives. DRS VR counselors and other staff will be able to inform consumers of all 35 state specific programs that support employment, as well as give basic information and referral on federal benefits programs that beneficiaries with SSI and/or SSDI can utilize.
DRS will continue to work through DARS and state legislative channels to educate state officials about the value of VR services to Texans with disabilities and to the overall state economy and request increased funding and FTEs when the economic climate is conducive to do so. Despite the significant budget cuts made to a multitude of state services during the 2011 state legislative session, the DRS VR funding was maintained at FY 2010 levels for the next biennium. DRS will leverage existing resources and partnerships in order to provide needed services for its consumers.
Information taken from public meetings and electronic comments suggests there is a perception that persons with disabilities, especially those in rural areas, are in need of transportation systems that will facilitate better access to DRS offices, providers, and jobs.
DRS will continue to participate in Health and Human Services regional coordination forums related to public transportation to advocate for local improvement.
DRS is collaborating with Mobility Partnerships and other community partners on Tarrant Rides and Information Partnership (TRIP) and Denton Works in Tarrant and Denton counties. Both initiatives seek to provide mobility management services designed to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the viable mobility of person with disabilities. In addition, DRS’ Medicaid Infrastructure Grant is funding a guide based on these two initiatives so that other communities throughout the state can replicate their success.
Individuals Served by Other Parts of the Statewide Workforce Investment Employment System:
As referenced under Mitigation Strategies to Address Identified Barriers, the CSNA identified a perception that DRS should enhance public awareness of other community resources across the state. Accordingly, DRS is coordinating with its Workforce Center partners to increase services with persons with disabilities, integrate programs and leverage resources. (DRS Business Plan Goal 6)
DRS has agreements with 21 of the 28 local workforce boards across the state. These local agreements address issues related to effective working partnerships. One of the key issues addressed is that of accessibility, with the intended result being that persons with disabilities will have increased opportunities related to employment services and, ultimately, a job.
In a number of areas of the state, DRS senior management staff serve on Workforce Boards. In addition, a DRS staff person has been assigned liaison responsibilities with each of the local Workforce Development Boards. Some of these responsibilities include:
- Informing the board and workforce centers about vocational rehabilitation services and eligibility criteria;
- Processing referrals from the workforce centers;
- Referring to the workforce centers consumers who can benefit from employment services provided at the workforce centers;
- Providing technical assistance to the local workforce boards regarding adaptive technology; and
- Providing disability sensitivity and awareness training to staff of the workforce centers.
DRS has established relationships with Disability Navigators hired by local workforce boards. All 28 local workforce development areas in Texas have hired a disability navigator.
Need to Establish, Develop, or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs within the State:
The CSNA confirmed DRS’ observation that there is a lack of a trained statewide provider base that knows how to work with VR consumers. Additionally, concerns were raised that more information needs to be made available regarding providers. This was already a major concern of the agency (DRS Business Plan Strategy 6.1), and DRS has the following initiatives underway:
- CRP Credentialing- DRS has contracted with University of North Texas (UNT) to develop web-based training and a credentialing test for Job Coaches/Job Skill Trainers, Job Placement Specialists, Supported Employment Specialists and CRP Directors. UNT will credential all attendees for each training track that pass the post-test. It is expected that all employees in the above roles will be trained and credentialed before the end of FFY 2012. In order to maintain their credentialed status, providers must earn ten CEU credits yearly as documented by UNT. Going forward, DARS will not contract with CRPs providing these services unless their staff are credentialed.
- Special Contracts for Job Training & Placement–CRPs participating in the program are actively recruited for training in various types of industries with a goal of securing employment for DRS consumers at the training site or at another business in the same industry. The contracts are managed by DRS Business Relations Consultants and include job training/placement in the hotel, medical services, and restaurant industries.
- Information Directory–A workgroup is in the process of developing an information repository (for VR counselors to share with consumers via the agency’s Intranet) of CRPs throughout the state that will include basic information regarding their services, including their staff expertise in serving specific populations/disabilities, locations, contact information, consumer satisfaction ratings, and ability to serve non-English speakers. (DRS Business Plan Strategy 6.6)
- Outcome Report– A workgroup is in the process of developing an interactive Outcome Report (for VR counselors to share with consumers via the agency’s Intranet) focused on enhancing consumer informed choice. The report will provide cumulative data in many categories regarding employment-related CRPs such as percent successfully rehabilitated (where relevant), disabilities served, services available, etc. (DRS Business Plan Strategy 6.6)
DARS Self-Assessment Results Summary:
The combined results of focus groups, a self-assessment conference, and an online survey of DRS staff present a clear picture of the agency’s values, the degree to which these values are currently implemented across the state, and gaps that exist between the values and current performance. Several of the key findings of the self-study are described below, and plans are under development to address the identified gaps.
· Commitment to the Agency’s Core Values - Results of the self-study revealed a spirit of innovation and experimentation at work in the agency with multiple cutting-edge initiatives underway. Data from all sources confirm the DRS’ commitment to the core values of delivering responsive, high quality and effective services to consumers. Responses to the online survey found that items related to direct service delivery were overwhelmingly viewed as most valued and most critical to the agency’s mission. (DRS Business Plan Strategy 3.1)
· Commitment to the Dual Customer Approach - The implementation of the agency’s dual customer values and practices has been embraced by staff at all levels of the agency and across all areas of the state. While the dual customer approach is a relatively new initiative, DRS staff highly value its importance and business services activities continue to grow in the state. The focus groups and self-assessment conference confirmed that innovative practices are being developed and implemented across the state. Staff from many localities expressed interest in replicating promising practices and expanding their efforts in this area. (DRS Business Plan Goal 2)
· Transition Services - Transition Services are highly valued across the agency. Concerns expressed by focus group participants and survey respondents addressed improving the school to DRS referral process and coordination between Transition VR Counselors and Adult VR Counselors. (DRS Business Plan Goal 9)
· Relationships with Community Rehabilitation Providers - The relationship between DRS and CRPs was raised repeatedly throughout the self-assessment study. Results of the online survey in both the Adult Services and Business Relations areas indicated that DRS staff are concerned about the ability of CRPs to provide high quality services to consumers, provide the supports necessary to meet the needs of businesses, and address the employment training and support needs of consumers facing multiple challenges to employment. Counselors of consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing expressed concerns about availability of qualified vendors in their area. Initiatives are currently planned or underway to address several of these concerns as noted in the previous section of this report. (DRS Business Plan Goal 6)
· Addressing the Needs of the Rural Communities in the State - The unique needs and challenges of rural communities in the state were frequently raised during the study. Clearly, DRS staff in rural locations are committed to the same values and practices as other DRS staff in the state. Concerns were raised regarding lack of employment opportunities, availability of qualified vendors, and transportation problems that make the delivery of high quality services to consumers quite difficult. It was also noted frequently that implementation of the dual customer approach and business services require adapting practices and innovative approaches to the characteristics of rural communities. As noted in the CSNA, transportation issues are one of the core obstacles for rural consumers. While the problems in addressing rural challenges in such a large and diverse state cannot be eliminated by DRS, initiatives are underway to help communities mitigate their impact.
· Training and Technical Assistance - The training and technical assistance needs of DRS staff members were identified by focus groups and the online survey as important concerns for staff across the state. Training on the dual customer approach and the strength-based team approach were mentioned frequently, as well as training directed at meeting the needs of consumers with multiple disabilities and high support needs. (DRS Business Plan Goals 4 and 5)
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:17PM by Jim Hanophy
DRS estimates that approximately 70,419 consumers will be determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services in FFY 2012 and that DRS will provide vocational rehabilitation services to all 70,419 consumers in FFY 2012. This estimate is based on a review of historical information such as numbers served, case load size, numbers of applications, the number of Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs) written, and the referral sources. In addition, DRS reviewed the number of consumers who continue to require services from one year to the next. Area Managers and Counselors reviewed each caseload to determine the number of consumers who would be referred for services and the number who would be determined eligible and receive vocational rehabilitation services. All of these factors were considered in determining the estimates of individuals to be served.
The estimated cost per person for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services is $3,015. The estimated cost for the provision of services to all consumers is $212,315,004 including approximately $1,500,347 inSupported Employment costs.
The estimated number of consumers that will receive supported employment services in FFY 2012 is 8,491.
|Category||Title I or Title VI||Estimated Funds||Estimated Number to be Served||Average Cost of Services|
|Title 1||Title I||$210,814,657||70,419||$2,993|
|Title VI||Title VI||$1,500,347||8491||$176|
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:17PM by Jim Hanophy
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) have collaborated to establish goals and priorities to advance the continued provision of high quality vocational rehabilitation services for eligible consumers. Goals and priorities are based on analysis of:
· DRS’ performance on Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators, established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA);
· Quarterly consumer satisfaction reports;
· Information obtained in the most recent statewide needs assessment;
· Quarterly updates provided to the RCT by the DRS Assistant Commissioner or designated representative(s); and
· Recommendations from RSA monitoring activities.
Both DRS and the RCT agree that the following priorities are essential 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.
Following are the DRS goals and priorities for FY 2012. It is important to note that some targets set for FY 2012 are 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 RSA. Because these goals are important, they remain as goals even though past performance has been satisfactory.
To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals with significant disabilities achieving a quality employment outcome. (Aligns with DRS Business Plan Goal 1)
(Targets are based on RSA Standards & Indicators).
Measure 1.1: The number of employment outcomes (successful closures) achieved will be equal to or exceed 11,381. (Baseline FY 2010: 11,380)
Measure 1.2: Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services, a minimum of 55.8% will have achieved an employment outcome.
(Baseline FY 2010: 57.92%)
Measure 1.3: Of the individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome earning at or above minimum wage, the average hourly earnings when compared to the State’s average hourly earnings will equal or exceed a ratio of .52. (Baseline FY 2010: 0.510)
Measure 1.4: Of the individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome earning at or above minimum wage, a minimum of 82% will be individuals with significant disabilities. (Baseline FY 2010: 78.02%)
To effectively provide VR services to consumers from minority backgrounds with significant disabilities and to ensure they are satisfied with services provided.
Measure 2.1: Of the total number of individuals residing in Texas with a work disability who: (1) receive services under an IPE and (2) achieve an employment outcome, at least 46% will be from a minority background. (Baseline FY 2010: 50.90%)
Measure 2.2: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 87% of the respondents from minority backgrounds will indicate they are satisfied with their overall experience with DRS. (Baseline FY 2010: 84.75%)
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 to VR consumers.
Measure 3.1: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 87% of the respondents will indicate that they were satisfied with their overall experience with DRS. (Baseline FY 2010: 86.9%)
Measure 3.2: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 80% of the respondents will indicate they discussed with their counselor when services would begin and end. (Baseline FY 2010: 81.4%)
Measure 3.3: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 86% of the respondents will indicate they had input in planning the services they received. (Baseline FY 2010: 85.1%)
Measure 3.4: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 71% of the respondents will indicate that they took part in choosing who would provide the services (schools or colleges, doctors or hospitals, job coaches, etc.).
(Baseline FY 2010: 71.6%)
Measure 3.5: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 84% of the respondents will indicate that they were satisfied with the explanation of services to help them reach their goal. (Baseline FY 2010: 85.2%)
Measure 3.6: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 87% of the respondents will indicate that they had input in setting their employment goals.
(Baseline FY 2010: 84.3%)
Measure 3.7: On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 93% of the respondents will indicate that they were treated in a friendly, caring and respectful manner when they dealt with DRS staff.
Baseline FY 2010: 93.3%. (Question 1-Closed Case Consumer Satisfaction Report FY 2012)
To increase the quality of and access to available supported employment services.
Measure 4.1: 57% or greater of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome. (Baseline FY 2010: 55.2%)
To expand and improve transition services for youth with disabilities that will support the agency’s efforts to become a nationally recognized leader in the provision of transition services. (Aligns with DRS Business Plan Goal 9 and Activities 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3)
Measure 5.1: Recruitment or reassignment of staff so that no less than 100 transition vocational rehabilitation counselor positions are available to assist special education students preparing to leave high school (Baseline FY 2010: 101)
Measure 5.2: Development and implementation of clear, uniform guidelines for transitioning students from TVRCs to adult caseloads that will create consistency across the state. Updated transition policy that will allow all VRCs to utilize the same tools as TVCs.
Measure 5.3: Upon graduation, 3100 students will transfer to adult services. (Baseline FY 2010: 3,081)
To monitor supported self employment services to ensure consumers with the most significant disabilities have options available for non-traditional employment that is consistent with their personal motivation, interests, skills and resources. (Aligns with DRS Business Plan Activity 7.4)
Measure 6.1: Monitor and determine if the supported self employment policy is meeting the needs of consumers, providers and counselors, making enhancements as appropriate. (New measure for FY 2012- No baseline data available)
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:17PM by Jim Hanophy
- 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 screen was last updated on Aug 27 2009 11:00AM by Edward West
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) will continue to provide opportunities for Texans with the most significant disabilities to enter competitive employment through the use of funds received under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Title I funds may be used to provide Services Leading to Supported Employment when Title VI, Part B funds are not available resulting in the availability of these services for more consumers with the most significant disabilities. During FFY 2010, 8,491 disabled Texans received services under the Supported Employment program and 1,524 of these individuals were closed rehabilitated.
Competitive employment is the objective for many Texans with the most significant disabilities. It is the objective considered during any assessment of need for supported employment services. VR Counselors must place consumers in jobs which are integrated within the local community.
The goal for distribution of Title VI, Part B funds is to provide supported employment services resulting in a competitive employment outcome under the outcome-based system for consumers who require supported employment.
Measure: Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services, a minimum of 55% will have achieved an employment outcome.
Baseline FFY 2010: 55.2% of individuals exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services achieved an employment outcome.
In the outcome-based purchasing methodology, providers of Supported Employment Services receive payment when they assist eligible consumers achieve specific outcomes called “Benchmarks”. These are:
- Career and Community Support Analysis & Supported Employment Service Plan (SESP)-Part I,
- Job Placement & SESP Part II,
- Four weeks Job Maintenance,
- Eight weeks Job Maintenance,
- Job Stability, and
- Service Closure.
Since the supported employment placement rate for DRS has gradually increased since the implementation of the program, DRS anticipates that the measure for FFY 2012 will be achieved at approximately fifty five percent (55%). Note the percentage of individuals exiting the VR program achieving an employment outcome increased slightly even with the current state of the economy. It should also be noted that DRS also increased the number of individuals served for FFY 2010.
The desired outcome of all supported employment services is that each eligible person is placed in competitive employment and provided individualized training and necessary support to maintain that specific job.
A key component of the Outcome Based Payment System for Supported Employment is the emphasis on making use of the naturally occurring work supports and building those into extended services for the consumer. The payment structure creates financial incentives for the providers of Supported Employment Services to assist employers with the training and supervision of their supported employee rather than supplanting that with direct training provided by outside job coaches. Additionally, the documentation requirements for 4 week, 8 week, Stability and Service Closure Benchmarks require the providers of Supported Employment Services to identify strategies for using the naturally occurring work or social supports for extended and ongoing supports when Title VI Part B and/or 110 funding ends.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:17PM by Jim Hanophy
This attachment should include required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the vocational rehabilitation and the supported employment programs. (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)).
Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.
Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.
Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.
If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state.
Describe strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators.
Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:
- achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
- support innovation and expansion activities; and
- overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.
State Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has developed the following State strategies to address identified needs of people with the most significant disabilities and determine how Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities will be used. Strategies 1-2 are activities to be funded through I & E Funds.
Baseline FY 2010
To assist consumers in finding employment to match their skills, abilities and interests, DRS has developed an Integrated Employment Plan (IEP).
The IEP combines the efforts of business relations, employment, self employment, supported employment and return to work programs. This insures that all programs are coordinated to assist consumers in accomplishing employment outcomes.
The IEP is implemented by August 31, 2011.
· Managed activities of Business Relations Unit to insure focus on employment related activities that generated opportunities for consumers;
· Established role of single point of contact for DRS staff with business;
· Implemented methods to identify job candidates in a timely manner;
· Developed database to track business relationships and points of contact; and
· Partnered with DBS Employment Assistance Services to insure coordination and consistent message as businesses are approached.
DRS will maintain public access to a broad range of assistive technology services, including individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis through:
· DARS Internet. Site contains items specific to assistive technology and vehicle modifications;
· DARS Rehabilitation Technology Resource Center (RTRC) Intranet. A Virtual Tour of Assistive Technology (AT) can be accessed by counselors to view the latest AT advances to help consumers make educated decisions about their vocational and independent living goals;
· RTRC access. The center is open to both agency staff and the disability community for product demonstrations and testing;
· Continuation of the statewide rehabilitation demonstration and loan program;
· DRS participation in statewide conferences to inform employers of the technology available that will enhance a consumer’s ability to engage in employment and live independently; and
· Vehicle modifications for DRS consumers.
The number of assistive devices loaned for consumer demonstration and testing.
186 (average taken from FY 2009 & 2010 data)
The comprehensive statewide needs assessment completed in 2011 revealed a perception that Texans with developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders (including persons with Asperger’s Syndrome) are underserved. To enhance services to these consumers, DRS added a program specialist who is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst to:
· Present training seminars throughout the state to build field staff capacity to serve population of consumers; and
Partner with businesses to educate, create or adapt their work environments to promote sustainable employment opportunities (DRS Business Plan Goal 4)
The number of partnerships developed with businesses to promote sustainable employment opportunities for consumers with developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.
DRS will continue to maintain involvement with the Texas Workforce Investment Council and local workforce development boards, maintain memberships on local boards, look for opportunities to partner with Disability Navigators, and assign counselors to one stop centers to provide consultation on disability issues to workforce system staff and to provide direct assistance to people with disabilities as needed.
The number of agreements with local workforce development boards, the appointments to local workforce development boards and the number of one stop centers with counselors assigned to them.
18 of 28 local workforce development boards;
24 of 28 Public VR appointments;
28 of 28 boards have Disability Navigator Program;
226 of 266 One Stop Centers.
To increase successful outcomes for consumers, DRS will continue to modify the program business plan until all Standards and Indicators meet or exceed the performance levels.
DRS will strengthen existing partnerships and develop new partnerships to include working with HHS agencies, Workforce, Social Security, etc. to assure coordination of services and long term supports when DRS closes a consumer’s VR case. (DRS Business Plan Goal 6 and Strategy 6.4)
All Standards and Indicators are met or exceeded.
DRS met and/or exceeded performance levels for 4 of the 6 performance indicators in Standard I of the FFY 2010 Standards and Indicators, including primary indicators 1.3, and 1.4.
Maintain a comprehensive training and evaluation system for VR Counselors and support staff.
The number of times the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) Committee meets with DRS.
4 meetings during FFY 2010
Work with Psychosocial Clubhouse programs to develop transition slots leading to employment for persons with mental illness. (DRS Business Plan Strategy 4.2)
One in FY 2012
New – no baseline
Outreach Activities to Identify and Serve Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities who are Minorities
DRS statistical data compiled for FY 2010 reveals the following regarding eligible consumers’ indication of their race and ethnicity:
Eligible Served DRS VR
Texans With a Work Disability3
1 Includes race group of “Other.”
2 Total of Black, Hispanic, and White exceeds Eligible Served DRS VR as some consumers claim more than one race/ethnicity and all race/ethnicity categories a consumer claims are counted. In other words, some consumers are counted in multiple categories.
3 Based on 2007 one-year American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau.
4 The total is summarized by each individual race/ethnicity with no overlap between them.
As of September 30, 2010, personnel records indicate that DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors identified themselves as follows: 51% White, 26% Black, 19% Hispanic and 4% “other”. DRS has made and will continue to make a concerted effort to place staff and offices in the appropriate locations to enhance service delivery and increase its visibility to minorities who have the most significant disabilities.
Each DRS region engages in numerous programs and activities that are designed to inform and make available VR and Supported Employment services to minorities who have the most significant disabilities. Some examples of these activities include:
· The DARS Center for Learning Management has developed Limited Language Proficiency training that provides guidance on best practices and specific resources for effectively communicating with our unique population of limited language proficiency consumers. All DRS staff are required to take the training, which includes web-based instruction and desk references for quick access to information;
· DRS staff are collaborating with the Yselta Tribe of West Texas and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of East Texas to make services available to Native Americans with disabilities;
· Outreach to minority transition students, particularly Hispanics, is occurring with the local independent school districts and the Education Service Centers;
· DRS staff are attending community job fairs held for the Hispanic population and meeting with groups, such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Casa de Amigos and Catholic Charities;
· Outreach activities with the African American population are occurring, such as meetings with the local Sickle Cell Anemia Association, Minority Business Alliance, African American Family Conference and NAACP;
· DRS staff are actively involved in the Colonias Initiative, a collaborative workgroup of state and private non-profit agencies designed to increase access to services for residents of the Colonias located along the Mexican border region who are primarily Spanish-speaking Hispanics;
· DRS staff are collaborating with the Catholic Family Services Centers that administer the Refugee and Citizenship program in local areas which include program activities of resettlement services, medical orientation, employment, housing, transportation, social security card application, translation services, and English as a second language classes. These liaison activities have enhanced the ability of DRS staff to provide services to individuals of Hispanic, Vietnamese, Laotian, Sudanese, African American, Kurdish, and other ethnicities;
· Some counselors are participating in training to learn to speak other languages and attending sign language classes;
· DRS is establishing specialized caseloads for certain disabilities to develop the expertise needed to most benefit the consumers served;
· DRS is actively recruiting rehabilitation counselors who are Spanish speaking to better serve the Hispanic population; and
· Counselors and managers at all levels have developed relationships with local referral sources that serve individuals who are minorities who have the most significant disabilities.
Strategies to Establish, Develop or Improve Community Rehabilitation Programs
DRS works with a well-developed network of community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) across the state. DRS continues to operate an outcome-based payment system for supported employment and job placement services. DRS has implemented several new initiatives to increase the competencies of these CRP partners thereby enhancing services to consumers with disabilities.
DRS began a new training and credentialing program to ensure that CRP Job Coaches, Job Skills Trainers, Job Placement Specialists, Supported Employment Specialists and the Directors who oversee those positions meet basic criteria to effectively deliver employment services. This credentialing will be required in order to remain a CRP beginning in FFY 2012.
DRS will initiate a statistical outcome report as well as consumer and counselor survey systems to review the effectiveness of CRP services.
DRS has provided training to CRPs in Supported Self Employment and has incorporated new policy and standards for Supported Self Employment Services to begin in FFY 2012.
DRS will, if needed, revise the outcome-based payment method for supported employment to better serve (1) transition of employment for people with persistent and serious mental illness, (2) supported self-employment and (3) autism.
These additional requirements will ensure CRPs are more aligned with the core mission of DRS and work toward additional employment outcome possibilities for consumers with disabilities.
(DRS Business Plan Goal 6)
Activities to 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
During fall 2011 - winter 2012, the Division for Rehabilitation Services , Division for Blind Services, State Independent Living Council, and Rehabilitation Council of Texas collaborated to conduct a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA). The CSNA u
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:18PM by Jim Hanophy
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) annually review and report on the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program. The following sections include the required components of the evaluation.
A. Evaluation of the extent to which the goals identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1) were achieved:
FFY 2010 Progress Report on Goals and Priorities
Goal 1: To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals with significant disabilities achieving a quality employment outcome.
Description of Progress FFY 2010
1.1. The number of employment outcomes (successful closures) achieved will be equal to or exceed 11,477.
The number of employment outcomes DRS achieved in FFY 2010 was11,380.
1.2. Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services, a minimum of 55.8% will have achieved an employment outcome.
Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services during FFY 2010, 57.92% achieved an employment outcome..
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 .52.
Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome during FFY 2010, the average hourly earnings when compared to the State’s average hourly earnings was .524.
1.4. Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome, a minimum of 82% will be individuals with significant disabilities.
Of the individuals achieving an employment outcome during FFY 2010, 78.19% were individuals with significant disabilities.
Goal 2: To effectively provide VR services to consumers from minority backgrounds with significant disabilities and to ensure they are satisfied with services provided.
Description of Progress FFY 2010
2.1. Of the total number of individuals residing in Texas with a work disability who: (1) receive services under an IPE, and (2) achieve an employment outcome; at least 46% will be from a minority background.
In FFY 2010, of the total number of individuals residing in Texas with a work disability who: (1) received services under an IPE, and (2) achieved an employment outcome; 50.90% were from a minority background.
2.2. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 87% of the respondents from minority backgrounds will indicate they are satisfied with their overall experience with DRS.
84.75% of respondents from minority backgrounds indicated 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 to VR consumers.
Description of Progress FFY 2010
3.1. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 87% of the respondents will indicate they were satisfied with their overall experience with DRS.
86.9% of respondents indicated they were satisfied with the services received.
3.2. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 80% of the respondents will indicate that they discussed with their counselor when services would begin and end.
81.4% of respondents indicated they discussed with their counselor when services would begin and end.
3.3. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 86% of the respondents will indicate that they took part in planning the services they received.
85.1% of respondents indicated they took part in planning the services they received.
3.4. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 71% of the respondents will indicate they took part in choosing who would provide the services (schools or colleges, doctors or hospitals, job coaches, etc.).
71.6% or respondents indicated that they took part in choosing who would provide services (schools or colleges, doctors or hospitals, job coaches, etc.).
3.5. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 84% of the respondents will indicate that they were satisfied with the explanation of services to help them reach their goal.
85.2% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the explanation of services to help them reach their goal.
3.6. On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 87% of the respondents will indicate that they had input in setting their employment goals.
84.3% of respondents indicated that they had input in setting their employment goals.
Goal 4: To increase the quality of available supported employment services
Description of Progress FFY 2010
4.1. 57% or greater of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome.
In FFY 2010, of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services, 55.2% achieved an employment outcome.
Goal 5: To enhance services to the deaf and hard of hearing populations.
Description of Progress FFY 2010
5.1. Development and implementation of targeted training based on identified needs of specialty DRS staff serving the deaf and hard of hearing populations.
In FFY 2010, DRS developed a training menu of 21 options to allow regional training specialists and managers to coordinate with the central office, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, and local providers to request and coordinate training based on their individual needs and available staff time.
5.2. A minimum of one VR training per region specific to providing services to consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing.
VR staff trainings pertaining to providing services to consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing during FFY 2010:
Goal 6: To expand and improve transition services for youth with disabilities.
6.1. Recruitment or reassignment of staff so that no less than 100 transition vocational rehabilitation counselors are available to assist special education students preparing to leave high school.
As of 9/30/2010, 100 of 101 Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor positions were filled and active. During the year, some vacancies occurred, but the consumers continued to be served by another VR Counselor or a Transition Specialist until the vacancies were filled.
6.2. Enhancement of service delivery through key collaborations such as the CHIRP (Centers Hatching Initiatives for Realizing Potential) program.
All Regional Offices in Texas reported ongoing work as a result of the CHIRP collaboration:
Region 1 - The CHIRP collaboration developed work experience for youth through the El Paso Workforce Development Board and is currently trying to do the same in Lubbock.
Region 2 - Has sustainability programs through the local Independent Living Center.
Region 3 - Uses the Reaching My Own Greatness manual with youth at the Independent Living Centers.
Region 4 - Has a diabetic program partnership with the Independent Living Center.
Region 5 - Uses the Reaching My Own Greatness manual with transition youth.
6.3 Provision of services under an IPE for a minimum of 3,700 eligible transition students.
In FFY 2010, DRS provided services under an IPE for a total of 4,180 eligible transition students.
6.4. Upon graduation, 4000 students will transfer to adult services
In FFY 2010, a total of 3,081 students transferred to adult services.
Goal 4: To increase the quality of available supported employment services
Description of Progress FFY 2010
4.1. 57% or greater of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome.
In FFY 2010, of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services, 55.2% achieved an employment outcome.
For FFY 2010 DRS exceeded performance levels for 4 of the 6 performance indicators in Standard I, including primary indicators 1.3 and 1.4. In FFY 2010, DRS’ focus continued to be implementing strategies in keeping consumers engaged throughout the VR process achieving their employment outcome. Though the number of employment outcomes decreased from the previous year, even with the down turn of the economy, the number of individual exiting the VR program after receiving services during the fiscal year exceeded the indicator as well as primary support at closure indicator was exceeded. Partnering with businesses and working closely with CRPs continues to play a pivotal role in the success of our DRS consumers achieving employment. Of the consumers that earned over minimum wage, over 78% were people with significant disabilities.
FFY 2010 Performance
The number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period, compared to the number of individuals who exit the VR program after achieving an employment outcome during the previous performance period.
Did not meet
Number of successful closures decreased from 11,861 in FFY 2009 to 11,380 in FFY 2010, a decrease of 481.
Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage who are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.
57.92% achieved an employment outcome at the end of FFY 2010.
Of all individuals determined to have achieved an employment outcome, the percentage who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or Business Enterprise Program (BEP) employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage.
99.17% of rehabilitants earned more than minimum wage.
Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the percentage who are individuals with significant disabilities.
78.2% of rehabilitants earning more than minimum wage were people with significant disabilities.
The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings levels equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the State’s average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed.
Did not meet
Performance is derived by calculating an hourly wage figure for each record, then determining the average of all those records. FY 2009 State Average Hourly Wage indicator 1.5 is used to compute the ratio (most recent data available).
Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage, the difference between the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support at the time they apply for VR services.
The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all non-minority individuals with disabilities.
DRS continued to streamline consumer service delivery by improving the technological infrastructure to support processes such as the vocational rehabilitation process through the Consumer Case Management System (ReHabWorks), Individual Desktop Hardware and Software (Seat Management) and all other hardware and software (Infrastructure and Development Platform Refresh).
In FY 2010, DRS spent $1,036,839 on Seat Management and $367,997on Infrastructure (hardware and software). Also in FY 2010, DRS spent $1,062,908 on ReHabWorks and an additional $830,153 on Infrastructure (DRS Infrastructure Enhancements, DRS Consumer Training, Communication Services and Network Infrastructure Improvements) using ARRA Stimulus funds.”
FY 2009 & FY 2010 Innovation & Expansion Activity Comparison
I & E Activity
$ FY 2009
$ FY 2010
State Independent Living Council Support
Rehabilitation Technology Devices & Services
The Rehab Technology Resource Center (RTRC) promotes the use of assistive technology (AT) and appreciates the potential it has to enable individuals with disabilities more opportunities to expand their level of independence and to enjoy life in the least restrictive environment. Through the use of AT, individuals with disabilities and age-related health conditions, can explore and attain their educational goals; obtain and maintain employment; engage in daily living activities including social and recreational activities; enhance communication skills; increase mobility and transportation and, in some instances, reduce dependence on family members and paid assistance. Moreover, the use of AT has proven a vital tool in a person’s ability to earn higher wages.
The DARS RTRC is a demonstration center for potential AT users and maintains the latest developments in assistive technology. The RTRC is a hands-on resource model, providing individuals/consumers with the opportunity to explore various low-tech and high-tech devices, while the AT Loan Program allows individuals to "try before you buy" - a conceptthat gives people a chance to evaluate various devices to assure a good fit before making a purchase. Additionally, this process helps consumers, assistive technology professionals, family members, employers and other rehab professionals to learn more about available solutions and to discover the many possibilities associated with the use of AT.
In FFY 2010, the RTRC staff were invited to participate in 17 conferences; made presentations to 19 organizations and/or groups; gave 53 AT demonstrations; purchased 38 state-of-the-art AT devices; and provided 166 AT loans to the disability community, their family members and rehab professionals.
This screen was last updated on Aug 10 2011 12:17PM by Jim Hanophy
The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is committed to the provision of quality services to persons with the most significant disabilities. DRS 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 (SE) provides competitive employment in the community for consumers with the most significant disabilities who need individualized assistance finding the most appropriate job match, and will most likely require ongoing accommodations and support within their work environment. DRS consumers who benefit from supported employment services are those for whom traditional vocational rehabilitation 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 the job. Often, consumers have been excluded from community services, institutionalized, or participated in segregated work programs such as sheltered workshops for long periods of time.
SE services provided for DRS consumers finds the best possible match between consumer skills, interests, abilities, support needs and the employer’s unmet needs. Employment Specialists either put supports or arrange for supports to be in place to accommodate these consumers. DRS uses the “place then train” concept to describe supported employment, which is a two-part process: first, place individuals with significant disabilities into competitive jobs; and second, provide training and support directly related to the job.
DRS also implements disability specific support strategies through pilot projects, such as piloting a Wellness Recovery Action Plan and Peer Support process that parallels the SE process for individuals with mental health disabilities. DRS encourages statewide adoption of these and other evidence based best practices that can be individualized at the field unit level. (DARS Business Plan Activity 3.2)
Consumers determined by a DRS counselor to be eligible for SE services are those:
- who have a significant disability;
- who require considerable assistance competing in the open job market;
- who can maintain competitive employment with necessary supports;
- who will need extended services to maintain employment following successful VR closure;
- for whom competitive employment has not occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability;
- for whom supported employment has been identified as the appropriate employment outcome by the consumer and the DRS counselor; and
- for whom another individual, organization, or other resource agrees to provide the extended services after the DRS-funded services cease.
DRS has identified six specific employment outcomes (benchmarks) for which payments are made to the provider during the course of the SE process. These are:
· Benchmark 1A- Completion of the Career and Community Support Analysis (CCSA) and CCSA Meeting
- Benchmark 1B- Development of the Supported Employment Services Plan (SESP) Part1
· Benchmark 2- Job placement and development of the SESP—Part 2;
- Benchmark 3- Four-Week Job Maintenance;
- Benchmark 4- Eight-Week Job Maintenance;
- Benchmark 5- Job Stability; and
- Benchmark 6- Service Closure.
Extended services are ongoing support services identified in the SESP Parts 1 and 2 to ensure job stability for the duration of the consumer’s employment. The need for extended services are reviewed and documented in the benchmark system for benchmarks 3, 4, and 5. Extended service providers are trained with the responsibility of facilitating extended support needs no later than the achievement of benchmark 5 and continue beyond Benchmark 6 (service closure), and are provided as long as the consumer needs them. A SE case must remain “stable” for at least 60 days from the achievement of benchmark 5 to be considered ready for the achievement of benchmark 6, service closure. Extended 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 required by the consumer to maintain employment.
Extended services are provided and/or funded by sources other than DRS, which might include the employer; and involve either on-site or off-site monitoring, as requested by the consumer.
Title VI, Part B and/or 110 funding is available statewide to all VR counselors to serve Texans with the most significant disabilities. Services leading to SE have been integrated into the VR service delivery system.
To ensure quality of supported employment provider services, DRS has standards and qualification criteria for all SE providers. A best practices training in supported employment is currently required for all providers. DRS and the Division for Blind Services are collaborating on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and general rehabilitation funded project to develop a competency and SE web-based training for new and existing providers. This training will ensure all providers of supported employment services can demonstrate entry level competency as it relates to the provision of services to DRS and DBS consumers. The projected date for the implementation of the competency training project is FY 2011. Ongoing training is also provided to all DRS staff: Vocational Counselors, Area Managers, and Program Specialist to ensure that quality outcomes matching the consumer’s strengths, interest, abilities and preferences are achieved.
DRS in collaboration with DBS continues to implement an Outcome Based SE process which includes standardized forms, policy and quality criteria to ensure quality performance by providers. A key component of the Outcome Based Payment System for SE is the emphasis on making use of the naturally occurring work supports and building those into extended services for the consumer. The payment structure creates financial incentives for the SE Provider to assist the employer to train and supervise their supported employee rather than supplanting with direct training provided by outside job skill trainers. Documentation requirements for four week, eight week, Stability and Service Closure Outcomes require the SE Provider to identify strategies for using the naturally occurring work or social supports for extended services and ongoing supports.
The timing of services leading to supported employment is important to successful outcomes for Texans with disabilities. When developing the IPE, the IPE must specify:
1. A goal for the number of hours the consumer will work each week;
2. A list of the employment supports, including extended supports needs such as natural supports, equipment and training needs at and away from worksite that need to be in place and continue after DRS closes the case; and
3. The name of the public or private provider of the employment support, including extended support services, or a statement explaining that there is a reasonable expectation that extended services will become available before transition to extended services.
VR counselors monitor SE cases closely including evaluating the case for employment stability prior to closure. Cases are 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 that is consistent with the consumer’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice;
- is employed at closure;
- and family member(s), (if applicable) and the VR counselor consider the employment outcome to be satisfactory, are satisfied with the supports, and agree that the consumer is performing well on the job;
- has substantially met the goal for hours of employment listed on the IPE and SE Service Plan—Part 1;
- has maintained suitable and “stable” 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 Aug 10 2011 12:17PM by Jim Hanophy
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