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

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

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

Preprint - Section 1: State Certifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below) Yes

Assistant Commissioner

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

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

Assistant Commissioner

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryJim Hanophy

Title of SignatoryAssistant Commissioner

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

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2014Yes

Comments:

Signed?Yes

Name of SignatoryJim Hanophy

Title of SignatoryAssistant Commissioner

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

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

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 4: Administration of the State Plan

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities (Option A was selected/Option B was not selected).

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

  1. The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
Division for Rehabilitation Services

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Preprint - Section 6: Program Administration

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 7: Financial Administration

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

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

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

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

Preprint - Section 8: Provision of Supported Employment Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council

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

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

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

The Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT), which is the State Rehabilitation Council for Texas, met with Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) quarterly as a part of the Council meeting. During these meetings, DRS provided quarterly updates to the council and the RCT provided input and recommendations to DRS. During the year, the RCT representation was included in the vocational rehabilitation renewal project. This project used an appreciative inquiry model to highlight what the organization does well and how to use this information to improve DRS services and outcomes. The RCT uses a committee structure to provide more focused review and comment to DRS. These committees are: the executive committee; the program planning and review committee; be policy, procedures, and personnel development committee; the consumer satisfaction and needs assessment committee; and the advocacy and education committee. Much of the interaction included exchanges of information in order to achieve greater clarity and understanding. While the detail work is done in the committee structure, all comments and recommendations are made from the full RCT. The following is a summary of the input and recommendations made from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. Recommendations are transmitted to the DRS both verbally at the RCT meetings and in writing throughout the year by committee reports, the full RCT minutes and the “to do “list. Recommendation: The RCT is concerned about the low responses to the customer satisfaction questions regarding whether the consumer took part in choosing their providers or their goals. The RCT recommends it work with DRS in 2014 to devise a strategy to ensure that counselors are adequately involving consumers in choosing their provider and their goals. DRS Response: DRS implemented an on-line tool to assist counselors in providing a broad range of information to consumers to help them make informed choices regarding providers to help them reach their goals. Due to size of the state and significant differences in population density and public transportation, choices available to consumers vary significantly between urban and rural areas. DRS also feels that the wording of the questions related to consumer choice may be contributing to misunderstanding by consumers responding to those survey questions, and hence resulting in artificially low responses. Accordingly, next steps include working with the RCT to assess these issues during the coming year. 2014 State Plan Recommendation: The RCT applauds the work that DRS has done to develop employers for direct placement from high school to work; however, the emphasis placed on direct placement into employment for transitioning youth appeared to be the preferred mode for transition. The RTC recommended the narrative be revised to emphasize the importance of offering a full range of services to eligible individuals of transition age that are based on the individual’s needs and informed choice. DRS Response: The text of the attachment was revised to more accurately reflect the fact that through informed choice an eligible student has many options. Such options include college, vocational school, apprenticeships, supported employment, self-employment and more based on need. DRS explained that the agency is using strategic partnerships to outreach to schools and communities as a direct pipeline to business partners to address a gap for students who choose such an option. 2014 State Plan Input: The RCT questioned the DRS’s ability to fulfill the promise in the state plan of providing some level of contact and service to all transition aged youth with disabilities, as there are 90,000 Texas students with an IEP and an unknown number of 504 students in approximately 1500 schools, with less than 600 VRC to perform the transition activities. DRS Response: In review of the draft 2014 VR State Plan, the RCT felt that draft language may be incorrectly interpreted to imply intent for DRS to provide some level of contact and service to all transition aged youth with disabilities. As there are 90,000 Texas students with an IEP and an unknown number of 504 students in approximately 1500 schools, with less than 600 VRC to perform the transition activities, DRS revised the text in the state plan document to clarify intent. 2014 State Plan Recommendation: In order to better plan for the future, the RCT recommends more detail about the future VR staffing needs to be included in the CSPD attachment including information on the following: Specific optimum caseload size by position; Specific projected needs by position for each of the next 5 years; Specific number of personnel expected to retire as a separate category for the next five years; Specific number of additional positions needed to respond to population growth for the next 5 years; and, Include the number of persons who do not meet the CSPD standard. DRS Response: DRS revised the CSPD attachment to include the aforementioned information. 2014 State Plan Recommendation: The RCT noted that the FY 2014 estimate for the number of eligible individuals with disabilities served is 2,300 less than its 2013 goal. DRS also provided information about the increasing numbers of persons with disabilities which is increasing with the population while applications for VR services are declining. The RCT recommends that DRS analyze the factors impacting the decrease in applications for VR services. DRS Response: DRS subsequently revisited its methodology in developing the FY 2014 estimate, resulting in a higher estimate for FY 2014. DRS continues the commitment of providing high quality employment outcomes to consumers and is equally committed to working better, faster, and smarter in recognition of the fact that staffing and resources remain static. This will require DRS to decrease the number of consumers exiting the VR program unsuccessfully. Because of this, the number of overall consumers receiving services will decrease while the number of consumers with successful outcomes will continue to rise. 2014 State Plan Recommendation: Increase the state plan goal for Consumer Satisfaction Measure 3.3 related to the consumer’s acknowledgment of having exercised choice in the VR process from 70% to 75% in 2014. The RCT recommends the goal be moved up to 80% in FY 2015. DRS Response: DRS revised the state plan to reflect an increase from 70 to 75% in Consumer Satisfaction Measure 3.3 and will revisit this goal for the FY 2015 to consider an additional increase. 2014 State Plan Recommendation: The RCT recommends that DRS more clearly describe the strategies it will take to meet each goal. For example, one strategy states that DRS will “strengthen existing partnerships and develop new partnerships to include HHS agencies, workforce, social security etc.” This strategy is to support the adequate performance on the standards and indicators. The RCT recommends that DRS and RCT work together to provide specific strategies which include the goal or purpose of the strategy/relationship and why/what needs to be strengthened. DRS Response: DRS will revisit the current process and format for the development of the FY 2015 VR State Plan in an effort to more clearly describe the agency’s strategies as well as the relationships between goals and strategies. Policy Recommendation: The RCT recommended that it work with the Division of Blind Services, DRS, and Client Assistance Program (CAP) to develop a plan to provide services from both divisions to one consumer at the same time when it best serves the need of the consumer. DRS Response: DRS and DBS have already worked to establish an MOU for this process Policy Recommendation: The current DRS brochure provided to consumers does not contain information about the 180 days limitation to file an appeal. The RCT recommends DRS include information about the 180 days limitation to file an appeal to their brochure, “Can We Talk”. DRS Response: The DRS “Can We Talk” brochures were revised with the English version currently available for distribution. The Spanish version is expected to be available late July 2013. Policy Recommendation: DRS is conducting a “policyectomy” in which they are revisiting the entire policy manual. The RCT recommends that DRS involve the RCT including the RCT policy committee in this process. DRS Response: DRS staff have provided regular briefings and updates to the RCT to keep members apprised of the progress of the “policyectomy” project and proposed policy revisions. Recommendation for the upcoming year: The RCT provided input on the selection of a hearing officer which was not accepted. The RCT recommends that DARS continue the discussion to clarify the role of the RCT in hearing officer selection. DRS Response: The DARS legal department requests input from the RCT on the applicants for hearing officers and then chooses the most qualified individuals to provide this services.

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2013 12:25PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen was last updated on Aug 27 2009 10:55AM by Edward West

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

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

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

The Division for 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; and to access electronic wage data in order to verify employment history and income for consumers for closure data and SSA/VR reimbursement submission.

·         Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) 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.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

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

The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) works closely with the education system through the DRS VR Program. DRS is part of 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 with vocational exploration. 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. DRS provides for the development and approval of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) before each student to be eligible for VR services leaves the school setting. Planning occurs through informed choice so that an eligible student has options for further training. Training might include college, vocation school, apprenticeships, supported employment, self-employment and more based on need. DRS also uses strategic partnerships to outreach to schools and communities as a direct pipeline to direct business hiring for students who choose such an option. DRS works with high schools to ensure appropriate youth with disabilities are referred to DRS. To improve service delivery and student retention, DRS will define measurable parameters for retention as well as set clear, realistic goals and expectations to enhance accountability.

DRS remains committed to the continued collaborative working relationship with public education in Texas. Alliances with members of the community, service providers and business results in providing more opportunities to expand available option for students who may find employment, embedded training for employment, supported employment, customized employment, self-employment or traditional collegiate activities as possible paths to success. 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 considered in the development of the DRS 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:

DRS will support innovation, expansion activities and overcome barriers to accessing VR programs. DRS will 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. Other specific strategies and outreach efforts to serve students better, faster and smarter include:

• Coordinate transition planning activities with the IEP using developmentally appropriate DRS Transition plans;

• 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;

• Actively educate youth about emerging labor markets as an ongoing endeavor to help youth make informed choices;

• Continue to monitor outcome of youth with disabilities to see that they enter work with living wages;

• Identify youth receiving SSI as early as possible to help with concerns regarding impact of employment on benefits;

• Connect SE Providers with eligible youth as appropriate to help in development of work skills and informed choice;

• Establish Best Practice programs in partnership with education and business to provide successful training and employment services;

• Leverage alliances with school and business to provide both demand and supply side needs for better outcomes for students;

• Continue to work with programs like Project SEARCH to help youth with disabilities develop work skills while in high school; and

• Work in partnership with business to assure youth entering the world of work will be equipped as needed with appropriate technology to adapt to work in the 21st century.

VRCs develop partnerships with schools and community alliances to help students with disabilities make a smooth transition to adulthood and work. Alliance members bring resources focused on increasing employment options for students. Additionally, VRCs’ 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, business and students as needed.

DRS is examining the roles and expectations of VRCs to determine what is appropriate and relevant for all as found in the DRS Transition Guide. 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.

Additionally, DRS makes available a specialist in each of its five regions 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.

DRS is in the second year of implementing Project Hire, an innovative program funded by the Texas Council on Developmental Disabilities that helps students with developmental disabilities attend South Texas College to obtain a vocational certificate or degree and subsequent employment. A key part of this program is a focus on community partnerships and vocational programs to support the students. DRS plans to replicate this program in the coming year (see Attachment 4.11(d) - Innovation and Expansion Activities).

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 19 2013 5:14PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

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

The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has identified a number of contracted services that are purchased only from entities that must be 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; Supported Self Employment; Vocational Adjustment Training; Job Placement; Job Coaching; Vehicle Modification; Durable Medical Goods; Embedded Training 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 its providers of rehabilitation services, who provide the services listed above. 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 providers, DRS posts notification of contracting opportunities on the Electronic State Business Daily after a need has been determined.

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 contracted 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 staff 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 2012, DRS implemented new CRP credentialing requirements for service provider staff and directors who provide job coaching, job placement, supported employment and supported self-employment services.  These requirements continue to evolve to refine the balance between compliance and customer services.  For example, credentialing has been expanded from two to three years with more flexibility in how CEUs are obtained. 

DRS has developed a database of CRP information and outcomes entitled “Information on Providers for Informed Consumer Choice (IPICC)” which is available to consumers as they exercise informed choice of providers.  The database includes information regarding the types of services offered, provider contact information, success rates and consumer satisfaction information.  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. 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

 

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 Supported Employment system  is to emphasize the use of the naturally occurring work supports and building on those supports as the consumer progresses into extended services in supported employment. The payment structure used for Supported Employment 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 Supported Employment require the CRP to identify strategies for using the naturally occurring work or social supports for extended and ongoing supports as well as paid supports when necessary that are usually administered through other state agencies.

 

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 that serve various disability populations when establishing both funding and service provisions that assist an individual with the most significant disabilities maintain employment.  Potential funding sources include Medicaid waivers, Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program, Department of State Health Services (DSHS) (the state mental health division), Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) (the state intellectual and developmental disabilities department) 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 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 uses its current partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to encourage Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Providers to become Employment Networks (ENs) under the SSA Ticket to Work Program.  Through SSA’s Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program, DRS partners with CRP-ENs to provide extended services and long term supports to Ticket consumers after VR case closure.  DRS offers incentive payments to CRP-ENs who provide Supported Employment or Job Placement services during the provision of VR services; and who provide extended supports to Ticket consumers after VR case closure that advance employment or increase consumer earnings.       

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 and the Division for Blind Services (DBS) collaborated with the University of North Texas (UNT) to develop a supported employment web-based training for new and existing providers. This training requires all supported employment specialists and job skill trainers that provide services to DRS and DBS consumers pass a competency test that evaluates each staff person’s knowledge, as it relates to the provision of supported employment services.  The training also includes topics related to skills, philosophies and theories. The training is available to other state agencies, staff and providers through UNT.

 

DRS conducts trainings across the state of Texas which are targeted to DRS staff working with supported employment consumers.  These 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.

 

DRS introduced supported self-employment services this past year.  This service is available to any consumer who meets eligible requirements for supported employment, who has an interest and the extended long term supports necessary to maintain a supported self-employment goal after DRS has closed the case.    In rolling out this service, the first year has focused on the training of both providers and DRS staff in the concepts, resources, philosophies, and theories related to supported self-employment.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of 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.  The Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) assists both DRS and the Division for Blind Services (DBS) in addressing issues related to personnel development.  Specifically, the Policy, Procedures and Personnel Development Committee of the RCT, meets quarterly to discuss the development and maintenance of policies and procedures to support the CSPD 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, 2012, DRS had the following Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to meet the needs of agency consumers:  498 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs), 98 Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (TVRCs), 25 Unit Program Specialists (UPS), and 359 Rehabilitation Services Technicians (RSTs).

 

Based on this complement of VRC/TVRC/UPS FTEs and the 2012 Texas population of 26,146,548, DRS had a ratio of one VRC/TVRC/UPS to 42,104 people at the beginning of FY2013.  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.

 

DRS is under an FTE cap and it is unlikely that the agency will see an increase in FTEs in the foreseeable future.  As a result, the agency must be innovative in addressing population demands.  Although it is highly unlikely that the FTE cap will be lifted, DRS has analyzed what the actual staffing need would be should an increase in FTEs be granted.  DRS will continue to focus on serving consumers with significant disabilities that require multiple, comprehensive and complex services over an extended period of time.  DRS projects the need for additional FTEs to support the rehabilitation program during the next five years as follows:  83 additional VR/TVRC/UPS FTEs needed between 2014 and 2019 and 47 additional RST FTEs needed between 2014 and 2019.

 

As of September 30, 2012, DRS had the following Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to meet the needs of agency consumers:  498 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs), 98 Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (TVRCs), 25 Unit Program Specialists (UPS), and 359 Rehabilitation Services Technicians (RSTs).

 

Based on this complement of VRC/TVRC/UPS FTEs and the 2012 Texas population of 26,146,548, DRS had a ratio of one VRC/TVRC/UPS to 42,104 people at the beginning of FY2013.  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.

 

DRS is under an FTE cap and it is unlikely that the agency will see an increase in FTEs in the foreseeable future.  As a result, the agency must be innovative in addressing population demands.  Although it is highly unlikely that the FTE cap will be lifted, DRS has analyzed what the actual staffing need would be should an increase in FTEs be granted.  DRS will continue to focus on serving consumers with significant disabilities that require multiple, comprehensive and complex services over an extended period of time.  DRS projects the need for additional FTEs to support the rehabilitation program during the next five years as follows:  83 additional VR/TVRC/UPS FTEs needed between 2014 and 2019 and 47 additional RST FTEs needed between 2014 and 2019.

For FY2014, 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 employment plans. For example, some noncore functions might include contacting consumers and setting up appointments, following up with providers, or monitoring academic progress for those in school.  On the other hand, core functions that a counselor must perform are the diagnostic interview, eligibility determination, development of an individual plan for employment and closure.

 

 

 

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VRCs 498 23 65
2 TVRCs 98 1 13
3 UPSs 25 3 5
4 RSTs 359 18 47
5 0 0 0
6 0 0 0
7 0 0 0
8 0 0 0
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Texas has a total of seven university rehabilitation programs available at the Master’s degree level. A total of 103 students graduated during the previous year (2010-2011) from in-state universities 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.

Please see table below for additional institutions:

Texas Tech Univ 108 18 32 25

2011-2012

Univ of TX – El Paso 33 2 10 0

2011-2012

 

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 University 2011-2012 10 1 5 2
2 University of North Texas 2011-2012 119 19 29 36
3 University of Texas - Austin 2011-2012 21 0 11 9
4 University of Texas Pan Am 2011-2012 110 0 17 29
5 University of Texas Southwestern Med Ctr 2011-2012 16 0 5 2

 

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.

 

Recruitment

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 25 active interns in FY2012; and 

 

·         DRS annually participates in job fairs or employment conferences to recruit individuals from minority backgrounds and persons with disabilities.

 

Preparation

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.  The DARS Center for Learning Management (CLM) partners with DRS to develop and deliver training for DRS staff.   DRS subject matter experts also provide training for staff in their areas of expertise.    An organizational needs assessment process has been developed to identify training needs and priorities.  The biennial needs assessment is conducted by the CLM with guidance of the DARS Learning Alliance, an advisory body comprised of senior staff from each DARS division.  DRS also periodically conducts targeted assessments to identify training needs in particular program areas or service strategies.  Staff perceptions, personnel development data and management information are all considered and evaluated.

 

The training provided in FY2012 included topics such as:  Basic and Advanced Workers’ Compensation, Substance Abuse, Diabetes, 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, Social Security Work Incentives, Physical Restoration, 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 conducted by CLM and DRS subject matter experts to enhance skills and develop a basic operational understanding of policy and implementation of processes during the initial training year.  Opportunities for professional and competency-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.  As of September 30, 2012, DRS had 103 counselors who did not meet the CSPD standard.  Of those 103 counselors, 57 are considered in progress working toward their degrees. Those counselors not in progress may be on probation as a new employee and are not eligible to begin school.  Additionally, 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.

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.

 

Retention

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;

 

·         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 or 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, and available computer resources. 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 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.

·         Implementation of training for new counselors that focuses on critical thinking and sound decision making.

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:

 

New Counselors:

 

All new counselors are trained using a sequence of learning events.  The sequence includes an assigned coach who uses a published quick start guide that includes a learning plan for both on-the-job training and required and optional courses. The learning plan guides the new counselor’s learning activities during the initial probationary period.   Based on the learning plan, training is provided throughout the initial year through a series of required courses, peer training and coaching sessions that focus on guiding each consumer to successful achievement of their employment and/or independent living goals. Training covers rehabilitation policy and procedures as well as values-based decision making, informed consumer choice, employment assistance, and successful closures.  In addition, new counselors learn effective strategies for caseload management, working with community rehabilitation program providers, assessing employment trends, matching employer needs to qualified consumers, and building successful partnerships with consumers, businesses, schools, and other community resources.  Following completion of the probationary period, 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 RST’s are trained using a sequences of learning activities. The sequence includes an assigned coach and a quick start guide that includes a learning plan for on-the-job training and required and optional courses. Training is then provided throughout the initial year through attendance at a required course on RST fundamentals, other courses as assigned by the RST’s supervisory, peer training and coaching sessions. The fundamentals course focuses on the role of the RST in facilitating successful employment outcomes for consumers.  The required course addresses both internal and external customer service, purchasing, disability etiquette, and an overview of values-based decision making and the RST’s role in the VR process.  Following completion of the initial training period, the RST and supervisor develop a professional development plan that identifies additional training and development activities to support the RST’s successful performance.  The plan is then updated annually and designed to enhance the growth of RSTs throughout their tenure with the agency.  The agency offers an educational assistance program that may be available to RSTs who choose to pursue the necessary educational credentials to advance in the field of vocational rehabilitation.

 

New Area Managers:

 

New Area Managers also participate in a sequence of learning activities to develop their skills and competencies.  This sequence includes a regional orientation followed by a series of self-directed activities guided by a comprehensive Orientation Outline.  These activities provide training for new managers in VR program management, effective coaching, and values-based decision making.  New Area Managers also attend training in the Central Office that includes instruction on agency-specific management practices and expectations, leadership, and quality assurance.  Following completion of the initial 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 specialty Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors who are liaisons for High schools  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 and businesses 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 20 2013 12:32PM by Cheryl Fuller

Attachment 4.11(a) Statewide Assessment

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

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

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

Purpose:

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.

Approach:

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.

Limitations:

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.

Findings:

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:

Age

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.

Ethnicity

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.

There were no findings that identified individuals with disabilities in unserved or underserved minority groups.

Urban/ Rural

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).

Impairment

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.

*There were no findings derived from the needs assessment that provided sufficient data to draw any definitive conclusions regarding individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services. This may be a limitation of the information-gathering tools of the needs assessment and will be a focus of the next needs assessment.

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 supportfor 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.

Inadequate Funding

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.

Transportation Services

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 DirectoryA 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 19 2013 5:28PM by Cheryl Fuller

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

DRS estimates that approximately 73,260 consumers will be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services in FFY 2014 and that DRS will provide vocational rehabilitation services to all 73,260 consumers in FFY 2014.   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 $2,964.  The estimated cost for the provision of services to all consumers is $217,147,340 including approximately $1,522,397 in Supported Employment costs. 

The estimated number of consumers that will receive supported employment services in FFY 2014 is 6884.

 

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
Title I Title I $217,147,340 73,260 $2,964
Title VI Title VI $1,522,397 6884 $221
Totals   $218,669,737 80,144 $2,728

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

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

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

The Division for 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 2014.  It is important to note that some targets set for FY 2014 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.

 

 

Goal 1:

To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals with significant disabilities achieving a quality employment outcome.

(Targets are based on RSA Standards & Indicators).

 

Measure 1.1:  The number of employment outcomes (successful closures) achieved will be equal to or exceed 11,857. (Baseline FY 2012: 11,856)

 

Measure1.2:  Of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving services, a minimum of 55.8% will have achieved an employment outcome. 

(Baseline FY 2012: 58.86%)

 

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 2012: 0.507

 

 

 

Goal 2:

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 2012: 52.19%)

 

Measure 2.2:  On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 80% of the respondents from minority backgrounds will indicate they are satisfied with their overall experience with DRS.  (Baseline FY 2012: 85.77%)

 

 

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.

 

 

Measure 3.1:  On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 80% of the respondents will indicate that they were satisfied with their overall experience with DRS. (Baseline FY 2012: 87.3%)

 

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 2012: 82.0%)

   

Measure 3.3:  On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 75% 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 2012: 72.7%)

 

Measure 3.4:  On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 85% of the respondents will indicate that they were satisfied with the explanation of services to help them reach their goal.  (Baseline FY 2012: 84.8%)

 

Measure 3.5:  On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 85% of the respondents will indicate that they had input in setting their employment goals. 

(Baseline FY 2012: 83.0%)

 

Measure 3.6:  On the consumer satisfaction survey, a minimum of 90% of the respondents will indicate that they were treated in a friendly, caring and respectful manner when they dealt with DRS staff.

Baseline FY 2012: 92.4%.

 

 

Goal 4: 

To provide supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities who require extended supports in order to achieve and maintain an employment outcome. 

 

Measure 4.1:  50% or greater of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome.  (Baseline FY 2012: 47.58%)

 

 

Goal 5 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.  

 

Measure 5.1: Expand Project Hire Model to a minimum of five locations (see Attachment 4.11(d)-Innovation and Expansion).

 

Measure 5.2:  Coordinate with Texas Tech University to open a minimum of three Project Search sites.

 

 

Goal 6

To improve and expand VR services to individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities.

 

Measure 6.1:  Number of successful closures for consumers with diagnoses of autism and intellectual disability will be 2,800 or higher.  (Baseline FY 2012: 2628)

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

Attachment 4.11(c)(3) Order of Selection

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Aug 27 2009 11:00AM by Edward West

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

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

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 2012, 6,840 Texans with the most significant disabilities were eligible for services under the Supported Employment program and 1,110 of these individuals were closed rehabilitated.  Methodology for reporting data has been adjusted based on guidance provided by RSA.

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 or supported self-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. New methodology was implemented FY2012 for reporting this measure.

Measure: 50% or greater of consumer exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome.

Baseline FFY 2012:   47.58%

The desired outcome of all supported employment and supported self-employment services is that each eligible person achieves competitive employment, either at a business or in their own business within the community and are provided individualized training and necessary support to maintain their employment goal.

A key component of the outcome based system for supported employment and supported self-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 to assist employers with the training and supervision of their supported employee rather than supplanting that with direct training provided by outside job coaches. Supported self-employment services uses the payment structure to teach extended long-term supports whether paid or natural to assist the consumer in efficiently and effectively running a business.  Additionally, the documentation requirements for both supported employment and supported self-employment requires the providers 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 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies

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

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

Strategy Expand program capacity through collaborative relationships with businesses and community partners that enable more quality employment opportunities for consumers. • Project Search • Clubhouse • Pilot projects for training and placement Measure The number of developed agreements. Baseline 2012: Project Search –DRS currently has one agreement in place with Seton Hospital and three agreements currently under development. Clubhouse will be piloted as a collaborative relationship that enables employment opportunities for consumers. DRS sought and procured services from Goodwill to assist in providing training and job placement services. The Pilot will have longevity of 12 months before a determination is made to roll out statewide. Pilot projects for training and placement- DRS currently has one location for Project Hire and several others under development across the state. Strategy To increase successful outcomes for transition consumers, DRS will use strategic partnerships to outreach to schools and communities as a pipeline to direct business hiring. Measure Number of successful closures for transition consumers. Baseline 2012: 2,924 Strategy With the goal of creating a more efficient VR delivery process, DRS will analyze business systems (with the assistance of a grant funded by Institute for Community Inclusion) and create a better, smarter, and faster VR system. As a result of this process, DRS analyzed population, potential demand and closure possibilities and issued challenges to field offices to meet new closure goals based on demographics. Measure Revamped business plan with a more flexible, responsive VR system resulting in increased outcomes for consumers and business partners. Note: Public meetings are planned for stakeholder review and input regarding any proposed process changes that would potentially impact service delivery. Revisions will accordingly be made to the State Plan to document any substantive changes in service delivery prior to implementation. DRS analyzed population, potential demand and closure possibilities and issued challenges to field offices to meet new closure goals based on demographics. Baseline 2012: • New business plan under construction • Established new measures for more people working based on potential demand and closure possibilities with geographic demographics Note: The following initiatives were put into place as a result of the appreciative inquiry process: • Policy revision underway to clarify, align and remove internal barriers to enhanced service delivery • Strategic Networks established based on Kotter’s model to accelerate creative and innovative process design • Developed DRS Leadership Principles • Addressed messaging through an Alignment document developed to further instill values related to service delivery Closure marks increased for FY 14 based on mathematical formula related to potential demand.

 

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.

Strategy 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. Measure 1. The number of assistive devices loaned for consumer demonstration and testing. Baseline 2012: 168 1. The number of vehicle modification purchasing transactions processed on behalf of VR consumers. Baseline 2012: 387 2. The number of purchasing transactions for assistive technology devices processed on behalf of VR consumers. Baseline 2012: 1397

 

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.

Population Category Total African American Hispanic White All Others

Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent

Eligible Served DRS VR

72,191

18,068

25%

20,144

28%

52,886

73% 2,054

3%

Texans With a Disability1 3,077,583 423,060 14% 953,393 31% 1,588,176 52%

112,954

4%

1 Based on 2011 three-year American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau and 2012 population estimates from Texas State Demographer. (Note: “Work Disability” was previously reported, but this is no longer included on the American Community Survey. The sum of percentages may exceed 100 due to rounding.)

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.

As of September 30, 2012, personnel records indicate that DRS vocational rehabilitation counselors identified themselves as follows: 47.73% White, 26.4% Black, 22.03% Hispanic and 3.84% “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:

• All DRS staff are required to take the Limited Language Proficiency training developed by the DARS Center for Learning Management. This training provides guidance on best practices and specific resources for effectively communicating with our unique population of limited language proficiency consumers. It also 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;

• Consumers have access to the language line.

• 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;

• Some counselors are participating in training to learn to speak other languages and attending sign language classes;

• DRS establishes specialized caseloads for certain disabilities to help develop the expertise needed to most benefit the consumers served;

• DRS actively recruits rehabilitation counselors who are Spanish speaking to better serve the Hispanic population; and

• Counselors and managers develop relationships with local referral sources that serve individuals who are minorities who have the most significant disabilities.

 

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

DRS partners 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 continues to implement new initiatives to increase the competencies of these CRP partners thereby enhancing services to consumers with disabilities.

DRS requires certain contracted CRP’s to obtain training and credentialing to ensure that CRP Job Coaches, Job Skills Trainers, Job Placement Specialists, Supported Employment Specialists, Supported Self Employment, and CRP Directors who oversee those positions meet basic criteria to effectively deliver employment services. This credentialing is required in order to become or remain a contracted CRP and began in FFY 2012. To better serve DRS consumers, the length of time for which the CRP credentials are valid has been extended to three years. Providers how have more time and resources for continuing education.

DRS has implemented a statistical CRP outcome report entitled “Information on Providers for Informed Consumer Choice (IPICC)”. This Intranet-based interactive database is available for counselors to share with consumers to facilitate informed choice as they select their providers. The database includes information regarding the types of services offered, provider contact information, and success rates. Plans are underway to enhance this tool to include counselor and consumer satisfaction survey information regarding CRP services as it becomes available. DRS is also considering a CRP recognition program..

DRS continues to review the need for revising 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.

The department is working to implement innovative Embedded Training projects that are partnerships between community rehabilitation providers and employers to provide employer based skills training programs. These Embedded Training projects promote opportunities for consumers to become employed with partner employers (or employers within similar industries) and for employers to have access to trained potential employees. New provider standards have been published to encourage the continued growth of employer based skills training projects.

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.

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.

 

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

Strategy

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.

Measure

The number of Standards and Indicators that are met or exceeded.

Baseline 2012: DRS met and/or exceeded performance levels for 5 of the 6 performance indicators in Standard I of the FFY 2012 Standards and Indicators, including primary indicators 1.3, and 1.4.

Strategy

Maintain a comprehensive training and evaluation system for VR Counselors and support staff.

Measure

The number of times Program, Planning & Review; Policy. Procedure and Personnel Development Committee meets with DRS.

Baseline 2012: 4 meetings during FFY 2012

 

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

Strategy

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.

Measure

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.

Baseline 2012: 28 local workforce development boards; 24 Public VR appointments;

212 One Stop Centers

 

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.

Strategy

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 better serve population of consumers;

• Create a statewide team that will focus on autism and also collaterally improve service delivery to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities;

• Identify Community Rehabilitation Programs with autism expertise who will each develop at least one partnership with a business that has an autism-friendly work environment;

Partner with businesses to educate, create or adapt their work environments to promote sustainable employment opportunities.

Measure

1. Number of field staff trained as specialists to serve persons with autism spectrum disorders.

Baseline 2012: Statewide autism team consisting of 43 VR counselors and 13 Regional and Central office staff. 23 CRPs have been identified as autism specialists. Each is charged with developing at least one business partnership with an autism-friendly business.

2. Number of successful closures for consumers with diagnoses of autism and intellectual disability.

Baseline 2012: 2,680 successful closures in FFY 2012 for consumers with diagnoses of autism and intellectual disability.

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 used several approaches to obtain information from individuals knowledgeable about the needs of people with disabilities and to identify existing barriers to serving those identified as being unserved or underserved, including key informant interviews with stakeholders, a survey of counselors, demographic research, and town hall meetings. Barriers to serving unserved and underserved populations identified in the CSNA were as follows:

• 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;

• Scarcity of available transportation creates challenges for potential consumers, especially in rural areas, to access DRS offices, providers, and jobs.

Strategies for addressing these barriers are as follows:

Barrier

Some potential consumers do not know that there are government services that can help them.

DRS Strategy

• Increase collaboration with other organizations to access services for consumers that do not duplicate services by DRS;

• Increase outreach efforts to the business community;

• Educate community leaders of the availability of DRS services to enhance outreach efforts to all ethnic groups;

• Offer the 211 Statewide Referral Helpline, a service that assists consumers with referrals to appropriate agencies for help;

• Enhance DRS website with more information regarding services and use of social media; and

• Conduct outreach activities identified in this attachment.

Barrier

Consumers have a fear of working resulting in loss of benefits.

DRS Strategy

• Continue to partner with community partners such as the local Social Security offices and Work Incentives Planning programs to dispel inaccurate perceptions regarding loss of benefits and attempt to work efforts;

• Continue to train new DRS staff to become Subject Matter Resources (SMRs) on benefits and work incentives( as of end of FFY 2013, 64 DARS staff had been trained as Benefits SMRs); and

• Continue statewide training for all VR counselors on basic benefits and work incentives supports and services. (as of the end of FFY 2013, 696 DARS staff had been trained in basics of SSI and SSDI work incentives);

• Design process and begin training for community partners to become work incentive coordinators independent of the SSA WIPA program.

Barrier

Inadequate funding for services.

DRS Strategy

• Level funding by population growth and FTE Cap;

• Identify and utilize available comparable services and benefits;

• Fully utilize the programs of the Social Security Administration and work to maximize SSA/VR reimbursements;

• Ensure VR consumers receive best value services;

• Sustain critical thinking and values-based decision making to enhance use of available resources;

• Pilot outsourcing of non-core activities to afford VR counselors more time to focus on core VR functions; and

• Provide budget management training for staff.

Barrier

Scarcity of available transportation, especially in rural areas, creates challenges for potential consumers to access DRS offices, providers, and jobs.

DRS Strategy

• Continue to participate in Health and Human Services regional coordination forums related to public transportation to advocate for local improvement (Continued participation in established forums and participation in newly formed forums during FFY 2011 Rural Transit Alliance);

• Collaboration with Mobility Partnerships and other community partners on Tarrant Rides and Information Partnership and Denton Works in Tarrant and Denton counties to provide mobility management services designed to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the viable mobility of person with disabilities (We continue this collaboration); and

• Rehab in the Community – DRS will be exploring more efficient and effective ways by which our counselors and staff can engage with consumers in their communities so that the service delivery process is not entirely dependent on our physical office locations.

• CRP Rural Mileage reimbursements – as a pilot project, DRS is currently experimenting with paying a limited mileage reimbursement to CRPs willing to travel to and provide services in rural areas which are otherwise under or non-served by CRPs.

• Community Driven - DRS will research ways in which collaboration with community resources, family members and friends may potentially be able to help alleviate complications arising from the lack of public transportation & transportation access in rural settings.

The Division for Rehabilitation Services (DRS) does not discriminate in the provision of services against any person (employee, applicant or consumer) because of race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status. DRS administers all programs and conducts business, either directly, indirectly, or through contractual or other arrangements in accordance with:

• Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended;

• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended;

• Americans with Disabilities Act;

• Age Discrimination Act;

• U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Regulations; and

• Other applicable rules, regulations or guidelines.

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 20 2013 12:25PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

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 2012 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.

 

Measures

Description of Progress FFY 2012

1.1. The number of employment outcomes (successful closures) achieved will be equal to or exceed 11,381     

The number of employment outcomes DRS achieved in FFY 2012 was 11,856.       

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 2012,           

58.86% achieved an employment outcome.

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.

Of the individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome earning at or above minimum wage during FFY2012, the average hourly earnings when compared to the State’s average hourly earnings was .507.

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.

Of the individuals achieving a competitive employment outcome earning at or above minimum wage during FFY 2012, 83.96% 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.

 

Measures

Description of Progress FFY 2012

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.

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; 52.19% 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.

85.77% of respondents from minority backgrounds indicated they were satisfied with their overall experience with DARS.

 

 

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.

 

Measures

Description of Progress FFY 2012

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.

87.3% of respondents  indicated they were satisfied with their overall experience with DRS.

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.

82.0% 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 they had input in planning the services they received.

84.6% 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.).

72.7% of 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 they were satisfied with the explanation of services to help them reach their goal.

84.8% 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.

83.0% of respondents indicated that they had input in setting their employment goals.

 

Goal 4:  To increase the quality of and access to available supported employment services.

 

Measures

Description of Progress FFY 2012

4.1. 57% or greater of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome.

In FFY 2012, of the individuals exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services, 47.58% achieved an employment outcome.  Note:  New methodology was used in reporting this measure.  Supported employment is now based on a case record showing IPE marked as “yes” for supported employment goal or work status at closure as supported employment.  Goal 4 for the FY 2013 State Plan has been revised to include three measures that more accurately reflect supported employment performance.

 

 

 

Goal 5:  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.

 

Measures

Description of Progress FFY 2012

5.1. Recruitment or reassignment of staff so that no less than 98 transition vocational rehabilitation counselor positions are available to assist special education students preparing to leave high school. 

 In FFY 2012, 98transition vocational rehabilitation counselor positions were available to assist special education students preparing to leave high school.   

 

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.

The Transition Guide is now being used by all VRCs. This enables clear guidance for case transfer.

5.3 Upon graduation, 3100 students will transfer to adult services.

Note: This measure is no longer relevant.  Starting September 1, 2012, the definition of transition for DRS is a consumer at application who is 16-24 years of age.  The consumer will be considered transition for the life of the case.  Life of the case is up to closure.  If a consumer’s case has been closed and they return for services and do not fit the age range of 16-24, they are no longer considered transition.  The total number of individuals served meeting this definition for FFY 2012 was 26,420.

 

Goal 6:  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.

 

6.1. Monitor and determine if the supported self-employment policy is meeting the needs of consumers, providers and counselors, making enhancements as appropriate.

DRS established a method to identify consumers receiving Supported Self-Employment Services that reflects their progress in achieving benchmarks as outlined in DRS policy.

 

A.   Strategies that contributed to the achievement of goals and priorities and to the extent which goals were not achieved; an explanation of the factors that impeded achievement:

 

Goal/Priorities

Strategies/Impediments to Achievement

1)

To provide vocational rehabilitation services that result in individuals with significant disabilities achieving a quality employment outcome.

 

In FFY 2012, the number of employment outcomes increased over the previous year, exceeding the Standards and Indicators target by 329.The percentage of individuals exiting the VR program with an employment outcome after receiving services during the fiscal year 58.86%, exceeding the Standards and Indicators target by 3.06%.

2)

To effectively provide VR services to consumers from minority backgrounds with significant disabilities and to ensure they are satisfied with services provided.

In FFY 2012, 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; 52.19% were from a minority background, a slight increase over the previous year. For FFY 2012, the satisfaction rate for consumers’ overall experience with DRS for all consumers was 87.3%, a 0.4% increase from the previous year. For white consumers the satisfaction rate was 87.79% and for minority consumers the satisfaction rate was 85.77%.

 

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. 

Consumer satisfaction survey data for FFY 2012 reveals that by far the majority of DRS consumers report that they receive timely services and that they are afforded necessary information about service providers, employment options, and other choices in order to assist them in making informed choices.  Satisfaction rates for Measures 3.1 through 3.6 range from exceeding the target by 2% to falling below the target by 4%.It should be noted that demographics affect the level of consumer choice options.  Provider options within a reasonable proximity of the consumer’s home are often limited in remote rural areas in contrast to large metropolitan areas where multiple options are readily available.

4)

To increase the quality of and access to available supported employment services. 

DRS fell short of meeting the FFY 12 goal by 9.42%. The 9.42% deficit appears to reflect the new methodology that was created for determining the success of Supported Employment cases and did not capture all consumers eligible for Supported Employment. It appears when  DARS implemented the new methodology, It decrease or stopped the recording of placement of consumers who are eligible for Supported Employment, but are being placed either by a DARS counselor or by another DARS program.  The new methodology captured the consumers placed by the service identified as Supported Employment Benchmark System.   DARS has provided guidance to the field to code all consumers eligible for SE and plans to fix the calculation error when the Case Management System software can be updated.

Consumers with most significant disabilities continue to face challenges when gaining competitive employment because there are so many over-qualified individuals competing for positions.  DARS continues to build relationships with employers so that successful placement of consumers eligible for Supported Employment can be increased. DRS anticipates that the percentage of Supported Employment consumers who will reach an employment outcome will be increase as the economy continues to rebound. 

 

DRS has introduced a new service, supported self-employment (SSE) which will allow for additional opportunities for consumers with the most significant disabilities.  It is believed that SSE will benefit consumers in currently underserved areas where wage supported employment opportunities are limited.

 

DRS has a web-based training and certification program for all community rehabilitation programs providing job coaching, general job placement and supported employment services and is now implementing the maintenance portion of the credential to continue to build the capacity of CRPs providing services to DARS consumers.

 

DARS partners with the Department of Aging and Disability Services(DADS) and Department of State Health Services(DSHS) Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division and continues to focus on how the agencies can work together to provide employment placement and extended long term supports of consumers with the most significant disabilities.

 

5)

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.

DRS revised the definition of Transition to reflect the RSA definition of Transition.   DRS also recognized that the agency was under reporting the number of transition students due to not counting Transition students on regular VR caseloads.

This is now more consistent with many other states. DRS has connected to TEAs twenty ESCs in order to deliver consistent communication statewide for working with youth with disabilities. DRS is part of TEAs Transition Network. 

 

6)

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.

DRS continues to monitor the Supported Self Employment Services. DRS has had consumers referred to and begin the Supported Self-Employment Benchmarks System.  It takes a great deal of planning and teamwork for supports to be established and implemented for a consumer with a most significant disability to research, plan, evaluate and run a business for profit.  DARS requires the business to operate for a minimum of 258 days before closing a case successfully.  With the length of time for a consumer to achieve the employment outcome successful and the limited number of consumer currently requesting this service, it will take several years of data before DRS can determine the effectiveness and needed changes to this new service. 

 

 

The goal in the FFY 2012 State Plan is to increase the quality of and access to available supported employment services.  The outcome measure was that 57% or greater of consumers exiting the VR program after receiving supported employment services will achieve an employment outcome.  DARS fell short of meeting the FFY 2012 goal by 9.42%. The 9.42% deficit appears to reflect the new methodology that was created for determining the success of Supported Employment cases and did not capture all consumers eligible for Supported Employment. It appears when  DRS implemented the new methodology, it decreased or stopped the recording of placement of consumers who are eligible for Supported Employment, but are being placed either by a DARS counselor or by another DARS program.  The new methodology captured the consumers placed by the service identified as Supported Employment Benchmark System.   DARS has provided guidance to the field to code all consumers eligible for Supported Employment and plans to fix the calculation error when the Case Management System software can be updated.

Consumers with most significant disabilities continue to face challenges when gaining competitive employment because there are so many over-qualified individuals competing for positions.  DARS continues to build relationships with employers so that successful placement of consumers eligible for Supported Employment can be increased. DRS anticipates that the percentage of Supported Employment consumers who will reach an employment outcome will increase as the economy continues to rebound. 

 

DRS has introduced a new service, supported self-employment which will allow for additional opportunities for consumers with the most significant disabilities.  It is believed that supported self-employment will benefit consumers in currently underserved areas where wage supported employment opportunities are limited.

 

DRS has a web-based training and certification program for all community rehabilitation programs providing job coaching, general job placement and supported employment services and is now implementing the maintenance portion of the credential to continue to build the capacity of CRPs providing services to DARS consumers.

 

DARS partners with the Department of Aging and Disability Services and Department of State Health Services’ Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division and continues to focus on how the agencies can work together to provide employment placement and extended long-term supports of consumers with the most significant disabilities.

 

 

 

For FFY 2012 DRS exceeded performance levels for 5 of the 6 performance indicators in Standard I, including primary indicators 1.3 and 1.4.  In FFY 2011, DRS’ focus continued to be on implementing strategies to keep consumers actively engaged throughout the VR process.  Accordingly, the number of employment outcomes increased by 330 in FFY 2012.The percentage of individuals exiting the VR program with an employment outcome after receiving services during the fiscal year exceeded the Standards and Indicators target by 3.06%.  Partnering with businesses and working closely with CRPs continues to play a pivotal role in DRS consumers achieving employment. Of the consumers that earned over minimum wage, 83.96% were people with significant disabilities.

 

 

Primary

Indicator No.

Description

FFY 2012 Performance

 

1.1

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.

Exceeded

Number of successful closures increased from 11,526 in FFY 2011 to 11,856 in FFY 2012, an increase of 330.

 

1.2

Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage who are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

Exceeded

58.86% achieved an employment outcome by the end of FFY 2012.

P

1.3

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.

Exceeded

97.67% of rehabilitants earned more than minimum wage.

P

1.4

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. 

Exceeded

83.96% of rehabilitants earning more than minimum wage were people with significant disabilities.

P

1.5

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

 

0.507. Performance is derived by calculating an hourly wage figure for each record, then determining the average of all those records.

 

1.6

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.

Exceeded

53.99%

 

2.0

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.

Exceeded

0.9395

 

 

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 consolidation of data center hardware and software (Department of Information Resources’ Data Center Services contract).

 

In FY 2012, DRS spent $1,055,447.20 on Seat Management and $1, 460,184.89 on Data Center Services.  Also in FY 2012, DRS spent $823,058.84 on ReHabWorks maintenance and support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FY 2011& FY 2012 Innovation & Expansion Activity Comparison

I & E Activity

 

 FY 2011

 FY 2012

RCT Support

$75,324

$75,899

State Independent Living Council Support

$150,038

$150,038

Rehabilitation Technology Devices & Services

$988,892

$6,585,433

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rehab Technology Resource Center

The "Tech Act" provided the first legislated definition of assistive technology devices and services. Since the passage of this landmark legislation, these definitions have been used in all subsequent laws passed that included the provision of assistive technology such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), P.L. 99-457 (Early Intervention Act), and IDEA (Amendments to P.L. 94-142, Special Education Act). The definitions included in the "Tech Act" are as follows:

Assistive Technology Device

"...any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Assistive Technology Service

"...any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device."

Assistive technology services include:

Ø  Evaluation of the technology needs of the individual including a functional evaluation in the individual’s customary environment.

Ø  Purchasing, leasing or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices for individuals with disabilities.

Ø  Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs.

Ø  Assistive technology training and technical assistance with assistive technology for an individual with a disability, or where appropriate, the family of an individual with disabilities.

Ø  Training or technical assistance for professionals, employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or otherwise are substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.

 

The primary goal  of the Rehab Technology Resource Center (RTRC) is to promote the incorporation of technology in the lives of Texans with disabilities.  Assistive Technology empowers people with disabilities, giving them control, and providing them with choices in all aspects of their lives. For many years, the RTRC was centralized in one location.  During FY 12, a decision was made to move the  technology closer to the community making it even more accessible to consumers.

 

Texas is a large and diverse state and serves a large population of individuals with various physical and mental disabilities. These individuals benefit from the use of assistive technology in their daily activities in the areas of speech and communication, mobility, computer access, electronic aids for daily living, sensory aids, videos and ergonomics.  DRS  was challengeed to maximize the delivery of Assistive Technology services from a central location.  Since the  state is divided into five geographic regions,the RTRC developed a partnership with regional offices in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Lubbock. Each region designated an Assistive Technology Resource staff contact.

The RTRC worked with each region to address their unique concerns and assure the availability of devices for their on-site device loan and demonstration programs.   A list of the most frequently requested technology was developed.  Assistive technology kits were developed based on this list and provided to each region.  Kits will be updated as demand and technology changes.  

The RTRC works in coordination with the Business Relations Unit as a consultation service to business, extending the loaner program for accommodating employees with disabilities and providing alternative solutions for public accommodations.  The RTRC also provides training to  individuals and organizations that are interested in enhancing their knowledge in the area of assistive technology.  Examples include the Veterans Administration, Behavioral Health Centers,  schools, universities, rehabilitation facilities and the general public.

 

The RTRC has expanded its relationship with Texas A & M Transportation Institute (TTI) for vehicle modifications.   TTI is primarily responsible for vehicle modifications reviews and inspections.  The vehicle modifications review is a detailed review of the automotive adaptive equipment recommended or being placed on a consumer’s vehicle in order for the consumer to operate the vehicle safely.  Information includes medical records, driver’s evaluations, functional capacity assessments, consumer’s driver’s license with appropriate restrictions, information regarding the consumer’s vehicle (make, model and mechanical condition), and the cost of the proposed technology.  A detailed report is completed regarding the findings and submitted to the field with guidance.  

Vehicle Inspection is an assessment of equipment and method of installation. The inspection is to assure that the equipment and installation comply with required Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards , the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DARS/DRS Standards for Vehicle Modifications and any state standards.  The inspection assures the vendor has completed the work according to DRS specifications.  Inspectors/TTI submit to DRS a Vehicle Equipment Inspection Report. The report verifies that the vehicle is in compliance with the standards and identifies any deficiencies.   This streamlined process allows consumers to receive their modified vehicles in a more timely manner.

 

The RTRC seeks to create a dependable and consistent system of service delivery that is consumer- driven.   

 

 

 

 

 

This screen was last updated on Aug 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

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

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

The Division for 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 require extended long term supports within the work environment, community and home environments after DRS has closed the case.  DRS consumers who benefit from supported employment services are those for whom traditional vocational rehabilitation approaches 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.  Supported 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 has implemented supported self-employment (SSE) services as an alternative employment option for individuals who choose to own their own business within their community.  In supported self-employment the extended long term supports assist the consumer in effectively and efficiently run their business for a profit.  The extended supports are put into place and assist the consumer’s team in establishing researching a business idea for feasibility, creating a business plan and implementing as well as, evaluating the business plan to ensure the business is successful.

Consumers determined by a DRS counselor to be eligible for SE or SSE 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 or supported self 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.

 

In the outcome-based purchasing methodology, providers of supported employment and supported self-employment services receive payment when they assist eligible consumers achieve specific outcomes called “Benchmarks”. 

Extended services are ongoing support services which are identified and documented  for both SE and SSE and usually remain in place for the duration of the consumer’s employment. Extended service providers both paid and “natural” or in-kind are trained with the responsibility of facilitating extended support.

 

 

 Extended services may include, but are not limited to:

·      consultation with the employer or the consumer business owner for problem areas or training needs (including direct skills training, if necessary);

·      facilitation of natural supports on and off the worksite;

·      facilitation of business related responsibilities necessary to run a small business 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; family, community resources 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 services provided by supported employment specialist (SES) and supported self-employment specialist (SSES), both positions must become credentialed in supported employment from the University of North Texas.  SSES must also be certified by The Center for Social Capital as a Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultant (CBTAC).

 

For Supported Employment, DRS in collaboration with DBS continues to implement outcome based processes which include standardized forms, policy and quality criteria to ensure quality performance by providers.  A key component of the Supported Employment  process 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 of the SE Provider identify strategies for using the naturally occurring work or social supports for extended services and ongoing supports through all benchmarks in the system.

 

The timing of services leading to supported employment and supported self-employment is important to successful outcomes for Texans with disabilities.  When developing the IPE for SE, 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. 

 

When developing the IPE for SSE the IPE must specify:

  • a goal describing the intent of the approved business plan for the consumer’s business,
  • a list of the specific employment support needs that have been identified, including

    • natural supports, and
    • equipment, tools, software, products, or services related to establishing the business as referenced in the CCSA and Business Plan;

  • the expected extended services needed, including natural supports;
  • the coordination of services provided under other individualized plans for other federal or state programs, and
  • the consumer’s contribution of other resources to help establish and maintain the business.

VR counselors monitor SE and SSE 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 or has an established business making a profit 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 or is able to maintain the established business, maintaining a profit;
  • has substantially met the goal for hours of employment listed on the IPE and SE Service Plan—Part 1 or the Supported Self-Employment Services Plan  ;
  • has maintained suitable and “stable” supported employment for a transition period of at least 60 days in SE and the consumer has been running the business for eight weeks (168 days) cumulatively 90 SSE; and
  • has maintained the employment outcome for a total of at least 90 days in SE or a SSE consumer has been running the business for 7 months (258 days cumulatively.

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 19 2013 5:08PM by Cheryl Fuller

System Information

System information

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on:08/20/2013 12:32 PM

Last updated by:satxfullerc

Completed on: 08/20/2013 12:32 PM

Completed by: satxfullerc

Approved on: 08/20/2013 3:07 PM

Approved by: rsaweste