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

View Washington Department of Services for the Blind VR State Plan for 2012 H126A110072 @Published

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Washington Department of Services for the Blind State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)

1.1 The WA State Department of Services for the Blind 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 WA State Department of Services for the Blind [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

Lou Oma Durand

... 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

Executive Director

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Lou Oma Durand

Title of Signatory
Executive Director

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/23/2011

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 2012
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is 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

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. Yes

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) has met four times since the last State Plan update. Meetings were all held in Seattle and were open to the public, including a phone conferencing system with call-in information advertised ahead of time allowing interested consumers to take part regardless of where they live throughout our state. The agenda included a public comment period and allowed for opportunity for input on any subject related to the business of the agency including the vocational rehabilitation, independent living and employment of blind Washington citizens.

Topic areas included the following:

o Washington State Government Reform o State Budget shortfalls & Impact to Agency o Management of the Independent Living Program for the Older Blind o American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) projects o Comprehensive Needs Assessment o Re-organization / Integration of IL - Part B Services o Legislation that would have suspended the Council / Travel Exemption Request o Orientation & Training Center Residential Program – New Housing Project o Update to DSB’s Strategic Plan o State Plan Update o Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) IL performance measures and achievement of those measures o Recruitment of SRC Members o VR Employment Outcomes o Collaboration and Partnering with Native American 121 VR Programs o SRC Annual Report

Communication and Collaboration

The Council is pleased with the relationship is has with the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB). Decisions that may have impacted programs and services were reviewed by the Council and the Council provided input as necessary. The relationship between the Council and DSB is considered a partnership that involves very dedicated members and staff that are committed to the sustainability of the agency and the customers served by the agency.

DSB Response

DSB is very pleased with the collaborative relationship that has developed with our State Rehabilitation Council. It is a relationship where DSB has been prodded to improve but also where ideas and suggestions are openly shared.

State Budget Impacts

The Council supported the agency in making required budget cuts as necessary but opposed cuts that would impact the core programs of the agency which included the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, Independent Living – Part B, and Independent Living Program for the Older Blind (ILOB).

The SRC recognized DSB staff for their advocacy and good work in leveraging resources and absorbing budget cuts without impacting services provided to customers.

DSB Response

DSB faced some difficult challenges this last fiscal year with the required 10 percent budget cut but was able to utilize existing resources and move the funding of the Deaf Blind Service Center to the Office of Deaf & Hard of Hearing so that other programs and services were not impacted. DSB will have to continue to be careful about spending during these difficult economic times.

Review of State Plan

The Council reviewed the components of the State Plan and agreed with the updates. The Council recommended including a public forum to solicit input for next year’s update to the State Plan.

DSB Response

DSB uses many forums to obtain input from customers, constituents and the general public throughout the year, the Council meetings being one of those forums. DSB agrees that next year a broader process could be sought to solicit additional input specific to the State Plan.

This screen was last updated on Aug 12 2011 4:42PM by Marla Oughton

This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

This screen has never been updated.

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.

American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs Statewide Agreement - DSB has an existing statewide agreement with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs (AIVRP) to work cooperatively to facilitate access to vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians with disabilities who want to work. The agreement represents the cooperation, coordination, and collaboration necessary to create an effective service delivery partnership designed to increase employment opportunities for those served by our programs. Parties to the statewide agreement include (9) specific Tribal programs, three of which represent several affiliated tribes who are served under a confederated alliance with neighboring nations.

In October 2010, representatives from DSB, DVR, and the Tribal VR Programs met together in Arlington to discuss the commonalities of our programs and the unique differences that distinguish traditional public VR programs from the American Indian VR program.

DSB has continued meeting with several tribes from the northwest and southwest portions of Washington and staff from DVR quarterly to improve the way tribal members are served through the public VR agencies.

Veterans Administration - DSB has begun a series of meetings to improve the coordination of services between DSB and the different components of the Veterans Administration (VA). This includes connecting our regional teams and the local VA VIST coordinators as well as working with some of the different components of the VA’s American Lake facility.

Division of Developmental Disabilities - Some of DSB’s customers have developmental disabilities in addition to blindness. When this happens DSB coordinates services with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). This coordination takes the form of sharing of costs, providing natural supports, and working collaboratively to ensure seamless service delivery.

Public Institutions of Higher Education - DSB and DVR have entered into an agreement with Public Institutions of Higher Education in Washington. This agreement works to help collaboration occur for our customers who are going to Higher Education schools. One of the primary components in the agreement concerns cost sharing for certain high cost accommodations.

Easter Seals, Lilac, & Edith Bishel - DSB works closely with these three Eastern Washington agencies. These agencies often refer clients to DSB and occasionally provide services and offer support programs to our customers.

Lions Low Vision Clinics - DSB works with Lions Low Vision Clinics around the state. DSB staff has also been presenters at several Lions Low Vision Fairs as well as sitting on some Lions Boards. Sometimes they refer people to our agency as well as providing services to some of our customers.

The Deaf Access Center - DSB’s Yakima office works closely with The Deaf Access Center. Sometimes they refer people to our agency as well as providing services to some of our customers.

The Hearing Speech and Deafness Center - The Hearing Speech and Deafness Center is housed in Seattle and is a resource for our Deaf-Blind customers in 13 Washington Counties through a contract with the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Helen Keller National Center - The Helen Keller National Center is a resource for DSB on Deaf-Blind resources and sometimes provides contracted services to DSB customers as well as trainings for DSB staff for working with DSB customers.

Goodwill Industries of Tacoma - DSB has formed a long-term partnership with Goodwill in Tacoma. Goodwill provides a training center, CRP services, and has a computer lab that is accessible to our customers.

Yakima Special Needs Coalition - This group is a gathering of many community programs working on issues of transportation for individuals with disabilities. The lead agency for the coalition is People for People our primary regional transportation provider for individuals that cannot access the public transit. Our focus this past year has been on emergency response and providing transportation to those individuals with disabilities that would need transportation services to evacuate safely from the Yakima County area. This action was in response to the Naches/ Nile Valley hillside collapse that stranded many residents in that area from being able to get to the surrounding communities. Another accomplishment that this group had a large part in was assisting the Yakama Nation in securing a grant to bring a transportation service to the Yakama Indian Reservation serving all residence on the reservation native and non-native folks. This system called the Phato Transportation Service allows people to get from remote parts of the lower valley into the businesses and employers Monday through Friday and is free of charge. Having this service has actually benefited two of our very own DSB customers to be able to accept jobs within the city of Toppenish while they live out in the rural area of Wapato and Harrah. Karla has joined me as a participant of this planning group to connect with the other agency providers, county officials, and others that serve people with disabilities as a form of outreach to increase the areas knowledge of DSB and our services available to their customers.

This screen was last updated on Jun 22 2011 9:20PM by Marla Oughton

  • 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.

Coordination with K-12

DSB Transition services are initially provided to students and to their families, beginning when the students are fourteen years of age. The DSB Child and Family Program has three full-time staff who maintain a database that includes all blind children whose parents choose to be participants of DSB. Child and Family Transition Counselors coordinate with local school districts and the Washington State School for the Blind to identify blind children who, previous to their fourteenth birthday, were unknown to DSB. At age sixteen, the Child and Family Program refers blind students who choose to seek an employment outcome to the DSB Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program as well as to other providers of adult and post-secondary services. Case management activities for students who apply for VR services are coordinated between the Child and Family Transition Counselors and the VR Program Counselors until the student leaves the K-12 school system.

Coordination with Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the DSHS, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

DSB has an existing letter of agreement between the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the DSHS, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) that assigns responsibility and coordinates activities to promote cross-system collaboration between DVR, DSB and Local Education Agencies in providing services and programs for students who are eligible for special education services under IDEA and who are also eligible for services through DVR or eligible to receive services from DSB. This letter of agreement is in effect until August 31, 2008. In addition, DSB Child and Family Program staff & management meet quarterly with representatives from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to discuss issues and activities related to students who are eligible for special education program services throughout the state.

Coordination with Washington State School for the Blind

DSB no longer has a formal agreement with the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) but is continuing to coordinate and collaborate regarding specific referral procedures and transition related activities that the agencies jointly conduct for blind youth and their families throughout the state. These include:

1. A statewide Transition needs assessment and strategic planning process.

2. Development of a system for Transition data sharing between WSSB, DSB, the Washington Instructional Resource Center and local school districts.

3. Joint outreach and case-finding activities based on 1 and 2 above.

4. Referral of potential VR eligible Transition students at age 16 to the DSB Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

5. Assessment and training services for Transition students statewide in the areas of daily living skills, orientation and mobility, communication skills, access to technology, vocational aptitudes, interpersonal and social skills, and academic preparation.

6. Collaboration with local school districts and employers to provide community-based work experiences to students who are assessed as ready.

7. Collaboration on career fairs, Transition workshops and special intensive adaptive skills-training workshops around the state.

DSB’s Vocational Rehabilitation policy, WAC 67-25-399 – Vocational Rehabilitation Services - Transition Services for Students, has been revised to reflect earlier referral to the VR program and to require the development of an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) as early as possible and no later than their senior year.

DSB currently maintains an office on the campus of the Washington State School for the Blind which fosters frequent interactions between Transition students who are working with the VR Counselors in preparation of graduation. This arrangement also provides easy access for school personnel who are collaborating with the VR staff in the planning and provision of career exploration and work experience opportunities for these students. A DSB staff member is also on the WSSB’s Board of Education.

This screen was last updated on Jun 15 2010 6:00PM by Marla Oughton

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

Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs)

DSB in collaboration with the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) employs a milestone service-based fee structure with private, non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers for employment services. The most commonly purchased services include: vocational evaluation, trial work experience, job placement, intensive training, job retention, and transitional employment. Community Rehabilitation Program providers were qualified through a Request for Proposal (RFQ) process administered by the general agency which defined CRP services and fees, and the qualifications that a CRP must meet. DSB contracts with qualified CRPs using a Service Delivery Outcome Plan (SDOP) process which clearly describes: goals, objectives, outcomes expected, timelines for achieving the goals, and fees to be paid. These service delivery outcome plans are agreed to by the VR customer and/or their representative and require the signatures and approval of all parties who are involved in the service delivery process.

VR Service Providers

DSB has established a qualification process for vendors who provide pre-employment services such as Rehabilitation Teaching, Orientation & Mobility and Assistive Technology training. Prior to permitting direct-unsupervised access with VR customers, all vendors/providers of services are required to complete and pass background checks through an FBI fingerprinting process. In requiring both the technical qualification process and the criminal background check of providers, DSB has taken the necessary steps to ensure that when VR customers choose to utilize community providers, they are afforded the utmost safety and the highest quality services that are available.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 11:22AM by Marla Oughton

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.

Through the local associations with the Division of Development Disabilities (DDD), an umbrella agency of the Department of Social and Health Services, DSB has developed on-going working relationships for the provision of extended services via Supported Employment. Local area DDD staff and regional Administrators are aware of the availability of VR services through the Department of Services for the Blind, and our agency also continues to work with employers and other natural supports to identify long term funding and support for extended services. In addition, DSB works closely with the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER) who sponsors and promotes SE training activities throughout the state and region. Participation and attendance to these events by DSB staff offers continuous opportunities for VR personnel to network with other entities who are actively involved in SE placement efforts.

DSB staff also network with a variety of entities through their attendance at various statewide Supported Employment conferences that are sponsored by local organizations. These events draw hundred’s of registrants from public and private agencies who promote and provide services to people with the most significant disabilities.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 7:59PM by Marla Oughton

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

(1a) Washington Services for the Blind (DSB) employs 58 personnel to serve approximately 1,200 individuals per year: 14 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors; 9 Rehabilitation Technicians; 7 Assistive Technology Specialists; 3 Regional Team Leaders; 1 Program Specialist 5 Project/Placement Specialist; 8 Orientation & Mobility/Rehabilitation Teachers; 6 Rehabilitation Teacher 3s; 4 Statewide Program Coordinator for Blind and Visually Impaired (3 Transition, 1 Family of Birth-5 specialist); 1 Orientation and Training Center Manager; 1 Special Projects Manager; 1 Office Assistant 3; 1 Procurement and Supply Specialist; 1 Confidential Secretary; and 1 Assistant Director.

July 1, 2009, DSB VR Program, known as Customer Services, implemented a new integrated services business model of service delivery. Due to recent budget cuts, Governor initiated Executive Orders, and the potential for additional cuts, the decision was made to re-organize and re-structure the way we do business. Customer Services allows service delivery team members to provide the full range of DSB services to customers of all ages. It breaks down conventional program barriers/silos based on funding source and allows service teams to provide seamless customer service and leverage effort, resources and specialized expertise to achieve the highest level of personal and financial independence for all customers. These statewide regional cross functional field teams are made up of a total of 14 VRCs, 9 Rehabilitation Technicians, 1 Rehabilitation Teachers (RT), 6 RT/O&M Specialists, 7 Assistive Technology (AT) Specialists, 4 Statewide Program Coordinators for Blind and Visually Impaired (3-Transition Specialists and 1 Family of Birth-5 Specialist). The regional teams have access to intensive adaptive skills training at the Orientation and Training Center with 5 Rehabilitation Teachers and 2 O&M/RT Specialists. Services to IL Older Blind will continue to be contracted out to community providers.

The Customer Services/Vocational Rehabilitation Program is divided into 3 Regional Teams statewide—North, South and East. The three Regional Team leaders each supervise 13, 16, and 10 professional and paraprofessional staff respectively. In addition to monitoring and supporting the daily activities of staff, the three Team Leaders take a proactive role to provide consistent, timely coaching, mentoring, and training. Team Leaders also conduct, which includes a team of peers, regularly scheduled case reviews which help to assure quality customer service is being provided in a timely fashion and that all service provision is being conducted within the operational guidelines that have been established.

(1b) DSB is currently at full and adequate staffing levels with fifty-three (53) personnel providing direct VR services. Fifty-three (53) are needed for comprehensive service delivery. In FY10, DSB experienced a single VR counselor vacancy and maintained fourteen full-time counselor positions throughout the state. The location of the vacancy occurred in our largest regional office, and the five remaining counselors working in that location were able to provide stable and consistent support to every new and existing customer without delays or interruption in service provision. The one Program Specialist 5 project position was changed to include direct placement services, and is a new member of the North Regional team.

Despite a hiring freeze mandated by state legislation through the end of the state fiscal biennium, in FY11 we had 3 vacancies that we were able to fill through obtaining approval through the State Exemption to Hire process. 1 Orientation and Mobility/RT3 in the Orientation Center, 1 Assistive Technology Specialist in Vancouver, and 1 Rehabilitation Technician vacancy was reallocated and filled as a statewide Procurement and Supply Specialist whose role is that of primary statewide purchasing and inventory agent for Customer Services. We are confident that our existing staff and managers can meet the needs of our customers by frequently monitoring caseload sizes, and making adjustments as needed to prevent any detrimental burden to staff and customers.

(1c) The Department’s Administrative Policies state that individual managers and the Field Services Leader team determine the most appropriate staffing levels by continually evaluating changing workload needs and recommending staffing changes, specific job classifications and location of program positions. Also considered is the need for rotational and/or developmental assignments to fill hard to recruit positions.

Given the hiring freeze, the agency may find that we are unable to hire when vacancies occur in the future due to attrition, retirements, and separations. This could result in a reduced workforce that is unable to meet the service needs of our customers creating a waiting list which could potentially lead to an order of selection.

To ensure an adequate supply of qualified state rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals, the following are estimated vacancy rates: Given the average 5-year employee turnover rate of 20% multiplied by the 53 total number of the VR workforce, it is likely that eleven (11) vacancies might be anticipated each year for the next 5 years. The number of VR personnel expected to retire in the next five years is six (6).

It is projected that approximately 1,200 individuals per year will be served. Based on these projections, it is anticipated that the staffing level of 59 will be needed to meet our service provision needs.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 VR Counselor 3 7 0 2
2 VR Counselor 4 7 0 2
3 Rehabilitation Technician 1 9 0 2
4 Rehabilitation Teacher 3 6 0 4
5 Rehabilitation Teacher 3 / O&M 8 0 2
6 Statewide Program Coordinator Blind / VI 4 0 2
7 Assistive Technology Specialist 7 0 2
8 ITS5 - AT / CS Team Leader 1 0 0
9 PS5 - 2 Team Leaders / 1 Placement/Special Project 3 1 1
10 Procurement & Supply Specialist 2 1 0 0

 

(2a) Western Washington University (WWU) is the only graduate program in the state of Washington that directly prepares vocational rehabilitation professionals.

(2b) Western Washington University currently enrolls 48 students per year in the Masters of Rehabilitation Counseling program.

(2c) In FFY 2010, Western Washington University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program graduated 19 students. All of our current counseling staff meets CSPD standards as they have all earned Masters Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling and 12 possess valid Certified Rehabilitation Counselor credentials, 2 plan to sit for the CRC. DSB plans to continue to hire only qualified VR counselors in these positions, as the agency has adopted this level of education as a minimum requirement.

In FY11, specific training needs of our counseling staff and other VR professionals were primarily met through the utilization of training resources within the region and by working closely with the Technical Assistance Continuing Education (TACE) / Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER). In support of the professional development of our staff, the RSA In-service Training Grant funding was fully utilized during the past year to strengthen their ability to provide quality services to customers with significantly disabilities.

Throughout FY2012, our business and training involvement with TACE/CCER, other state agencies, and institutions of higher education will continue to enhance our opportunities to effectively recruit qualified staff and counselors into positions where they are needed.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 Western Washington University 48 0 9 19
2 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

The Department actively coordinates with Washington colleges/universities offering studies towards degrees in vocational rehabilitation specifically, Western Washington University, Portland State University, and the University of Idaho, Western Oregon University, San Diego State University, Fresno State University, Arizona State University, and Utah State University. The purpose is to secure information on enrollment quantity, and on graduates with certification or licensure, or with credentials to qualify for certification or licensure during the past year, as well as on minority and disability status.

The Department maintains a recruitment mailing list, and a website posting list including placement offices of institutions of higher education, which the Department will continue to use to advertise vacant vocational rehabilitation positions. Recruitment information is also posted on the agency web site and on several other web sites that support rehabilitation professionals.

All (14) of the Department’s VR counselors meet the Washington State standards for CSPD which requires a CRC and/or a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

In FY09, the agency implemented a VRC4 level position through internal promotion only. Previously, all DSB VRCs were VRC3’s. The VRC4 position does not increase the number of counselor positions statewide, nor does it reduce the number of customers served statewide. The VRC4 position builds in a career ladder by promoting VRC 3’s to VRC 4’s based on a comprehensive review to determine if they meet the distinguishing characteristics that demonstrate superior counseling skills and the ability to handle the most complex cases. The review includes information from team participation, case records, and performance appraisals. At the beginning of the year SFY09, four (4) VRC3’s were promoted to VRC4’s, and at the beginning of SFY10, three additional (3)VRC3’s will become VRC4’s for a total of seven (7) of 14 VRCs statewide. This move acknowledges and compensates for outstanding work and enhances our retention of qualified counselors.

Since 2005, four rehabilitation technicians have been involved in professional development plans and have subsequently been promoted into higher level VR positions. One attended graduate school and became a qualified VR Counselor, the second, became a qualified Assistive Technology Specialist and the third, became a Rehabilitation Teacher/O&M Specialist. The fourth Rehabilitation Technician completed a Master’s degree program this year in preparation to become a Low Vision Specialist, but due to the fact that the agency has been affected by a hiring freeze and FTE cap, this individual left the agency and accepted a position with the Veterans Administration in a Low Vision Specialist capacity. During FY10, one Certified Rehabilitation Teacher obtained her competencies and certification in Orientation and Mobility. This greatly enhances our depth and breadth of service delivery capacity in the field. In selectively hiring college educated candidates who have expressed an interest in pursuing higher levels of responsibility within the disability profession, DSB has been successful at utilizing the classification of Rehabilitation Technician and Rehabilitation Teacher positions within the agency to support and promote staffing requirements. We also have a Rehabilitation Technician in our Tacoma office that has her Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation. Our Tacoma office has 3 VRCs that could potentially retire within the next 5 years.

 

Qualified Counselors

As previously noted, DSB has fully adopted a standard for recruitment and development of qualified counselors in accordance with Rehabilitation Act regulations. That standard requires a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or the person to hold a valid Certified Rehabilitation Counselor credential.

Currently, all 14 VR counselor positions meet that standard and there are no future plans to modify these criteria for the VR counselor positions.

Specific training needs of our counseling staff and other VR professionals are primarily being met through the utilization of training resources within the region with occasional support being secured through national workshops and conferences.

As a small Department, we do not conduct regular credit earning workshops in rehabilitation. To remedy that, we continue our coordination with our regional TACE/CCER at University of Washington to identify educational opportunities as well as develop new resources for earning credit through in-service training and other alternative approaches. Our business and training involvement with TACE/CCER, other state agencies, and institutions of higher education will continue to enhance our opportunities to effectively recruit qualified staff and counselors into positions where they are needed.

As previously stated, during the past year DSB had one qualified counselor position vacation that the agency elected not to fill. As vacancies occur in the future, we will attract and recruit qualified counselors from other programs or from the annual pool of university graduates in Rehabilitation Counseling.

The Department and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) work jointly on the development of the State Plan and the SRC maintains an active role in the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel to support purposes of the Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998.

 

The Department’s five-year In-service Training Plan for Rehabilitation, Training Needs Assessment, describes how the Department assesses and prioritizes ongoing training needs through input from the following sources:

*Results of audits, evaluations, state and federal compliance reviews, and agency case reviews identify critical areas that need to be addressed through staff training and provide the basis for our annual VR Program Training Plan.

*Annually, a formal comprehensive Performance and Development Plan (PDP) with each employee. The PDP is a standard tool used with all State of Washington employees to evaluate job performance, performance expectations for the coming year, and with an emphasis on individualized staff development needs. Specific development and/or training needs are identified for each employee, by the employee and supervisor that should be addressed during the following or year to come.

*The Department’s Affirmative Action Plan.

* Strategic Plan priorities and objectives requiring training as part of implementation.

Once all needs are identified and compiled, the Field Services Team Leaders meet and plan the training agenda and prioritize the training needs of Department employees.

A training plan is developed for all VR counselors for the first 6 months of hire. Training is conducted by the Team Leader, a VRC4 mentor/coach, and various members of the field service cross functional teams. Comprehensive training plans are developed for all other direct service delivery positions as well.

As previously noted, full utilization of the FY11 In-Service Training Grant by the Department’s staff was managed and conducted in accordance to the priorities that were identified through multiple sources. These included: The Training Needs Assessment, results of annual performance evaluations, state and federal compliance reviews, and agency case reviews. All of these sources helped to identify critical areas that needed to be addressed through staff training and they provide the basis for our annual VR program training plan and priorities.

DSB will continue to utilize regional training resources including: TACE/CCER at the University of Washington, City University in Spokane, the Washington State Department of Personnel’s Human Resources Development Division, and private organizations and agencies for various rehabilitation related topics.

While the Department continues to encourage entry level VR staff to pursue higher level positions including that of VR counselor, the agency also encourages lateral movement when alternate job skills appear to be better matched and suited to an employee’s skills and aptitudes. Paraprofessional staff who express an interest in furthering their professional knowledge and skills within the field of vocational rehabilitation, with supervisory approval and as budget allows, are provided with financial support from DSB through tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of coursework. Throughout the past year, staff training and development included: Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation (CVES), Jack Dial; World of Work Inventory (WOWI); Irlen Training Seminar; Dependable Strengths Training; Where Empowerment Begins; Washington Initiatie Fall Forum for Benefits Planners; Oregon Rehabiliation Association 2010 NW Conference on Professional Development in Disability; SHRM Western WA Diversity-Inclusion Conference (NABWIS); CLC Transition, Learning and Work 2011; Preparing Visually Impaired Students to Assess and Cross Streets / AER Oregon; CRC 2011 Ethics Webinar; ASPE National Conference on Supported Employment; and the Motivational Interview training series. In addition, for succession planning efforts, 2 staff participated in Emerging Leaders Program through TACE/CCER.

Customer Services staff in general are frustrated with the restriction on out-of–state travel. Although out-of-state travel restrictions prevented the attendance of our Assistive Technology staff to participate in the annual California State University at Northridge Technology Expo and also committed to reading technology journals and reporting new information on adaptive technology devices to their peers. This method of acquiring up-to-date information and disseminating it to co-workers is a good practice and has proven to be an effective way to maintain the technology skills that are needed to support the gamut of customer jobs that require complex technology platforms.

VR Customer Services management and direct service staff have participated in training sessions that address revised Department VR policies and best practices that were implemented in FY10. Topics of discussion included: Presumptive Eligibility, appropriate use of Trial Work and Extended Evaluation, the provision and documentation of informed choice(s) to customers, definitions and criteria for levels of disability, timely development of the Individual Plan for Employment, Self-Employment as a viable outcome, Transition Students entering the VR program, Supported Employment, & utilization of Community Rehabilitation Programs to support customer goals.

The Department subscribes to local and national state-of-the-art rehabilitation journals and disseminates these to appropriate service delivery staff. Through Rehabnet the Department also shares special studies and findings with rehabilitation agencies throughout the nation. University rehabilitation research programs regularly apprise the Department of the latest research results. Counselors are also encouraged to pursue continuing education in the field of rehabilitation research.

 

While several of our staff members speak such diverse languages as Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and Korean, in general, we access community resources to communicate with diverse populations including native languages, Braille, large print, and ASL.

Individuals who are Deaf-Blind or Hard-of-Hearing/Blind may communicate with staff via voice relay service. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are utilized when needed for any in-person meeting, training or event.

Department policies, procedures and community resources ensure that applicants and recipients of program services who have limited English speaking ability are provided with the appropriate mode of communication to fully benefit from public VR services.

The Department continues to employ personnel who are fluent in the use of these communication styles to fully benefit the recipients of the program based on the preferred method of communication of the customer.

 

DSB coordinates with special education programs through cooperative agreements with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and through collaborative projects with the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB). Our Transition staff coordinates transition activities and conduct in-service training activities throughout the state to teachers of the visually impaired and other Special Education personnel. In addition to providing in-service training, they work with school district staff and DSB counselors to ensure customers receive services and information necessary to facilitate a smooth transition from school to adult services. Based on assessments and training provided by the Department, Transition staff provide recommendations and information to school districts, WSSB, parents and students about vocational rehabilitation services including availability, referral, and eligibility requirements that support a coordinated transition plan from school to post-school services. Consultation is also provided as early as necessary to special education staff regarding IEP planning and development. DVR, DSB and OSPI staff shares data and reports relevant to program development and planning.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2011 11:36AM by Marla Oughton

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

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

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

The Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) was conducted during FY 2011 and its intent was to consider the vocational rehabilitation needs of blind and visually impaired citizens of Washington State and the capacity of the agency to meet those needs with the existing internal and external resources available. This assessment was completed with direct involvement, guidance and input from the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), and it was conducted by internal staff using a variety of data gathering methods.

The assessment was completed to not only satisfy the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, but to determine whether our program goals, objectives, & strategies are sufficient to meet the needs of all our existing customers, whether our efforts are producing the outcomes by which our performance is measured, and determine if there is a need to develop new business priorities as we face on-going State budget cuts that adversely affect our ability to meet the expanding needs of Washington State residents who are blind and visually impaired.

The information obtained from the CSNA was used in three primary ways:

1. Agency management staff used the information for improving program operations. This included evaluating where staff should be located, prioritizing outreach, and providing data to our legislature.

2. Providing data and making presentations to community partners so that opportunities for people who are blind in Washington could be enhanced. This included our Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Partners, our local National Industry for the Blind affiliate, WorkForce affiliates, and community organizations.

3. Presentations were made to the SRC to help them have useful data to help guide our agency.

Methodology a. Assessing the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities:

Participant Satisfaction Surveys

The agency has a long history of conducting participant satisfaction surveys with individuals who have open VR cases as well as those with recently closed cases. This has been an activity that occurs in conjunction with annual individual counselor case reviews in which cases are drawn from each counselor’s caseload and reviewed for quality assurance by: Team Leaders, a VR Program manager, and peers (who work outside the region where the review is occurring). All cases that are selected for review are automatically designated for a live customer satisfaction survey via telephone contact. This “live” survey process requests feedback from the participant on the services provided by the counselor and other internal team members i.e., Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Assistive Technology Specialists, Rehabilitation Teachers, Low Vision Specialists, etc. and, also seeks feedback from the participant regarding their satisfaction with external service providers and vendors.

The entire case review and the customer surveys typically takes several days to complete, and once concluded, the Quality Assurance Team meets with the counselor and other team members to provide feedback related to the management of the caseload. If specific issues are noted from the case review and/or participant survey, they are immediately addressed with the DSB staff who are involved with the customer, and Team Leaders use the information from the participant survey and case review to set performance and development expectations for the counselor in the coming year.

If there are issues related to external service providers/vendors, or the needs of VR customers that can’t be remedied through existing business processes or procedures, these concerns are taken to the Assistant Director of Customer services for further discussion and action. Unmet customer needs are typically a situational occurrence that can be resolved at the local level. In those instances where customers have pointed out the need for process improvement – the agency has been receptive to making changes that will improve service delivery and increase the likelihood of our customers achieving successful competitive employment outcomes.

Closed Case Participant Satisfaction Survey

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) developed a closed case Satisfaction Survey that requests information from previous VR customers who were actively involved in the VR Program (development of the Individual Plan for Employment ) and subsequently had their cases closed– both successful and unsuccessful outcomes.

Historically, this survey was sent to each participant in the appropriate alternative format with the request that it be completed and returned. The response rate had been disappointing low and the SRC elected to contract the survey work to be conducted via personal “live” contact via a phone discussion with each customer. At the time of this writing, the contract to conduct the next round of “live“ satisfaction surveys is complete, customer/contact information has been provided to the vendor, and this process will be initiated in early Fall 2011 with the survey results being reported to the SRC by late Fall.

We are aware that there will be former VR customers who may have been contacted on two separate occasions during the course of the counselor case review process and the SRC “closed” case satisfaction survey, however the questions are different and the results of the surveys focus on improving individual counselor performance as well as overall program performance.

Community Meetings

The Director and members of the SRC conduct community meetings each quarter to provide information on the services offered by the agency and to seek feedback and comments regarding services provided and services needed by customers and potential customers. Both paper and electronic mailings are sent to all stakeholders including current VR customers, consumer groups, service providers, vendors, and other interested parties. A general announcement is also published, and the agency makes available the option for conference calling so that anyone who wishes to participate in the meeting can do so. Feedback and public comments made by the attendees are recorded and action items are developed for follow-up. This process provides agency personnel with important feedback from customers who may express ideas of what changes may be needed to improve and enhance service delivery throughout the state.

Agency staff have attended and participated in meetings with members from the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE), an agency whose mission is to foster public/private collaboration in the development of employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities. The purpose of these meetings were twofold: to provide information about DSB services to community leaders and WISE staff who specialize in working with individuals who have development disabilities & are blind and visually impaired, and to solicit feedback on potential resources and methods which are required for those individuals who need on-going job supports in order to maintain their jobs.

DSB agency staff have also attend meetings with community rehab providers (CRP’s) who offer a variety of services to individuals with disabilities on a fee for service basis. Through discussions and vendor feedback on the challenges in working with blind and visually impaired individuals, our agency has offered “vendor training” sessions titled: “Understanding Blindness and Successful Employment Outcomes”. These training sessions offered CRP’s the opportunity to openly discuss their fears and concerns in being able to work with blind customers, and provided them with information on the wide range of abilities of people with blindness and low vision as well as low and high tech accommodations. By identifying the concerns that community rehabilitation program personnel are experiencing when working with our customers, and offering them proven methods that have led to successful outcomes, we are better able to help these entities- to help our customers achieve meaningful employment.

Agency personnel also participated in VR Tribal meetings to discuss strategies and partnerships in serving disabled Native Americans who are blind & visually impaired to become gainfully employed. These meetings offered a greater awareness of the cultural beliefs, philosophical differences, and approaches that exist between Native VR services and traditional VR. They also promoted access to vocational rehabilitation services and increase employment opportunities for those who are served by DSB and the American Indian Vocational Rehab Program. These meetings included representatives from several Tribal Nations, the General VR agency, and RSA.

Meetings with Higher Education

The Department of Service for the Blind and the general VR agency have participated in meetings with the Council of Presidents representing Washington’s four-year institutions and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. These meetings have supported the existing interagency agreement between the state’s public institutions of higher education and the vocational rehabilitation programs. This process has brought together Administrators and direct service staff of all of the parties concerned to discuss, assess, and improve how we are conducting business on behalf of our mutual customers.

The Results

(A) Individuals with significant disabilities, including Supported Employment

As reflected in our FY11 RSA-113 report for the third quarter, 96.1% of the individuals who are currently receiving services from DSB are identified as being “significantly disabled”. Historically, the percentage of new cases that have been determined eligible with significant disabilities ranges in the 92-97 percentile. While the agency has been quite effective in meeting the rehabilitation needs of most VR customers, and we assist between 130-147 individuals to achieve competitive employment on a yearly basis, we readily acknowledge that our Rehab Rate is below standard, and the number of new applicants has not been increasing at the level that we anticipated –given our current outreach efforts.

Because DSB is not in an Order of Selection and does not expect to invoke an Order of Selection in the foreseeable future, the agency is able to provide immediate services to all eligible customers regardless of the significance of their disability. In regards to Supported Employment needs of VR customers, Washington State provides counties with public funding for work opportunities to those who may be best suited for work in community rehabilitation programs i.e., sheltered workshops or work centers, however long-term funding is not always available to those who are working in an integrated setting. While we have been successful in working with Job Developers to secure suitable “competitive” employment sites for SE customers, the long term support that is needed following the placement and stabilization has been more challenging than in years past. DSB currently has (25) VR customers who have been identified as needing long-term support and have Individual Plans for Employment. With many of these cases, our agency staff was required to seek out extended services where ever they could, and this frequently led to the identification of “natural supports” offered by co-workers where the disabled individual is employed. This arrangement of complete reliance on co-worker support has been of increasing concern as this option relies heavily on the goodwill offered by the employer and co-workers – which is a fragile alliance given the volatile economic climate. Although we have not experienced any recent occurrences of a former SE customer needing to reapply for services because their “natural support” system ended, we continue to struggle with finding “paid” options to aid this group with their long-term employment needs. There does not appear to be an obvious solution to this complex economic issue as State revenue sources dwindle, unemployment rises, and the economy falters – leaving customers with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and traumatic brain injuries fewer options for their long-term employment needs.

(B) Individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been un-served or underserved.

The agency is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to Vocational Rehabilitation services. The agency is also committed to staffing the Vocational Rehabilitation program with rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals from diverse cultures and minority groups in order to recruit and better serve potential customers with disabilities from minority backgrounds. The agency utilizes an Affirmative Action Plan to ensure that a balanced and diverse workforce exists.

The agency continues to maintain its strong relationship with all of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Programs across Washington State, and this year our staff has been invited to participate in and attended several Tribal VR meetings that involved all of the Confederated Tribes of Washington. Our staff was invited to present information to Tribal members and leaders about the agency, and learn about the cultural differences & the unique elements that are found in traditional Native VR programs. In Spring 2011, the general VR agency, Washington Department of Services for the Blind, and the Confederated Tribes of Washington came together and developed a “Memo of Understanding” that will be used as guidance in providing VR services to mutual customers. Because of the many Tribal representatives who are involved in this service agreement, we expect the finalization to occur in late 2011.

In an effort to gauge whether DSB is adequately serving individuals from minority backgrounds in relation to the population of Washington State, we have obtained demographic percentages from the most recent publication available from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey for 2009. The table below shows our involvement in terms of service to individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds and it reflects the current percentage of customers who have self-identified themselves as belonging to a specific race. Our performance with respect to service to minority groups out performs the incidence in the state population with two exceptions: Hispanic/Latino & Asian. Overall, service to minority groups by the agency is 28.2% measured against the 22.2% estimated to exist in Washington State.

ETHNICITY ESTIMATE / % WA POPULATION /% VR CASELOAD

American Indian/ Alaska Native 1.4 4.9

Asian 6.6 5.4

Native Hawaiian /Pacific Island Pacific. 0.4 2.1

African American 3.4 9.2

Hispanic/Latino 9.6 8.7

Our concern has been and will continue to be a focus on increasing services to the Hispanic/Latino communities statewide. One of the geographic areas within the state where there are significant numbers of individuals of Hispanic/Latino descent is Central Washington. This area is located just east of the Cascade Mountains and stretches along the I-82 corridor from Wenatchee to Walla Walla. This is a large agricultural territory covering a two hundred miles of highway between the two cities and all the communities in between are served by agency staff located in our Yakima office. In an effort to increase service to this group and better serve those already on the case load, we hired a bi-lingual/bi-cultural Hispanic Rehabilitation Technician (paraprofessional) to support the Central Washington caseload. This staff person provides a valuable resource for better communication in Central Washington, with the Hispanic/Latino communities, and this individual has proven to be a valuable asset for improved access to our services. The agency has also hired a bi-lingual (Spanish & English) speaking receptionist in our Seattle office where all statewide incoming (1-800) calls are taken. This individual has proven to be invaluable as she fields inquiries and provides agency information to individuals who speak Spanish and are in need of initiating VR services. All of our counselors and staff within their respective service areas have been encouraged to make contact with local Hispanic organizations to increase the awareness of the agency’s existence, explain the scope of our services, and to recruit eligible customers into the VR program.

The estimated percentage of Asians living in Washington State is reported to be 6.6% of the population, and our current open statewide caseload reflects 5.4% of cases/individuals who have identified themselves as being Asian. This difference is not statistically significant; however, we recognize the need to increase our outreach to underserved groups and we have made the effort and commitment to focus attention in this direction. Our staff has contacted the IndoChinese Cultural Central, the Korean Woman’s Association, and the Asian Counseling and Referral Center in an effort to increase VR applications from these sources. In having several individuals on staff who have Asian ancestry (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, & Filipino- and fluently speak the language), we are planning to continue a focused outreach effort into these communities in hopes of increasing service delivery to these underrepresented groups. If our outreach efforts are successful, these actions should earn the agency a passing grade for FY-12 with regards to RSA Standard 2.1- minority service rate- which we failed by (3) cases (fewer than 100 minorities existing the VR program during the past year).

Individuals with disabilities who have been un-served or underserved

The Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) population estimates show a steady trend of increasing ethnic diversity in the state during the past years. As the ethnic diversity of the state increases, it will become more difficult with limited resources to provide quality services to these groups. Our assessment of the current caseload and applicant pool suggest that individuals from minority backgrounds with limited or no English speaking ability are significantly underserved.

There are limited English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the state that use non-visual teaching techniques which are necessary for the instruction of monolingual blind and visually impaired participants. There are significant numbers of individuals who have immigrated to Washington that have limited or no English speaking skills and who are often illiterate in their native language. We have partnered with one program in Western Washington; St. James Cathedral, that provides ESL instruction to participants in their native language, on a “one-on-one” basis using non-visual techniques. We have made considerable effort to research and identify an existing curriculum for teaching “groups” using non-visual techniques in order to develop the resources within the adult education system. English speaking ability has not precluded participation - to eligible individuals - in any VR program activity- however it is a significant barrier to most when customers initiate a job search. We will continue to outreach this underserved group and seek out and develop resources necessary for them to fully access services.

Individuals with disabilities who have been served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system

The agency continues to collaborate with statewide WorkSource Centers to improve accessibility for our blind and visually impaired participants, and during this past year, DSB staff attended three WorkForce Board meetings where recommendations were made on how to direct un-served individuals - who may qualify for VR services - to DSB. We have provided technical assistance and training to WorkSource staff on assistive technology (equipment and software) that would allow equal access to services at the centers. Additionally, we have provided sensitivity training to WorkSource staff on working with the unique needs of our participants.

At the time of this update/submittal, there have been no reported cases of blind or visually impaired individuals being unable to access the WorkForce Investment system even though we are aware that there are WorkSource Centers that are not fully equipped with assistive technology to make their systems and programs completely accessible to our customers. Some of this is due to funding constraints and some due to a lack of a coordinated effort within the system. We continue to challenge the workforce investment system in our state to recognize the needs of our blind customers who are job ready so that they may make use of services that are the available to all citizens.

Need to establish, develop, and/or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state

Department of Services for the Blind and the general VR agency have partnered together to establish criteria for using qualified vendors/ Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and to set-up a performance based “milestone” payment process. No longer are CRP’s being paid for their efforts – which frequently resulted in no meaningful outcome for the VR customers. Much to the displeasure of many providers, they are now being compensated for the results they achieve rather than extensive excuses for being ineffective. For services such as: vocational evaluations, community based assessments, trial work experiences, job placement, job retention, transitional employment, and intensive training services there are three levels of service activities that can be purchased by the VR agency, and each level has a higher fee structure associated with it. Deciding on which service level the customer will need, may be based on the significance of disability, prior work history, and/or involvement required by the CRP to achieve the outcome. During the period when the new fee structures were being considered, CRP’s expressed reluctance in wanting to work with blind customers because the vendors lacked knowledge and familiarity about this group. They considered customers of the “blind” agency to be more challenging because they appeared to have insurmountable barriers to employment e.g. (transportation issues, inability to store and retrieve information, the need for costly accommodations, inability to select appropriate work attire, etc.). In receiving this open and honest feedback, DSB took these concerns to heart and offered a series of statewide vendor trainings to address the expressed issues made by CRP staff. In having frank discussions with our VR agency blind staff about the “abilities” of visually impaired individuals, providing them with demonstrations in the use of adaptive equipment, and dispelling the myths of blindness, we were able to achieve two objectives. Eliminate the fear that CRP’s had in working with our customers, and offer them a market advantage over other CRPs’ by classifying them as being “preferred providers”.

For CRP’s who participated in the blindness awareness training, the status of being a “preferred provider” gave them two assurances: First, their agency/organization would be highly recommended for consideration to customers who were deciding on which vendor to select for the service(s) they needed. Second, these preferred providers would have met the local VR agency staff during the training sessions and be acquainted with our agency personnel who were responsible for providing support services to the customers.

The advantage in having CRP staff meet the Vocational Rehab Counselor, Assistive Technology staff, Low Vision staff, Orientation & Mobility instructors, & Rehab Technicians, are the links which are established between those individuals who are supporting the customer to achieve a successful outcome. With CRPs’ knowing the specific roles that various VR agency staff were responsible for, they could – if needed - seek timely advice and/or assistance to resolve potential issues.

In knowing that there is a high turn-over in personnel who work for low wages at these CRP’s, our local Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors maintain frequent contact with the Managers of these organizations to assure that updated training is provided to new personnel. For those CRP’s who have yet to agree and commit their staff to receiving blindness awareness training, DSB staff have targeted these agencies for outreach. We know that in having a greater pool of viable vendors/providers who are educated and informed about the abilities of our blind customers, these CRP’s can profit from our business, and our customers can achieve the results that will ultimately lead them into competitive employment. In addition, these CRP’s are made aware that the Information related to their performance is collected and used to assist participants to make informed choices regarding which vendors are providing the quality of services that they require. Being on-board as a “preferred provider” with DSB can be a profitable business decision for CRP’s and during this current economic climate that decision could be the difference to being open for business or not.

Assistive Technology

DSB continues to use a “qualifying process” for contractors who provide assistive technology training to our participants and while the initial result reduced the number of service providers, we are assured that those who passed the process are rendering the highest level of quality services. Locating qualified assistive technology vendors has been a difficult task due to the extensive training and in-depth knowledge that is required of these professionals. The agency currently has six (6) Assistive Technology staff who are dedicated to this specialty, and we have used our AT staff to network and search for viable candidates within their respective communities who are qualified and interested in becoming vendors for the agency.

This screen was last updated on Aug 12 2011 4:38PM by Marla Oughton

In 2010 the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) was released that for the second time gave reliable data for the number of blind individuals in the state. The ACS estimated that there were 65,860 people who were blind or low vision in Washington between the ages of 18 and 64 as of August 2009 compared 68,415 people in 2008.

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
General Grant Title I $9,697,045 1,241 $7,813
Supported Employment Title VI $64,000 50 $1,280
Totals   $9,761,045 1,291 $7,560

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2011 11:43AM by Marla Oughton

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.

For Fiscal Year 2012 the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) will have the following goals and priorities (these are the same goals that were developed in FY 2011):

1. To Improve and Expand Customer Services.

Strategy: Change the way our organization is structured to provide integrated services in a manner that makes program silos seamless to our customers.

Strategy: Create a WorkStrides program that is compatible with our customers to help our customers become more focused on their job search.

Strategy: Change format for how our Orientation and Training Center (OTC) structures terms.

Strategy: Develop a doctor referral source that creates a regular pipeline of customers.

Strategy: Develop internship possibilities for our customers during difficult economic times.

Strategy: Increase our ability internally to provide Low Vision evaluations and follow-up to our customers.

Measurement of success: Achieve over 150 successful outcomes in FFY 2011.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of customers served compared to FFY 2009.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of referrals for vocational rehabilitation services compared to FFY 2009.

Measurement of success: Reach a rehabilitation rate of 63% in FFY 2011.

Measurement of success: Reach an average wage of more than $18 an hour for our customers in FFY 2011.

2. To be an Expert Resource for Blind, Low Vision, & Deaf-Blind Citizens and our Community Partners.

Strategy: Continue partnering with other agencies and organizations in the community around blindness and low vision issues (some examples include: National Federation of the Blind of Washington, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington Council of the Blind, and Washington School for the Blind).

Strategy: Continue to provide staff resources to various state and local projects and committees.

Strategy: Continue to provide trainings around blindness for employers and agencies.

Strategy: Host a Blindness Summit to address the environment for agencies and organizations that serve people who are blind.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of customers served compared to FFY 2009.

Measurement of success: Increase of 5% the number of referrals for vocational rehabilitation services compared to FFY 2009.

3. Create Organizational Excellence.

Strategy: Revise our service category codes in our case management system so that we can have better more consistent data.

Strategy: Improve existing components and purchase new components for our case management system.

Measurement of success: See a statistically significant improvement regarding DSB staff’s sense of whether they have the tools necessary to do their job on the next employee satisfaction survey compared to the previous employee satisfaction survey.

Measurement of success: Be in the top 5 in the RSA sum of ranks on the FFY 2010 Report Cards.

These goals have been set based on feedback from members of the SRC and comments received at some of the SRC forums. These goals and strategies also took into account that we have not reached capacity on the need within the community. We have realized that a plateau has been reached for successful outcomes (in the 135 to 150) over the last 8 years and that with some changes we would be able to achieve more outcomes.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2011 11:46AM by Marla Oughton

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

This agency is not implementing an Order of Selection.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 12:25PM by Marla Oughton

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.

Historically, the Federal allotment of Supported Employment (SE) funds provided to our agency did not cover all of the costs associated with services provided to SE customers. During the past two and half years, there has been a marked decline in the number of blind and visually individuals applying for VR services who may otherwise be in need of “long-term support”, and at the conclusion of FFY 2010, thirty-seven SE cases were served – which was eight fewer than the estimated forty-five that the agency had anticipated. With fewer cases being served, DSB underspent the SE designated allotment of Title VI, Part B Funds by approximately $14,000 for this period. DSB has adjusted its case management system to better identify supported employment cases and tie the costs to those cases.

All fourteen VR Counselors and Team Leaders/Supervisors are well informed of the guidelines related to VR eligibility, vocational assessment, placement, work skills building/training, and the need for ongoing support services for individuals who participate in Supported Employment activities.

DSB, in cooperation with the general agency-Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), have established a list of qualified Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers throughout state who offer SE services such as: assessment(s), skills building, job development, job coaching, and where appropriate - the provision of extended services.

When DSB utilizes Community Rehabilitation Programs for providing evaluations/assessments, work skills building, job placement(s), and job coaching services, the expected results are clearly described and agreed to by the VR Customer, the State agency representative, and the CRP in a service plan titled: “Service Delivery Outcome Plan.”

This assures that the employment goal which is expected to be achieved by the (SE) customer, the measureable objectives that supported the goal, services provided to the customer(s), and dates of completion are all included in the service plan agreement. In having written performance expectations that are agreed to by all parties, and in knowing that activities are not synonymous with outcomes, DSB is able to maximize the limited Supported Employment resources that are available. The ten successful employment outcomes achieved in FFY10 by our (SE) customers were attributed – in large part- to these performance outcome agreements, which rewarded vendors based on “outcomes achieved” rather than for “effort expended.”

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2011 11:48AM by Marla Oughton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the time period of this State Plan update, the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) will use two primary tools to expand and improve services to our customers. First, we will be reorganizing our internal structure. This will include delivering Independent Living Part B services internally rather than through contracting and creating a broader cross discipline team. By doing this we hope to end some of the redundancies that had been developed where customers would have to be too aware of whether they were receiving VR or IL services. Ideally this should allow us to serve more customers and the customers we serve we should do so more effectively. Second, we will be using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to create a referral network that will send possible customers to us after they have been working with an eye doctor. This should bring a lot of customers to us from non-traditional sources.

DSB has had a long history of emphasizing assistive technology as a way for our customers to achieve the fullest outcome possible from their VR experience. One of the ways we do this by creating an assistive technology team that is intertwined on the teams. These staff members also meet quarterly to make sure they are current on new trends in their service delivery model. Customers frequently receive an assistive technology assessment when they begin receiving services as well as at the time of employment. DSB also ensures that our customers have the assistive technology needed to be successful during the VR process. These services are provided statewide by our 8 Assistive Technology Specialists.

Another strategy DSB has recently begun to improve outreach is coordinating and working with the various Tribal 121 programs to ensure all parties have a full awareness of what each partner does as well as creating new opportunities for referrals and joint case delivery.

Last year DSB spent a lot of effort enhancing our Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) providers understanding of working with us and our customers. We provided 7 trainings throughout the state for organizations and individuals who were interested in working with DSB. These trainings were well attended and provided a great opportunity for us to show the CRPs what our customers are capable of. Going forward we will need to help smooth out the process for CRPs to become vendors with DSB. Additionally, we will need to broaden the number of CRPs who are willing to work with our customers during the economic downturn. Additionally DSB dramatically increased the number of qualified CRP providers available many to our customers and staff.

DSB will work with other components of the Statewide Workforce Investment System by participating on various workgroups and committees.

DSB will work to overcome barriers relating to equitable access of services. Some methods for achieving this are:

*DSB will participate in tribal workgroups with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

*DSB will have staff participate on various disability related workgroups including but not limited to groups focused on customers who are deaf/blind, customers who have developmental disabilities, and customers who have mental health issues.

*DSB will implement its Memorandum of Understanding with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to ensure no service delivery gaps arise.

*DSB will maintain policies that continue to allow us to serve all customers in need of service regardless of the customer’s religion, ethnicity, national origin, race, gender, or disability.

The strategies identified below are related to the goals of Attachment 4.11(c)(1) and to address concerns that have been identified relating to the standards and indicators. One of the standards and indicators that DSB has identified as needing improvement is improving the number of successful rehabilitations and the success rate of cases that go into plan. These strategies should improve those areas.

1. To Improve and Expand Customer Services.

Strategy: Change the way our organization is structured to provide integrated services in a manner that makes program silos seamless to our customers. This will happen by minimizing redundancies and providing a wider resource base to our customers.

Strategy: Create a WorkStrides program that is compatible with our customers to help our customers become more focused on their job search.

Strategy: Change format for how our Orientation and Training Center (OTC) structures terms. This will allow more people to attend the OTC because we will be able to identify more natural transition points for customers to enter and exit the program.

Strategy: Develop a doctor referral source that creates a regular pipeline of customers. This will broaden the referral sources we have as well as provide us with more customers to reach higher outcomes.

Strategy: Develop internship possibilities for our customers during difficult economic times. Many employers are reluctant to hire customers during the economic downturn but a paid internship may be the gateway to getting more of our customers employed.

Strategy: Provide CVES and Benefits Planning to our counselors. This will allow us to provide more thorough assessments of our customers and also to help our customers have a better understanding of what they are looking for in work.

Strategy: Increase our ability internally to provide Low Vision evaluations and follow-up to our customers. This will allow us to more cost effectively provide services to our customers and will allow us to be more responsive and systematic in making sure our customers are prepared to be successful as they leave our program.

2. To be an Expert Resource for Blind, Low Vision, & Deaf-Blind Citizens and our Community Partners.

Strategy: Continue partnering with other agencies and organizations in the community around blindness and low vision issues (some examples include: National Federation for the Blind of Washington, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington Council for the Blind, and Washington School for the Blind). DSB staff has regularly and will regularly continue to work with other partners in the community to provide awareness around blindness and the resources available to help those who are blind.

Strategy: Continue to provide staff resources to various state and local projects and committees. DSB has staff members that will serve on key boards and committees to make sure the needs of people who are blind are considered. Some examples include: Washington State School for the Blind Board of Education, Washington State Talking Book & Braille Library Patron Advisory Council, and Tech Act Board.

Strategy: Continue to provide trainings around blindness for employers and agencies. These trainings will help to increase awareness of blindness related issues and become a resource for enhanced services in the future.

Strategy: Host a “Blindness Summit” to address the “environment” for agencies and organizations that serve people who are blind. Additionally, this can be an opportunity to solicit input into DSB’s Comprehensive Needs Assessment in a way that can help others as well as DSB.

3. Create Organizational Excellence.

Strategy: Revise our service category codes in our case management system so that we can have more consistent data to track and better manage resources.

Strategy: Improve existing components and purchase new components for our case management system. This will help our OTC and Child and Family Programs provide better service but also provide better data for DSB to make more informed decisions around our effectiveness.

For the upcoming year, DSB will support innovation and expansion activities through the following opportunities:

*Providing internship opportunities for our customers.

*Developing WorkStrides as a program that will work with our blind customers.

 

This screen was last updated on Sep 14 2009 4:06PM by Marla Oughton

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

For Fiscal Year 2010 the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) had the following goals and priorities:

1. To Improve and Expand Customer Services.

Strategy: Change the way our organization is structured to provide integrated services in a manner that makes program silos seamless to our customers

Strategy: Create a WorkStrides program that is compatible with our customers to help our customers become more focused on their job search.

Strategy: Change format for how our Orientation and Training Center (OTC) structures terms.

Strategy: Develop a doctor referral source that creates a regular pipeline of customers.

Strategy: Develop internship possibilities for our customers during difficult economic times.

Strategy: Provide CVES and Benefits Planning to our counselors.

Strategy: Increase our ability internally to provide Low Vision evaluations and follow-up to our customers.

Measurement of success: Achieve over 150 successful outcomes in FFY 2010.

Outcome: DSB achieved 129 successful outcomes in FFY2010. This is not at our goal but considering the size and scope of the recession during that fiscal year and some of the steps taken to improve future outcomes we are not as concerned with this.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of customers served compared to FFY 2009.

Outcome: DSB served 1,278 individuals during FFY-10 or 11.9% more than FFY-09. This increase is nice but with the knowledge that the number of applicants is not higher that leads to other questions about how services are provided.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of referrals for vocational rehabilitation services compared to FFY 2009.

Outcome: The number of new applicants for FFY-10 was 389 or one less than the previous year. This is not quite where we were hoping for this measure to be but we will continue to make outreach efforts to build appropriately sized case loads.

Measurement of success: Reach a rehabilitation rate of 63% in FFY 2010.

Outcome: The Rehab Rate for FFY-2010 was 64.43%. Considering the emphasis we have on quality of placement DSB has we are very pleased with this increase from previous years.

Measurement of success: Reach an average wage of more than $18 an hour for our customers in FFY 2010.

Outcome: The average hourly wage achieved in FFY-10 was $17.20. This wage was lower than expected but considering the down economy was less of a drop than we expected. We have already seen progress on reversing this trend.

2. To be an Expert Resource for Blind, Low Vision, & Deaf-Blind Citizens and our Community Partners.

Strategy: Continue partnering with other agencies and organizations in the community around blindness and low vision issues (some examples include: National Federation for the Blind of Washington, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington Council for the Blind, and Washington School for the Blind).

Strategy: Continue to provide staff resources to various state and local projects and committees.

Strategy: Continue to provide trainings around blindness for employers and agencies.

Strategy: Host a “Blindness Summit?” to address the “environment” for agencies and organizations that serve people who are blind.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of customers served compared to FFY 2009.

Outcome: DSB served 1,278 individuals during FFY-10 or 11.9% more than FFY-09. This increase is nice but with the knowledge that the number of applicants is not higher that leads to other questions about how services are provided.

Measurement of success: Increase by 5% the number of referrals for vocational rehabilitation services compared to FFY 2009.

Outcome: The number of new applicants for FFY-10 was 389 or one less than the previous year. This is not quite where we were hoping for this measure to be but we will continue to make outreach efforts to build appropriately sized case loads.

3. Create Organizational Excellence.

Strategy: Revise our service category codes in our case management system so that we can have better more consistent data.

Strategy: Improve existing components and purchase new components for our case management system

Measurement of success: See a statistically significant improvement regarding DSB staff’s sense of whether they have the tools necessary to do their job on the next employee satisfaction survey compared to the previous employee satisfaction survey.

Outcome: We did not see an increase in staff feeling they had the tools to do their job effectively; however our staff was much more positive than the rest of the state workforce. For DSB our results were: in April 2006 the average was 4.35, in November 2007 4.35, and in November 2009 it was 4.33. For the entire state the results were: in April 2006 the average was 3.76, in November 2007 the average was 3.76, and in November the average increased to 3.80. This is a slight decrease though not at a statistically significant level and we are still dramatically higher than the state average.

Measurement of success: Be in the top 5 in the RSA sum of ranks on the FFY 2010 Report Cards.

Outcome: The most recent sum of ranks that we have is for FFY 2009 and for that year we were third of the 24 blind agencies.

 

In FFY 2009 DSB served 36 supported employment cases and had 6 supported employment outcomes. This is an increase from the 29 served and 5 placed in FFY 2008. DSB is has continued to work on enhancing partnerships with key players in Washington around supported employment, including the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division of Developmental Disabilities, The Washington Initiative for Supported Employment, and our Community Rehabilitation Partners.

 

The information here is a report on performance against the FFY 2010 standards and indicators which includes data from Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2009 and 2010 data. This explains why some of the numbers may be different than what was explained above. For FFY 2010, DSB passed 4 of the 7 the Standards and Indicators, including the 3 primary indicators (Standards 1.3 to 1.5).

Standard 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.

The standard for this indicator is an increase over the previous reporting cycle, we did no pass this. DSB had three fewer employment outcomes. This reporting cycle includes the worst unemployment rates of the recession.

Standard 1.2 - Of all individuals who exit the VR program after receiving services, the percentage that are determined to have achieved an employment outcome.

DSB has a success rate of 64.43% on the cases closed after plan. This is below the standard of 68.9% but a one percentage point increase from the previous year.

Standard 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.

DSB had 100% of its employment outcomes closed in competitive employment. DSB places a lot of emphasis on having cases closed in integrated settings at competitive employment wages. DSB exceeded the standard of 35.4%.

Standard 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.

96.1% of DSB’s customers were people with a significant disability. This exceeds the standard of 89.0%.

Standard 1.5 - The average hourly earnings of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive, self- or BEP employment with earnings equivalent to at least the minimum wage as a ratio to the States average hourly earnings for all individuals in the State who are employed (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report State Average Annual Pay for the most recent available year).

The average wage of DSB employed customers was $17.20 compared to the state average wage of $22.86. This is a ratio of .752 which exceeds the federal standard of .59. This is a slight decrease from FFY 2009 where our customers’ average wage was $17.34 and the ratio was .774. This is a standard that DSB is quite proud of.

Standard 1.6 - Of all individuals who exit the VR program in competitive employment, 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.

DSB’s percentage of individuals exiting the program with wages being their primary support was 41.22 higher than those who entered the program. This exceeds the standard of 30.4. This is a slight decrease from FFY 2009 where the percentage difference was 42.9.

Standard 2.1 - The service rate for all individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds as a ratio to the service rate for all individuals with disabilities from nonminority backgrounds.

DSB did not pass this standard because our ratio .74 and the standard is .8. DSB had 97 minorities exit the program which was 3 short from having 100 minorities exiting the VR program which is the standard to have this measure validated. The number of minorities did increase from 77 in the FFY 2009 reporting period.

 

DSB Innovation & Expansion projects for FFY 2010 included: conducting and intensive boot camp for those stuck in the job search process, creating a doctor referral project, internship opportunities for our customers, and purchasing new components for our case management system.

This screen was last updated on Jun 23 2011 11:58AM by Marla Oughton

  • 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

In Washington State, Supported Employment services are funded by two primary sources, Federal grant funding via RSA and through Washington State Division of Developmental Disabilities. To a much lesser extent, Social Security PASS plans have also been used by VR participants to maintain long-term supported employment. All of these resources enhance the quality, scope, and extent of services proposed under the Act. The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) of the customer who selects Supported Employment as an employment outcome must identify the source of extended supports or, if the source of extended services cannot be identified at the time of implementation of the plan, the IPE must identify the services, activities, and/or progress measures designed to identify the nature, type, scope, requirements and source of extended services in a manner consistent with the Act and the implementing regulations. The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) does not provide extended services as defined in 361.5(b)(20). Supported Employment services are provided only to those individuals with the most significant disabilities and who have an identified likely source of long term support.

The quality of the Supported Employment program under Title VI includes the following components:

1. The use of State staff that have an extensive history and knowledge of Supported Employment (SE) to provide coordination, guidance, and consultation to all statewide counselors. This includes the development and implementation of Individualized Plans for Employment under Title VI C or Title I. All regional offices have received training and updates on current Supported Employment policy and procedures. The training is provided on an ongoing basis to individual staff, to field offices where several rehabilitation staff participates in joint service delivery to Supported Employment participants, as well as at regular statewide counselor meetings where Team Leaders conduct in-service training on various rehabilitation topics.

2. The provision of SE training to VR staff occurs throughout the year in team meetings, unit meetings, and statewide conferences where "best practices" are outlined and discussed. The Department of Services for the Blind utilizes the resources of the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment, a non-profit agency that promotes employment for people with disabilities. During their annual conference, our VR staff are provided with information on such topics as: Innovative Project Design and Demonstration, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Financial Systems Analysis and Design, Information Technology Assessment, and Organizational Development and Management Coaching.

3. Program evaluation measures are applied for all SE cases. This includes a review of vendor success rates who provide SE services to DSB participants, Supervisory reviews of SE cases to assure that employment placements comply with wage standards and they occur in integrated settings, and finally customer satisfaction surveys are conducted on every case that is closed.

4. Establishment and maintenance of a viable vendor network. The Department of Services for the Blind works in partnership with the general VR agency in Washington State to identify and certify Supported Employment vendors who are used by both agencies. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and DSB share an extensive statewide vendor network and both VR agencies provide ongoing information and assistance to these vendors to maintain qualified employment and training resources for our customers. Supported Employment vendors are paid for achieving measurable outcomes and are not remunerated for merely spending time “searching for employment.” This performance based method of service provision assures the customer, SE vendor, and the designated state unit that an employment expectation is the measure by which all stakeholders achieve success.

Extended Services

Extended services for customers that need them are ideally identified at the beginning of the VR process. Occasionally this will require more time to find extended services when they are not initially apparent. The transition to extended service providers occurs during the time of employment stabilization and prior to case closure.

This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2009 5:01PM by Marla Oughton

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 08/12/2011 at 4:42 PM

Last updated by sawaoughtonm

Completed on 08/12/2011 at 4:44 PM

Completed by sawaoughtonm

Approved on 08/17/2011 at 6:37 PM

Approved by rscomillerb

Published on 09/27/2011 at 10:52 AM

Published by jack

The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.

  • Monitoring Report for Washington - Blind — as of October 21, 2013
    DOC (454KB) | PDF (385KB)

  • "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" — A blueprint for Governors has been issued by the National Governors Association (NGA).
    PDF (4.13M)

  • TAC-14-02 — Submission of the FY 2015 State Plan for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and Supplement for the Supported Employment Services Program. (May 28, 2014)
    DOC (247KB) | PDF (233KB)

  • ED-80-0013 - Certification Regarding Lobbying — 34 CFR 82.110(b) requires each State VR agency to submit for approval a signed certification regarding lobbying for each program for which federal funds are requested. In other words, one certification must be submitted for the VR program and another for the Supported Employment program.
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