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2.1 Public participation requirements. (Section 101(a)(16)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.10(d), .20(a), (b), (d); and 363.11(g)(9))
(a) Conduct of public meetings.
(b) Notice requirements.
(c) Special consultation requirements.
3.1 Submission and revisions of the State Plan and its supplement. (Sections 101(a)(1), (23) and 625(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; Section 501 of the Workforce Investment Act; 34 CFR 76.140; 361.10(e), (f), and (g); and 363.10)
(a) The state submits to the commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration the State Plan and its supplement on the same date that the state submits either a State Plan under Section 112 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 or a state unified plan under Section 501 of that Rehabilitation Act.
(b) The state submits only those policies, procedures or descriptions required under this State Plan and its supplement that have not been previously submitted to and approved by the commissioner.
(c) The state submits to the commissioner, at such time and in such manner as the commissioner determines to be appropriate, reports containing annual updates of the information relating to the:
- comprehensive system of personnel development;
- assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
- innovation and expansion activities; and
- other updates of information required under Title I, Part B, or Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act that are requested by the commissioner.
(d) The State Plan and its supplement are in effect subject to the submission of modifications the state determines to be necessary or the commissioner requires based on a change in state policy, a change in federal law, including regulations, an interpretation of the Rehabilitation Act by a federal court or the highest court of the state, or a finding by the commissioner of state noncompliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361 or 34 CFR 363.
3.2 Supported Employment State Plan supplement. (Sections 101(a)(22) and 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.34 and 363.10)
(a) The state has an acceptable plan for carrying out Part B, of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act that provides for the use of funds under that part to supplement funds made available under Part B, of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the cost of services leading to supported employment.
(b) The Supported Employment State Plan, including any needed annual revisions, is submitted as a supplement to the State Plan.
4.1 Designated state agency and designated state unit. (Section 101(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.13(a) and (b))
(a) Designated state agency.
- There is a state agency designated as the sole state agency to administer the State Plan or to supervise its administration in a political subdivision of the state by a sole local agency.
- The designated state agency is a state agency that is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and includes a vocational rehabilitation unit as provided in paragraph (b) of this section. (Option A was not selected/Option B was selected)
- In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.
(b) Designated state unit.
- If the designated state agency is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(B) of this section, the state agency includes a vocational rehabilitation bureau, division or unit that:
- is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and is responsible for the administration of the designated state agency's vocational rehabilitation program under the State Plan;
- has a full-time director;
- has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
- is located at an organizational level and has an organizational status within the designated state agency comparable to that of other major organizational units of the designated state agency.
- The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
4.2 State independent commission or State Rehabilitation Council. (Sections 101(a)(21) and 105 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.16 and .17)
(a) The designated state agency is an independent state commission. (Option A was not selected/Option B was selected)
(b) The state has established a State Rehabilitation Council that meets the criteria set forth in Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.17 and the designated state unit.
- jointly with the State Rehabilitation Council develops, agrees to and reviews annually state goals and priorities and jointly submits to the commissioner annual reports of progress in accordance with the provisions of Section 101(a)(15) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.29 and subsection 4.11 of this State Plan;
- regularly consults with the State Rehabilitation Council regarding the development, implementation and revision of state policies and procedures of general applicability pertaining to the provision of vocational rehabilitation services;
- includes in the State Plan and in any revision to the State Plan a summary of input provided by the State Rehabilitation Council, including recommendations from the annual report of the council described in Section 105(c)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(5), the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction described in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4), and other reports prepared by the council and the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations, including explanations for rejecting any input or recommendation; and
- transmits to the council:
- all plans, reports and other information required under 34 CFR 361 to be submitted to the commissioner;
- all policies and information on all practices and procedures of general applicability provided to or used by rehabilitation personnel in carrying out this State Plan and its supplement; and
- copies of due process hearing decisions issued under 34 CFR 361.57, which are transmitted in such a manner as to ensure that the identity of the participants in the hearings is kept confidential.
(c) If the designated state unit has a State Rehabilitation Council, Attachment 4.2(c) provides a summary of the input provided by the council consistent with the provisions identified in subparagraph (b)(3) of this section; the response of the designated state unit to the input and recommendations; and, explanations for the rejection of any input or any recommendation.
4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)
(a) individuals and groups of individuals who are recipients of vocational rehabilitation services or, as appropriate, the individuals' representatives;
(b) personnel working in programs that provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(c) providers of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(d) the director of the Client Assistance Program; and
(e) the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
4.4 Nonfederal share. (Sections 7(14) and 101(a)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 80.24 and 361.60)
4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)
(a) ensures that each local agency is under the supervision of the designated state unit with the sole local agency, as that term is defined in Section 7(24) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47), responsible for the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program within the political subdivision that it serves; and
(b) develops methods that each local agency will use to administer the vocational rehabilitation program in accordance with the State Plan.
4.6 Shared funding and administration of joint programs. (Section 101(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.27)
(a) a description of the nature and scope of the joint program;
(b) the services to be provided under the joint program;
(c) the respective roles of each participating agency in the administration and provision of services; and
(d) the share of the costs to be assumed by each agency.
4.7 Statewideness and waivers of statewideness. (Section 101(a)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.25, .26, and .60(b)(3)(i) and (ii))
(a) Services provided under the State Plan are available in all political subdivisions of the state.
(b) The state unit may provide services in one or more political subdivisions of the state that increase services or expand the scope of services that are available statewide under this State Plan if the:
- nonfederal share of the cost of these services is met from funds provided by a local public agency, including funds contributed to a local public agency by a private agency, organization or individual;
- services are likely to promote the vocational rehabilitation of substantially larger numbers of individuals with disabilities or of individuals with disabilities with particular types of impairments; and
- state, for purposes other than the establishment of a community rehabilitation program or the construction of a particular facility for community rehabilitation program purposes, requests in Attachment 4.7(b)(3) a waiver of the statewideness requirement in accordance with the following requirements:
- identification of the types of services to be provided;
- written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;
- written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and
- written assurance that all other State Plan requirements, including a state's order of selection, will apply to all services approved under the waiver.
(c) Contributions, consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR 361.60(b)(3)(ii), by private entities of earmarked funds for particular geographic areas within the state may be used as part of the nonfederal share without the state requesting a waiver of the statewideness requirement provided that the state notifies the commissioner that it cannot provide the full nonfederal share without using the earmarked funds.
4.8 Cooperation, collaboration and coordination. (Sections 101(a)(11), (24)(B), and 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.22, .23, .24, and .31, and 363.11(e))
(a) Cooperative agreements with other components of statewide work force investment system.
(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.
- cooperation with and use of the services and facilities of the federal, state, and local agencies and programs, including programs carried out by the undersecretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture and state use contracting programs, to the extent that those agencies and programs are not carrying out activities through the statewide work force investment system;
- coordination, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 4.8(c) of this section, with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services;
- establishment of cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 5.10(b) of the State Plan; and,
- efforts to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and entities with respect to the provision of supported employment and extended services for individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with the requirements of subsection 6.5 of the supplement to this State Plan.
(c) Coordination with education officials.
- Attachment 4.8(b)(2) describes the plans, policies and procedures for coordination between the designated state agency and education officials responsible for the public education of students with disabilities that are designed to facilitate the transition of the students who are individuals with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under the responsibility of the designated state agency.
- The State Plan description must:
- provide for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment in accordance with 34 CFR 361.45 as early as possible during the transition planning process but, at the latest, before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting; and
- include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:
- consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to postschool activities, including vocational rehabilitation services;
- transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and the educational agency for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs under Section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and
- procedures for outreach to students with disabilities as early as possible during the transition planning process and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.
(d) Coordination with statewide independent living council and independent living centers.
(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.
- There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. No
- If "Yes", the designated state agency has entered into a formal cooperative agreement that meets the following requirements with each grant recipient in the state that receives funds under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act:
- strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;
- procedures for ensuring that American Indians who are individuals with disabilities and are living near a reservation or tribal service area are provided vocational rehabilitation services; and
- provisions for sharing resources in cooperative studies and assessments, joint training activities, and other collaborative activities designed to improve the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities.
4.9 Methods of administration. (Section 101(a)(6) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.12, .19 and .51(a) and (b))
(a) In general.
(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.
4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)
(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.
- Qualified personnel needs.
- The number of personnel who are employed by the state agency in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in relation to the number of individuals served, broken down by personnel category;
- The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and
- Projections of the number of personnel, broken down by personnel category, who will be needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services in the state in five years based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, including individuals with significant disabilities, the number of personnel expected to retire or leave the field, and other relevant factors.
- Personnel development.
- A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;
- The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and
- The number of students who graduated during the prior year from each of those institutions with certification or licensure, or with the credentials for certification or licensure, broken down by the personnel category for which they have received, or have the credentials to receive, certification or licensure.
(b) Plan for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel.
(c) Personnel standards.
- standards that are consistent with any national- or state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or, in the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services.
- To the extent that existing standards are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to a particular profession or discipline, the steps the state is currently taking and the steps the state plans to take in accordance with the written plan to retrain or hire personnel within the designated state unit to meet standards that are based on the highest requirements in the state, including measures to notify designated state unit personnel, the institutions of higher education identified in subparagraph (a)(2), and other public agencies of these steps and the time lines for taking each step.
- The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:
- specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;
- the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(1);
- procedures for evaluating the designated state unit's progress in hiring or retraining personnel to meet applicable personnel standards within the established time period; and
- the identification of initial minimum qualifications that the designated state unit will require of newly hired personnel when the state unit is unable to hire new personnel who meet the established personnel standards and the identification of a plan for training such individuals to meet the applicable standards within the time period established for all state unit personnel to meet the established personnel standards.
(d) Staff development.
- A system of staff development for professionals and paraprofessionals within the designated state unit, particularly with respect to assessment, vocational counseling, job placement and rehabilitation technology.
- Procedures for the acquisition and dissemination to designated state unit professionals and paraprofessionals significant knowledge from research and other sources.
(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.
(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.
(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.
- Attachment 4.11(a) documents the results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted every three years by the designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the state has such a council). The assessment describes:
- the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this State Plan; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.
- The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
- For any year in which the state updates the assessments, the designated state unit submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding updates to the assessments.
(b) Annual estimates.
- number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;
- number of eligible individuals who will receive services provided with funds provided under Part B of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and under Part B of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection in accordance with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of this State Plan, estimates of the number of individuals to be served under each priority category within the order; and
- costs of the services described in subparagraph (b)(1), including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection, the service costs for each priority category within the order.
(c) Goals and priorities.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(1) identifies the goals and priorities of the state that are jointly developed or revised, as applicable, with and agreed to by the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council, in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
- The designated state agency submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding any revisions in the goals and priorities for any year the state revises the goals and priorities.
- Order of selection.
If the state agency implements an order of selection, consistent with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of the State Plan, Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order; and
- identifies the service and outcome goals, and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds.
Attachment 4.11(c)(4) specifies, consistent with subsection 6.4 of the State Plan supplement, the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of supported employment services.
- Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:
- the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, including how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to those individuals at each stage of the rehabilitation process and how those services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis;
- outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities in accordance with subsection 6.6 of the State Plan supplement, and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program;
- as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;
- strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:
- address the needs identified in the assessment conducted under paragraph 4.11(a) and achieve the goals and priorities identified in the State Plan attachments under paragraph 4.11(c);
- support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and
- overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and State Supported Employment Services Program.
(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.
- The designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state unit has a council, jointly submits to the commissioner an annual report on the results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program and the progress made in improving the effectiveness of the program from the previous year.
- Attachment 4.11(e)(2):
- provides an evaluation of the extent to which the goals identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3) were achieved;
- identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;
- describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;
- assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- provides a report consistent with paragraph 4.12(c) of the plan on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion activities were utilized in the preceding year.
4.12 Innovation and expansion. (Section 101(a)(18) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.35)
(a) The designated state agency reserves and uses a portion of the funds allotted to the state under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for the:
- development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under this State Plan, particularly individuals with the most significant disabilities, consistent with the findings of the statewide assessment identified in Attachment 4.11(a) and goals and priorities of the state identified in Attachments 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3); and
- support of the funding for the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 105(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(i), and the funding of the Statewide Independent Living Council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 705(e)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364.21(i).
(b) Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the reserved funds identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) will be utilized.
(c) Attachment 4.11(e)(2) describes how the reserved funds were utilized in the preceding year.
4.13 Reports. (Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.40)
(a) The designated state unit submits reports in the form and level of detail and at the time required by the commissioner regarding applicants for and eligible individuals receiving services under the State Plan.
(b) Information submitted in the reports provides a complete count, unless sampling techniques are used, of the applicants and eligible individuals in a manner that permits the greatest possible cross-classification of data and protects the confidentiality of the identity of each individual.
5.1 Information and referral services. (Sections 101(a)(5)(D) and (20) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.37)
5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))
5.3 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. (Sections 12(d) and 101(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.36)
(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. Yes
(b) If No:
- Individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with criteria established by the state, are selected first for vocational rehabilitation services before other individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order of selection; and
- identifies the state's service and outcome goals and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Eligible individuals who do not meet the order of selection criteria have access to the services provided through the designated state unit's information and referral system established under Section 101(a)(20) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.37, and subsection 5.1 of this State Plan.
5.4 Availability of comparable services and benefits. (Sections 101(a)(8) and 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.53)
(a) Prior to providing any vocational rehabilitation services, except those services identified in paragraph (b), to an eligible individual or to members of the individual's family, the state unit determines whether comparable services and benefits exist under any other program and whether those services and benefits are available to the individual.
(b) The following services are exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits:
- assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
- counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice consistent with the provisions of Section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act;
- referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies, including other components of the statewide work force investment system, through agreements developed under Section 101(a)(11) of the Rehabilitation Act, if such services are not available under this State Plan;
- job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;
- rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and
- post-employment services consisting of the services listed under subparagraphs (1) through (5) of this paragraph.
(c) The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply if the determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits under any other program would interrupt or delay:
- progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;
- an immediate job placement; or
- provision of vocational rehabilitation services to any individual who is determined to be at extreme medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate qualified medical professional.
(d) The governor in consultation with the designated state vocational rehabilitation agency and other appropriate agencies ensures that an interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination that meets the requirements of Section 101(a)(8)(B)(i)-(iv) of the Rehabilitation Act takes effect between the designated state unit and any appropriate public entity, including the state Medicaid program, a public institution of higher education, and a component of the statewide work force investment system to ensure the provision of the vocational rehabilitation services identified in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, other than the services identified in paragraph (b) of this section, that are included in the individualized plan for employment of an eligible individual, including the provision of those vocational rehabilitation services during the pendency of any dispute that may arise in the implementation of the interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination.
5.5 Individualized plan for employment. (Section 101(a)(9) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.45 and .46)
(a) An individualized plan for employment meeting the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and implemented in a timely manner for each individual determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, except if the state has implemented an order of selection, and is developed and implemented for each individual to whom the designated state unit is able to provide vocational rehabilitation services.
(b) Services to an eligible individual are provided in accordance with the provisions of the individualized plan for employment.
5.6 Opportunity to make informed choices regarding the selection of services and providers. (Sections 101(a)(19) and 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.52)
5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)
5.8 Annual review of individuals in extended employment or other employment under special certificate provisions of the fair labor standards act of 1938. (Section 101(a)(14) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.55)
(a) The designated state unit conducts an annual review and reevaluation of the status of each individual with a disability served under this State Plan:
- who has achieved an employment outcome in which the individual is compensated in accordance with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 214(c)); or
- whose record of services is closed while the individual is in extended employment on the basis that the individual is unable to achieve an employment outcome in an integrated setting or that the individual made an informed choice to remain in extended employment.
(b) The designated state unit carries out the annual review and reevaluation for two years after the individual's record of services is closed (and thereafter if requested by the individual or, if appropriate, the individual's representative) to determine the interests, priorities and needs of the individual with respect to competitive employment or training for competitive employment.
(c) The designated state unit makes maximum efforts, including the identification and provision of vocational rehabilitation services, reasonable accommodations and other necessary support services, to assist the individuals described in paragraph (a) in engaging in competitive employment.
(d) The individual with a disability or, if appropriate, the individual's representative has input into the review and reevaluation and, through signed acknowledgement, attests that the review and reevaluation have been conducted.
5.9 Use of Title I funds for construction of facilities. (Sections 101(a)(17) and 103(b)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.49(a)(1), .61 and .62(b))
(a) The federal share of the cost of construction for facilities for a fiscal year does not exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the state's allotment under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for that fiscal year.
(b) The provisions of Section 306 of the Rehabilitation Act that were in effect prior to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 apply to such construction.
(c) There is compliance with the requirements in 34 CFR 361.62(b) that ensure the use of the construction authority will not reduce the efforts of the designated state agency in providing other vocational rehabilitation services other than the establishment of facilities for community rehabilitation programs.
5.10 Contracts and cooperative agreements. (Section 101(a)(24) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.31 and .32)
(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.
(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.
Section 6: Program Administration
6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))
6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))
6.3 Quality, scope and extent of supported employment services. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(c) and .50(b)(2))
6.4 Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(d) and .20)
6.5 Evidence of collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. (Sections 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(e))
6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))
6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)
7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))
7.2 Use of funds in providing services. (Sections 623 and 625(b)(6)(A) and (D) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.6(c)(2)(iv), .11(g)(1) and (4))
(a) Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act are used by the designated state agency only to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive such services.
(b) Funds provided under Title VI, Part B, are used only to supplement and not supplant the funds provided under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act, in providing supported employment services specified in the individualized plan for employment.
(c) Funds provided under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act are not used to provide extended services to individuals who are eligible under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.
8.1 Scope of supported employment services. (Sections 7(36) and 625(b)(6)(F) and (G) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54), 363.11(g)(6) and (7))
(a) Supported employment services are those services as defined in Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54).
(b) To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site.
(c) Supported employment services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
8.2 Comprehensive assessments of individuals with significant disabilities. (Sections 7(2)(B) and 625(b)(6)(B); 34 CFR 361.5(b)(6)(ii) and 363.11(g)(2))
8.3 Individualized plan for employment. (Sections 102(b)(3)(F) and 625(b)(6)(C) and (E) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.46(b) and 363.11(g)(3) and (5))
(a) An individualized plan for employment that meets the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and updated using funds under Title I.
(b) The individualized plan for employment:
- specifies the supported employment services to be provided;
- describes the expected extended services needed; and
- identifies the source of extended services, including natural supports, or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the individualized plan for employment plan is developed, a statement describing the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that sources will become available.
(c) Services provided under an individualized plan for employment are coordinated with services provided under other individualized plans established under other federal or state programs.
West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts - Division of Rehabilitation Services State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)
Attachment 4.2(c) Input of State Rehabilitation Council
The SRC is pleased to present the following comments for the 2012 State to the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS):
The West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) continues our dedication to helping ensure that people with disabilities can identify and achieve their employment goals. Being a diverse group, the Council is comprised of West Virginians who represent vast backgrounds, including business, labor & industry, Client Assistant Program (CAP), Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), other services providers, Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, Workforce Investment Board, West Virginia Department of Education, consumers and consumer advocates.
The partnership we share with the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) continues to thrive with open communication on pertinent issues and agency updates presented to the full Council during our Council meetings. Our agency liaison, Michael Meadows, is informative and considered a valuable asset, resource and contributor.
The SRC would like to commend the agency on meeting the standards and indicators monitored by RSA. This is quite an accomplishment and the VR staff should be very proud of the job they did to reach these goals.
Recommendation 1: The SRC would like to commend Director Debbie Lovely and the management team for quickly developing and implementing the relocation plan for the rehab complex. With the relocation for the DRS state office and other areas of services, there is an even stronger need to increase public awareness regarding DRS services. West Virginia’s rural settings create obstacles in reaching out to minorities and those rural communities. DRS has done an commendable job to educate citizens and assure the general public has knowledge of the agency’s services and programs that are offered in various areas of the state. These obstacles generate challenges for outreach, but with the development of marketing materials, education of staff on marketing techniques, conducting public forums, creating statewide public service announcements and utilizing agency partners, such as Department of Education, local media, information & referral networks, Workforce WV, community businesses and civic organizations and by incorporating personal contacts, the agency can experience increased recognition.
The Council recommends the agency develop newspaper inserts announcing the relocation of services which have been affected to ensure public awareness.
DRS Response: DRS agrees with this recommendation. The agency plans to publicize the relocation of its offices that were affected by the recent moves from the former DRS Institute Complex. Once all permanent office locations have been re-established, DRS will publicize the new locations to ensure the public, partners, service providers and stakeholders are aware.
Recommendation 2: The Council continues to commend DRS for their efforts to work toward a statewide partnership with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) to help bridge services gaps throughout the State to assure uniformity, clarification of services for the clients and sharing of best practices.
The Council recommends that DRS continue to:
A. allow life skills and work adjustment to be provided in an evaluation status to determine client’s rehabilitation needs and to establish whether this necessitates supported employment;
B. decrease the overwhelming paperwork for CRPs and counselors in the referral process;
C. develop a procedures manual for DRS and CRPs for each step of the process of providing rehabilitation services including utilization the specific forms, and scheduled face-to-face meetings; and,
D. streamline and improve the fee structure for payment to CRPs.
DRS Response: (A). Life Skills and Work Adjustment have always been by definition a competency based curriculum training program designed to assist persons seeking employment to develop, restore or acquire skills to become more work ready. We want these tools be used properly. These two services were never intended to be evaluative type services, they were for those individuals that a vocational goal had already been determined and should have been done in status 18 (training). Currently counselors have Community Based Assessment and the newly established Work Skills Assessment available to them to assist in establishing/determining a client’s rehabilitation needs, vocational goal that is consistent with the client’s skills and abilities along with determining if this is a supported employment or direct placement case. This recommendation was addressed in FY 2010 and the response remains the same. There are no plans to allow these tools to be used as assessment tools since that was never their intent.
(B). Prior to implementing any changes, statewide meetings were held with both DRS and CRP staff. Both groups of staff requested some type of uniformity with the paperwork. Again, most of this paperwork had been developed, however, the use of the paperwork was not enforced. The reasoning for it being enforced now was to address statewide concerns by both CRPs and DRS staff that not enough ongoing communication was occurring between CRPs and DRS staff once a case was referred. It was also apparent that case documentation of this activity was sorely lacking. The referral and plan development requires that DRS staff complete a one page referral form (CRP 24) and then the CRP with input from the counselor and client develop the CRP plan (CRP 20 and/or 30 depending on the service being requested). Anytime processes and paperwork are enforced where they were not before, instituting it can feel “overwhelming” as opposed to doing little or no paperwork. Without some type of paper documentation it would be difficult to follow the services requested along with developing an understanding of what services are to be provided. In comparison to some of the other funding source’s paperwork requirements, the paperwork required for the referral and plan development phase is more simple and concise. We have been providing and will continue to provide technical assistance and training to help those involved with the process. We believe it has already become less “overwhelming” and will continue to be less of a problem as it becomes more routine for those involved. It should also be noted that the typical paperwork involved with most other DRS services is not as involved as the paperwork required for CRPs services, however, these services are more intense and require the proper follow up and involvement from both counselors and CRP staff. This recommendation was addressed in FY 2010. Reviewing the paperwork and researching other forms being utilized for similar services is on-going and changes will be made when and if deemed necessary.
(C). This has already been developed. The manual lists each CRP service on the left side of the manual. For each CRP service listed it provides the definition of the service, guidelines for the service, limits for the service, step by step procedures along with the number of the required form and fees. On the right side of the manual the service provider annual data summary is provided, CRP service’s definitions, required work adjustment curriculum outline, extended supported employment services guidelines along with the required forms, and then the required forms for each CRP service are provided in numerical order. These manuals are provided when training is conducted for both CRP staff and DRS staff. Staff can keep these manuals for their use when conducting or monitoring CRP services.
(D). This has already been developed. The manual lists each CRP service on the left side of the manual. For each CRP service listed it provides the definition of the service, guidelines for the service, limits for the service, step-by-step procedures along with the number of the required form and fees. On the right side of the manual the service provider annual data summary is provided, CRP service’s definitions, required work adjustment curriculum outline, extended supported employment services guidelines along with the required forms, and then the required forms for each CRP service are provided in numerical order. These manuals are provided when training is conducted for both CRP staff and DRS staff. Staff can keep these manuals for their use when conducting or monitoring CRP services.
Recommendation 3: Strengthening the partnership between DRS and CRPs is of the utmost importance. The formation of a mechanism to document successes, opportunities for development and obstacles facing the CRPs as well as DRS staff should be developed.
The Council recommends a confidential internal survey be developed, utilizing representation from the CRPs and DRS. This group would develop a survey addressing the effectiveness of the community based services, documenting successes and obstacles facing CRPs. The summary of the findings of this report will be shared with the CRPs, SRC, CRP Advisory Council, consumers and DRS staff at their district meetings.
DRS Response: DRS agrees with this recommendation. The agency, therefore, will be conducting a survey of CRPs in FY 2012. The survey will be utilized to identify successes, prospects for new development, and service-related barriers facing CRPs and the DRS. The overarching goals of the survey will be to strengthen the partnership between DRS and CRPs, and to enhance the availability and quality of services to DRS clients.
Recommendation 4: The development of programs, services and policies are vital to growth of the agency. Having knowledge of the Client Services Manual with ongoing updates is an asset to clients.
The SRC recommends posting the DRS Client Services Manual on the DRS internet site for public awareness.
DRS Response: DRS agrees with this recommendation. As of June 3, 2011, the DRS Client Services Manual is available to the public on the Division’s webpage.
Recommendation 5: Each August, DRS and other partners participate in MultiFest on the grounds of the State Capitol. This collective project was one successful approach toward minority outreach. This three day event was heavily attended, gained media attention and was well received.
The SRC recommends continued participation in this event and other multicultural events in other areas of the state to increase awareness of DRS services and programs available for people with disabilities.
DRS Response: The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Service appreciates the State Rehabilitation Council’s active participation in the Division’s minority outreach initiative. The Division will continue participation in Multifest and support for other partners who desire to join with us in this activity. Our partners include representatives from the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at West Virginia University, State Developmental Disabilities Council, West Virginia Centers for Independent Living, Statewide Independent Living Council, State Rehabilitation Council, and the Fair Shake Network/ADA Coalition. The Division and our partners will disseminate information about disability rights, vocational rehabilitation, and independent living during this year’s festival. The Division also will continue to participate in other multicultural festivals, such as those at Parkersburg and Clarksburg.
The Division will continue its current staff training efforts to better enable our client service professionals to work more successfully with minority persons with disabilities and continue exploring other opportunities and methods for working with public and private sector partners in minority outreach.
Recommendation 6: Camp Summer FUNdamentals was first held at Camp Virgil Tate in Charleston, West Virginia in August 2008. This continues to be an excellent learning experience for transitioning youth between the ages of 16 and 22. The SRC is proud to have partnered in this exceptional opportunity. Young people benefit through learning experiences and demonstrating their skills during this weeklong camp. With the support of DRS staff and other mentors, they focus on career exploration and life skills development.
The Council strongly encourages and supports the continuation of this camp for transitioning youth bringing community employers, mentors and other partners into this program. This affords further opportunity to achieve yet another phase of the DRS mission of enabling and empowering individuals with disabilities to work and live independently, which benefits everyone, especially our youth.
DRS Response: The 4th Annual Summer FUNdamentals Camp program is scheduled for August 1-5, 2011. Campers come from all regions of the state to participate in a week of residential camping, located on the grounds of Camp Virgil Tate, Charleston, WV. Camp programming focuses on life skills development, career exploration and recreational activities. Sixteen campers participated in the 2010 camp activities including: mock interviewing with local employers, Zumba, healthy eating class, Marshall University Career Center speaker on choosing vocations, job seeking skills, a tour of the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion and Cultural Center, and a semi-pro baseball game at Power Park.
Recommendation 7: With limited public transportation and the geographic layout of West Virginia, many residents of the state do not have the benefit of attending public forums. DRS and the SRC, have in the past, conducted forums in metropolitan areas with a fair turnout. To refine this process and gain additional input for DRS, Council and the State Plan, the SRC recommends the use of the Internet to receive public input. The Council also recommends conducting multiple public forums every three years in unserved or underserved areas of the state as part of the agency’s comprehensive needs assessment. These forums would benefit being partnered with DRS, SRC and Statewide Independent Living Council as a means of collecting information from the disability community.
DRS Response: The Division shares the State Rehabilitation Council’s interest in assuring opportunities for participation by interested citizens in program evaluation and planning for our state’s public rehabilitation program.
The Division agrees that using the Internet is a valuable and beneficial way to receive public input. The agency’s website was developed with that in mind and hosts several ways in which the public can contact DRS and provide feedback, including a general online contact form, a Community Needs Survey and a website feedback form. The general online contact form is frequently utilized to request information about services and other programs, as well as for general comments or complaints. The Community Needs Survey solicits information for input and program improvements, with specific questions relating to community services that are needed and/or improvements that DRS needs to make.
From preliminary discussion with representatives of the State Rehabilitation Council and the Statewide Independent Living Council, the Division believes there is consensus that the recommended public fora would be most beneficial in support of the comprehensive needs assessment which the Division conducts every three years regarding the rehabilitation needs of West Virginians with disabilities. The next such assessment will be conducted during Federal fiscal year 2012, and the Division welcomes the opportunity to work jointly with both councils in conducting public fora in support of that activity.
Recommendation 8: Home and vehicle modifications are vital to individuals entering or returning to the work force. These services can pave the way for living independently, seeking gainful employment and safety. DRS has a superb Rehab Tech Division which assists individuals to achieve their autonomy. DRS is in the process of expanding their Rehab Tech Division in other parts of the state. The SRC recommends upon completion of the unit in the Morgantown area the agency consider marketing this program to educate and promote awareness of the availability of these services.
DRS Response: The establishment of the Northern Rehab Technology unit will increase access to vital vocational rehabilitation services, including assistive technology, environmental modifications and driver’s education and evaluation, for clients residing in the northern part of West Virginia. DRS plans to promote the opening of this unit and the increased availability of these services through targeted public awareness activities. DRS will also ensure that partners, including centers for independent living and community rehabilitation programs, are aware of the services that will be provided through the new location.
This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 8:45AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Cooperation with Agencies That Are Not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System and With Other Entities
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) maintains cooperation and coordination with various agencies and entities. This attachment describes DRS association with agencies or entities that are not in the statewide workforce investment system, education officials, private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers, and supported employment and extended services providers for individuals with the most significant disabilities.
DRS continues relationships with many agencies and organizations that are not in the statewide workforce investment system and whose functions, in some capacity, involve the provision of services to individuals with disabilities. The association with other organizations occurs with varying degrees of involvement depending upon joint initiatives that may be planned and/or that may occur within any given year. Generally, DRS representatives may be included in advisory functions for other agencies, as are other agencies with the strategic planning that occurs within DRS. At present, examples of some DRS collaborative efforts are:
DRS and the West Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (WVARF) maintain a special relationship in informational communication, support, technical assistance, and through West Virginia’s Committee for the Purchase of Commodities and Services from the Handicapped (State Use law). The State Use law created a central non-profit agency (CNA) to coordinate contract sales to the state. WVARF was designated as the CNA by the DRS Director. The legislation also created a Governor’s Committee for the Purchase of Goods and Services from the Handicapped and gave that body rule-making authority for the program. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, 1,237 individuals with disabilities were employed through the State Use program at an average hourly wage of at least $7.25.
A DRS representative is actively involved with the West Virginia State Mental Health Planning Advisory Council in the monitoring and oversight of behavioral health services in the state. The DRS representative participates in quarterly Council meetings and serves on various sub-committees.
DRS continues its commitment to cooperative workers’ compensation programming with BrickStreet Insurance through ongoing collaboration in the provision of coordinated case management and rehabilitation services to injured workers, thereby enabling them to achieve appropriate employment outcomes.
DRS representatives participate on the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council. DRS maintains a close working relationship with the staff and members of this Council and has provided support and received effective feedback for its work.
DRS representatives maintain involvement with the West Virginia Medical Services Fund Advisory Council, an advisory body to the West Virginia Office of Medical Services which administers the state’s Medicaid program, via quarterly meetings. Through this affiliation, DRS is made aware of changes occurring within the Medicaid system so that dissemination of updated information is possible.
DRS sustains a relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) which allows direct referrals of appropriate veterans from VA facilities to its rehabilitation technology unit for assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering services.
Although DRS does not maintain a formal agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development, it provides rehabilitation services as necessary to eligible migrant and seasonal farm workers with disabilities. Another available resource is the WV AgrAbility Project, a USDA-funded program established to assist farmers and farm families who need to find ways to accommodate their disabilities in order to remain active in agriculture.
This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 11:06AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Coordination with Education Officials
Currently, DRS has cooperative agreements with the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDOE) offices of special education and vocational training, all local education agencies, and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. The cooperative agreements between DRS and WVDOE, both at the state and the local levels, assure that each student with a disability in the state who needs special education, vocational education, and/or vocational rehabilitation services is identified and that the appropriate services, including transition services, are made available to the individual. The cooperative agreements cover:
1. Determination of DRS responsibility;
2. Student/client referrals;
3. Joint development of the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) and the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE);
5. Coordinated planning and payment of services;
6. Confidentiality of information;
7. Local agreements;
8. General supervision; and,
9. Dispute resolution.
By the end of FY 2011, DRS projects that more than 7,566 youth with disabilities will receive services and approximately 942 will be rehabilitated into employment. Youth are represented in all categories of mental and physical disabilities.
DRS assigns 67 rehabilitation counselors to the 55 local education agencies and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Thirty (30) of these counselors are assigned to exclusively provide services for the public schools. DRS offices are located in some of the state’s largest schools. Counselors visit every high school in the state to initiate rehabilitation services needed for transition from school to work. This allows the counselor to develop a collaborative relationship and assist the student in identifying goals, services, and service providers related to employment options prior to transition.
School rehabilitation counselors also are invited to participate in IEP meetings. During these meetings the counselor describes DRS services, policies, and procedures as appropriate. The DRS counselor determines the student’s eligibility and order of selection category utilizing information generated from the school, the student, and DRS. Prior to or shortly after the student’s IEP transition meeting occurs, IPE development begins so both the student and counselor have an idea of what rehabilitation services will be necessary to meet the student’s vocational goal. If the student needs additional training or assessment prior to vocational goal determination, this information is already collected so that planned rehabilitation services may begin. IPE development and approval will begin as early as appropriate during the transition process, but not later than when the student determined to be eligible leaves the school setting.
Each county school system is financially responsible for providing appropriate special education and related services to all eligible students with a disability (ages 3 to 21) enrolled in that county’s public school system. Transition needs focusing on the student’s program of study must be identified for each eligible student with a disability beginning at age 14 (or younger if determined appropriate). Transition services, including interagency linkages, if appropriate, must be identified by age 16. If reasonable accommodations can be made, students with disabilities shall have equal access to services that are normally provided by public schools for students without disabilities.
Financial responsibility rests with DRS for vocational rehabilitation services needed by students with disabilities, ages 16 to 21, who have left school by way of graduation or who have otherwise exited the school system. DRS will provide services that are legally their responsibility for those students who are approaching or are of working age, and who are determined to be eligible for services by DRS.
Information about the DRS school program is widely disseminated to education professionals, as well as students and their parents. An updated fact sheet explaining DRS transition services is available, along with a videotape that describes DRS services and highlights achievements and successes of previous clients within the school program. These videotapes continue to be in demand and are widely used by both DRS staff members and teachers within schools statewide. DRS has negotiated an agreement with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for its clients who attend in-state public colleges and universities. The agreement describes the financial responsibility of DRS and the appropriate public institution of higher education, provides procedures to resolve interagency disputes, and coordinates policies and procedures to ensure timely delivery of vocational rehabilitation services.
This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 11:09AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers
The state network of Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) is critical to the effective and efficient delivery of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with the most significant disabilities. At present, there are 60 DRS-acknowledged parent company CRPs in West Virginia that have 87 service sites.
DRS maintains working relationships with non-profit CRPs in West Virginia that provide supported and direct employment, community-based assessment, job site training, work adjustment, and/or extended employment assessment. While respecting freedom of choice, DRS encourages work center programs to expand community-based programs for these individuals.
Any CRP meeting the DRS acknowledgment process will be permitted under a written Vendor Acknowledgment to bill for services provided to DRS consumers. In order to become a DRS-acknowledged vendor, an applicant must request, complete, and return a Vendor Acknowledgment Packet. Upon receipt of the completed packet, a recommendation to acknowledge or not acknowledge will be made to the DRS Director.
The Vendor Acknowledgment Packet contains an application for Vendor Acknowledgment to provide supported employment services, an annual data summary that provides the agency’s name, address, contact information, and a checklist of those DRS services they will be providing, and a Vendor Acknowledgment form addressing conditions of and payment for services rendered to DRS consumers.
A signed Vendor Acknowledgment indicates that the vendor agrees to follow conditions set forth regarding standards, anti-discrimination, indemnification, and conditions/standards of operation. The acknowledgment is good for one year.
This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 11:11AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Evidence of Collaboration Regarding Supported Employment Services and Extended Services
DRS continues to concentrate efforts on educating interested parties regarding the process of becoming a non-traditional provider source for supported employment services. A greater variety of supported employment provider choices are needed, particularly due to the rural nature of the state.
DRS continues to focus on providing technical assistance and coordinating training for vendors of supported employment services, DRS staff members and staff members of other public and private agencies. DRS keeps current on changes and advances in supported employment through documented research, literature, and reviews of best practices.
DRS continues to work with George Washington University to provide the CRP Employment Services Training and Certificate Program as appropriate. This program is endorsed by the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE) under the sponsorship of George Washington University’s Region III TACE Center. The target audience is community rehabilitation professionals who work directly with employers including job placement specialists, job developers, employer/business liaisons, job coaches, transition personnel, and state agency personnel.
Previously, the TACE Center held a 2-day conference entitled “Transition Partnership: Paving the Way for the Future.” This conference brought together CRPs and school rehabilitation counselors/staff members to discuss the needs of transitioning youth and how CRPs can provide services to meet those needs. One major outcome of this meeting was the creation of a transition team in every school district in West Virginia. These teams continue to meet and address issues relevant to transitioning youth.
Other agencies with which DRS collaborates for the provision of time-limited supported employment services are:
1. West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council funds;
2. West Virginia Title XIX--Home and Community-Based Waiver Program for mentally retarded/developmentally disabled (MR/DD) recipients;
3. West Virginia Mental Health Planning Council funds; and
4. Social Security Administration work incentives programs.
The Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, a comprehensive employment services grant, contains goals and activities to increase employment options for individuals with disabilities. Initiated in July 2007, these activities continue to impact those services currently being provided and new initiatives addressed in the strategic plan. For DRS, this grant will end at the end of 2011.
In implementing school-to-work transition services for individuals exiting the school system, DRS collaborates with family resource networks.
To enhance communication between DRS and CRPs, electronic communication is used where possible. FAX machines and e-mail assist DRS in communicating with other CRPs.
Through a combined effort with other disability organizations, $46,296 was appropriated by the West Virginia Legislature for supported employment follow-along services. DRS serves as fiscal agent for these funds. DRS has allocated an additional $122,736 for follow-along services in fiscal year (FY) 2011.
DRS has created program guidelines governing the use of state-appropriated funds for extended services under the supported employment program created by state statute in 1993. The sole use of the state funds attached to this program is to provide extended services for individuals not eligible from any other funding source. All providers of supported employment services may access these funds for individuals who are eligible under the guidelines. At the end of FY 2010, DRS had sponsored 241 individuals in the extended supported employment program so they could maintain and retain their jobs within the community. This figure represents the cooperative efforts of 21 CRPs.
Agreements between DRS and all acknowledged providers of supported employment services document collaboration for extended services. Each agreement details the time-limited and extended services that DRS will secure through the vendor.
Extended services specified in the agreement will be provided by the vendor and include, at minimum, monitoring twice a month at the job site of each individual unless the individual can be better served through off-site monitoring. If off-site monitoring is determined to be appropriate, it must, at a minimum, consist of two meetings with the individual and one contact with the employer each month. The vendor also agrees to provide other support services as needed and specified in the Individualized Plan for Employment.
In addition to the basic vendor agreement identifying the time-limited and extended services to be mutually provided by DRS and the vendor, DRS has attempted to collaborate with other agencies and organizations to provide funding for extended services.
These sources of extended supported employment services are:
1. West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council;
2. West Virginia Title XIX--Homes and Community-Based Waiver Program for MR/DD recipients;
3. DRS program funds for persons receiving extended services at DRS-acknowledged CRP work centers; and,
4. Social Security Administration programs such as Impairment Related Work Experience and Plan for Achieving Self Support for approved Social Security recipients.
DRS continues its efforts to expand the number of acknowledged vendors of supported employment services, particularly in areas underserved and unserved within the current system. In FY 2011, the current number of supported employment service providers is 69, an increase of 31 providers since FY 2006.
This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 11:12AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
Procedures and Activities Regarding the Establishment and Maintenance of a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is committed to providing a comprehensive system of personnel development (CSPD) that complies with Section 101(7) (A) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. Members of the State Rehabilitation Council are afforded the opportunity to review and comment upon this entire attachment, particularly the DRS plan for recruitment, preparation, and retention of qualified personnel, DRS personnel standards, and staff development needs and activities.
Provisions of this attachment should assist in recruiting and retaining qualified staff members to ensure skilled personnel are available to provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, these endeavors will help ensure an improved level of competence and expand and improve vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, especially those with significant disabilities, allowing them to reach employment.
The Human Resources Section is responsible for performing all DRS personnel administration activities in keeping with guidance from the West Virginia Division of Personnel (WVDOP), Rehabilitation Services Administration, Social Security Administration, and other appropriate bodies. The DRS Staff Development Unit administers the in-service training grant program.
Under the support of these two units, the following narrative describes the DRS CSPD and policies, procedures, and activities relating to the establishment and maintenance of standards to ensure that personnel, needed within DRS, are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained for DRS operations.
DRS Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development Needs
Statistics and information utilized for personnel planning are maintained in several databases within the Human Resources Section. Staffing and salary information is available from the State of West Virginia Financial Information Management System (FIMS). FIMS allows DRS administrators to review the following: salary, pay grade, job title, reporting unit, and personal employee information. Such information is available to DRS Assistant Directors and District Managers who use it for planning, hiring negotiations, and pay equity. Information about DRS retirees also may be obtained from FIMS.
The Human Resources Senior Manager periodically (at least monthly) maintains and provides statistical data to the DRS Director. The data is a list of the number of individuals under various classifications who are employed by DRS in the provision of rehabilitation services. This includes a ratio of the number of counselors to the number of clients served each year. DRS estimates the number of clients served (14,564) to the number of counselors (126) will be 116 in FY 2012.
Each year the DRS Director receives a summary report that estimates and projects the number of such personnel that will be needed during the next five-year period. In March 2011, DRS had 126 counselors in various offices across the state. Of the 126 counselors, DRS had 64 Rehabilitation Counselors, 31 Senior Rehabilitation Counselors, and 31 Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. The DRS believes its existing counselors are able to provide services to clients who are currently in the DRS system.
DRS had several unfilled positions as of March 2011: seven Rehabilitation Counseling positions, six Certified Rehabilitation Counselor positions and six Senior Rehabilitation Counselor positions. Each unfilled position is being used to expand the number of field counselors when needed.
DRS expects to see an increase in the number of clients in its caseload system, from an estimated 11,276 individuals in FY 2010 to a projected 15,000 individuals in FY 2015. DRS administrators believe that the expected increase in total caseload size will be managed by existing counseling personnel and the gradual filling of the 19 vacant counselor positions over the next five years.
DRS projects that it will need at least 126 counseling positions to adequately serve future clients in FY 2015. Of the 126 counseling positions, there should be 64 positions for Rehabilitation Counselors, 31 positions for Senior Rehabilitation Counselors, and 31 positions for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.
The following information presents a range of the number of counselors projected to leave DRS employment at age 55 and 62 in FY 2015. Of the 53 persons who will be eligible under the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System for early retirement at age 55, there will be 25 Rehabilitation Counselors, 10 Senior Rehabilitation Counselors, and 18 Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. Of the 21 persons who will be eligible to retire at age 62 with reduced Social Security Administration benefits, there will be 7 Rehabilitation Counselors, 4 Senior Rehabilitation Counselors, and 10 Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. DRS continues to experience a gradual retirement of counselors and other personnel. The agency expects this trend will continue over the coming years.
|Row||Job Title||Total positions||Current vacancies||Projected vacancies over the next 5 years|
|2||Senior Rehabilitation Counselors||31||6||7|
|3||Certified Rehabilitation Counselors||31||6||14|
Information from Institutions of Higher Education
DRS annually collects information from higher education institutions that provide pre-service training to prospective rehabilitation personnel. Each May, West Virginia institutions of higher education that prepare personnel for employment are asked to provide the DRS Director with information on the number of students enrolled in their programs and the number who graduated with certification or licensure. The same information is requested for students who graduated during the past year and who have credentials to qualify for certification or licensure.
Based on information provided by West Virginia University (WVU) and Marshall University (MU), WVU reports 61 students enrolled in the Rehabilitation/Guidance Counseling graduate program and 28 graduates in the 2010-2011 period. For the Social Work graduate program, WVU reports an enrollment of 327 students and 130 graduates in the 2010-2011 period.
The report from Marshall University shows 219 students and 36 graduates in Counseling graduate programs. It also reports 90 students and 35 graduates in Psychology graduate programs.
DRS has not sponsored any counselors or staff members to pursue a graduate degree since 2004. However, DRS has sponsored rehabilitation counselors in graduate level rehabilitation counseling courses.
|Row||Institutions||Students enrolled||Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates from the previous year|
|1||'10-'11 WVU Rehab/Guidance Counseling Grad Program||61||0||0||28|
|2||'10-'11 Marshall U.-Counseling Graduate Program||219||0||0||36|
|3||'10-'11 WVU Social Work Graduate Program||327||0||0||130|
|4||'10-'11 Marshall U.-Psychology Graduate Program||90||0||0||35|
DRS Recruitment Efforts
DRS will continue its efforts to recruit and advance employees of traditionally under-represented groups such as people with disabilities, seniors, women, and members of racial or ethnic minority groups.
In its effort to recruit qualified counselors, DRS maintains an active relationship with the West Virginia University (WVU) Master’s Program in Rehabilitation Counseling. DRS has a long history of a successful program of paid internships with students enrolled there.
During their last semester in the graduate program, rehabilitation counselor interns receive salaries and are placed in various DRS offices throughout the state. Such internships provide opportunities for these graduates to familiarize themselves with DRS operations. This has proven to be an effective recruitment tool and will continue to be offered as part of the agency’s cooperative agreement with the WVU graduate program.
In addition, WVU provides a listing of its graduates to DRS for recruitment purposes. DRS vacancies are also posted on the WVU website. This ongoing activity benefits DRS, the individual graduates, and ultimately consumers of rehabilitation services.
DRS Re-training Efforts for Existing Rehabilitation Professionals
As stated above, DRS makes no exceptions to the state standard when hiring new rehabilitation counselors. Therefore, the agency provides existing personnel the training necessary to meet requirements of the state standard.
DRS is in full compliance with the CSPD requirement and its standard to employ only rehabilitation counselors who possess a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling-related field, including a minimum of one graduate course with a primary focus in theories and techniques of counseling. The agency has partnered with West Virginia University’s online e-campus program in graduate rehabilitation counselor education to provide this training. Eleven DRS Counselors completed an eight week online class in Counseling Theories and Techniques in September 2009. Since this time, there has been no further need as all newly hired counselors have already had this course. DRS will, however, continue to send counselors through this on-line course at WVU on an as-needed basis, and will ensure that all counselors hired without this master’s level class will complete the course in their first year of employment with the DRS.
As part of its non-discriminatory employment practices, DRS ensures that all personnel are selected for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. The DRS affirmative action plan is updated annually, and the agency has formally adopted this policy of non-discriminatory employment practices.
DRS Standards for Qualified Rehabilitation Professionals
To ensure a high standard of competency and credentials for its qualified rehabilitation professionals, DRS has established job classifications. The lowest standard for Rehabilitation Counselors requires a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, counseling and guidance, social work, or closely related behavioral science field. In accordance with the July 2008 RSA recommendation regarding minimum educational requirements for rehabilitation counselors, DRS is working with the West Virginia Department of Personnel (WVDOP) to revise rehabilitation counselor job classifications. The revised lowest standard for Rehabilitation Counselors requires a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling-related field and a minimum of one graduate course in theories and techniques of counseling. Senior Rehabilitation Counselors require: 1) a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling-related field; 2) a minimum of one graduate course in theories and techniques of counseling; and 3) two years of full-time or equivalent part-time paid professional experience in vocational rehabilitation counseling. Certified Rehabilitation Counselors require: 1) a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling-related field; 2) a minimum of one graduate course in theories and techniques of counseling; 3) current national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor or Certified Vocational Evaluator or current West Virginia licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor; and 4) at least three years of full-time or equivalent part-time paid professional experience as a rehabilitation counselor.
DRS strives to recruit graduates of accredited master’s degree programs in rehabilitation like the one at WVU, but it does not require the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential as the minimum qualification for a new counselor. Graduates of accredited master’s degree programs in rehabilitation counseling are eligible for certification by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), which sets the national standards for quality rehabilitation counseling services in the U.S. DRS encourages the achievement of CRC by existing counselors and gives special preference to applicants with the CRC credential and qualified applicants with disabilities and from minority backgrounds.
The DRS standard is specific to rehabilitation counselors only and is consistent with registration requirements of WVDOP—the DRS state hiring authority. WVDOP administers and scores unassembled examinations to potential rehabilitation counselor candidates.
Hiring Qualified Rehabilitation Professionals
Individuals not meeting the above personnel standards are ineligible to interview for vacant positions and are not considered for employment by DRS. Classification specifications for each position utilized by DRS are available through the WVDOP website: http://www.state.wv.us/admin/personnel/default.htm. The standard does not permit grandfathering.
When employing new rehabilitation counselors, DRS makes no exceptions to its standard and provides the training necessary to meet requirements of the state standard only to existing personnel. These efforts are described later in this attachment.
Should qualified candidates be unavailable, the DRS Director, Assistant Directors, Human Resources Manager, and the Unit or District Manager may re-assess staffing/client needs and re-assign qualified employees to assume duties of the vacant position. Qualified DRS retirees may also be rehired on a contractual/intermittent basis until permanent qualified employees can be hired.
The career ladder for advancement within the rehabilitation counseling ranks requires additional experience and credentials as well as increased responsibilities. A master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling-related field and a minimum of one graduate course in theories and techniques of counseling is the agency’s lowest standard to employ entry-level rehabilitation counselors. It must be noted, however, that West Virginia’s predominantly rural nature and less competitive state salary makes recruitment of master’s level rehabilitation counselors quite difficult in some areas.
DRS Requirements for Qualified Rehabilitation Paraprofessionals
In order to more efficiently meet the needs of its clients, DRS upgraded several clerical positions to paraprofessional status. A Rehabilitation Services Associate (RSA) must be a high school (or equivalent) graduate and have at least four years of full-time or equivalent part-time paid experience in paraprofessional or responsible clerical office support work, which requires familiarity with casework procedures and delivery of direct client services in a state vocational rehabilitation services agency. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited four year college or university may be substituted for the required experience. The WVDOP specification for the RSA position may be accessed at http://www.state.wv.us/admin/personnel/default.htm.
An RSA assists qualified rehabilitation counselors in several ways: providing information about the rehabilitation process and services available to interested applicants and members of the general public; obtaining information needed to complete the application process; initiating vocational diagnostic interviews; arranging medical, psychological, and vocational evaluations for DRS clients; and assisting clients in applying for student financial aid.
DRS employed 25 RSAs as of March 2011. These paraprofessionals are assigned to DRS offices throughout West Virginia. To ensure statewide coverage, at least one is located within each DRS district.
System of Staff Evaluation
DRS requires that each permanent employee receive an annual job performance evaluation. Work performance of probationary employees is reviewed upon completion of the third and sixth (and for certain job classifications, twelfth) months during a probationary period. This evaluation system enables DRS to monitor the job performance of all staff members and identify areas of weakness and skill deficiencies that need training or remediation, as well as areas of strong performance. The evaluation also provides a systematic method of determining training needs for all staff members.
Staff Development and Training Activities
DRS uses a comprehensive system to assess the in-service training needs of its staff members. A needs assessment was circulated in May 2010 for the purpose of assessing the current needs and trends of training for DRS staff members across the state. The format was a short questionnaire disseminated through email to managers and supervisors, then to counselors in the same manner. The results of the assessment demonstrate that the managers and supervisors agree the agency met their continuing education needs. Other topics listed as needed areas for additional training were: time management, policy changes, ethics, Traumatic Brain Injury, orthopedic disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and caseload management.
Executive Management Group members, program supervisors, and program specialists assist in the establishment of training goals, objectives, and major priorities for in-service training activities.
Counseling staff members reported their priority in training needs to be met for the sponsored continuing education requirements. Additional topics identified as training needs include: interpretation of medical and psychological testing, computer programs, ethics, employment specialist specific training, medical terminology, community resource use, and policy and procedures.
The selection of DRS participants for training activities is based upon documented organizational, unit, or individual training needs. Training programs will be provided for all classes and types of staff members on an internally assessed priority basis. Particular emphasis is placed on programs addressing assessment, vocational counseling, job placement, policy and procedure, ethics, and rehabilitation technology. There will be no discrimination in the selection of trainees for these programs based on age, sex, religion, disability, and national or ethnic origin.
DRS is committed to utilizing only institutions or training facilities that are accessible programmatically and architecturally-free of other barriers with respect to trainees with disabilities. In addition, DRS will ensure that program materials are accessible in the most appropriate format for all participants with disabilities (assistive communication devices, interpreters, large print, audio tapes, Braille material, etc.). The technology to ensure these accommodations is available through various support units within DRS. Moreover, to ensure equal access for individuals with disabilities in facilities of higher education, DRS houses a rehabilitation counselor on campus at Marshall University.
DRS also maintains strong cooperative and collaborative relationships with institutions of higher education, particularly those receiving funds from the Rehabilitation Services Administration to train rehabilitation professionals. This is to ensure that personnel needed within DRS are appropriately and adequately prepared for employment. DRS staff members serve on institutional advisory committees to ensure that the curricula address the job specific skills and training needed by rehabilitation professionals filling job vacancies within our organization.
In the past, new DRS employees received training through a New Employee Orientation (NEO) program coordinated by the Staff Development Unit. Program presenters included the DRS Director, members of the DRS Executive Management Group, and others. Participants would travel to Charleston for training for a one-to-two day period. In keeping with technology trends and funding, and in collaboration with the Communications Unit, a NEO DVD has been produced to be a part of new employee’s initial training with the agency. This orientation program includes topics such as grievance procedures, drug free workplace policy, leave and flex-policy, acceptable computer usage, ethics, benefits, and EEO information. This ensures that training on such matters is provided to new employees in a timely manner. The project is currently under review to determine the best distance learning modality to distribute the program. We anticipate implementation and availability to all offices and staff members by the end of FY 2011.
Additionally, Quality Assurance (QA) program staff members train new client-serving personnel on casework and client services issues. This approach ensures that all rehabilitation counselors and paraprofessionals receive standardized and accurate training. QA staff members conduct regular case record reviews to ensure compliance with federal, state, and agency casework standards. Any deficiencies identified from the reviews are addressed through appropriate training.
DRS actively supports staff members by offering training activities that enable them to reach the objective of "qualified rehabilitation professional." DRS has copies of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination Preparation Guide for requesting employees.
All Staff Development Unit-sponsored programs provide continuing education credits that assist DRS CRCs, Licensed Professional Counselors, and members of other certified groups to maintain or obtain their certification. DRS has received approval authority from the CRCC to provide CRC continuing education credits for training programs meeting CRCC criteria.
As a mandated partner of the Workforce Investment Act, DRS remains actively engaged in disability training for all partners of the WORKFORCE WV (One Stop) system. The agency continues to offer cross-training in the local area on topics such as eligibility and orientation to DRS services, the Americans with Disabilities Act, assistive technology and environmental modifications, and disability awareness.
DRS has presented training sessions at all annual workforce conferences. Continued training regarding updates or new initiatives relating to workforce are provided as they occur via an e-mail list serve. DRS continues to serve on the West Virginia Workforce Investment Council, local workforce investment boards, and the Interagency Collaborative Team in an effort to keep members of the workforce system educated about the employment of individuals with disabilities. DRS participates in disability training at annual workforce conferences and makes presentations to other Interagency Collaborative Team members regarding services and programs of the Agency.
DRS established its Leadership Development Academy (LDA) in 1999 to address issues of succession planning. To date, 60 DRS employees have completed the program. Throughout the country, agencies serving people with disabilities have recognized the need to assist staff members in assuming greater leadership roles in their current positions as well as to facilitate their career advancement. As experienced leaders depart, it becomes necessary for others to have the ability and confidence necessary to fulfill available leadership roles.
In order to meet the ongoing leadership needs of the agency, the Emerging Leaders Program was developed to replace the existing Leadership Development Academy. The Emerging Leaders Program focuses on the essential skills and knowledge of future leaders. It consists of nine monthly sessions. Topics covered include the Rehabilitation Act and its application and effect on the administration of DRS, federal compliance, the history and organizational structure, the legislative procedures, budgeting, human resources administration, client services management, rehabilitation programs and partnerships, public relations and leadership. This variety of topics enables participants to develop stronger interpersonal communication skills and become more effective at influencing policy and people. The first session was held in January, 2011. The program will run through August, 2011. Thirteen DRS staff were selected to participate. Their graduation will be conducted at our annual State Training Conference in September, 2011.
DRS re-established a statewide conference for all staff members in 2008 and continues the program today. During September 21-24, 2010, over 232 rehabilitation staff members participated at our annual State Training Conference. A day of preconference sessions was held for clerical and support staff members, employment specialists, the blind and visually impaired counselors and staff members, the deaf and hard of hearing counselors, quality assurance specialists, blind services staff, and managers and supervisors. The preconference sessions provided specific training to increase the skills and knowledge for these specialty groups. The remainder of the conference provided general sessions on fiscal and purchasing services, client services and payment processes, services to older workers, rehabilitation technology, community programs ethics, iECM (internet-based electronic case management), and other topics based on the training needs assessed prior to the conference. Breakout sessions for our Employment Specialists were also provided. This conference helps ensure that all staff members are connected to the overall mission and vision of the agency.
During the calendar year 2010, 18 different training sessions were approved for CRC credits totaling 71.5 clock hours.
DRS staff confront the challenge of refining and improving their skills and knowledge while dealing with the current explosion of knowledge, technology, and treatment modalities. The agency will continue to make intensive efforts to provide ongoing information that will ensure the skills of DRS employees are responsive to the needs of the people they serve.
Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs
West Virginia does not have a large population of ethnic groups who speak a language other than English. Consequently, DRS has not experienced difficulties making its programs accessible and available statewide. Our main language accessibility needs concern people who are deaf, and each DRS district is staffed with a specialist counselor providing full access to programs and services for people who have deafness or hearing impairments.
DRS continues to work with the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to train and certify interpreters in order to strengthen the network of providers for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. Numerous workshops and seminars are conducted to increase the number of interpreters, improve their communication skills, and provide better statewide coverage. These coordinated efforts will continue as needed.
DRS also ensures that its employees and consumers with blindness or visual impairments receive information and materials in their preferred mode of communication through various accommodations. Upon request, various DRS support units provide such services as assistive communication devices, large print and/or Braille materials, audiotapes, and electronic (computer) copies.
DRS will continue to coordinate its system of personnel development with the West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDOE) personnel development under IDEA/No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This coordination will include collaborative efforts to share information, liaison activities, and cooperative training endeavors for DRS school counselors, teachers, and WVDOE employees, particularly those assigned to the Office of Special Education.
The DRS state level liaison attends WVDOE training functions related to special education and disseminates information about education policy or law changes to DRS school counselors as needed. School counselors also receive information during their annual meeting. DRS school counselors also participate in cross-training efforts that occur on the local level through Regional Education Services Agencies. In some areas of the state, DRS school counselors and managers participate in local interagency planning groups where training issues are discussed and planned.
This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 9:09AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
RESULTS OF THE COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT OF THE REHABILITATION NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES AND THE NEED TO ESTABLISH, DEVELOP, OR IMPROVE COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAMS
COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
To comply with provisions of Title I, Section 101, State Plans, of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (WVSRC) conducted a three-year comprehensive statewide assessment of the vocational rehabilitation (VR) services needs of individuals with disabilities in West Virginia. The WVSRC-DRS Joint Committee on Needs Assessment was established in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 to oversee the needs assessment activity. Joint committee members including those selected by WVSRC and DRS personnel were fully committed to the needs assessment study and want to ensure successful completion of its objectives.
Three major objectives of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment study included examination of the rehabilitation needs of (1) individuals with significant and most significant disabilities, including their needs for supported employment services; (2) individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program; and (3) individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system. The role of community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) as service providers was reviewed to address the need to establish, develop, or improve CRPs in West Virginia.
To maintain effective and comprehensive service delivery programs for West Virginians with disabilities, the needs assessment identified various service needs of individuals with significant and most significant disabilities. Some needed services such as transportation, housing, and personal assistance are beyond the scope of the state VR program and, thus, require coordination and cooperation among a diverse range of public and private agencies and other organizations serving West Virginians with disabilities. The needs assessment recognized the service providers’ perceptions of the needs of consumers with disabilities, including counselors/supervisors/managers of DRS, CRPs, and one-stop career centers throughout West Virginia.
As part of the WVSRC-DRS Joint Committee on Needs Assessment, the State Plan and Program Evaluation (SPPE) Unit conducted the needs assessment study for the agency. The initial phase of the statewide needs assessment activities included: 1) identification of the VR related service needs of consumers with significant disabilities and 2) a survey of VR field counselors/supervisors/managers on their perceptions of consumers’ needs.
As part of the intake process for VR services, a question regarding service needs was posed to a potential DRS client at the time of application. The reported service needs were then recorded in the DRS electronic case management system. In FY 2009, SPPE staff members conducted a qualitative analysis of the reported service needs of 4,185 persons with disabilities of various age and disability groups statewide. Included in these active cases with expressed VR service needs across the state were hundreds of persons with significant disabilities from minority backgrounds and thousands of transitioning youth. The findings of this analysis are presented below.
THE STATEWIDE NEEDS ASSESSMENT OF CONSUMERS WITH SIGNIFICANT DISABILITIES
Results of the Analysis of the Reported Service Needs of Persons with Significant Disabilities
SPPE staff members in FY 2009, under guidance of the WVSRC-DRS Joint Committee on Needs Assessment, conducted a qualitative analysis of the VR service needs as reported by clients on their initial application from September 1, 2007 through April 2, 2009. The qualitative analysis of the reported service needs of persons with significant disabilities included 4,185 statewide applicants with significant disabilities across all DRS districts. The demographic profile of these individuals with significant disabilities consists of the following characteristics:
--54% male, 46% female;
--92.6% White, 6.8% Other (African American/Hispanic/American Indian/Alaska Native/Asian or Pacific Islander) and 0.6% had no race listed;
--0.4% under 20 years old, 41.8% 20-34 years, 26.8% 35-44 years, 11.5% 45-64 years, 1.1% 65 years or older and 18.4% were of unknown age;
--50.6% mental impairments, 24.7% physical impairments, 7.6% deafness/hearing impairments, 2% blindness/visual impairments, 0.2% other impairments and 14.9% were unspecified.
Of the statewide total of 4,185 persons with significant disabilities at the time of their DRS application, 2,447 persons were determined to be of transition status (age 24 and under). The demographic profile of this subset of transition status individuals with significant disabilities consists of the following characteristics:
--55.4% male and 44.6% female;
--93.4% White and 6% African American/Hispanic/American Indian/Alaska Native/Asian or Pacific Islander and 0.6% had no race listed;
--82% under 20 years old, 17% 20-34 years and 1% were of unknown age;
--62.9% mental impairments, 16.5% physical impairments, 2.5% deafness/hearing impairments, 1.4% blindness/visual impairments, 0.2% other impairments and 16.5% were unspecified.
Of the statewide total of 4,185 persons with significant disabilities at the time of their DRS application, 285 persons were determined to be of minority status. The demographic profile of this subset of minority status individuals with significant disabilities consists of the following characteristics:
--52.8% male, 47.2% female;
--4.9% American Indian, 3.1% Asian, 82.5% African American, 8.8% Hispanic, 0.7% Native Hawaiian;
--38.6% under 20 years old, 27% 20-34 years, 12.6% 35-44 years, 20% 45-64 years, and 1.4% 65 years or older; and, 0.4% were of unknown age;
--61% mental impairments, 19.6% physical impairments, 4.6% deafness/hearing impairments, 1.8% blindness/visual impairments, 0.4% other impairments and 12.6% were unspecified.
Comments from 4,185 DRS case management records were analyzed, which resulted in validation that consumers continue to request similar services as in the past years. Methodologies included counts of keywords as well as individual review and coding.
By summarizing the keywords into five major service categories including education, training, health, employment, and support services, the examined qualitative data resulted in the following findings:
Educational services requested included high school, GED, and vocational schools as well as two and four-year college assistance. Many clients simply indicated a need for education or schooling. Technical programs such as computer programming, repair and support were often mentioned. Some clients were, at application, knowledgeable of the field they would like to pursue and even indicated a school of choice. Clients with educational goals requested a variety of assistance including evaluation, accommodations, transportation and financial assistance.
Training services identified by consumers include vocational, driver and independent skills training. Assistance in learning how to start or run a business was mentioned by a number of applicants. In these cases, the applicant usually indicated the business they wished to start and often indicated support in the community or family for their endeavor. In the area of driving, clients requested assistance with taking the test, adaptations for vehicles, and financial assistance for courses to obtain a drivers license, including CDL certification.
Health services identified included: evaluations, physician services, therapy and financial assistance. Cardiac therapy and addiction services were notable. Evaluation and financial assistance for hearing and visual aids remain a consistent need. Psychological, psychiatric and counseling services were often expressly indicated or implied by comments of difficulty coping with their situation.
Employment/supported employment services identified included: job placement, vocational and career evaluation, supported-employment, worksite accommodation and work related tools, equipment and assistive devices/technology. A number of clients indicated a need for assistance with goal identification and goal setting.
In terms of support services, requests for financial assistance crossed several areas including education, job training, tools, uniforms, health insurance, daily living costs (rent, utilities, etc). Transportation needs were often implied and specifically requested by clients.
Results of the Survey of Consumer Advisory Committee Members on the Needs of Persons with Significant Disabilities
In May 2009, DRS solicited input on the service needs of persons with significant disabilities by requesting input from 70 Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) members. DRS sent an e-mail survey to this target group. Based on analysis of the responses of thirty-nine CAC members across the state, the frequently reported service needs for persons with significant disabilities included the following: more access to and better public transportation; affordable/accessible housing; employment opportunities; vocational training; dental and vision assistance; "soft skills" training (e.g., socialization); financial assistance; promotion of DRS services; supported-employment and job coaching from community rehabilitation programs; home health services; work adjustment training; job placement; job development; and services for high school youth (e.g., "soft skills" training, work readiness training, and work experience).
Results of the Survey of Counselors/Supervisors/Managers on the Needs of Persons with Significant Disabilities
DRS is mandated under the federal Rehabilitation Act to periodically conduct a needs assessment of persons with significant disabilities. As part of this process and in conjunction with WVSRC, DRS issued a questionnaire in April 2009 to its field staff, including counselors, supervisors, and managers.. The questionnaire asked them to offer their perceptions of the needs of persons with significant disabilities being served.
The survey instrument and methodology were based on previous needs assessment studies as they generated valid and reliable information on the service needs of persons with significant disabilities in West Virginia. After pre-testing the questionnaire with the selected field counselors, supervisors, and managers along with discussions with the WVSRC Executive Director, the field counselor/supervisor/manager questionnaire was e-mailed to 126 DRS field counselors/supervisors/managers requesting that the questionnaire be completed and returned via e-mail to the SPPE Unit. One-hundred eleven (111) usable questionnaires were returned, which produced a response rate of 88% for the counselor/supervisor/manager survey.
One question asked what type of caseload the respondents had. Some respondents carried more than one type of caseload and some had none (i.e., supervisors and managers). Questionnaire responses were: General Field (60); School (52); Blind/Visual Impairment (8); Deaf/Hearing Impairment (8); Cardiac Rehabilitation (5); One-Stop Employment/Training Center (3); and Others (11).
The key survey question asked what services were most in need of an increase in availability. For each service category (education, training, health, employment, and support services) the respondent could list up to three services. At the end of the survey, respondents were also given an opportunity to provide any additional comments regarding unmet service needs of their clients with significant disabilities.
In summary, the survey data suggests that counselors/supervisors/managers continue to recognize education, training, health, employment, and support services as critical services offered by the agency. Below are the services identified by counselors/supervisors/managers as most in need of an increase in availability.
Educational: vocational education, tutoring, literacy instruction, high school/adult basic education, and college education.
Training: work adjustment training, job search training, career planning; business/vocational training, on-the-job training, drivers training, life skills training, and job club skills training.
Health: psychiatric /psychological services, dental services, physician’s services, counseling and guidance, substance abuse treatment/counseling, eye care, and hearing/audiological services.
Employment: job placement, supported employment/job coaching, job development, vocational evaluation, transition employment services, and worksite modification/accommodations.
Support: transportation, housing, financial assistance, vehicle maintenance/repair, assistive technology/devices, post-employment services, and services to family members.
The comments regarding unmet needs of persons with significant disabilities reemphasize the previously identified needed services. Some of these comments included: finding transportation (including a safe vehicle) for clients to go to work; finding job coaches; finding orthopedic specialists to serve clients; finding multiple vendors that offer life-skills training; needing an increase in community-based supported employment and on-the-job training opportunities; and having to deal with limited public transportation.
Other issues facing counselors/supervisors/managers in serving DRS consumers included: finding computers for clients to use in college classes; locating adult vocational training to allow clients to upgrade skills; needing another vocational evaluator in the district; finding qualified interpreters for rural areas; needing better marketing materials to be used with employers; finding assistance for clients who do not have medical insurance but do require medical services; providing extended therapies for those with new injuries/illnesses and also have no health insurance; needing more trained personnel to provide blind/VI training (e.g., access to assistive technology, assistance services, and job development); locating additional vocational programs for training students; identifying psychiatric services that will work with DRS; finding stores or businesses that take DRS authorizations; locating recreational services for clients; and needing a full-time job developer at the agency.
Transportation continues to be the most identified service gap requiring continuing examination and action by DRS and other agencies serving persons with significant disabilities. Counselors/supervisors/managers reported that transportation continues to be a major barrier to employment for persons with significant disabilities in West Virginia. The transportation issue as a barrier to employment requires a continuing discussion by public and private agencies. DRS has continued its internal discussions and examinations of transportation barriers at the local level (e.g., DRS districts/branch offices). This strategy may best produce solutions for specific areas of the state.
SERVICE NEEDS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AT THE WORKFORCE WV CAREER (ONE-STOP) CENTERS
The Workforce WV (one-stop) Career Centers continue to offer various services for West Virginians with disabilities statewide. At a particular Center, the services may include: vocational rehabilitation (VR) services from DRS; cash assistance from the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR); job search and resume preparation from the West Virginia Works program of DHHR; adult and GED preparation within classrooms from RESA (Regional Education Service Agency) of the Department of Education; unemployment compensation from Job Service of DHHR; assistance to employers and interviewers with regard to understanding the "pathways" through all the different programs within the Workforce WV Centers (from the Navigator personnel; information with regard to accessibility to different programs); job search techniques and assistance in basic computer usage from the Center Assistive Technology personnel; information regarding college/university programs, financial aid, and educational advice in general from educational institutions; services from the Veterans Administration; and services from the Office of the Indian Population.
Service providers at the Workforce WV Centers consider themselves partners. They have meetings to share information, organize events and sponsor awareness activities. All partners appear to have a good relationship with DRS and make direct referrals of persons with disabilities to the agency.
DRS counselors continue to work closely with service providers at the Workforce WV Career Centers to provide services to persons with disabilities. DRS has assigned field counselors to be located or to provide VR services at these Centers. In interviews, DRS counselors at these Centers reported that persons with significant disabilities have mainly been referred to DRS to receive services. The primary services requested by persons with disabilities at the Centers include vocational training, job search assistance, and job placement. It is also possible that many individuals with disabilities at the Centers may be hesitant to self-disclose a disability and consequently may not be availing themselves to all the services that could help them in their job search efforts.
DRS counselors continue to see themselves as resources for the Workforce WV system when dealing with VR services for persons with disabilities. Some DRS counselors at the Workforce WV Career Centers participate in team management meetings, plan event days and are involved in awareness projects to promote the Workforce WV services, especially for persons with disabilities. DRS counselors also assist other service providers (non-DRS staff members) in the disability identification, evaluation, or assessment of the Workforce WV clients.
NEED TO ESTABLISH, DEVELOP, OR IMPROVE COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAMS
A community rehabilitation program (CRP) is one that supplies directly or facilitates the provision of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to individuals with disabilities. Services are designed to enable the individual to maximize opportunities for employment. They may include: evaluation and assessment; restoration and training; vocational training and employment; personal care training; transportation, maintenance; and residential services. Some service providers that do not consider themselves as CRPs are referred to in the study as community services providers (CSPs).
Results of the Survey of the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs)/Community Services Providers (CSPs) on the Service Needs of Persons with Significant Disabilities
SPPE staff in April 2009 conducted a survey of the community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) and community services providers (CSPs) with acknowledged vendor status to provide services (including supported-employment services) to DRS clients across the state. The survey was conducted as a part of the statewide comprehensive needs assessment study of persons with significant disabilities in West Virginia.
DRS contacted, via e-mails, the 52 DRS-acknowledged CRPs and CSPs to provide input on the needs of West Virginians with significant disabilities, including the needs for supported employment services. DRS created a questionnaire that requested the CRPs/CSPs to provide their perspectives on service needs/gaps, communications between DRS and CRPs/CSPs personnel, and ways for DRS to improve its service delivery for West Virginians with disabilities. E-mail reminders were sent to CRPs/CSPs seeking their participation in the survey.
Based on an analysis of the 32 completed survey responses, 93 percent of the CRPs/CSPs reported good, very good, or excellent communication between DRS personnel and them. The 2009 survey suggests an improvement in communication between DRS and CRPs/CSPs since the 2007 survey. However, the 2009 survey still suggests a need for an improvement in communication in a few local service areas.
The CRPs/CSPs survey identified the following service needs: affordable and reliable transportation; housing; education; employment opportunities; in-home support services; dissemination of information on DRS services; job coaching and extended job coaching hours; support system for family or support group; dissemination of information on social security benefits and work incentives; benefits counseling; financial support for access technology products; recreational opportunities; transitioning services; basic life skills training; job coaching for supported and non-supported employment clients; employments for persons with disabilities; community based assessment; work adjustment; and work skills development.
The CRPs/CSPs survey reported resource gaps in terms of staff shortage, lack of money for transportation, limited community job opportunities, and insufficient marketing resources to promote DRS/CRP/CSP services. They also reported the inability to educate employers about benefits of hiring persons with disabilities and the lack of school referrals to CRPs.
According to the recommendations for improving DRS services, CRPs/CSPs suggest that DRS should consider: providing more extended support hours after placement; adding fees for micro-enterprises; offering training to CRPs on VR statuses used by DRS counselors; assisting CRPs in getting involved in school referrals earlier (when developing the Sophomore IEP); providing flexibility for clients during the application process; increasing the maximum number of job coaching hours; increasing service-reimbursement rates; and disseminating information on the available services to the local participants including VR consumers and service providers.
In summary, the survey data suggest that CRPs/CSPs are willing to 1) offer more services and 2) also increase its service areas. However, the survey suggested a few areas where service gaps still remain. DRS will continue to work toward eliminating any remaining service gaps by allocating more resources to expand existing CRPs/CSPs and/or identify new CRPs/CSPs. As West Virginia is a rural state, DRS fully recognizes this service limitation; however the agency is still strongly committed to the full statewide utilization and accessibility of CRP/CSP services for appropriate DRS clients. Both DRS and CRPs/CSPs share a common interest in improving our service delivery system to better serve persons with significant disabilities in West Virginia.
Conclusions and Recommendations of the 2009 Survey of DRS Counselors/Supervisors/ Managers on CRP Services
WVDRS and CRPs are in an interdependent environment where all parties strive to provide the best and most appropriate vocational rehabilitation services including supported employment services for our clients. The fact is that most counties in West Virginia are rural with a very small population base. This creates a barrier for existence of many CRPs in all communities across the state. Therefore, it is extremely critical that existing CRPs are fully utilized to meet the needs of persons with significant disabilities for community based assessment (CBA), development of placement site (DPS), direct placement (DP), employment readiness services (ERS), extended assessment (EA), extended supported employment services (ESES), job coaching (JC), supported placement (SP), or work adjustment (WA) services to achieve their employment objectives.
In order for the CRP service delivery system to be effective in serving persons with significant disabilities, including DRS clients, there must be continuing, direct, and productive communications and relationships between CRP and DRS personnel. The survey of DRS Counselors/Supervisors/Managers on CRP Services was a part of the previous needs assessment efforts to obtain additional information on the CRP service delivery system. The survey focused on the demand side with counselors/supervisors/managers providing invaluable information on the current service needs and existing CRPs in their service areas.
The survey collected information dealing with the needs for nine CRP services, the availability of those services, the need to expand existing CRPs or to identify new CRPs, and the relationships between DRS and CRPs across West Virginia.
Based upon responses of DRS Counselors/Supervisors/Managers on CRP Services and the findings of the needs assessment surveys pertaining to CRP services, including SE services, conducted in 2009 and 2010, the following conclusions and recommendations regarding CRP/CSP services are presented:
Conclusion 1: Survey respondents continue to report strong demand for CRP/CSP services.
Recommendation 1: DRS fully supports the usage of CRP/CSP services for appropriate clients and the State Office staff needs to closely monitor the level of appropriations made by field counselors to ensure usage of CRP services for appropriate clients statewide.
Conclusion 2: For most counties, the survey respondents reported that CRP/CSP services are available but they also reported unsatisfied demands and want to see more services in certain areas of the state. The 2009 counselors/supervisors/managers survey also suggests that more services are being provided statewide but some rural areas still have limited services.
Recommendation 2: DRS will continue to review data from all needs assessment surveys and work closely with affected CRPs/CSPs and field counselors to further understand the availability issues and to address any service gaps.
Conclusion 3: Survey findings suggest that not all counselors have a full understanding of CRPs/CSPs and their services.
Recommendation 3: DRS continues to provide additional training on CRP/CSP services and more detailed information on various CRPs/CSPs to field counselors, especially those recently hired. DRS will consider developing a web link to participating CRPs/CSPs on the DRS website to increase access to and enhance the knowledge base of CRP/CSP services statewide.
Conclusion 4: Despite an improvement from previous years, not all CRP/CSP services are fully utilized by all field counselors.
Recommendation 4: State Office involvement in the local activities of CRPs/CSPs continues to be needed to better serve persons with significant disabilities.
Conclusion 5: Based on the qualitative data collected, relationships between CRPs/CSPs and DRS are good to very good overall but still need improvement in a few areas of the state.
Recommendation 5: DRS continues to stress positive and effective communication and relationships between local DRS staff and CRP/CSP personnel to improve the service delivery system for persons with significant disabilities. DRS continues to require an initial meeting between DRS and CRP personnel in the local areas along with a mandate for quarterly or bi-annual follow-up meetings to share information, discuss issues, and resolve any differences. The State Office staff continues to monitor the anticipated improvement and intervenes as necessary.
Conclusion 6: Job Coaches are needed in different areas of the state. More counselors are demanding more job coach training across the state. Some counselors are requesting additional approved job coaching hours to be available for certain clients.
Recommendation 6: DRS needs to provide additional resources to develop or expand job coaching where they are needed.
Conclusion 7: Transportation continues to be an obstacle in any service delivery system for persons with significant disabilities, including the provision of CRP/CSP services.
Recommendation 7: DRS continues to utilize the approach of one issue and one location at a time as the most credible way at looking at transportation issues for a rural state like West Virginia. In a specific community, the local DRS office, affected CRPs/CSPs and the truly interested public/private organizations have to identify a specific and consensus transportation issue that requires all parties to dedicate their personnel, time, and financial resources to ensure an improvement in access to CRP services for persons with significant disabilities in their community.
Conclusion 8: Survey respondents continued to report a strong and continuing need for CRP/CSP services across counties.
Recommendation 8: DRS continues to work closely with CRPs/CSPs to support the service delivery system that provides needed services to individuals with significant disabilities in West Virginia.
Identifying Individuals with Disabilities Who Have Been Unserved or Underserved by DRS
While examining access to DRS services for minority populations in West Virginia, especially for African Americans with disabilities who reside in areas with high concentration of individuals with the same minority background, the Agency identified statistics that suggest a lower percentage of African Americans with disabilities in the DRS system in FY 2008. In FY 2008, DRS served 4.4% of the estimated African Americans with disabilities statewide. DRS has recognized Kanawha County (serving 3.8% of estimated African Americans with disabilities), Raleigh County (serving 4.3% of estimated African Americans with disabilities), and McDowell County (serving 1.7% of estimated African Americans with disabilities) as counties with at least 1,000 African Americans with disabilities and with less than proportionate representation of African Americans with disabilities in the DRS system.
Given the identification of these three counties where African Americans are being underserved, the priority and focus of DRS minority outreach activities in FY 2010 continued to be with these counties. DRS will monitor progress of its outreach activities and would like to see an increase in the percentage of estimated African Americans with disabilities in the DRS system for these counties in the coming years.
Critical Findings Based on Integration of Results of Needs Assessment Studies
SPPE staff in FY 2009, in conjunction with SRC, conducted a needs assessment study to address the statewide comprehensive needs of persons with significant disabilities in West Virginia. The study follows the comprehensive needs assessment activities that were completed in FY 2007. The study examined the service needs of persons with significant/most significant disabilities, including persons from minority backgrounds; the underserved or unserved population; the service needs of persons with disabilities at other components of the workforce system at the Workforce WV Career Centers (one-stop centers); and the need to improve or expand community rehabilitation programs (CRP) and/or community services provider (CSP) services, including supported employment services.
Analyses of the service needs of thousands of applicants for DRS services helped the agency to identify and prioritize services that are most needed by consumers with significant disabilities today and in the coming years. The survey of counselors/supervisors/managers on the needs of DRS consumers reaffirmed the priority list of needed services. Most of the conclusions and recommendations of the 2007 survey of counselors/supervisors/managers on CRP services were still valid in FY 2009. Using the information provided by CRPs/CSPs and users of CRP/CSP services, DRS recognizes the continuing need to increase or expand services in the local communities.
Analyses of applicants with disabilities from minority backgrounds suggested an overall similar pattern of needed services to the general DRS consumers. Based on the 2000 U.S. Census data, the minority population in West Virginia represents about 4 percent of the population. Minority populations continue to be well represented in the DRS caseloads. Minority populations with disabilities continue to represent over 5 percent of the total DRS cases. DRS has identified some areas where there may be less than proportionate representation of African Americans in the DRS system. DRS conducted additional analyses of specific minority groups and has identified African Americans with disabilities as the target group for minority outreach activities.
DRS examined the needs of individuals with disabilities at the Workforce WV (one-stop) Career Centers. Based on the provided/available statistics, persons with significant/most significant disabilities are referred to DRS for VR services. The Workforce WV Career Centers report a significant number of persons with a disability at the Centers. Persons with disabilities who are not qualified for DRS services can go to these Centers to receive employment and training services.
An integration of results from the previously discussed needs assessment studies suggests the following critical findings (CF) that require action steps by DRS:
Critical Finding 1
Examinations of 1) the overall service needs expressed by thousands of DRS consumers at application and 2) the service needs of consumers as reported by DRS counselors/supervisors/managers in the survey suggest a strong demand for additional vocational education, work adjustment training, psychiatric/psychological services, job placement, job coaching/supported employment services, job development, job search training, vocational evaluation, vocational education, and dental services.
Critical Finding 2
Examinations of 1) the overall service needs expressed by DRS consumers at application, 2) the service needs of consumers as reported by DRS counselors/supervisors/ managers in the survey, 3) the perceptions of CRPs/CSPs on the service needs of consumers, and 4) the perceptions of the Consumer Advisor Committee members suggest a consensus desire for the need to increase the availability of transportation services/options for DRS consumers.
Critical Finding 3
Examinations of 1) the CRP/CSP services including supported employment services as reported by CRPs/CSPs survey and 2) the DRS counselors/managers/supervisors’ perceptions of the availability and quality of CRP/CSP services suggest a need for DRS to continue to work closely with CRPs/CSPs, to increase their services, and to identify specific CRPs/CSPs to fill the remaining service gaps in the identified areas of the state.
Critical Finding 4
A comparison between the service needs expressed by DRS consumers and those from minority background at application indicates a similar pattern of the primary service needs between the two groups. Based on the percentage of minority population in West Virginia, the minority representation in the DRS system continues to be well represented. However, an examination of African Americans with disabilities in areas with an estimated 1,000 or greater individuals suggests a few areas where this population continues to be underserved.
Critical Finding 5
Results from various needs assessment activities suggests a need for the agency to develop and implement statewide comprehensive marketing initiatives that are designed to 1) educate West Virginians about DRS vocational rehabilitation programs and associated services and 2) expand referral bases for DRS.
The above critical findings are directly tied to the development of goals, priorities, and strategies for DRS to increase and improve VR services for West Virginians with significant disabilities in the coming years.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:11PM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) calculated its estimate of individuals with disabilities who are eligible for services under this State Plan by applying the state incidence of disability rate for individuals ages 16-64 (17.6%) to the state general population figure for individuals who are ages 15-64 (1,202,312). Both statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.
When Title VI-B funds are exhausted, DRS defrays supported employment program service costs with Title I funds for individuals who require the services or who qualify and have not yet been served under the supported employment program.
DRS estimates the number of individuals with disabilities who are eligible for services under this State Plan to be 211,607. If DRS authorizes an average of $2,000 of services per consumer in a fiscal year, then over $423 million would be needed to purchase vocational rehabilitation services for these potentially eligible individuals.
DRS has seen considerable growth in recent years. There has been an increase of about 1,000 new applicants each year since FY 2008. In FY 2008, there were 4,244 applicants. The applicant list grew to 5,466 by FY 2009 and 6,138 by FY 2010. As of May 2011, there were 4,925 new applicants.
In Fiscal Year 2012, the Division will not be under an order of selection and will serve all applicants with disabilities who have applied and qualified for vocational rehabilitation services. The Division expects to serve 15,025 consumers with disabilities (all Order of Selection categories) obligating $27.6 million of the Title I funds. Additionally, the agency expects to serve 122 consumers with most significant disabilities (OS category 1) using $300,000 of the Title VI-B funds.
|Category||Title I or Title VI||Estimated Funds||Estimated Number to be Served||Average Cost of Services|
This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 11:34AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
STATE'S GOALS AND PRIORITIES
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) employs many goals to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, particularly those individuals with the most significant disabilities. Furthermore, DRS recognizes those services essential to needs identified in the comprehensive assessment, evaluation of the Designated State Unit's performance on Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) standards and indicators, and services vital to the operation and effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program in West Virginia.
DRS executive managers and representatives appointed by both the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (WVSRC) and West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (WVSILC) jointly developed and announced DRS goals and priorities for carrying out the VR and supported employment programs. On an annual basis, representatives from DRS Executive Management Team, WVSRC, and WVSILC have a State Plan retreat to discuss, strategize, and plan for future DRS goals, priorities, and activities for the coming years. The goals and priorities appearing below are set for fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Goal and Priority 1. Meet or exceed the RSA requirements for evaluation standards and performance indicators.
In order to produce quality employment outcomes and maintain an effective VR program, DRS continuously strives to improve its performance on the RSA Standards and Indicators by meeting or exceeding federal benchmarks for employment and equal access indicators. Since the inception of RSA Standards and Indicators, DRS has successfully met the federal requirements in all federal fiscal years. DRS continues to work toward satisfying the RSA requirements for evaluation standards and performance indicators annually.
Goal and Priority 2. Improve and maintain the consistency of policy interpretation, implementation, and casework practices through a comprehensive quality assurance program.
DRS internal reviews have identified some inconsistencies in the interpretation and implementation of DRS policies in its districts. In May 2007, DRS provided additional training on policies and other administrative issues for field counselors, supervisors, managers, rehabilitation services associates, and related State Office personnel. The agency seeks to improve and maintain the consistency of casework practice through a comprehensive quality assurance program.
Goal and Priority 3. Develop, establish, and maintain collaborative relationships with community providers to enhance the availability and quality of services to DRS clients.
This goal and priority is tied to the needs assessment Critical Finding 3 in Attachment 4.11(a). Based on results of the CRPs/CSPs survey on the needs of consumers with significant disabilities, the survey of counselors/supervisors/managers on CRP/CSP services, and the WVSRC recommendations, DRS will continue to improve relationships with CRPs/CSPs to increase VR services in all communities.
Goal and Priority 4. Increase the availability of job development, job coaching/supportive employment, job placement services, work adjustment training, work skills development, and life skills training within the community.
This goal and priority is tied to the needs assessment Critical Finding 1 in Attachment 4.11(a). Based on results of the survey that assessed the needs of consumers with significant disabilities, the perceptions of the service needs as reported by DRS counselors/supervisors/managers, and the surveys on CRP services, DRS strives to expand the availability of job development, job coaching/supportive employment, job placement services, work adjustment training, work skills development, and life skills services for DRS consumers especially in the needed areas identified in the surveys.
Goal and Priority 5. Improve access and availability of transportation options at the community level for DRS consumers who need transportation assistance to meet their rehabilitation goals.
This goal and priority is tied to the needs assessment Critical Finding 2 in Attachment 4.11(a). Increased availability of transportation for persons with disabilities is universally recognized as one of the primary service needs and was identified in all of the needs assessment surveys.
Transportation is often a critical barrier to successful employment, particularly for individuals with disabilities. As a result, WVSRC, WVSILC, and DRS continue to establish the goal to improve access and availability of transportation options at the community level for DRS consumers who need transportation assistance to meet their rehabilitation goals in all areas of the state.
Goal and Priority 6. Develop strategies for outreach efforts to minority populations.
This goal and priority is tied to the needs assessment Critical Finding 4 in Attachment 4.11(a). Based on results of the analysis of minority populations in the DRS service delivery system, the agency will continue to strive to reach out to individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds, especially to the identified minority population in areas where there appears to be proportionately fewer of these individuals in the DRS system.
Goal and Priority 7. Develop a comprehensive and statewide marketing strategy to increase public awareness of the DRS programs and services and also to increase the number of referrals.
This goal and priority is tied to the WVSRC input, the CRPs/CSPs survey, and counselors/supervisors/managers survey on the needs of consumers with significant disabilities. DRS recognizes the need to develop and implement a comprehensive and statewide marketing strategy 1) to increase public awareness of the DRS programs and services, 2) to increase the number of referrals and expand referral bases, and 3) to achieve a goal of having 13,000 individuals with disabilities in the DRS service delivery system by 2012.
This screen was last updated on Jul 23 2009 4:11PM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
- Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.
- Identify the justification for the order.
- Identify the service and outcome goals.
- Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Jul 31 2009 9:13AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
State’s Goals and Plans Regarding Distribution of Funds Received Under Title VI, Part B of the Act
The methodology of the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) for distribution of Title VI-B funds is based exclusively on a fee-for-service authorization process with approved vendors of supported-employment (SE) services. DRS uses no Title VI-B funds for administrative costs. Utilizing the DRS fee schedule for SE services, rehabilitation counselors utilize Title VI-B and Title I funds to provide needed SE services for eligible individuals with the most significant disabilities.
DRS established a statewide fee-for-service funding approach for job development services for SE-eligible individuals. This structure provides vendors an effective and efficient way of meeting the costs of this critical element of the job placement process. The process provides reimbursement for employment outcomes and brings increased energy and vendor resources to support job development activities.
In FY 2010, DRS spent $791,245 of the Title VI-B funds to serve individuals with the most significant disabilities in its SE program. DRS projects that it will utilize $300,000 of Title VI-B funds to provide SE services to approximately 122 individuals with the most significant disabilities during FY 2012. When Title VI-B funds are exhausted, DRS expends Title I funds for those individuals who have not yet received SE program services.
DRS plans to continue using three prevalent models of supported employment services: individual placement, mobile work crews, and enclaves. Additionally, DRS will encourage and support development of affirmative industries that integrate workers with disabilities and workers without disabilities throughout the community rehabilitation program (CRP) network.
DRS policies defining competitive employment settings promote linking CRPs with federal and state work contracts that may exist within the community. Such links expand job opportunities for individuals receiving SE, particularly those who reside in rural locations. This approach also directs Title VI-B and Title I funds into placement-related services and activities.
This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 8:50AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
This attachment should include required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the vocational rehabilitation and the supported employment programs. (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)).
Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.
Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.
Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.
If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state.
Describe strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators.
Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:
- achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
- support innovation and expansion activities; and
- overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.
State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities
In improving its ability to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has developed and adopted the following strategies to meet the goals and priorities reported in Attachment 4.11(c)(1). The below strategies identify activities, Innovation and Expansion (I&E) projects and specific benchmarks that allow the agency to measure continuing progress toward the desired goals and priorities annually. Some of the strategies involve the use of Title I funds for I&E activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 1 (Meet or exceed the RSA requirements for evaluation standards and performance indicators.)
DRS has always surpassed overall requirements established by RSA evaluation standards and performance indicators (S&I). In Fiscal Years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010 DRS met S&I requirements by exceeding federal benchmarks for all indicators. In FY 2007, DRS successfully met S&I requirements by exceeding federal benchmarks for all indicators except 1.1 (number of rehabilitants), mainly due to the large number of clients placed on waiting lists in FY 2006 and early FY 2007.
--To continue to achieve this result annually, continuous monitoring of performance on S&I must occur at district and state levels. DRS supervisors and administrators closely monitor field caseloads and activities to ensure an effective and efficient VR service delivery system for West Virginians with disabilities. The State Plan and Program Evaluation (SPPE) Unit analyzes the S&I data and produces monthly, quarterly, and annual S&I reports for field counselors, branch office supervisors and managers, district managers, State Office administrators, and members of the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (WVSRC). Each month the SPPE Unit produces and conducts a statewide dissemination of caseload activity reports by counselor, territory, district, and state. These reports highlight current production levels, production trends for the fiscal year, and progress in achieving the annual production goals and objectives. Additionally, district managers must submit their quarterly reviews of the S&I performances for their districts to the State Office.
As DRS strives to meet requirements for evaluation standards and performance indicators as detailed in 34 CFR 361.84-361.86, it will continue to stress quality case closures and competitive employment outcomes for its clients.
--To achieve successful performance on Evaluation Standard 1 (Employment Outcomes), DRS must meet or exceed the performance levels established for four of the six performance indicators in the evaluation standard, including meeting or exceeding the performance levels for two of the three primary indicators (Performance Indicators 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5). To achieve successful performance on Evaluation Standard 2 (Equal Access to Services), DRS must meet or exceed the performance level established for Performance Indicator 2.1.
DRS continually observes provisions of the General Education Provision Act (GEPA). DRS promotes equitable access to VR services regardless of gender, race, national origin, color, disabilities or age. Both the Blind and Visually Impaired Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services units continue to provide comprehensive compensatory skills and academic training to individuals with sensory impairment.
DRS provides comprehensive statewide rehabilitation technology services that include assistive technology, environmental modification, rehabilitation engineering, fabrication, and driver education/vehicle modification services. Rehabilitation engineers, environmental modification specialists, and assistive technology professionals travel throughout West Virginia providing assessment, training, and follow-up services to DRS consumers at their workplace or in their homes. DRS also provides centralized services in an assistive technology laboratory, driver education area, and fabrication shop, all of which are housed at the DRS State Office Complex. Additionally, DRS has designated liaisons who work with rehabilitation technology unit staff members to provide support to counselors in each district thereby ensuring that rehabilitation technology services are considered throughout the individual’s rehabilitation process.
As a mandated partner, DRS works within the workforce development system established by the Workforce Investment Act. DRS collaborates with all workforce partners to ensure access to all programs and services in the statewide workforce system for people with disabilities. DRS provides guidance in the development, maintenance, and continuous improvement of the statewide system, especially as it relates to the needs of individuals with disabilities. These needs are addressed by interactions at local, regional, and state levels, moving forward the development and implementation of the workforce investment system in West Virginia. Cross training of staff members about specific DRS programs and general disability issues occur in each of the seven workforce regions.
Since implementation of the Workforce Investment Act in 2000, DRS has been an active partner of the system, and serves on numerous committees and work groups established to develop processes and procedures. A DRS program specialist devotes 50% of his/her time to workforce development activities. The DRS Director serves on the State Workforce Investment Council which continues to provide advice and input into the state’s workforce system. DRS is also represented on each local workforce investment board and actively participates with Business Services Teams at local levels and with statewide initiatives.
Additionally, DRS is one of eight state agencies that meet monthly as part of the Interagency Collaborative Team (ICT). This team works to overcome barriers to more full integration and flexibility between both mandated and non-mandated workforce partners by addressing such issues as customer flow, case management, assessment tools, marketing, business services, revenue sharing, and infrastructure costs. The ICT has a Memorandum of Understanding that identifies the vision, goals, and objectives of a more fully integrated workforce development system in West Virginia. The ICT currently has convened task groups to address marketing, management information systems, business services, and case management issues.
A Work Incentive Grant (WIG) placed assistive technology devices and instruction manuals into comprehensive and satellite locations of Workforce WV Career Centers. DRS is available to assist by providing technical assistance on disability issues such as etiquette, assistive technology, and accommodations. Manuals and videotapes supplement the on-site training of front line staff members. Although the WIG is completed, Workforce WV obtained an additional grant to hire Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) who work within each Workforce WV Career Center. These DPNs facilitate learning about processes and various resources available to persons with disabilities who are interested in workforce services.
No strategies related to Goal and Priority 1 involve the use of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 2 (Improve the consistency of policy interpretation, implementation, and casework practices through a comprehensive quality assurance program.)
--Maintain quality assurance specialists in each DRS district.
--Continue to assign quality assurance manager responsibility at the state level with an emphasis on statewide consistency.
--At state and district levels, continue to conduct quality assurance reviews that focus on consistent interpretation of policy, appropriateness of vocational goal determination, and quality of service delivery.
--Include representatives from the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and the West Virginia State Client Assistance Program (CAP) in the Division’s policy consultation group.
No strategies related to Goal and Priority 2 involve the use of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 3 (Develop, establish, and maintain collaborative relationships with community providers to enhance the availability of services to DRS clients.)
--Maintain regular communications between DRS and community providers in each district and at the state level.
--Review the completed acknowledged vendor forms to ensure that community providers continue to meet DRS standards and requirements.
--Increase the number of acknowledged vendors and work with community providers to expand their service areas to enhance the availability of community services.
--Conduct cross training and face-to-face meetings with community partners at the local level.
--Continue to assign liaison responsibilities to staff members and provide them guidance about the purpose of DRS participation in community events.
--Monitor the DRS counselors/supervisors/managers’ perception of the quality of CRP services annually through a survey instrument.
--Monitor and assess the impact of the Quality Assurance unit on the counselors’ case management practices by using data generated from the quality assurance specialists’ reviews of cases.
No strategies related to Goal and Priority 3 involve the use of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 4 (Increase the availability of job development, job coaching/supportive employment, job placement services, work adjustment training, work skills development, and life skills training within the community.)
--Identify existing services, where they are, and where there are best practices.
--Identify areas where there are service gaps (unmet needs) and why.
--Communicate to providers what services DRS consumers need to meet the mission and objectives of DRS.
--Increase the number of community providers that can provide job development, job placement services, job coaching, work skills training, work adjustment training, and life skills training.
No strategies related to Goal and Priority 4 involve the use of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 5 (Improve access and availability of transportation options at the community level for DRS consumers who need transportation assistance to meet their rehabilitation goals.)
--Continue to assign responsibility to a staff member in each branch office to maintain a list and working knowledge of local transportation options.
--Continue to participate in local and state initiatives to coordinate and expand transportation resources.
--Continue to explore and identify creative solutions to address local transportation needs, especially at the individual client level.
--Continue to provide information in DRS offices on public transportation options, schedules, and availability of travel training.
--Continue to encourage planning for transportation needs early in the development of the client’s rehabilitation program.
--Continue to develop the Personal Transportation Project.
The addition of the proposed new Personal Transportation Project related to Goal and Priority 5 will involve the use of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 6 (Develop strategies for outreach efforts to minority populations.)
--Continue to identify and participate in multi-cultural events throughout West Virginia.
--Create a website and other public materials that demonstrate diversity.
--Meet and work with representatives of agencies/organizations that serve minority populations in the identified areas.
No strategies related to Goal and Priority 6 involve the use of Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Strategies to meet Goal and Priority 7 (Develop and implement a comprehensive and statewide marketing strategy to increase public awareness of DRS programs and services and also to increase DRS referrals.)
--Develop a comprehensive statewide marketing strategy to increase public awareness of the DRS programs and services and increase the number of DRS referrals.
--Identify the potential target groups which may include individuals with disabilities, family members of persons with disabilities, providers of vocational rehabilitation and related services, health care professionals, representatives of social services agencies, teachers, school c
This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 8:59AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals
PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING GOALS AND PRIORITIES
Goals and priorities developed by the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (WVSRC), and the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (WVSILC) are annually evaluated. All planning contributes toward performance of the DRS mission which is to enable and empower individuals with disabilities to work and to live independently.
The agency has maintained/continued the same goals and priorities of enhancing vocational rehabilitation services programs including supported employment in fiscal years 2010, 2011 and, 2012. The agency has put forth tremendous effort in FY 2010 to fulfill the goals and priorities presented in the State Plan.
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 1: Meet or exceed the RSA requirements for evaluation standards and performance indicators.
DRS continues to closely monitor its performance toward meeting Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) requirements for evaluation standards and indicators (S&I). The State Plan and Program Evaluation Unit continues to produce the monthly, quarterly, and annual S&I reports at both state and district levels for State Office administrators, field office counselors, supervisors, managers, and district managers. District managers continue to review S&I performance reports and case service performance reports produced by the State Office. Detailed and early examinations of the S&I statistics by DRS staff members provide opportunities for DRS to make adjustments or corrections to ensure satisfactory S&I performance at the end of fiscal year.
Based upon FY 2010 RSA-911 (case service report) data, DRS successfully met requirements for the performance evaluation standards and indicators established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). DRS achieved successful performances on Evaluation Standard 1 (Employment Outcomes) by exceeding levels established for all indicators, including performance levels for the three primary indicators (Indicators 1.3,1.4, and 1.5). DRS also achieved successful performance on Evaluation Standard 2 (Equal Access to Services) by exceeding the level established for Performance Indicator 2.1. A detailed report of the DRS performance on the standards and indicators in FY 2010 is presented in the latter part of this attachment.
Outlook for DRS Performance on the RSA Standards and Indicators in FY 2011
DRS is closely monitoring its performance on Indicator 1.1 (number of rehabilitants) in FY 2011 and is striving to produce more rehabilitants than the previous year. However, the continuing economic downturn has kept the West Virginia unemployment rate high, which makes it much more difficult to achieve competitive employment outcomes for DRS consumers.
Despite this obstacle, DRS continues to emphasize quality employment outcomes for its consumers. The agency also expects to meet other employment indicators (Indicators 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6) in FY 2011.
DRS is strongly committed to equal access to vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for all eligible persons with disabilities, including persons from minority backgrounds. DRS continues to implement minority outreach activities in selected areas of the state and closely monitor its performance on the equal access indicator (Indicator 2.1) in FY 2011. DRS expects to surpass the federal benchmark for Indicator 2.1 in FY 2011.
WORKFORCE WV Career Centers continue to refer persons with significant disabilities to DRS for appropriate services. DRS continues to support the workforce system by co-locating and serving in these comprehensive centers. Some of our Rehabilitation Counselors provide full-time services to WORKFORCE WV Career Centers and numerous other DRS employees contribute on a part-time basis. In addition, all DRS offices (including the ones co-located at Career Centers) provide self-access computers, offering Internet access to the www.workforceWV.org website for job-seekers.
DRS applicants who do not qualify for services at the agency can apply for employment and training services at the following WORKFORCE WV Career Centers throughout West Virginia:
Region 1 Workforce Investment Area:
--Ronceverte (part-time presence)
Region 2 Workforce Investment Area:
--Williamson (send staff part-time)
--Teays Valley (co-location)
Region 3 Workforce Investment Area:
--Charleston (full-time presence)
Region 4 Workforce Investment Area:
--Point Pleasant (part-time presence)
Region 5 Workforce Investment Area:
--Weirton (part-time presence)
--Wheeling (part-time presence)
--New Martinsville (part-time presence)
Region 6 Workforce Investment Area:
--Bridgeport (full-time presence)
Region 7 Workforce Investment Area:
The DRS Rehabilitation Technology Unit continues to provide assistance to Workforce regions that are purchasing assistive technology or that have other needs related to accessibility and job accommodations at their respective comprehensive one-stop facilities.
DRS continues to strengthen its processes for client assessment, testing, case management functions, and procuring Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) for its clients, thereby maximizing personnel and financial resources among workforce partners. Some pre-employment job readiness classes are still being provided for DRS clients, while others are making use of on-site GED preparation or basic skills upgrading. The WORKFORCE WV Career Center, in some instances, provides the following core services: application, eligibility determination for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), job referral, labor market information, and pre-DRS referral assessments for individuals who need more intensive services. If an individual specifically asks to be referred to DRS the person is immediately referred, but is enrolled in the WORKFORCE WV data system when the person is job ready.
DRS continues to monitor and address the VR service needs of individuals with significant and most significant disabilities, including the service needs of customers of the workforce system who have significant and most significant disabilities. Job-ready clients are referred to the workforce system so that they may receive any additional assistance they may need with job referral and placement.
DRS began making expenditures of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds in September 2009. At that time, a partnership with Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) of West Virginia (7 regions) was conceptualized. Youth Employment Programs were believed to provide transitioning youth with disabilities with “work readiness skills building” to enhance their ability to find jobs with public and private sector employers. An estimated $300,000 of ARRA funds was allocated to this project. Training was held in January of 2010 for four WIB Regions who submitted proposals that were accepted by DRS. Expenditures began the following month, and by March 2010 all four WIB Regions were reporting ARRA-funded work hours as programs were put into place. These programs include:
WIB Region 1: A BIKISI+PLUS Project (Built It, Keep It, Share It) provided youth with disabilities the opportunity to increase their technological knowledge of computers, enhance work readiness skills, and assist them in discovering their interests and talents. Over forty participants have completed the program as of March 2011.
WIB Region 4: Utilizing their pre-established Youth Advantage Program (YA+), students with disabilities participate in educational and cultural activities, receive comprehensive case management in work exploration and work experience, job shadowing, academic assistance, and career readiness. As of March 2011, 33 youth consumers were being served by this program. They reported that several participants had received jobs and attended further entrepreneurial training.
WIB Region 5: A “Skills 4 Success” curriculum consisting of job readiness, computer skills, and personal development training is taking place in this region. Elements include resume writing, job search and interview skills, computer usage, goal-setting, time and stress management and healthy lifestyles. This region reported over 50 youth participants enrolled in activities in their March 2011 report.
WIB Region 6: A 13-county BIKISI Project providing youth with disabilities opportunities to learn technology through building a laptop computer was proposed. Youth will use the computer to gain work readiness skills and knowledge of resources to obtain employment. This region stated in their March 2011 report that over 80 students had been served by the project and attended classes in various locations around the region on a bi-weekly basis. This region also reported that seven students had enrolled in higher education programs and seventeen were employed (nineteen are still in secondary school).
Rehabilitation Technology Activities
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services furnishes comprehensive statewide rehabilitation technology services that include assistive technology, environmental modification, rehabilitation engineering, fabrication, bioptic (low vision) driving and driver education/vehicle modification services. Rehabilitation engineers, environmental modification specialists, and assistive technology professionals travel throughout West Virginia providing assessment, training, and follow-up services to DRS consumers at their workplace or in their homes. Assistance is provided to the workforce centers located throughout the state in efforts to meet the rehabilitation technology needs of individuals enrolled in workforce activities.
DRS also provides centralized services in an assistive technology laboratory, driver education area, and fabrication shop at the Charleston location (serving customers in the central and southern West Virginia) and the soon-to-be-open Morgantown location (serving customers in the northern part of the state). DRS has also designated liaisons who work with rehabilitation technology unit staff members to provide support to counselors in each district, thereby ensuring that rehabilitation technology services are considered throughout the individual’s rehabilitation process.
As part of its program improvement efforts, DRS continues to support the implementation of consumer satisfaction surveys of its clients to ensure quality services for DRS consumers. The West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (WVSRC) conducts the consumer satisfaction surveys (with full DRS assistance and cooperation). WVSRC is primarily responsible for completion of the consumer satisfaction survey for VR consumers. DRS continues to provide and supplement fiscal and human resources needed for its successful completion.
WVSRC members selected a survey method that allows former DRS clients and individuals who were not accepted for VR services to be contacted via mail surveys as soon as they exit DRS from various VR statuses throughout the fiscal year.
Selected Highlights of the September 2009 – August 2010 Consumer Satisfaction Survey of DRS Clients as reported by WVSRC are presented below.
The latest consumer satisfaction report, entitled, Consumer Satisfaction: Report of Survey Findings (September 2009 through August 2010), was prepared by the WVSRC in December 2010. The findings were based on consumer satisfaction information gathered from 339 responses across the six DRS districts.
Respondents to the consumer satisfaction survey were asked to rate their agreement with statements about their interactions with DRS. The ratings were "strongly agree," "agree," "neutral," "disagree," and "strongly disagree.” Respondents were provided an option to indicate replies that were neutral or that the survey item was not applicable.
Page references are from Consumer Satisfaction: Report of Survey Findings (September 2009 through August 2010). Overall, the level of satisfaction is high. Consumers whose cases were closed successfully report higher levels of satisfaction than those who were closed as unsuccessful.
Major findings of the consumer satisfaction survey include: respondents felt that their rehabilitation counselor treated them with respect (93%), their questions were answered clearly by DRS (90%), they were involved in their plan development (83%), their counselor stayed in contact so they knew what was happening (83%), and they received the services they needed (79%). Respondents reported that they knew what each step of their IPE would be (85%), and their counselors told them about job opportunities (78%).
Consumers also reported high ratings for accessibility of local offices (89% gave an "Above Average" or "Excellent" rating), their counselors (90%), and the overall experience with DRS (85%).
"The consumers were asked to indicate which (client’s) rights information had been explained to them. There were 273 individuals who responded that at least one right had been explained (81% of the sample). Most individuals indicated that they had received several rights explanations" (page 11).
Consumers who reported rights were explained most often were told about all the services that are available (80%) and their participation in developing the rehabilitation plan (74%).
"When asked about needs that were not met by rehabilitation services, 140 of the 212 consumers who responded to this question reported that they had no additional needs (66%).” (page 23). Education/training, medical services, and job-related services were most often cited as additional needs.
"The survey participants were asked for comments on their experience with DRS. A total of 104 people provided feedback to this question. Of these, 20 expressed praise or gratitude for DRS services, 67 made suggestions for improvements, and 17 made other statements of explanation or inquiry." (page 40). Of the 67 suggestions for improvement, most of them involved communication between counselor/staff and client and job related concerns.
Overall, the level of satisfaction reported for the period of September 2009 through August 2010 continues to be high. To maintain high quality of services and promote a greater satisfaction level for our consumers, DRS welcomes and considers compliments, complaints, suggestions, and recommendations that our clients reported in the consumer satisfaction survey.
The WVSRC and DRS were also interested in examining the pattern of responses for transitioning youth (clients who were age 24 or younger). Youth surveys were color-coded so the participants could be isolated. Their responses formed a subset of 49 returned surveys. Overall, youth satisfaction was lower than the responses of the whole group.
Transitioning youth respondents felt that their rehabilitation counselor treated them with respect (87%), their questions were answered clearly by DRS (82%), their counselor stayed in contact so they knew what was happening (73%), and they received the services they needed (67%). Youth respondents also reported that they knew what each step of their IPE would be (75%), DRS counselors helped them develop a plan to get a job (73%), and their counselors told them about job opportunities (73%).
Transitioning youth also reported high ratings for accessibility of local offices (82% gave an "Above Average" or "Excellent" rating), their counselors (80%), and the overall experience with DRS (76%).
In its effort to promote and enhance counselor-client communications, DRS continues to implement a 60/90-day contact policy, whereby counselors are required to have at least one direct client contact within a 60/90-day period. DRS maintains a reminder feature in its client database computing and reporting system that assists its counselors in maintaining direct contacts with their clients. Each counselor’s performance on the 60/90-day contact requirement continues to be an important part of the DRS QAR (Quality Assurance Review) process.
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 2: Improve the consistency of policy interpretation, implementation, and casework practices through a comprehensive quality assurance program.
In FY 2010, DRS continued to include representatives from the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and the West Virginia State Client Assistance Program (CAP) in the Division’s policy consultation group. These representatives fully participate in development and revision of policies relating to case services prior to public comment. Their participation helps broaden the discussion and reduce the potential for different interpretations of the policy changes.
Quality assurance specialists (QAS) continue to work in the six West Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) districts to develop client services policy, review casework practices, assure consistent interpretation of policy throughout the state and provide training on policy and casework to DRS staff members. QAS schedule their visits in each DRS office at least monthly. QAS will assist in the evaluation for the recommendation of a promotion for counselors and assist in the evaluation for counselor moving from temporary employment to permanent employment. The QAS will also assist managers with employee remediation in regard to identifying training needs and providing the training. QAS are the field’s direct connection to the state office. During these office visits, QAS may:
-Conduct policy and procedures training.
-Update staff members on state office activities, proposed policy changes, challenges, or upcoming goals.
-Ask for input about any problems the field is experiencing and solicit suggested policy or procedural change.
-Review counselor case files.
-Be available to handle staff member problem cases and clarify policy.
In FY 2010, quality assurance (QA) continued to conduct new counselor training using modules that were developed to include timelines and training material. This is used consistently statewide with all new counselors. Previously, new counselors were trained in their assigned district by a variety of staff members using a variety of training material. This new process will assure each new counselor receives consistent training using the same material and within the same timeframe.
There are now two basic reviews in the quality assurance review (QAR) and reporting process. First, individual counselor reviews allow QAS to review counselors’ cases monthly. The focus is on reviewing the individual counselors rather than reviewing by territory. This allows a determination of specific training needs among counselors. Counselors’ territory will be reviewed, at minimum, on an annual basis. QAS will randomly select a counselor’s caseload during an office visit, either upon reviewing program evaluation reporting or a manager’s request. QAS have a goal to review several counselors’ work each month. This will vary based upon overall district reviews. Records will be maintained based on the counselor rather than the territory.
In reporting individual counselor reviews, all staff members will use the new QAR tool. Once the review has been completed, QAS will provide and review the report with the counselor first; if no changes are indicated, QAS will send the report to the counselor with a copy to pertinent managers. QAR reporting will be used. QA had revised the QAR tool (the instrument used in QA evaluation) and developed a guide as a companion to the tool. The guide gives guidance to the reviewer and will help make the answers to questions more consistent. This revision and guide help establish a baseline for reviewers. QAS trained all staff using the tool and guide.
The second basic review includes looking at district trends. The district manager takes the lead by assigning a review team and guiding the review. QAS will meet with the review team at the beginning of each district review to provide directions and guidance on using the review tool. QAS is available for questions and guidance throughout the review process. At the end of the review, QAS collects all of the completed review tools and compiles a report for the district to evaluate trends. With QAS reviewing the completed tools and compiling the reporting, it is expected that more consistency will be present in review reporting.
QAS continued to develop and conduct a variety of training on new policy, as well as refresher training on current policy and procedural issues during FY 2010. Consistency has been strengthened by using the same training material, which is now available via a shared network folder for accessibility purposes as well. QA staff members have worked on researching, revising, and developing policy on training, eligibility, economic need, and diagnostic treatment.
In FY 2010, district-specific policies and practices have been identified and eliminated. This allows policy to be followed consistently statewide. QAS have worked with individual counselors who were having significant difficulties. These counselors are now able to do their work more proficiently and independently. QAS has also worked with counselors who were unable to do the work required as a rehabilitation counselor. They were able to identify existing deficiencies and help managers identify counselors who could not perform within that capacity. There has been an improvement in documentation. Emphasis continued to be given to vocational goal planning. As quality assurance specialists and managers work together in the field, the field staff members have become more connected to the state office, opening them up to generating suggestions that have been instrumental in policy and procedural changes.
The pre-service QAR is used to measure counselor performance in completing application forms, the initial diagnostic interview summary (IDIS), the eligibility summary, comprehensive assessment, and case management. Baseline findings of the pre-service QAR are based on a review of cases in 5 districts. QA set 20% as a benchmark for items covered in the pre-service QAR. Items that receive a response of “no” for 20% or more of cases were flagged and will be used to determine training needs among counselors.
The review shows that application forms in the majority of cases were completed to the extent necessary: application (96%); social profile (87%); health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) (88%); work history (86 %); third party (92%); economic need (90%); and RSA data (82%). Not completed sufficiently, on the other hand, were medical (21%), education (21%), and work/vocational (31%) application forms. Deficiencies in completing work/vocational applications were widespread—cases in 4 of 5 districts surpassed the pre-service benchmark of 20%. Regarding completion of medical and education applications, cases in 2 of the 5 districts reviewed scored above the pre-service benchmark.
Overall, case review of the IDIS shows that counselor performance was very high in addressing client’s reasons for referral, stated disability, adjustment to disability, education and training, economic and third party resources, and actions to be taken. Performance was the lowest in discussing client’s employment information. There was no discussion with the client about employment goals and expectations in 25% of cases (4 of 5 districts scored above benchmark) and transferable skills in 42% of cases (all 5 districts sampled scored above threshold). Counselor performance was also somewhat weak in discussing client’s social and family status. In 22% of cases (3 of 5 districts scored above threshold), for example, transportation options were not discussed with clients.
Review of the eligibility summary shows that in 90% of cases there was sufficient documentation to support an eligibility determination. However, an eligibility decision was not reached within 60 days of application in 30% of cases sampled (3 of 5 districts scored above benchmark), and in 41% of cases (4 of 5 districts scored above benchmark), an Eligibility Extension Waiver was not completed.
The Self-Determination guide was used by the counselor in 71% of cases as outlined in policy, but overall, the review shows that counselor performance on comprehensive assessment was lower than what is desired. The counselor failed in 26% of cases (3 of 5 districts score above threshold) to inform the client of medical/psychiatric/psychological/vocational assessment results and how they impact vocational planning. The counselor also failed in 41% of cases (4 of 5 districts scored above threshold) to identify and asses transferable skills and related vocational choices.
Case management practices among counselors are satisfactory. The counselor utilized A.D.A.P.R. (Action-Detail-Assessment-Plan-Responsibility) for documenting personal contacts (88%), actions provided a smooth flow to the case (97%), there was evidence that economic need had been addressed and updated according to policy (93%), releases and requests of information were obtained as appropriate (93%), and the counselor maintained contact with the client according to policy (88%). In cases where the counselor did not maintain contact with the client, however, the counselor did not document attempted contacts in 28% of cases (3 of 5 districts scored above threshold).
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 3: Develop, establish, and maintain collaborative relationships with community providers to enhance the availability and quality of services to DRS clients.
As of March 2011, DRS had agreements with 64 CRPs in 90 locations to provide services (including supported employment services) across the state. Each CRP had a rehabilitation counselor assigned as a liaison, who regularly discusses service-related issues specific to the local service area(s).
DRS continues to partner and regularly meet with such groups as the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), Developmental Disabilities Council, Mental Health Planning Council, and WV Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. DRS continues to receive a commitment from a representative of the West Virginia Department of Education and SRC to attend CRP Advisory Committee meetings in order to identify and better coordinate the vocational rehabilitation service needs of transitioning youth.
Each DRS district continues to host a quarterly meeting to provide opportunities for CRP representatives and DRS personnel to discuss local service needs of DRS consumers. Subsequent to each meeting, the local DRS office is required to send a brief report to the CRP Program Manager. This process allows all parties involved in the expansion of community-based services to be kept informed of progress and issues.
The Division continues to examine the information and recommendations collected from various meetings between CRP and DRS staff members. Progress on communication is being made as the Division acquires more understanding of the issues and barriers facing the CRP and DRS staff members in their service provision to persons with significant disabilities in WV. Ongoing communication activities with CRPs include:
-An e-mail list-serv with all current vendors that is updated periodically and utilized to send out training opportunities, policy changes, and general updates when needed.
-Regular monthly and quarterly meetings with DRS district and branch staff and CRPs in those districts.
-DRS counselors in each district are assigned to be CRP liaisons to each CRP and are required to complete a monthly update regarding the CRP. They collect this information by visits and/or phone calls.
-Two staff persons were hired and assigned to be rehabilitation specialists covering all districts in the state. These individuals provide technical assistance to CRPs and DRS staff. They make site visits to CRP and DRS district and branch offices. During these visits, they provide technical assistance and schedule training and other meetings that need to occur. They serve as a communication link when issues arise and make themselves available to attend the communication meetings and transition team meetings.
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 4: Increase the availability of job development, supportive employment, and job placement services and expand work skills development and life skills services within the community.
Since the closure of the West Virginia Rehabilitation Center in federal fiscal year (FY) 2007, the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) has been focused on expanding community rehabilitation program (CRP) services in communities where clients currently reside. This is being accomplished by changing current fees and practices, promoting, educating, expanding, providing funding for, and making available CRP services in all 55 West Virginia (WV) counties. DRS has created and continues to update a table showing available CRP services by county.
The expected benefits of these efforts include CRP services being made available statewide to DRS clients that need and can benefit from these services, an increased utilization of services by DRS counselors, provision of higher quality services, and fair market fees for services to keep CRPs viable. Since the implementation of these changes has begun, there is now at least one CRP providing services to each county in WV.
CRPs provide services to individuals with significant disabilities, especially to individuals in the supported employment (SE) program. CRPs can be reimbursed for services such as transportation, Life Skills Training (LS), Community Based Assessment (CBA), and Work Adjustment (WA). They can help provide job coaching and direct job placement, and help clients achieve employment (especially quality employment of 30 hours or more a week, with a wage of $8.00 or more, and with medical benefits).
At the end of FY 2010, data indicated that the state authorized a total of $1,716,642.22 on CRP services, compared to $1,234,362.00 in FY 2009. In FY 2010, data indicated that no CRP services were authorized in four of the 55 WV counties (Doddridge, Gilmer, Pocahontas, and Webster). Of those four, two counties (Doddridge and Pocahontas) were repeat counties from the FY 2009 data. A review of the DRS-CRP vendor list, however, demonstrated CRP services were being provided in all of the above counties listed.
DRS implemented continued monitoring of grants and updating the CRP vendor list for accuracy and continued training of DRS and CRP staff members on available CRP services. DRS staff members began making regular site visits to CRPs. It is important to continue solicitation of new vendors in areas where few exist, dissemination of the vendor list to counselors, and monitoring data with follow-up meetings between DRS counselors and vendors to assist with outreach to underserved areas. Identification and analysis of reasons why districts have low CRP service utilization is also crucial. There is also continued monitoring of District communication meetings and CRP liaison reports.
Several barriers have been identified to the expansion of CRP services: rural areas, the variation of DRS staff and practices by district, transportation issues, and clients not wanting to lose benefits are all hurdles to overcome. It should be noted that in order to address transportation difficulties, DRS added a new fee to assist CRPs and clients with up-front reimbursement during service provision.
To resolve the identified issues and barriers associated with the expansion of CRP services statewide, DRS continues to provide additional fiscal resources and technical assistance to various CRPs. In August 2009, a grant opportunity existed for community providers to expand their services utilizing DRS and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. DRS received 70 grant requests and funded 21 requests with ARRA, amounting to $2,243,258.83. ARRA funds were utilized to enhance CRP services in communities statewide including:
-Maintenance and expansion of an existing recycling program that was hit hard by economic downturn.
-Provide job development and support services. Emphasis to be provided in counties lacking other service providers.
-Expansion of current call center. Will add more positions in current inbound call center and home-based employment.
-Maintenance of Woodshop Business. Addition of a delivery truck to partner in laundry business.
-Development of a computer lab to establish basic computer skills to be able to do online job applications and training. Add transportation services to improve access to remote areas.
-Expansion of existing custodial business by purchase of a SaniGLAZE franchise to clean and recondition ceramic tiles, adding outdoor window cleaning equipment, and adding pressure washing and parking lot striping equipment. New transportation services will also be added through the purchase of two vehicles.
-Retaining employment in document imaging business. Would keep nine individuals employed doing conversion of microfilm into digital images. Also for the purchase of new equipment.
-Expansion of existing mobile work crew through the purchase of additional lawn equipment and vehicle for transport of clients. Adding greenhouse plant cultivation and basic household repair services to increase work during winter months.
-Prints expansion. Integrated work setting for printing or embroidery of clothing items.
-Creation of on-site document destruction business that would be certified by the National Association for Information Destruction and employ 11 individuals.
-Addition of a Supported Employment Coordinator.
-Establish an office in Summersville, WV to serve District 4 clients. Full range of placement services identified in the WVDRS manual will be provided.
-Establish a Job Development/placement program. A full time Placement Specialist will be hired to move clients on from the existing Life Skills training program to employment.
-Establish a New Goods Retail Store in Moundsville, WV. This will be an integrated worksite. Two full time Job Coach/Training Specialists will be hired to provide employment services. The store will serve both as a placement and training site.
-Expansion of Recycling Operations in New Martinsville, WV. The facility is an integrated worksite and will serve both as a placement and training site. The expansion will add several new recyclables and require the addition of approximately nine general laborers and one full time Job Coach/Training Specialist.
-Establish the Life Works Program, a life skills assessment and training program designed to meet WVDRS requirements including the Daniel Memorial assessment. Two full time staff will be added to provide this service.
-Establish a community job placement program through the addition of a Community Rehabilitation Coordinator. The focus of the program will be to develop and support job placement in integrated settings.
-Expansion of Fiberglass Production Line. This is an integrated business and will serve as both a placement and training site. It is anticipated the expansion of this business will create 10 – 15 positions.
-Continue a Job Placement Program through the employment of a full-time Vocational Specialist.
-Expansion of existing custodial business by the addition of a Blind Cleaning service through the purchase of the “Dirtyblinds.com Turn-Key Trailer Package.” It is anticipated the new business will result in the hiring of at least four individuals.
-Continue expansion of placement services to blind and visually impaired individuals in District 3. Services will include Daniel Memorial and community based assessment, life and work skills training, and job placement.
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 5: Improve access and availability of transportation options at the community level for DRS consumers who need transportation assistance to meet their rehabilitation goals.
A continuing issue facing clients, service providers, and counselors of vocational rehabilitation programs is transportation. The problem is even more challenging considering the difficulty certain clients in a rural state like West Virginia experience in traveling to their place of employment or education/training site. The Division remains committed to understanding transportation barriers that exist and continues to seek out long-term community solutions (LTS) while focusing on individual transportation solutions (ITS) to immediately satisfy short-and mid-term transportation needs. At application, DRS counselors must identify transportation issues and focus on finding solutions that will be included in the client’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Transportation issues are now addressed by the standard instrument prescribed for routine use by supervisors and quality assurance staff in case reviews.
The Division’s efforts on community transportation solutions (CTS) via the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) program did not produce the needed transportation improvement for the agency’s consumers. Therefore, DRS has been focusing on individual transportation solutions (ITS) for its clients in order to help with short- and mid-term transportation issues. The narrative and statistical information below highlight the agency’s progress on ITS over the past few years.
Since the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, WVDRS spent $4,927,672.93 on transportation services for 4,224 clients. During FY 2008 (October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008) a total of $621,110.97 was spent on services for 715 clients. This averaged $51,759.25 per month, or $868.69 per client. During FY 2009 (October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009) a total of $1,201,045.18 was spent on services for 1,131 clients. This averaged $100,087.10 per month, or $1,061.93 per client. In FY 2010 (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010) a total of $1,799,077.37 was spent on services for 1,414 clients. This averaged $149,923.11 per month, or $1,272.33 per client. Though the current fiscal year is not yet complete, a total of $1,305,437.41 has been spent on services for 965 clients from October 1, 2010 to March 28, 2011, and figures show that this year’s spending on transportation solutions will exceed previous yearly totals.
There are many different categories of expenditures for transportation services: payments made directly to clients for transportation costs – travel to/from college or other travel-related costs as either ‘short term maintenance’ or ‘long term maintenance;’ payments made to clients for relocation; payments made to purchase vehicles for clients; payments made for vehicle repair inclusive of parts, equipment, and labor; payments made to reimburse vendor travel at a state per-mile rate; payments made for the purchase of bus or van tickets and other miscellaneous transportation costs; payments made for the purchase of gasoline; payments made for travel to training associated with transportation topics; payments made for travel for training associated with community/work reintegration; and payments made for ancillary items such as parking fees or tolls.
DRS continues to assign a rehabilitation counselor in each DRS district to serve as a transportation resource for that office and to maintain a list of local transportation options.
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 6: Develop strategies for outreach efforts to minority populations.
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services is committed to serving all individuals with significant disabilities who are eligible for DRS services, including individuals from minority backgrounds. For this purpose, DRS established a Minority Outreach Team. The team has implemented minority outreach strategies and actions on a state, regional, and local level.
On a state level, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the agency’s estimates of minorities with disabilities in West Virginia counties, and the number of these individuals currently being served, the DRS Minority Outreach Team has identified the following counties as potential outreach target areas: Berkley, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Ohio, and Raleigh. Within some of these identified counties, in order to coordinate services and referrals more effectively, the team has established working relationships with organizations whose main focus is serving minorities. These organizations include KISRA, REACH WV, American Appalachian Office of Equality, Tug River Valley Health Association, the Human Rights Commission, the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance, Huntington Housing Authority, and the Family Resource Network.
On a regional level, the DRS Minority Outreach Team has and will continue to provide local district managers information and data related to minority outreach. DRS continues to encourage staff to recognize that minority outreach is a priority and facilitate their active participation in identifying opportunities and methods for improving relationships with public and private sector partners. DRS has encouraged staff to remain actively involved in minority communities and increase their participation in multicultural activities and events.
On a local level, DRS has began to explore how cultural competency training can benefit our staff and enhance our minority clients’ rehabilitation experience. Research has shown that agencies fail to reach and adequately serve minorities due to a lack of cultural sensitivity in both approach and programming. Therefore, DRS Minority Outreach Team is collaborating with Marshall University faculty members to design and provide cultural competency training to all DRS staff.
DRS Minority Outreach Team members participated in a RSA webinar, titled “Vocational Rehabilitation Outreach to Underserved Populations.” The webinar focused on techniques for outreach to underserved populations. It included a discussion of disparity between majority and minority consumers of vocational rehabilitation services.
DRS staff members continue to disseminate information about DRS services at various locations (i.e., libraries, churches, doctor’s offices, etc.) throughout the state and have DRS advertisements in various newspapers. DRS also advertised in The West Virginia Beacon Digest to inform their African-American readers about DRS services. DRS administrators from the State Office and the Charleston District Office continue to work with West Virginia State University (WVSU) officials to publicize DRS services to the student population. The current WVSU enrollment is primarily comprised of African-American students.
DRS staff continues to provide outreach to minority youth and their families throughout the state. DRS staff collaborated with Cabell and Logan public schools in organizing and conducting a youth transition fair in each county. The transition fairs provided an opportunity for the students to become familiar with employers, organizations, schools, and other community agencies within their communities. Employment related workshops were also provided to the students to assist them in seeking employment. Workshops included resume and application preparation, dressing, and interviewing.
DRS continues to work with the Progressive Rejuvenation Improvement and Development Enterprise (PRIDE) located in Logan County. PRIDE refers individuals of minority status who need assistance directly to the DRS. PRIDE offers a multitude of programs geared at assisting low income individuals and families to move out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. DRS staff has also provided employment related workshops to PRIDE consumers and staff.
DRS led a collaborative effort in 2010 to disseminate information about disability rights, vocational rehabilitation, and independent living during MultiFest in Charleston. Participants included representatives from the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at West Virginia University, State Developmental Disabilities Council, West Virginia Centers for Independent Living, Statewide Independent Living Council, State Rehabilitation Council, and the Fair Shake Network/ADA Coalition. DRS plans to fully participate in MulitFest activities again in 2011.
As the Division continues with its statewide outreach to all West Virginians with disabilities in FY 2010 and FY 2011, the media campaigns have been designed to reach all consumers with disabilities in all 55 counties of West Virginia. As a result, the Division is seeing around a thousand new applicants in each of the last two years. There was an increase of 90 (23.7%) new minority applicants from FY 2009 to FY 2010 as compared to an increase of 583 (11.5%) non-minority applicants in the same period. The five counties with the largest numbers of new applicants from minority backgrounds in FY 2010 include Kanawha (105), Cabell (65), Raleigh (41), Mercer (23), and Berkeley (53). McDowell County had seven new minority applicants in FY 2010.
Kanawha County continues to have the highest percentage of minorities within the Charleston District (almost 11%). In FY 2010, the District continued to target different areas of Kanawha County including Charleston’s West Side and East Side, and continues to have a counselor located on the East Side. These efforts have resulted in an increase in minority applicants in the District. The District plans to continue to step up its presence in both of these areas and to improve efforts in at least one of the local high schools with a high number of minorities in FY 2010 and FY 2011. The District hopes to identify the minority population within the school and provide information regarding DRS services before they exit the school system—prior to them moving or dropping out of school.
The Huntington District is maintaining contact with the Huntington Homeless Alliance. The Homeless Alliance refers minorities and those who are experiencing homelessness directly to the DRS. The District also participated in the Project Homeless Connect event, which featured more than 30 social service agencies that support the homeless. The District has also located a counselor at Northcott Court Housing Center. The counselor is working in conjunction with Goodwill Industries with the hopes of increasing the District’s minority applications. The District is also collaborating with the Huntington Housing Authority to encourage families to obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. The District staff volunteered and participated in the Huntington Fifth Third Bank Young Banker’s Club. The Young Banker’s Club is a financial literacy pilot program geared toward fifth-grade students in inner city schools. The program recognizes the importance of reaching children at an early age to teach them about education, finances and personal responsibility. Students who participate in the program have an opportunity to learn first-hand the importance of saving and becoming an educated consumer.
The Beckley, Clarksburg, and Wheeling Districts continue to participate in transition fairs, college fairs, youth expos, financial aid workshops, and local job fairs. The Districts are involved in many fairs and community events in order to serve additional consumers from minority backgrounds.
Progress in Achieving Goal and Priority 7: Develop a comprehensive and statewide marketing strategy to increase public awareness of the DRS programs and services and also to increase the number of referrals.
DRS is seeing around an additional thousand applicants in each of the last two years. This increase is largely a by-product of media campaigns that have been designed to reach all consumers with disabilities in West Virginia. DRS continues to maintain and utilize District Marketing Teams. A participant in the division’s Emerging Leadership Training program is currently taking the lead in working with the teams with the goal of developing local marketing and outreach plans for each district. Projects were assigned to each Emerging Leadership participant based upon their individual recommendations for change within the agency. The division’s senior manager of Governmental and Public Relations is working with the Emerging Leadership participant who has been assigned this task to provide support, guidance and direction.
The anticipated outcome is local marketing and outreach plans that include information on what type of activities need to be pursued in the different districts, who will be reached by pursuing those activities, any financial cost that might be involved, as well as who will be responsible for implementing and following through on the activities that are adopted and any other relevant information. The Emerging Leadership participant is communicating with the District Marketing Teams through e-mail and telephone to begin development of the plans.
DRS has also began to explore a new method to locate areas in West Virginia where populations, including those from minority backgrounds, are unserved and underserved. Using geographical information systems (GIS) technology, DRS has identified areas (zip codes) without clients. DRS has also identified areas with high concentrations of minority populations and lower numbers of served minority clients. Outreach efforts to contact these individuals within unserved and underserved zip codes are being planned, including mailing all households within each particular area, information about DRS services. DRS has identified only 20 zip code areas in all 55 counties of West Virginia from FY 2008 to FY 2011 (as of May 2011) where there are no clients served. The unserved areas and their respective post offices and counties are listed below.
Zip Code Post Office County
25231 Advent Jackson
26561 Big Run Wetzel
26339 Center Point Doddridge
26615 Copen Braxton
26268 Glady Randolph
26720 Gormania Tucker
25115 Kanawha Falls Fayette
25251 Left Hand Roane
26148 Macfarlan Ritchie
24859 Marianna Wyoming
26152 Munday Wirt
25544 Myra Lincoln
24962 Pence Springs Summers
26230 Pickens Webster/Randolph
26289 Red Creek Tucker
25876 Saulsville Wyoming
25936 Thurmond Fayette
24984 Waiteville Monroe
24993 Wolfcreek Monroe
26865 Yellow Spring Hampshire
It is important to note that with approximately 580 zip code areas in West Virginia—the majority of which are rural—the number of areas that are unserved by DRS is significantly small. It is also important that some of these areas may not have individuals with disabilities who need and seek DRS services.
Progress in Achieving the Supported Employment (SE) Goals
In FY 2010, DRS spent $652,740.99 of the Title VI-B funds to serve 213 individuals with the most significant disabilities in its SE program. In the first six months of FY 2011, DRS had authorized $177,360.13 in Title VI-B funds to serve individuals with the most significant disabilities in its SE program. DRS anticipates that it will utilize all $300,000 of Title VI-B funds to provide SE services to approximately 122 individuals with the most significant disabilities during FY 2012.
As previously addressed in the discussion of Goal and Priority 3, DRS continues to assist the existing community rehabilitation programs to expand their services into unserved or underserved areas. DRS continues to identify and provide grant opportunities for the community rehabilitation programs, using both ARRA and regular VR funds, to increase the availability of supported employment services (i.e., job coaching) for West Virginians with significant disabilities. The agency continues to emphasize job coaching for DRS consumers who are not in the supported employment program.
DRS PERFROMANCE ON THE STANDARS AND INDICATORS IN FY 2010
A detailed report of the evaluation standards and performance indicators for DRS in FY 2010 follows.
Standard 1: Employment Outcome in FY 2010
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 1.1. In FY 2010, DRS produced 2,169 rehabilitants, which was 302 above the required level of 1,867 rehabilitants (achieved in FY 2009).
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 1.2. In FY 2010, 70.5% of DRS clients who received services under an Individualized Plan for Employment became rehabilitants. The 70.5% rehabilitation rate is 14.7% above the RSA benchmark of 55.8%.
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 1.3. In FY 2010, 96.1% of DRS rehabilitants were in competitive, self employment or state-agency managed business enterprise program (BEP) employment with earnings at or above minimum wage. The competitive percentage of 96.1% is 23.5% above the RSA benchmark of 72.6%.
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 1.4. In FY 2010, 91.3% of DRS rehabilitants who entered competitive, self employment or BEP employment with earnings at or above minimum wage were individuals with significant (SD) or most significant disabilities (MSD). The SD/MSD competitive percentage of 91.3 is 28.9% above the RSA benchmark of 62.4%.
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 1.5. In FY 2010, the average hourly earnings of DRS rehabilitants who entered competitive, self employment or BEP employment with earnings at or above minimum wage was 63% of the average hourly earnings for all employed West Virginians. The 63% achievement in FY 2010 is 11% above the RSA benchmark of 52%.
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 1.6. In FY 2010, the percentage of DRS rehabilitants in competitive, self employment or BEP employment with earnings at or above minimum wage and reporting their own income as the largest source of support increased by 58.1% between application and closure. The 58.1% is 5.1% above the RSA benchmark of 53%.
Standard 2: Equal Access to Services in FY 2010
DRS exceeded the RSA requirement for indicator 2.1. In FY 2010, 395 individuals from minority backgrounds exited the DRS program. Of those 395 individuals, 186 received DRS services. Of the 4,832 individuals from non-minority backgrounds who exited the DRS program, 2,890 received services from DRS in FY 2010. The ratio of minority service rate over non-minority service rate was 0.811. The 81.1% is above the RSA benchmark of 80%.
DRS provides rehabilitation and related services to all persons with disabilities, including individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds who meet qualifications for DRS services. People with disabilities from minority backgrounds are represented within the DRS caseload proportionate to their numbers within the general population. In FY 2010, DRS surpassed by 0.011 the RSA benchmark of 0.80 (ratio) for indicator 2.1 relating to the equal access to services standard. DRS continues to stress its strong commitment to equal access to rehabilitation services for all West Virginians with disabilities.
DRS is committed to pursuing outreach efforts and marketing referral and other information about DRS and its services to West Virginians with disabilities, particularly those who are members of minority populations. DRS continues to emphasize development and production of a statewide public awareness campaign and participation in a variety of multi-cultural events such as awareness fairs and diversity days.
UTILIZATION OF TITLE I FUNDS FOR INNOVATION AND EXPANSION ACTIVITIES
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) allocated $200,000 for an innovation and expansion (I&E) project in FY 2009 that allows DRS field counselors to directly purchase vehicles from the Good News Mountaineer Garage (GNMG), which operates by distributing restored and fully-inspected vehicles that have been donated to the garage, to clients. This I&E project was extended into FY 2011 with a new total of $600,000 allocated for the entire project. The purchase of the vehicles must be tied to the consumer’s employment and/or training needs and be approved by the Assistant Director of Field Services. As of April 2011, 58 pre-owned vehicles have been purchased through the GNMG for $374,805.75. DRS plans to continue with this I&E project in FY 2012.
Eight vehicles were purchased from GNMG in FY 2009 for a total of $44,132, an average cost of $5,516.50 per vehicle. In FY 2010, 36 clients were purchased pre-owned vehicles through GNMG for a total of $245,876.00, an average of $6829.89 per vehicle. Through March 28, 2011, 14 vehicles have been purchased in FY 2011 for a total of $84,797.75 (an average of 6,056.98 per vehicle). When the GNMG is not available or do not have a vehicle to meet client needs, other licensed dealerships have been contacted and utilized. In FY 2009, $138,588.97 was spent purchasing 10 vehicles from other dealers for an average cost of $13,858.90 per vehicle. In FY 2010, $135,161.75 was spent purchasing 6 vehicles for an average $22,526.96 per vehicle. Through March 28 of FY 2011, 11 vehicles have been purchased for a total of $271,861.95 (an average cost of $24,714.72 per vehicle). The average cost of purchasing a vehicle through GNMG was significantly lower in all fiscal years. It must be noted, however, that many purchases at other dealerships involve vans that require additional modifications specifically for individuals with disabilities. These vans are unavailable at GNMG.
This project was given $400,000 to start the state 2011 fiscal year. Expenditures had surpassed that amount by March 2011, so DRS changed the allocation to the project to $600,000. DRS looks forward to continuing its partnership with GNMG in FY 2012 to reduce the transportation barriers for persons with disabilities in West Virginia. DRS will continue to meet with GNMG officials to improve this I&E project so that more individuals with disabilities will be able to reach quality employment and independence.
I&E Funds for the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council and West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council
DRS fully embraces the Congressional intent that individuals with disabilities and their advocates are full partners in the state rehabilitation program. Therefore, DRS has established a goal to improve its service delivery system through involvement of consumers and their advocates to increase the ease of access to, timeliness of, and quality of rehabilitation services and ultimately to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The Division’s concentration of I&E efforts on consumer partnerships demonstrates its commitment to enhanced consumer involvement.
Success in working with consumers and their advocates is fundamentally important in developing and using innovative approaches to achieve long-term success in expanding and improving rehabilitation services, including supported employment. DRS pursues that work primarily through partnership initiatives with the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council and the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council.
DRS believes that the activities of these councils provide a promising foundation for the kind of partnership envisioned by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. If that partnership is to achieve its full potential, however, it must receive the necessary support.
Therefore, DRS annually allocates I&E funds to support general operations of the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council and the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council.
FY 2010 and 2011 highlights for each appear below.
WEST VIRGINIA STATE REHABILITATION COUNCIL
I&E funds support operations and activities undertaken by members of the West Virginia State Rehabilitation Council (WVSRC). DRS allocated $68,201.30 and $82,500.00 for WVSRC in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
As required by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, WVSRC assists DRS by conducting a survey of consumer satisfaction for DRS clients whose VR cases have been closed. Surveys were mailed to approximately 5,227 individuals in FY 2010. WVSRC uses I&E funds to share costs of contracting an independent consultant to compile a report of survey results.
I&E funding assists WVSRC to prepare, publish, and distribute its annual report.
WVSRC also participates in development and establishment of DRS goals and priorities outlined in Attachment 4.11(c)(1). I&E funds travel costs as necessary.
WEST VIRGINIA STATEWIDE INDEPENDENT LIVING COUNCIL
In combination with Title VII money, I&E funds help support operations and activities undertaken by the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (WVSILC). DRS allocated $159,206.48 and $165,160.00 for SILC in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
WVSILC conducts a survey of consumer satisfaction for clients who received independent living services. WVSILC uses I&E funds to share costs with DRS and WVCIL for distribution of the survey and contracting an independent consultant to compile survey results and prepare an annual report of findings.
WVSILC ensures that all meetings are open to the public and provides notice through the WV Secretary of State’s Office as well as through statewide media at least two weeks prior to the meetings.
WVSILC members and/or employees collaborate with and/or participate in activities of the WVCIL, WV Developmental Disabilities Council, WVSRC, WV Olmstead Advisory Council, WV Mental Health Consumers Association, WV American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Medley Hartley Advocacy Project Advisory Council, WV Transportation Alliance and the Fair Shake Network.
This screen was last updated on Jun 28 2011 8:58AM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) vendor acknowledgment process includes an in-service training session for prospective new vendors and training updates as requested. During the orientation, participants receive a Service Provider Guide and an introduction to the DRS process for providing supported employment (SE) services. DRS also loans SE training books and videotapes at no cost.
The quality of SE services is directly tied to the competency of the personnel performing job development and community based training services. DRS encourages and supports the provision of a broad range of in-service training programs for personnel directly involved in SE service delivery.
DRS is committed to expanding SE services throughout West Virginia as reflected in progress toward Goals and Priorities 3 and 4 described in Attachment 4.11(e). There are currently 62 DRS-acknowledged SE vendors from all districts across the state. These vendors make SE services available to an increasing number of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
In accordance with federal regulations, the SE services that may be provided to individuals placed in SE include:
1. Evaluation of rehabilitation potential for SE to supplement the comprehensive assessment conducted under the Title I program;
2. Job development;
3. Job placement;
4. Intensive on-the-job training provided by skilled job coach/employment specialists;
5. Case management services;
6. Job monitoring, whether performed on-site or off-site, that includes regular contact with employees, employers, parents, guardians, and other professionals to reinforce and maintain the job placement;
7. Rehabilitation technology assessment and services as appropriate; and,
8. Post-employment services (following transition to extended SE services) that are available from the extended service provider and that are needed to maintain the SE job placement.
The client’s Individualized Plan for Employment includes an estimate of the time needed for transition to extended services. Actual transitioning, however, is based upon assessment of the individual’s progress and continuing needs for service. Clients in SE placement are eligible to receive any services traditionally available through the DRS Title I program.
The demand and need for SE services continues to be significant, particularly in rural areas where the number of providers is inadequate or non-existent, as well as for those individuals who are transitioning from school to the workforce. DRS continues its commitment to expanding the statewide capacity for SE services.
DRS will continue to prioritize the expansion of SE services by acknowledging additional SE service providers where needed. The Division will continue to consider non-traditional approaches to SE service delivery and will increasingly emphasize the development of natural supports wherever possible. DRS anticipates that more individuals will receive services with the increased number of approved SE providers.
DRS provided SE services to more than 200 individuals in FY 2010.
While SE services may be expected to vary in scope and duration from individual to individual, core services usually include:
1. Assessment of the individual’s environmental circumstances;
2. Job analysis and job development;
3. Rehabilitation technology assessment;
4. Job placement following appropriate match of job/client characteristics identified in steps 1 and 2;
5. Intensive, one-on-one, on-the-job training;
6. Job stabilization, job coach fading as much as possible; and,
7. Extended Supported Employment Services (ESES), optimally including natural supports.
This screen was last updated on Jun 27 2011 12:09PM by Pisnu Bua-Iam
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