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

State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation State Plan for Fiscal Year 2011 (submitted FY 2010)

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.7 The (enter title of state officer below)
Yes

Commissioner

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

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

Commissioner

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

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

State Plan Certified By

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

Signed?
Yes

Name of Signatory
Laura A. Fortman

Title of Signatory
Commissioner Maine Department of Labor

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy)
06/21/2010

Assurances Certified By

At the request of RSA, the designated state agency and/or the designated state unit provide the following assurance(s), in addition to those contained within Section 2 through 8 below, in connection with the approval of the State Plan for FY 2011
No

Section 1 Footnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Conduct of public meetings.

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

(b) Notice requirements.

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

(c) Special consultation requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Designated state agency.

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

  1. The designated state agency is a state agency that is 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 B was selected/Option A was not selected)

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

(b) Designated state unit.

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

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

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

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

The State Plan must contain one of the following assurances.

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

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

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

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

(Option B was selected)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If "Yes", the designated state agency:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This agency is not requesting a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Coordination with education officials.

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

  1. The State Plan description must:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. Yes

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

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

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

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

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

(a) In general.

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

(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.

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

(c) Facilities.

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

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

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

(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.

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

  1. Qualified personnel needs.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel development.

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Personnel standards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(d) Staff development.

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

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

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

(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Annual estimates.

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

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

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

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

(c) Goals and priorities.

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

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

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

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

  1. provides a justification for the order; and

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

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

(d) Strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(e)(2):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. No

(b) If No:

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

  1. Attachment 4.11(c)(3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. an immediate job placement; or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.

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

(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.

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

Section 6: Program Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. specifies the supported employment services to be provided;

  1. describes the expected extended services needed; and

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council:

Two public hearings on the 2011 Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) State Plan were held on April 15th 2010 simultaneously at the Bangor CareerCenter and at the Department of Labor conference room in Augusta. These hearings were linked through Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Department of Labor's video conferencing system. Legal advertisements for the Public Hearings were posted in the Kennebec Journal, Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald for three days ten days prior to the hearings. The ad notice with a web link to the DVR State Plan was also emailed to a variety of stakeholders including the chairs and co-chairs of the councils working with Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. In addition, a draft of the state plan was posted on the Bureau of Rehabilitation’s website, 10 days prior to the hearings under the "What’s New Section” this announcement included the hearing time and places as well as an DVR contact to request the draft plan in hard copy or alternative format. Poor attendance is a chronic problem for all public hearings. The SRC planned with the DSU to meet in Augusta during Public Hearing. The DVR SRC is comprised from a variety of stakeholders including consumers and service providers. Their input on the FFY 2011 DVR State Plan follows.

* the Designated state unit's response to the input and recommendations; and

* explanations for the designated state unit's rejection of any input or recommendation of the council.

(c) Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council

The Maine State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) provides input to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) State Plan in several ways. There is a joint SRC-DVR Policy Committee that meets regularly to discuss procedural and policy issues within DVR. A function for Council members involved in that committee is to provide input into the development of the annual state plan. During the past year, this committee discussed revising the timeframe so that stakeholders, including the SRC would have ample time to provide meaningful input into the Plan. The State agency listened to the Council’s recommendations to have more time to review and provide input.

The Public Hearing for the FY 2011 DVR State Plan was held in conjunction with the April 2010 SRC Meeting. After the full Council reviewed the important changes in the draft plan at the April SRC Meeting, the Executive Committee met to coordinate and organize the comments received by SRC members. In our review of the Plan, the Council identified errors and omissions in format, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Attached at the end of this document are the corrections we would suggest in those areas. We recognize that these corrections may have been made in subsequent revisions of the Plan.

What follows are the substantive comments and recommendations to the 2011 State Plan for DVR:

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

SRC Input:

The Plan mentions how the Maine Committee on Transition (COT) is a vital link between DVR and the Department of Education. It is our understanding that the funding for the COT is in jeopardy. Are there any contingency plans in place should the COT not exist in the immediate future?

DVR Response:

As of June 30th, 2010, state funding for the Committee on Transition has been eliminated and some of the core responsibilities (i.e. data collection, technical assistance to schools and families) of the COT will now be assumed by the Maine Parent Federation, an organization that offers educational support and training to parents and other stakeholders. DVR will work with the Maine Parent Federation during this transition time to ensure collaboration. This change will not impact the ability of the VRCs - through their established relationships with schools - to continue to provide outreach and services to youth in transition across the state.

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

SRC Input:

Regarding the extended support services mentioned in this section, the Council is concerned that the funds available under the two Medicaid Waiver Programs (Section 21 and 29) are often insufficient to meet individual clients’ needs and assure a quality employment outcome.

DVR Response:

There are currently well over 2000 people receiving services on one or the other of the Medicaid Waiver Programs (Section 21 and 29) who are not receiving any work supports and eligible to do so. DHHS' Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities (OACPD) is committed to helping the clients they serve be able to access employment if they want to. Initially, DVR will be working collaboratively with OACPD to target those clients already receiving waiver services who are not working. DVR and OACPD are also planning to work together to adapt DVR’s adult career exploration curriculum for use by their clients in agencies they may be receiving services with the goal of helping them to be more work ready before applying for VR services. This adapted career exploration program is scheduled to be available in spring of 2011. Waiver funds can be used in these agencies to provide this curriculum. DVR has no control over the funding available through DHHS' waiver programs. As funding permits, individuals with cognitive disabilities may apply for VR long term supports if they are not receiving waiver funding.

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD)

SRC Input:

Following the 2006 Executive Order regarding State Employment Opportunities, how many special appointment positions have been filled by people with disabilities and people with diverse backgrounds? If there are any filled by the above, for how long have the people been employed? Is there information available regarding the breakdown between people with disabilities and people of color for the Special Appointment positions? For people with disabilities, is there a breakdown regarding the specific disabilities?

DVR Response:

The breakdown by disabilities and people with diverse backgrounds requested is not available as the SA process is just now in place. DVR will be collecting data as the new process is implemented for DVR appointees. Its early times and there is no requirement that the individual be VR client so statistics would be incomplete. The Special Appointment (SA) process was finalized in March 2010. DVR Staff and stakeholders have been informed on the process. DVR has an expanded description of the SA process in both Attachment 4.10 (in the Plan for Recruitment…first paragraph) and Attachment 4.11(e)(2).

SRC Input:

Regarding the graduate (Master's) program at University of Southern Maine (USM), it was our understanding that the university may undergo significant reorganization as far as what programs will be offered. Based on what has been shared at CSPD meetings attended by the SRC member, there appears to be a question how much longer the Master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling will be offered at USM.

Will the programs at University of Wisconsin-Stout and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) be able to pick up the slack if the USM program is discontinued? Are there any other options to assure that DVR will meet its obligation to have qualified staff?

DVR Response:

DVR will continue to keep abreast of the Master's program in Rehabilitation Counseling the University of Southern Maine. Unfortunately, USM does not offer RSA grant funding to rehabilitation program participants. Maine DVR lacks sufficient resources to pay educational/training costs associated in its efforts to develop and maintain a fully qualified staff and, as such, conducts on-going surveys of distance educational programs that offer RSA grant funding to participants.

University of Wisconsin-Stout and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) have both accepted ME VRCs. At this time all Maine MA candidates are attending VCU. The Division will research other schools if and when VCU is unable to accommodate all our staff. The CSPD coordinator is constantly researching appropriate schools for maintaining DVR's obligation for qualified staff.

SRC Input:

The Plan rightly emphasizes staff development at DVR. The Council feels that some attention needs to be paid to increasing the competencies of staff in those agencies that DVR contracts with to provide job development and job coaching. The Council has been informed that eligibility for the grant support through Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) at VCU is not limited to personnel from DVR. We feel DVR should encourage staff from Community Rehabilitation Providers to increase their competencies and participate in the VCU program.

DVR Response:

As DVR has stated previously to members of the SRC, we send out all training announcements to providers through Valerie Oswald, our community rehabilitation provider (CRP) liaison. At that time, our CRPs could investigate and apply for this training opportunity on their own. Having a master’s degree is not a requirement in order to provide job development and job coaching services to our clients.

Attachment 4.11 (a) Statewide Assessment

SRC Input:

The Council and DVR are currently collecting data and working collaboratively towards the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment that is due in 2012. We plan to study and utilize the model Assessment format that was developed with funds from RSA.

DVR Response:

DVR will work with the DVR-SRC policy committee as they develop their plan for data collection for the next Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment 2013-2015, due June 2012.

Attachment 4.11 (c) (3) Order of Selection

SRC Input:

The data projecting Fiscal Year 2010 DVR successful case outcomes is very confusing (see page 17 of Draft Plan). The chart includes an explanation that says "624 status 28 cases by 670 status 26 cases = 107%". What is this data attempting to signify? Also, we feel having a cost per successful case closure is important data to include in the Plan.

DVR Response:

DVR agrees this section is confusing as written and the math was incorrect. This section has been rewritten. The new section projects "26" and "28" closures in all the priority categories using an annual case cost of $1400.

SRC Input:

The Council has been very supportive of the initiative to eliminate the waitlist and redefine the categories. The Council was critical of the manner in which people were identified as "most significantly disabled" in the past. We shared this concern with RSA in 2008 when the 107 Review was conducted. We are pleased that the Order of Selection is no longer a first come, first served system. We feel the new system is much more in the spirit and intent of the Rehabilitation Act. The Council participated in the Steering Committee for NoQ4U and Council members (CAP staff) were involved in some of the work groups that streamlined the VR process. We were supportive of using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds towards eliminating the wait list. One concern we have is what happens when the ARRA funds are gone? What can be done to assure that there won’t be slippage towards another long wait for VR services for people with disabilities in Maine?

DVR Response:

For clarification to the SRC's response "We are pleased that the Order of Selection is no longer a first come, first served system." - Until DVR has completely eliminated the wait list in October, 2010, we will continue to serve those who applied first and take their names off the wait list using that system. Once the wait list is eliminated, then we can serve those who have been determined eligible and are ready to engage with VR services.

From the very beginning, DVR considered how they would sustain services once they no longer had ARRA funding. As stated throughout this sate plan, DVR has worked on streamlining our service delivery with the goal of freeing up counselor time which would in turn afford them time to lead the career exploration work shops around the state

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

SRC Input:

We request the full title of the subcommittee on Mental Health be stated in the Plan: "Committee on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Mental Illness". This Committee has focused on what can be done to remove barriers to full time employment, the utilization of Ticket to Work Program and the employment specialist program funded by Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS). This partnership helped facilitate the allocation of OAMHS funds so that DVR could receive all their matching federal funds.

Attachment 4.11 (d) State’s Strategies

Regarding the composition of SRC committees, please remove any reference to ad hoc committees. Also, please add the Retreat and the Executive Committees as standing Council committees.

Regarding the Section 121 Grant we request the following revision of the 4th paragraph:

'The Section 121 program serves all four federally recognized tribes in Maine: Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribes, and Penobscot Indian Nation. In addition, the program also serves any other federally recognized tribal member living near one of the Maine tribal reservations."

DVR Response:

The changes recommended in Attachments 4.11(c) (4) and 4.11 (d) have been made.

SRC Input:

At the end of this document are the errors and omissions we identified while reviewing the Draft Plan that was provided to us in advance if the Public Hearing on April 15, 2010.

This concludes the SRC comments to the 2011 State Plan for DVR. We look forward to the agency’s response to our comments and recommendations. We appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback to the State Plan and as noted earlier in this document, we appreciate the increased timeframe in which we could review and comment on the Plan.

DVR Response:

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation appreciates the time taken by the SRC members and the SRC-Policy sub committee for their help in soliciting feedback and developing comments on the DVR 2011 State Plan.

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This agency has not requested a waiver of statewideness.

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

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

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) works with other state agencies and many Councils and Committees whose focus is on individuals with disabilities. DVR works very closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). DVR and DHHS have two memorandums of understanding (MOU): the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disability (OACPD) serves individuals with development disabilities and individuals with brain injury also known as Developmental Services and the Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) whose primary focus is Mental Health services. The MOUs address the combined efforts that DHHS and DVR have initiated and clarify roles to improve the successful outcomes for these populations.

DVR Staff members participate on a number of diverse councils such as the Acquired Brain Injury Council, Developmental Disabilities Council, the Governors Committee on Public Transportation and several of the local Councils on Transition.

The Division had meetings with USDA Rural Development about three years ago, but unfortunately loss in their funding ended those discussions of formal cooperation. DVR is open to working with them in the future.

* if applicable, state use contracting programs.

The Division has a fee for service arrangement with both private non-profit and for-profit Community Rehabilitation Service providers and contracts with the Maine's sole Center of Independent Living, Alpha One.

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

DVR continues its ongoing efforts to maximize and expand available resources and networking opportunities between Department of Education (DOE) and DVR. These efforts continue to benefit both consumers and staff in the most cost effective manner. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired plan to work with the Department of Education to update the current MOU signed in 1999 addressing among other topics youth in transition. The MOU is one of the goals developed from the 2010-2012 needs assessment. The anticipated time frame for the development and a completion of the updated MOU is by FY 2011. While the content of the new MOU has not yet been developed, it will reflect the changes in federal and state legislation since 1999.

Pauline Lamontagne, an education specialist with the Department of Education (DOE), participates in DVR planning as a valued member of the State of Maine Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and is a member of SRC's Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) Advisory Council. She is the champion of full accessibility of all materials produced and used by DVR for staff training and consumer use. David Stockford, Director of Special Services in the DOE sits on the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). He always keeps the needs of children with disabilities and youth in transition in the forefront.

Collaboration exists on an administrative level with the Commissioners of Education and Labor working jointly in a number of capacities including the Maine Children's Cabinet, the Workforce Cabinet; comprised of the Commissioners of the of Education, Labor, Corrections and the Economic Development and representative of the University of Maine and Community College systems and the Maine Jobs Council.

The Maine Committee on Transition (COT) and its regional networks have been a vital link between DVR and DOE. In particular the partnership with COT has produced the successful "Mission Transition" events each year. In 2009 all the Mission Transition events took place on Community College and University of Maine campuses. At the regional level the COT helped facilitate effective communication between the schools and local VR offices. VR counselors begin work with students two years before the expected graduation date from high school and attend Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings to promote a smooth transition for the student from high school to post-secondary goals. Working together with the schools allows VRCs to begin the process of developing the Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) in alignment with the student’s IEP transition goals. As of June 30, 2010, state funding for the Committee on Transition has been eliminated and some of the core responsibilities (i.e. data collection, technical assistance to schools and families) of the COT will now be assumed by the Maine Parent Federation, an organization that offers educational support and training to parents and other stakeholders. DVR will work with the Maine Parent Federation during this transition time to ensure collaboration. This change will not impact the ability of the VRCs – through their established relationships with schools – will continue to provide outreach and services to youth in transition across the state.

A transition agreement with the Department of Education exists, which defines and strengthens the relationships with DOE and calls for identification of students with disabilities, both in Special Education and regular programs, in order to plan their transition before graduation. The agreement focuses upon the need of the individual student and allows for flexibility and professional judgment to be exercised by personnel. It also spells out the roles of each agency in referral, outreach, and the provision of service. Staff training and development is coordinated; strategies for determining financial and other responsibility are in place; and, dispute resolution procedures are available. As DVR eliminates its long-standing waitlist, VRCs with transition caseloads have focused on serving eligible youth who are within two years of high school graduation and on developing tools to share this message with schools, parents and service providers

MaineCite is the grant holder of the State Grant for Assistive Technology (AT) under the DOE, Special Services. Kathy Powers, Program Director is very helpful to DVR in its effort to identify resources for assistive technology and in developing the AT survey distributed to DVR counselors. MaineCite staff have presented to the Statewide Rehabilitation Council and presented trainings at the Statewide Training for DVR staff in 2009.

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

N/A

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 11:00AM by samejohnsona

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

  • supported employment services; and
  • extended services.

The Division works closely with the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the New England TACE Center (Institute for Community Inclusion, Univ. of Mass. at Boston) to design and deliver a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists and Job Coaches in the Community Rehabilitation Provider sector. In recent years, basic training requirements were met through the Maine Employment Curriculum (MEC). The MEC was administered by the University of Maine, Center for Community Inclusion and funded primarily by the Maine DHHS with in-kind contributions from the Division. The Maine DHHS discontinued funding of the MEC effective December 31, 2009 and initiated the current collaborative effort to design a comprehensive system to include basic training, advanced skills training and a mentoring component. Currently, several options have been approved for the basic Employment Specialist and Job Coach Certification training, with an emphasis on web-based programs.

Another collaborative effort, which falls under the goal of continuous improvement, is with the DHHS Office of Adult Mental Health Services, the DHHS Office of Quality Improvement and the Division. A statewide evaluation of supported employment services to individuals with mental illness in Maine was jointly conducted using the Supported Employment Fidelity Scale model. The results of this evaluation will enable Maine to more clearly identify the strengths and needs of our supported employment service delivery system for this population.

The provision of support services for individuals who need supported employment services are addressed in our Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS) included in the 2008 State plan. OAMHS will cover vocational preparation work with DVR funding for time limited training services. Mental Health Services will cover the extended support services for individuals needing long term supported employment, once the training is completed and stabilization on the job has been reached.

The MOU with the Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities (OACPD) addresses individuals with brain injury or developmental disabilities.

Goals of the MOU with OACPD are;

1. Strengthen partnerships between Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and OACPD in order to improve and expand employment services for our joint consumers. This partnership is based upon the shared belief that individuals with the most significant disabilities are able to work in integrated settings if appropriate services and supports are provided (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended).

2. Ensure ethical best practices, particularly as they relate to consumer rights and meaningful choices.

3. Maximize the utilization of all employment and training resources and funds to support competitive employment for people with developmental disabilities.

4. Improve the rehabilitation rate and increase the number of individuals with developmental disabilities who are successful in achieving competitive employment goals

5. Establish consistent practices of operation in BRS and OACPD in order to achieve a seamless transition to work. Special emphasis will be applied to youth in transition.

6. In FY 2009 DVR and OACPD staffs worked together on joint training on vocational issues and the VR process.

7. Continue to work with OACPD and Muskie Center on development of the Employment for ME website. http://employmentforme.org/

Extended support services have been more limited for individual with developmental disabilities. Developmental Services implemented a new Medicaid waiver program shifting resources from day habilitation services to community support services which included employment. This has resulted in additional individuals with developmental disabilities being eligible for supported employment with Developmental Services providing extended supports. We developed an agreement which coordinates the delivery of supported employment services including extended supports. Unfortunately, due to funding cuts the new waiver is not open to new applicants at this time. DVR and Developmental Services are committed to working with those individuals already on the waiver.

There are currently well over 2000 people receiving services on one or the other of the Medicaid Waiver Programs (Section 21 and 29) who are not receiving any work supports and eligible to do so. DHHS’ Office of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities (OACPD) is committed to helping the clients they serve be able to access employment if they want to. Initially, DVR will be working collaboratively with OACPD to target those clients already receiving waiver services who are not working. DVR and OACPD are also planning to work together to adapt DVR’s adult career exploration curriculum for use by their clients in agencies they may be receiving services with the goal of helping them to be more work ready before applying for VR services. This adapted career exploration program is scheduled to be available in spring of 2011. Waiver funds can be used in these agencies to provide this curriculum. DVR has no control over the funding available through DHHS’ waiver programs. As funding permits, individuals with cognitive disabilities may apply for VR long term supports if they are not receiving waiver funding.

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 11:03AM by samejohnsona

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

The system for collecting and analyzing data indicates approximately 11,000 individuals will be served in FFY 2009. Current service delivery is performed by Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) staff, which consists of 65 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, 4 Paraprofessionals, 9 Casework Supervisors, and 3 Regional Managers. DVR staff receives administrative and organizational support and guidance from 1 Director, 1 Assistant to the Director, and 5 Rehabilitation Consultants and 20 individuals providing clerical/secretarial support services.

In FFY 2009, Maine DVR encountered a turnover rate of approximately 16.9% among its Rehabilitation Counselors. Over the past 5 years DVR has experienced on average a greater than 15% annual turnover rate of Rehabilitation Counselors. The agency tracks anticipated counselor vacancies annually. Such turnover is considered resultant of Maine’s aging workforce, competitive labor market and greater income potential in the private sector.

DVR annually asks all staff their projected five-year employment plans (i.e. remain in position, seek, leave agency, seek retirement, etc.). Assuming retention levels remain consistent with recent years, it can be projected that DVR staffing needs could include as many as 35 Rehabilitation Counselors in the next five years. In examining staffing patterns of all other DVR staff, there appears to be a somewhat lower turnover rate, approximately 13-15% annually, for similar reasons. When applying this figure, it can be forecast that Maine DVR will need to replace 1 Regional Manager, 2 Casework Supervisors, 2 Paraprofessionals, 2 Clerical/Support Personnel and 2 Rehabilitation Consultants in the next five years.

Off Wait List Project Staff - using Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services American Recovery and Reinvestment Act fiscal support.

Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 money has regulations that has allowed the department to hire limited-period positions, providing they offer support to Title I applicants/clients. The focus of these 15 positions is to perform outreach activities contacting clients who have been on a waiting list or have lost contact with the agency, for the purpose of engagement in services and ultimately employment. In addition to the 15 direct service positions, we have hired three consultants in our central office. The first consultant position is a ten hour a week position to assist us with following the strict reporting guidelines that the Federal Government has put in place to keep track of this funding. The second consultant was hired as a half time program analyst position to work with our Office of Information and Technology department to help us develop a plan for moving to a better statewide data collection system. The third position was hired as a part time data specialist to help with data collection and reporting.

From the very beginning, DVR considered how they would sustain services once they no longer had ARRA funding. As stated throughout this sate plan, DVR has worked on streamlining our service delivery with the goal of freeing up counselor time which would in turn afford them time to lead the career exploration work shops around the state. In addition, as part of the streamlining plan, DVR is purchasing a new client data system, which will also afford counselors more time in the field with their clients. Therefore, when ARRA funding is no longer available, DVR will have a leaner system, as we will have moved people who have been on the wait list through our system, some of whom have been on a wait list for years. Once the "bubble" of people have moved through, there will be fewer clients to serve, and counselors will be able to pick up the work that ARRA staff had been doing during this two year period.

 

Row Job Title Total positions Current vacancies Projected vacancies over the next 5 years
1 Director 1 0 0
2 Assistant Director 1 0 0
3 Regional Manager 3 0 1
4 Casework Supervisor 9 0 2
5 Rehabilitation Consultant 5 0 2
6 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II 65 4 35
7 Paraprofessional 6 0 2
8 Support Personnel 12 0 2
9 0 0 0
10 0 0 0

 

Maine has one in-state institution of higher education, the University of Southern Maine (USM), that offers an educational program which satisfies the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for states lacking a state standard for "fully qualified" vocational rehabilitation counselors (i.e. qualifies to sit for the CRCC exam). USM currently has 27 students enrolled in its Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling Program and graduated 6 individuals during this academic year. Unfortunately, USM does not offer RSA grant funding to rehabilitation program participants. Maine DVR lacks sufficient resources to pay educational/training costs associated in its efforts to develop and maintain a fully qualified staff and, as such, conducts on-going surveys of distance educational programs that offer RSA grant funding to participants.

Maine also has another in-state institution of higher education, the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) that only offers an undergraduate program in Rehabilitation Services which prepares their graduates for Masters Degree programs in a variety of career areas. UMF has 93 Majors in Rehabilitation Services and typically graduates between 25 and 30 students a year with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Services. Due to the nature of this program, it does not meet the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) "fully qualified" vocational rehabilitation counselors (i.e. qualifies to sit for the CRCC exam).

At this time, Maine DVR has eight Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs) enrolled in the Virginia Commonwealth University, Rehabilitation On-Line graduate program, which does offer comprehensive RSA grant funding to rehabilitation program participants. One VRC, who was enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Stout Masters in Rehabilitation On-Line graduate program, has completed the program of study and graduated in December 2009. In total, Maine DVR has 8 VRCs presently enrolled in distance education programs.

 

Row Institutions Students enrolled Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA Graduates from the previous year
1 University of Wisconsin-Stout 0 1 1 0
2 Virginia Commonwealth University 8 8 0 0
3 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0

 

Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

The State of Maine promotes the employment of persons from diverse backgrounds. In February 2006, Governor Baldacci issued an executive order calling for the state to better promote state jobs to persons with disabilities, to identify difficult-to-fill jobs, and to survey state workers about their disabilities and experiences with state government. The Bureau of Human Resources provides a system, referred to as "Special Appointment", to facilitate the recruitment of people from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities in filling State government vacancies. Per the Governor's 2006 Executive Order regarding State Employment Opportunities for people with disabilities, DVR has developed a newly revised special appointment program with the goal of providing a path to state jobs. The directors and staff from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Division of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and/Late Deafened have been working closely with the Maine State Bureau of Human Resources and Departmental Human Resource Divisions to re-instate the Special Appointment Program for individuals with disabilities. This program is designed to place individuals with appropriate job qualifications into State jobs by-passing the civil testing requirement for these jobs. Applicants are placed in acting capacity status for up to a year. The supervisor performs monthly reviews on job performance. When the individual is performing without support he/she is placed into the job and enters the standard six-month probation for all state employees.

Retaining qualified staff continues to be an area of concern for Maine DVR. During the FFY 2009, a reclassification for the salary scales for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors was successful; during that time frame an increase for all state employees provided a monetary incentive for Maine VR counselors. Maine DVR continues to review and assess essential job functions within the Division within the framework of CSPD requirements, seeking the development of alternative approaches in the provision and maintenance of high quality service delivery.

Although State Government in Maine is currently subject to a hiring freeze, the Division, with the support of the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, continues to work closely with the State of Maine’s Bureau of Human Resources (BHR) when filling vacancies. When an opening becomes available, administrators enter into a process to request an exemption from the hiring freeze and once permission is granted the position may be posted and filled. Recent recruitment efforts, which have included electronic vacancy postings on national and State of Maine websites, through local postings with community providers and through information sharing with Maine’s two colleges that offer a rehabilitation program, have yielded increased and more highly credentialed candidates when compared to previous years.

Recruitment methods continue to be extensive and include internet postings on a variety of rehab-specific and general job bank sites, ongoing contact with Rehabilitation Counseling graduate programs throughout the country, promotion of Maine DVR staffing opportunities at national rehabilitation conferences, networking with Community Rehabilitation Providers and other state agencies, and offering internship opportunities to pre-and post-graduate level rehabilitation students, as well as job listings in Maine Career Centers.

 

Personnel Standards

Maine DVR personnel requirements and hiring practices are aligned with the Rehabilitation Act mandates and its regulations. The State of Maine does not have an established state standard for fully qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors so defers to the Rehabilitation Services Administration standard, originating from the Rehabilitation Act, whereby an individual must possesses a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, CRC status, or be eligible to sit for the CRC examination when filling Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor vacancies. Applicants and staff who possess master's degrees in counseling or a counseling-related degree, defined as Social Work, Psychology, Special Education, and Counseling also meet the standard if a graduate course in Theories and Techniques of Counseling course was completed as part of the degree requirements and additional graduate courses have been completed with a primary focus on Assessment, Occupational Information or Placement, Medical or Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities, and in Community Resources or Delivery of Rehabilitation Services. In Maine, DVR requires that new hires lacking fully qualified status enter into educational plans designed to achieve fully qualified status as a condition of employment. DVR also supports educational programming for existing staff seeking to meet fully qualified status and, for those who have achieved CRC status and require on-going CRC training credits, as a sanctioned provider of CRC training credits.

When recruiting or hiring new staff, Maine DVR gives preference to fully qualified individuals. If there is a critical agency staffing need and recruitment efforts do not secure a suitable candidate, DVR can hire individuals conditionally. These individuals are required to enter into an agreement to acquire the appropriate credentials to become fully qualified under a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) plan. The CSPD plan for becoming "fully qualified," according to the standards set forth by Rehabilitation Act, is responsive to the needs to the individual counselor, and agreed to by management. The plan is incorporated into the employee’s annual performance review to ensure continuity and progress toward "fully qualified" status. Counselors who require a full master’s degree program to meet the "fully qualified" status are allotted up to five (5) years after completion of their probationary period to meet the CSPD requirements. While those with related counseling masters degrees seeking to meet CRC exam standards or are currently in a master's in counseling program are provided accelerated timeframes dependent on remaining coursework.

Working to ensure that CSPD standards are achieved to the maximum extent possible, Maine DVR regularly reviews the qualifications of all staff and tracks the educational plans of new hires and personnel requiring education and training. Content of CSPD plans for rehabilitation counselors who have not met the State standard are developed with supervisors upon completion of probation and reviewed as part of an annual performance review. CSPD plans reflect a balance between personnel development and operational needs, seek optimal training modalities and formats, and are accomplished as cost effectively as possible. Upon entering CSPD plans, program and coursework approval must be granted by the DVR Training Coordinator, who maintains records of all staff training activities and certifications.

 

Staff Development

Staff development is monitored through formal and informal venues. Formally, all DVR staff are subject to annual performance reviews, a portion of which specifically addresses personal development. At these reviews, staff and supervisors jointly identify training required to address performance enhancement or, for CRCs, training needs to ensure adequate progress to maintain credentialing, as well as timeframes needed to complete the training/s. Further, the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, of which DVR is the largest Division, hosts a semi-annual, two-day statewide training event at which multiple trainings identified and prioritized by staff and oversight bodies (i.e. State Rehabilitation Council, CSPD Advisory Committee) are offered to all staff. Informally, training needs and activities are often identified and offered at regional/office levels at monthly staff meetings, internal committee work, and at individual initiation. In an effort to maximize training resources staff often solicit local training resources to provide free or low cost workshops, attend trainings with a "train the trainer" perspective to provide turn-around training to other staff, and share internal expertise through in-house training opportunities.

Maine DVR training resources and opportunities are adversely impacted by both an executively imposed travel restriction, disallowing state employees to travel outside the State of Maine, as well as insufficient In-Service Training monies to provide adequate training opportunities for Maine DVR staff. In response, Maine DVR has made continuous efforts to seek and identify enhanced learning opportunities, particularly through use of distance learning modalities, in providing educational forums for its staff. Videoconferencing capacity has been established on a statewide basis and has led to extensive learning collaborations with the Career Center One Stops, the Social Security Administration, with external partners such as Maine CITE, the Small Business Development Corporation, college preparation and the local workforce development boards. Maine DVR staff also seeks distance training opportunities through webinars and teleconferences such as those offered by Workforce3One, Independent Living Research Utilization, Social Security Administration and Parent Education Advocacy Training Center. Electronic newsletters, known as "E-News" are also available to staff from sources such as the Institute for Community Inclusion and Workforce3One. New counselor training curriculum, which entails a three-week, comprehensive overview of the VR process and includes topic areas such as rehabilitation technology, job placement and assessment, and vocational counseling is available to all staff and required of new staff, as well as interactive training modules in casework flow and post-secondary education. Currently, new counselor training is being reviewed and updated to meet the ever-changing needs of the clients and requirements of the RSA. In addition, training has been designed for paraprofessionals and support staff to assist them with an understanding of the rehabilitation process, procedural directives and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Rules.

Training opportunities and conference materials are shared through a number of statewide avenues, including the Internet and intranet, the CSPD advisory committee, and counselor, managerial and supervisory networking activities and interactions. A library of training resources, including texts, journals and videotapes addressing vocational rehabilitation topic areas, loaned to regional offices as needed. These materials include Institute on Rehabilitation Issues publications, computer CDs offering American Sign Language tutorial, videotapes addressing learning disabilities, Consumer Choice News, National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, and other documents from the various National Rehabilitation and Research and Training Programs throughout the United States.

For over a year, Maine’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has been embarking on a major initiative to eliminate the wait list. Maine has gone "back to the basics" by differentiating and evaluating major process points while working with consumers and has identified these points as: "Entering the VR System", "VR Plan Development", "VR Plan Accomplishment" and "Exiting the VR System". The objective of this initiative is to provide assistance to all eligible clients at the time services are needed in order to achieve an employment goal in competitive, community-based employment. In completing this evaluation to streamline how services are delivered, work groups, in the four identified major process point areas, will propose substantive changes and procedural directives to guide day to day service delivery. Staff will then be provided with the necessary training in each of the key areas so that DVR is providing consistent services across the state.

 

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

To address issues associated with diversity and cultural needs, the Division has three staff members who are Deaf, two Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (RCDs) and one Rehabilitation Assistant, all of whom are able to communicate effectively with Deaf consumers in their native language, American Sign Language (ASL). These counselors do employ interpreter services for individuals with whom they can not communicate directly. Counselors for the Deaf have videophones at their desks for visual communication with consumers. Videolinks, Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) and access to Video Remote Captioning are at various stages of implementation within DVR and the Career Centers. Spoken language interpreter services are accessed through the Refugee Re-settlement Agency of Portland, Maine, where more than 40 different languages are recognized. In northern Maine, the Multicultural Student Services and Programs at the University of Maine provide similar interpreting services. DVR employs a number of bilingual speaking staff.

 

Coordination of Personnel Development Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act

As outlined in Section 606, Employing Individuals with Disabilities, of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Maine DVR continually makes "positive efforts to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities in programs assisted under this title". Currently twenty-three "Transition" counselors are assigned to work with the more than two hundred Maine High Schools as well as out-of-school youth and youth attending private institutions. Transition aged youth represents one of the fastest growing populations that Maine DVR serves. In response, Maine's DVR staff work closely and regularly with statewide Councils on Transition with membership on both regional boards and on the State Council on Transition Advisory Board. Collaboration is particularly evident in providing high quality transition events, such as Mission Transition, which was offered statewide in FFY 2009 through 10 regional events and in participation at Transition Outcomes Projects. Maine DVR has an internal Statewide Transition Counselor Advisory Group that meets five times each year to seek education and uniformity in the provision of VR transition services. Collaboration exists on an administrative level with the Commissioners of Education and Labor working jointly in a number of capacities, including participation on the Maine Children’s Cabinet and the Maine Jobs Council. The Department of Education also has a participating member on DVR’s State Rehabilitation Council and CSPD Advisory Committee. The Division continues to work with several other departments, including Health and Human Services and Corrections, and has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health and Human Services to promote cross-training of personnel seeking better vocational preparation and quality outcomes for individuals with pervasive mental health issues.

DVR continues to maintain reciprocal partnerships with institutions of education, recognized for their commitment to rehabilitation services. Division staff members participate on the University of Southern Maine (USM) and the University of Maine at Farmington’s advisory boards, as these schools have vocational rehabilitation training programs. USM has the graduate and Farmington an under-graduate curriculum. The Division participates with the Institute for Community Inclusion and Assumption College, recently identified as the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) for Maine, through its involvement in various advisory boards, planning committees, and training opportunities.

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 11:37AM by samejohnsona

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

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

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

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Statewide Needs Assessment Summary-

The Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Statewide Needs Assessment was completed and approved in the FY 2010 state plan submitted in July 2009.

The assessment is designed to answer important questions about the population eligible for DVR services that live in Maine and their vocational rehabilitation needs. It will guide in its strategic plan and goal development for the next three fiscal years, 2010 - 2012. Specifically, the report responds to federal regulations1 requiring Maine's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to jointly conduct a "comprehensive statewide assessment" with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) every three years that describes the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the State, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:

1. individuals with the most significant disabilities

2. individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program

3. individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system as identified by those individuals and personnel assisting those individuals through the components of the system.

To address these issues, we rely on a variety of publicly available sources, including survey information from the United States Census Bureau and data from the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the Social Security Administration. We also gathered information through the Fall 2008 Consumer Satisfaction Survey, a forum held by the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for individuals placed in employment at its annual meeting, and did additional outreach to seventeen stakeholder groups to examine the services delivered to people with disabilities in Maine.

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation conducted the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment with its State Rehabilitation Council gathering and analyzing a wide range of information, including the agency's own performance data, existing disability population statistics, disability population projections, and input from stakeholders. This process started in May of 2008 with Consumer Satisfaction Survey and ended in May 2009 with the SRC's final input on the 2010-2012 goals. The SRC was an integral partner in the entire process.

Although challenged by an economic recession and severe state budget shortfalls, DVR continues to provide vocational rehabilitation services to thousands of Mainers with disabilities each year. As with the 2006 Needs Assessment, individuals served by DVR are generally very satisfied with the services that they receive and report feeling that they are treated with dignity and respect. In the last three years, however, increasing frustration has been noted with the wait for services and counselor turnover. Although time spent on the waiting list stabilized at six months, time to develop an individual employment plan (IPE) has increased. The overall average of time from application to closure is over three years, which is significantly longer than other peer states.

In terms of case service expenditures, job development and college or university training remained DVR's highest cost areas, consistent with the findings in 2006. Of note, is that a secondary analysis of the agency's post-secondary expenditures found that individuals who were able to complete a post-secondary degree or certificate were more likely to find and keep a job, achieve full-time employment and have a higher income.

In considering the information provided by the Consumer Satisfaction Survey and various stakeholder inputs, things noted include: establishing clear expectations with consumers on what they can expect from the VR process; the importance of timely communications and the availability of counselors to respond to individual needs; the challenges of Maine’s inadequate transportation system; insufficient career exploration, job fit and range of employment options; and unfamiliarity of general VR Counselors with specific disabilities and impairments

* individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program

In the areas of un-served and underserved groups, existing disability population statistics suggest that Maine has a large population of individuals with disabilities, including those receiving SSI and/or SSDI, who might benefit from services through DVR. Additionally, two other groups were identified in the assessment that should be anticipated as needing VR services in the future. The first is students with disabilities identified by the Department of Education as needing career services and education upon exiting high school. Many of these students have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder. The other group is Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have sustained injuries and are in need of vocational rehabilitation services

*individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system

Services to minorities with disabilities in Maine have always been a challenge to DVR. DVR has long attempted to provide services to the state's Native Americans and after several attempts, successfully supported the Houlton Band of Maliseets to be awarded a five-year Section 121 grant award in FY 2009. Through a memorandum of understanding, DVR has an opportunity to better serve tribal members. While the population of other minority groups is slowly increasing in Maine through resettlement programs and migrant employment, DVR outreach has not always been accepted or understood. DVR staff could benefit from continued cultural sensitivity training specific to the individuals in Maine, like the Somalis in Lewiston.

The following recommendations were developed and reviewed with the help of the DVR SRC.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Maine's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is embarking on a major initiative to eliminate the wait list and provide the "right service at the right time" to its consumers. Maine DVR plans to go "back to the basics" by evaluating each major process point with consumers. DVR has identified these points as: "Entering the VR System", "VR Plan Development", "VR Plan Accomplishment" and "Exiting the VR System". The goal is to provide services to all eligible consumers at the time that they need them to achieve competitive, community-based employment.

This Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment lends strong support to the importance of DVR's initiative and clarifying its purpose, targeting resources, engaging other service providers, and streamlining services. As DVR proceeds, it is recommended that:

* DVR review all the materials shared with consumers to ensure that that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, both linguistically and culturally.

* VR Counselors and community-based agencies engaged to provide employment services be provided training to increase skills in serving specific disability and ethnic populations.

* DVR address the high numbers of individuals in Plan Development (Status 10) with a focus on those who drop out of the program and how the determination of a vocational goal can be improved, including through better career exploration.

* DVR implements a community rehabilitation provider "report card" in compiling and communicating employment outcome results.

* A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Veterans Administration be developed to better coordinate services for returning Vets with disabilities.

* The MOU with the Department of Education be reviewed and revised as necessary to more efficiently serve students with disabilities in the transition to adulthood.

* DVR evaluates and addresses issues in its case closure processes and recidivism.

The DVR complete Needs Assessment 2010 is available at the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation website at www.maine.gov/rehab or you can go directly to the documents by copying and pasting the links below into your browser.

Html document available at http://www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr/stateplan/2010/2010_dvr_needs.shtml

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:27PM by samejohnsona

* Identify the number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services-

In the comprehensive needs assessment completed for the 2010 State Plan the estimated number of individuals eligible for services based on the American Community Survey of 2007 was 77,000 DVR-eligible adults in Maine.

* Identify the number of eligible individuals who will receive services provided with funds under: o Part B of Title I; o Part B of Title VI; o each priority category, if under an order of selection-

Employment assistance to individuals with disabilities in Maine is primarily met through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. In 2009, DVR served 10,451 individuals with disabilities expending $7,195,715 in Section 110 funding. The Division spent $252,000 in Title VI-B Grant funds serving 124 individuals. There were a total of 170 supported employment clients served, 46 were served by Title I funds. DVR has a six month wait list for eligible consumers with the most significant disabilities receiving services under an employment plan. Since October 2005, the wait list was reduced from over 2000 in all categories to approximately 550 at the end of March 2010. As of April 1st, 2010 there is no waitlist for individuals in OOS category # 1.

1. NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS IN THE STATE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SERVICES UNDER THIS STATE PLAN

In FY 2009 there were 2,890 new applicants, and 2,468 individuals were deemed eligible. There were a total of 1,152 individuals who developed an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). In Maine DVR found 2,646 consumers eligible for services and served 10,451 clients. At present Maine DVR has no way of identifying cost by Order of Selection (OOS) priority category. The goal for successful closures in FY 2009 was to successfully place more than 700 consumers. This goal was not met; however, DVR placed 648 individuals in competitive employment.

The Division started FFY 2010 with 6360 clients eligible for services (status 04 through 24). It anticipates serving approximately 11,000 clients with $8.4 million dollars in Title I funds. Approximately, 400 clients will be served with Part B of Title VI funds.

For FY 2010 Maine projected, 3400 new applicants, with 2800 individuals to become eligible for services, 1,200 individuals will develop Individualized Plans for Employment and projects at least 650 successful outcomes.

For FY 2011 Maine is projecting the basically the same as FY 2010, 3400 new applicants, with 2800 individuals to become eligible for services. Maine anticipates that 1,200 individuals will develop Individualized Plans for Employment and projects greater than 650 successful outcomes.

* Identify the cost of services for the number of individuals estimated to be eligible for services. If under an order of selection, identify the cost of services for each priority category-

2. NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL RECEIVE SERVICES UNDER TITLE 1 AND TITLE VI AND NUMBERS TO BE SERVED IN EACH ORDER OF SELECTION PRIORITY CATEGORY.

Maine anticipates serving individuals in all three priority categories FFY 2011, the projected number of clients to be served under an IPE is 6000. The expected services provision by priority category is as follows;

OOS Category # 1 50% 3000 individuals

OOS Category # 2 35% 2100 individuals

OOS Category # 3 15% 900 individuals

*identify the cost of services for each priority category-

3. COST OF SERVICES FOR PROJECTED TOTAL NUMBER OF CLIENTS TO BE SERVED INCLUDING SERVICE COSTS UNDER EACH OOS CATEGORY

Average expenditure per client in FFY 2011 is estimated to be: $1,400. The proposed case service budget is $ 8,400,000.

OOS Category # 1 50% $ 4,200,000

OOS Category # 2 35% $ 2,940,000

OOS Category # 3 15% $ 1,260,000

Category Title I or Title VI Estimated Funds Estimated Number to be Served Average Cost of Services
0
Totals   $0 0

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:27PM by samejohnsona

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

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

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2010-2012

The analysis data collected in this year's FY 2010 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment lends strong support to the importance of DVR's initiative and clarifying its purpose, targeting resources, engaging other service providers, and streamlining services. These goals build on the goals identified in the 2010 plan. the goals were shared with the DVR-SRC policy committee who recommended that they be approved by the full council for the FY 2011 state plan.

Therefore, Maine's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is embarked on a major initiative to eliminate the wait list and provide the "right service at the right time" to its consumers. With the goal to provide services to all eligible consumers at the time that they need them to achieve competitive, community-based employment. Maine DVR is evaluating each interface point with its consumers. DVR has identified these points as: "Entering the VR System", "VR Plan Development", "VR Plan Accomplishment" and "Exiting the VR System". This initiative will touch on every process in DVR to improve the client's ability to obtain or maintain employment.

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2010-2012

1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.

a. Explore Innovation and Expansion initiative to better serve individuals with significant mental illness.

2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.

DVR will eliminate the waitlist by 10/01/2010.

In order to eliminate the wait for services and need for an Order of Selection by October 1, 2010 No Queue for You (NOQ4U) will:

*Target and change case service practices that are not efficient or central to the core mission of delivering VR services that resulted in community-based employment;

*Train staff and support implementation of key service practices consistent with core VR missions;

*Develop and implement service coordination requirements and engage key partners within the workforce development and human services systems and leverage access to funds and services for Maine residents with disabilities who want to work;

*Implement revised management practices that will achieve and sustain elimination of the DVR Waiting list;

*Implement revised management practices that result in emergence of both Divisions from Order of Selection in service present provision.

3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

This work has been on going since FY 2009 and will continue through 2010-2012, as new materials are developed. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) has been developing all new forms in fillable and accessible formats while endeavoring to go back and convert the BRS's legacy documents, i.e. older documents in standard use, to fillable and accessible formats. These include the forms and tools which counselors use internally as well as those for use with clients. Additionally, all materials posted to our website undergo evaluation to ensure that they meet accessibility guidelines, and the website has contact information for individuals to request alternative formats as needed.

4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

5. Develop an MOU with the Veterans Administration.

The MOU with the VA will be in place FY 2011

6. Review and update the MOU with the Department of Educations Office of Special Services.

The MOU with the DOE will be reviewed during FY 2010.

Specific strategies and tasks that will lead us to achieving these goals, will be identified and evaluated over the next 3 years, such as the work evolving from the teams already working on the Wait List Project.

The parameters for evaluation of strategies developed in FY 2010 will be identified by 10/1/2010 and Benchmarks and criteria developed during FY 2011.

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:27PM by samejohnsona

  • 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.

Justification for order of selection

*Identify the justification for the order-

In December 2001, an Order of Selection (OOS) was implemented with eligible individuals taken off wait list based on date of application. Since the implementation of the wait list, DVR has only served individuals in priority Category # 1. Since October 2005, the wait list has been reduced by from 2136 individuals to just fewer than 1120 in September 30, 2009. As a result of the Statewide Needs Assessment activities conducted during FY 2009 the NOQ4U Waitlist Elimination Project with the goal of no waitlist in any category by October 1, 2010 was developed. One of the initiatives of that project was to research OOS definitions from other states and consult with the TACE center for guidance.

On January 1, 2010 Maine's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation promulgated new rules which can be viewed at http://www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr_rules_Jan_2010.doc . The major modification was to the Order of Selection (OOS). Under the previous OOS the majority of applicants were being identified as OOS category # 1, most significantly disabled, as a result there was a six month waiting list for these individuals to be served after eligibility and individuals in OOS categories # 2 and # 3 have not been served since December 2001. The Division continues to provide VR services under an Order of Selection (OOS), which is defined in the 2010 DVR Rules Section 5. (Section 5 is included at the end of Attachment 4.11(c)(3).

As the wait list numbers were reduced, the numbers of individuals in the active statuses of 10-24 swelled to 6213 in FY 2006 people. Please refer to the table below. At the end of the last fiscal year this has been reduced to 5238. Both the significant reduction in individuals on the waitlist and those in active statuses have been greatly facilitated by the Rehabilitation Assistants and Rehabilitation Counselor Is who were hired with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds received in February of 2009. Most of the new staff were hired in the last quarter of 2009.

Fiscal Year===2002==2003==2004==2005==2006==2007==2008==2009

Status 10====1247==1926==1815==2118==3157==2916==2991==2753

12 – 24=====3656==3575==3639==3006==3056==3052==2602==2486

Combined====4903==5501==5454==5124==6213==5968==5593==5239

Wait list 04==1246==1354==2201==2136==1188==1421==1390==1120

====Source RSA 113

 

Description of Priority categories

* Describe how the individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected before all other individuals with disabilities-

Maine DVR Rules January 1, 2010

SECTION 5 ORDER OF SELECTION

1. If services cannot be provided to all eligible individuals who apply, the Director of DVR will implement an Order of Selection as set forth in this section. After determining eligibility, counselors must assign a priority category and follow the Order of Selection set forth below for the provision of services. Individuals whose IPE has been developed and signed prior to the date of implementation of the Order of Selection will continue to receive cost services. Maine DVR will notify all eligible individuals of the priority categories in the Order of Selection. Eligible individuals in priority categories not currently being served will be notified in writing of their assignment to a particular category and their right to appeal their category assignment.

2. The priority category shall be assigned, based on their level of significance of disability; "Level of significance of disability" means one of the following: Priority Category # 1, "most significantly disabled"; Priority Category # 2, "significantly disabled"; or Priority Category # 3, "disabled" as set forth below.

3. Individuals with disabilities shall be served first based on significance of disability and second by date of application in the following priority order:

*Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational services-

A. Priority Category # 1, "Most significantly disabled" means an eligible individual who meets the following criteria;

(1) who has a serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome in four or more functional capacity areas. Functional capacity areas are; mobility, work tolerance, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, cognition and learning (self- direction), or work skills. "Serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome" means a reduction of one's capacity to perform, due to severe physical or mental impairment, to the degree that the individual requires services or accommodations in order for the individual to work or be a fully functioning member of the community; and

(2) whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services, meaning two or more core vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in Section 9 of this rule, services 9.1 through 9.14; and

(3) whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require an extended period of time.

B. Priority Category # 2, "Significantly disabled" means an eligible individual who meets the following criteria;

(1) who has a serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome in at least two or three functional capacity areas. Functional capacity areas are; mobility, work tolerance, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, cognition and learning (self- direction), or work skills. "Serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome" means a reduction of one's capacity to perform, due to severe physical or mental impairment, to the degree that the individual requires services or accommodations in order for the individual to work or be a fully functioning member of the community; and

(2) whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services, meaning two or more core vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in Section 9 of this rule, services 9.1 through 9.14; and

(3) whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require an extended period of time; and

(4) who has one or more physical or mental disabilities resulting from amputation, arthritis, autism, blindness, burn injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, deafness, head injury, acquired traumatic brain injury, heart disease, hemiplegia, hemophilia, HIV infection, respiratory or pulmonary dysfunction, mental retardation, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, musculo-skeletal disorders, neurological disorders (including stroke and epilepsy), spinal cord conditions (including paraplegia and quadriplegia), sickle cell anemia, specific learning disability, end-stage renal disease, or another disability or combination of disabilities determined on the basis of an assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs to cause comparable substantial functional limitation.

C. Priority Category # 3, "Disabled" means an eligible individual who has;

(1) a serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome in 1 or more functional capacity areas. Functional capacity areas are; mobility, work tolerance, communication, self-care, interpersonal skills, cognition and learning (self- direction), or work skills. "Serious limitation in terms of an employment outcome" means a reduction of one's capacity to perform, due to severe physical or mental impairment, to the degree that the individual requires services or accommodations in order for the individual to work or be a fully functioning member of the community; and:

(2) whose vocational rehabilitation may or may not require multiple core vocational rehabilitation services as outlined in Section 9 of this rule, services 9.1 through 9.14; or

(3) whose vocational rehabilitation may or may not require an extended period of time

4. Individuals Not Meeting the Order of Selection Criteria:

Eligible individuals who do not meet the Order of Selection category currently being served will have access to services through information and referral. Individuals will be provided vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance to assist them in preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining employment, and will be appropriately referred to other programs, including other components of the statewide workforce investment system.

 

Priority of categories to receive VR services under the order

*Identify the service and outcome goals-

Maine only served individuals with significant or most significant disabilities in FY 2009. New applicants into the system had to be in priority category OOS #1 to be served. Individuals in all OOS categories were placed on a waitlist.

In FFY 2010, Maine DVR was in the process of eliminating the waitlist with the goal of serving all eligible applicants by October 1, 2010. DVR is on track to open the OOS # 2 on August 1, 2010 and opening the OOS # 3 category on October 1, 2010.

 

Service and outcome goals and the time within which the goals will be achieved

*Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order-

Maine DVR will be serving all eligible clients in FFY 2011 for the first time since 2001 when the Order of Selection was imposed. In FFY 2011 DVR is projecting 650 successful closures. We are estimating the successful closures are as follows;

Successful Closures: 650

OOS #1 50% 325

OOS #2 35% 228

OOS #3 15% 98

Maine anticipates serving individuals in all three priority categories FFY 2011, the projected number of clients to be served under an IPE is 6000. The proposed case service budget is $ 8,400,000.The expected services provision by priority category is as follows;

OOS Category # 1 50% 3000 individuals $ 4,200,000

OOS Category # 2 35% 2100 individuals $ 2,940,000

OOS Category # 3 15% 900 individuals $ 1,260,000

Priority Category Number of individuals to be served Estimated number of individuals who will exit with employment after receiving services Estimated number of individuals who will exit without employment after receiving services Time within which goals are to be achieved Cost of services
1 0 0 0

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:27PM by samejohnsona

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

In late May 2009 DVR and the SRC identified goals for fiscal years 2010 - 2012 based on the most recent Statewide Needs Assessment. The goals identified that will improve the efficient use of Title VI, part B funds follow.

1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.

2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.

Priorities for supported employment are services to individuals with most significant disabilities, individuals with long-term mental illness, individuals with traumatic brain injury, and individuals with severe physical disabilities. Since FY 2007, it is projected that three to four hundred individuals will apply for VR services during the next few years will put increased pressure on system resources, as DVR continues to provide services under an Order of Selection.

A collaborative effort, which falls under the goal of continuous improvement, is with the DHHS Office of Adult Mental Health Services, the DHHS Office of Quality Improvement and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. DHHS has added vocational standards to their licensing process and once the standards are in place DVR and DHHS will be doing joint reviews for compliance with those standards.

3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

It was estimated that 400 individuals will be served with Part B of Title VI funds in FY 2010. DVR expects to close at least 120 individuals who will receive Title VI-B funding. In FY 2009, the division expended $252,000 in Title VI-B Grant funds on 170 individuals with and additional 46 served with Title I funds.

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:27PM by samejohnsona

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.

During FFY 2009 the Division embarked on a major initiative to eliminate the wait list and provide the "right service at the right time" to its consumers. Maine DVR has initiated changes in how we provide services by evaluating each major process point with consumers. DVR has identified these points as: "Entering the VR System", "VR Plan Development", "VR Plan Accomplishment" and "Exiting the VR System". The goal has been to provide services to all eligible clients at the time that they need them to achieve competitive, community-based employment. The project was entitled "No Queue for You" (NOQ4U). The activities of the project plans address all the goals, DVR set forth in 2007 – 2009 and set the ground work for addressing the goals developed in the 2010 State Plan.

Project Overview

The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), in which the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is one Division, has a vision of a future where people with disabilities in Maine who want to work are able to get what they need to attain, retain, and/or sustain employment when they need it.

The Division is presently identifying barriers and developing strategies to overcome these barriers. This work is expected to be complete in September 2009 to start identified strategies at the beginning of FY 2010.

Ambitious time-lines and milestone were established:

2/25/09 Start Project - Steering Team convenes and completes Project Definition.

3/30/09 Milestone 1. Component Work Teams established with defined scope and membership; first meeting held.

9/30/09 Milestone 2. Component Work Teams have completed their work.

9/30-12/31/09 Milestone 3. Business practice changes are introduced to all DVR.

1/01-9/30/10 Milestone 4. Business practice changes are implemented.

09/30/10 End of Project - DVR Waiting List has been eliminated and DVR moves out of OOS.

The 2010- 2012 goals identified in Attachment 4.11 (c)(1) are;

1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.

a. Explore Innovation and Expansion initiative to better serve individuals with significant mental illness.

2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.

3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

In the areas of un-served and underserved groups, existing disability population statistics suggest that Maine has a large population of individuals with disabilities, including those receiving SSI and/or SSDI, who might benefit from services through DVR. Additionally, two other groups were identified in the assessment that should be anticipated as needing VR services in the future. The first is students with disabilities identified by the Department of Education as needing career services and education upon exiting high school. Many of these students have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder.

While the population of other minority groups is slowly increasing in Maine through resettlement programs and migrant employment, DVR outreach has not always been accepted or understood. DVR staff could benefit from continued cultural sensitivity training specific to the individuals in Maine, like the Somalis in Lewiston.

5. Develop an MOU with the Veterans Administration.

The other group is Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have sustained injuries and are in need of vocational rehabilitation services.

6. Review and update the MOU with the Department of Educations Office (DOE) of Special Services.

Staff members from DVR, DBVI and DOE are reviewing the MOU in place. A recently hired Regional Manager whose duties include oversight of services to students in transition is a member of the team. This is an active goal for FY 2010. Additionally, cooperative services between the AT Grantee Maine CITE and DVR will be addressed.

Maine DVR is located in the Department of Labor and co-located in the one-stops known as CareerCenters. Each CareerCenter has a core team that addresses each workforce agency working together. The CareerCenters have classes, computer labs and job fairs with the local business entities that are attended by DVR consumers.

Ongoing strategies:

Self-Employment-

Maine DVR maintains its partnership with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI), the University of Southern Maine/Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., (CEI), a micro-enterprise development organization, to develop and implement a coordinated self-employment initiative designed to assist potential entrepreneurs with disabilities in Maine. This resource remains critical across the state in supporting consumers in their quest toward sustainable self-employment. The initiative has been growing slowly since its inception each year the number of participants equals or exceeds the previous year. In 2009, 28 consumers were closed successfully, 41 plans were written and 90 consumers were in active status. The rehabilitation rate for individuals with the goal of self-employment continues to exceed the overall DVR rehabilitation rate.

State Rehabilitation Council-

Innovation & Expansion funds are used to support the activities and administration of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for the Division meets monthly as a full council. The SRC has standing committees that meet regularly. These committees are: the Committee on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Mental Illness, DVR/SRC Policy Group, CSPD Subcommittee, Membership, Retreat, Website committee, and the Executive. For more information regarding the SRC please visit www.mainesrc.org.

Section 121 Grant

Providing services to the Native American population in Maine has always been a priority for DVR. The Assistant Director of DVR was very active in working with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians who succeeded in winning a five year grant under Section 121 in FY 2008-2009 to provide vocational rehabilitation services to Maine's Native American Tribes in accordance with their culture and native resources. DVR provided technical assistance to the tribes in their previous grant applications and worked on the MOU as well as participated in the hiring team after the grant was awarded.

Currently, Everson Stinson, DVR Casework Supervisor for northern Maine, serves on the Section 121 Advisory Committee. In addition, the Section 121 staff has attended the New Counselor Training through DVR as well as additional trainings made available to DVR staff and counselors. Both VR Counselors from the Section 121 program are presently attending DVR staff meetings in an attempt to work closely with DVR counselors to ensure a seamless continuum of services between the two programs.

Kelly Osborn, Director of the Section 121 program, works collaboratively with DVR staff. She is currently serving on the two State Rehabilitation Councils as well as the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition, Ms. Osborn also serves on the TACE advisory committee. The entire staff of the Section 121 program will be participating in the upcoming DVR/DBVI statewide training, and Ms. Osborn will be a featured speaker at the event.

The MOU developed at the startup of the Section 121 program was recently reviewed by staff from both programs. The Section 121 program serves all four federally recognized tribes in Maine: Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribes, and the Penobscot Indian Nation. In addition, the program also serves any other federally recognized tribal member living near one of the Maine tribal reservations. Through the MOU with the Maine State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the 121 program will maximize resources and access the state’s in-depth knowledge of the administrative federal laws and regulations that govern the grant.

Although the state has no administrative capacity for the Section 121 project, it has been and will continue to be available to assist with training staff, developing the program, and serving on the advisory committee to enhance and promote consumer services within the Native American communities in Maine. In addition, the state will make it a priority to participate in trainings offered by the Section 121 program that focus on providing relevant, culturally-competent services to Native American communities.

Career Exploration Workshop-

In early November 2008 Maine DVR and DBVI hired an outside consultant to develop a Career Exploration Workshop (CEW) that would be replicated in each office and be accessible to all VR clients. The consultant is a former VR counselor who had developed a successful workshop in his region. Mr. Webb has extensive experience in developing and conducting career exploration workshops. He worked with and sought from a team consisting of Regional Managers, Casework supervisors, VR counselors, from both agencies. The SRC was informed on progress at regular DVR/SRC policy meetings and provided input as needed. The workshop was piloted with VR counselors and supervisors in April 2009. Then the CEW was introduced in a Train-the-Trainer model to each region or office beginning in July of 2009. In February of 2009 it was decided that DVR would fund this project with ARRA funds through the end of the 2009 contract and the FY 2010 contract. The consultant has trained CEW facilitators in each office and continues to work on improving the accessibility of the workshop. These activities will continue into FFY 2011.

 

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:27PM by samejohnsona

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

As stated in FY 2010 Plan Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Goals 2010-2012

1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate.

2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.

3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

5. Develop an MOU with the Veteran's Administration.

6. Review and update the MOU with the Department of Education's Office of Special Services.

The following review of Maine DVR's is an evaluation of actions taken by the agency to support progress on goals 1 - 4.

During FFY 2009 the Division embarked on a major initiative to eliminate the wait list and provide the "right service at the right time" to its consumers. Maine DVR has initiated changes in how we provide services by evaluating each major process point with consumers. DVR has identified these points as: "Entering the VR System", "VR Plan Development", "VR Plan Accomplishment" and "Exiting the VR System". The goal has been to provide services to all eligible clients at the time that they need them to achieve competitive, community-based employment. The project was entitled "No Queue for You" (NOQ4U). The activities of the project plans address all the goals, DVR set forth in 2007 – 2009 and set the ground work for addressing the goals developed in the 2010 State Plan.

Project Overview

The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), in which the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is one Division, has a vision of a future where people with disabilities in Maine who want to work are able to get what they need to attain, retain, and/or sustain employment when they need it.

The Division is presently identifying barriers and developing strategies to overcome these barriers. This work is expected to be complete in September 2009 to start identified strategies at the beginning of FY 2010.

Ambitious time-lines and milestone were established in February 2009 and will be completed by September 30, 2010

Start Project - Steering Team convenes and completes Project Definition.

Milestone 1. Component Work Teams established with defined scope and membership; first meeting held.

Milestone 2. Component Work Teams have completed their work.

Milestone 3. Business practice changes are introduced to all DVR.

Milestone 4. Business practice changes are implemented.

End of Project - DVR Waiting List has been eliminated and DVR moves out of OOS.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Money was used for the Project

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has provisions that allowed Maine DVR to hire limited-period positions. This new staff will be integral in supporting front-line office staff in DVR's plan to eliminate the waitlist by October 1, 2010. The focus of these positions is to perform outreach activities, including contacting clients who have been on a waiting list or have lost contact with our agency for the purpose of engagement in services and ultimately employment. Maine DVR hired nine Rehabilitation Counselor I's and six Rehabilitation Assistants working in VR regional offices across the state. In addition to the 15 direct service positions, two consultants were hired in our central office. One is a ten hour a week position to assist with following the strict reporting guidelines that the Federal Government has put in place to keep track of this funding, and the other was a half time business analyst position that worked with the Office of Information and Technology department and developed a plan for moving to a better statewide data collection system. Also hired was a part time management analyst to help with data collection and reporting.

The major focus of each group and their accomplishments follow;

1 "Entering the VR System"; How Individuals with disabilities enter the DVR system-

The goal of this group: improving ways in which applicants enter into our system, how eligibility is determined, how Order of Selection classification is made, how Work Readiness is determined, how Trial Work Experiences are utilized and whether Extended Evaluation should be reinstituted. This group has made specific recommendations for how we orient clients to our program by developing a comprehensive, user-friendly orientation program that will be available in a variety of accessible formats.

The scope of the group encompassed the following: Information & Referral; Transmitting a Consistent Message to staff, referring agencies and potential consumers; Orientation; Intake; Eligibility; Extended Evaluation; Order of Selection; Work Readiness; Trial Work Experiences; Addressing Recidivism; and Transition Counseling

Accomplishments:

* Project Plan was approved by the Steering Committee - Completed 5/31/09

* Presented proposed Procedural Directives on Rule Changes and Recommendations regarding Referral, Intake and Orientation to the Steering Committee - Completed 7/31/09

* Presented proposed Procedural Directives to the Steering Committee on Rule Changes and Recommendations regarding Eligibility, Work Readiness, Trial Work Experiences and Order of Selection - Completed 9/30/09

2. "VR Plan Development"; The Development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)-

This group's goal addressed the specific process of vocational goal development and plan writing. This team has been reviewing current activities and counselor practice in developing vocational goals and identifying services needed to achieve an employment outcome for clients, as well as considering alternative tools and tracking systems. The Career Exploration Workshops are up and running across the state in all offices. DVR has included a tracking system to gauge the effectiveness of this new program. The system will help ensure that individuals will come away with clearer vocational goals, which will in turn require less time in VR, and ultimately help them make better job matches more quickly. Initial training for two tools used in this workshop, the Employment Readiness Scale and the World of Work Inventory, has been offered to all staff across the state throughout the past three months, and DVR is providing follow-up Level Two training this spring as staff become more adept at using these tools. An updated procedural directive regarding use of the comprehensive assessment process and form is in use and more in-depth training in the use of this tool will also be offered to staff late spring. Adopting this protocol, using the CEW with clients and implementing the new tools should improve time and use of resources throughout the VR process for both clients and counselors.

The scope of the group encompassed the following: Notification of client of funding (Off Wait List); Comprehensive Assessment of Rehab Needs/Rationale; Transition Caseloads & Vocational Planning; Green Plans; Situational Assessment; Other Diagnostic tools/purchases; Career Exploration Workshop; Time in Planning Status; Assistive Technology as part of Assessment; Addressing current cases in Status 10; Assessing Motivation; Assessing/Identifying funding for long term support; Transitional Employment; Status 04 When should clients be contacted?; Case Management of Status 10 cases-computer support.

Accomplishments:

*Start of Project: Assess current state - Completed 4/30/09

*Understand immediate issues of large number of status 10 cases and steps to decrease numbers. - Completed 5/21/09

*Understand staff positions/organizational structure and responsibilities of each role in processing case to the writing of the employment plan. - Completed 7/19/09

*Assessing readiness to for participation in VR/Employment/tools available. - Completed 8/19/09

*Identify training needs - Completed 9/19/09

3. "VR Plan Accomplishment" IPE Accomplishment-

The focus of this team was on the provision of services deemed necessary for a person to reach their vocational goal. The team has been looking at how cost services are currently being provided and has made some recommendations for how to improve the quality and cost of some of these services. Specifically, they are proposing that Maine revise its procedures when purchasing hearing aids for clients across the state, this process is now under development. This group also developed an updated protocol for referring clients for job development services, and a computer purchase decision tree.

Other initiatives underway include a newly revised Special Appointment Program for State jobs and "We Mean Business", a BRS and BES collaborative employer relations pilot project in Somerset and Kennebec counties. The recently revised Special Appointment (SA) placement procedures identify two paths to placement. A person can be placed directly into a position that has been posted for the required 10 days; or a person can be "certified" for a job classification through a Situational Assessment. Once certified, the job seeker and VRC will be notified by a SA Agency representative when a vacancy occurs in the specific job classification. These new Special Appointment procedures have been communicated to some key stakeholder groups in Human Resources and Rehabilitation Services. Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors were trained on this new procedure and the program is expected to be fully operational by this summer. Further information, including Special Appointment Agency Representatives’ contact information, and detailed placement procedures, was distributed to all staff.

The scope of the group encompassed the following: VRC Counseling and Guidance (status 12 – 24); Post Secondary Training services; CRP services; Self-Employment Services; Purchase of Technologies; Purchase of Goods and Support Services; Current service spending trends; Length of time cases spend in VR; Caseload sizes, territories and specialties; Employer Relations/ Business Relations; Partnerships with Career Center Services/ BES; Comparable Benefits; Technologies in support of those working out of base offices.

Accomplishments:

*Start of Project - Completed 2/25/09

*First core group meeting - Completed 4/2/09

*Project Plan completed - Completed 6/11/09

*Guidance and training suggestions submitted to Steering Committee - Completed 9/30/09

*Continued Monitoring and Assessment of Expected Changes through examination of reports and information from the field. - Projected completion 9/30/12

4."Exiting the VR System;

This group reviewed the way in which our clients exit the VR program. Specifically, they have developed unsuccessful and successful closure forms with a written protocol for each. They have provided a group of best practice sample closure letters for counselors to choose from, and they have updated the case review forms, which will provide more consistent feedback to counselors regarding their case work practices. Improving how people exit the VR system from whichever Status it occurs will improve the flow of cases so that individuals will be served more effectively once the wait list is eliminated. Training in the use of these new protocols occurred in late January and early February and all of the forms and practices are in use at this time.

The scope of the group encompassed the following: Closure Process; including Identification of Cases to be closed, Defining Unsuccessful Closures, Too severely disabled to benefit "at this time", Number and type of contacts needed prior to closure, Closure Documentation, Closure Letters, Case Record Notes, and Criteria for Successful closures; as well as; Addressing Recidivism; Learning to use the case list productively; Training Staff, Work Support Providers; Community Providers, and other Stakeholders; General criteria for community employment; Self employment; and Long Term support.

Accomplishments:

* Exiting Project Plan approved by the Steering Committee. - Completed 04/30/09

* Identify Elements of Best Practice.

This will include the paradigm that VR is a journey. People are coming to VR and being referred to help them arrive at a successful employment destination. The road may not be straight but is it the goal that is the focus not just the services or journey itself. - Completed 05/30/09

* Closure supports and roles identified. These are the roles of staff who play a role in the closure including: Supervisors, RC I, Rehab Asst and Office Support Staff. - Completed 06/04/09

* Changes to elements of Case reviews relative to closure including any needed changes to the Status 26 checklist will be identified and suggestions submitted. - Completed 06/25/09

* Examples of Best Practices completed. - Completed 06/25/09

* New Procedural Directive developed regarding Exiting the VR System. - Completed 08/20/09

* Training elements will be completed regarding Closure and will be ready for presentation to Staff, Client Providers, and other Stakeholders. - Completed 09/24/09

5. Staff Training that supports changes in DVR business practices

Staff training is under the purview of DVR's Director and CSPD coordinator. It was known that major changes in procedures and policy recommended by the Groups would require a major training initiative and coordination for the DVR staff at all levels. A short list of trainings made available to DVR staff in FY 2009 is below.

Accomplishments:

* New Counselor/ training for RC I's and Rehab Assistants. - Completed 9/30/09

* World of Work Assessment Training for DVR staff at multiple levels - Completed 9/30/10. Ongoing training projected through - 9/30/12

* Employment Readiness (ERS) Assessment Training for DVR staff at multiple levels. - Completed 9/30/2010

* Career Exploration Workshop Training - Pilot Completed April 2009 – Projected activities through 12/31/10

* Facilitation Training -- Projected Through 12/31/10

* Staff and Stakeholder NOQ4U introduction and support - Completed 9/30/10

Accomplishments for all ongoing 10/01//2010 - 9/30/2012

6. Technology that supports the DVR process

The data and technology group's primary functions as part of the DVR wait list project has been to support the group's technology needs, both as they stand currently as well as potential options for changes to how DVR does business. The second part of the D&T group's responsibility has been to pursue and evaluate case managements systems which will replace ORSIS.

6.1. Supporting DVR Waitlist Project Teams

*Created fillable and accessible forms for project teams

All materials posted to our website undergo evaluation to ensure that they meet accessibility guidelines, and the website has contact information for individuals to request alternative formats as needed.

To improve awareness and knowledge about accessibility, the Bureau has been involved in the development of a website to promote accessibility for all of State government; www.maine.gov/accessibility_guide. This site provides important information on accessibility of electronic documents as well as interacting with individuals with disabilities, choosing and preparing a training environment for accessibility.

*Provided data as requested and identified data needs for ongoing evaluation of the NoQ4U project.

*Built and Managed Wait List intranet project web site allowing easy access to all BRS to project documents, agendas, minutes and schedules. The site is: http://inet.state.me.us/rehab/dvr_waitlist_project/index.shtml

*Created web based feedback form

*Consulted with groups on use of video, audio and electronic forms for use during orientation and application.

6.2. Next Generation MIS system Projected completion 09/30/12

Specifications for the next generation system to replace ORSIS have been undergoing revisions, and were, in part, based on specifications created 3 years ago for a system named RISE. RFP process Completed 09/30/2010

7. Continue to monitor progress on Governor’s Executive Order of February 2006 to ensure compliance which charges state government to become a model employer of individuals with disabilities.

Per the Governor's 2006 Executive Order regarding State Employment Opportunities for people with disabilities, DVR has developed a newly revised special appointment program with the goal of providing a path to state jobs. The directors and staff from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Division of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and/Late Deafened have been working closely with the Maine State Bureau of Human Resources and Departmental Human Resource Divisions to re-instate the Special Appointment Program for individuals with disabilities. This program is designed to place individuals with appropriate job qualifications into State jobs by-passing the civil testing requirement for these jobs. Applicants are placed in acting capacity status for up to a year. The supervisor performs monthly reviews on job performance. When the individual is performing without support he/she is placed into the job and enters the standard six-month probation for all state employees. Recently revised placement procedures have been communicated to key stakeholder groups and two individuals were recently placed through the SA program.

2010-2012 Goals - progress

1. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

This work has been on going since FY 2009 and will continue into the future. In order to ensure the greatest accessibility for our staff, clients and stakeholders, the Bureau has been developing all new forms in fillable and accessible formats while endeavoring to go back and convert the Bureau’s legacy documents to fillable and accessible formats. These include the forms and tools which counselors use internally as well as those for use with clients. Most recently, the DVR Consumer Guide was reformatted to improve the accessibility and readability of the document. Additionally, all materials posted to our website undergo evaluation to ensure that they meet accessibility guidelines, and the website has contact information for individuals to request alternative formats as needed.

To improve awareness and knowledge about accessibility, the Bureau has been involved in the development of a website to promote accessibility for all of State government; www.maine.gov/accessibility_guide. This site provides important information on accessibility of electronic documents as well as interacting with individuals with disabilities, choosing and preparing a training environment for accessibility.

Goals in progress

5. Develop an MOU with the Veteran's Administration. Projected 9/30/12

6. Review and update the MOU with the Department of Education's Office of Special Services. Projected 9/30/11

As of 9/30/2010 the core group of DVR, DBVI and DOE representatives have met weekly since 8/01/2010.

 

The following Goals for 2010-2012 will benefit all consumers of vocational rehabilitation services especially those individual who benefit from supported employment.

1. Increase the number of successful employment outcomes and meet or exceed the Federal standard for the rehabilitation rate. a. Explore initiative to better serve individuals with significant mental illness.

In 2009 the SRC recommended that representatives from DHHS who work with individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities be invited to join in Council activities regularly. Two individuals have been invited to attend ensuring that both these populations will have departmental representation on the SRC.

The SRC also has a standing Committee on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Mental Illness" that meets regularly. This Committee has focused on what can be done to remove barriers to full time employment, the utilization of Ticket to Work Program and the employment specialist program funded by Office of Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS).

2. Serve all individuals eligible for DVR services without a delay.

As a result of the Statewide Needs Assessment activities conducted during FY 2009 the NOQ4U Waitlist Elimination Project with the goal of no waitlist in any category by October 1, 2010 was developed. As of September 30, 2009 the waitlist was at 1120 in all categories. The project is on schedule to serve all individuals in category # 1 by the end of April 1, 2010.

3. Review and revise all materials shared with DVR consumers to ensure that they are clear about the agency's purpose and are accessible in multiple formats, including linguistically and culturally.

In order to ensure the greatest accessibility for our staff, clients and stakeholders, the Bureau has been developing all new forms in fillable and accessible formats while endeavoring to go back and convert the Bureau’s legacy documents to fillable and accessible formats.

These include the forms and tools which counselors use internally as well as those for use with clients. Most recently, the DVR Consumer Guide was reformatted to improve the accessibility and readability of the document.

Additionally, all materials posted to our website undergo evaluation to ensure that they meet accessibility guidelines, and the website has contact information for individuals to request alternative formats as needed.

The need for materials presented in pictorial format or simple English is being explored for all individuals with lower reading skills. In FY 2010 DVR plans to contract the services to make the Career Exploration Workshop accessible to more individuals.

4. Provide training to VR counselors and community employment service providers, which will increase their vocational rehabilitation skills in serving individuals from specific disability and ethnic populations.

The Division works closely with the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the New England TACE Center (Institute for Community Inclusion, Univ. of Mass. at Boston) to design and deliver a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists and Job Coaches in the Community Rehabilitation Provider sector. In recent years, basic training requirements were met through the Maine Employment Curriculum or the MEC. The MEC was administered by the University of Maine, Center for Community Inclusion and funded primarily by the Maine DHHS with in-kind contributions from the Division. The Maine DHHS discontinued funding of the MEC effective December 31, 2009 and initiated the current collaborative effort to design a comprehensive system to include basic training, advanced skills training and a mentoring component. Currently, several options have been approved for the basic Employment Specialist and Job Coach Certification training, with an emphasis on web-based programs.

The Division has developed, and made available in each region of the state, a comprehensive training package on supported employment. This training is required for all new staff, and, offered as a refresher, to existing staff. The training covers definition, eligibility, assessments, plan development, initiating and monitoring plans, and termination from time-limited services. This training, and ongoing monitoring of casework, provides for greater consistency in the delivery of supported employment services. Having the tools and knowledge generated by the training also makes services more cost effective.

The plan is to continue to purchase services for designated VI-B clients. The service types will continue to be primarily job coaching, transitional employment services for individuals with long-term mental illness, and job development. We will also continue to work with the Association of Persons in Supported Employment and other stakeholders to expand the availability of supported employment services.

 

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation met five of the performance indicators in Standard 1. The unmet indicator was 1.1. This was not unexpected as the Division worked aggressively on eliminating the waitlist as well as focusing on long term/high cost cases.

In FY 2009 met Standard 2 which was not met in FY 2008.

 

Projects funded entirely or partially with I & E funds:

Self-Employment

Maine DVR maintains its partnership with the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI), the University of Southern Maine/Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., (CEI), a micro-enterprise development organization, to develop and implement a coordinated self-employment initiative designed to assist potential entrepreneurs with disabilities in Maine. This resource remains critical across the state in supporting consumers in their quest toward sustainable self-employment. The initiative has been growing slowly since its inception each year the number of participants equals or exceeds the previous year. In 2009, 28 consumers were closed successfully, 41 plans were written and 90 consumers were in active status. The rehabilitation rate for individuals with the goal of self-employment continues to exceed the overall DVR rehabilitation rate.

State Rehabilitation Council

Innovation & Expansion funds are used to support the activities and administration of the Statewide Rehabilitation Council (SRC) for the Division meets monthly as a full council. The SRC has standing committees that meet regularly. These committees are: the Committee on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Mental Illness, DVR/SRC Policy Group, CSPD Subcommittee, Membership, Retreat, Website committee, and the Executive. For more information regarding the SRC please visit www.mainesrc.org.

Section 121 Grant

Provision of services to the Native American population in Maine has always been a priority for DVR. The Assistant Director of DVR was very active in working with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians who succeeded in winning a five year grant under Section 121 in FY 2008-2009 to provide vocational rehabilitation services to Maine's Native American Tribes in accordance with their culture and native resources. DVR provided technical assistance to the tribes in their previous grant applications and worked on the MOU as well as participated in the hiring team after the grant was awarded.

Currently, Everson Stinson, DVR Casework Supervisor for northern Maine, serves on the Section 121 Advisory Committee. In addition, the Section 121 staff has attended the New Counselor Training through DVR as well as additional trainings made available to DVR staff and counselors. Both VR Counselors from the Section 121 program are presently attending DVR staff meetings in an attempt to work closely with DVR counselors to ensure a seamless continuum of services between the two programs.

Kelly Osborn, Director of the Section 121 program, works collaboratively with DVR staff. She is currently serving on the two State Rehabilitation Councils as well as the Statewide Independent Living Council. In addition, Ms. Osborn also serves on the TACE advisory committee. The entire staff of the Section 121 program will be participating in the upcoming DVR/DBVI statewide training, and Ms. Osborn will be a featured speaker at the event.

The MOU developed at the startup of the Section 121 program was recently reviewed by staff from both programs. The Section 121 program serves all four federally recognized tribes in Maine: Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribes, and the Penobscot Indian Nation. In addition, the program also serves any other federally recognized tribal member living near one of the Maine tribal reservations. Through the MOU with the Maine State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the 121 program will maximize resources and access the state’s in-depth knowledge of the administrative federal laws and regulations that govern the grant.

Although the state has no administrative capacity for the Section 121 project, it has been and will continue to be available to assist with training staff, developing the program, and serving on the advisory committee to enhance and promote consumer services within the Native American communities in Maine. In addition, the state will make it a priority to participate in trainings offered by the Section 121 program that focus on providing relevant, culturally-competent services to Native American communities.

Career Exploration Workshop

In early November 2008 Maine DVR and DBVI hired an outside consultant to develop a Career Exploration Workshop (CEW) that would be replicated in each office and be accessible to all VR clients. The consultant is a former VR counselor who had developed a successful workshop in his region. Mr. Webb has extensive experience in developing and conducting career exploration workshops. He worked with and sought from a team consisting of Regional Managers, Casework supervisors, VR counselors, from both agencies. The SRC was informed on progress at regular DVR/SRC policy meetings and provided input as needed. The workshop was piloted with VR counselors and supervisors in April 2009. Then the CEW was introduced in a Train-the-Trainer model to each region or office beginning in July of 2009. In February of 2009 it was decided that DVR would fund this project with ARRA funds through the end of the 2009 contract and the FY 2010 contract. The consultant has trained CEW facilitators in each office and continues to work on improving the accessibility of the workshop. These activities will continue into FFY 2011.

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:29PM by samejohnsona

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

The Division continues to take steps to ensure the quality of Supported Employment. Our management information system reports provide information on weekly wages, hours worked, and public assistance at the time of application and closure. The reports also provide information on the type of disabilities being served, the cost per case, and the average cost by counselor, region, and state. Planning discussions continue with both Developmental Services and Mental Health Services to work with DVR in tracking employment outcomes. We are able to document individuals who are eligible for VR, but who lack long-term support preventing plan development.

Maine strives to improve the quality of supported employment services through the provision of various training opportunities. The Division continues to work with the Maine DHHS and the New England TACE Center to design a comprehensive workforce development system for Employment Specialists and Job Coaches. Additionally, through this collaboration, two successful training events, "Building Relations with Business" were offered to Employment Specialists and Job Coaches throughout the state last November and two more events are planned for the spring of 2010 on Customized Employment. The Division regularly shares relative training and webinar announcements with the Provider community and provides ongoing staff development.

We have identified minimum training requirements for the new CRPs to become approved providers. CRPs must provide evidence that all Employment Specialists and Job Coaches have completed one of the BRS approved training curricula. The Division and DHHS have agreed that any curriculum must be ACRE certified in order to be added to the list of approved Employment Specialist or Job Coach Certification training programs. It is our expectation that this training requirement and a comprehensive workforce development system, along with other established standards for service provided through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and our in-state accreditation process will continue to improve services to all our consumers.

The CARF and In-State approval process for CRPs consists of a number of facets such as reviewing policies and procedures that reflect knowledge and application of quality supported employment services in adherence to APSE standards for Supported Employment. Areas evaluated are; mission statement, admission criteria, policy and practice on Assessments, case coordination, client input, health and safety issue, human resource issues such as staff qualifications and background checks, client rights and appeal procedures. Other parts of the approval process include interviews with key stakeholders such as clients, employers, funding agents, etc.

1. Scope of Supported Employment

The primary services provided to clients in supported employment continue to be Assessment, Job Skills Coaching, and Job Placement. These direct services are provided by an Employment Specialist or a Job Coach, who supports the client through activities such as: intervention with supervisors and peers, and aids integration into the company's social environment. Other allowable services that are provided when a need is identified include supplemental assessments, social skills training, observation or supervision of the individual, transportation, and facilitation of natural supports. The Division provides whatever is required to achieve and maintain integrated competitive employment. Based on ongoing commitments from the DHHS Office Adult Mental Health Services to provide extended support to all individuals using the supported employment model when they have stabilized and are ready for extended support, the DVR continues to expand the percentage of individuals with long-term mental illness who require ongoing supports to sustain employment. Changes through the DHHS approved June 1, 2006 increased resources available for the extended support funds for individuals with developmental disabilities. This results in up to 600 hours of Supported Employment services available per year expanding opportunity for extended job supports for an estimated 1400 individuals. We anticipate three to four hundred of these individuals will be applying for VR during the next year. This will put increased pressure on system resources, as the Division has been under an Order of Selection for a number of years. In this past year extended support services have been more limited for individual with developmental disabilities. Developmental Services did implement a new Medicaid waiver program shifting resources from day habilitation services to community supports which includes employment. This has resulted in additional individuals with developmental disabilities being eligible for supported employment with Developmental Services providing extended supports. We developed an agreement which coordinates the delivery of supported employment services including extended supports. Unfortunately, due to funding cuts the new waiver is not open to new applicants at this time. DVR and Developmental Services are committed to working with those individuals already on the waiver.

The Division continues to receive funds from the state to provide extended support to individuals with traumatic brain injuries. We estimate that between 25 to 30 individuals with traumatic brain injury will be able to participate in supported employment using state funded extended support. In FY 2009, 29 individuals received support services, 7 new consumers were in referred and 6 had plans developed, and 4 were closed in employment. Another state funded program providing long term supports is the Basic Extended Support Program that purchases extended support for all disability groups. In FY 2009, 67 individuals were supported by these funds 24 new consumers were in referred and 7 had plans developed and 10 were closed in employment. Presently, the disability groups this program funds include individuals who are visually impaired, individuals with cerebral palsy, and individuals with physical disabilities. In FY 2010, the rules for both of these programs will be reviewed to update language and increase funding cap in the Basic Extended Support programs.

Transitional employment is also available to individuals with chronic mental illness. Transitional employment recognizes that persons with mental illness, in some cases, can learn a skill at a community based training site and transfer those skills to an actual work site. It also recognizes that the primary need is not always job skills training but emotional support, reinforcement, and evaluation of the client's mental health.

2. Extent of Supported Employment Services

We anticipate three to four hundred of these individuals will be applying for VR during the next year. This will put increased pressure on system resources, as the Division has been under an Order of Selection for a number of years. In this past year extended support services have been more limited for individual with developmental disabilities. Developmental Services is did implement a new Medicaid waiver program shifting resources from day habilitation services to employment. This has resulted in additional individuals with developmental disabilities being eligible for supported employment with Developmental Services providing extended supports. We developed an agreement which coordinates the delivery of supported employment services including extended supports. Unfortunately, due to funding cuts the new waiver is not open to new applicants at this time. DVR and Developmental Services are committed to working with those individuals already on the waiver. DVR continues to look closely at the true need for ongoing supports and reserving this model for those with the most severe disability. There were a number of individuals that benefited from the "place" and "train" model without necessarily needing the extended support. There is also greater emphasis on natural supports.

3. Timing of Transition to Extended Services

The Division's rules state the maximum time period for DVR time-limited services is eighteen (18) months, unless the IPE indicates that more than eighteen (18) months of services are necessary in order for the individual to achieve job stability prior to transition to extended services In day-to-day practice, a team approach is used to determine when an individual is ready to transition to extended support.

This screen was last updated on Sep 17 2010 3:29PM by samejohnsona

The following information is captured by the MIS.

Last updated on 09/21/2010 at 2:52 PM

Last updated by rscobillyj

Completed on 09/17/2010 at 3:29 PM

Completed by samejohnsona

Approved on 09/21/2010 at 2:52 PM

Approved by rscobillyj

Published on 09/30/2010 at 7:19 AM

Published by kschelle

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