RSA-227 - Annual Client Assistance Program (CAP) Report

Connecticut (Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy) - H161A110006 - FY2011

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameProtection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilit
Address60B Weston Street
Address Line 2
CityHartford
StateConnecticut
Zip Code06120
E-mail Addressgretchen.knauff@ct.gov
Website Addresshttp://www.ct.gov/opapd
Phone(860) 297-4300
TTY (860) 297-4380
Toll-free Phone(800) 842-7303
Toll-free TTY(800) 842-7303
Fax(860) 566-8714

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameProtection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilit
Address60B Weston Street
Address Line 2
CityHartford
Zip Code06120
E-mail Addressgretchen.knauff@ct.gov
Website Addresshttp://www.ct.gov/opapd
Phone(860) 297-4300
TTY(860) 297-4380
Toll-free Phone(800) 842-7303
Toll-free TTY(800) 842-7303
Fax(860) 566-8714

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJames McGaughey
Person to contact regarding reportGretchen Knauff
Contact Person Phone860.297.4342

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act40
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA3
3. Other information provided2
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)45
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)150

B. Individuals served

An individual is counted only once during a fiscal year. Multiple counts are not permitted for Lines B1-B3.

1. Individuals who are still being served as of October 1 (carryover from prior year)25
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year33
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)58
4. Individuals (from Line B3) who had multiple case files opened/closed this year. (In unusual situations, an individual may have more than one case file opened/closed during a fiscal year. This number is not added to the total in Line B3 above.)1

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 6

D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files

Choose one primary reason for closing each case file. There may be more case files than the total number of individuals served to account for those unusual situations, referred to in Line I.B4, when an individual had multiple case files closed during the year.

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor30
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)6
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual2
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)1
5. Individual chose alternative representation1
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution3
7. Appeals were unsuccessful2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP5
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

Three other: 2 - Referred to PABSS program 1 - Referred to Legal Unit for further assistance

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual9
2. Application for services completed.3
3. Eligibility determination expedited3
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented6
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party9
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office3
8. Alternative resources identified for individual9
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made1
10. Other8
11. Other (please explain)

1 - Services provided by BRS to maintain employment site 1- Director overturned BRS policy and provided home modifications 1- No further contact by client 1- Despite repeated attempts to arrange meetings with BRS, client has declined with a multitude of excuses 1- Assisted with BRS informal review process 1- Client now employed 1- Attended informal review 1- Wrote letter

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

As of the beginning of the fiscal year. Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. 21 and under6
2. 22 - 4017
3. 41 - 6433
4. 65 and over2
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)58

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female25
2. Male33
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)58

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race3
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American7
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White48
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)0
2. Other visual impairments2
3. Deafness0
4. Hard of hearing6
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments9
7. Absense of extremities0
8. Mental illness15
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation0
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)10
12. Neurological disorders10
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions0
15. Digestive disorders0
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments1
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)4
20. All other disabilities0
21. Disabilities not known1
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)58

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program11
2. Clients of VR Program44
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program2
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act1

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only51
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only1
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources3
4. Employer3

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information14
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor5
3. Conflict about services to be provided27
4. Related to application/eligibility process8
5. Related to IPE development/implementation2
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related1
8. Related to Title I of the ADA2

H. Types of CAP services provided

Choose one primary CAP service provided for each case file/service record.

1. Information/referral2
2. Advisory/interpretational12
3. Negotiation32
4. Administrative/informal review5
5. Alternative dispute resolution2
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

A. Agency Identification The State of Connecticut, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, administers the Connecticut Client Assistance Program (CAP), located at 60B Weston Street, Hartford, CT 06120. The Office of Protection and Advocacy (OPA) is an independent state agency external to the vocational rehabilitation system.

B. Source of Funds

During the 2011 fiscal year, the Connecticut Client Assistance Program received the minimum federal allotment for CAP. State funds have been used to supplement CAP expenses in order to continue to provide legal representation and support the general operations of the CAP program including the salary of the CAP Supervisor.

Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds $105,778.42 State funds $0.00 All other funds $0.00 Total from all sources $105,778.42

C. CAP Budget Category FY 2011 FY 2012 Wages & Salaries $66510.62 $69,991.56 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) $37963.67 $41,595.50 Materials/Supplies $0.00 $300.00 Postage $5.81 $100.00 Telephone $0.00 $0.00 Rent $0.00 $0.00 Travel/Mileage Reimbursement $809.26 $3,000.00 Copying $0.00 $0.00 Bonding/Insurance $0.00 $0.00 Equipment Rental/Purchase $0.00 $1,500.00 Legal Services $0.00 $0.00 Indirect Costs $0.00 $5,579.35 Miscellaneous $489.06 $2,372.59 Total Budget $105,778.42 124,439.00

D. Number of Persons-Years CAP Program Director At the end of the 2010 fiscal year, the CAP Director retired after many years serving people with disabilities. At that time, P&A took the opportunity to make organizational changes, which included reassignment of the CAP advocate to a supervisor whose salary is paid by a different source of funding. The funding changes benefit P&A by allowing the agency to better handle the budgetary limitations of the program.

During the fiscal year, the CAP supervisor received training in vocational rehabilitation services including attendance at vocational counselor training at the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. The counselor training is an in-depth series of workshops over several months designed to acclimate counselors to the various aspects of the BRS process and procedures, including the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act. The training was very beneficial for the CAP supervisor.

The CAP supervisor assisted with handling information and referral calls related to vocational rehabilitation, assisted clients if the CAP advocate was absent or unavailable, and provided information about CAP at presentations and training events.

CAP Advocate

During the 2011 fiscal year, the CAP advocate continued to provided technical assistance and representation to CAP clients; handled all information and referral (I&R) contacts and intakes related to vocational rehabilitation; and addressed complaints specifically about federally-funded independent living centers. She maintained her time in a computer-based time management system. During the fiscal year, the CAP advocate spent 91.13% of her time or 36.45 hours per week providing advocacy representation to CAP eligible individuals. The CAP advocate has extensive knowledge of public and private vocational rehabilitation services in Connecticut. In addition to consistently meeting the high need for advocacy, the CAP advocate also participated in outreach activities and on the following advisory boards: The Rehabilitation Advisory Council for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and the Mashantucket Pequot Advisory Council, a vocational rehabilitation program funded directly by Rehabilitation Services Administration. For fiscal year 2011, the CAP advocate chaired the Consumer Satisfaction Subcommittee of the Rehabilitation Advisory Council for BRS. CAP Legal

During 2011 fiscal year, the Client Assistance Program successfully negotiated cases without the need for P&A legal representation. The CAP advocate attended informal reviews and worked with clients and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to find mutually agreeable solutions to clients’ issues. CAP offered to provide representation at an administrative hearing for a client who was denied an assistive technology device. The client did not want to appeal the denial at the informal review.

CAP Secretary

The CAP secretary is also required to keep contemporaneous time records. Due to a severe shortage of CAP funding, the secretary has been instructed to minimize her support of CAP personnel. She continued to do this for the 2011fiscal year averaging 1.44% or .57 hours per week working for the CAP program.

Type of position Full-time equivalent % of year position filled Person-years Professional Full-time .91 100 .91 Part-time Vacant Clerical Full-time .014 100 .014 Part-time Vacant

E. Presentations/Outreach

DATE Presentation/Outreach ATTENDEES 11/2/2010 P&A Services including Client Assistance Program 20 3/24/2011 CAP Information — Vocational Rehabilitation/Employment 100 5/10/2011 P&A Services including Client Assistance Program 30 3/19/2011 Latino Expo 150* 4/9/2011 Capitol Community College Bilingual Conference 150* 4/14/2011 Community that Cares Program 200* 5/19/2011 Women’s Conference 50* 5/21/2011 Parents’ Day — Latino Studies Academy 50* 6/4/2011 Resource Table — People First of Connecticut 300 7/15-17/2011 Greater Hartford Jazz Festival 500 8/10/2011 Charter Oak Health Fair 300* 8/20/2011 Family Day — Sigourney Park -Hartford 300* 9/3/2011 Family Day — Keeney Park -Hartford 300* 9/17/2011 Charter Oak Cultural Center 100* * Outreach to minority/underrepresented groups

CAP staff members always include information about the PABSS program when presenting CAP information at training and resource events. The PABSS advocate reciprocates at her training and resources events. She is bilingual and bicultural, focusing much of her training in Latino communities. During the 2011 fiscal year, the PABSS advocate provided CAP information at 10 training events that were attended by 186 people.

F. Advisory Boards

During the 2011 fiscal year, the CAP advocate remained a member of the State Rehabilitation Advisory Council (SRAC) of the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services (BRS) (formerly known as the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services). As federally mandated member of the Council, the CAP advocate used these meetings to network with BRS staff and clients; obtain data and information about BRS funding and activities; influence the delivery of services through suggestions for procedural and policy changes; and monitor service systems and budgetary obstacles. CAP regularly receives reports on financial and case statistics from BRS. The CAP advocate continued to chair a SRAC subcommittee on consumer satisfaction with BRS services. During the 2011 fiscal year, the subcommittee synthesized information received from statewide satisfaction surveys. The subcommittee also conducted “secret shopper” visits to all BRS offices to assess the facilities, and quality of the services provided to clients, applicants and potential applicants of the agency.

BRS continues to welcome CAP at its staff trainings for new counselors and for new initiatives. The new CAP supervisor attended several training sessions to enhance her knowledge about vocational rehabilitation in Connecticut. BRS also invites CAP’s participation on internal committees to develop new policies and/or initiatives.

The CAP advocate remained an appointed member of the Mashantucket Pequot Advisory Council (MPAC) for the federal rehabilitation outreach grant. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation receives a federal grant to conduct vocational rehabilitation services outreach to Native Americans.

G. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations

The CAP program brochure is the primary written tool that CAP uses to educate potential clients about its services. It is available in English, Spanish and in large print. Information on CAP is also provided in the general agency brochure published by the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. The agency also developed and distributes a fact sheet called “How Can P&A Help Me?” that describes the types of services provided by the agency. This is included with all closure letters sent to individuals requesting Information and Referral services from P&A. It is available in both English and Spanish. During the 2011 fiscal year, more than 3,200 information and referral callers received the publication in a closure letter.

During the 2011 fiscal year, CAP continued to collaborate with other federal programs housed at the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities on outreach to underserved populations. As the information on presentations (Section E, pg. 3) indicates, most of the CAP activities involved outreach to the Latino and African American communities. During the 2011 fiscal year, most of the outreach was through resource fairs and disability specific activities. A great deal of these outreach activities are conducted in collaboration with the PABSS advocate who is bilingual and bicultural. All her outreach in the Latino community includes information on both CAP and PABSS.

The Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (P&A) continued to maintain the Spanish version of its website. Information about P&A programs is available on this site. The Spanish versions of P&A publications including the CAP brochure, are also ready to read or download. The content of the Spanish version of the P&A website was improved as P&A publications were updated and developed.

The CAP advocate remains an appointed member of the Mashantucket Pequot Advisory Council (MPAC) for the federal rehabilitation outreach grant. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation receives a federal grant to conduct vocational rehabilitation services outreach to Native Americans. Other Advisory Council members include representatives from BRS, Board of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB), State Department of Education Transition Coordinator, tribal members, Brown University staff and others. The CAP advocate attended meetings and participated in MPAC informational fairs.

H. Alternative Dispute Resolution

The CAP advocate is extremely knowledgeable about Connecticut’s vocational rehabilitation system and have developed positive relationships with BRS staff at all levels. She has many years of experience advocating for people with disabilities in various service systems. Her advocacy efforts have been extremely successful at bringing together rehabilitation consumers and rehabilitation professionals to resolve disputes and move forward on eligibility determinations and employment plans. Mediation and other administrative remedies are available as a formal mechanism to resolve disputes between the vocational rehabilitation system and its consumers. CAP has been able to resolve disputes without representing clients in formal mediations or fair hearings. During the 2011 fiscal year, CAP closed 53 cases, 36 of them were resolved fully or partially in the client’s favor — a 68% success rate. The closed cases were resolved through negotiation, mediation, informal review and alternative dispute resolution.

CAP represented a client who was denied a scooter by BRS. The CAP advocate researched the issue, consulted with the National Disability Rights Network and prepared the client for an informal review. The appeal of the denial was upheld by the District Director who reported that the scooter was a vehicle and the BRS does not purchase vehicles. CAP was ready to appeal the issue to a fair hearing but the client did not want to pursue the scooter issue through the fair hearing process.

I. Systemic Advocacy

Vocational rehabilitation in Connecticut has been through many changes during the 2011 fiscal year. Connecticut’s new Governor, in an effort to consolidate agencies, combined the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services with the Board of Education and Services for the Blind as of July 1, 2011. The new agency, called the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services is still without an Executive Director and continues to work on developing a new organizational structure. Because of the economy and changes to collective bargaining, many counselors retired or were promoted to new positions, resulting in a large influx of new counselors. The counselors are inexperienced and unfamiliar with the system, creating delays in client services. The P&A advocate, cognizant of these issues, worked to educate her clients about BRS rules and regulations, paid closer attention to time frames and continued to develop her relationships with district and central office staff in an effort to minimize the time lags.

During the past few years, BRS has also become more restrictive in the administration of its policies. The agency reports that the policies have not changed; they are just administering them as written. This has had an especially adverse effect on clients seeking home modifications, vehicle modifications, hearing aids, and small business assistance.

• Home Modifications — In 2009, the State of Connecticut provided employees with an opportunity for early retirement. Many BRS staff chose to take the option, leaving the agency with many holes in its administrative staff including the Director and the person in charge of handling BRS home modification requests. This resulted in a new procedure and lengthy delays in processing home and vehicle modification requests. The procedure was not the result of a change in policy; just an overly strict interpretation of their current policy guidelines that unfairly denied BRS clients modifications necessary to be able to work. Clients who were denied or experiencing delays called CAP for help, resulting in a larger than normal number of requests for assistance regarding these types of services.

During the 2011 fiscal year, CAP represented four (4) individuals who had home modification issues. The CAP advocate provided extensive advocacy to ensure that her clients were not subjected to unnecessary requirements and delays. She regularly communicated with BRS counselors and administrators to assist her clients with obtaining the necessary modifications, using the opportunity to educate both clients and BRS administration about the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act and its regulations. CAP will continue to monitor the home modification issues to ensure that individuals who are entitled to the modifications are not denied or delayed due to overly strict interpretation.

• Hearing Aids — For the past several years, CAP has been monitoring BRS and its policy on the provision of hearing aids. BRS identified the purchase of hearing aids as one of its greatest expenses and in response implemented restrictive guidelines on hearing aids purchases for clients. In order to implement cost containment measures, BRS rewrote its guidelines, making it much more difficult for potential clients to qualify for these services. At first, CAP received a large influx of telephone calls from BRS applicants. Most of the cases were able to be resolved through further evaluation and advocacy efforts. There were several potential clients, however, who clearly did not qualify for services. CAP advised these individuals of their appeal rights but did not provide direct representation in the appeal process. During the 2011 fiscal year, CAP provided representation to six (6) clients who were hard of hearing. CAP remains vigilant in its monitoring of these services.

• Vocational Systems — CAP actively monitors the timeliness of orientation, in-take, eligibility determination, evaluations, development of employment plans, and outcomes through consumer complaints and representation. The development of the employment plan, including agreement on the goal and the means to achieve it, continues to be the lengthiest part of the process with the job placement being a close second. The delays vary around the state and some districts require participation in an orientation group, which only meets only once a month. After attending the group, the individual then arranges for an intake appointment. During the 2011 fiscal year, the CAP advocate handled 8 eligibility cases, constituting 14% of the advocate’s caseload.

• Consumer Choice - CAP staff members advocate for the greatest amount of consumer involvement and choice in the development of an employment plan. They continue to encourage the vocational rehabilitation system to educate the consumer on available programs and providers and to be more flexible in the programs they will support for training and educating of consumers. CAP advocacy efforts for choice have extended to choice of counselors, community rehabilitation providers, offices, and outside consultants.

• Assistive Technology (AT) Device Warranties - Contractually, BRS, like other Connecticut agencies, requires its vendors to guarantee AT devices for a one (1) year period. Many vendors assumed that because BRS requires only a one (1) year period their warranty obligation stops after the year is over. Clients contacting P&A’s CAP and AT programs had trouble with such vendors when trying to enforce the two (2) year warranty protections of the Connecticut Assistive Technology Lemon Law. Because of the AT Lemon Law, neither BRS nor the consumer should be paying for repairs during the first 2 years.

During the 2011 fiscal year, CAP assisted AT staff in understanding how BRS purchases equipment and pays for necessary repairs, when applicable. The Department of Social Services (DSS) formerly housed the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services in Connecticut and therefore, BRS was subject to its purchasing policies. P&A staff researched the issue and sent a Freedom of Information Request to DSS for copies of contracts for the purchase of assistive technology/durable medical equipment. After many discussions, DSS sent copies of the requested contracts. Unfortunately, the contracts did not reveal the information necessary to determine what changes are needed. The CAP and AT programs will continue to work on this issue in the 2012 fiscal year. It has potential benefits for both BRS and the consumer.

• Consumer Satisfaction - The CAP advocate is an active member of the BRS State Rehabilitation Advisory Council (SRAC). During 2011, she continued to chair the Consumer Satisfaction Subcommittee. In her role as Chair of the Consumer Satisfaction Subcommittee, she assisted with the development and implementation of a consumer satisfaction survey. Each consumer visiting a BRS office is asked to complete the survey, answering questions about certain aspects of the physical environment and how he or she was treated by BRS staff. The SRAC received the responses to the survey and reviewed them at meetings, noting any compliment, concerns or trends. When the surveying was completed, the committee assisted with “secret shopper” testing to assess how BRS offices are meeting their obligation to consumers. This information will be synthesized by the SRAC and reported to BRS to assist with improving services to applicants and clients.

• Monitoring — CAP is monitoring two (2) other issues that are potentially problematic for BRS clients. The first issue is the trend toward requiring applicants/clients to work before BRS will write an Individual Plan of Employment that includes school. BRS wants to assure that clients will be able to work but the policy is being administered restrictively, creating unnecessary barriers to employment. The second issue is that BRS has not been supporting clients in the development of small businesses. BRS does not have a small business staff person and is delaying client progress with needless requirements. CAP will continue to monitor these issues and take action as necessary.

J. Interesting Cases

The following cases are examples of fiscal year 2011 advocacy representation provided by the Client Assistance Program (CAP) at the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. Client names were changed to protect confidentiality.

Case Problem 1: John is a young man with cerebral palsy who recently graduated from high school. He was denied eligibility by the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Connecticut’s vocational rehabilitation provider. It was determined that his disability was not significant enough to be a barrier to employment. He contacted CAP for assistance in appealing BRS’ ineligibility determination.

Intervention Summary: CAP’s review of the case and discussions with BRS and the client revealed that John did not accurately and fully disclose how his disability affected his employment. It was also determined that a privately funded evaluator completed BRS’s medical reporting forms, focusing only on the positive aspects of John’s accommodation strategies and not on vocational rehabilitation needs. John also, during the VR interview, focused on all his accomplishments, which also hindered his eligibility determination.

Outcome: After discussion with BRS’ district director, it was determined that it would be best for John to re-apply for services rather than requesting an Informal Review. CAP negotiated with BRS, successfully advocating for the new eligibility application to be reviewed by a different BRS counselor. CAP assisted John in gathering all his medical records to present at the intake meeting. John agreed to contact his neurologist to discuss the need to accurately reflect his deficits in order for him to meet BRS eligibility standards. The CAP advocate attended the meeting to assist John in presenting his materials and to make sure all areas where he needed vocational assistance were fully disclosed. John presented information about ADD, Anxiety Disorder and how his hemiplegia affected his ability to maximize his employment potential. BRS agreed to pay for an updated neuro-psychological assessment to assist in determining eligibility. Evidence is currently being collected by VR in order to make an eligibility determination.

Case Problem 2: Bill is a young man with cerebral palsy who is employed at a major distribution center. He has been successfully employed, working at a competitive rate with full benefits after successfully passing the vocational rehabilitation sponsored training program. When his transportation arrangement ended, Bill found a new ride to work but he had no one to give him a ride from the security station to the distribution center’s employee entrance. His previous transportation arrangement was able to bring him directly to the employee entrance. Now Bill was dropped off at the security station and he had to walk approximately ½ mile to the employee entrance. There are no sidewalks on this route. Bill experiences problems with his gait and the ½ mile daily walk was beginning to affect his work performance, as he was fatigued at the start of his shift. Bill was unable to negotiate a solution to this issue with his employer and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). He contacted CAP for assistance.

Intervention Summary: The CAP advocate reviewed the case files, met with Bill and had numerous discussions with BRS. She realized that a meeting at the work site, with all the parties, was necessary to problem solve Bill’s transportation dilemma. The distribution center’s human resources director and liaison were also invited to the meeting. Both BRS and the employer, prior to the meeting, clearly stated they were not responsible for the transportation needs of the employee. Prior to the meeting, CAP researched bus routes and alternative transportation resources.

Outcome: All parties met at Bill’s work site and CAP assisted them in negotiating a mutually agreed upon settlement. As Bill had problems approaching other employees in asking for ride share opportunities, the work place liaison agreed to assist Bill with this task. The employer agreed to contact the Connecticut Transit authority to request that the security station become an official bus stop so Bill could take the bus directly to the employee entrance and avoid the ½ mile walk. The employer also agreed to allow Bill to stand in the security station in inclement weather while waiting for the bus.

Problem 3: Alex is a young man with a physical disability. He has worked competitively at the same job for the past 14 years, a job which the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) helped him secure. He recently received a promotion and raise. Alex uses crutches for short distances but utilizes a scooter to traverse longer distances or uneven terrain. Alex uses a scooter to travel to his place of employment, which is two city blocks from his apartment. His current scooter is over 8 years old and is in need of a replacement. BRS denied his request to replace the scooter, stating that agency policy prohibits BRS from purchasing transportation. Alex requested CAP’s assistance in appealing BRS’ adverse decision.

Intervention Summary: CAP reviewed the BRS case file and spoke with the BRS counselor. The CAP advocate visited Alex at his apartment and photographed him leaving his apartment to go to work. The advocate also worked with Alex to look at all his transportation options including taking Dial -A -Ride or a Connecticut Transit bus to work (which was two city blocks in the opposite direction of work). The CAP advocate contacted Alex’s physical therapists to determine the distance he was allowed to walk and if he was allowed to walk up ramps. She also assisted Alex in obtaining records, which showed that BRS previously purchased his scooter for employment purposes. Alex requested an Informal Review. CAP assisted Alex in preparing his case. Alex presented his case, with the assistance of the CAP advocate, stating that his scooter was assistive technology that he used it to navigate the ramp at work and to take the bus, which was two city blocks from his apartment. Alex also presented evidence that BRS purchased his previous scooter for employment purposes.

Outcome: Alex’s denial of services was upheld at the informal review. BRS determined that Alex’s scooter was “a vehicle” and it was against Connecticut BRS policy to purchase a vehicle. CAP presented this case to P&A’s legal division for review. P&A’s legal unit agreed to provide representation at an Administrative Hearing, believing Alex had a strong case. Rather than continue with a legal proceeding, Alex decided to purchase his scooter with the proceeds of a fundraiser.

Problem 4: Amy, Jane, and Richard were all BRS clients with physical disabilities that required home modifications in order to maintain their current employment. BRS denied their requests for assistance for a variety of reasons.

Intervention Summary: The CAP advocate reviewed each client’s BRS records and met with them at their homes. She also had extensive discussions with BRS Counselors, BRS home modification consultants and architects to negotiate informal settlements.

Outcome: All BRS home modification cases were successfully resolved and cases were approved for BRS assistance. CAP kept cases open until each home modification was completed to the specifications set forth by BRS and the client.

Problem 5: Jim is a middle aged man with a mental health diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. He collects Social Security disability and has been unemployed for the past ten years. He contacted BRS for assistance with securing employment as he felt he was ready to re-enter the job market. Jim contacted CAP as he felt his BRS counselor and the community resource provider assigned to his case by BRS were not responsive to his needs.

Intervention Summary: CAP’s review of the case and discussions with BRS and the client revealed the need to transfer his case to a more responsive community resource provider. The CAP advocate also discussed the lack of communication between the client and the BRS counselor with the counselor’s supervisor. CAP coordinated a meeting between BRS, the client and the new community resource provider to discuss expectations.

Outcome: A meeting occurred and a plan of action was developed with BRS. Case expectations and timelines were established.

K. Online Information/Outreach

CAP program information is part of the website maintained by the State of Connecticut, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (www.ct.gov/opapd). In addition to CAP’s self help booklets, the website provides links to other disability sites that are related to vocational rehabilitation, financial entitlements, and employment.

During the last quarter of the 2010 fiscal year, the Connecticut P&A launched a Spanish version of its website, making it the first Connecticut state agency to have a Spanish website. The website includes Spanish versions of P&A programs and self—help brochures including the CAP brochure and information about P&A programs and services. During the 2011 fiscal year, the website was updated as publications were revised and developed.

During 2011fiscal year, the website hits for the P&A vocational rights booklet totaled 143. The CAP brochure was viewed more than 300 times. Other CAP and employment rights related booklets received 424 visits. The website also discusses each P&A program and offers information through programmatic fact sheets about the agency. The P&A annual report includes work done by the CAP program.

CAP information is also available online through the website for the Department of Social Services/Bureau of Rehabilitation Services policy manual. CAP does not have access to the number of hits that are generated by accessing its information on other websites. During the 2011 fiscal year, the total number of hits to the agency website was 38,380.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:28-Nov-11
Name of Designated Agency Official:Gretchen Knauff
Title of Designated Agency Official:Assistant Director