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

District of Columbia (UNIVERSITY LEGAL SERVICES, INC.) - H161A110062 - FY2011

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameUniversity Legal Services, Inc.
Address220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Address Line 2
CityWashington
StateDistrict of Columbia
Zip Code20002
E-mail Addressjcooney@uls-dc.org
Website Addresshttp://www.uls.dc.org
Phone202 547-4747
TTY 202-547-2657
Toll-free Phone877-221-4638
Toll-free TTY
Fax202-547-2662

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

Name
Address
Address Line 2
City
Zip Code
E-mail Address
Website Address
Phone
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJoseph R. Cooney
Person to contact regarding reportJoseph R. Cooney
Contact Person Phone202-547-0198

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act11
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA3
3. Other information provided8
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)22
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)0

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)9
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year54
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)63
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.)2

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 10

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 favor21
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)12
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)3
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution12
7. Appeals were unsuccessful1
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP0
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources1
11. Other (please explain)

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual22
2. Application for services completed.1
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented16
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party4
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office0
8. Alternative resources identified for individual4
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made1
10. Other3
11. Other (please explain)

An OAH appeal dismissed by client upon Implementtion of ILP. An OAH appeal dismissed by client upon implementtion of canditate training RSVFP. OAH appeal wihtdrawn by cleint - decided not to pursue.

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

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

1. 21 and under13
2. 22 - 4017
3. 41 - 6430
4. 65 and over3
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)63

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female29
2. Male34
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)63

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American43
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White15
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)7
2. Other visual impairments1
3. Deafness2
4. Hard of hearing2
5. Deaf-blind1
6. Orthopedic impairments1
7. Absense of extremities1
8. Mental illness12
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)5
10. Mental retardation0
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)19
12. Neurological disorders6
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions3
15. Digestive disorders0
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments1
18. AIDS/HIV positive1
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)0
20. All other disabilities1
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)63

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program7
2. Clients of VR Program52
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program3
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 only61
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources1
4. Employer1

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information1
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor13
3. Conflict about services to be provided23
4. Related to application/eligibility process14
5. Related to IPE development/implementation10
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems5
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related1
8. Related to Title I of the ADA0

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral0
2. Advisory/interpretational31
3. Negotiation10
4. Administrative/informal review0
5. Alternative dispute resolution2
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing10
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

The foregoing data incluses number for H161A11008. And the following narrative is for the entire fiscal year incluses both grant H161A110008 (FY2011 - October through March) and for grant H161A110062 (FY2011 - April through September).

PART III. NARRATIVE TO THE RSA 227 REPORT - FY 2011

a. Type of Agency

Client Assistance Program - University Legal Services, Inc. ("CAP-ULS or CAP") is a nonprofit organization which administers the Client Assistance Program in the District of Columbia pursuant to the designation by Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Order signed on February 1, 2011. The target population covers individuals present in the District of Columbia who have varying degrees of physical and/or mental disabilities who are applicants or clients of the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration (DCRSA"). This group includes, but is not limited to, the blind, deaf, mobility impaired, persons who are mentally challenged, persons with developmental disabilities, and persons who have a history of mental illness, or multiple disabilities.

b. Sources of funds expended: Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds 115,018.08 State funds All other funds Total from all sources 115,018.08 Budget for current and following fiscal years: : Category Current Fiscal Year Next Fiscal Year Wages & Salaries 72916.63 77040 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) 14583.31 23112 Materials/Supplies 4668.22 3955 Postage 5366.71 3595 Telephone 1244.75 1791 Rent 13958.06 13117 Travel 1178.30 375 Copying 0.00 0 Bonding/Insurance 0.00 0 Equipment Rental/Purchase 0.00 515 Legal Services 0.00 62 Indirect Costs 214.75 770 Miscellaneous 887.35 356 Total Budget 115018.08 124688

d. Number of person-years: Type of position Full-time equivalent % of year position filled Person-years Professional Full-time Part-time 1 100% 1 Vacant Clerical Full-time Part-time 0 100% 0 Vacant

e. Presentations

(i) Public hearing on State Plan — May 26, 2011

The CAP testimony recommended that DCRSA withdraw its proposed FY 2012 State Plan because the public and the State Rehabilitation Council were not involved in the process. The proposed plan had omitted elements specifically required by the Act and included in the preprinted plan and the RSA instruction memorandum (Information Memorandum RSA-IM-10-01). The CAP suggested that the plan violated the substance and spirit of the Act and it regulations: 34 C.F.R. § 361.10(d) — Public participation in the submission of the State plan; 34 C.F.R. § 361.17(h)(3) Functions of the SRC — [assist in the preparation of the State plan]; and 34 C.F.R. §§ 361.20(a) and (b) — Public participation requirements.

The Agency very soon thereafter published its version of proposed plan including the omitted elements with attachments and announced that a second public hearing would be held on June 24, 2011. At that meeting the CAP testimony focused on the non-existence of a SRC in DC and the absence of a comprehensive assessment that would be the factual foundation for the State Plan planning process and the development of goals and priorities for DCRSA.

f. Involvement with SRC and SILC

1. State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) No SRC meetings were held during FY2011. A meeting of State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) scheduled for November 18, 2010 could not be held because only the CAP representative was present at time called for the meeting. One other member appeared one hour later. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s policy restricting membership to 15 members established an anemic council when originally appointed four years ago. Members dropped off when it became apparent that the Board would not genuinely participate in policy making decisions. The Mayor consistently failed to appoint new members upon the expiration of the members’ terms. All but one SRC membership (including the CAP appointment) had expired in January 2011. On January 20, 2011, the announced quarterly SRC meeting date, the CAP Director and the other valid member met at the DCRSA office. However, no official meeting could be held. The SCR member and the CAP Director lamented to the top DCRSA administrator and the Region 3 representative from George Washington University of their dissatisfaction with the failure of the government to fulfill its assurances to its federal funding agency to have a viable SRC in the District of Columbia. FY2011 rolled on to its end without having any members being appointed to constitute a SRC. On February 24, 2011, CAP submitted testimony at the oversight hearing conducted by the D.C. City Council regarding the vocational rehabilitation program administered by DCRSA. The testimony focused on the debilitating consequences to the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services that have flowed from the absence of a viable State Rehabilitation Council in the recent years. The absence of the SRC has allowed DCRSA to adopt regulations that are substantively and procedurally unfriendly to the interests of clients. Excessive documentary requirements placed on the clients have obstructed the vocational rehabilitation process. These consequences caused delays in the provision of services along a broad front.

2. State Independent Living Council (“SILC”)

Because the outgoing mayor had failed to appoint members to the SILC, it had also ceased functioning. The CAP director attended a meeting on October 28, 2010 of the Finance Committee of the State Independent Living Council (“SILC”) concerning the ongoing obstruction blocking funds for the SILC. The previous mechanism, the SILC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) supporting entity, was disbanded by the Agency without having an alternative entity in place. The salary of the SILC staff person was running in arrears as well as several purchase invoices. The Agency has not developed a mechanism to fund the SILC directly. The staff person is paid as a temporary employee through a “temp” agency .

g. Outreach to unserved and underserved populations

The CAP has continued to attend the Partners in Transition group meetings and the Federation of the Blind to be available to react to individuals in these groups.

h. Alternate dispute resolutions

1. The CAP policy of routinely seeking to negotiate with counselors and supervisors prior to initiating a complaint was hampered by the Agency’s policy which restricted CAP communications with the DCRSA staff. 2. It is the CAP practice to continue the negotiations even after an administrative review is filed during the window (10 working days) prior to the informal administrative hearing. In the past, complaints were often resolved prior to the actual meeting of the administrative review panel. 3. Even after a fair hearing petition has been filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings, CAP routinely continues efforts to negotiate a resolution because such efforts have been fruitful in previous years. 4. Alternate Dispute Resolution was attempted in 3 fair hearing cases in FY 2011.

i. Systemic Advocacy

1. Designation for management of the Client Assistance Program

On February 1, 2011, Mayor Vincent C. Gray designated ULS as administrator of the Client Assistance Program (CAP) in the District of Columbia. Mayor Gray’s Order noted the overwhelming community support for redesignating ULS and praised ULS for its "longstanding collaborative relationships with disability advocacy organizations. The Mayor Gray’s Order stated,

My decision to redesignate University Legal Services as the District’s CAP agency is based upon the fact that ULS is the only entity who has provided Client Assistance Program services to the District of Columbia residents who apply for and receive vocational rehabilitation services. ULS has longstanding collaborative relationships with disability advocacy organizations. I note that the testimony from the consumers as well as disability advocates was overwhelmingly supportive of redesignating University Legal Services as both the District’s CAP agency and CAP services provider. Based upon University Legal Services, Inc.’ longstanding history of representing persons with disabilities, I believe District residents will be well served by this designation.

Background

The Mayor’s Order followed more than a year of dispute with DCRSA, a division of the D.C. Department of Disability Services (DDS). The dispute began in November of 2009 when the former director of DDS announced that the CAP grant to ULS would be renewed for only six months and that a bidding process would be instituted to handle the CAP. ULS objected to the process because it failed to comply with the federal implementing regulations. The Department of Education agreed with ULS. Then, DDS cancelled its attempt to establish a bidding procurement process for management of the CAP program and issued a contract to ULS for the remainder of the FY2010 budget year. Despite the 2010 award, other procedural violations continued. On May 5, 2010, Mayor Fenty, without giving the notices and following procedures called for by the Rehabilitation Act, signed a Mayor’s Order designating the D.C. Office of Human Rights (“OHR”) to administer the CAP. No individual at the Office of the Mayor or DDS consulted with the State Rehabilitation Council, the SILC, community disability groups, the local P&A agency, or the CAP about the designation as required by the federal regulations. On May 19, 2010, ULS appealed the Mayor’s May 5 Order to the U. S. Secretary of Education. Additionally, ULS sent a letter to Mayor Fenty stating that according to the Rehabilitation Act and its regulations the Mayor could legally designate ULS Inc., a private entity, to administer the CAP. DDS filed a reply on June 29, 2010 opposing ULS’s interpretation of the law. On August 31, 2010, Ms. Lynnae M. Ruttledge, Commissioner of the United States Rehabilitation Services Administration found that the Mayor’s Order designating OHR to manage the CAP program was not an appropriate designation; and further found that ULS, as a private entity, could be designated by the Mayor to directly administer the CAP in the District of Columbia. Commissioner Rutledge’s finding did not settle the matter. Although the Commissioner’s letter clarified that the Mayor could appoint ULS, DDS stuck with its decision to appoint the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) as contractor administrator of the CAP in DC. On September 20, 2010, The Director of DDS informed Commissioner Rutledge that DDS/RSA would publish another notice stating its intent to appoint OHR as contract administrator of the CAP contract and hold a public hearing for input from interested parties in the community. On the Friday after the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Agency published a notice scheduling the public hearing for December 29, 2010 on its proposed designation of OHR to administer the client assistance program in D.C. Despite the inconvenience of the public hearing, twenty nine individuals and organizations that showed up at the public meeting on December 29, 2010 to support the designation of ULS as the administrator of the Client Assistance Program. As noted above, this was overwhelming support for the redesignation of ULS. There was no testimony in support of designation the Office of Human Rights. The new Mayor stated that the District would be best served by designation of ULS both as the administrator as well as the provider of CAP services. The transcript of the hearing is attached to this report.

(2) Locating Randolph Sheppard facilities on DC government property

The Agency has announced it is in discussions with the DC government to have blind vending facilities located on D.C. government property. This is a change of policy. Three years ago, at the annual meeting of DC chapter of the National Federation of the Blind CAP called attention to the fact that there were no blind vending facilities on DC government property and urged the chapter to pass a resolution for the City to change its policy to allow such facilities. This attention getter and persistence efforts since then have effected a change of policy. One vending facility is in place in a D.C. government building and another is in negotiation. (3) Appointment of State Rehabilitation Counsel

a. Testimony before the City Council

On February 24, 2011, CAP submitted testimony at the oversight hearing that the D.C. City Council conducted regarding the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration. The testimony focused on the debilitating consequences to the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services that have flowed from the absence of a viable State Rehabilitation Council in the recent years. The absence of the SRC has allowed the designated unit to adopt regulations that are substantively and procedurally unfriendly to the interests of clients. Documentary requirements were placed on the clients that have obstructed the vocational rehabilitation process. Additionally, notwithstanding a worthy purpose, the Agency’s embarkation on a broad outreach program with a limited staff - many of who are new and untrained - depleted the capability of the staff to accomplish its basic case work. These consequences caused delays in the provision of services along a broad front and will further degrade the Agency’s ability to get the job done in a timely manner.

b. Testimony at public hearing on the FY2011 State Plan On February 24, 2011, CAP submitted testimony at the oversight hearing conducted by the D.C. City Council regarding the vocational rehabilitation program administered by DCRSA which called attention to the absence of a functioning SRC in FY2010 and it non existence in FY2011 because of failure to appoint its members. j. Interesting cases The Randolph Sheppard vendor cases arose when the Agency terminated without notice the training services being delivered under an Individualized Plan for Employment ("IPE") to trainees. For all three cases, the basic issue concerned the quality and adequacy of the training services for blind individual seeking to become vendors. In FY2011, DCRSA ceased trying to do the training for vendor candidates itself. It has now partnered with the State of Maryland program to provide training for Randolph Sheppard candidates. In the third case, the client wants to become a blind vendor independent of the Randolph Sheppard Vending Facility Program (RSVFP). The Agency refuses to implement the IPE to provide the broad range of services available to sighted clients of DCRSA. The problem arose after the Agency terminated his training services allegedly because he had not successfully completed the computer training course. The Agency found him eligible for the RSVFP and considered him in training for that program. The client wants the continuation of the VR training which is not particular to RSVFP in order to be a vendor. The issue concerns the scope of vocational training available to blind individuals under 29 U.S.C. §§ 723(a)(2),(5),(9),(11),(12),(13), and (14). Whether or not, these VR services can be used for a blind DCRSA client who wants to become a blind vendor without being a member of the RSVFP. The ALJ denied the Agency’s motion to dismiss; and the ALJ is continuing to monitor the training and assistance being provided for the client to become an independent vendor.

k. On-line information/outreach

Information on CAP-ULS is published on the website of University Legal Services, Inc. — www.uls-dc.org. This site contains information on the CAP program and what CAP can do to help resolve problems for applicants and clients of the D.C. vocational rehabilitation agency. For the period from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011, there were 71000 hits on the entire ULS website which includes CAP as a division with the Protection and Advocacy Program.

l. Other written outreach

(a) CAP-ULS distributes a brochure in English and Spanish. The brochure is in flyer format and gives general information. Approximately, two hundred (200) brochures have been distributed. (b) A booklet, Vocational Rehabilitation and You is also used for outreach. The booklet gives more detailed information than is possible in a brochure. Both are distributed to clients and interested persons. About fifteen (15) copies were distributed during this fiscal year. (c) We have updated and expanded the Advance Mental Health Planning Workbook. We now distribute A Guide for Adult Consumer of Mental Health Services. The Guide provides a broad range of information in addition to that concerning mental health care directives. At least 35 Guides have been distributed.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:01-Feb-12
Name of Designated Agency Official:Joseph R. Cooney
Title of Designated Agency Official:CAP Director