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

Florida (Disability Rights Florida) - H161A120009 - FY2012

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Florida
Address2728 Centerview Drive
Address Line 2Suite 102
CityTallahassee FL
Zip Code32301
Website Address
Phone(850) 488-9071
TTY (800) 346-8127
Toll-free Phone(800) 342-0823
Toll-free TTY(800) 346-8127
Fax(850) 488-8640

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Florida
Address2728 Centerview Drive
Address Line 2Suite 102
CityTallahassee FL
Zip Code32301
Website Address
Phone(850) 488-9071
TTY(800) 346-8127
Toll-free Phone(800) 342-0823
Toll-free TTY(800) 346-8127
Fax(850) 488-8640

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorAnn Robinson
Person to contact regarding reportAnn Robinson
Contact Person Phone850.488.9071

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act287
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA16
3. Other information provided12
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)315
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)3,600

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)72
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year191
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)263
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.)263

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 favor199
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)18
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual1
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)2
5. Individual chose alternative representation1
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution5
7. Appeals were unsuccessful0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.2
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP0
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual77
2. Application for services completed.75
3. Eligibility determination expedited5
4. Individual participated in evaluation2
5. IPE developed/implemented0
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party46
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office14
8. Alternative resources identified for individual3
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made6
10. Other0
11. Other (please explain)

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

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

1. 21 and under53
2. 22 - 4078
3. 41 - 64128
4. 65 and over4
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)263

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female123
2. Male140
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)263

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race38
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian5
4. Black or African American75
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White139
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown2

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)9
2. Other visual impairments14
3. Deafness5
4. Hard of hearing8
5. Deaf-blind1
6. Orthopedic impairments48
7. Absense of extremities0
8. Mental illness85
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)3
10. Mental retardation9
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)29
12. Neurological disorders28
13. Respiratory disorders3
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions8
15. Digestive disorders5
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive1
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)7
20. All other disabilities0
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)263

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program105
2. Clients of VR Program152
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program2
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act4

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only250
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only4
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources7
4. Employer4

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor33
3. Conflict about services to be provided111
4. Related to application/eligibility process98
5. Related to IPE development/implementation18
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
8. Related to Title I of the ADA5

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral7
2. Advisory/interpretational157
3. Negotiation23
4. Administrative/informal review38
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing3
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative


According to Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR Part 80, each CAP agency shall submit a written performance report that includes, but is not limited to, the following information. Be sure to include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of CAP activities this fiscal year. Please limit the narrative report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

a. The Florida CAP is an external CAP, housed within Disability Rights Florida which is a not-for-profit organization and the Florida P&A.

b. Sources of funds expended: Specify the total expenditure of funds used in providing services to CAP-eligible individuals according to the source of funding. Provide this information even if the agency’s only source of funding is the Federal formula grant. The following chart is recommended:

Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds 537919 State funds All other funds Total from all sources 537919 The "all other" category is broad and includes funds from local governments, earned income (e.g., legal fees), charitable contributions, and other grants or contracts. This category does not include in-kind donations. However, it is hoped that CAP agencies will collect this information separately if appropriate.

c. Budget for current and following fiscal years: Be sure to outline the budget for the current and subsequent fiscal years. This item should include a breakdown of dollars expended/allotted for administrative costs (e.g., salaries for personnel, equipment, etc.); and services to individuals and other expenses (e.g., training of staff, travel, etc.). The following chart is recommended: Category Current Fiscal Year Next Fiscal Year Wages & Salaries 307545 377160 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) 110193 129724 Materials/Supplies 13278 20538 Postage 1899 2147 Telephone 10443 10170 Rent 38530 41561 Travel 22411 36754 Copying Bonding/Insurance 5661 5763 Equipment Rental/Purchase 9243 6453 Legal Services 4704 4390 Indirect Costs 3269 3481 Miscellaneous 10743 12148 Total Budget 537919 650289

d. Number of person-years: "Person-years" refer to the actual time that positions (both professional and clerical) were filled during the period covered by this annual report. If a position was filled throughout the year, it counts as one person-year. Positions filled for any fraction of the fiscal year should be expressed in "full-time equivalents.” Person-years should be reported for all CAP personnel whose salaries are paid totally or partially by Section 112 funds. Identify the number of person-years staffing CAP this fiscal year. Be sure to include an explanation of the number of full-time, part-time, and vacant positions. Enter the full-time equivalent for all part-time positions. The following chart is recommended:

Type of position Full-time equivalent % of year position filled Person-years Professional see chart 23.25 Full-time Part-time Vacant Clerical Full-time see chart 11.75 Part-time Vacant

Clerical - Full Time Position % of year CAP % Person Year Accounting Associate 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Administrative Assistant 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Administrative Assistant 100.00% 0.11 0.85 Bookkeeper 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Director of Finance & Administration 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Executive Assistant 100.00% 0.11 1.00 IT & Training Manager 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Personnel & Benefits Manager 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Receptionist/Admin Asst 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Staff Assistant 90.00% 0.10 0.90 Staff Assistant 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Tech. & Communications Manager 100.00% 0.11 1.00 1.27 11.75 Professional - Full Time Position % of year CAP % Person Year Advocacy Specialist 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Advocate 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Advocate 100.00% 0.07 1.00 Sr. Advocate 100.00% 0.02 1.00 Attorney 100.00% 0.01 1.00 Director of Legislative & Public Affairs 100.00% 0.02 1.00 Director of Legislative & Public Affairs 100.00% 0.04 1.00 External Affairs Coordinator 100.00% 0.05 1.00 Executive Director 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Intake Coordinator 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Legal & Advocacy Director 100.00% 0.14 1.00 Paralegal 100.00% 0.02 1.00 Sr. Advocacy Specialist 100.00% 0.11 1.00 Sr. Advocate 100.00% 0.81 1.00 Sr. Advocate 100.00% 0.01 1.00 Sr. Advocate 100.00% 0.84 1.00 Sr. Advocate 75.00% 0.70 0.75 Sr. Attorney 100.00% 0.02 1.00 Sr. Attorney 100.00% 0.04 1.00 Supervising Attorney 100.00% 0.02 1.00 Managing Attorney 100.00% 0.13 1.00 Managing Attorney 100.00% 0.01 1.00 Intake Manager 100.00% 0.03 1.00 Team Manager 50.00% 0.40 0.50 3.90 23.25

e. Summary of presentations made: Summarize the types of presentations made about CAP and other rehabilitation programs and projects. Include in the summary an estimate of the number of persons attending the presentations.

Training presentations commonly provided a general overview of the role and services through the Client Assistance Program (CAP) as well as offering information about vocational rehabilitation, advocacy techniques and independent living. Presentations included information on Disability Rights Florida as an advocacy resource for individuals with disabilities. Requested presentations were customized or were crafted to address a specific concern. For example, this fiscal year CAP continued to focus on providing information to high school students and their families to educate on advocacy with rehabilitation programs. CAP also promoted assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering in all phases of the rehabilitation process. Students in post-secondary settings received self-advocacy training and provision of information about the services from CAP, Vocational Rehabilitation and Centers for Independent Living. We estimate approximately 3600 individuals received training; we were involved in trainings at several large venue conferences during the fiscal year and reached many individuals from minority groups as well as rural areas. The following is a sample of trainings around the state: • Transition training for students with disabilities in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Boca Raton on October 14, 2011. CAP staff met with 23 parents of high school students in order to educate them on transition services, reasonable accommodations, the Autism Bill, Disability Rights Florida, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and Division of Blind Services (DBS). Families were provided with Employment Team packets, business cards and transition booklets. • Presentation at Miami Dade College on February 1, 2012 to inform students with disabilities about DVR, DBS and their rights including access to CAP services. Advocacy strategies useful in negotiating quality vocational rehabilitation services described to promote self-advocacy training. The training was in conjunction with The Disabled Student Union at the college and reached approximately 20 students with disabilities. • February 15, 2012 presentation at the Annual Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (FLAIRS) conference in Orlando to an audience of Aging and Disability Resource Center, Independent Living, United Way, 211 and other private non-profit and state agency staff to share information on Disability Rights Florida and the CAP program. Two augmentative communication devices were loaned from the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) for demonstration at the presentation to highlight the importance of individuals having access to technology for education, employment and inclusion in the community. This outreach was strategic. We were able to network with our community partners at the local grassroots area within diverse communities, including rural areas. Approximately 30 individuals attended the training. • On February 22, 2012 CAP participated at a workshop hosted by the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities at the University of Florida. Information was shared with the audience of post-secondary students to educate them about advocacy supports including CAP and other topics such as community employment, employment awareness, self-employment, Ticket to Work and services through DVR/DBS and CAP. Approximately 10 postsecondary students and staff attended. • On March 6, 2012 CAP provided training to University of South Florida in conjunction with their Office of Students with Disabilities Services and their ADA Coordinator. Information on advocacy resources and tips for self-advocacy was provided to 10 students. • The CAP Grant Coordinator was invited to provide training in Advocacy and Conflict Resolution to a Division of Blind Services (DBS) statewide staff training program in May 2012. The request followed a number of complaints related to service denials, including denials for necessary assistive technology devices and services. The training reinforced advocacy and conflict resolution strategies and principles for counselors along with client appeal rights. Technology is rapidly changing and the focus of the presentation was to make sure DBS agency decisions are based on making devices and services available to allow individuals with disabilities to compete with non-disabled peers. Approximately 70 DBS staff attended which included children’s counselors, vocational rehabilitation and independent living counselors, supervisors, and DBS state office staff. • On May 5, 2012 CAP provided training to parents and students with disabilities at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) Center in Jacksonville. Approximately 12 individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families attended. • Two presentations occurred in June 2012 in Orlando in English and Spanish at The Family Café 2012 informing of advocacy resources available from Disability Rights Florida and the Client Assistance Program. Approximately 23 individuals were trained through the Spanish only and English sessions; materials were provided at the Disability Rights Florida exhibit including information on the Client Assistance program. • On September 9, 2012, self-advocacy and advocacy resources were provided to 13 students involved with the University of South Florida’s Students with Disabilities Services on the Tampa campus.

f. Involvement with advisory boards: Identify in what ways CAP is involved with advisory boards (e.g., State Rehabilitation Advisory Council, Statewide Independent Living Council, etc.). Division of Blind Services (DBS) Council and Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) A CAP representative has served on the DBS Council since 2010 and continues to regularly attend and participate in meetings. Public forums in Daytona and Orlando were attended. DBS Policy 2.28 is a new policy addressing written verification requirements for IPEs or amendments prior to execution of services and it was passed after several Council recommendations. Unfortunately, the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) has not had official CAP membership for a number of years; Corey Hinds was awaiting appointment for a year and a half and the current CAP coordinator has been awaiting appointment since April 18, 2012 — a seven month period. The FRC meetings are being attended; CAP is providing input in a non-voting capacity. RSA has been informed of the situation as the Council is having a problem securing new appointments in other positions. This obviously weakens the work of the Council. This year, DVR has a new director who has attended most of the FRC meetings. To address the unique challenges for transition students, CAP has been a major advocate promoting Project Search and Project 10 presentations for the Council. Both programs serve students on the special diploma track. CAP has advocated for a more collaborative working relationship so access to these programs can be provided to youth with disabilities. CAP regularly attended Florida Rehabilitation Council meetings and public forums this fiscal year to provide public comment including state plan comments. The following CAP testimony was provided at the Florida Rehabilitation Council public forums and state plan meeting: • Based on a presentation by the DVR Director, their 2010 expenditures for rehabilitation technology are 3.2% of their budget. This compares to a national average of 14.66% for general VR agencies according to the 2010 national RSA 911 data. CAP advocated for increased AT and rehabilitation engineering expenditures. • Review Rehabilitation Engineering policy chapter to determine if the technical requirements for the service set is too complex and leads to under-utilization of the service by VR counselors. Focus training in this area. • The importance of planning for any AT for transition students to provide an edge for competition in the workforce. • State plan attachment for comprehensive personnel development should set goals for hiring rehabilitation professionals rather than training staff from other disciplines. • Implement a strong advocacy component in the new counselor training program. Stress the importance of AT in the VR process and given the statistics. Advocacy groups and individuals with disabilities also participated in the public forums where this information was shared. CAP will continue to advocate at the Florida Rehabilitation Council meetings and with DVR and DBS on the importance of access to AT devices and services for DVR and DBS clients throughout the rehabilitation process.

g. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations: Identify the strategies used to conduct outreach to and to serve individuals previously unserved or underserved and/or individuals who are members of minority groups. Describe the impact of your outreach efforts, especially in terms of how your outreach efforts have benefited individuals who traditionally have been unserved or underserved. The CAP was active in multiple outreach venues through the year in urban and rural areas to reach diverse groups, transition students, and individuals from minority and previously underserved groups. The Florida CAP is within Disability Rights Florida — the Florida P&A agency- and so information on CAP is widely distributed at many outreach events through an Outreach and External Affairs Coordinator and an Intake Outreach Coordinator. Both of these individuals have face-to-face contact with the public and are representatives of a minority group. We also have bilingual staff (English/Spanish) attending some events. During Fiscal Year 2012, CAP targeted transition settings and students in the following outreach activities:

Outreach conducted at the Transition Career Fair in Clay County with the school district Exceptional Student Education (ESE) department on October 2011 for juniors and seniors. The purpose was to increase career awareness and expose high school students to employment opportunities, independent living and advocacy resources. Approximately 400 transition students were provided advocacy materials including the Disability Rights Florida transition resource materials.

Outreach at Disability Mentoring Day in Jacksonville on October 25, 2011 to explain the importance of transition linkages to 400 Transition students attending the event.

Coral Glades High School Transition Fair on February 10, 2012 to inform parents and students about transition services and options for advocacy services and vocational rehabilitation programs. 100 youth with disabilities attended.

Orange County Public School Spring Forum on March 13, 2012 to provide information on transition services available to students. This outreach included minority groups.

A sample of general outreach follows: Family Abilities Information Rally 2011 on October 6, 2011 in Hillsborough County to network and provide information during this family-friendly community event for individuals with disabilities. Approximately 500 people in attendance with 125 individuals visiting the Disability Rights Florida exhibit for materials and discussion with staff.

The Jacksonville Mayor’s Disability Council meeting and tour of the CSX freight rail transportation system headquarters on October 11, 2011. Overview of services provided as well as gaining a better understanding of the rail system in the community and services for individuals with disabilities. Collaborators included Division of Blind Services, Independent Living Resource Center, National Federation of the Blind and CSX employees. Approximately 13 professionals from various organizations attended and exchanged information.

Disability Employment Awareness Celebration October 27, 2011 in Tallahassee at City Hall to recognize businesses for being exceptional employers of individuals with disabilities. Approximately 125 individuals attended.

Outreach conducted to the Miami Beach Guild for the Blind at their monthly meeting on November 4, 2011 to provide information on Disability Rights Florida services. Approximately 30 individuals attended this meeting and received information.

Appearance on Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC) — No Limits Comcast Cable Show on November 16, 2011 to discuss Disability Rights Florida services and priorities. The interview was aired in November and December 2011 to a wide audience of cable subscribers.

Educated conference participants about Disability Rights Florida during the Assistive Technology Industry Association 2012 Conference in Orlando, Florida in January 2012. Approximately 3000 attendees received information and resources on the assistive technology needs for individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings — education, recreation, employment and activities of daily living.

Outreach conducted to the Florida Rural Health Network through letters from Disability Rights Florida Executive Director in January 2012. Three site visits conducted to the Northwest and Northeast Rural Health Network in May 2012 and to the Heartland Rural Health Network, Inc. in June 2012. Outreach and materials provided to facilitate referrals from the rural county network which includes agencies, health clinics and hospitals. Met with three key senior staff members and shared information to use with their constituent groups.

Independent Living Resource Center of Northeast Florida Open House Celebration on January 13, 2012 to provide information regarding Disability Rights Florida and how to obtain our services in priority areas, including difficulty obtaining assistive technology devices or services. 100 individuals attended the ribbon cutting and networking opportunity.

Attended The Sixth Annual Florida Vision Summit 2012 at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee on January 19, 2012 to educate and inform individuals with visual disabilities about our agency, advocacy services and intake process. Over 200 individuals attended our exhibit to obtain information.

Multiple Sclerosis support group meeting outreach on January 25, 2012 to discuss services available from vocational rehabilitation and advocacy services from the Client Assistance Program. Approximately 20 people were in attendance.

University of West Florida 2012 Annual Student Transition Conference on February 16, 2012. Approximately 125 attendees learned how to facilitate a seamless transition for students from K-12 to higher education and to promote collaboration among area agencies, the school system, postsecondary schools and the business community. Participants from surrounding rural areas had access to information provided at the exhibit booth.

Presented at the Americorps State and National Conference on February 24, 2012 to raise awareness among individuals with disabilities, caregivers, local and state agency and business representatives of the resources and services available through Disability Rights Florida. Over 700 Florida National Service members participated in this two-day conference in Orlando.

Outreach at the Advent Christian Village Health and Wellness 59th Annual Health Fair in rural North Florida on March 20, 2012 to educate on resources available to individuals with disabilities and the services available from Disability Rights Florida. Over 250 individuals received information.

Lauderhill Community Awareness on March 28, 2012 in Broward County to provide elderly individuals and their caregivers, families and services providers an opportunity to explore and learn about the services available through Disability Rights Florida. Approximately 100 participants from underserved areas in Broward County attended the event. Most of the attendees were elderly individuals with disabilities of Jamaican descent.

Differently Abled Expo and Spring Fling in Port St. Lucie on March 31, 2012 to provide information on Disability Rights Florida, Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living, Transition, Alternatives to Guardianship, Medicaid and Social Security. Approximately 260 individuals attended the Expo from Broward, St. Lucie County and West Palm Beach. The Expo was held at Florida Atlantic University with 20 agency vendors in attendance and approximately 120 individuals attending, most of whom were living in Subsidized Housing in these communities.

Conferencia Tropical Educativa on April 28, 2012 for Hispanic specific outreach to Hispanic/Latino families with children with disabilities and to other agencies that provide services locally including the Family Network on Disabilities, Parents of the Panhandle Information Network, Florida Disabled Outdoors Association, Panhandle Area Consortium and Children’s Medical Services. Approximately 30 individuals attended. Presentation was provided in Spanish.

Outreach at the second annual Nina Harris Exceptional Student Center School Agency Fair on May 8, 2012 to raise awareness of Disability Rights Florida through display booth with agency resources and materials. Approximately 75 individuals participated.

Spinal Cord Injury Support Group on May 9, 2012 in Tampa. Provided self-advocacy and disability rights information. Approximately 25 individuals with spinal cord injuries attended.

The 13th Annual Family Café in Orlando on June 14-17, 2012 to inform of the services from Disability Rights and CAP through our exhibit and outreach staff. Approximately 1,000 individuals were provided information. Please note this large conference had 5600 individuals with disabilities, their families, service providers, advocates and state agency representatives in attendance. Convergys with the Jacksonville Mayors Disability Council tour on June 20, 2012 to learn more about the Convergys facilities and how Convergys assists individuals with disabilities to gain and maintain employment. Information shared about services through Disability Rights Florida. Approximately 14 individuals participated in the event.

Able Trust 2012 Youth Leadership Forum on July 20, 2012 to increase awareness among transition students of the advocacy services available from Disability Rights Florida. Approximately 75 students from around the state participated in the forum at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center. ADA Celebration Tampa “Then and Now” 2012 outreach at Hillsborough County Disability Awareness Day on July 24, 2012 along with Hillsborough County Disability Alliance, Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST), transportation providers and Self-Reliance Center for Independent Living. Approximately 200 individuals attended.

Disability Rights Florida exhibit at the Hillsborough County Disability Expo and Forum July 25, 2012 in Tampa. State agencies, county commissioners and state legislators held a public forum. There were dozens of exhibits and demonstrations such as the newest technologies for low vision and hearing, wheelchair accessible pickup trucks and wheelchair accessible motorcycles. Approximately 100 individuals obtained information.

Exhibited and provided awareness of our services at Suncoast Center for Independent Living ADA Celebration and Anniversary in Sarasota on July 26, 2012. Suncoast donated an electric wheelchair to an individual during the event. Approximately 150 individuals including individuals from rural counties attended the event.

22nd Anniversary ADA Celebration and Gala 2012 attended on July 28, 2012 at the Broward Convention Center hosted by the Broward Center for Independent Living. A display booth was set up and approximately 150 individuals visited the exhibit.

College and Careers for Youth with Disabilities — 2012 National Transition Conference attended to share transition practices and approaches including the exchange of innovative ideas and approaches. Extensive outreach at event along with a workshop provided to approximately 150 individuals.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) site visit and tour on September 14, 2012. Information exchanged directly with the FAAST Executive Director and 4 other FAAST employees with discussion of the New Horizons Loan program through FAAST along with encouragement for cross-referrals between both agencies. Disability Rights Florida Intake Manager toured the facility after the meeting and received overview of AT loaner devices.

Outreach to Neighborhood Health Service Quincy Health Fair on September 22, 2012 to educate individuals with disabilities, their families, state agency representatives and service providers of the services provided by Disability Rights Florida. Approximately 100 attended the event.

Disability Rights Florida bilingual intake staff exhibited at the Hispanic Festival in Tallahassee on September 29, 2012. Outreach specifically targeted Hispanic population for Tallahassee and the rural counties surrounding Tallahassee. Approximately 250-300 persons attended the festival with 80 individuals visiting the table and 25 individuals signing up for the electronic newsletter.

During FY 2012, approximately 6,885 individuals received information and referral services through the Disability Rights Florida intake unit; 276 of this number were responded to entirely in Spanish and information on CAP and rehabilitation programs was a common referral. Disability Rights Florida has two full time bilingual (English/Spanish) intake specialists. We utilize Certified Language Interpreters and have the capacity to respond to other languages. We also have a Spanish website and Spanish online intake system. Disability Rights Florida provided an English and Spanish online intake option this year for 647 individuals or 9% of our intakes. This accessible computer system allows consumers to contact us at night and on the weekends.

h. Alternative dispute resolutions: The Act clearly mandates CAPs to engage in mediation (or other forms of alternative dispute resolutions) prior to seeking a formal or legal remedy on behalf of the individual served. Part II-H5 of the Form RSA-227 asks you to identify the number of times your CAP agency engaged in ADR. In addition to that numerical data, be sure to describe, in the Narrative portion of your report, your efforts at engaging in ADR procedures, including how successful (or not successful) your attempts have been and an explanation of why CAP did not engage in ADR prior to seeking a formal or legal remedy.

CAP follows a specific due process policy whenever considering involvement or representation at a formal appeal to include consideration of mediation. CAP continues to resolve client disputes with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Division of Blind Services (DBS) through alternative dispute resolution. CAP has utilized the DVR Ombudsman’s office and the DBS Bureau Chief when needed. Many of these complaints involve prior approval requests for medical treatment, and for post-secondary education, assistive technology, post-employment, small business denials and the appeal process itself.

This fiscal year, CAP was involved in 38 requests for administrative review and resolved 24 of them in the individual’s favor; another 9 were partially resolved in the individual’s favor for a total of 33 of the 38 resolved (86%) well for our client. CAP was involved in 3 Administrative Hearings. One case resulted in a favorable resolution for our client when the client decided to withdraw her appeal and allow CAP to negotiate on her behalf. Another individual received technical assistance but was not represented as she requested the administrative hearing prior to contact with CAP, and the third individual secured other representation. CAP continues to advocate for mediation whenever possible prior to litigation.

i. Systemic advocacy: Describe the systemic advocacy undertaken. Indicate the problems that have been identified in the delivery of VR and independent living services. To the extent possible, detail evidence/documentation that substantiates the problems. Summarize the activities CAP has undertaken to remedy the problems. Outline the State VR agency’s responses to those activities and explain the status of the problems at the close of the fiscal year. As appropriate, provide CAP’s plans for continuing to address the problems during the next fiscal year.

CAP continues to bring systemic issues forward to the DVR and DBS Directors as individual cases allow us to see patterns of concern with rehabilitation services delivery or problem locations. Additionally, CAP attends both state rehabilitation councils; regular input is provided through public forums and during the council meetings. Systemic Highlights: Transition

On February 3, 2012, Disability Rights Florida Legal and Advocacy Services Director, Management staff and CAP Coordinator met with the Commissioner of Education, the DVR Director and the DVR General Counsel to discuss improving linkages between the school system and DVR for transitioning students with disabilities. Disability Rights Florida provided information on many problems students and parents encounter when requesting transition services that will prepare them for employment and postsecondary pursuits, including lack of access to DVR. The Commissioner appointed a representative of Disability Rights Florida to the Task Force on Inclusion and Accountability. This Task Force convened over a number of months with recommendations on improvements to the transition process which the Florida Board of Education adopted.

The Disability Rights Florida guide Transition - The Passage from Youth to Adulthood has been updated by popular demand and is available as an online disability topic on the agency website @ A topic prepared by CAP: How to Get the Most out of Vocational Rehabilitation is located @

Project 10: Region 5 Winter Institute Project 10 is Florida’s statewide discretionary project supporting the secondary transition of youth with disabilities. The primary focus is to assist school districts in providing transition planning, services and programs. This collaborative model seeks interagency collaboration. On February 7th, CAP attended the Project 10, Region 5 meeting to discuss the progress of Project 10 with approximately 30 individuals from the school districts, DVR, CIL, support coordinators, and other entities with an interest in transition services from several counties. This collaboration between key agencies serving youth in transition holds promise for the future.

Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering

CAP talked with the DVR Director and DBS Bureau Chief and provided them with information from the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, Center on Effective Rehabilitation Technology (CERT) report: VR Case Studies on Effective Models of AT Service Delivery. CAP recommended both agencies perform a self-evaluation for Rehabilitation Technology/AT devices and services based on national data. This report shared information on the connection between provision of AT devices and services and successful employment outcomes. The information was shared for further dissemination to field staff.

The Assistive Technology Disability Topic Page on the Disability Rights Florida website contains the links to the DVR and DBS Counselor Manual policy on assistive technology.

Due Process and Client Appeal Rights

In May 2012, the DVR Director was alerted to emerging CAP concerns with DVR due process procedures. Specifically, the Fair Hearing/Administrative Hearing requests from DVR clients did not appear to be sent in a timely manner to the Division of Administrative Hearings. A records request has been initiated and the information has been reviewed. This issue is unresolved at present and will continue to be an issue into 2013.

In July 2012, CAP alerted the Division of Blind Services Director to concerns regarding the online posting of Consumer Rights and Responsibilities of one of the Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) — a Lighthouse for the Blind. The notice was inaccurate and did not include information about CAP. Based on our request, DBS initiated a review of all CRP’s and Independent Living Programs to ensure consistent rights information is available, particularly essential due process requirements including information on CAP. VR Administrative Rule-making CAP provided 40 pages of rule comments to Florida VR’s 19 proposed rules in December 2010. These 19 proposed rules have a significant impact regarding the delivery of client services to VR consumers, but rule-making was suspended by the Governor in the spring of 2011. A Florida Supreme Court ruling in Whiley vs. Scott lifted the rule-making suspension in the fall of 2011 and Florida VR moved forward to promulgate their administrative rules. After months of negotiation on CAP’s part regarding specific rule language addressing (1) eliminating College Prepaid Plans as comparable benefits and services, (2) client appeals and due process requirements, (3) the IPE approval process, (4) case closures due to a lack of Phase II supported employment services, (5) transportation services, and (6) the absence of school-to-work transition and self-employment rules, VR finalized administrative rules on May 15, 2012. SW Center for Independent Living Center (CIL) Closing Investigation/Monitoring CAP continued our monitoring of the CIL closing, and attended the open house event for the Gulfcoast Center for Independent Living (formerly the Southwest Center for Independent Living) in Ft. Myers. CAP staff took advantage of that opportunity to meet the new site Manager and staff for a tour of the new offices to ensure that independent living services would be restored in the near future. State Plan Comments

On May 5, 2012 public testimony was provided at the DVR state plan meeting in Jacksonville related to increasing opportunities for on-the-job training for DVR clients, improvement to the new counselor training program which needs a strong advocacy component, promotion of assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering services, VR Traineeships for clients through state government positions, concerns with the order of selection, delays in due process and self-employment. DVR personnel development and the recruitment, hiring and retention of qualified staff remain a major concern given the continued turn-over of agency personnel. The real cost is to the consumer of services who often has multiple counselors, some of whom will be inexperienced during the life of the case. DVR is attempting a new mentoring strategy to address this area. Despite repeated requests, DVR has not increased advocacy curriculum in their new counselor training.

DVR Work Incentive Planning Services

DVR has initiated a benefits counseling option with work incentive planning services for consumers through their Ticket-To-Work (TTW) unit after the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance Programs lost funding. CAP has monitored DVR’s progress in crafting a program that is responsive to the needs of individuals who wish to participate; CAP attended the monthly conference calls and has provided regular input. DVR has shifted away from only referring customers interested in working 10 or more hours per month and now requires counselors to offer customers a referral to a WIPA service provider if the customer is interested in having a better understanding of how employment may be of benefit to them.

Post-employment Clarification

CAP Grant Coordinator intervention with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Area Director resulted in training of DVR personnel of 13 different offices specifically on post-employment services. This followed a number of complaints from individuals with hearing impairments that had been successfully rehabilitated and were working. Individuals who needed assistance with new hearing aids or other assistive technology devices were being required to reapply despite being eligible for post-employment services. This was most significant as these individuals were working and needed assistive technology to maintain their employment.

j. Interesting cases: Describe a few of the more interesting or unique cases that CAP worked on during the fiscal year. Summarize the facts of the case and the activities that CAP undertook or is undertaking to resolve the issues raised by the individual served. Explain whether the case raised systemic or policy-making issues and CAP’s plan to address those issues.

MA, a young adult with a specific learning disability, contacted CAP for assistance having DVR consider amending the vocational goal. DVR refused to amend the plan stating that MA could find a job as a paralegal despite e-mails and case notes from the former DVR Counselor agreeing to amend the plan and provide sponsorship for law school. CAP represented MA in an administrative review and successfully argued that MA has the skills and capability to become a lawyer. DVR agreed to amend the plan and provide tuition for law school.

BH, an adult with a hearing impairment, contacted CAP requesting assistance to become self-employed as a photographer. DVR denied the request because BH refused to attend mental health counseling. An investigation revealed that DVR did not provide BH a choice of vendors to select for counseling or allow BH to receive on-going assistance from his own doctor. The denial was appealed and the decision was reversed. BH received a referral for self-employment assistance to help establish a photography business.

SF, an adult with a visual disability, contacted CAP to request advocacy for a computer and assistance needed to enroll in a college program offered by an out-of-state vendor. DBS denied the request based on the fact that the program was offered online only. Investigation revealed that DBS offered training alternatives that were in-state but only available online. During a negotiation with the DVR supervisor, CAP successfully argued that DBS had no policy serving as the basis for their decision. Intervention resulted in an expedited approval of the training consistent with SF’s informed choice.

JW, an adult with an orthopedic disability, contacted CAP for assistance obtaining an electric wheelchair. DVR refused to provide JW with a new wheelchair and only offered to repair the current wheelchair despite multiple repair attempts that failed to remedy the problems. Intervention resulted in DVR agreeing to sponsor a new wheelchair, repairs to JW’s van lift and motor, assistance with counseling, and benefits training. A new DVR counselor was also provided.

JR, a young adult with autism, contacted CAP after receiving a verbal denial from DVR to work with a chosen employment vendor. CAP provided advocacy related to client choice and appeals options. CAP intervention resulted in DVR allowing JR to work with his chosen vendor as this company specialized in serving people with autism and related disabilities. JR can now focus on becoming successfully employed as a chemist.

MD, an adult who is deaf and blind, contacted CAP regarding communication problems and a lack of services from DVR and DBS. An investigation confirmed a communication problem and a general lack of understanding of MD’s needs. As a result of this intervention, DVR and DBS agreed to set up regular meetings with MD with an interpreter to assess case progress, offered computer training, Orientation & Mobility (O&M) training, provided braille food cards/labels, a talking watch and authorized marketing and business plan development classes. TL, an adult with a learning disability, alerted CAP to a dispute with DVR about additional off campus housing assistance while completing the final year of college. DVR denied this request based on an inaccurate perception of TL’s concerns and the opinion that TL should live on campus. CAP investigation revealed that TL’s concerns about personal safety and living in a disruptive environment were valid and that DVR had not considered that on-campus housing was not available. CAP represented TL during an administrative review; off campus housing was approved. MD, an adult with a physical orthopedic disability was denied vehicle modification services. Our intervention resulted in DVR agreeing to expedite amending MD’s plan and providing MD with vehicle modifications.

RH, an adult with a physical orthopedic disability, contacted CAP for assistance securing vehicle and computer repairs after DVR took the position that RH could use a bus pass and the computer lab at school. After CAP intervention, DVR agreed to send RH for evaluations of his vehicle and computer and to sponsor the repairs, once new information was provided to show that RH’s disabilities would not allow RH to use public transportation and the computer lab at school. In addition, glasses were also sponsored after it was confirmed there was no available comparable benefit.

BH, an adult with ADHD, sleep apnea and neurological disorders, contacted CAP regarding a verbal denial for services from DVR. BH needed DVR to pay for a physical exam, vaccines, health insurance, assistive technology and an entry level exam required for a registered nursing program. CAP attended a meeting with DVR in order to assist with the IPE amendment. The intervention led to DVR agreeing to all services and supports needed for BH to be successful in school. JMC, who is a person with visual disabilities, contacted CAP after a verbal denial of a computer and CCTV from DBS. An investigation confirmed the merits of JMC’s requests and revealed a need for residential internet services and the opportunity to participate in job club services from home. CAP successfully advocated for DBS to provide a computer with monitor, a rehabilitation engineer assessment, a work station, monthly internet services, a portable CCTV, and approval for remote job club participation.

KH, a transition student with ADHD, hearing impairment, mental illness and emotional/behavioral issues, contacted CAP regarding a delay in services from the DVR which was paying for KH to attend Rochester Institute for Technology in New York to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. A lack of communication and assistance from the counselor prompted KH to seek CAP assistance which led to a change of counselor, change of employment goal from legal assistant to prosecutor and provision of maintenance checks to pay for housing while living out-of-state. KH can now focus on becoming a prosecutor.

AW, an adult with limited mobility from a stroke, a learning disability and comprehension issues, contacted CAP for assistance at an Administrative Review regarding a denial of a computer from DVR. CAP represented AW in the appeal process, proving that AW was in need of a computer in order to complete training mandatory to advance in her career. Our intervention led to DVR overturning the denial and providing AW the computer and printer requested.

BR, an adult with a history of substance abuse, contacted CAP for assistance with summer classes sponsored by DVR. BR was attending a local college for an AA degree in Human Services/Addictions Services, paid for through grants which did not cover summer term. BR requested DVR sponsor the term and the request was denied. CAP intervention led to DVR reopening BR’s case under post- employment services, an amendment of the employment goal and sponsorship of summer courses.

HG, an individual with a hearing impairment, contacted CAP for assistance with replacement of a processor for his cochlear implants. DVR placed HG into the benefit through his own health insurance. However, health insurance would not pay for the surgery as it was not covered. CAP advocated for a reading of the policy to allow the Division to pay for the service and then successfully navigated the order of selection/eligibility criteria to ensure services were provided. DVR sponsored the processor.

LM, a 30-year old female with cerebral palsy, was denied assistance with job placement and sought a transfer to another DVR unit. CAP assisted with transfer to another unit and getting client’s IPE amended to include services for child care worker, which was the desired employment goal. The technical issue that held up the referral to a job placement vendor was resolved.

CF, a 58-year old with a mental illness, was denied assistance with self-employment by the DVR. CAP represented the client at an administrative review and obtained approval for services needed to complete the client’s business plan and transfer to a new unit office and counselor.

AA, a 23-year-old female with a learning disability, had a drop in her grades, leading DVR to deny sponsorship of further education. Client sought an administrative review of the decision to deny school sponsorship. The CAP advocate/investigator discussed the student’s progress at Florida International University with an Assistant Director of the school’s Disability Resource Center, who agreed to write a letter explaining the drop in AA’s grades was due to circumstances beyond the AA’s control. The Division agreed to sponsor the tuition based on the additional information.

CB, an adult with quadriplegia, contacted CAP concerned with delays in services, along with a request for a change of DVR counselor. Intervention resulted in agreement by DVR to provide a laptop, voice recognition software, training and change of counselor. The individual’s vocational goal is information technology.

MB, a 32-year-old with a visual impairment and a neurological disorder had job placement and assistive technology requests delayed by both DVR and DBS. CAP worked with both agencies and coordinated the provision of Open Book and JAWS software updates from DBS and a job placement provider through DVR.

GM, an individual diagnosed with depression, contacted CAP for assistance as DVR was not proceeding with his desired self-employment goal. CAP avoided a decision or closure letter from DVR through investigation of both the client and DVR. GM’s self-employment services were halted in part due to concerns about DVR provided equipment (a digital camera and lap top) that had been reported stolen. CAP encouraged DVR to withhold any decisions to suspend GM’s services until the stolen items were addressed in court. CAP assisted GM in obtaining supporting documentation to alleviate concerns and restart provision of DVR services for the small business. DW, an individual who had polio as a child and later diabetes, requested CAP representation at an Administrative Review to contest DVR case closure; a vocational evaluation report indicated the client’s employment prospects were poor. Based on CAP advocacy during the appeal, the Area Director and Area Supervisor agreed to open a new case and refer the client to a Certified Business Technical Assistant Consultant for an evaluation for possible self-employment opportunities. TH, an individual with drug/alcohol dependency and depression, contested DVR’s refusal to offer employment placement services until he was sober for an additional period of time. CAP assisted TH in obtaining documentation clearing him for job placement; his security guard license was renewed and he was referred to a job placement vendor by DVR. AE, an individual with spina bifida, a learning disability, hearing impairment and orthopedic impairments, requested CAP assistance to move her DVR case forward. DVR had put the case on hold, seeking documentation for the financial participation policy. CAP investigated and advocated for DVR to review only the client’s father’s finances for financial participation purposes. After the financial participation review, DVR agreed to take AE’s case off ’hold’ and provide services, including training, transportation and an updated driver’s evaluation. PJ, an individual with a visual impairment, contacted CAP to obtain cataract surgery that DBS had delayed. Upon investigation, CAP learned that the DVR counselor withheld services because PJ was not employed; after discussion with the counselor, the misunderstanding of policy was cleared up. PJ was referred for the surgery.

k. On-line information/outreach: Describe efforts CAP may have put forth to create a web page or some other on-line means of providing information to the public. Include information about the number of "hits" your on-line site received.

Disability Rights Florida web page is located at:

During fiscal year 2011-2012, we had 140,539 hits on the agency website with 1,183 hits on our Spanish website and 139,356 on the English website. An updated on-line transition guide for students with disabilities, family members and advocates is available that is hoped to be a valuable guide to promote inclusion and employment. Our Assistive Technology Disability Topic links to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division of Blind Services Rehabilitation Engineering chapters or policies.

Disability Rights Florida has an information technology specialist that monitors, updates and maintains our web page to ensure full accessibility.



This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:14-Dec-12
Name of Designated Agency Official:Robert Whitney
Title of Designated Agency Official:Executive Director