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

Kansas (DISABILITY RIGHTS CENTER OF KANSAS) - H161A120013 - FY2012

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameThe Disability Rights Center of Kansas
Address635 SW Harrison Suite 100
Address Line 2
CityTopeka
StateKansas
Zip Code66603
E-mail Addressrocky@drckansas.org
Website Address
Phone785-273-9661
TTY 877-335-3725
Toll-free Phone877-776-1541
Toll-free TTY877-335-3725
Fax

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameThe Disability Rights Center of Kansas
Address635 SW Harrison Suite 100
Address Line 2
CityTopeka
Zip Code66603
E-mail Addressrocky@drckansas.org
Website Address
Phone785-273-9661
TTY877-335-3725
Toll-free Phone877-776-1541
Toll-free TTY877-335-3725
Fax

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/Coordinator
Person to contact regarding report
Contact Person Phone

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act1
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
3. Other information provided2
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)3
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)5,020

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)29
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year63
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)92
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.)8

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 13

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 favor37
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)20
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual5
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)7
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution6
7. Appeals were unsuccessful2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.1
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP6
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 individual32
2. Application for services completed.4
3. Eligibility determination expedited3
4. Individual participated in evaluation1
5. IPE developed/implemented18
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party15
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office3
8. Alternative resources identified for individual9
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made1
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 under12
2. 22 - 4031
3. 41 - 6447
4. 65 and over2
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)92

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female51
2. Male41
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)92

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race8
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American18
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White60
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown2

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)5
2. Other visual impairments0
3. Deafness0
4. Hard of hearing2
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments11
7. Absense of extremities0
8. Mental illness36
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation3
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)2
12. Neurological disorders5
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions1
15. Digestive disorders2
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments2
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)4
20. All other disabilities19
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)92

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program15
2. Clients of VR Program68
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program5
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act5

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only73
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only10
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources6
4. Employer4

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information6
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor18
3. Conflict about services to be provided53
4. Related to application/eligibility process6
5. Related to IPE development/implementation8
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems3
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/referral19
2. Advisory/interpretational27
3. Negotiation15
4. Administrative/informal review6
5. Alternative dispute resolution17
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy5
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

Narrative a. Type of agency used to administer CAP: Identify the type of agency used to administer the CAP and type of agency operating the CAP, if different. Types of agencies used to administer the CAP include, but are not limited to:1) external -- P&A;2) external -- other public agency;3) external -- nonprofit agency;4) internal to State VR agency (not sub-contracted); and5) internal to State VR agency (sub-contracted).Effective 04/01/2005 the CAP was re-designated to the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, Inc., the designated Protection and Advocacy System for Kansas.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 individualsFederal funds $114,746State funds 0All other funds 0Total from all sources $114,746The "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 FFY 2012 FFY 2013Wages & Salaries $68,703 $72,575Fringe Benefits $20,935 $22,100Materials/Supplies $ 1,793 $ 1,500Postage $ 631 $ 412Telephone $ 1,449 $ 1,200Rent $ 7,290 $ 6,079Travel $ 2,664 $ 4,128Copying $ 0 $ 0Bonding/Insurance $ 871 $ 826Equip Rent/Purchase $ 928 $ 2,120Legal Services $ 0 $ 0Indirect Costs $ 0 $ 0Miscellaneous $ 9,482 $14,060Total Budget $114,746 $125,000d. 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 par-time positions. The following chart is recommended:Type of position FTE % yr filled Person-yearsExecutive Director 1 100% 1Deputy Director - Administrative Division 1 100% 1Deputy Director - Legal Division 1 100% 1Case Attorneys 5 100% 5Case Advocates 4.5 100% 4.5Office Assistant 1 100% 1Administrative Assistant 1 100% 1Outreach/Spec Project Dir 1 100% 1Duties:Executive Director - Overall leader and director of the agency. Administrative head of the agency. Employs staff (hires/fires). Ensures accountability, effectiveness and efficiency of agency’s programs and services.Deputy Director - Administrative Division - Responsible for accounting, bookkeeping, accounts receivable & payable, building and lease issues, human resources, etc. Supervises the Office Assistant and Outreach/Special Projects Director. Deputy Director - Legal Division - Responsible for legal work product of the agency. Supervises the staff attorneys and advocates. Carries an active caseload. Prosecutes cases. Case Attorneys - Provide legal representation.Case Advocates - Provide advocacy representation and case advocacy. Office Assistant - Answers phones, does office and administrative tasks, etc.Administrative Assistant - Provides administrative support to the legal division and assists with general administrative tasks for the entire agency.Outreach & Special Projects Director - manages the tasks associated with outreach, communications/public relations, marketing/publications, and administrative office functions of the agency.

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. DRC staff conducted numerous outreaches across Kansas to inform the disability community about the CAP, P&A programs and services, the Rehabilitation Act and disability rights issues. DRC staff completed 136 presentations to approximately 5020 people during FFY 2012 where the CAP and the Rehabilitation Act were either the focus of the presentation or these issues were part of the presentation or materials were provided. 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.). DRC is an active member of the State Rehabilitation Advisory Council and participates closely with the Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living, the Big Tent Coalition, the Mental Health Coalition as well as many other Kansas disability organizations. The Executive Director of DRC is also the Convener/Chair of the Big Tent Coalition, the largest cross-age, cross-disability advocacy coalition in Kansas. DRC is a member of the Working Healthy Advisory Board. In the past DRC and Working Healthy have collaborated on significant projects. For example, DRC staff and Working Healthy Staff created a “Consumer Handbook.” This handbook is a calendar type tool for all consumers that are working and need to keep track of their hours, pay receipts, expenses and information that they have passed on to different agencies about their work. This is a product that can be used for many years to come. DRC and Working Healthy feel this is an important tool for consumers. This tool is especially helpful for CAP-eligible clients served by Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living Centers. CAP-eligible clients now has access to a convenient handbook where they can keep all their information they need to maintain benefits under Social Security and become employed. DRC has also written newsletters for Working Health clients to inform them about important changes in employment policy. 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.DRC has an on-going outreach effort to underserved populations to ensure effective access to our services. Whenever DRC considers whether it will conduct an outreach or training, one of aspects we weigh is how will the training reach out to previously unserved or underserved communities. In addition, DRC has collaborated with the Kansas African American Affairs Advisory Commission and the Kansas Hispanic Affairs Advisory Commissions, as well as communication with other racial minority groups (NAACP, etc.) about disability issues and solicited outreach events and opportunities. 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. DRC has been successful in representing clients at advocacy levels less than a formal dispute resolution. Prior to pursuing any legal options, part of DRCs built-in case review process is to obtain justice and an effective remedy for the client in a manner that is short of legal action (if at all possible). Every effort is made to work directly with the VR counselor and his or her supervisor to resolve the client’s concern before legal action is needed. In fact, DRC has experienced great success in settling issues and getting matters resolved by working directly with the VR Counselor or VR Supervisor. The result of using the lowest level of advocacy necessary is a quicker resolution to the clients concerns and decreased expense of ADR and 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. Rising counselor-to-client ratios (at least 180:1 or higher in many parts of the state) seems to have resulted in the majority of CAP service requests being most easily categorized as ‘communication problems with counselor’ or ‘conflict over services to be provided.’ CAP advocates have kept up with changes to VR service regions and have been able to work out issues at the Program Director level when trends showed a lack of understanding on the part of counselors in a certain geographic region or another. Typical issues that have been brought to the attention of Program Administrators as well as, on occasion, the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) have been in regard to consistent patterns of questionable denials for certain services or lack of a response to a client’s attempt to establish or reestablish communication with counselors when a client desired a change to a plan, or to ensure the counselor was informed of challenges to the client in completing parts of the plan. Many clients have expressed frustration over an inability to reach counselors and/or difficulty in setting up appointments. Also, we have identified the difficulty with being able to exercise choice in setting goals, e.g. clients feel counselors are discounting their choices and imposing their values as to whether the client would be successful without letting them attempt certain types of employment goals. Over the past year there has also continued to be issues with VR counselors closing cases that clients do not want closed. The correspondence is sometimes unclear as to why a case is being closed or basing it on lack of response when client has been trying to reach them.These types of communication issues can make it difficult for clients to be sure changes they wish or need to make will meet the prior approval of the counselor. Clients who have not been able to document, or who did not exercise the wherewithal to document their attempts to contact their counselor have, at times, been faced with inappropriate service denials. These types of problems (communication and conflict over services to be provided) seem to negatively impact young VR clients and those with cognitive disabilities most of all.During the past year, the CAP has continued to consciously make outreach a priority to Transition Age Youth, parent groups, and foster care/independent living staff, etc. to increase awareness of the benefits of accessing VR services. This year, VR saw the highest rise in many years in the number of Transition Age applicants. However, the number of successful outcomes for this age group has stayed the same—which has resulted in a much lower overall success rate for Transition Age clients to VR. This disappointing development has led us to engage as many other stakeholders who work with Transition Age Youth as possible to encourage better coordination among all types of service systems (IL coordinators, special education, and various provider groups). Through systemic advocacy we have pushed for streamlined planning and service coordination so that employment goals and support services are consistent from one plan to the next. Policies and procedures used by special education, foster care, independent living services and VR services all include their own distinct processes and these systems have resisted efforts to ensure better coordination. CAP advocates plan to continue to highlight the benefits to systems of better coordination such as better utilization of counselor time, more efficient and comprehensive planning, and higher chances of successful outcomes for Transition Age VR clients.Systemic Change Advocacy:In addition, DRC has engaged in numerous systems change advocacy efforts that greatly benefit clients of Vocational Rehabilitation and CAP-eligible clients, including:. Incentive to Employ People with Disabilities by State Contractors - This new law provides a preference for state contractors to employ people with disabilities. If a state contractor meets certain requirements, they are deemed a “certified” disability contractor, and provided preference when bidding on the state contracts. This preference allows the “certified” contractor to be 10% over the lowest competitive bid and still be awarded the contract. In order to become a “certified” contractor, at least 20% of their workforce must be people with disabilities. The bill also requires these businesses to contribute at least 70% of the premium cost for individual health insurance coverage for each employee and the level of the coverage must be at least equal to the level of benefits offered by the state employee benefit program.During hearings on the bill DRC offered several amendments to strengthen the bill and to fix several technical problems. These changes help ensure that people with disabilities can still preserve their access to health care and Medicaid if they ever lose their job at a certified business. The way it was organically written made it cumbersome to interpret and we wanted to ensure there wasn’t any language that would inadvertently limit eligibility for programs or otherwise negatively impact the rights of Kansans with disabilities who seek employment. DRC also advocated for requirements for the certified contractors to pay their employees with disabilities a competitive wage. DRC successfully obtained an amendment to the bill requiring that certified contractors not use subminimum wage certificates. DRC also pushed to include people with mental illness as people with a qualifying disability. The original version of the bill excluded people with mental illness for receiving the hiring preference. The bill was signed into law during the 2012 Legislative session. Regulating Restraint and Seclusion in Schools -This issue of seclusion and restraint in schools is important to consumers of VR services, because many transition aged youth who receive special education or related services can also be eligible for VR services, and youth with disabilities are disproportionately subjected to dangerous seclusion and restraint. This year’s legislative session also saw a push to pass a state law to require schools to ensure staff members are trained in safe and effective techniques for keeping students safe and avoiding the use of restraint or seclusion. It also set up requirements and regulations to control and limit the use of these dangerous tactics. The bill would also require our State’s Department of Education to accurately track data on the use of restraint and seclusion. DRC would with parents from around the state to develop their own testimony, both written and verbal. At the hearing in February of 2012, DRC testified in support of the proposal, as did our stakeholder allies and numerous families. DRC followed up after the hearing with a memo that answered key questions posed by legislators during the hearing and met with individual legislators to hear any possible concerns they may have and to educate them about the bill. DRC wrote a memo that addressed questions and concerns raised by members of the committee and obtained 20 co-signers from the disability advocacy community. In March, DRC participated in a press conference to educate members of the media that was also well attended by parents and other advocates. Finally, these efforts paid off when the Kansas House of Representatives passed the bill with a floor vote of 81 to 42.The Senate Education Committee heard considerable testimony in opposition to the bill from the school districts. They were also asked by members of the State Board of Education to allow them to draft regulations that addressed restraint and seclusion during the April break in the session. The committee granted this request DRC began meetings with Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) staff about initial drafts of the regulations. DRC staff members then testified before the State Board of Education about the need to have effective regulations. The School Board has not yet voted on a final version of the regulations. However, we are hopeful that the State Board of Education will hear the proposed regulations in early 2013. Although this process began as a legislative bill, it appears that the issue may ultimately addressed by the State Board of Education with regulations. Whether it is a bill or regulations, the remedy is to have something enforceable that protects students from these dangerous and deadly tactics. Kansas Act Against DiscriminationHouse Bill 2335 was a bill to update the Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD) and bring Kansas law up to date with the 2008 Amendments to the federal Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act. DRC testified in support of the bill on both sides of the Kansas Legislature. After answering numerous questions, it passed both houses. It was enrolled and presented to the Governor on March 23rd and signed into law on June 1st, 2012. This offers additional protections to all Kansans with disabilities through the KAAD, and allows Kansans another remedy to address disability discrimination issues. 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.Example 1JB has a mental illness and receives Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services to help her attend law school. JB and VR had a dispute over the provision of several services in JB’s Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). A DRC attorney filed for an administrative hearing and negotiated a favorable resolution to the dispute.Example 2DA is 53 years old and has a mental health diagnosis. DA received VR services with an employment goal to be a truck driver. She had difficulty communicating with her counselor and receiving timely services. DRC staff met 3 times with DA and VR staff to get reimbursement for services in IPE. VR agreed to reimburse DA in full and add services and costs in a new IPE. DA is now in truck driving school. Example 3AG is a 47 year old, deaf individual. He was attending a horse shoeing school in Purcell, Oklahoma with the assistance of VR. A new instructor took over just prior to AG’s last class assignment making a horseshoe. The new instructor refused to let AG take the final examination because he said AG did not do well enough on the last assignment. AG felt the instructor was unfairly grading him. DRC staff gave self-advocacy technical assistance to AG on asking his VR counselor to contact the instructor. AG’s VR counselor contacted the school, and the school agreed to let AG take the exam (for which he did not require an interpreter). 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.DRC operates a web site, which has been tested and found to be accessibility to persons with disabilities. In addition, DRC completed a recent overhaul of the look and feel of the website to make it more appealing and easier to navigate. This is part of DRC’s continuous quality improvement planning process. DRC also e-mails out its semi-annual newsletter in various accessible electronic formats. DRC has worked diligently to improve the content on the DRC web site. For example, DRC has within the past 3 fiscal years added exclusive and original video content about our services and the rights of people with disabilities on our web site. This video content has been very popular with Kansas consumers, because it allows them to have access to information about disability rights issues in a format that is easily accessible, especially to those with intellectual functioning disabilities. The video format is also good for busy people with jobs who are on-the-go throughout the day. Instead of having to read through brochures and more paper, they can access a short, easy to understand videos on the topic. These videos specifically cover the CAP and educate consumers about VR services and employment issues. To our knowledge, this is the first time that VR consumers had access to information about VR services and advocacy for employment issues in an easy to access video format. DRC had 35455 hits on its web site during the last fiscal year.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:18-Dec-12
Name of Designated Agency Official:Rocky Nichols
Title of Designated Agency Official:Excutive Director