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

Louisiana (Advocacy Center) - H161A120019 - FY2012

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameAdvocacy Center
Address8325 Oak Street
Address Line 2
CityNew Orleans
StateLouisiana
Zip Code70118
E-mail Addressdgallegos@advocacyla.org
Website Addresshttp://www.advocacyla.org
Phone504-522-2337
TTY 855-861-3577
Toll-free Phone800-960-7705
Toll-free TTY855-861-3577
Fax504-522-5507

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameAdvocacy Center
Address8325 Oak Street
Address Line 2
CityNew Orleans
Zip Code70118
E-mail Addressdgallegos@advocacyla.org
Website Addresshttp://www.advocacyla.org
Phone504-522-2337
TTY855-861-3577
Toll-free Phone800-960-7705
Toll-free TTY855-861-3577
Fax504-522-5507

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorDavid Gallegos
Person to contact regarding reportDavid Gallegos
Contact Person Phone504-522-2337

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act20
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
3. Other information provided0
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)20
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)16
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year62
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)78
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.)78

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 0

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 favor39
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)15
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual3
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)5
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution10
7. Appeals were unsuccessful0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
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 individual27
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited6
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented10
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party18
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office3
8. Alternative resources identified for individual4
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made10
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 under25
2. 22 - 405
3. 41 - 6447
4. 65 and over1
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)78

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female30
2. Male48
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)78

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American30
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White44
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)4
2. Other visual impairments4
3. Deafness3
4. Hard of hearing2
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments21
7. Absense of extremities2
8. Mental illness20
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation1
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)3
12. Neurological disorders10
13. Respiratory disorders0
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions3
15. Digestive disorders1
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)4
20. All other disabilities0
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)78

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program20
2. Clients of VR Program57
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program1
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act0

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only46
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only0
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources32
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor17
3. Conflict about services to be provided51
4. Related to application/eligibility process7
5. Related to IPE development/implementation3
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
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/referral20
2. Advisory/interpretational30
3. Negotiation30
4. Administrative/informal review17
5. Alternative dispute resolution11
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

4. PART III. NARRATIVE (Attach separate sheets.)

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. Type of agency used to administer CAP:

The Louisiana Client Assistance Program (CAP) is one of many programs administered by the Advocacy Center (AC), Louisiana’s Protection and Advocacy System. The AC is a statewide, non-profit agency providing legal and advocacy services to seniors and persons with disabilities. The CAP provides free assistance to persons seeking services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through individual and systems advocacy, outreach and training. ?

Mr. David Gallegos continues to serve as the CAP Director and is alsothe CAP Advocate. He has over 22 years of experience in non-profit, disability job-training and placement programs, and served as South Louisiana’s Center for Independent Living Program Director.

Legal oversight of CAP is provided by Ms. Nell Hahn. She also serves as Mr. Gallegos’ supervisor. In October 2012, Mrs. Marla Reissland-Dorsey, CAP Advocate left the program. CAP does not anticipate filling her vacant position.

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:

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 $ 137,926.98 State funds 0 All other funds 0 Total from all sources $ 137,926.98 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 $ 107,809 $ 127,418 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) $ 25,248 $ 29,155 Materials/Supplies $ 2,607 $ 2,981 Postage $ 1,104 $ 1,088 Telephone $ 2,292 $ 2,390 Rent $ 7,779 $ 12,410 Travel $ 6,243 $ 6,697 Copying $ 953 $ 1,014 Bonding/Insurance $ 395 $ 424 Equipment Rental/Purchase $ 1,318 $ 1,711 Legal Services 0 0 Indirect Costs 0 0 Miscellaneous $ 4,158 $ 4,208 Total Budget $ 159,906 $ 189,496

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 1.51593 100% 10 Full-time 0.53901 100% 8 Part-time 0.97692 2 Vacant 0 0 0 Clerical 0.03836 100% 4 Full-time 0.00630 100% 4 Part-time 0.03206 2 Vacant 0 0 0

e. Summary of presentations made:

During FY ’12, the CAP collaborated with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) programs to conduct outreachand training to approximately 350 job seekers in nine cities across the state. CAP provided job seekers information on Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) and how to access CAP services. Information booklets entitled “Knowing the Road” and “On Your Own Behalf” were provided to attendees. These booklets provide an overview of LRS services and LRS appeal procedures. ?The CAP also conducted statewide training to LRS regional managers and LRS counselors. This training allowed CAP to provide LRS an overview of its role and responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act.

f. Involvement with advisory boards:

CAP participates on the following advisory boards: Work Pays Coalition (WPC), Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC), and the Medicaid Purchase Advisory (MPP) Councils. Mr. Gallegos was elected to serve as the Chair of the National Disability Rights Network CAP Advisory Council. In this position, Mr. Gallegos provides input and guidance on training and systems issues relevant to CAP. He is awaiting approval to serve as the CAP designee on the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC).

g. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations:

During FY ’12, Advocacy Center staff worked with several groups to promote diversity and racial and ethnic equality throughout the state, particularly in the New Orleans area. One staff member serves as a Board member for Puentes/Latinola, a group which works to create access for and with Latinos of the Greater New Orleans area through civic engagement, leadership development, economic asset building, policy and advocacy. Through this work, the Advocacy Center is able to reach out to underserved and minority groups and to raise awareness of disability issues and rights in minority communities.

An Advocacy Center staff member presented at the “Undoing Racism” conference. As part of a panel discussion, he spoke about people with disabilities as a minority group and raised awareness of the Advocacy Center’s programs and services.

The Advocacy Center distributed information about our programs and services to the vocational rehabilitation programs serving Native Americans across the state.

Information about the Advocacy Center’s services was distributed at a number of events targeting minority and underserved individuals with disabilities throughout the year.

• Job fair targeting Native Americans in Houma, La • Bayou Health and the Latino Community event targeting the Hispanic and Vietnamese communities in New Orleans, La — 82 participants • Civil rights presentation targeting the Hispanic and Vietnamese communities in New Orleans, La — 40 participants • Educational forum targeting the Hispanic community in St. Martinville, La — 35 participants

Advocacy Center staff are assisting with the organization of a language access conference. This event will be held in the New Orleans area in 2013.

Advocacy Center staff reach out to people with disabilities across the state in a variety of ways: electronically via email, website, Facebook and Twitter; in person at events across the state; and via telephone. Offering opportunities for individuals to learn more about the Advocacy Center in so many different ways allows underserved people with disabilities to connect with the Advocacy Center in the method that is most comfortable and accessible for them.

The AC also provides dedicated voice mailboxes for those who speak Spanish and Vietnamese. The CAP Director is fluent in Spanish.

h. Alternative dispute resolutions:

The CAP seeks to resolve issues at the lowest level possible. Doing so allows CAP to resolve the majority of issues without seeking formal legal intervention. Most issues are addressed through negotiation; however when needed, the CAP implements a more formal approach including legal remedies “only as necessary” and if all other forms of dispute resolution are exhausted. Below is a breakdown of intervention levels employed during FY ’12:

1. Information/referral 20 2. Advisory/interpretational 30 3. Negotiation 17 4. Administrative/informal review 11 5. Alternative dispute resolution 0 6. Formal appeal/fair hearing 0 Total: 78

i. Systemic advocacy:

Systems advocacy is an advocacy methodology often used the CAP. During FY ’12 CAP engaged in the following systems advocacy efforts:

1. Transition from school to work- The CAP seldom receives requests for assistance on transition issues. For this reason, in FY’12, the CAP initiated statewide meetings with LRS regional managers to discuss how transition from school to work is being incorporated into LRS services. Following these meetings, the CAP shared these concerns with the LRS Director: 1. Some LRS regions provide dedicated staff to do transition work. 2. In other regions, counselors rotate the responsibility of doing transition work. 3. In most regions, the lack of transition work seems to be due to Counselor shortages and high caseloads. LRS Counselors expressed a concern in not having enough time to attend transition meetings or follow up on transition issues. Overall, LRS’ approach on transition work is not consistent. The CAP requested that the LRS Director provide updates on its progress to standardize, prioritize and look at the high caseload issue. CAP will also request transition from school to work is placed on quarterly Louisiana’s Rehabilitation Council (LRC) meeting agendas for discussion and follow up. CAP will monitor LRS’ progress.

2. Transportation- Although CAP successfully advocated for a modest gasoline increase from 2.15 to 2.75 in 2011, Louisiana’s low mileage reimbursement remains a concern. The CAP will keep transportation as a high priority in its future systems advocacy work.

3. Service to Employment Outcome Model Shift- LRS is making a philosophical shift from a “services to employment outcome model”. The LRS Director assured CAP that it will continue to provide services as required by federal guidelines. LRS anticipates the philosophical shift will increase the number of successful employment closure outcomes. This model shift will be implemented slowly over time and is not intended to be a “quick fix”. The CAP will monitor LRS’ employment outcome model shift and will request regular updates from the LRS Director and during LRC quarterly meetings.

4. Communication- In FY’12, the CAP saw an increase in communication barriers between clients and LRS counselors. Examples include clients not being able to reach counselors by phone, delayed updates by counselors, negative/poor communication by counselors, and clients not receiving reasonable and timely case status updates. The increase in communication issues experienced by clients may be linked to the high (150-250) counselor caseloads. In response to CAP’s request to address these concerns, the LRS Director agreed to conduct counselor and manager training on communication.

5. Order of Selection- In Louisiana, LRS serves order of selection group 1. This is the most severely disabled group. In FY’12, the CAP noticed an increase in the number of applicants requesting reconsideration of order of selection. Clients not approved for order of selection group 1 are provided information on other training programs such as Louisiana Workforce Commission training programs and encouraged to attend the Work Pay$ job fairs. CAP will continue to monitor and intervene as needed to ensure clients are placed in the appropriate order of selection category. CAP will also monitor LRS to ensure order of selection guidelines are being appropriately applied and interpreted.

The CAP will continue to address systems issues that impact services to clients. The LRS Director agreed to work with CAP and the LRC to improve transparency on individual and systems related issues. The LRS Director is an active member of the LRC and provides regular updates on proposed and current policy recommendations.

j. Interesting cases:

Case 1- Mr. A is a talented Cajun musician. He is blind in both eyes and has a secondary heart condition that limits his stamina. He uses assistive technology to assist him play his instruments. Mr. A. contacted CAP for assistance to secure additional assistive technology. The CAP secured some of the needed assistive technology/equipment and will continue to advocate for additional equipment.

Mr. A. also requested funding from LRS to further establish his music business. Mr. A. has a local fan base, however he wants to increase marketing, production and concert tours. He believes he can significantly increase his earnings potential if he gets the additional assistive technology and small business funding from LRS. CAP is negotiating with LRS to reconsider its policy that clients must upfront 20% of the small business funding prior to receiving the additional 80% up to $20,000. LRS recommended Mr. A. go through a small business course to develop a business plan. CAP will monitor this issue for possible systems change advocacy.

Case 2- Ms. H. is also blind. She expects to graduate from University in December 2012 and hopes to work in the computer technology field. Ms. A. is very motivated and maintains a high GPA.

Ms. A. contacted CAP to secure LRS funding for summer school. Initially LRS stated it would not pay for summer school. LRS’ policy states “LRS will only pay for summer school if the course needed is related to specific training or certification”. The course Ms. A. needs to complete is only offered during the spring and summer semester. The delay in LRS paying for summer school would have required Ms. A to wait until the 2013 spring semester to take the course she is required to take to graduate. CAP made the argument that postponing Ms. A’s degree would actually cost LRS more money. LRSagreed to make an exception and paid for Ms. A. to take her summer course. She will complete college with a 3.5 GPA and will graduate in December.

Case 3- Ms. C. acquired her disability (mental illness) later in life. She has a long work history in the business industry. She requested assistance from LRS to help her reenter the workforce and to secure some additional soft skills training such as interviewing, resume writing and business technology refresher training. LRS agreed to assist Ms. C. and referred her to an employment vendor. The vendor met with and assessed Ms. C’s. business technology skills. Although Ms. C. scored high in her preferred area of work, the vendor recommended she interview for a job in housekeeping. Ms. C. expressed dissatisfaction with the vendor’s recommendation and requested she be given job leads in her field of work.

The vendor made a written statement to LRS that Ms. C. “refused” a job offer and also made written comments about Ms. C’s. mental health status which she found both insulting and discriminatory. Ms. C. requested and was assigned to another vendor. She also requested the vendor amend its written statement about her mental illness. The vendor refused to amend the statement.

Ms. C. requested and was provided technical assistance to file an office of civil rights (OCR) complaint against the vendor. According to Ms. C., OCR is investigating her complaint.

In the meantime, Ms. C. is working with LRS to secure a job in her preferred area of work. She is happy she did not settle for just any job. She believes she would have been very unhappy if she had taken just “any job”. CAP continues to work with LRS to ensure clients receive appropriate services in the area of work for which they are qualified. CAP agrees that appropriate job search and job placement services should include placing clients in jobs that are appropriate to their qualifications, training and desires. CAP will monitor this case and similar cases in which clients express dissatisfaction with the quality of job placement services by LRS and its vendors.

k. On-line information/outreach:

The AC/CAP has a website that provides clients information on CAP, employment publications including CAP flyer, Knowing the Road and On Your Own Behalf booklets. Advocacy Center also hosts the Work Pays website that provides additional employment-related information to job seekers and the community. AC/CAP promotes the social networking site Facebook and shares CAP success stories with AC staff. In FY ’12 AC’s website had 72,032 website hits.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:17-Dec-12
Name of Designated Agency Official:Lois V. Simpson
Title of Designated Agency Official:Executive Director