|Name||Sheila Conlon Mentkowski|
|Address||721 Capitol Mall|
|Address Line 2|
|Address Line 2|
|Name of CAP Director/Coordinator|
|Person to contact regarding report|
|Contact Person Phone|
Multiple responses are not permitted.
|1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act||7,906|
|2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA||609|
|3. Other information provided||4,257|
|4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)||12,772|
|5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)||1,918|
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)||149|
|2. Additional individuals who were served during the year||905|
|3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)||1,054|
|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.)||0|
Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 162
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 favor||510|
|2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)||217|
|3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual||31|
|4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)||18|
|5. Individual chose alternative representation||16|
|6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution||57|
|7. Appeals were unsuccessful||5|
|8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.||8|
|9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP||38|
|10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources||3|
|11. Other (please explain)|
|1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual||524|
|2. Application for services completed.||56|
|3. Eligibility determination expedited||7|
|4. Individual participated in evaluation||8|
|5. IPE developed/implemented||96|
|6. Communication re-established between individual and other party||108|
|7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office||24|
|8. Alternative resources identified for individual||62|
|9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made||5|
|11. Other (please explain)|
As of the beginning of the fiscal year. Multiple responses are not permitted.
|1. 21 and under||85|
|2. 22 - 40||298|
|3. 41 - 64||629|
|4. 65 and over||42|
|5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)||1,054|
Multiple responses not permitted.
|3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)||1,054|
|1. Hispanic/Latino of any race||191|
|For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only|
|2. American Indian or Alaskan Native||19|
|4. Black or African American||238|
|5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander||41|
|7. Two or more races||33|
|8. Race/ethnicity unknown||24|
Multiple responses not permitted.
|1. Blindness (both eyes)||53|
|2. Other visual impairments||43|
|4. Hard of hearing||24|
|6. Orthopedic impairments||178|
|7. Absense of extremities||4|
|8. Mental illness||302|
|9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)||0|
|10. Mental retardation||30|
|11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)||86|
|12. Neurological disorders||32|
|13. Respiratory disorders||3|
|14. Heart and other circulatory conditions||25|
|15. Digestive disorders||0|
|16. Genitourinary conditions||1|
|17. Speech Impairments||3|
|18. AIDS/HIV positive||10|
|19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)||41|
|20. All other disabilities||192|
|21. Disabilities not known||0|
|22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)||1,054|
Multiple responses permitted.
|1. Applicants of VR Program||314|
|2. Clients of VR Program||717|
|3. Applicants or clients of IL Program||4|
|4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act||19|
Multiple responses permitted.
|1. VR agency only||880|
|2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only||27|
|3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources||143|
Multiple responses permitted.
|1. Individual requests information||229|
|2. Communication problems between individual and counselor||81|
|3. Conflict about services to be provided||402|
|4. Related to application/eligibility process||126|
|5. Related to IPE development/implementation||103|
|6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems||14|
|7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related||3|
|8. Related to Title I of the ADA||4|
Choose one primary CAP service provided for each case file/service record.
|4. Administrative/informal review||33|
|5. Alternative dispute resolution||6|
|6. Formal appeal/fair hearing||4|
|7. Legal remedy||0|
Part III. Narrative
Client Assistance Program Annual Report October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013
A. Type of Agency Administering Program:
The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is mandated by Section 112 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 USC 701 et. seq.). The Act requires the Governor of each State to designate a specific agency to receive Client Assistance Program funds. In California, the designated agency is the State of California, Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). The Client Assistance Program is internal to the DOR. The California CAP continued to utilize the state public contracting process to award contracts to community-based non-profit organizations for the provision of CAP services. This is in accordance with the California Public Contract Code, in which every three years, a competitive application process must be implemented by DOR to solicit and select contractors who will serve as community based CAP providers. The CAP contracts were in the second year of this three year contract cycle. Disability Rights California (DRC) was the contractor that carries out the CAP services for the DOR districts statewide.
The May Revision of the Governor’s 2013-2014 Budget Proposal made public the intent to redesignate the CAP outside of DOR’s administration. The Brown administration proceeded with a public process to redesignate the CAP to Disability Rights California, effective 10/1/2013. A public notice was provided, a public hearing held in Sacramento and simultaneously broadcast to three other locations in California, affording the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed redesignation, and a written comment period was held open. The Governor reviewed the comments and redesignated the CAP to DRC effective October 1, 2013.
B. Sources of Funds:
Funds expended in the provision of services to persons eligible for CAP are federal 112 funds only. The Act provides for a one year roll over of unused funds. The DOR has administered the program within its federal 112 budget and will utilize the roll over provision to fully expend all CAP funds. No state general funds or other moneys were used.
1. Federal funds: FY 12 $1,338,236 FY 13 $1,185,485
2. State funds: FY 12 $0 FY 13 $0
3. All other funds: FY 12 $0 FY 13 $0
See attached Appendix 1 for the specific budgets for FY 2013 showing expenses by line item. Note that the CAP Advocate contracts were administered on a federal fiscal year basis while the DOR’s spreadsheet displays expenditures on the state fiscal year basis, from July 1 through June 30.
D. Number of Person Years:
There was one Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff housed within the DOR as a state employee who performed the administrative functions of the CAP program daily. The CAP Chief monitored and tracked monthly and quarterly statistics from the CAP Advocate contractors; reviewed, approved, and processed CAP Contractor monthly invoices, reviews and input monthly data reports from the Advocates, and conducted other administrative tasks related to the statewide CAP program operation. The CAP was housed in the DOR’s Independent Living and Community Access Division led by the Deputy Director. Some clerical assistance was provided by two Office Technician positions in the ILCA division as needed.
E. Summary of Presentations Made:
CAP Advocate staff provided presentations to numerous individuals at local community agencies, student disabled services at local community colleges, two year and full four year colleges, rehabilitation programs, and independent living centers. CAP Advocates also contact agencies and organizations providing services to persons with disabilities in his or her own catchment area to explain the services available through the Client Assistance Program. Throughout the reporting year, the following presentations were made:
TRAINING AND PRESENTATIONS:
CAP Provided Training to the Department of Children and Family Services in Ventura
CAP provided a substantive training to 18 Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) staff in Ventura County regarding transition and employment services for youth and young adults. Those who attended the training left with a better understating of the intersection between special education, DOR services, and the Regional Center services and the scope of DOR services available to transition-age youth. CAP staff discussed CAP services to help protect the rights of individuals receiving DOR services. Participants were also trained on how to advocate for the various vocational rehabilitation and employment services available. The DCFS staff were provided publications regarding CAP, DOR, and special education transition rights. CAP Gave Presentation to Special Education Advocates in Northridge
CAP was invited as a guest speaker at the monthly meeting for the California State University — Northridge (CSUN) Center on Disability to present regarding vocational services for students with disabilities. CSUN is part of a Workability program and a contractor with the DOR. Staff who attended the training gained a better understating of the scope of DOR services and how those relate to higher education and employment. The advocate presented on the development of an IPE with DOR, and the services that the CAP program provides as well. The 10 CSUN staff left better prepared to assist students who are clients of DOR, and were provided publications regarding the IPE, DOR, and CAP.
CAP Provided Social Security Training to DOR Clients in Santa Barbara
CAP provided a Social Security benefits training to approximately 11 DOR clients of the Santa Barbara Department of Rehabilitation. Attendees received information about how work impacts Social Security benefits. The training also included a review of various work incentives programs available to individuals who wish to return to work while receiving Social Security benefits. As a result of the training, DOR clients had a better understanding of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rules pertaining to work so that they can self-advocate when they are ready to pursue employment.
CAP Offered Training on DOR Services to Staff at Job Center in Verdugo
The Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program is funded by the Social Security Administration to provide in-depth counseling about Social Security benefits and the effect of work on those benefits. The Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWIC) are individuals who work under the WIPA grant to provide such services. A number of the CWIC’s clientele are individuals who are also DOR clients. CAP provided a substantive training to approximately 20 CWICs serving clients at the Verdugo Job Center. The training included a discussion about the DOR eligibility criteria, the Individualized Plan for Employment, and types of services that DOR provides. As a result of the training, the participants have a better understanding of DOR eligibility and services, and can use their knowledge to assist existing and future individuals obtaining services.
CAP Trained Parents of a Family Resource Network in Northern California
The CAP advocates presented information on the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, DOR and the CAP program to parents of children and transition-age youth at the Family Resource Network (FRN). FRN is a parent-run center that provides services to children and youth with disabilities aged 0 to 22 in five northern California counties. The CAP advocates informed the parents of the eligibility process to receive DOR services, how to apply for DOR services, their right to informed choice, the TTP program, transition services, choosing an employment goal, and the IPE process and development. CAP provided information to the attendees on the role of CAP advocates to ensure that clients’ rights are protected as they seek and receive services from DOR. Participants were provided CAP brochures, information about the location of DOR offices throughout the state, and the DOR website address.
The FRN has at least two trainings/presentations each month throughout the year across the 5 northern California counties. CAP has been invited to return to present this valuable information to other FRN meetings in the other counties as the FRN schedule allows. CAP agreed to come and present whenever FRN has an opening on its calendar.
CAP Trained Members of DOR’s Blind Advisory Committee (BAC)
The CAP advocate provided training to 14 members of the Blind Advisory Committee and 6 public attendees at the quarterly meeting of the BAC. The BAC is an advisory committee with DOR, which provides advice to DOR regarding issues and policies related to the provision of rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. CAP informed attendees about the vocational rehabilitation process and blind and visually impaired applicants’ rights to services from DOR through Blind Field Services (BFS). The CAP advocate discussed how to apply for DOR services, the eligibility process, assessments and evaluations, the trial work experience, their right to informed choice, and the IPE development process. The CAP advocate emphasized the importance of the BAC support to ensure that BFS purchase and train DOR clients who are blind or visually impaired on the most up-to-date assistive technology that will appropriately accommodate individuals in the workplace. The CAP advocate also advised participants of available transition services through DOR’s TTP program to help students who are blind or visually impaired transition from high school to college and/or work. The BAC meets quarterly and the committee chair informed the CAP advocate (a BAC member) that the committee will advise him when the committee feels that training on the CAP program is necessary for current and future BAC members.
CAP Informed Staff at the Wellness and Advocacy Center in Sacramento The Sacramento CAP advocates provided training to staff and members at the Wellness and Advocacy Center, a client-run Goodwill program based on the principles of self-help, peer support, self-determination, and personal responsibility for recovery for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. CAP advocates informed the participants about the VR process and the role of DOR and CAP in the rehabilitation process. CAP reviewed the eligibility process to receive DOR services, how to apply for DOR services, informed choice, the TTP program, transition services, choosing an employment goal, and the IPE process and development. CAP discussed transition services, the assessment and evaluation process, and the trial work experience through DOR, and due process rights to appeal any decision DOR makes. Since CAP works out of the Wellness and Advocacy Center in Santa Rosa, staff routinely approach the CAP advocate to provide training to the center’s members and staff when necessary.
CAP Gave Presentation to EmployAbility Partnership in Los Angeles
CAP is a community partner on the WorkSource EmployAbility Partnership Taskforce serving individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment. CAP presented information regarding the Social Security and work incentive programs available to people with disabilities to approximately 30 consumers and employees of the Los Angeles WorkSource Center. Participants were trained on a variety of public benefits available, and incentives offered by Social Security for individuals who receive SSI or SSDI and want to pursue employed, which include many individuals who are DOR clients. The EmployAbility Partnership and CAP are looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively to increase efforts on employment opportunities for people with disabilities. CAP Provided Training to Special Education Advocates at Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles
CAP trained approximately 15 special education advocates at Public Counsel Law Center about the role DOR plays in transition services for student receiving special education services and how to access DOR services for students seeking employment and higher education after they are exited from special education. The advocate discussed the CAP program and their role in advocating for the rights of DOR clients and applicants. Participants were provided information on reasonable accommodations in higher education and the workplace. Those who attended the training gained a better understating of the scope of DOR services available to transition-age youth and how to advocate for those services.
CAP Presentation to Staff at Work Force Connection in Coalinga
CAP staff presented an introduction about CAP advocacy for clients and potential clients of DOR to approximately 15 staff at the Work Force Connection in Coalinga, known as the American Job Center for People with Disabilities, which provides employment services to people with disabilities such as a community resource room with computers and internet access to use. The CAP advocate gave a presentation regarding DOR services available and the role of CAP to protect the rights of clients and applicants of DOR. The participants indicated that the employment services in the local area are very limited, so CAP informed the attendees about other community resources like Central California Legal Services and California Rural Legal Assistance. The Connection staff work closely with clients of the Disabled Student Services (DSS) at West Hills College. CAP staff and Connection staff agreed to work together for the benefit of our mutual clients. In the future, CAP staff agreed to provide training to DSS.
Presentation on DRC and CAP to Consumers at DOR Orientation in Visalia
CAP staff provided a presentation on DRC and CAP services to eight consumers in the DOR office in Visalia. The advocate discussed an overview of the services that DRC offers such as providing advice and/or direct representation to individuals regarding Social Security issues, employment, discrimination, and special education. Participants were given information regarding other programs available within DRC including the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA), which provides services through the state to individuals with developmental disabilities such as supported employment and transition services, as well as the Peer Self-Advocacy unit which works to share knowledge and experience through peer support and training. Finally, the consumers heard how DOR can assist them in obtaining vocational rehabilitation services, and the role of CAP to work with individuals and DOR staff to advocate on behalf of DOR applicants and clients. The advocate also addressed consumers’ questions regarding DRC’s intake and case selection process. CAP staff invited consumers to review DRC’s website for more information on CAP and to gain general information about the rights of persons with disabilities.
CAP Presentation to the Family Services Association in Cabazon
CAP presented to consumers of the Family Services Association in Cabazon, an organization designed to provide resources such as computer labs for job searching, independent living skills training, and referrals to other community resources regarding CAP and DRC services. CAP presented to 45 consumers, most of whom are individuals with disabilities, and discussed CAP services and how CAP is designed to assist applicants or consumers of DOR to find employment. CAP also reviewed the eligibility process of DOR and the different services that DOR can provide to eligible individuals, as well as how CAP can be of assistance in advocating for DOR consumers’ needs under the law and the regulations. Participants interested in DOR services were encouraged to contact CAP if they encountered any barriers with the DOR process. The consumers of the Family Services Association were very grateful for the presentation and many stated they would contact CAP for more information on the DOR process.
CAP Provided Training to Potential Consumers at Exceed in Perris
CAP provided training to approximately 152 consumers of Exceed, a work activity center for individuals with disabilities in Perris, California. Exceed provides an array of employment services to individuals with disabilities such as skills training, supported employment services, and vocational evaluations. CAP discussed the different services that DRC provides in general and discussed the CAP program in depth. Many consumers stated that they were receiving Social Security benefits, but were interested in working. Of the participants present, half were familiar with DOR, while only a quarter had heard of CAP. The advocate discussed how CAP assists consumers of DOR to navigate through the DOR process so that they can find employment. CAP advised the individuals in attendance to contact CAP with any questions regarding employment and DOR services, and an advocate would help to explain the DOR process. Consumers were very grateful for the presentation and stated that they would call DRC and CAP if they ever need help with employment or any disability-related legal issues.
CAP Provided Training at Anka Behavioral Services in Contra Costa
On July 29, 2013 a DRC Services and CAP presentation was given to approximately 30 clients at the Antioch Site of Anka Behavioral Services in Contra Costa County, which offers job placement and training services, and well as supported employment options for consumers. Participants were excited to hear about CAP Services and how the DOR can help them pursue employment opportunities. Several consumers were previously clients of DOR and were happy to know that they still can return for services. DRC highlighted CAP during their presentation and encountered many questions regarding DRC services, CAP services, questions about working, and how to get services from the DOR.
Resource Booth at 2013 CalPERS Diversity and Inclusion Day in Sacramento
CAP advocates hosted an informational table at the 2013 Disability and Inclusion Day resource fair. CAP distributed publications and information regarding DOR, CAP fact sheets and brochures, publications about social security benefits, and other materials related to employment. The CAP advocates spoke with visitors who came to the booth about the VR process and the role of DOR and CAP. They also answered questions and provided information on the eligibility process, the IPE, comparable benefits and services, and clients’ rights to appeal a DOR decision. The materials provided allow people with disabilities understand their rights to services and advocate for themselves, as well as resources to contact if they encounter barriers in obtaining services or have additional questions. The disability division at CalPERS sponsors the event and stated that it would be delighted to have CAP participate in the event next year.
CAP Met with Area 5 District Administrator and Supervisors
CAP staff attended DOR’s monthly supervisors meeting for CAP Area 5 covering the San Joaquin Valley. During the meeting, the CAP advocate addressed concerns about consumers not receiving any services in rural parts of California such as in Amador, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. One of the suggestions identified by the DA is DOR’s willingness to identify a person in rural areas to work with consumers in those areas who are seeking services. CAP also discussed the topic of “On the Job Training”, a program under which DOR contracts with employers to maintain employment for a set time period in hopes that the employer will keep the consumer employed once the contract ends. Participants discussed, and the DA supported, how this program would help individuals who are ready to work, with a specific employment goal in mind. The meeting provided CAP staff an opportunity to keep the communication open with DOR to further foster a good working relationship and better serve DOR clients and applicants.
CAP Reached Out to 450 Migrant Farm Workers in Lodi
CAP staff attended the Health and Community Resource Fair in Lodi, an event that reached over 450 migrant farm workers and their family members. Many attendees came from Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto to celebrate and honor the workers who worked in and who support agriculture in California. Individuals who attended the event were interested in learning more about the services DRC provides, including CAP. CAP staff provided visitors to the resource table with information about government benefits and protections against employment discrimination. CAP staff also informed the attendees about services from DOR, and how to contact CAP regarding questions or issues related to those services, and encouraged them to contact DRC if they had questions regarding other disability-related legal issues.
CAP Attended Congresso Familiar Conference in Hayward
Congresso Familiar is an annual conference for Spanish speaking families of children and youth with developmental disabilities. There were an estimated 25 agencies present at the event that provide services to children and youth with developmental disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood such as job training, independent living, day programs, and social groups and activities. This event had more than 200 persons in attendance, and visitors to the booth were provided information on special education rights and transition, as well as DOR and CAP services. Many families that spoke to the advocate were unaware of DOR and the assistance and services it can provide, and the CAP advocate was able to provide answers to their questions at the event, as well as contact information for DOR and CAP, and materials to assist them in their advocacy efforts.
CAP Hosted Resource Table at Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco
Project Homeless Connect was started in 2004 to help persons experiencing homelessness to obtain as many services in one day as possible, including health and legal services that would otherwise take months. During each event, corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies provide Project Homeless Connect and its participants with a wide variety of services such as dental care, eyeglasses, HIV testing, housing, food, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, information about SSI benefits, legal advice, California identification cards, voice mail accounts, employment counseling/job placement, wheelchair repair, addiction services, and more. DRC attended the day-long event to provide legal and advocacy skills and advice. CAP provided information on DOR and CAP services, as well as other DRC services to approximately 50 individuals who visited CAP’s resource table.
CAP Hosted Informational Booth at the Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative Conference in San Bernardino
CAP participated in the annual Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative Conference in San Bernardino which consisted of various workshops related to a wide range of disability rights topics and a resource fair where different community vendors set up tables to share information with the consumers regarding their services. CAP hosted a table and talked with approximately 50 consumers and provided brochures, publications, and fact sheets regarding CAP and DOR services to interested individuals. Many individuals were looking for employment and were very interested in applying for DOR services, and CAP encouraged them to apply. Attendees were provided information on how to contact CAP if they encountered any questions or concerns in regard to DOR services.
F. Involvement with Advisory Boards:
CAP Advocate contractor staff routinely and in a timely manner, received DOR regulations packages, updated and new directives, and policy memos for comment and input prior to final implementation by electronic means. CAP Advocates participate in advising the DOR’s State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) on its proposed state plan through ongoing CAP representation on the SRC by the Governor’s appointment of Andrew Mudryk of Disability Rights California (DRC) as California’s CAP representative. The DOR held several State Plan hearings in 2013 and solicited input from various constituents including the CAP Advocate contractor. The CAP Chief was also provided with the opportunity to review the DOR’s draft State Plan and submit input as well.
DRC’s Executive Director, Catherine Blakemore, is a member of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. Andrew Mudryk, the Deputy Director, is a member of the State Rehabilitation Council as its CAP representative, the California Consortium for Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the board of directors of the National Disability Rights Network, the membership organization of the protection and advocacy and CAP agencies nationwide. Mr. Mudryk also participates on the State Council on Developmental Disabilities Employment First of which DOR is also a member.
Informal “Roundtable Meetings” continue to be held in some DOR districts with supervisory DOR staff inviting local CAP Advocate staff to discuss issues common to both service providers. CAP Advocates are invited to attend trainings in DOR districts when available.
G. Outreach to Unserved/Underserved Populations:
CAP Advocates continue to identify the unserved and underserved populations in their service area and provide information about CAP to these populations. CAP outreach is designed to encourage and support community services that enable individuals to achieve their Rehabilitation Act funded service goal. The presentations educate people with disabilities and the community at large about the Client Assistance Program. CAP Advocates also educate the community about its rights under the federal Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Trainings continue to be scheduled at disability support groups, independent living centers, American Job Centers for People with Disabilities (formerly One-Stop Centers), and other community agencies.
The DOR Consumer Information Handbooks are available online at the DOR website, http://www.dor.ca.gov/public/forms.htm in English, Spanish, Armenian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean in PDF, DOC, and RTF formats.
H. Alternative Dispute Resolutions:
The California CAP Advocates handled 1054 cases during the reporting year. Six cases used Alternative Dispute Resolution. Four cases went to a Fair Hearing.
I. Systemic Advocacy:
CAP did not file class actions during the reporting period
DOR Administrators work closely with CAP Advocates when issues or concerns are brought up by the CAP Advocates. CAP contractor staff enjoy the opportunity to provide feedback and participate in policy and program development through DOR state public hearings and other similar forums.
CAP advocates address policy as well as behavioral, attitudinal, and structural barriers that some clients and client applicants face when seeking rehabilitation services from DOR. These barriers can discourage and prevent clients and client applicants from participating in the vocational rehabilitation process to achieve a successful employment outcome.
The primary complaints heard by CAP advocates in the past quarter from DOR consumers include: failure to pay for services agreed upon in the IPE; dissatisfaction regarding DOR’s management of the case, including not communicating with the client and providing services agreed on in the IPE; DOR not providing appropriate services; delays in developing clients’ IPEs; delays in providing services and supports identified in the IPE; not providing reasonable accommodations in the context of meeting IPE goals; lack of communication or miscommunication regarding case status; disrespectful treatment by DOR staff; DOR not sending notices of action regarding case closure and other denials of services; discriminatory and accusatory treatment by DOR staff; failure to determine eligibility and develop IPEs within timelines prescribed by regulations; and DOR staff creating unnecessary barriers to clients gaining access to DOR services.
CAP advocates continued to attend numerous DOR-sponsored meetings and met with approximately 88 DOR staff statewide to raise awareness of DOR client complaints and to maintain open lines of communication with DOR staff so that client complaints, as well as DOR staff’s concerns, could be appropriately addressed. There is a spreadsheet/list with all DOR meetings listed by District and staff who attended available on request to DRC.
These meetings provide an opportunity to share issues involving representation and assistance of DOR clients and client applicants. Some of the issues repeatedly raised by DOR staff include inquiries into how DRC handle clients with difficult behaviors or who require mental health treatment; how DRC addressed clients who are not meeting program requirements and goals in a timely fashion; basic questions about how CAP advocates will communicate with DOR staff through the duration of a case; confirmation of how to raise concerns about DOR staff at the DA level; and roll-out of VR Modification and its impact on DOR clients.
CAP staff members in some Districts/Areas are included on the agenda for the District Administrators’ regularly-scheduled meetings, as appropriate, to discuss these types of issues. This forum allows for the presentation of client concerns and is useful for the Department, as DOR staff have reported back to CAP advocates.
J. Interesting Cases:
Through CAP assistance and/or intervention, consumers were able to:
DOR Agreed to Change Client’s DOR Counselor
D.N used to work as a manager for a payday advance company, but due to her post traumatic stress and other disabilities she has been unable to work for several years. In November 2012, she was found eligible for DOR services, however when D.N. came to CAP in July 2013, she had been unable to work with her DOR counselor to develop her Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to become a psychiatric technician. D.N. wanted CAP assistance to request a new counselor and address the delay in the development of her IPE request.
D.N. stated that whenever she contacted DOR, her counselor would speak to her in a very rude tone of voice and would refuse to give her any clarifying information regarding the status of her case. CAP contacted D.N.’s DOR counselor regarding the status of her case, and the counselor informed CAP that D.N. was participating in a Trial Work Evaluation (TWE) to determine her vocational needs. The counselor also stated that DOR would not be assisting D.N. with any additional training because she already had transferrable skills.
CAP contacted the DOR counselor’s supervisor and requested a change of counselor, which the supervisor denied without a reason. CAP assisted D.N. to request a District Administrative Review of her case. The District Administrator (DA) intervened and agreed that DOR needed to develop her IPE immediately and to change her counselor. However, the DA indicated, and D.N. agreed, that D.N. needed to undergo a vocational evaluation to verify that she had the skills necessary to reach her employment goal.
DOR Agreed to Reopen Client’s Case and Offered Vocational Evaluation
L.H. has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and depression which have made it difficult for L.H. to develop his job skills and determine his employment goal. L. H. had a general employment goal of “labor” because he was unsure what he wanted to do, and did not want to be limited in options. He received job development services from DOR, but stopped attending because he was not developing job skills, but instead the provider offered assistance in drafting a resume. When L.H. stopped participating in his program, his DOR counselor closed his case. L.H contacted CAP for assistance in having his DOR case file reopened so that he could obtain additional vocational rehabilitation services.
L.H. had made attempts to contact his DOR counselor to discuss the problems with his job development services, but his counselor was unresponsive and closed his DOR case file for not participating in DOR services. CAP contacted the DOR counselor’s supervisor and requested a meeting to discuss reopening L.H.’s case file for additional services. At the meeting, L.H. indicated to CAP that he was unsure what he wanted his employment goal to be, but that he was interested in working with computers or welding. Due to CAP involvement, DOR agreed to re-open the case and set up L.H. with a comprehensive vocational evaluation to help him determine an appropriate vocational goal and to develop his IPE.
CAP Assisted Client to Apply for DOR services
W.G. is a person who is blind and applied for vocational rehabilitation services for help to find employment nearly two years before contacting CAP. W.G. contacted CAP because he was experiencing communication issues with DOR regarding his application and wanted CAP assistance so that he could begin to receive services. CAP contacted DOR regarding the status, and DOR explained that W.G. had completed all of the phases of the application process, except for turning in the completed application form. DOR told CAP that once DOR received W.G.’s completed application, which it claimed to have provided several times, DOR would determine W.G. eligible for services and immediately start the IPE development process. Although W.G. disagreed with DOR regarding the application form, CAP encouraged W.G. to turn in a completed application one more time, and DOR found him eligible for services. W.G is now working with DOR to determine his employment goal and develop his IPE.
New IPE Developed to Reflect Client’s Goal and Informed Choice
A.H. is a young adult who has a vocational goal of toy designer. She was found eligible for DOR services as a high school student, and her initial IPE was developed with a goal of customer service representative. While A.H. expressed interest in working in customer service as a summer job, DOR failed to explain to her that she had the right to select a longer term vocational goal consistent with her unique strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice. A.H. requested a revision to her IPE and after several months of dispute regarding her goal and training necessary, she contacted CAP for assistance.
CAP represented A.H. at two IPE meetings and negotiated with DOR to develop a mutually agreed-upon IPE with an employment goal of commercial and industrial designer. A.H.’s IPE now includes reimbursement for the spring 2012 semester at community college, ongoing training services for a Bachelor’s degree, transportation services, counseling and guidance, books and supplies, and employment services. The client is pleased with the new IPE and looking forward to pursuing a meaningful career with the support of the DOR.
Client Received Clarification Regarding DOR Services in IPE
E.N. is a person with a psychiatric and learning disabilities who is working with DOR to negotiate services such as therapy and assistive technology (AT) in her IPE. After meeting with her counselor at an IPE meeting, E.N. contacted CAP with questions and concerns about the services that DOR stated it could provide.
E.N. was enrolled in a program at a private university to acquire a Master’s Degree as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) before 21 applying for DOR services. When she met with her counselor to develop the IPE, she was informed that the DOR would only pay the state rate of her education and would not pay for therapy (a requirement as part of her LMFT degree), suggesting that she would have to use her Medi-Cal to pay for the therapy. In addition, to accommodate her learning disability, E.N. requested a top of the line text-to-speech AT device that converts any text entered to speech or uses speech to generate text, but DOR only offered to pay for an older version of the AT device. DOR also told E.N. that it would only pay transportation at the rate of a bus pass. E.N. was concerned because she lives 50 miles from campus, will be attending class once a week for a full day, and was unsure that the bus ran at the necessary times.
The CAP advocate advised that DOR can pay for a private school as a reasonable accommodation if a client can show that a public university cannot meet his or her needs due to a disability. Regarding therapy services, CAP explained that DOR will look at other available resources to pay for necessary items to complete an employment goal as DOR is the payer of last resort and that E.N. would need to seek Medi-Cal payment for therapy; however, if Medi-Cal denies the service then DOR should pay for the therapy since it is a requirement to fulfill a LMFT. In addition, CAP advised E.N. that she would have to use the text-to-speech device offered because DOR is only required to pay for the least expensive AT that will meet her needs. CAP also indicated that AT equipment is loaned and will have to be returned to the DOR unless E.N. determines the need to request the AT for purposes of employment after she completes her LMFT program. Lastly, CAP advised E.N. to obtain a bus schedule to determine if there is bus transportation at the times needed. If the bus does not run at the times required, E.N. could request that DOR pay her mileage to and from school. In addition, CAP advised E.N. that she could request for mileage reimbursement as a reasonable accommodation if her concerns regarding the bus schedule for transportation affected her psychiatric disability. With the information provided by CAP, E.N. was able to self-advocate for services while working with DOR to develop her IPE.
Client Received Training for Massage Therapy
M.C. is a person with a psychiatric disability who had completed training and received a certificate in drug and alcohol counseling funded by the DOR. After obtaining employment as a drug and alcohol counselor, M.C. found that the environment exacerbated his disability and was not able to work in that field. M.C. wanted CAP assistance to secure additional job training to become a massage therapist.
M.C. had requested training from the DOR in the area of massage therapy, but DOR referred him to a vocational rehabilitation (VR) assessment. DOR wanted M.C. to complete the assessment to ensure that the vocational goal matched M.C.’s interests and abilities. After meeting with CAP, M.C. agreed to participate in a VR assessment to help him better understand his job skills. The assessment showed strengths in the area of massage therapy, physical therapy and human services. CAP assisted M.C. in successfully negotiating funding for massage therapy school, books and supplies, transportation, and licensing fees from DOR. M.C. has since begun school and is excited about his future career in the healing arts.
CAP Resolved Client Concerns with DA Before Fair Hearing
P.R. is a DOR client who was transferred to a new rehabilitation counselor due to staffing issues. He requested a case transfer because he felt his rehabilitation counselor interacted with him in a threatening and demeaning manor. In addition, P.R. believed that his counselor was discriminating against him based on his disability through what seemed to be excessive requests for medical records and clearance. P.R. felt the counselor’s communication was exacerbating his mental health disability and negatively impacting his health. His request for a transfer at the local office was denied. P.R. represented himself in an Administrative Review to appeal the DOR’s decision. The Administrative Review decision again denied his request to transfer his case, so he requested a fair hearing and contacted CAP for assistance.
CAP contacted the local office and the District Administrator (DA) on P.R.’s behalf. CAP discussed P.R.’s concerns regarding his counselor’s communication and requests for medical records. CAP explained that P.R. has the right to be treated with respect while pursuing his employment goal, and has the right to receive appropriate provision of counseling and guidance services as defined by DOR regulations. CAP also explained P.R.’s right to be free from discrimination based on his disability by DOR as a federally funded program. Based on our involvement, the DA and DOR agreed to transfer P.R.’s case. P.R. withdrew his hearing request and is now working well with his new rehabilitation counselor.
CAP Assisted Client with Obtaining IPE Services for School
M.S. is a client of DOR who is attending school to become a medical assistant. M.S. had not been receiving appropriate transportation and internet services from DOR as described in his IPE. M.S.’s only income is SSI and it was a hardship for him to pay out-of-pocket for these expenses each month. M.S. contacted CAP for assistance in obtaining reimbursement for these costs. CAP explained M.S.’s ability to obtain DOR services necessary for employment under his IPE, and spoke with the rehabilitation supervisor on his behalf. CAP negotiated with DOR to provide appropriate monthly internet service fees and transportation. Additionally, DOR agreed to reimburse M.S. for his out-of-pocket costs. M.S. was pleased with CAP’s assistance and feels he can better participate in his employment services and job search with the support of DOR.
DOR Client Participated in an AT Assessment
R.L. is a DOR client who is working on developing his IPE for employment in the computer programming field. Due to disagreement with his DOR counselor over the need for an assistive technology (AT) assessment, R.L. was refusing to choose an employment goal. As a result, his DOR counselor told him that she was going to close his case. R.L. contacted CAP for assistance in resolving the issue with his DOR counselor.
R.L. explained to CAP that he felt he needed an AT assessment before he chose a vocational goal. Although he had previously been a computer programmer, he did not know what his skill level was since he became a person with a disability, so he had concerns about listing “computer programmer” as his vocational goal. R.L. wanted to first know his level of ability and whether there was AT to assist him. The DOR counselor informed him that he could not receive services, which included an AT assessment, unless he decided on a vocational goal.
The CAP attorney advised R.L. regarding his right to informed choice and assessment and recommended that he call his rehabilitation counselor again, and then the supervisor if the counselor failed to respond. R.L. spoke with his DOR counselor again, and explained his right to informed choice and to an AT assessment. R.L.’s counselor approved his AT assessment. As a result of CAP involvement, R.L. gained valuable self-advocacy skills and was able to continue the development of his IPE with his counselor, and ultimately realizing his vocational goals.
CAP Assisted Client in Negotiating Tuition for Bachelor of Arts Degree
S.G. is a young woman with autism who works part time at a grocery store while attending classes to work toward a four-year degree in Human Services to pursue a career in medical administration. S.G. had earned her Associate’s Degree and a professor recommended that she attend a four year university to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree (BA). S.G. found out about CAP at an outreach nearly a year after DOR had denied her request for services to complete the BA. Although enduring economic hardship, S.G. and her parents took out loans to pay for S.G. to continue her education, but wanted CAP assistance to obtain DOR services to pay for the remaining costs of the BA degree.
S.G. made a request to DOR to pay for services and tuition to complete her BA degree, but DOR refused to pay for a BA degree was not necessary for the employment goal she had chosen. In addition, DOR said that S.G. could not change her goal because she did not have the ability to perform a job that required a higher level degree. CAP assisted S.G. to obtain letters from S.G.’s professors and the faculty at her university in support of her abilities and potential. CAP and S.G. also gathered academic transcripts, information regarding previous internships, and documentation of her school loans. As a result of CAP’s involvement, S.G. was able to submit the evidence necessary to convince DOR to be supportive of her dream and to pay for her education. After numerous meetings, DOR agreed to pay for S.G.’s education starting the coming fall semester.
CAP assisted Monolingual Client to Obtain Spanish-Speaking DOR Counselor and Reopen Case
A.S. is a monolingual Spanish speaking individual who is blind. He does not read Braille or large print. Unable to read the closing letter, A.S. did not understand why his case was closed and felt that he did not have a chance to oppose the closure of his file. He contacted CAP to help understand and address his issues with communication with his DOR counselor, particularly written communication and to assist to have his case reopened with DOR.
Due to his disability, when A.S. received the closing letter in English from DOR he had to find someone to read it to him. A.S. understood the letter to mean that he and the counselor were not communicating appropriately. A.S. felt the communication issues were due to the fact that his counselor did not speak Spanish, and because DOR provided written communication in English. Since he is Spanish-speaking and a person who is blind, it is difficult to find someone to read and understand the written communication in English well enough to translate and communicate the letter or notice to A.S. in Spanish. A.S. was frustrated and felt helpless.
CAP reviewed A.S.’s DOR file and found that A.S. had previously completed a homemaker plan which had resulted in the closure of his file. A.S. had many questions and wanted to pursue his employment dream to be a songwriter, composer of music, or a music teacher. CAP contacted the supervisor of Blind Services at DOR and facilitated a meeting with a Spanish-speaking counselor within the unit. A.S. went to the meeting, his case was re-opened, and he was assigned a Spanish-speaking counselor. A.S. was elated with this result, and started to work towards achieving his dream employment.
CAP Helped Client Negotiate Services and Amend IPE
R.M. receives services from DOR to assist her to complete educational training at a private college to achieve her long-term goal of being an attorney. R.M. completed an internship at the state Capitol and wanted to change her employment goal to public policy analyst. R.M. contacted her counselor and requested a meeting with her counselor and the Blind Field Service (BFS) supervisor to discuss the change in her employment goal and whether DOR would continue to fund her educational training at the private college she was currently attending. R.M. contacted CAP because she had no response for months from her counselor regarding her request to meet, and wanted CAP to assist her in communication with DOR so that she could change her employment goal.
R.M. told CAP that she requested a meeting in advance to give DOR enough time to make changes and authorize services for the upcoming semester, especially because R.M. knew that she would need to have her books translated to Braille. Due to the lack of response from DOR, R.M. was worried that she would not be able to change her employment goal.
CAP advised R.M. of her right to amend her IPE to include services and/or change her employment goal at any time during the rehabilitation process. CAP informed R.M. how to request an amendment to her IPE and gave her information regarding her IPE rights under the law. The CAP advocate advised R.M. to review the information, and then contact her counselor again, as well as the DOR supervisor to request a meeting to amend her IPE. After speaking with CAP and by contacting the DOR supervisor, R.M. was able to secure a meeting date with DOR. The CAP advocate attended the IPE meeting with R.M., her counselor, and BFS supervisor. At the meeting, R.M. explained why she was changing her employment goal and the services she would need to continue her educational training at the private college. R.M. and the counselor discussed and agreed on the services DOR would provide until R.M. completed her degree to become a public policy analyst. R.M. was thankful for CAP’s assistance to ensure that her rights were protected, and provide her with the advice and strength to self-advocate and receive the necessary services. R.M. was able to amend her IPE to receive the appropriate services and change her employment goal to a public policy analyst.
K. On-line Information/Outreach:
The DOR has a web page which can be found at www.dor.ca.gov and is monitored and updated monthly as necessary. When this DOR web page is accessed, viewers can scroll through this home page to see its various categories. The CAP information is found under the heading of “Assistance to Current Consumers.” A fact sheet outlining the CAP services is available with the Central Office CAP contact information, the CAP contractor listing with addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses or web page address. These are updated when changes are needed.
The DOR website also enables individuals who access the CAP website to send email directly to the DOR Central Office CAP. Approximately 250 email messages were received in the past fiscal year from individuals seeking information related to the nearest DOR office or CAP location.
DRC has its own agency web pages where CAP information may be found with information on CAP available in English http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/about/cap.html and Spanish http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/espanol/about/CAP.htm. The sites provide CAP-related publications in various languages, links to DOR’s website and application process, and information about DRC’s grievance process. There have been 1,545 unique hits to this CAP page.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM 2013 FFY Actual Expenditures DESCRIPTION 2013 FFY PERSONAL SERVICES: Permanent Positions 1.0 Wages and Salaries $99,532 Benefits $44,766 Total, Personal Services $144,298 OPERATING EXPENSES: General $247 Communications $2,570 Postage and Printing $- Travel $- Training $- Facility Operations $16,513 Equipment $- Overhead $57,996 Consultant Contract $- Sub-total, Operating Expense $77,326 GRANT CONTRACTS: Area 1 $70,338 Area 2 $76,635 Area 3 $104,839 Area 4 $99,112 Area 5 $90,314 Area 6 $97,128 Area 7 $119,245 Area 8 $104,500 Area 9 $104,707 Area 10 $97,042 Sub-total, Grant Contracts $963,861 Totals, All Categories $1,185,485
|This Report is Complete and Correct.||Yes|
|Name of Designated Agency Official:||Sheila Conlon Mentkowski|
|Title of Designated Agency Official:||Rehabilitation Administrator, I|