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

Florida (Disability Rights Florida) - H161A130009 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Florida
Address2728 Centerview Drive
Address Line 2Suite 102
CityTallahassee FL
StateFlorida
Zip Code32301
E-mail Addressannr@disabilityrightsflorida.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightsflorida.org
Phone(850) 488-9071
TTY (800) 346-4127
Toll-free Phone(800) 342-0823
Toll-free TTY(800) 346-4127
Fax(850) 488-8640

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Florida
Address2728 Centerview Drive
Address Line 2Suite 102
CityTallahassee FL
Zip Code32301
E-mail Addressannr@disabilityrightsflorida.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightsflorida.org
Phone(850) 488-9071
TTY(800) 346-4127
Toll-free Phone(800) 342-0823
Toll-free TTY(800) 346-4127
Fax(850) 488-8640

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorRobert E. Whitney
Person to contact regarding reportAnn Robinson
Contact Person Phone(850) 488.9071

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act230
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA14
3. Other information provided39
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)283
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)2,000

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)57
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year293
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)350
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.)19

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 65

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 favor278
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)11
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual6
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)2
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution10
7. Appeals were unsuccessful2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP0
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

none

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual170
2. Application for services completed.44
3. Eligibility determination expedited9
4. Individual participated in evaluation3
5. IPE developed/implemented0
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party57
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office17
8. Alternative resources identified for individual6
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made3
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 under43
2. 22 - 40106
3. 41 - 64186
4. 65 and over15
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)350

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female164
2. Male186
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)350

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race57
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian2
4. Black or African American94
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White186
7. Two or more races6
8. Race/ethnicity unknown2

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)20
2. Other visual impairments20
3. Deafness13
4. Hard of hearing7
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments83
7. Absense of extremities1
8. Mental illness75
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)2
10. Mental retardation17
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)18
12. Neurological disorders34
13. Respiratory disorders3
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions14
15. Digestive disorders4
16. Genitourinary conditions1
17. Speech Impairments1
18. AIDS/HIV positive1
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)11
20. All other disabilities25
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)350

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program100
2. Clients of VR Program240
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program7
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act2

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only327
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only7
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources8
4. Employer7

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor55
3. Conflict about services to be provided185
4. Related to application/eligibility process85
5. Related to IPE development/implementation27
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
8. Related to Title I of the ADA7

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral2
2. Advisory/interpretational171
3. Negotiation120
4. Administrative/informal review14
5. Alternative dispute resolution0
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing2
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

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

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

Source of funding Total expenditures spent on individuals Federal funds $562,527.95 State funds 0.00 All other funds 0.00 Total from all sources $562,527.95

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 309,979 $346,477 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) $125,205 $118,959 Materials/Supplies $ 17,497 $ 21,465 Postage $ 1,904 $ 2,047 Telephone $ 10,108 $ 9,695 Rent $ 40,476 $ 39,996 Travel $ 20,577 $ 31,590 Copying - - Bonding/Insurance $ 5,853 $ 5,429 Equipment Rental/Purchase $ 6,876 $ 7,433 Legal Services $ 9,640 $ 14,641 Indirect Costs $ 4,425 $ 3,824 Miscellaneous $ 9,988 $ 11,580 Total Budget $562,528 $613,136

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 Full-time 4.7 Part-time .5 Vacant Clerical Full-time 1.3 Part-time Vacant

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

Training presentations commonly provided a general overview of the role and services through the Client Assistance Program (CAP) as well as offering information about vocational rehabilitation, advocacy techniques and independent living. Presentations included information on Disability Rights Florida as an advocacy resource for individuals with disabilities. Requested presentations were customized or were crafted to address a specific concern. The following is a sample of the trainings provided during FY 2013: On October 8, 2012, CAP provided information and an overview of the importance of advocacy in general and the agency structure of Disability Rights Florida specifically to educate students participating in the Rehabilitation program at University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa as future human service providers. Approximate Attendance: 21

On October 27, 2012, Disability Rights Florida presentation provided a question and answer session to a class of FSU Social Workers in Tallahassee Florida explaining services from our agency including CAP. Approximate Attendance: 35

On November 14, 2012, CAP presented to a University of South Florida Social Work graduate class on protection and advocacy as well as the services available through Disability Rights Florida. Location & Date: Tampa, FL Approximate Attendance: 28

December 16, 2012, CAP presented to the Spinal Cord Injury Support Group of Broward County to provide an overview of our advocacy services including resources available through state and federal programs. Approximately 30 people attended. On December 21, 2012, CAP staff worked with the University of Florida Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) Director to develop a PowerPoint presentation to educate parents and students who are on the autism spectrum to transition services through DVR. Approximately 15 individuals received training but this will be an ongoing platform for training. On January 23, 2013, CAP staff met with the Executive Director and I&R staff of the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida which is an Aging and Disability Resource Center to exchange information and facilitate cross-referrals within the North Florida area. CAP and Disability Rights Florida overview and information provided. On January 24 and January 28, 2013, CAP staff spoke to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Allied Health Care classes. An overview of Disability Rights Florida was provided to a very engaging audience of undergraduate students in the occupational therapy and other health sciences field. Focus was on disability resources such as vocational rehabilitation and the role of our CAP program. 200 students attended. On February 6, 2013, a session on CAP and VR along with other specific disability resources was selected for presentation at the Florida Alliance for Information and Referral Services (FLAIRS) annual conference. This information reached the state-wide social services I&R network, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, 211’s etc. to promote understanding of referrals to Disability Rights Florida, and an understanding of VR services and how the CAP operates to provide information and advocacy in this system. Approximately 40 individuals attended the session. On March, 27, 2013, Disability Rights Florida completed a presentation to students enrolled in the University of South Florida’s Concepts and Application in Rehabilitation Counseling Class. The presentation informed students about the need for protection and advocacy services for persons with disabilities and provided an introduction to Disability Rights Florida services. Disability Rights Florida staff discussed advocacy services to persons with Asperger’s and bilateral blindness as examples to help the audience appreciate their roles in providing advocacy to persons with disabilities. Attendance: 16 On May 28, 2013 and June 26, 2013, CAP provided information about DVR, DBS and CAP to a Multiple Sclerosis Support Group interested in an open forum style discussion about Multiple Sclerosis and how it impacts employment. Vocational Services discussed along with Disability Rights Florida advocacy programs. Approximately 40 individuals received training. On September 10, 2013, CAP provided training telephonically to the Florida Division of Blind Services new counselor training related to the CAP program and advocacy. Approximately 10 new DBS counselors and other veteran staff attended.

f. Involvement with advisory boards: Identify in what ways CAP is involved with advisory boards (e.g., State Rehabilitation Advisory Council, Statewide Independent Living Council, etc.). Division of Blind Services (DBS) Council CAP’s involvement in the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (“FRCB”) includes a seat on the council and a seat on the Council’s Planning Committee. Disability Rights Florida staff member serves as the CAP representative. This year included a change in leadership at the Division, resulting in the outgoing Director at the first meeting, an interim acting director (DVR Director) for two meetings, and, finally, the new Director attended the last meeting of the year. In FY 2013, the FRCB only addressed one policy: 6.13 concerning relocation expenses. The CAP representative offered comment at the October 2012 meeting on the policy. CAP envisions more active policy discussions for the Council next fiscal year. The CAP representative offered substantial comment in the discussions of the Division’s State Plan through teleconferences conducted on May 22 & 29, 2013. The CAP representative did push the Division to provide more data on individuals served, closures, and secondary disabilities in advance of the presentation at the meeting so the Council could better investigate the numbers and ask better questions. Additionally, the CAP representative challenged the position of the Council to eliminate some public forums that accompany the Council meetings. The CAP representative expects reappointment in the first quarter of FY 2014. CAP also worked in collaboration with DBS central office to change Form 205 related to rights to include mediation, employment outcome and timelines for IPE Development.

Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC)

CAP Grant Coordinator Ann Robinson was appointed to the FRC by Florida Governor Rick Scott on April 12, 2013. As explained in the 2012 CAP annual report, CAP has not been an official member of the FRC for a number of years which compromised the effectiveness of this member position on the Council. The FRC Chair and Vice Chair made repeated visits to the Governor’s Appointments Office. The CAP Coordinator was active in numerous emails and efforts to talk with Appointments staff.

All FRC meetings and public forums were attended this fiscal year but now we have the added ability to vote at the meetings.

The CAP Coordinator is now also the elected Chair of the Evaluation Committee which is a very strong advocacy position on the Council along with becoming a member of the Executive Committee of the FRC. One major accomplishment of the evaluation committee during the August 2013 FRC meeting was the passing of a motion to recommend DVR develop a best practices policy for notifying clients when their counselors leave the agency.

The CAP is pleased with the FRC ability to advocate for a number of state plan comments this year such as prioritizing transition services, strengthening customer supports and services including access to assistive technology, managing order of selection while seeking opportunities to reduce the wait list responsibly, and encouraging supportive employment strategies which seek creative ways for follow along services. Additionally, the Council has advocated for improvements that manage and encourage counselor recruitment and retention as well as encouraging an advocacy component is part of the new counselor training curriculum.

Advocacy groups and individuals with disabilities also participated in the public forums where this information was shared. CAP will continue to advocate at the Florida Rehabilitation Council meetings and with DVR and DBS on the importance of access to AT devices and services for DVR and DBS clients throughout the rehabilitation process.

CAP Grant Coordinator participated with an FRC subcommittee at the state DVR Headquarters with DVR selected staff and other FRC volunteer members exploring a new system of DVR Customer Satisfaction which would apply new technologies to provide DVR with real-time feedback (Kiosks in pilot offices) along with an annual survey instrument. The current contract expires in 2014.

The new contract will allow for a multifaceted approach to include: 1. An annual survey instrument 2. Transactional surveys at unit level to include possibility of accessible kiosks for more immediate feedback to local office staff. 3. Web portal for feedback 4. Focus Groups. Additionally, the committee agreed to vendor expectations and deliverables and the vendor qualifications to compete for the contract. The goal of this advocacy is to allow better real time data for DVR to use in evaluating and improving services.

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 benefitted individuals who traditionally have been unserved or underserved. The CAP was active in multiple outreach venues through the year in urban and rural areas to reach diverse groups, transition students, and individuals from minority and previously underserved groups. The Florida CAP is within Disability Rights Florida — the Florida P&A agency- and so information on CAP is widely distributed at many outreach events through an Outreach and External Affairs Coordinator and an Intake Outreach Coordinator. The Intake Outreach Coordinator has over 18 years of experience in the CAP program and is extremely well versed in CAP, DVR, DBS, Ticket-to-Work, and Independent Living Services. Both of these individuals have face-to-face contact with the public and are representatives of a minority group. We also have bilingual staff (English/Spanish) attending some events.

During FY 2013, approximately 7166 individuals received information and referral services through the Disability Rights Florida intake unit; 233 of this number were responded to entirely in Spanish and information on CAP and rehabilitation programs was a common referral. The CAP Grant Coordinator is the Intake Manager which provides additional expertise to CAP clients from the beginning of the process with our agency.

Disability Rights Florida has two full time bilingual (English/Spanish) intake specialists. This fiscal year we hired an additional third intake worker who speaks Spanish. We utilize Certified Language Interpreters and have the capacity to respond to other languages. We also have a Spanish website and Spanish online intake system. Disability Rights Florida provided an English and Spanish online intake option this year for 466 individuals or 6.5 % of our intakes. This accessible computer system allows consumers to contact us at night and on the weekends.

During Fiscal Year 2013, CAP targeted transition settings and students in the following outreach activities:

Event: University of South Florida Accessi-Bull Provided information on Disability Rights Florida, employment team and CAP services to students with disabilities who are or may become vocational rehabilitation clients. Location & Date: University of S. Florida Campus, Tampa, FL on October 4, 2012 Approximate Attendance: 80

EVENT: Disability Mentoring Day Hosted by ILRC of Jacksonville The Independent Living Resource Center in Jacksonville hosted its annual event for students with disabilities who are in or receiving transition services. Disability Rights Florida exhibited, sharing information regarding transition resources, transition plans and meetings, VR information, voting information and other pertinent information. Location & Date: Jacksonville, FL on October 30, 2012 Approximate Attendance: 250

EVENT: Jones High School Fall Forum The Fall Forum was an informational resource event for students with disabilities and a chance to discover the resources available to them while they are in high school to prepare them for the transition from high school to college, vocational school or employment. CAP advocacy services explained to students and their families. Location & Date: Tampa, FL on November 8, 2012 Approximate Attendance: 70

Event: University West Florida 2013 Student Transition Conference Disability Rights Florida provided exhibit and staff person outreach to share information on resources for students with disabilities transitioning from High School to postsecondary settings or employment. Location and Date: February 14, 2013, Pensacola Attendance: 150 individuals

Event: Coral Glades High School Transition Fair Disability Rights Florida participated in a transition even to promote awareness of Disability Rights Florida and the Client Assistance Program. Location and Date: February 22, 2013 Coral Springs Attendance: 300 students with disabilities, their families, caregivers, teachers and counselors

Event: The Transition Department of Orange County Public Schools and the Greater Orlando Inter-agency Council Local community agencies, business and college are represented at this event for individuals with disabilities. Location and Date: Orlando on April 29, 2013. Attendance: 30

RURAL OUTREACH

Event: 12th Annual REACH Health Fair This event was an outreach to facilitate free quality healthcare to uninsured and underinsured community members. The Fair, through exhibitors, shared information and medical and social service resources. The event targeted vulnerable residents including minority and seasonal farmworkers. CAP distributed general information about Disability Rights Florida and services. Information provided on resources for individuals with disabilities to access assistive technology, employment and other general disability resources. Location & Date: Belle Glade, FL on March 2, 2013 Approximate Attendance: 250

Event: Hendry/Glades Community Health Fair This event was held at the Hendry Regional Medical Center. Individuals with disabilities provided general information about Disability Rights Florida and the CAP program. A number of onsite intakes on multiple disability issues were taken during this rural outreach event. Location & Date: Clewiston, FL on March 3, 2013 Approximate Attendance: 150

Event: YMCA Wellness Fair Date & Location: July 25, 2013, YMCA — Orange Park, FL (covering Clay, Baker and Putnam counties) Attendance: 250 participants

Event: Wewahitchka Medical Center Health Fair Exhibit with Disability Rights Florida available to explain services and provide information with transition school to work materials. Date & Location: August 2, 2013, Wewahitchka Medical Center, Wewahitchka, FL Attendance: 250 participants

Event: Back to School Expo and Wellness Fair Outreach event to provide general information to minorities and the underserved rural population including individuals with disabilities. Date & Location: August 10, 2013, Florida Community Health Center, Clewiston, Florida (Hendry County) Attendance: 400 participants

Event: Back to School Expo and Wellness Fair Outreach event to provide general information to minorities and the underserved rural population including individuals with disabilities. Date & Location: August 14, 2013 Florida Community Health Center, Moore Haven, Florida (Glades County) Attendance: 250 participants

General Outreach

Event: Disability Employment Awareness Celebration 2012 A Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebration was held at the Tallahassee City Commission Chambers. There were a number of speakers and the state recognized several businesses as Exceptional Employers of the Year. Exceptional employers are businesses from around the state that are committed to hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. Staff members were available at the Disability Rights Florida booth to provide information about Disability Rights Florida. Location & Date: Tallahassee, FL on October 18, 2012 Approximate Attendance: 125

Event: 2013 Florida Vision Summit Disability Rights Florida exhibited and provided information regarding advocacy services and how these may be of assistance to individuals with blindness or visual impairment. The Florida Legislature’s Vision Caucus and Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, individuals with blindness or visual impairment, family members and advocates attended. Location and Date: Florida Capitol February 7, 2013 Approximate Attendance: 300

Event: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day Disability Rights Florida exhibited and staff answered questions about advocacy services. Location and Date: Florida Capitol, March 7, 2013 Attendance: 250 +

Event: Disability Expo 2013 & Family Information Forum Transition materials provided along with overview of Disability Rights Florida services. Location & Date: Fort Lauderdale, April 20, 2013 Approximate participation: 350 Event: Broward CIL 2nd Annual Independence on the Runway “No Limits” Information provided on Disability Rights Florida, transition services available through Vocational Rehabilitation and the CAP advocacy role. Location and Date: Weston Florida on May 19, 2013 Attendance: 250

Event: Multiple Sclerosis support group open forum/discussion CAP attended the event featuring a neurologist at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and met one-on-one with several attendees to inform them about Disability Rights Florida services. Location and Date: St. Petersburg, May 28, 2013 Attendance: 15

Event: Nathaniel’s Hope 11th Annual “Make ‘m Smile” Community Festival Sponsored by: Nathaniel’s Hope Make ‘m Smile is a community festival that celebrates kids with special needs and their families. Disability resources were provided by a number of exhibitors including Disability Rights Florida. Location and Date: Orlando, June 1, 2013 Attendance: 25,000

Event: Family Café 15th Annual Disabilities Summit Sponsored by: Family Café This event is one of the largest disability conferences in Florida and provides informative sessions, interesting keynotes and a great Annual Summit on Disabilities. Individuals with disabilities, their families, care givers and state agency representatives participated. Disability Rights Florida personnel were available throughout the event at our exhibit table and as presenters. Location and Date: Orlando, June 6-9, 2013 Attendance: Approximately 5700

Event: Metropolitan Ministries’ monthly outreach event Disability Rights Florida and CAP information provided to individuals with disabilities on the brink of homelessness and/or challenged by a history of incarceration. Location and Date: Tampa, June 25, 2013 Attendance: 30

Event: Independent Living Center of Southwest Florida Consumer Forum Disability Rights Florida facilitated open discussion between CIL consumers and the CIL Executive Director to ensure the new CIL was meeting the needs of the community. Location and Date: Ft. Myers, July 25, 2013 Attendance: 25

Event: Public Service Grant Council Disability Rights Florida attended Council meeting and was able to educate policymakers on why individuals with physical, behavioral, and mental disabilities need to be a priority in public funding and why employability and filling the gaps makes the most sense in services. Location and Date: Jacksonville, August 14, 2013 Attendance: 55

Event: 2013 Family Network on Disabilities Heart and Hope Conference Disability Rights Florida attended a conference targeting families of individuals with disabilities and shared information with parents and professionals who work with individuals with disabilities at an informational table filled with Disability Rights Florida promotional material. Disability Rights Florida also made a transition presentation about preparing for postsecondary life. Location and Date: Dunedin, September 7, 2013 Attendance: 8 - table (1 - presentation)

Event: Jacksonville Job Opportunities Consortium (JOC) Disability Rights Florida attended the JOC, the business leadership network of Northeast Florida, meeting at Hope Haven to assist in creating the new JOC brochure and discuss job opportunities for people with disabilities. Location & Date: Jacksonville, August 2, 2013 Attendance: 10

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

CAP continues to resolve client disputes with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Division of Blind Services (DBS) through alternative dispute resolution and considers mediation prior to representation at a formal appeal. CAP has utilized the DVR Ombudsman’s office and the DBS Bureau Chief when needed. Frequent complaints involve delays throughout the rehabilitation process, concerns related to effectiveness of counselor or counselor turnover (30% during 2013) prior approval requests for medical treatment, post-secondary education, assistive technology, post-employment, small business denials and the appeal process itself.

In December 2012, the Disability Rights Florida Employment Team Manager met with the DBS Bureau Chief of Field Services and approximately 35 DBS District and Headquarters leadership staff to discuss the role of CAP and appropriate due process (putting policy and fact in decision letters). It is hoped that this ongoing collaboration with DBS staff increases the awareness of all staff within the district and increases the understanding of the CAP role. This fiscal year, CAP was involved in 14 requests for administrative review and 2 Fair Hearings. CAP continues to advocate for mediation whenever possible prior to litigation.

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

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

CAP has been active in working with DVR and DBS related to the cooperative agreement for serving individuals with dual sensory impairments. CAP worked at times directly with the DVR/DBS Acting Director related to research on relationships between the two agencies. Steps were taken to refresh the staff of both Vocational Rehabilitation agencies on the Memorandum of Understanding to better coordinate services. Both state offices were contacted about concerns related to how clients have been sent to the other agency. In June, DVR announced a new Deaf-Blind Specialist position will be hired within the DVR state office specifically charged with serving individuals who are both deaf-blind and consumers of DVR and/or DBS. CAP continues this project into the coming year.

Due Process — Hearing Requests & Referrals to Hearing Officers

This year CAP engaged in an ongoing investigation of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation regarding delay of referrals to impartial hearing officers for fair hearings. CAP investigated the delay related to appropriate due process and required timeliness of response to appeals.

A Public Records Request was made in FY 2012, and the results arrived in the first quarter of FY 2013. CAP reviewed and analyzed the hearing requests submitted to the Division and the amount of time taken to refer to the hearing officer. The CAP findings included 82% of the hearing requests delayed for more than 30 days before being referred to a hearing officer; 73% delayed for more than 40 days before referral; 68% delayed for more than 50 days before referral; 50 %—half of the hearing requests received by the Division for the year examined—failed to be referred to a hearing officer prior to the 60-days in which a hearing shall be conducted, not merely referred, as contemplated by federal regulation; four requests for hearing waited more than three months before being referred to DOAH; and not one of the 22 requests for hearing was referred to a hearing officer in compliance with the requirements of the Florida Administrative Procedures Act. The Division protested that they were considering the hearing requests for mediation, but of the 22 hearing requests that CAP reviewed, only four were offered mediation.

RSA inquired with the Division regarding the data CAP submitted for review. The Division offered a response to RSA’s inquiry in June 2013 that reflected improvements in the timeliness of those referred in fewer than 50 days, but still showed that five of the 10 may have exceeded 50 days before being referred to a hearing officer. CAP continues to monitor.

Collaboration with Technology and Learning Connections This organization is in charge of the state Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning Loan Library for the Florida Department of Education. Patrons must be approved by the district ESE Directors. Additionally, a Technical Assistance Paper for Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities was being drafted for review and comment by the Florida Department of Education. Disability Rights Florida and CAP commented in several areas related to the possibility of advocates making referrals rather than just the ESE Directors since this is not being done. The Loan Library continues to be underutilized by school districts. The CAP grant coordinator arranged a training program to facilitate transition student referrals to this program from the CAP and Education Team staff working with transition students and their families so they understand the availability of this resource. Center for Independent Living TTY/TDD project CAP investigated technology accessibility of Florida Centers for Independent Living via advertised TTY/TDD phone lines. Fourteen CIL’s were contacted and nine of those needed to address technology including updating their website with proper numbers for video relay, making sure the URL is accurate and making sure TDD calls are responded to. DVR Headquarters Independent Living Administrator was alerted to the project results to ensure accurate information is presented on the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation website related to each CIL’s contact link and that each CIL involved should make these corrections on their website. Due Process — Spanish and Creole Language IPEs CAP identified an issue with DVR Individualized Plans for Employment not being made available to clients in their native languages. While the Division’s website does offer translations of the website materials to Spanish or Creole, and while the Division offers instructions for creating an IPE in Spanish, the IPE itself is not translated in written form for native Spanish or Creole speakers. Division clients confirm that they discuss the document in their native language with the counselor, but that it is not provided in writing in their preferred language. Additionally, CAP was able to obtain a list of the forms available in Spanish on the Division’s computer system to discover that an IPE template was not included in Spanish. While federal law and the Division’s own policy state the need to provide the IPE in the chosen language, it is clear that there is no consistent or standardized means to do so across Areas, Unit Offices, or even counselors. CAP has corresponded with General Counsel for the Division, but has not received a satisfactory response as to how the policy is standard or consistent. This project remains active entering FY 2014. Job Opportunities Consortium (JOC) — Jacksonville CAP attended bimonthly meetings of this consortium which is the Jacksonville Business Leadership Network in Jacksonville. This is a forum for local employers and agencies to network and discuss different topics related to employment opportunities and resources for individuals with disabilities including vocational rehabilitation agencies and advocacy services. Public Hearings On February 21, 2013, CAP Coordinator and other Disability Rights Florida employees attended the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) public hearing and provided public testimony. Comments related to improving promptness of services, counselors not being responsive to consumer phone calls, and notification to clients when their counselors leave the agency. DVR Self-Employment — Self Employment Area Liaisons CAP was active in challenging self-employment procedures implemented by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in two areas of the state in FY 2013. The Division created a new “position” of Self Employment Area Liaisons (“SEALs”). The role was filled by current Division employees who retained their same job title, but were deemed experts in self-employment following exposure to the Division’s training program for Certified Business and Technical Assistance Consultants. CAP made two public records requests of the Division in FY 2013 to understand the training, authority, and role of the SEALs, as well as any proposed changes in Administrative Rules. The Division offered training materials, a one-page explanation of the SEAL role, and stated no changes to formal rule or informal policy were pending. The SEALs were supposed to offer guidance on self-employment matters to counselors, allowing the counselor to retain decision-making authority in the case. However, in two areas, the SEALs were making decisions to deny services and were causing sizable delays in service delivery. Coincidentally, the two areas that relied most heavily on the SEALs to make adverse decisions or delay services were also the two areas with the highest total expenditures on self-employment cases over the past three Florida fiscal years, by a sizable margin. CAP handled a number of these cases individually at the informal administrative review level of appeal to better understand the nature of the decisions being made. CAP was successful in getting those adverse decisions reversed. In addition, CAP sent correspondence to the Division’s General Counsel that continued reliance upon the promulgated SEAL policy would result in litigation under the Florida Administrative Procedures Act. Following the casework and threat of litigation, the Division appears to have backed away from the unofficial policy. Individuals continue to have access to self-employment services at present in all areas of the state, but CAP continues investigation into possible discouragement of self-employment as an employment outcome. Self-Employment — CBTAC Quality Assurance CAP sought information from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on quality assurance measures taken to measure the performance of Certified Business and Technical Assistance Consultants (“CBTACs”). A Public Records Request revealed no quality assurance measures exist beyond the review at the local level by the counselor. The documentation also revealed that there have been no actions taken against a CBTAC to correct sub-standard, or erroneous work beyond the counselor level and no CBTACs have had their vendor licenses revoked. CAP continues to investigate the quality of the work as it affects clients and has negative effects on counselors who may deny clients self-employment outcomes due to what they perceive to be inadequate work by the CBTAC. State Personnel DVR Trainee Status

On March 20, 2013, CAP staff met with DVR Director/Acting DBS Director McKinlay and Bureau Chiefs to discuss trainee status with state government positions for DVR clients as well as advocate for DVR to be more active with State Personnel Human Resource offices related to hiring of individuals with disabilities. CAP research revealed 786 trainee positions statewide at time of records request. DVR was provided with information on this little known program already in place for a number of agencies including Florida Department of Highway and Safety, Game and Fish, Juvenile Justice, etc. During this meeting it was evident that DVR did not have a close relationship with State personnel officers. The DVR Bureau Chief met with Human Resource Officers as a result of this advocacy to improve understanding of the DVR/DBS Vocational Rehabilitation Program as a resource for placements. The trainee position can be utilized when the individual is qualified but lacks experience required for the position. This is one additional tool to be utilized in job placement.

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.

BH, an individual with neurological disorders and ADHD, contacted Disability Rights Florida to request assistance when the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation halted his supply of needed medications and demanded that he undergo a psychological evaluation. Employment Team staff intervened to ensure a temporary supply until a new prescription could be obtained. Employment Team staff also advocated for a change in counselor, as the relationship between client and counselor had deteriorated. After counselor change, client has access to medications and has applied to and been accepted to nursing school, which will be sponsored by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

DW, an individual who is blind, contacted Disability Rights Florida in need of assistance to attend his interview for employment in California and then moving across country to start his employment. DW was offered a job in California, and the Division of Blind Services had included travel and moving expenses on his IPE. However, the Division of Blind Services was slow to get him the money needed for travel to the interview. Our staff advocated quickly for the Division to send maintenance to the client while in California during his interview trip. The Division of Blind Services paid for flights for DW and his family; first month’s rent and security deposits; rental car and hotel for the interview; furniture; and deposits for electric, water, and cable. DW is now working at his new job in California.

SK, a homeless individual with neurological disorders and physical/orthopedic impairments, contacted Disability Rights Florida seeking assistance appealing a case closure by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Client’s case had been closed for “failure to cooperate.” Employment Team staff advocated to keep Client’s case open, specifically advocating for assistance to help SK identify job goals. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation agreed to keep the case open and provide SK with a new counselor that is a certified vocational evaluator.

AM, an individual with Multiple Sclerosis, mental illness, and physical impairments, contacted Disability Rights Florida requesting assistance getting the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide her with items documented on the IPE, specifically, a monthly bus pass, interview clothes, and glasses. Employment Team staff investigation led to the knowledge that AM needed to provide proof that she was in a program that would warrant the need for clothing and monthly bus pass. Our staff successfully advocated for the services necessary to meet the client’s needs. AM is now moving forward with her rehabilitation plan.

AE, an individual with Spina Bifida, specific learning disorders, hearing impairment and a physical/orthopedic impairment, contacted Disability Rights Florida after having her on the job training program terminated. Client additionally sought assistance getting the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide a new counselor, move forward with driving lessons and modifications to a vehicle. Employment Team staff negotiated to get the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide the services listed on the IPE, leading to the counselor completing the necessary referrals. AH, an individual with Asperger’s syndrome contacted Disability Rights Florida after he was terminated from a job he had been placed in through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and one of its vendors. Employment Team staff intervention resulted in AH receiving services and evaluations to assist in determining a suitable job goal and new job coach. AH is moving forward with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and seeking new employment. HG, an individual diagnosed with mental illness, sought substantial assistance from DVR to retain employment. HG had requested DVR provide psychiatric services, but DVR provided a referral to a comparable benefit. HG has been receiving psychiatrist services with regards to medication (self-pay) through the comparable benefit, although the client is dissatisfied with the provider. After Disability Rights intervened, DVR is now providing post-employment services, including ten psychologist sessions and guidance and counseling regarding disclosure of the disability to HG’s employer.

ML, an adult diagnosed with chronic pain, substance abuse, and visual impairments, was reportedly denied DVR eligibility due to severity of a mental illness. ML denied any mental illness. The DVR unit supervisor reported that the case was closed as "refusing services" and that ML was found eligible. Disability Rights Florida successfully advocated for the unit supervisor to reopen the individual’s case.

JDA, a young adult diagnosed with cerebral palsy, requested assistance with a case transfer from one DVR office to another to prevent service interruptions. The client was concerned that changing offices would negatively affect post-secondary school registration. Disability Rights Florida obtained contact information for the new vocational rehabilitation counselor and established communication between both parties. The client reported no interruption in services during the unit transfer and no delays with the school.

IJ is an adult diagnosed with neurological disorders, attention deficit disorder, and ADHD. DVR denied IJ’s request for services. IJ through his private counsel sought a fair hearing on the denial. DVR legal counsel denied the request on the grounds that the request failed to meet standards that were not contained in the notice either explicitly or through reference. Disability Rights Florida assisted IJ by getting DVR legal to agree to forward his appeal request to DOAH after pointing out the denial of due process in that instance.

JR is an adult diagnosed with a learning disability and an adjustment disorder, along with mixed anxiety/depressive mood. JR sought self-employment services from the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (“DVR”) to start a lawn care service. The client was interested in obtaining lawn care equipment and a referral to a Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultant (“CBTAC”), but received a decision letter denying his request for services. Disability Rights Florida agreed to represent JR at an administrative review and assisted with his appeal request. After the administrative review was conducted, Disability Rights Florida discussed the client’s options, including accepting DVR’s offer to provide the lawn care equipment needed to start working and earning more income. JR did not want to lose the offer of equipment through continued pursuit of the appeal process. Disability Rights Florida communicated the equipment estimates to DVR. JR was informed about the Area level prior approval process and the IPE amendment that was likely to follow. Disability Rights Florida informed JR about the SBDC’s throughout the State, as well as SCORE, as resources for business plan development.

KS is an adult diagnosed with Hepatitis C and endocrine conditions resulting from cancer. Following a denial of his self-employment services by DVR, KS requested an administrative review; Disability Rights Florida agreed to represent KS at the review. The administrative review concluded with a discussion about the wording of the pending decision letter, which was likely finding in favor of KS and moving forward in developing an IPE amendment for self-employment and a referral to a CBTAC of KS’s choosing. Disability Rights Florida debriefed issues with the parties. After additional information was provided to DVR, KS received the decision letter finding in favor of self-employment services. Disability Rights Florida encouraged KS to work closely with DVR to complete tasks and move forward.

BJ, diagnosed with blindness in both eyes, sought a change of counselor after breakdowns in communication and services, including a request for assistive technology. Disability Rights Florida confirmed with the Florida Division of Blind Services (“DBS”) that, pursuant to BJ’s wishes, a different rehabilitation specialist was assigned to the case. DBS explained that placement services are available, but that BJ’s request for a computer would not be approved, but that, as a client of DVR, assistance in attending school and the computer request could be addressed with DVR.

JMK, an adult diagnosed with physical/orthopedic impairments and respiratory disorders, sought Disability Rights Florida assistance in alleviating DVR service delays and to obtain assistive technology to allow the client to attend school. Disability Rights Florida intervention led to DVR amending the IPE to include all items needed to start school, including a laptop computer. JMK is now focused on education and future employment in counseling.

JB, an adult who is blind in one eye and has tunnel vision in the other, requested assistance getting assistive technology to attend school. Disability Rights Florida reviewed the AT evaluation and urged DVR to follow through on the recommendations made by the rehab engineer, specifically, a laptop computer with a 15" screen. The AT was provided pursuant to the report and the rehabilitation engineer provided services to adjust the AT’s settings for the client’s needs. The IPE now provides for items needed for JB to be successful in pursuing a business degree and then seeking employment.

AP, an adult with quadriplegia, requested assistance getting DVR to provide the services listed on his IPE, which included assistive technology. Disability Rights Florida’s intervention led to an agreement by DVR to provide all the items on the IPE, including computer software, a battery for the client’s laptop, a hard drive, internet access, a thumb drive, wheelchair repairs, and shower chair. AP gained knowledge on how to be an effective self-advocate by understanding DVR policies. AP has the items needed to be successful in real estate.

DRR, a young adult diagnosed with spina bifida, requested assistance with obtaining a programmable sewing machine and a laptop computer in order to become self-employed. A Disability Rights Florida advocate explained the process of self-employment with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the client decided to pursue additional training before seeking self-employment. An IPE amendment was created reflecting additional training and identifying self-employment as the post-training goal.

AC, was assisted to obtain a bus pass after a delay of two weeks. DVR was sponsoring vocational technical training but without a bus pass, the individual was unable to attend the training. The DVR counselor had not resolved the issue despite repeated conversations with the client. Given the urgent nature of the issue, CAP grant coordinator facilitated a conference call between the individual and the DVR supervisor. The next day, the issue was resolved when the DVR Counselor hand delivered the bus passes.

Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 7:35 PM “they give 40 passes so i gonna be good for awhile thank you so much”

CAP facilitated emergency retinal surgery for JSW, an individual with retinal detachment following a history of visual disturbance and blindness related to a stroke. Intervention with an Area DBS Director resulted in an expedited application process and IPE development to include eye surgery. Surgery was successful in reattaching the retina. Individual is back at work. The DBS Area Director was informed that the initial denial of access was inappropriate as it was done by phone without evaluating any medical information. Area DBS staff received training to prevent this in the future.

AH is an adult with Epilepsy assisted with obtaining information about DVR services. Individual had been informed that transportation was not a service the VR Counselor could approve. Intake Coordinator spoke to individual about DVR services and provided the online DVR Counselor Manual link and chapter describing transportation and maintenance services.

“Thank you for this! There is one area where i was denied help and two other areas in your attachment i didn’t even know they offered those services if i didn’t speak with you. Everything has a purpose & reason. Thank you so so much. Have a blessed day!”

RE, an adult with cardiomyopathy and diabetes, sought assistance after approaching DVR for hearing aid assistance and being informed that a psychological evaluation would be required. The client was a prior consumer of Division services, which had sponsored RE’s prior hearing aids. A Disability Rights Florida advocate identified vocational needs through an interview with the client and summarized the needs in correspondence to the counselor. Following the psychological evaluation, questions about ineligibility were resolved and an IPE was created that identified the client’s employment goal and sponsored the hearing exam to lead to hearing aids.

CA, an adult with mental illness and a history of substance abuse, sought assistance getting DVR to sponsor training in cosmetology and to get a new VRC closer to the client’s home. The client applied to DVR in October 2012, but no IPE had been developed in April 2013. The client had a criminal history due to substance abuse; Division staff believed the client should not be exposed to any chemicals based on prior drug use. A Disability Rights Florida advocate investigated the client’s situation, collaborated with the DVR Ombudsman’s office, and led to DVR agreeing to transfer the case and sponsor the desired cosmetology training.

EG, a young adult with cerebral palsy, sought assistance for DVR to sponsor tuition at a private school to allow the client to graduate on time. The Division had been sponsoring the client’s education at the private school, but payment had not been received for two semesters. A Disability Rights Florida advocate intervened and requested an exception to the policy paying only the state rate for college training, as EG’s major, practical theology, was not offered at the local public schools. CAP involvement led to DVR agreeing to sponsor the remainder of the tuition owed to the private school, as well as to pay the entire rate (not the state rate) for all the classes still needed.

AI, an adult with mental illness, sought assistance getting DVR to pay for her LPN program and boards as listed on her IPE. The client had completed the school program but was prohibited from sitting for the boards until the tuition was paid in full. An IPE was signed with the Division sponsoring those costs. A Disability Rights Florida advocate interview the client and Division staff and informed the Division of the immediate need to pay for the rendered services so the client would not have to retake the training course again. After a conflict over who was responsible for paying tuition was resolved, Division staff expedited payment so that AI would meet timeframes and be able to sit for the boards.

DM, an adult with a fractured back, cerebral palsy, specific learning disabilities, mental illness and neurological disorders, sought assistance addressing delays by DVR to provide physical/medical restoration and medication services as listed on the IPE. The client was advised by Division staff that exhaustion of comparable services and benefits would be necessary prior to sponsorship of the identified services. A Disability Rights Florida advocate helped document that those resources had been exhausted, and DVR agreed to provide the services DM needed in order to be successful in school. DM will be able to reenroll in school to hopefully complete the business management degree from the IPE.

MC, an adult diagnosed with mental illness, sought assistance with a conflict about services to be provided by Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. A Disability Rights Florida advocate was assigned to assist in securing the mental restoration services that were detailed on her IPE. The Division was providing visits to a psychiatrist, but was not following through on fulfilling the scripts written by the provider. Disability Rights Florida negotiated a resolution to the conflict about services to be provided and the client received the prescribed psychiatric medications that had been delayed and will continue to receive them following the resolution of the matter.

FC, an adult diagnosed with physical /orthopedic impairments, sought assistance with a dispute with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation related to the application/eligibility process. A Disability Rights Florida advocate intervened to reverse a case closure, where the Division found the client unable to benefit from Division services. Division staff failed to follow procedures relating to extended evaluation; Disability Rights Florida advocated for the implementation of those evaluation services. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation will reverse the closure and (1) place the client back in applicant status, (2) assign anew counselor and (3) re-assess based on the client’s current abilities and skills.

DM, an adult with a visual impairment, was denied transportation assistance for school by the Division of Blind Services. A Disability Rights Florida advocate investigated the denial and the client’s history, and the client had used previous transportation funding for unauthorized purposes. The advocate explained the client’s responsibility pursuant to the IPE and negotiated an agreement between the client and the Division supervisor to provide transportation for future semesters if DM demonstrates academic success for the summer semester.

JMC, an adult with blindness, sought assistance acquiring assistive technology and maintenance from the Division of Blind Services. A Disability Rights Florida advocate determined that some assistive technology had been provided, but that other requests were denied. The client was advised of the right to request a decision letter on the denials, but no request was made. The advocate instead focused on the denial of phone and internet services for the client who was attempting to secure employment at home. Through negotiations with the District Administrator regarding the Division’s maintenance policy, Disability Rights Florida secured an agreement where the Division would sponsor both phone and internet service for six months, and, if the client was without employment at that time, they could assess whether continuation of services would be appropriate.

DC, an adult with learning disabilities and neurological disorders, sought assistance to address her concerns about the quality of service provided by DVR and possible retaliation by Division staff by verbally requiring the client to undergo a psychological evaluation. A Disability Rights Florida advocate interviewed a Division Ombudsman and other Division staff. The advocate determined that the requirement of a psychological evaluation resulted from a question posed to the VRC by the ombudsman, which was misinterpreted as a recommendation. At that time, the request for the psychological evaluation was rescinded through writing, rendering the issue moot. The advocate staffed the matter with the managing attorney and informed DC that the facts did not support the claim of retaliation. The client was advised on how to request a change of counselor and the advocate encouraged Division staff to timely respond to a request if and when it was made.

RD, an older adult with a visual impairment, sought assistance following a demand by the DBS District Administrator that the client provide a business plan based on his IPE and employment goal. RD had never written a business plan before nor been asked by the Division to prepare a business plan. While there was no denial of services, a Disability Rights Florida advocate conducted a teleconference to negotiate a settlement of the conflict between the client and the Division. The call resulted in several agreements to continue working together and focus on making measurable progress towards the employment goal of real estate consultant. The advocate debriefed with both parties after the conference call and drafted a summary of the agreements to memorialize the parties’ intent.

RE, an adult with a hearing impairment and a learning disability, sought assistance following an Order of Selection placement in Category Three, preventing access to Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services. While on the waiting list for Division services, the client was terminated; RE believed the termination was due to the hearing impairment and the lack of a hearing aid to offset the disability. The Order of Selection placement was due to a lack of information about RE’s learning disability, which had been diagnosed in high school, but was not disclosed at the time of application. A Disability Rights Florida advocate negotiated with the Division and reached an agreement for the Division to conduct an evaluation to determine the nature of the learning disability, and to reassess the client’s Order of Selection placement.

CM, an adult with a visual impairment and deafness, sought assistance after being referred by DBS staff to DVR for services and then being denied services by DVR. A Disability Rights Florida advocate contacted DVR and DBS field staff to address service delivery and also contacted DBS State Office personnel to address the systemic implications of referrals to DVR that are refused. The client’s need for interpreter services will be fulfilled by DBS until job placement is achieved, and then DVR will provide interpreter services.

PM, an adult with blindness, requested assistance after DBS denied a request for cataracts surgery due to funding limitations in the Independent Living Program. A Disability Rights Florida advocate investigated and determined that PM had not been clear about the situation—the client was employed as a security guard, but due to the vision loss caused by the cataracts, the current employment was in jeopardy. The advocate contacted the District Administrator and clarified the need for the surgery to maintain employment. The Division agreed to move ahead with DBS vocational rehabilitation services, including the requested surgery.

CR, an adult who is deaf and has physical impairments, sought assistance securing a cochlear implant through DVR. The cochlear implant would be done through an outpatient surgical procedure, requiring CR to have a place to stay overnight to recover. CR was homeless and needed a hotel room to recuperate overnight; the counselor asserted that the client had options for places to stay without Division sponsorship. As the surgery is an outpatient procedure, the hospital would not let the client stay overnight. A Disability Rights Florida advocate explained the situation to the counselor who agreed that the Division should sponsor one night in a hotel. Taxi was also provided to get the client from the hospital to the hotel. SW, a young adult who is deaf, sought assistance getting her Social Security Administration Ticket-To-Work transferred from Georgia to Florida in order to receive job placement assistance. The client was informed that the case in Georgia would have to be closed before services could be provided in Florida. SW moved from Georgia to Florida to attend school. A Disability Rights Florida advocate consulted with Georgia’s vocational rehabilitation program staff, the Georgia Client Assistance Program, and Florida Division staff. The advocate learned that, due to the expenditures to that point, Georgia was unwilling to close the case and reassign the ticket. The vocational rehabilitation programs in Georgia and Florida agreed to share the ticket, which is allowed, and to work together to provide services needed for SW’s employment outcome.

TW, an adult with hernia issues, a history of heart attack, and digestive disorders, sought assistance getting DVR to create his IPE. The client had been eligible for services for 70 days, but was continually put off by the counselor. Verbal assurances were made that medical restoration, including hernia surgery, and job placement assistance would be services on the IPE. Within days of contact by a Disability Rights Florida advocate, an IPE was signed by the Division and the client; the IPE included the requested hernia surgery.

JS, an adult with a visual impairment, sought assistance obtaining emergency retinal surgery for a retinal detachment, following a history of visual disturbance and blindness related to a stroke. The initial denial of access occurred as DBS staff made a determination of no bilateral visual problem without evaluating any medical information. A Disability Rights Florida advocate brought the client’s needs to the attention of the DBS District Administrator, resulting in an expedited application process and IPE development to include eye surgery. Surgery successfully reattached the retina, allowing the client to return to work.

TJ, an adult with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and schizoaffective disorder, sought assistance following termination from his existing employment due to symptoms of PTSD. A Disability Rights Florida advocate conducted a supervised referral to DVR. The advocate also identified possible eligibility through the Lower Muskogee Tribal vocational rehabilitation program. The client was found eligible for and is being served by both programs.

JB, an adult with a traumatic brain injury, depression, drug dependence and a broken foot, sought assistance getting DVR to pay for a needed surgery on his foot. The client’s foot was broken in a car accident in July 2012; the client had continued working in construction even while the foot was broken and swollen. The client had applied in May 2012 and an IPE was agreed to by the client and Division on July 3, prior to the car accident. The client lost contact with the Division during recovery and the medical provider was denied authorization as physical/orthopedic restoration services were not included on the IPE. A Disability Rights Florida advocate facilitated delivery of records from the medical provider to the Division. After a review of the medical records and an agreement to also pursue mental restoration services, the IPE was amended to sponsor the necessary surgery.

EG, an adult with neuropathy, mental illness, back problems and a history of substance abuse, sought assistance with DVR’s IPE process. An IPE with mental restoration serv

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:27-Dec-13
Name of Designated Agency Official:Bob Whitney
Title of Designated Agency Official:Executive Director