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

Louisiana (Advocacy Center) - H161A130019 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameAdvocacy Center
Address8325 Oak Street
Address Line 2
CityNew Orleans
StateLouisiana
Zip Code70118-2043
E-mail Addressdgallegos@advocacyla.org
Website Addresshttp://www.advocacyla.org
Phone504-522-2337
TTY
Toll-free Phone800-960-7705
Toll-free TTY
Fax504-522-5507

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

Name
Address
Address Line 2
City
Zip Code
E-mail Address
Website Address
Phone
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax

Additional Information

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

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act8
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA2
3. Other information provided15
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)25
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)325

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)2
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year59
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)61
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.)61

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 25

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 favor27
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)4
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual0
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)0
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual decided not to pursue resolution0
7. Appeals were unsuccessful2
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.1
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP2
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Other (please explain)

N/A

E. Results achieved for individuals

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual5
2. Application for services completed.0
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented2
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party9
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made18
10. Other0
11. Other (please explain)

N/A

Part II. Program Data

A. Age

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

1. 21 and under3
2. 22 - 4021
3. 41 - 6435
4. 65 and over2
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)61

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female37
2. Male24
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)61

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race1
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American24
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White33
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)2
2. Other visual impairments3
3. Deafness2
4. Hard of hearing3
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments24
7. Absense of extremities0
8. Mental illness12
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)0
10. Mental retardation1
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)8
12. Neurological disorders4
13. Respiratory disorders1
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions0
15. Digestive disorders0
16. Genitourinary conditions0
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive0
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)1
20. All other disabilities0
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)61

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program0
2. Clients of VR Program55
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program5
4. Applicants or clients of other programs and projects funded under the Act1

F. Source of individual's concern

Multiple responses permitted.

1. VR agency only32
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only1
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources26
4. Employer2

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor20
3. Conflict about services to be provided29
4. Related to application/eligibility process4
5. Related to IPE development/implementation4
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems2
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related2
8. Related to Title I of the ADA0

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral6
2. Advisory/interpretational1
3. Negotiation10
4. Administrative/informal review18
5. Alternative dispute resolution1
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing0
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

PART III. NARRATIVE

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

a. Type of agency used to administer CAP:

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

CAP Staff-

Mr. David Gallegos serves as the CAP Director and CAP Advocate. He has over 23 years of experience in non-profit, disability job-training and placement programs. Prior to his employment with the Advocacy Center, he served as a Program Director for South Louisiana’s Center for Independent Living Program.

Legal oversight of CAP is provided by Ms. Sarah Voigt, who also serves as Mr. Gallegos’ supervisor. Ms. Voigt is a Cum Laude graduate of Tulane Law School with 26 years of experience practicing law, the last 17 with the AC.

Ms. Brean Arnold joined the CAP team in August 2012 as a part-time CAP Advocate. She is completing her third year of law school and will sit for the Louisiana Bar in the summer of 2014. Ms. Arnold is supervised by Ms. Voigt. 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:

Sources of Funding Total Expenditures Spent on Individuals Federal Funds $ 164,221.08 State Funds $ 0 All Other Funds $ 0 Total From All Sources $ 164,221.08 The "all other" category is broad and includes funds from local governments, earned income (e.g., legal fees), charitable contributions, and other grants or contracts. This category does not include in-kind donations. However, it is hoped that CAP agencies will collect this information separately if appropriate.

c. Budget for current and following fiscal years: Be sure to outline the budget for the current and subsequent fiscal years. This item should include a breakdown of dollars expended/allotted for administrative costs (e.g., salaries for personnel, equipment, etc.); and services to individuals and other expenses (e.g., training of staff, travel, etc.). The following chart is recommended:

Category Current Fiscal Year Next Fiscal Year Wages & Salaries $ 118,580 $ 114,646 Fringe Benefits (FICA, Unemployment, etc.) $ 27,224 $ 25,953 Materials/Supplies $ 2,758 $ 2,903 Postage $ 1,068 $ 865 Telephone, Cell Phone, Internet $ 2,509 $ 2,920 Rent $ 11,531 $ 12,390 Travel $ 3,308 $ 3,074 Staff Development (Includes Travel) $ 7,696 $ 3,230 Copying/Duplicating $ 1,098 $ 1,186 Bonding/Insurance $ 401 $ 408 Equipment Rental/Purchase $ 852 $ 537 Service Contracts/Consultants $ 2,782 $ 6,383 Legal Services $ 0 $ 0 Indirect Costs $ 0 $ 0 Miscellaneous $ 1,667 $ 1,918 Total Budget $ 181,474 $ 176,413

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

Type of Position Full-Time Equivalent % of Year Position Filled Person-Years Professional 1.45088 100% 14 Full-Time 1.15001 100% 12 Part-Time 0.30087 2 Vacant 0 0% 0 Clerical 0.18042 100% 5 Full-Time 0.06881 100% 4 Part-Time 0.11161 1 Vacant 0 0% 0

e. Summary of presentations made:

During FY ’13, the CAP collaborated with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) programs to conduct outreach and training to approximately 200 job seekers in Southeast Louisiana. CAP provided job seekers information on Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) and how to access CAP services. Information booklets entitled “Knowing the Road” and “On Your Own Behalf” were provided to attendees. These booklets provide an overview of LRS services and LRS appeal procedures. ?

f. Involvement with advisory boards:

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

g. Outreach to unserved/underserved populations:

During FY ’13, Advocacy Center staff worked with several groups to promote diversity and racial and ethnic equality throughout the state, particularly in the New Orleans area. Mr. Gallegos serves as a Board member for Puentes/Latinola, a group that seeks to create access for and with Latinos of the Greater New Orleans area through civic engagement, leadership development, economic asset building, policy and advocacy.

Mr. Gallegos participated as a panel speaker at the September 2013 Hispanic Heritage month “Language Access In Healthcare” symposium. Approximately 125 attendees received information about Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and the Client Assistance program. Attendees received Advocacy Center’s vocational rehabilitation publications entitled “Knowing the Road and On Your Own Behalf”. Advocacy Center staff reach out to people with disabilities across the state in a variety of ways: electronically via email, website, Facebook and Twitter; in person at events across the state; and via telephone. Offering opportunities for individuals to learn more about the Advocacy Center in so many different ways allows underserved people with disabilities to connect with the Advocacy Center in the method that is most comfortable and accessible for them.

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

h. Alternative dispute resolutions:

The CAP seeks to resolve issues at the lowest level possible. Doing so allows CAP to resolve the majority of issues without seeking formal LRS due process intervention. When needed, the CAP implements a more formal approach including administrative due process remedies “only as necessary” and if all other forms of dispute resolution are exhausted. Below is a breakdown of intervention levels employed during FY ’13:

Information/Referral — 31 Advisory/Interpretational — 01 Negotiation — 10 Administrative/Informal Review — 18 Alternative Dispute Resolution — 01 Formal Appeal/Fair Hearing — 00 Total: 61

i. Systemic advocacy:

Systems advocacy is an advocacy methodology often used by the CAP. During FY ’13 CAP engaged in the following systems advocacy efforts:

Transition from school to work- One of CAP’s priorities is to increase the number of students with disabilities who have a viable transition plans and who are thereby more likely to become employed upon graduation from secondary school. Toward that end, the CAP Director, in collaboration with the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC), requested that Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) provide quarterly updates on the number of transition cases referred to LRS and the number of cases successfully closed. The updates will include data on eligibility/non-eligibility, and type of service(s) requested and provided. LRS also agreed to share updates with the LRC and CAP on its new transition initiative in North Louisiana. This initiative between private industry and transition students in North Louisiana is expected to increase the number of available supported employment vendors and create job opportunities for transition youth. To learn more about LRS’ transition initiative in North Louisiana, CAP requested that LRS conduct a panel presentation at the Advocacy Center in February 2014. We believe that all of these activities help to establish transition services as an important priority for both LRS and Local School Authorities.

SSI and SSDI clients (contribution to cost small business ventures)- CAP successfully advocated for a policy change that establishes that clients on SSI and SSDI are not expected to contribute to the cost of small business ventures. This policy change ensures that SSI and SSDI clients will not have to contribute 20% towards small business start-up costs, as they did in the past.

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (Visibility under Louisiana Workforce Commission-LWC)- CAP advocated for LRS visibility on the LWC website. Prior to FY’13, LRS did not have a visible presence on the LWC website. With pressure from CAP, a tab is present on LWC’s website. While this seems like a simple fix, it took several months and requests by CAP to get this issue resolved.

Transparency (LRS Policy and Technical Assistance and Guidance Manuals)- CAP requested that LRS and LWC create a tab on its website page that includes the LRS Policy and Technical Assistance Guidance manuals. This will ensure updates to both manuals are current and accessible to clients and the Client Assistance Program. Technology requests and changes within LWC/LRS require multiple levels of consideration and approval. CAP anticipates both manuals will be posted on the LRS website in early FY’14.

LRS Presence in the Greater New Orleans Area- CAP requested LRS reopen an office in the City of New Orleans. Current clients and potential clients do not have an LRS office location within the city limits of New Orleans, the state’s largest city. The current metropolitan N.O. office is situated in Metairie, a suburb of N.O. that is not easily accessible by public transit.

The lack of an LRS office in Orleans Parish also diminishes a “presence” in one of the State’s most densely populated service areas. LRS has historically maintained a visible presence in Orleans Parish. A physical LRS presence in Orleans Parish is vital to the community and to people with disabilities seeking to become employed. The decision to open an office in New Orleans is pending.

Communication- CAP continues to receive complaints about ineffective communication between clients and LRS counselors. Examples include clients not being able to reach counselors by phone, delayed updates by counselors, and negative/poor communication by counselors. To address these concerns, the LRS Director agreed to address communication issues one-on-one with supervisors and counselors, and if needed provide training to staff.

CAP in collaboration with Advocacy Center’s Community Living Ombudsman program (CLOP) is working to identify people living in group homes who want to work. The goal is to assist group home residents become aware of competitive employment options including VR services. The CLOP ombudsmen staff refers group home clients to LRS. CAP oversees referral from CLOP to LRS.

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

j. Cases:

Case 1-

Mr. A, a Ph.D. candidate in bioengineering, is visually impaired and uses reader services provided by LRS. The Ph.D. program is highly technical and requires mastery of complex math and graphing. Mr. A. was informed by LRS that his reader hours would be reduced by ½. LRS suggested Mr. A. get his books Brailed. Mr. A. explained to LRS that current Brailed technology has not yet reached the capacity to translate complex math and graphs into understandable Braille.

Mr. A. and CAP provided LRS a portfolio of Mr. A.’s Ph.D. program, achievements, awards and additional information that supported his request that LRS reinstate his reader services. CAP also informed LRS of its willingness to take the case to a fair hearing if a decision was made not to reinstate the reader services. LRS reviewed the request and portfolio and immediately reinstated the reader services. Mr. A. is scheduled to complete his Ph.D. in 2013 and plans to work as a professor.

Case 2-

Ms. B. is a person with a neurological disorder. She is also a mother of a young child, has a paralegal degree and wants to apply for law school after she completes her undergraduate degree. Ms. B. requested LRS pay for “maintenance” assistance for childcare costs. LRS initially denied the maintenance assistance while Ms. B. applied for and is denied financial assistance by the State.

Ms. B. and CAP made several attempts to get the State to provide LRS verification of her denial of childcare assistance. However, due to technical communication issues between LRS and the State, Ms. B. was unable to get written confirmation that she is not eligible for childcare financial assistance.

In the meantime, Ms. B. paid out-of-pocket for childcare services in order not to fall behind with classes. CAP requested an administrative review and successfully got LRS to pay for childcare services retroactively and ongoing.

Ms. B. anticipates graduating in 2014 and will apply for law school. Her goal is to work as an attorney on behalf of people with disabilities.

Case 3- Ms. C. is a person with a physical/orthopedic disability. She is also a long time client of LRS. Ms. C. contacted CAP because she thought Louisiana Rehabilitation Service had closed her case due to lack of “progress”. Ms. C. and CAP explained to LRS that she actively participates in a Goodwill Industries job-training program funded by LRS and that she needs both agencies to be more proactive with providing her guidance and job search/placement assistance.

CAP requested that LRS and Goodwill Industries meet to discuss how to assist Ms. C. with finding employment. Within weeks of the meeting between LRS and Goodwill Industries, Ms. C. was placed in a fulltime job at a Goodwill thrift store. Ms. C. is pleased with the job placement. Ms. C. was referred to Advocacy Center’s Work Incentives Planning program for benefits advice and counseling.

k. On-line information/outreach:

The AC/CAP has a website that provides clients information on CAP, and other employment issues. CAP’s employment publications including CAP fliers, and booklets, “Knowing the Road” and “On Your Own Behalf”, are downloadable by anyone who accesses the website.

Advocacy Center also hosts the Work Pays website that provides additional employment-related information to job seekers and the community.

AC/CAP maintains a Facebook page and regularly shares information about people with disabilities and their struggles to attain and maintain employment. AC’s Facebook page currently has over 1,600 fans. In FY ’13 AC’s website had 1,323,863 hits and 69,960 visitors.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:23-Dec-13
Name of Designated Agency Official:Lois V. Simpson
Title of Designated Agency Official:Executive Director