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

Pennsylvania (Center for Disability Law and Policy) - H161A140039 - FY2014

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameCenter for Disability Law & Policy
Address1515 Market Street
Address Line 2Suite 1300
CityPhiladelphia
StatePennsylvania
Zip Code19102
E-mail Addressadmin@equalemployment.org
Website Addresshttp://www.equalemployment.org
Phone215 557 7112
TTY 215 557 7112
Toll-free Phone1-888-745-2357
Toll-free TTY1-888-745-2357
Fax215 557 7602

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameCenter for Disability Law & Policy
Address1515 Market Street
Address Line 2Suite 1300
CityPhiladelphia
Zip Code19102
E-mail Addressadmin@equalemployment.org
Website Addresshttp://www.equalemployment.org
Phone215 557 7112
TTY215 557 7112
Toll-free Phone1-888-745-2357
Toll-free TTY1-888-745-2357
Fax215 557 7602

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorStephen S. Pennington
Person to contact regarding reportMargaret McKenna
Contact Person Phone2155577112

Part I. Agency Workload Data

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the Rehabilitation Act460
2. Information regarding Title I of the ADA120
3. Other information provided440
4. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1+A2+A3)1,020
5. Individuals attending trainings by CAP staff (approximate)1,000

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)72
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year125
3. Total individuals served (Lines B1+B2)197
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.)1

C. Individual still being served as of September 30

Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line I.B3. 66

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 favor75
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)23
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 resolution21
7. Appeals were unsuccessful0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.11
9. Individual refused to cooperate with CAP0
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 individual38
2. Application for services completed.3
3. Eligibility determination expedited5
4. Individual participated in evaluation4
5. IPE developed/implemented34
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party42
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual2
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR/ complaint made0
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 under30
2. 22 - 4067
3. 41 - 6492
4. 65 and over8
5. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A4. Total must equal Line I.B3.)197

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Female87
2. Male110
3. Total (Sum of Lines B1 and B2. Total must equal Line I.B3.)197

C. Race/ethnicity

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race5
For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American50
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White131
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown5

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Blindness (both eyes)8
2. Other visual impairments15
3. Deafness7
4. Hard of hearing9
5. Deaf-blind0
6. Orthopedic impairments25
7. Absense of extremities0
8. Mental illness50
9. Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)4
10. Mental retardation5
11. Specific learning disabilities (SLD)15
12. Neurological disorders26
13. Respiratory disorders1
14. Heart and other circulatory conditions2
15. Digestive disorders1
16. Genitourinary conditions1
17. Speech Impairments0
18. AIDS/HIV positive3
19. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)10
20. All other disabilities15
21. Disabilities not known0
22. Total (Sum of Lines D1 through D21. Total must equal Line I. B3.)197

E. Types of individuals served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicants of VR Program30
2. Clients of VR Program162
3. Applicants or clients of IL Program4
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 only191
2. Other Rehabilitation Act sources only6
3. Both VR agency and other Rehabilitation Act sources0
4. Employer0

G. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and counselor88
3. Conflict about services to be provided50
4. Related to application/eligibility process22
5. Related to IPE development/implementation25
6. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems12
7. Non-Rehabilitation Act related0
8. Related to Title I of the ADA0

H. Types of CAP services provided

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

1. Information/referral1
2. Advisory/interpretational31
3. Negotiation87
4. Administrative/informal review7
5. Alternative dispute resolution3
6. Formal appeal/fair hearing1
7. Legal remedy0
8. Transportation0

Part III. Narrative

Narrative

Narrative

A. TYPE OF AGENCY USED TO ADMINISTER CAP

External - Nonprofit Agency

During FY 2014, The Center for Disability Law & Policy (CDLP) was the designated agency to administer and operate the Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program (CAP). CAP is located in Philadelphia, with a satellite office in Camp Hill, PA. Under the Rehabilitation Act and Federal Regulations that govern this Act, the purpose of the program is to:

(a) provide assistance by informing and advising clients/applicants of all available benefits and services under the Act, as well as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended;

(b) assist and advocate for clients and client applicants in their relationships with projects, programs, and facilities providing services to them under the Act. This can include pursuing legal, administrative, or other appropriate remedies to ensure protection of the rights of the individual under this Act; and

(c) facilitate access to these services through individual and systemic advocacy.

During FY 2014, the Pennsylvania CAP adhered to the federal mandate by fulfilling the program’s mission to ensure that the rehabilitation system in Pennsylvania is open and responsive to the individualized needs of persons with disabilities who are seeking or receiving rehabilitation services under the Act.

B. SOURCES OF FUNDS EXPENDED

During FY 2014; the funds expended in the provision of services to persons eligible for CAP totaled $412,156.00. These funds were received from the federal formula grant funded under section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. No state or other funds were used in providing Client Assistance Program services.

Federal Funds - $412,156.00

C. BUDGET FOR CURRENT AND FOLLOWING FISCAL YEAR

CAP BUDGET FY 2014

Total Expenditures: 412,156.00

Personnel Statewide Director 88,053.60 Attorney Advocate 52,280.00 Advocate 48,000.00 Advocate 38,980.00 Administrative Assistant 8,160.00 Bookkeeper 26,000.00 Outreach Coordinator 6,336.00 Taxes Payroll 25,752.98 Total 293,562.58

Fringe Benefits Medical Benefits 27,617.24 Dental 1,836.77 AFLAC 2,562.56 Life Insurance 6,008.79 Bonus 1,450.00 Total 39,475.36

Other Accounting 3,582.50 Payroll Services 1,179.45 Consumable Supplies 4,721.31 Printing 305.07 Membership Dues and Publications 245.00 Postage 2,193.73 Telephone 4,009.34 Rent 46,492.92 Parking Fees 0 Staff Travel 6,197.86 Training 525.51 Work Study Fee 0 Outreach 2,693.60 Internet Fees 1,100.01 Leased Equipment 3,429.00 Interrupter Workers Comp Insurance 2,442.76 Business Inc. Total 79,118.06

Total Expenditures: 412,156.00

CAP BUDGET FY 2015 PRELIMINARY

Total Expenditures: 412,156.00

Personnel Statewide Director 88,053.60 Attorney Advocate 52,280.00 Advocate 48,000.00 Advocate 38,980.00 Administrative Assistant 8,160.00 Bookkeeper 26,000.00 Outreach Coordinator 6,336.00 Taxes Payroll 25,752.98 Total 293,562.58

Fringe Benefits Medical Benefits 27,617.24 Dental 1,836.77 AFLAC 2,562.56 Life Insurance 6,008.79 Bonus 1,450.00 Total 39,475.36

Other Accounting 3,582.50 Payroll Services 1,179.45 Consumable Supplies 4,721.31 Printing 305.07 Membership Dues and Publications 245.00 Postage 2,193.73 Telephone 4,009.34 Rent 46,492.92 Parking Fees 0 Staff Travel 6,197.86 Training 525.51 Work Study Fee 0 Outreach 2,693.60 Internet Fees 1,100.01 Leased Equipment 3,429.00 Interrupter Workers Comp Insurance 2,442.76 Business Inc. Total 79,118.06

Total Expenditures: 412,156.00

D. NUMBER OF PERSON-YEARS

Full-time % of year Equivalent Position Filled Person-Years Professional Full-time 4 100% 4

Clerical Part-time 1 50% Part-time 2 40% Part-time 3 10%

E. OUTREACH EFFORTS FOR FY 2014 AND SUMMARY OF PRESENTATIONS

We strongly believe in the value of getting out and about into the disability community as much as possible! In FY 2014 we were constantly working on creating and re-creating the connections in the disability community.

In FY 2014 we made over 1660 outreach contacts. Not to mention the hundreds of contacts whom we continue to network and reconnect with. There were approximately 85 formal outreach presentations during the year. Agencies dealing with veterans, providers dealing with the transition population (IU’s), job placement providers, disability offices in the colleges, sheltered workshops, autism groups are a good sampling of our 2014 outreach contacts. This year we did some “mini” CAP presentations as part of OVR staff trainings for new counselors. It is great that some OVR offices are feeling less threatened and more comfortable with CAP and our purpose. CAP was impressed that some district offices, DuBois, Reading, Norristown and Philadelphia asked us to provide information to their new staff as part of their staff training. Some of the providers, agencies, groups we outreached to this year include: Abilities in Motion, Bucks County Center for Independent Living Disability Options Network, New Castle Center for Independent Living Freedom Valley, Center for Independent Living Liberty Resources, Center for Independent Living Washington PA Center for Independent Living Life and Independence for Today, Saint Mary’s Center for Independent Living Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living Step by Step, job placement agency Life’s Work, sheltered employment agency Elcam, sheltered employment agency Department of Veterans Affairs PA Assistive Technology Foundation Mobility Unlimited NMSS Programs and Service NMSS Advocacy Good Shepherd Rehab Reading MS Support Group WellSpouse Organization Good Shepherd MS Connections Group The Vanguard School Community College of Allegheny County Disability Office Bucks County Community College Disability Office Community Integrated Services Lawrence County Community Action CRAY, Youth and Family Services Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living Blind and Vision Rehab Services of Pittsburgh Community Action Southwest, Washington Carbon — Monroe — Pike PA MH/MR Youth Transition Coordinator, Liberty Resources Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired PA Veterans Chambers of Commerce Lebanon VA, HUDVASH Arcadia University, Office of Disability Services Harcum College, Office of Disability Services Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Allegheny County, Berks County, Lancaster County, Clearfield County, Elk County IU’s Lehigh-Carbon Community College, Office of Disability Services Disability Rights Network, DRN of PA Just to name a few of our contacts in FY 2014!

In addition, we were able to visit all 22 OVR/BVS offices! As a result of consistent district office contact, many more of the staff in these offices has become much more familiar and comfortable with CAP. This has been resounded in the increase in direct VR staff referrals for individual cases. Our referral source data supports the conclusion that more frequent non-adversarial person-to-person contact with VR staff is key to our ability to assist more individuals. If the VR/CIL staff have more of an awareness and understanding of who we are and how we can often serve as a vital link between the individual and VR, they will be more inclined to refer their clients who have questions/issues to us for CAP intervention.

As in past years, we saw individuals with disabilities coming to CAP and OVR with increasing non-VR related issues. Generally, this caused OVR to reach out to CAP for more assistance with possible resources/referrals for these clients. As an example, if we provide information/resource to an individual who is having difficulty getting medical coverage, this helps everyone who is trying to help this client receive OVR services. Medical coverage will allow this individual to get the necessary medical/psychological care they need so they can get and keep a job!

In FY 2014, CAP also focused on networking! We continue to work hard capitalizing on the “domino effect". As an example, CAP advocate Margaret McKenna received a referral from a discharge social worker who works with individuals who have a TBI and are being discharged from Good Shephard Rehab. This was a great referral source for one of our new intakes. This social worker was someone Margaret had connected with in the past and decided it was time to reconnect with her. The referral illustrates how successful outreach can be on many levels. As luck would have it, this contact asked if CAP could speak at one of her next TBI support groups. The “circle of life” continues in CAP’s outreach efforts. Margaret also asked her it if she networked with other TBI support groups and if she could send some contact information. She was able to send a list of other TBI support groups whom CAP has already started outreaching. Moreover, Margaret was able to assist this particular client with OVR services which impressed the social worker. CAP is confident we will be receiving other client referrals from this “key contact”. In real estate what sells is location, location, location. In outreach, it is reputation, reputation, reputation!

This year we were regular presenters at our local Philadelphia OVR monthly job facilitation classes.

This particular OVR office is lucky enough to have two “job facilitators” who are not VR counselors and do not carry a regular caseload. After a client works extensively with their originating counselor and receives vocational rehabilitation services to help become “job ready”, then the client is referred to the job facilitation classes. These classes help teach resume writing, interviewing techniques, including mock interviews, job search strategies, and provide group and one-on-one support. These job facilitators also go out into the community to partner with employers who are interested in hiring an individual with a disability. Tax incentives are also provided to some employers in an effort to help these individuals obtain employment. Every month one of our CAP advocates visit this class and provides information on CAP services, information on concerns with medical and social security benefits once the client starts working and information on how and when to request reasonable accommodations on the job. We are very pleased to have such a good rapport with this local OVR office. This long standing positive relationship is part of why we are asked to present at these classes where we share valuable information to help ease a client’s concerns about starting his/her employment. In FY 2015, we plan to continue to present at these classes and be an active player on a client’s employment team.

One of our advocates, Margaret, who has a special interest in the transition population made it a priority this year to reach more students in transition. To this end, she connected and reconnected with many intermediate units (IU’s), such as Delaware County IU, Bucks County IU, Chester County IU, York County IU, Lebanon County IU and Beaver County IU. She sent the transition coordinators at that IU’s information on CAP and how students/parents can make a smoother transition from school to work, from IEP to IPE. We’ve been referring them to our website where we have articles on the transition process and our “Guide to VR Services”, which gives a good clear status by status journey through OVR. CAP is passionate about providing this population with some of the information, awareness, and self-advocacy tips that they are going to need to make a successful transition.

In FY 2014, in an effort to assist youth with disabilities better prepare for their transition into the world of work and independence, PA OVR started a new initiative called Early Reach. This initiative added a trained social worker to each OVR office. An “Early Reach Coordinator” has been assigned to each of the district offices to connect earlier with youth with disabilities, their parents, local schools, and other community agencies. Since transition has been a priority this year for OVR, CAP has also focused more on this population. One of our advocates, Margaret, is very much interested in this population and has spent much time in FY 2014 outreaching to all of the Early Reach Coordinators across the state. These contacts, of course, have led to other new contacts in the transition community. As an example, she contacted the Early Reach Coordinator in the DuBois area, an area that has been a bit underserved, and thanks to the relationship CAP has developed with the coordinator in the DuBois Office, Margaret was able to gather new outreach contacts in the counties served by this office, from this Early Reach Coordinator. Margaret successfully taped into the resource bank of the Early Reach Coordinator and is still working on reaching out to these new found contacts. Some of the new found transition contacts gained by the good working relationship formed with this particular Early Reach coordinator are. Dickinson Autism Program, Community Connections in Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, and Discover Partnership in Cameron and Elk Counties. CAP will be following up with these new transition contacts in FY 2015.

The power of outreach continues as not only has CAP learned of new transition contacts but just as important in the outreach circle, after a good relationship is built, the Early Reach Coordinator becomes a great asset in helping spread the word about CAP Services! Early Reach Coordinators, like CAP Advocates, do group outreach and individual outreach. CAP has outreached to all of the Early Reach Coordinators in FY 2014. We are happy to have these coordinators as our partners in helping an individual in transition become more knowledgeable and ultimately receive needed OVR services.

One of our advocates, Margaret McKenna, was asked to present at the Work Incentive Planning Assistance, WIPA, Advisory Committee meeting which took place in the fall 2014. This group meets quarterly and due to a good contact Margaret has with the Director of WIPA, she was also asked to become a member of this Advisory Committee. As CAP does in such a natural way, one of our tried and true outreach techniques is making one contact, one seed, bloom into other contacts. So, at the Advisory Committee meeting, Margaret met and is in the process of making direct contact with 22 other providers/organizations in the disability community, who happen to be members of this committee. Some of these include: CIS, Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA, DBH/IDS, Arc of Philadelphia, Devereux, Institute on Disabilities, Philadelphia IDS, SPIN, Path, Office of Developmental Programs, and Horizon House. In 2015, CAP will reach out to these great disability contacts and continue to spread the word about CAP services. As luck would have it, 2 of these providers which were outreached to in the past and this was a perfect opportunity to reconnect. One of these providers asked CAP to come and speak with a group of her clients as well as to a group of some of her new staff in 2015. The benefits of getting out into this community are seen again.

One of the other populations that PA CAP focused heavily on in FY 2014 in addition to individuals in transition is the veteran population. CAP advocate Lee Lippi spent a great deal of time reaching out to organizations that work with veterans. One such organization that we would like to highlight is the Veterans Employment & Resource Network (VERN) VERN is an assemblage of organizations working together with businesses to help veterans find employment through the many available resources throughout the area. It was designed to bring veterans and area businesses together to match employment qualifications with company needs. It was initiated by the Local Veterans’ Employment Representative at the Capitol Region Career Link, and CAP has been actively involved since VERN’s inception in late 2013. The group has provided three outreach events throughout Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties thus far, at places such as VFW’s, American Legions, and of course the Career Links. The events have been successful in that at least 20 veterans have been a successful match for several companies that were looking to fill jobs with those having the specific skills that they were looking for. The newly established Veterans Chamber of Commerce has taken a very active roll, and will be planning many job fair events throughout the coming year.

Another important veteran program that CAP was actively involved with in FY 2014 was Lebanon VA Medical Center (LVAMC) the CAP has a seat on LVAMC‘s Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) along with county Veteran Representatives, Veterans Service Organizations, area businesses and others. The meetings are held every other month bringing everyone involved up-to-date on the latest technologies, new programs and a host of other information that is directed specifically towards the care of our veterans. CAP has been on the VAC for over five years utilizing this experience to provide outreach, updated information and assistance to our disabled veterans who are eligible to receive state VR services. Some of the more pressing concerns and topics that are constantly changing with the latest techniques and innovations are: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Suicide Prevention, Employment, Homelessness, Sexual Trauma, Drug and Alcohol addictions are issues and concerns that are being addressed in a very aggressive manner. Outreaching to this group has been challenging in the more rural areas of Pennsylvania, but has been getting much better with the passage of time.

CAP Advocate Lee Lippi is very actively involved with the PA Rehabilitation Council (PaRC). Even though CAP has a seat on the Council, the Governor officially appoints all candidates. Advocate Lee Lippi served as council Vice Chair, and in addition, is a member of the Executive Committee, and the Legislative and Public Awareness Committees. CAP Advocate Lee Lippi is also Vice Chair of the Customer Satisfaction Steering Committee. He is also a professional member of the National Rehabilitation Association. The next two paragraphs will highlight Lee’s participation with each of these groups.

Customer Satisfaction

A major undertaking for the year was dedicated to Customer Satisfaction. The PaRC is required under the Rehabilitation Act to review, analyze, and advise the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) regarding the performance of their responsibilities, particularly those related to eligibility, the extent and scope and effectiveness of services provided, and the functions performed by state agencies that affect the ability of persons with disabilities to achieve and maintain employment. The PaRC commissioned this study to definitively answer the question, “What constitutes a positive customer experience when dealing with OVR?” The Steering Committee was made-up of eight PaRC Members, three PaRC Representatives, five OVR members, 10 other OVR Representatives and the evaluator. The construction of the design required many one and two day face-to-face meetings, and numerous conference calls throughout the entire year. The evaluator conducted focus groups and sampled seventy (70) consumer customers including sixty-four (64) individuals with disabilities who received OVR services, six (6) parents, and nineteen (19) employer/business customers. The results from the report include possible areas for improvement.

In addition to the sixteen (16) Steering Committee conference calls, Lee participated in two (2) day-long Customer Satisfaction meetings, thirteen (13) Executive Committee calls, and six (6) Legislative and Public Awareness calls. He also attended four (4) Legislative visits to the State Capitol meeting with numerous Legislators, Assistants and Aids, providing advocacy for both the PaRC and CAP on the important issues that affect people with disabilities.

The PaRC provides input and recommendations for the OVR State Plan. Meetings are held throughout Pennsylvania at all of OVR’s District Offices. Of the fifteen (15) offices, Lee presented Council’s attachment to the Plan at four (4); Altoona, Harrisburg, Johnstown and York. He also presented to the New Castle office on a conference call. These five (5) locations encompass forty-three (43) PA counties. In addition to presenting the attachment, he used this time as a CAP outreach as well. There were a total of 100 people at these events. National Rehabilitation Association

Lee attended the (NRA) annual training in Washington, DC from March 23 to March 25, 2014. The two-day training involved learning all pertinent issues that may have an impact on rehabilitation services nationwide. There were eight (8) significant concerns that we advocated for: (1) keeping the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in the U.S. Department of Education and not be moved to the U.S. Department of Labor; (2) retaining Rehabilitation Professional credentials; (3) partnering with business in employing the talents of Americans with disabilities; (4) preserving VR’s programs and dedicating funding; (5) placing the State VR Directors on the State and Local Workforce Boards; (6) downgrading the Office of the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Service Administration; (7) and common performance measures; (8) decrease the backlog of disability claims by updating the blanket purchase agreement for vocational experts in the Social Security Administration. After two (2) days of learning about these issues, we then spent the last day on Capitol Hill visiting our Congressmen and Legislators and successfully advocating for the above. As we have all come to understand and appreciate outreach is our lifeline. It is good to see how natural it can be to continue our outreach mandate as we take pride in how one good contact leads to another and have some fun meeting new people along the way.

SUMMARY OF SELECT PRESENTATIONS

In April 2014, Jamie Ray-Leonetti and Shirley Kopecki presented on CAP services at the Aphasia support group at Magee Rehabilitation in Philadelphia. About 20 members and some staff members participated. Several people had experienced strokes. The group was lively and had many questions about VR services. This presentation resulted in 2 CAP cases. In Spring 2014, Jamie Ray-Leonetti presented to the newly diagnosed MS support group in Philadelphia. 5 newly diagnosed individuals with MS attended. This resulted in one CAP case. The group invited CAP to return and speak again in December 2014.

In June 2014, CAP Advocates Jamie Ray-Leonetti and Shirley Kopecki participated in the third annual Disability Pride Day Philadelphia. CAP staff had an information table at this outdoor event. Although the event was smaller than it has been in the past, PA CAP provided information to at least 100 people with disabilities and their friends and families.

In July 2014, Jamie Ray-Leonetti and Frank Leonetti participated in the annual Pennsylvania Statewide Transition Conference held in State College PA. There were 300 plus attendees at this event which included transition age youth, their families and a variety of providers. On behalf of CAP, Jamie and Frank provided two workshops. The first workshop focused on what transition aged youth need to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended as they transition from school to work. This workshop had 50 parents in attendance. The second workshop focused on CAP advocacy and the role of VR in the transition process. This workshop was attended by several VR counselors as well as other providers and students.

CAP also had an informational table in the conference expo area. This was a great opportunity to interact with the youth in attendance and also to make other outreach contacts. In FY 2014, we are extremely happy to report, especially considering our tight budget; we visited and spent some quality time with the staff at ALL 22 OVR/BVS offices across the state. A few of the ones highlighted in this report are New Castle, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. In addition, over half of these 23 offices we visited multiple times. Once again, this emphasizes our "Back to Basics" approach to outreach. It has become crystal clear this year from our more consistent contacts and follow up contacts many more of the staff at these offices have become so much more positive about our role and are happily stating how helpful it has been when CAP is involved with some of their clients. Our direct VR staff referrals for our cases were the highest referral source this year. I absolutely believe that this improved attitude of the counselors and overall less resistance of our program are directly related to our more frequent non-adversarial person-to-person connection with staff which is the key to our ability to assist more individuals with disabilities. We are pleased and proud to say that PAOVR overall views CAP more as a partner than in years past. Thanks to a great invite from the District Administrator at DuBois OVR to participate as one of the vendors at a Disability Expo in Elk county which would target individuals/providers in another rural, underserved county, Clearfield county, we decided this was a perfect opportunity to take a trip out to the western part of the state and do some real extensive outreach! This is just what we did and it really was the highlight of the year, especially in terms of our outreach. This piggyback approach worked well and has become a good outreach technique. To step back for a moment, this invitation would not have occurred if not for the strong relationship we have with the DuBois office. A brief summary of part of our week long outreach tour started with a good visit at the Washington OVR office. We were greeted with some yummy homemade goodies and some welcoming faces, some new and some veteran counselors. In an effort to lessen our travel a bit but still connect with as many providers as possible, CAP staff had asked the Administrator of this office if we could use her conference room to meet with other vendors/groups in the community. She was very accommodating and we spent most of the day after a good visit with the Washington staff that had some good questions, meeting with three other providers which serve individuals in the counties served by Washington OVR. We meet with two job placement agencies, one of whom brought a few of their clients, and a mental health provider. We then went to the local Center for Independent Living that serves that area and had a fun time visiting with staff and clients alike. This one on one time with each of these groups and some time talking with staff and clients privately was time well spent. We were able to hear some of the concerns of this office and were able to share ideas on how to help with their concerns and encouraged them to always view CAP as a partner in accomplishing the goal we all hope for our clients, employment. Our next day was a jam packed day in Pittsburgh. We first spent a couple hours presenting to and chatting with the Pittsburgh OVR/BVS staff. This was good information sharing for all of us. We exchanged a few updates on our respective offices and had a chance to field some questions counselors had about our specific role and some general client issues. In our presentation we gave a few tips on how to better serve their clients, such as more regular contact with clients, and including the counselor and supervisor contact info in any closure/denial letter in the body of the letter before the paragraph informing the client of CAP services. We believe very strongly in encouraging the client and the VR staff to work together to resolve their concerns as much as possible and is an important component of building a better client/counselor relationship. We cannot reiterate enough when we visit the VR offices how essential it is to work on forming a client/counselor relationship based on trust and open communication. We have found that hearing a few basic "truths" regarding communication between a client and his/her counselor are well received by staff and in the busy day of a counselor where paperwork is their main concern, a few known basic truths are helpful to be reminded of how critical these are to a better less hostile relationship with their clients. After we had some fun taking some pictures for our website, we left the Pittsburgh office and were off to two job placement agencies in the area, one that works with OVR clients, Brighton Institute, and the other agency is a vendor for BVS, Blind and Vision Rehab Services of Pittsburgh. We had a chance to meet with some clients at the one agency who were very animated and really seemed to enjoy our visit. All of our connections were quite pleasant and seemed to be made much more aware of who we are and what we do. On the third day of our "outreach tour" we were hosted most graciously by the staff at New Castle OVR. They had a full house and had more sweet treats than one table could hold without a possible spill of one of the many delicious homemade desserts. We were truly made to feel welcome here and after presenting to their full staff we enjoyed time connecting with counselors one on one as we enjoyed the wonderful treats. This visit I believe really broke the ice with an office we had not had as much contact and who were not as comfortable with our role. As an added bonus one of the supervisors, who one of our advocates has had a good relationship, planned a full afternoon of visits in the community. We met with one of their newest job placement agencies, CRAY, whose focus will be on the transition population. We also visited and had a tour of one of their counties mental health agencies. They will not only be a good outreach contact but they will also be a good resource for individuals who call from that area who need support services. The Lawrence county mental health agency provides extensive services and is proud to report they do not turn anyone away. We were then taken to their local Center for Independent, Disability Options Network. A lively group of staff and clients greeted us all, the two CAP advocates and the 3 staff from the New Castle OVR. This turned out to be a great connection for all. We believe this visit also helped in reconnecting this CIL with their local VR office. Unfortunately, not all VR offices have a good working relationship with their CIL which is a valuable partner and asset for their clients. This enjoyable information sharing visit was very good. We are glad to report that as an important piece of outreach is follow up; we have done a decent job this year in following up with all the good contacts we have made not only from this trip but with our other contacts as well. This fun full day was ended by agreeing to some pictures for our website and some informal time together which helped this office become more comfortable with us. As a result of this extended trip and the positive feedback and experiences we had, CAP staff feel more strongly than ever how vital it is to get out into the community on as regular a basis as possible. We received 6 client referrals from these offices immediately after our visit. The lines of communication with these offices overall have become much more open and it is a good feeling to have that these offices truly value us and understand what a positive impact we can have with them and our clients!!

Another good outreach opportunity we had taken full advantage of this year has been that we have all actively pursued a more committed role as a member of a lot of OVR’s Citizens Advisory Committees, CAC. These are formed with the hope that clients and providers in the community can have the ability to initiate some positive change/improvement within the specific office or even statewide. The former Executive Director of OVR really made the reconvening of these committees a priority so clients can have a venue for input for the benefit of all. These meeting are held quarterly and as part of the agenda time is designated to sharing updates/changes within the office and also giving info on local events in the community that may be of interest to clients who are looking for resources on finding a job or starting school. One of our outreach goals this year was to make more of an effort to attend/participate by phone in more of these meetings across the state and try to help the offices increase membership to help the CAC become more viable and visible in the VR community. One of our advocates, Margaret McKenna, who has a good relationship with the local Philadelphia OVR office has become a regular member of their CAC, which also includes their BVS office. She has used this opportunity as an entree for more outreaching in the community. One of the other members of this CAC is the Disability Services Coordinator at a local college. Margaret has connected with this coordinator who runs an excellent disability office and as luck would have it, Margaret was invited to come and speak with her staff and a few of the students she works with in her office. Each of these CAC meetings has the potential for more outreach and also helps in strengthening our relationship with the district office and hearing first hand of any new developments in their office. As the outreach circle continues to turn, other providers we are familiar with in the community we invite to participate in these meetings so they too can benefit from the information shared and take this info back to their clients as a possible resource. These committees are always looking for new members and the district offices are glad when we are able to enlist new people. We have also been encouraging some of our clients to participate so they too can have a chance to have a positive impact on services. In addition to the Philadelphia OVR CAC, Margaret has also been participating and presenting at the Wilkes-Barre OVR/BVS CAC, DuBois OVR CAC, Reading OVR CAC, and New Castle OVR CAC. She has also been able to "steal" some ideas of increasing membership, clarifying the purpose of this committee, etc. from one office to another. A cool simple flyer was designed and shared by two young clients who are members of the Wilkes-Barre CAC. A novel idea was to include this flyer in the correspondence that gets sent out to clients to make them aware of this group and hoping they would join. Our involvement with these kinds of meetings/groups is a window of opportunity for more outreach!! It is icing on the cake that our participation also enhances our relationship with OVR. In FY 2015, we look forward to continuing our participation in the CAC’s and hope to become involved in some of the CAC’s in the other offices that we have not made an effort to focus on this year. Our presence at these CAC meetings also helps in making individuals in the disability community, not to mention OVR staff more aware of CAP and our advocacy role.

F. INVOLVEMENT WITH ADVISORY BOARDS

During FY 2014, CAP assisted the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council (PaRC) in its continued efforts to show Pennsylvania’s elected officials the important role that vocational rehabilitation plays in the lives of individuals with disabilities in our state. CAP advocate Lee Lippi served as the CAP representative on the PaRC. The PaRC continued to participate at the OVR State Board meetings, and provide outreach to the local Citizen Advisory Committees.

Pennsylvania’s CAP also participates in the following:

PaCares (an organization providing information to veterans), The Pennsylvania Disabled Veterans Rehabilitation/Vocational Retraining Project (PDVR/VRP) in Cambria County; the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Pennsylvania (NAMI PA) Veterans Council and the Lebanon VA Medical Center Veterans Advisory Committee. Another long-standing committee which CAP participates in, but not in a voting capacity, is the Advisory Committee for the Blind (ACB). CAP advocate Margaret McKenna is also CAP’s liaison to the Advisory Committee for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Committee on Delivery of Legal Services to persons with Disabilities, where CAP Advocate and Attorney Jamie Ray-Leonetti is a member and current co-chairperson of the group;

The Citizens ( formerly Consumer) Advisory Committees of the district offices of both the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, which gives local insight into the issues of the community relevant to each district office;

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, where CAP advocates for individuals with MS and where CAP advocate Jamie Ray-Leonetti is an active member of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC);

The Advocacy Committee of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) PAC, where Jamie Ray-Leonetti represents CAP programs outside the P & A system

The OVR Board and the Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) Board where CAP is a frequent presenter;

The Governor’s Advisory Committee for people with disabilities (GAC) where Steve Pennington is a member and, during FY 2014 continued to chair an employment sub-committee. A variety of workgroups dealing with OVR/BBVS policy issues including, for example, audiological services (the revisions on which started in FY 2013, and continued into FY 2014), supported employment, and training waivers.

G. OUTREACH TO UNSERVED/UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS In FY 2014, one of our advocates, Margaret McKenna, tried hard to reach out to more groups/agencies that work with the deaf/hard hearing population. This group has traditionally been an underserved population. Margaret’s consistent outreach to this population has made us more visible in the deaf and hard of hearing community. We have outreached to some schools and job placement providers that work with individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing. Some of these include RID and Galludet, colleges for deaf students, PSD, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, and CIS, Community Integrated Services, a job placement agency that actually has job coaches that are certified ASL interpreters. We have been encouraging other job placement agencies to make an effort to have on their staff at least one job developer/job coach who has ASL certification. As a direct result of our outreach to our local school for the deaf, PSD, Margaret was invited to present and be a vendor at their Family Resource Transition Fair. This was a great information sharing for students and parents who are transitioning out of high school and are looking for various supports/resources. This was a well attended event, about 80 people, and about 15 different vendors from local audiologists to OVR to deaf clubs. Margaret is scheduled to speak to some students in the spring 2015 that will be transitioning to OVR for employment services. Once again, it rings true how one connection can be the seed that blooms into many other positive opportunities to spread the word. CAP also has been steadfast in our contact with OVR’s Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ODHH. Margaret was asked to present to their Advisory Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing this year. There were about 20 people in attendance, some of whom were consumers and some of whom were providers. Once more, we see how our participation in this meeting alerted these providers to our services. Subsequently, we received a call from one of the providers who heard our presentation and she has requested we do a CAP presentation to her staff. We are pleased to say that this year more than in years past, our one contact in this community has easily resulted in many more requests for CAP information and better yet we are reaching out to more and more of this underserved population. Due to our more regular contact with the ODHH we have received more referrals from their 3 regional representatives across the state. They have been doing a good job of referring individuals who may be having a difficult time accessing/receiving OVR services. These referrals have definitely increased from last year. CAP is happy to see we are helping to empower these individuals. Last but not least, Margaret has made it an outreach priority this year to connect/reconnect with the counselors for the deaf and hard of hearing at all of our OVR/BVS offices statewide. This has been a great use of time and has resulted in lots of email inquiries requesting assistance with clients. As has become second nature to us at CAP, we have really done a fine job this year of extracting as much information and names of other good contacts in the community from each counselor for the deaf we have reached out to in our effort to share the wealth. In sum, we are glad we made new contacts in this community which did increase the number of deaf/hard of hearing clients we were able to assist in FY 2014.

During FY 2014, CAP attorney Jamie Ray-Leonetti continued to participate in and represent CAP on the 38th annual Institute of Rehabilitation Issues Primary Study Group (PSG). The writing topic was how CAP, VR and IL could increase and improve outreach efforts to unserved and underserved persons with disabilities. For purposes of this project, this included individuals who identify as deaf-blind. The PSG has included a series of recommendations for providing services to individuals who identify as deaf-blind, including use of cultural brokers, increased outreach to families and providers, and collaboration between VR and the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, just to name a few. It is expected that RSA will publish the PSG document as a monograph sometime in FY 2015.

The PA Client Assistance Program (CAP) has been actively involved with PA CARES since its inception in 2006. PA CARES is the acronym for Pennsylvania Americans showing Compassion, Assistance, and Reaching out with Empathy for Service members. PA CARES is a group of people from organizations made up of veterans, active duty military, clinicians, educators, volunteer organizations, and members from all levels of government including, the PA CAP, the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and the PA Disability Rights Network, Inc. (DRN).

There have been many events, trainings and activities statewide this past year, nearly impossible to attend all. However, Advocate Lee Lippi attended the PA CARES 10 monthly meetings, and received training and updates on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), suicide and prevention, and military sexual trauma, just to name a few. In addition, he attended presentations by the University of Pittsburgh Department of Rehabilitation and Technology for Veterans with Disabilities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Assistive Technology.

This one-day training event focused on recognizing and responding to the myriad of behavioral health needs and readjustment challenges experienced by Pennsylvania’s military service members, veterans, and their families, during reintegration. Topics related to reintegration of returning service members included: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Life Patterns, PA veterans services and programs, substance abuse affecting the veteran, veteran employment programs, and accessing VA services for homeless veterans. There were eight presentations in all, and 100 participants at this event.

In addition CAP advocate Lee Lippi participated in the 8th annual Homeless Veterans Stand down event. This three day stand down event was from February 28- March 2, 2014. It was held at the Harrisburg Military Post. There was a whole host of activities and services that were provided including; medical services, employment assistance, haircuts, dental services, legal advice, help filing claims, counseling, women Veteran’s services, hygiene items, showers, assistance finding housing ,Vet family assistance, Ticket to Work, help with PTSD/TBI, and transportation. These homeless vets were from Dauphin, Cumberland, York and Lebanon Counties, including the Lebanon VA Medical Center.

This was the 5th year CAP advocate Lee Lippi attended. He provided information about CAP and OVR services for employment. Of the 50 participants, he provided additional information to 16 attendees the following week by helping them sign-up for VR services.

H. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

During FY 2014, PA CAP attended one scheduled impartial hearing involving an applicant of Williamsport OVR. In advance of the start of the hearing, the parties met with Counsel and were able to negotiate a settlement. PA CAP also participated in one formal Mediation. This involved a woman who was seeking computer training, job placement and cognitive behavioral therapy. As a result of the Mediation, an agreement was reached under which OVR would provide the requested services. During FY 2015, PA CAP has continued its alternative dispute resolution efforts. CAP staff has already participated in one formal Mediation which resulted in the customer getting repairs and accessibility adaptations for his van.

I.SYSTEMIC ADVOCACY

During FY 2014 PA CAP addressed the following systemic issues:

1. Review of 1 year old cases by OVR staff: PA CAP clarified with RSA that under the Rehabilitation Act, OVR counselors should review closed cases at least one year after closed successfully and in employment in order to determine if the individual continues to work or if they may need additional OVR assistance. RSA confirmed it does not require VR to track this information. OVR supervisors claim that this is being done by counselors and staff. PA CAP continues to work with the PaRC in order to obtain statistics about this. PA CAP also encourages RSA to require VR to track this information.

2. Return of federal VR dollars and impact/delay on service delivery: Over the last several years PA OVR has returned millions of federal VR dollars because of insufficient “state match” funds to draw down, keep and spend the full amount of Federal dollars. PA CAP met with State Senator Christine Tartaglione about this important issue in order to educate her and her staff about the need for a full “state match” in the PA budget. During FY 2015, CAP has continued to raise this issue with OVR staff. CAP is also working with other external stakeholders such as the PaRC, Disability Rights Network of PA and Community Legal Services to address this issue. OVR has responded by encouraging members of the PaRC to continue educating our state legislature about the importance of these funds.

3. Interrupted status for disability related behavior: PA CAP recognized that OVR counselors in one particular district office were placing clients with mental health and/or TBI issues who displayed disability related difficult behaviors in interrupted status. CAP brought this to the attention of OVR Central Office staff and it has been corrected. OVR responded by alerting counselors that this is not a proper use of interrupted status.

4. Job coaching — funding and hour limits, especially in the Norristown District Office: PA CAP handled several cases during FY 2014 in which the funding of hours beyond a “standard 120” was being denied due to cost of service. This violates the Rehabilitation Act. In September 2014, CAP resolved one particular case from the Philadelphia District Office without the need for appeal. This is an issue that PA CAP continues to work on in FY 2015.

5. Denial of training at Sierra Group Academy due to cost: During FY 2015, PA CAP opened at least 3 cases dealing with this issue. These cases continue to be worked on in FY 2015. CAP has not received a formal response from OVR.

6. Educating counselors about importance of the 301 program (under the Social Security statute) for SSI/SSD clients, especially transition age youth: This is a fairly new issue that PA CAP is working on with external stakeholders at Community Legal Services and Disability Rights Network of PA. This work continues in to FY 2015.

CAP continued action plan in FY 2015: During FY 2015, PA CAP plans to re-institute regular meetings with the OVR director and/or his designee to continue discussion of these and other systemic issues.

J. INTERESTING CASES

CASE ONE

This case is interesting from a couple of different perspectives. First of all, it reinforces one of the most important outreach concepts of how vital it is to get out to the district offices on a regular basis. The positive impact this has is illustrated in this case, for this case is a referral from a very successful recent visit to a VR office we are not able to visit as often as we would like since it is on the other side of the state. Soon after this visit we received quite a few new cases from direct staff referrals from this office and this case is one of them. This transition student who does not have a clear diagnosis who has a very strong grandmother as her guardian/advocate is in need of some self-advocacy skills and some clear information about the VR process and her role in receiving services. The strong well-intentioned dynamic grandmother in this case is another interesting facet of this case and adds a whole new dimension to the case when the client/student has her grandmother acting/speaking on her behalf. This added layer makes sharing good self-advocacy skills so much more needed and becomes an integral service the CAP advocate provided which has helped this client receive some services. To share a bit of detail about the case, this case involved a young girl who has some mental health issues and some unspecified form of autism, which has never been officially diagnosed. This has bearing on this girl’s services and employment potential in that if her IQ is determined to be 70 or below, she may be eligible for extended employment services under a waiver program. They had no knowledge of this important fact and how helpful this information can be for the OVR counselor when providing vocational services. The client’s grandmother called from a direct referral from the Assistant Administrator whom CAP had visited recently, very upset, regarding how non-responsive she believed the counselor was being with her and her granddaughter. She was going to file a formal complaint with the agency, which thanks to good CAP advocacy, was avoided. CAP spoke at length with the Grandmom and the client numerous times explaining our role, her rights and responsibilities, and the importance of the granddaughter being more pro-active in her own case! CAP heard their concerns and was as clear as possible regarding the OVR process and some of the options we thought would be reasonable to discuss with OVR at the meeting CAP coordinated with the counselor and her supervisor. Interestingly enough, as luck would have it, CAP had also received a call from the OVR counselor who was also concerned about this case and hoping they would call CAP. CAP encourages counselors to reach out to us when a difficult case arises and CAP believes our recent visit to this office helped in making this office more comfortable with CAP. We spoke with the counselor about their concerns and after discussions with the client we were able to give the counselor a perspective on where the client was coming from and how they were feeling. The counselor understood and was glad a meeting was going to be arranged. CAP worked hard at preparing the client to be her own self-advocate at the meeting and for her to make an effort to express herself with CAP support nearby. The grandmother was more open and less angry as well. The meeting was successful. The client’s concerns were heard, the role of the client and the VR process were defined, the value of testing and how it would be helpful with OVR services and possible waiver services were discussed, and options for a job placement agency that would provide some assessments and job coaching were talked about as well. Grandmom was told how important her support is and that she can continue to work with her granddaughter to help her with this process. I received 3 calls from 3 more engaged, less anxious and more informed people, the client, her Grandmom, and the counselor. The client has a better understanding of self-advocacy and how necessary it is in working directly with her OVR counselor. A client receiving needed services, the understanding of the need for one to be their own advocate, and an OVR office reaching out to us for support is a great combination for success.

CASE TWO

This gentleman contacted CAP because he recently moved back to Pennsylvania and he wanted services from OVR. He had an open case with OVR in the past and his case was closed when he made what OVR perceived as a “threat” to OVR staff. This gentleman asked CAP to present his psychiatric records along with a new application for OVR services to OVR. OVR declined to find this man eligible on the basis that given his mental health condition and past experiences with OVR, his disabilities were too severe to allow him to benefit from services. This gentleman filed an appeal. A hearing was scheduled for March 2013. With CAP intervention, the parties were able to come together and negotiate a settlement without the need for a hearing. Under the terms of the agreement, this gentleman agreed to a certain amount of counseling with an OVR approved vendor so that a case could be opened. He recently completed the counseling. This case is interesting because it illustrates the importance of negotiation as a form of alternative dispute resolution.

CASE THREE

This young woman contacted CAP because she had lost her job as a counselor and needed OVR help to pursue another opportunity. She felt that OVR was moving too slowly and that her counselor did not understand her disabilities. A conference call was scheduled with CAP participation. As a result of CAP advocacy, a new counselor was assigned. OVR helped her to obtain dental work that would make her interview and job ready. With OVR help, she landed a new job on a per diem basis. Since her employer was small, and could not afford to provide it, OVR agreed to provide her with a laptop computer and training that would help with the essential functions of her job. This case is interesting because it illustrates the importance of a strong customer- counselor relationship.

CASE FOUR

When this client came to CAP, he was experiencing several issues with OVR. There was communication problems with his OVR counselor, denied services for equipment, classes and materials needed to study to take his certification testing. These services were all required since he would be starting his own business. He was going round-and-round with OVR for over a year. He eventually received these services, but not before having CAP advocate on his behalf.

After he made contact with CAP, we immediately contacted the District Administrator (DA) from the district office he was working through, received copies of his Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), case notes, and evaluations. The CAP advocate established a meeting with all concerned parties, including our client, the DA and the counselor. The meeting turned out to be very successful. Our client received approval for the above services, and OVR also provided training services for the new equipment. Our client is now on his way to becoming a successful new business owner.

CASE FIVE

One of the most interesting things about this case is that our client wasn’t having concerns or issues with OVR, but with another program that was to provide recommendations to OVR based on his physical assessments. However, CAP would not have had knowledge of this issue had it not been for his concerned OVR counselor. You see, this client is a dairy farmer who required modifications to his milking parlor and farming equipment in order for him to continue his daily duties. The CAP advocate contacted the person responsible for making these decisions immediately. The advocate explained the client’s circumstances, and the toll it was having on his health as a result. Within a few days OVR was provided the results of the assessments, and the recommendations for the modifications were approved.

CASE SIX

This case involves a man who is very motivated to work, is deaf and very frustrated with OVR. He was having communication issues with his counselor and in turn with the job placement developer, which was causing him to become very upset. He is very motivated to work and provide for his family. He was having another issue which was not related to OVR and to help him with his other issue he contacted the local legal clinic for the disabled who we often refer clients to and who we have a good working relationship. As luck would have it for this man he spoke with the Director of the legal clinic who immediately referred him to our office and also made a contact to our office on his behalf. As a start, this highlights the importance of good contacts in the community and the success when a client takes the initiative to follow up with the referral and not to give up. Our office prides itself on strong networking in the disability community and as much as possible throughout the state. If not for our connections in the community, a gentleman like this may not have been made aware of our agency and would be getting more and more upset and not progressing with job placement services as he is now! The domino effect of outreach is seen here with this client for once again as luck would have it, CAP had recently made a CAP presentation to our local CIL and spoke with their new Deaf Outreach Advocate/Coordinator. Absolutely, when the intake was done on this client we immediately referred him to the Deaf Advocate who happens to work with deaf individuals in his county. We can’t emphasize enough how our outreach efforts each year result in making great connections within the community and in turn help to provide needed resources and supports to our clients. These connections are vital to all of us. In regards to some specifics about the client, CAP was able to coordinate a meeting with this client, his new deaf advocate, and a different OVR counselor. After some good discussions, this client was able to put aside his frustration with OVR and felt much more "heard" and was very appreciative of CAP assistance in improving his situation not to mention connecting him with the deaf advocate, his new best friend. This client has been given choices for some job placement providers and is working together with his counselor and is pleased to finally be making some positive progress with vocational rehabilitation services. He has selected a job placement agency and is doing well. This CAP advocate is happy to report that thanks to a series of good outreach contacts, communication as well as his attitude has definitely improved so he can move forward with his main desire, getting a job.

K. ON-LINE INFORMATION/OUTREACH

The Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program website can be viewed at www.equalemployment.org. During FY 2014, we posted new information to our CAP website an average of one time per week. This year we had more than 4,000 visits to our homepage. Our website offers information including “about CAP, staff profiles, outreach events, past and present and a variety of links to other disability organizations in Pennsylvania. This year we added some articles on transition. We also have a Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program facebook page, which helps us to quickly communicate news to the disability community and our clients. We use facebook to increase our communication and outreach with the deaf community. Currently the CAP facebook has 364 likes and our posts have reached over 3,600 people. In FY 2015, we are hoping to use these methods of outreaching more consistently in an effort to increase CAP awareness and provide many different types of disability related information and resources. In addition, since the transition-aged population will become one of PA OVR’s priorities PA CAP plans to utilize social media more often in an effort to reach these students in a more contemporary format.

Certification

Approved

This Report is Complete and Correct.Yes
Date Signed:23-Dec-14
Name of Designated Agency Official:Stephen S. Pennington
Title of Designated Agency Official:Executive Director