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

Alaska (STATE OF ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT) - H161A150061 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameAlaska State Department of Education and Early Dev
Address801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
Address Line 2
CityJuneau
StateAlaska
Zip Code99801-1894
E-mail Address
Website Address
Phone907-465-2875
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax907-465-3452

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Law Center of Alaska
Address3330 Arctic Blvd. 103
Address Line 2
CityAnchorage
Zip Code99801
E-mail Addressakpa@dlcak.org
Website Addresshttp://www.dlcak.org
Phone907-565-1002
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax907-565-1000

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorDavid Fleurant
Person to contact regarding reportKaren Tessandore
Contact Person Phone907-565-1002

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program6
2. Information regarding independent living programs0
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA1
5. Other information provided3
6. Information regarding CAP1
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)11

B. Training Activities

An Advocate from the Alaska P&A traveled to the island community of Kodiak to present a training to staff of the Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA), a nonprofit corporation providing health and social services for the Alaska Natives of the Koniag region. Staff attending the training from KANA included case managers, Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation counselors and the Special Education director. The advocate covered a wide range of topics including: the Ticket to Work program through Social Security; tax incentives for employers; working with school districts/transitional students; and an overview of the Client Assistance Program. The information provided will serve to benefit CAP clients through the work of KANA, whose service area includes the City of Kodiak and six Alaska Native villages: Akhiok, Karluk, Old Harbor, Ouzinkie, Port Lions, and Larsen Bay.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.1
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.10
3. Describe training presented by the staff. Include the following information:
  1. topics covered
  2. purpose of the training
  3. description of the attendees

C. Agency Outreach

Describe the agency's outreach efforts to previously un-served or underserved individuals including minority communities.

The training described above is an example of outreach to underserved individuals residing in the remote communities on Kodiak Island, where just under 14,000 people live. The P&A has also sought to provide outreach to underserved and unserved individuals through the distribution of CAP brochures by request to the Alaska Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, the Alaska State Vocational Rehabilitation offices, and the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER) Wounded Warrior Program. 4,375 brochures were disseminated in all.

Relevant to outreach to veterans with disabilities, the Alaska P&A participated in Stand Down, an annual event geared specifically toward providing services and information to homeless veterans in Anchorage. At this event, which staff from the P&A attends each year, we provided information and referral regarding disability—related questions. Booths are staffed with several human services agencies for a day. The veterans can obtain information ranging from housing, Social Security, employment, and having a will drawn up. Veterans can also obtain clothing, sleeping bags, haircuts, etc. At this outreach event, information was provided to 96 veterans.

Similar in description to Stand Down, the Alaska P&A also participated in the annual Project Homeless Connect event. Rather than focusing on homeless veterans, Project Homeless Connect is described as a “one—stop event to provide housing, services, and hospitality in a convenient one—stop model directly to people experiencing homelessness in Anchorage.” At this outreach event, information was provided to 56 people.

D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency

For each method of dissemination, enter the total number of each method used by your agency during the reporting period to distribute information to the public. For publications/booklets/brochures (item 4), enter the total number of documents produced. Agencies should not include website hits. See instructions for details.

As noted above in section C. Agency Outreach, 4375 CAP brochures were distributed in FY15. 1872 other publications were also distributed, including: * Self—Advocacy Guide & About Our Services * Applying for Social Security Benefits in Alaska * Educating Students with Traumatic Brain Injury * Guardianship in Alaska * Prisoner Rights Handbook * Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities * Social Security Disability Benefits Handbook * Special Education & the Law

The Alaska P&A has a website at www.dlcak.org and within that site is a page dedicated to the CAP program, including contact and eligibility information for CAP assistance and the services available under CAP. This past year there were 76,754 visits to the website.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV0
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency6247
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.2
6. Other (specify below)

E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage

Describe the various sources and information disseminated about your agency by an external source.

n/a

Part II. Individual Case Services

A. Individuals served

An individual is counted only once during a fiscal year. Multiple counts are not permitted for Lines A1-A3.

1. Individuals who are still being served as of October 1 (carryover from prior year)7
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year5
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)12
4. Individuals (from Line A3) 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 A3 above.)0
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)3

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor5
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided4
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process2
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category0
6. Related to IPE development/implementation
  1. Selection of vendors for provision of VR services
  2. Selection of training, post-secondary education
  3. Selection of employment outcome
  4. Transition services
1
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
0
10. Related to Title I of the ADA0

C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases

(Choose one primary service the CAP provided for each closed case file. There may be more case files than actual individuals served.)

1. Short Term Technical Assistance9
2. Investigation/Monitoring0
3. Negotiation0
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution0
5. Administrative / Informal Review0
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total9

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.)

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor3
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)0
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual0
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)1
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint0
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP5
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources0
11. Conflict of interest0
12. Other (Please explain below)

E. Results achieved for individuals

(Choose one primary outcome for each closed case file. There may be more case files than the total number of individuals served.)

In all 5 cases, the individuals dropped out of contact with the P&A despite many attempts to contact them via phone and through the mail.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual0
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided1
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party2
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made5
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 180
2. 19 - 241
3. 25 - 403
4. 41 - 647
5. 65 and over1
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)12

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females6
2. Males6
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)12

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)1
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American1
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White10
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury1
2. ADD/ADHD0
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder0
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder0
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)0
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)0
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)1
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness0
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)0
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions0
20. Intellectual Disability0
21. Mental Illness1
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment4
26. Orthopedic Impairments2
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)0
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability3
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)12

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR6
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list6
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student0
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act0

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

Alaska Integrated Employment Initiative The purpose of the Alaska Integrated Employment Initiative is to prioritize employment as the first and preferred option for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Alaska. A partnership consisting of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services (SDS), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Department of Education and Early Development, Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC a.k.a. the Alaska P&A), the Center for Human Development (CHD), and other community stakeholders, will address barriers and develop replicable, sustainable strategies using a three—pronged approach:

1) Policy development that will focus on implementation of policy at all levels (legislative, regulatory, day—to—day policies and procedures), including obtaining, allocating, or re—allocating resources (people, time, money); 2) Capacity building that will focus on building knowledge, training, consultation and technical assistance, and peer—to—peer learning; and 3) Resource leveraging that will include pooling of assets and resources, blending and braiding resources, and integrating IEI activities with other priorities and initiatives.

In support of this Initiative, the Alaska P&A employed a part—time advisor (selected by Peer Power members) to assist in the implementation of mentoring/peer—to—peer support services. Additionally, the P&A completed a report identifying specific barriers to integrated employment in Alaska and offers some recommendations for change to create an environment where competitive employment for Alaskans with intellectual and developmental disabilities is the norm.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead, Alaska has made significant changes in its service system to enable people with disabilities to live in integrated settings required under the community integration mandate of the American with Disabilities Act. However, despite many Alaskans moving out of institutional living, employment opportunities are, in many cases, limited to segregated work settings that often pay low or subminimum wages.

Alaska has taken an important first step towards creating a competitive employment environment with the passage of House Bill 211, making Alaska an “Employment First” state. In addition to the steps necessary to realize the promise of the Employment First legislation, it would be a mistake to divert attention from some of the more intractable barriers on the path to integrated employment. As an initial matter, the federal and state laws that create and support the segregated work environments should be repealed. As long as there is a legal framework under which individuals with disabilities can be segregated and underpaid, some will be.

The report identifies the long—standing problem of getting accurate work incentives information to potential employees who fear the loss of benefits. New efforts to achieve this goal are presently under way and additional recommendations are offered in this report. Comprehensive transition services for students are critical to achieving the goal of integrated competitive employment. The Employment First legislation is a significant step towards that goal, which complementary transition services offered through other agencies can enhance. Private sector employers should have ready access to information that shatters unfounded myths and highlights the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities. Similarly, employers must be aware that some commonplace work practices may actually be discriminatory and a barrier to employment.

Access to employment is dependent on transportation. It is important that all parts of a city or community be serviced by some form of transportation that is both accessible and affordable throughout the day. Those individuals with disabilities who have experienced the criminal justice system should have a process by which their criminal record can be expunged, particularly if there is a nexus between that experience and their disability.

We hope these recommendations will serve to increase the number of individuals with disabilities in integrated and competitive employment so that our state can fully achieve the goal of Employment First.

1. Number of non-litigation systemic activities not involving individual representation that resulted in the change of one or more policy or practice of an agency.0
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

n/a

1. Total number of CAP cases requiring litigation involving individual representation resulting in, or with the potential for, systemic change.
a. Number of cases requiring litigation involving individual representation filed during fiscal year.0
b. Number of on-going cases pending at start of fiscal year (carryover from prior fiscal year).0
c. Number of cases resolved through litigation during fiscal year.0
2. Describe the agency's on-going and completed systemic litigation activities involving individual representation.

Part V. Agency Information

A. Designated Agency

1. Agency Type (select only one option) External-other public agency
2. Name of designate agencyState Department of Education and Early Development
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?Yes
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:Disability Law Center of Alaska

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

Type of position Full—time equivalent % of year position filled Person—years Professional Full—time 0.88 100% 0.88 Part—time Vacant 0.20 0% 0.20 Clerical Full—time Part—time Vacant DLC utilizes a number of attorney and non—attorney advocates in three offices in the state to achieve statewide coverage. DLC’s staffing arrangement provides for 1.08 full—time equivalent employees, with 6 employees in Anchorage (1.01 FTE), 1 employee in Fairbanks (.05 FTE), and 1 employee in Juneau (.02 FTE). The advocates in Juneau and Fairbanks respond to I&R requests, provide individual advocacy assistance, and conduct outreach in their communities. In the Anchorage office, an Intake Specialist takes the initial call, obtains information and/or paperwork, and passes the matter on to the advocates for assessment. Individuals seeking CAP services can do so by contacting any of the three offices or submit an email request. The Anchorage office also maintains a statewide toll—free 800 number for individuals outside of these three hub communities.

Part VI. Case Examples

Provide some examples of some interesting cases during the past fiscal year.

Favorable Outcomes: In two cases this year individuals were able, and preferred to, advocate on their own behalf after first meeting with an Advocate from the P&A to determine what they were within their rights to request from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).

In another instance, the P&A was contacted by a man who was incensed that DVR would require him to participate in a trial work experience. In the view of our client, DVR was disrespecting him by overlooking the 30+ years of work he had done before acquiring a disability. By the time he contacted the P&A he had already filed for an administrative review of his case, which had been closed due to his refusal to participate. Once the Advocate from the P&A met with him and explained a trial work experience was a common way for DVR to assess a client’s current strengths, skills, and capabilities, our client was again ready to participate and withdrew his complaint. DVR then re—opened his case and offered a change of VR counselor, which was accepted.

Ambiguous Outcomes: In five instances this year, the P&A was initially contacted with complaints related to DVR including: 1. DVR’s refusal to pay for specific software classes at the local university; 2. DVR’s refusal to pay for new clothes for work; 3. A man living more than 100 miles from the nearest DVR office requested help in receiving VR services which he had been denied; 4. DVR’s refusal to re—open client’s case now that she had been medically cleared to work; and, 5. Individual unhappy with VR counselor and requesting assistance in changing counselor.

In all five cases, we expressed our willingness to assist, were able to collect the initial information, and in some cases, releases of information giving us access to the client’s DVR case records. But each individual dropped out of contact with the P&A after their initial complaints and despite best efforts (follow—up phone calls and letters) we could not reestablish contact. We could find no thread of similarity between the client complaints, ages, disabilities, nor living situations, so can draw no conclusions as to whether this is a trend or merely frustrating happenstance.

Certification

Reports are to be submitted to RSA within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report. Please be reminded that you can enter data directly into RSA's website via the internet. Information on transmittal of the form is found on pages 19 and 20 of the reporting instructions.

Name of Designated Agency OfficialDavid Fleurant
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/17/2015