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

Pennsylvania (Center for Disability Law and Policy) - H161A150039 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameCenter for Disability Law & Policy
Address1515 Market Street
Address Line 2Suite 1300
Zip Code19102
Website Address
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
Zip Code19102
Website Address
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 reportStephen S. Pennington
Contact Person Phone215-557-7112

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program413
2. Information regarding independent living programs57
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA85
5. Other information provided366
6. Information regarding CAP187
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)1,108

B. Training Activities

One of our advocates went to Widener Memorial High School, a local school which specializes in students with disabilities. This connection helped to increase our work with this population. The requirements for providing vocational rehabilitation to these individuals under the new Act has increased and now pre—employment transition services are to be provided to this population. These OVR changes in serving these students has heightened CAPs responsibility to connect with these students and the professionals who work with this group and make them aware not only of our services but provide training on the new components of the law and how it will impact their ability to receive services sooner and in a more comprehensive manner.

In Fall 14, FY 2015, since our advocate was a student at this school we had direct contact with the principal so we could do one of our first trainings to inform the students and the staff about these changes and how they will benefit the students who transition into the OVR system. We spoke with 5 classes an average of 20 students per class. Our training focused on OVR’S additional responsibilities detailing the new pre—employment transition services. These required services include: A. Job exploration counseling; B. work based learning experiences; C. counseling on opportunities for postsecondary education workplace readiness training; D. And last but not least instruction in self—advocacy. The students and staff were very engaged in this training and it was a good to leave these students with such critical information which is going to have a positive impact on their receiving needed transition services. This training also emphasized the importance of self—advocacy throughout this process and beyond! We explained the OVR application process and the benefit of applying as early in their high school years as possible. Some transition tips were also given as a summary of our training. This was one of our best trainings in FY 2015.

We have been connecting with other specialized schools and already have some plans for more such training sessions in FY 2016.

A lot of CAPs outreach efforts in 2015 were focused on the transition population. The increased requirements for working with this population sooner has charged us with the responsibility of reaching out to as many schools, colleges and other groups and agencies that work with students in transition. We were asked to present and provide training to the Delaware Valley Network which is made up of 50 Disability Specialists from the office of disability services at the local universities and community colleges. This training was a great opportunity to inform all of these professionals who work directly with the students about our Services and how we can help in making the transition process smoother for students and their families. The training also discussed information on the students’ rights and responsibilities within the OVR system. I also discussed the importance of providing documentation and communicating at the beginning of the student’s college experience the necessary reasonable accommodations that the student would require to be successful in their college experience. The role of OVR in working with the student and the office of disability services so that the student receives the necessary accommodations in a timely and seamless process was detailed to this group as well. CAP also discussed the importance of self—advocacy on the part of the student. CAP provided information on self—advocacy along with information about CAP Services. We encouraged these disability coordinators to inform their students about our services and how we work as a partner with them and their OVR counselor to help them receive the necessary vocational rehabilitation services they need so they can be successful. Although we spoke to only 50 individuals, these disability coordinators went back to their Office of Disability Services and shared our information with other staff and most importantly to their students/ parents. As a result, this one outreach/training has the potential of making hundreds of students aware of CAP services and the integral part we can have in making their "transition" a more positive and productive experience. We continue to follow up and reconnect with each of these disability offices one on one to be available for any questions and to maintain our relationship with these key contacts in the disability community.

CAP advocate Margaret McKenna was invited to the 2015 Summer Academy program and provide training to this great group of transition students. Her strong advocacy within the BVS community this year helped in being asked to provide this training this. This is a three—week “eye opening" experience for blind and visually impaired BVS transition students to have the chance to see what it is like to be their own advocate on Penn States campus. 25 students bonded together to try out a mini college experience! These eager to learn BVS group of students/BVS clients in transition can teach us so much about life and learning.

Margaret was one of 10 panelists. Most of the other panelists were professionals in the disability community who are individuals with blindness/visual impairment and have a lot to offer these students in sharing their life experiences and how they have become successful in spite of their disability. Margaret was asked to speak about her visual impairment and the strategies she uses on a daily basis to do well in her job. She also discussed with the students how CAP can be one of the members of their team in their transition journey. She stressed how important it is for them to make the Office of Disability Services their first contact when selecting a college. As part of my training, she explained CAP services and how we can help in making the BVS process a bit smoother and will inform them of their rights and responsibilities in their vocational rehabilitation. She impressed upon them the reality that their success in college, if training is needed for them to get a job in their chosen employment goal, is directly related to their self—advocacy and access to the Office of Disability Services and their timely request for reasonable accommodations so they can participate fully and well in their college experience. She explained the requirements of colleges under Title II of the ADA, in particular ones that receive federal funding to provide reasonable accommodation.

This training which focused on self—advocacy, the transition process, and requesting reasonable accommodations in college was very well received by the students.

Margaret also referred them to our CAP website where we have articles on the transition process with some transition tips to help make the transition process more positive. Margaret handed out 50 CAP brochures so they can share with their friends along with our Guide to VR Services. She hopes to be invited back next year to be a part of this program.

CAP Advocate Margaret McKenna was excited to start 2015 as a return presenter/exhibitor at this year’s Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. There were 455 registered attendees who ranged from individuals who have MS, their families, caring supports and professionals who are committed to helping to improve the quality of life of these individuals. This is huge outreach, networking and training opportunity. CAP Advocate gave a brief training presentation of our services and how we can be effective in working with someone who is able to work and is getting resistance or is unclear about the role of OVR in moving them forward on their journey to being productive and feeling better about themselves.

This training session to the MS population highlighted self—advocacy skills when working with OVR and the process for requesting reasonable accommodations on the job.

CAP values being a part of this well received and coordinated resource fair. We are looking forward to being included in next year’s event. Margaret continues to connect and reconnect with the many MS support groups throughout the state. In 2016 CAP will work even harder to inform anyone affected by this terrible disease who is trying to become independent and productive how our advocacy for their employment concerns will help improve their quality of life.

This year CAP was invited to participate in the Disability Resource Fair hosted by State Representative Mark Rozzi’s office that was held at Muhlenberg Middle School in Laureldale, PA. The theme for the event was, “Disability through the Lifespan.” CAP was one of 45 vendors who participated in this event including OVR, some job placement and various social service organizations. This was a great opportunity to disseminate information and raise awareness about CAP’s role in the community. CAP distributed 125 brochures to customers, providers and caregivers. Lannette Suarez educated the customers on establishing a small business. She provided training to 15 customers on what is required by OVR for the customer’s business plan. In addition, this training discussed the importance of the customer’s participation in consultations, assessments and courses offered by the Small Business Development Centers or other training programs. This invitation to provide CAP training by local state representative has heightened our awareness in the disability community. The expo was a great forum to make CAP become more visible in the disability community. We feel respected that our local state representative office acknowledges that our program can benefit individuals with disabilities. In 2015 CAP invested a lot of effort and time building a more positive partnership with the OVR offices statewide. We have realized the importance of providing training and spending time and connecting in a non—adversarial way with the staff at these offices. We are seeing the benefits of our visits in increased OVR referrals. We are pleased to report that most of the offices view us as an asset in working with their clients as opposed to in years past only as an adversary.

This next section will highlight some of the district offices at which CAP provided training. One of the OVR offices that we provided training to this year was the Allentown district office. All of our advocates went and presented at their staff meeting. We updated them on what was new at CAP and provided them some training on the new WIOA requirements, particularly the increased services to the transition population and how we can help counselors fulfill this new mandate. We also provided some training on self—advocacy and establishing a client/ counselor relationship built on trust and empathy and how important this is in helping clients become successful. We spoke to 30 staff as a group and also enjoyed chatting one on one with some staff. We handed out our updated CAP brochure and our Step by Step Guide to VR Services. In addition, we discussed some of the changes we recommended to House Bill 400 and provided copies.

While in the Lehigh Valley area we continued our day of outreach and training and made a few other visits to providers in the disability community. One such visit was to the local Center for Independent Living where we spoke with 8 staff and provided our updated brochure. We had a very successful visit with one of the local job placement agencies, Goodwill, which also has a sheltered workshop. We provided training on pre—employment services and self—advocacy so these clients will be able to advocate for themselves in transition from the sheltered workshop to job placement services. It was a good experience to have a bird’s eye view of how a sheltered workshop operates and how the clients enjoy being productive and seem to have a sense of pride in their work. After the tour we met with 7 of the staff who do job development/ job coaching and were glad to hear they reported a good working relationship with OVR. It was also discussed how this provider is conscious of the potential of some of the clients in their sheltered workshop and the steps they take in transitioning them into competitive employment.

As part of outreach FY 2015, we had an opportunity to visit and spend time with the staff at Reading OVR and the Berks County CIL. CAP advocates presented to the OVR staff regarding updates on WIOA pertaining to additional services for the transition population. In addition, we discussed House Bill 400 and answered questions from the staff. CAP Advocate Lannette Suarez provided 35 staff members with training on systemic advocacy, individual advocacy and self—advocacy. I explained the purpose of advocacy is to help empower our customers by increasing their knowledge and skills. The staff at these offices were open and responsive to our visit and the information that was provided to the VR staff. In addition, I provided 250 brochures to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to be issued to their counselors. CAP is focused on improving working relationships with the staff by collaborating on disability issues and educating the staff about CAP services. We also made them aware of our CAP website and Facebook page. During the same visit we met with Ralph Trainer at the Berks County CIL. Ralph Trainer was very responsive and took us on a tour of the Berks County facility. We had an opportunity to educate 15 staff members on pre—employment transition services and inform that the services will be increased and more intensive in order to prepare the customers for work. I also handed out 35 procedures to their staff. This was a great opportunity to inform people with disabilities about CAP services and how CAP can be instrumental in resolving their concerns. We also informed them about CAP’s website and Facebook page. Lastly, we met with several staff members at the Youth Advocate Program (YAP). YAP is a brand new job placement provider. This program serves people who reside in Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties. They provide employment services through Medicaid waivers for ID, Adult Autism and the Office of Long Term Living. During the visit, we answered several questions about CAP’s role in the VR process. In July of 2015, CAP visited the York Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. This was a great opportunity to meet with the VR staff to talk about CAP services and how we could assist them in resolving disputes between vocational rehabilitation counselors and customers. The staff at this office was very attentive and responsive to our visit and our information. CAP provided information on the updates and new regulations with regards to WIOA and House Bill 400. CAP Advocate Lannette Suarez provided training on advocacy. She educated 35 staff members on the importance of customers being able to advocate on their own and to help empower customers by increasing their knowledge and skills about advocacy. We also provided information about CAP’s website and Facebook page. We also visited a local case management provider (SAM) which provides comprehensive case management to customers with a mental health diagnosis. We discussed CAP services and how CAP can impact the lives of people with disabilities. The Director of Sam was very happy to hear about our services and how we can advocate for the customers who are struggling to receive vocational rehabilitation services and are confused about the process. In addition, we provided training on pre—employment transition services to 8 staff members. We felt it was critical for this agency that deals with young adults to know that OVR transition services are going to be more expansive and intensive to better prepare this population for work. One of our last OVR visits in 2015 was to the Harrisburg OVR/BVS. We presented to 30 staff at their staff meeting to provide training on the new WIOA requirements in particularly pre—employment transition services. Our presentation clarified our role in the VR process and how we are here to be a partner in the client’s success in becoming employed. We spent time doing some training on the importance and various components of the Individualized Plan for Employment, IPE. A lot of our clients are unaware of how this plan is the cornerstone for their services and their role in the development of this plan which must include options and detail the client and VR counselor responsibilities. Once again we spent time discussing the need for helping clients become more skilled at being their own advocate and provided a few hard copies of our Guide to VR Services. We left 250 of our brochures for this office. We made them aware of our website and new Facebook page as well. As we usually try to do when we travel to one area we piggybacked a couple other outreach visits in the area. One of which was to the Camp Hill Center for Independent Living. We met with 8 staff and provided mini training on how CAP can assist with some of their client concerns. We encouraged the staff to work closely with their local OVR for the good of all. Since this visit we have received referrals from staff regarding client concerns. In addition, we visited the Capitol Area Intermediate unit, IU, and met with their transition coordinator. As part of our ongoing connecting and reconnecting with the transition population one of our advocates who focuses on transition had contacted this IU in the past. We had made phone contact with this IU and they had asked if when we were in the area we could follow—up with a visit. We met with 10 of his staff and referred him to our website and Facebook page. We know this is the interest of students. CAP Advocate educated this transition coordinator about our advocacy services for his staff and most especially, his students which will help make the transition process a bit smoother for the student the professional who are part of the team. Also he gave me the contact info for the local Transition Coordinating Council which is a group forum of IU transition Coordinators. I have made this follow up and will be speaking at one of their next meetings as CAP is persistent in making more and more individuals in the transition arena aware of us and our role as a member of their team.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.15
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.831
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.

This was the first year that CAP was invited to have an exhibit table at the Chariots of Life Disability Resource Fair that was held at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. The Disability Resource Fair was a great opportunity to make a connection with the minority community to inform them of the role that CAP plays in vocational rehabilitation. There were about 150 attendees at the resource fair and I distributed approximately 100 brochures to customers, family members, caregivers and service providers. It was a very positive experience in that we were able to provide information about various services providing by CAP. We believe strongly that providing good advocacy, knowledge about available services and making the disability population aware of CAP services is important and rewarding work in our mission to help individuals with disabilities become productive members of society. In 2015 we increased our outreach to the deaf and hard of hearing population. We are glad to report that we became more connected with the deaf community. This was an important outreach goal for us this year. As a result, Margaret McKenna was asked to be a part of the Pennsylvania school for the Deaf Family Resource transition fair. This was a great day of exchanging information from a variety of providers in the community. Students and parents were able to connect one—on—one with many good resources to help them with the transition process.

Some of the other providers who participated were: OVR, the Youth Transition Specialist from the local Center for Independent Living, as well as some deaf advocacy agencies, technology gurus, and the local Career Link. Each of the 25 providers had a few minutes to explain their services and how they can play a positive role in the success of a transition student who happens to be deaf.

There were 100 registrants who all had a chance to learn about the specific provider services and actually spend some quality time getting their individual questions addressed and were provided informational material. Margaret provided information on CAP services and also spoke on the benefits of self—advocacy and how CAP can be a player on the deaf transition student team as they go through the OVR process.

CAP values its stronger connection with the deaf/hard of hearing. As we see time and time again with good outreach contacts one good contact leads to another. This one did as well. In connecting with the other exhibitors, one of which was the Pennsylvania Society for Advancement of the Deaf, PSAD, Margaret was subsequently asked to participate in a community event they were hosting in Spring 2015. This was another good outreach which gave CAP more visibility in the deaf/ hard of hearing community. We are looking forward to making more inroads into this underserved population in 2016.

CAP was also asked to be a part of was The Hearing Loss Expo in November 2014. It was the only one of its kind in PA. It showcased services, organizations and technology for individuals who are deaf, deaf—blind or hard of hearing. It was a Statewide Expo and featured 75 exhibitors. Thanks to CAP’s strong relationship with the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ODHH, we were invited to be an exhibitor. This was great opportunity for us since this population is one of our underserved groups and this expo was a good way to let these individuals become aware of how we can advocate with the deaf, deaf—blind, hard of hearing individuals as they do their best to receive vocational rehabilitation they require to be successful in employment. Since there can be communication difficulties, which can lead to comprehension problems, it is extremely important that this population has a clear and concise understanding of the process and their rights and responsibilities as an OVR client. We take very seriously our responsibility to do our best to help these underserved individuals be aware of how CAP can help them develop a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities and assist them in advocating in a calmer, clearer and more productive way. This alleviates the extreme frustration with individuals who are deaf, deaf—blind, hard of hearing.

One of the vendors we learned of that was also an exhibitor, was the Support Service Person. This is a new service in PA for people who are deaf—blind. This is a great resource for CAP which can help us break into this truly underserved population. Our advocates are looking forward to reaching out to this group in 2016. This Expo was pleased to have 50 attendees made up of educators, employers, service providers, individuals and their families. CAP’s presence at this Expo opened the door to our being more visible in the deaf Community. We have gotten case referrals directly from this Expo in 2015.

In FY 2015, CAP became more active in reaching out to the deaf/ hard of hearing population. We exhibited and presented at 3 different events for this group. We have had more contact with the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ODHH. We are glad to report that this year we were asked again to present to their Advisory Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. There were about 25 people in attendance a mix of professionals and consumers. The 3 regional representatives across the state are becoming more aware of our advocacy services and how we can really help to bridge some of the communication gaps with this population. We are receiving more calls from this underserved group. Once again, we spent time connecting and reconnecting with the counselors for the deaf and hard of hearing at the district offices statewide. This has been a valuable use of time and has helped us be more available and familiar with these counselors so they have a better perspective of how we can be helpful to them and their clients in going through the VR system successfully. We are planning to continue to nurture these contacts in FY 2016. In addition, we are looking forward to reaching out to the deaf—blind community, a truly unserved population.

One of the strategies we used in helping us ascertain what disability populations are underserved/unserved is thoroughly reviewing the "disabling conditions" section of the 227. This seems like a very logical way to determine what disability is not being served appropriately. This approach has revealed that individuals with spina bifida are not served much by CAP. So based on this information we have focused on this group and pleased to say we outreached to them this year. We have already increased awareness with some of the associations which provide services and support to these individuals.

Some of the groups we contacted were: Spina Bifida Association of Greater Pittsburgh, Spina Bifida Association of Delaware County and Spina Bifida Association of Greater Pennsylvania. We are starting to make some contacts in this community which will hopefully result in a greater awareness of our services for this group in 2016. We are anticipating we will be helping more of these individuals next year.

In addition to this unserved group it was revealed that individuals with muscular dystrophy are underserved. We made a few outreach contacts to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and plan to increase our outreach to this group in 2016.

In August of 2015, CAP Advocate Lannette Suarez concentrated her outreach efforts to the Amputee/Double Amputee populations. She made several contacts with several amputee support groups in both the eastern and western regions by phone, mail and email. She had a desire to help to increase their awareness of CAP services throughout this population. As a result of her efforts, she received an invitation to present at the Lehigh Valley Amputee Support Group and to set up an exhibit table at their next expo in March of 2016. In addition, Lannette made a concerted effort in reaching out to the Diabetes population. Some of the agencies that were contacted are The Diabetes Program at Riddle Memorial Hospital, The Lions Diabetes Center of UPMC McKeesport and The Diabetes Education Support Group at Einstein Hospital. Lannette will continue to connect and reconnect with the Diabetes Support Groups throughout the state to keep them informed about CAP’s role on improving services for people with disabilities.

In closing, 2015 CAP made new contacts in various unserved/underserved communities and we are looking forward to becoming more visible to these populations in 2016. Our goal is to increase our client referrals for these populations.

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.

1. Agency Staff Interviewed or Featured on Radio and TV0
2. Articles about CAP Featured in Newspaper/Magazine/Journals2
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency2
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency6550
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.30
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.

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)66
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year124
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)190
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.)3
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)70

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information8
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor80
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided75
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process34
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
7. Related to independent living services1
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
10. Related to Title I of the ADA36

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 Assistance1
2. Investigation/Monitoring18
3. Negotiation95
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution0
5. Administrative / Informal Review2
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing1
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total117

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 favor84
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)15
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 withdrew complaint13
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.4
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP0
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.)

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual31
2. Application for services completed4
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation7
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided42
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party30
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 186
2. 19 - 2433
3. 25 - 4042
4. 41 - 64103
5. 65 and over6
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)190

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females77
2. Males113
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)190

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)7
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American44
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White130
7. Two or more races3
8. Race/ethnicity unknown4

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury11
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism3
6. Anxiety Disorder1
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder17
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)2
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)9
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)8
11. Cancer1
12. Cerebral Palsy5
13. Deafness9
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)5
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes4
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions5
20. Intellectual Disability9
21. Mental Illness44
22. Multiple Sclerosis3
23. Muscular Dystrophy2
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment1
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment14
26. Orthopedic Impairments15
27. Personality Disorders1
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)6
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida2
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)8
34. Other Disability1
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)190

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR22
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list5
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list156
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living3
5. Transition student/High school student24
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


1. SOCIAL SECURITY SECTION 301 — CAP was contacted by Community Legal Services in Philadelphia concerning complaints it was receiving from students with disabilities that OVR was not responding in a timely fashion to requests from the SSA to verify that the student remained an OVR customer after graduation, thereby remaining eligible for SSI payments. OVR agreed to rectify the problem.

2. OVR STATISTICS — PA CAP reviewed the overall case closure statistics for 2011 through 2014 and determined that in each of these years only approximately 40% of closures were successful. In each year, of the approximate 20,000.00 closures, over 11,000 were closed for reasons other than obtaining employment. CAP recommended to the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation that it review the statistics to determine if a policy response was appropriate. It is currently reviewing the issue.

3. WIOA Comments — PA CAP submitted comments to RSA regarding the proposed WIOA regulations. The comments were shared with OVR and the SRC and to a large extent their response was incorporated into CAP’ s comments.

4. PURCHASE OF VEHICLES — PaCAP sought and received a response from RSA regarding OVR’s policy of prohibiting vehicle purchases. RSA’s response was provided to the Board and a recommendation was made that this issue be reviewed in terms of OVR policy. Relevant OVR policy is under review.

5. SMALL BUSINESS POLICY — PA CAP serves on the OVR Small Business Policy workgroup. It has made a number of recommendations including waiver language, the forms of business compatible with the policy and allowable costs. These changes have been incorporated into the policy.

6. PA. HOUSE BILL 400 — PA CAP submitted recommendations prepared with input from OVR and the SRC to the Pennsylvania legislature regarding a state bill to provide additional monies to fund OVR.

7. HOME BASED COMMUNITY SERVICES — PaCAP worked with the Office of Developmental Programs and OVR to review and comment on the circumstances under which a person with an intellectual disability seeking waiver services would be automatically referred to OVR for VR services.

8. VENDOR CHOICE — PA CAP recommended to the Board that it review the process for customers to select a BBVS vendor to ensure customer choice. This issue is under review.

9. CIVIL SERVICE — PA CAP recommended to the Board that it review concerns raised by BBVS customers that the PA. Civil Service Commission denies people who are blind and visually impaired the opportunity to test for certain jobs, and that they lose job opportunities because a request for accommodations is not processed in a timely fashion. The Board is reviewing the issue.

10. OVR Board process — PaCAP recommended that the Board establish a process for responding to issues raised by stakeholders during Board meetings and asked specifically for a response to issues it raised regarding the community rehabilitation center at HGAC concerning services being provided in a segregated setting, the high cost per student, and the lack of consideration of the availability of these services in the customer’s community. The Board is adopting a process to respond to stakeholder issues, including HGAC.

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.10
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation


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 nonprofit agency
2. Name of designate agencyCenter for Disability Law & Policy
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:not applicable

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

CAP Director — 1 person year

Senior CAP Advocate — 1 person year

CAP Advocate — 1 person year

Outreach Coordinator — .10 person year

Administrative Assistant — 1 person year

Bookkeeper — .50 person year

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Interesting Case 1

I am very happy to be reporting on this case for its various positive aspects highlight the epitome of what CAP is all about in the disability community.

This Transition Student initially contacted our office via a referral from the Office of Disability Service, ODS, at our local Community College. Our outreach efforts to the transition population in the disability office reaps many benefits. Our outreach contact from ODS called and asked if we would consider taking on one of their students as a volunteer. This young man worked at our office for a summer as a volunteer. He has autism and although very high functioning, his social and communication skills were weak. While interacting with the CAP advocates, there was improvement with his social skills. He did a lot of outreach work for us from researching outreach contacts within PA, especially within the Autism Population to, by the end of the summer, helping with the actual outreach call.

He learned some good self—advocacy skills and knew from being part of our staffing’s that scholarships are not to be included in the financial calculation for determining OVR funding for school. He understood the OVR process better and the importance of developing a realistic employment goal.

Since he knew CAP could advocate on his behalf, he called for assistance. The CAP Advocate was able to quickly resolve the issue of how merit scholarships are not to be calculated by the counselor in determining OVR funding. Thanks to this volunteer experience with CAP, he developed self—advocacy skills, became more comfortable in communicating, and became aware of some of OVR policies.

Interesting Case 2

A successful result achieved for a young man doing well in college. This young transition student is attending Washington College majoring in musicology and is a client of BBVS. He is very motivated and ambitious, despite various medical concerns. He applied for and was granted a merit scholarship. However, this negatively affected his BBVS funding for college.

He and his parents contacted CAP and in quick order the CAP Advocate with the help of the clear and concise language of the VR college policy which clearly specifies the implementation procedures regarding receiving of merit scholarships, was able to resolve the issue. Although clients are not required to seek merit scholarships, if they do, the counselor must not use the merit scholarship in calculating the agency’s contribution. Once the counselor was referred to the relevant piece of the college policy, by the CAP Advocate, it became very simple and self—explanatory to all. This client’s issue was resolved very easily.

Cases like this reinforce the necessity of the CAP Advocate being familiar with the various VR policies and how helpful CAP can be in clarifying a particular policy. This case is a great example of the importance of CAP’s role in informing the client and the VR counselor of their rights and responsibilities within the law and the VR policies. In addition, this client also received funding for his prior year of schooling retroactively.

CAP is proud to have had the opportunity to help this client receive what the policy mandates and to ensure he was not jeopardized for being awarded a merit scholarship.

Interesting case 3

This customer reached out to CAP because there was a breakdown in communication between him and his vocational rehabilitation counselor. The vocational rehabilitation counselor and customer had reached an impasse because the counselor was not willing to provide him with training. The customer wanted re—training so he could obtain some marketable skills since he was no longer able to work in law enforcement.

A meeting was scheduled with our customer, VR counselor and CAP advocate. As a result of the meeting, customer was approved for training at Harrisburg Area Community College and now on his way to becoming a productive member of society.

Interesting case 4

This individual contacted CAP because he made several attempts to contact his vocational rehabilitation counselor, but was unsuccessful. This male customer has a history of mental illness, alcoholism and substance abuse. The customer’s vocational goal was to obtain his CDL license so he could become gainfully employed. Through CAP’s intervention, the customer was assigned a new vocational rehabilitation counselor to assist him with his vocational goals.

The issue was resolved and customer is currently working with his new vocational rehabilitation counselor in obtaining assistance with training and job placement services.

Interesting case 5

The customer is a young man who has a history of ADHD and had an OVR concern. Customer completed the paperwork and was found eligible for VR services. After eligibility was determined, VR counselor failed to keep in contact with customer. Mom attempted to contact VR counselor on several occasions, but was not successful. Mom proceeded to contact CAP to obtain assistance in resolving her son’s concerns regarding OVR.

Through a series of telephone calls, CAP advocate helped customer to reconnect to his VR counselor. As a result of CAP’s advocacy in reconnecting this customer with his VR counselor they were able to move forward in developing a plan for job placement services.


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 OfficialStephen S. Pennington
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/22/2015