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

Alaska (STATE OF ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT) - H161A160061 - FY2016

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 Code99503
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) program8
2. Information regarding independent living programs1
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects1
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA1
5. Other information provided5
6. Information regarding CAP9
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)25

B. Training Activities

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.0
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.0
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.

For several months of FY16 we had a gap in CAP staffing, with one advocate departing and another coming on board and being trained. This affected our community outreach, but throughout FY16 we kept in close contact with DVR, TVR, and the Independent Living Centers by attending the following activities:

*State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee (SVRC) 1st quarter meeting in Anchorage; *1st quarter meeting with DVR chief of services; *Spoke with the Alaska Center for the Blind regarding concerns about DVR sending clients to out of state to receive training when services were offered here in Alaska; *SVRC 3rd quarter meeting in Sitka; *3rd Quarter meeting with DVR chief of services; *SVRC 4th quarter meeting in Anchorage; *Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR) meeting in Anchorage; and, *DVR Strategic Planning meeting to discuss annual strategic goals.

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/Journals0
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency6546
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.0
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)2
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year3
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)5
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.)1
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 counselor4
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided3
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process0
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
0
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 Assistance4
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. Total4

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 favor1
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 individual1
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)2
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 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.)

The P&A provided technical assistance in the form of letting her know her option to extend the deadline to file an appeal, however, decided not to represent her in her appeal because her case did not have merit.)

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual2
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited0
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided0
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party0
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made1
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 180
2. 19 - 240
3. 25 - 401
4. 41 - 644
5. 65 and over0
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)5

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females3
2. Males2
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)5

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)0
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American1
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White2
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

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 Extremities1
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)0
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy1
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 Illness2
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment0
26. Orthopedic Impairments0
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 Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)5

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR3
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list2
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

We continue to focus efforts this year on the Alaska Integrated Employment Initiative, the purpose of which 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 in FY16, the Alaska P&A is conducting a comprehensive review of relevant Federal and State laws that govern the development and implementation of student transition plans. Legal authorities encompassed within the review would include the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 and other provisions of the Rehabilitation Act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Able Act, provisions of the Social Security Act that promote integrated employment (Medicaid, Ticket to Work, Pass Plans, etc.), Alaska statutes and regulations implementing and complementing these federal laws, and any case law interpreting these authorities. The review will generate a written analysis that will help guide the development of interagency agreements at the state and local level, as well as inform the development of transition activities in students’ Individual Education Plans.

Our effort will map the intersection of the eligibility criteria under the numerous laws impacting, either directly or indirectly, transition planning for students. As noted in the last report, this work is regularly influenced by external developments. Most recently, such influence was demonstrated by the joint announcement in August, 2016, by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor of the publication in the Federal Register of five final rules implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, all with an effective date in September and/or October 2016. Additionally, on September 15, 2016 the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities issued its final report. The primary purpose of the work of the Committee was to address issues, and make recommendations, to improve the employment participation of people with I/DD and others with significant disabilities by ensuring opportunities for competitive integrated employment. Several of the Committee’s recommendations may inform the content and/or direction of DLC’s report, such as:

* Calling on Congress to amend the FLSA to allow for a multi-year, well-planned phase out of Section 14(c) * Demonstrating how the waiver of certain requirements in the Ticket to Work program will enable youth receiving Supplemental Security Income/ Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI) to access services across systems that lead to competitive integrated employment * Revisions to federal tax incentives and credits available to employers who hire people with disabilities * Amending the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act (JWOD) to fully align the Act with modern federal disability law and policy goals by reforming the criteria for contract procurement selection and for program eligibility

In addition to its review of the body of laws relevant to transition planning, a body which seems to expand every day, the Alaska P&A continues to monitor sheltered workshops in Alaska and is offering training to Tribal VR agencies on transition planning. The omission in WIOA of Tribal VR responsibilities with respect to transition services was a disservice to rural Alaska youth.

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

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 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)

The Alaska CAP utilizes several attorney and non-attorney advocates in three offices in the state to achieve statewide coverage. The P&A’s staffing arrangement provides for 1.06 full-time equivalent employees, with 8 employees in Anchorage (.99 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 CAP 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 Outcome: A woman with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) contacted the Alaska P&A’s Client Assistance Program Client for help in resolving issues she’d been having with her caseworker at the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Specifically, she wanted a new caseworker assigned who would be more supportive of her work goals.

The client wanted to pursue blue collar/trade type work, such as welding because she felt that the clerical work DVR was promoting hurt her back. Also, trade-type work was more challenging and beneficial for her after her brain injury.

In addition to her work goals not being supported, our client alleged that her caseworker was inappropriately sharing information with other individuals without consent. For example, in one instance the caseworker had copied three other individuals in a reply to an email sent by the client. It was also reported that the caseworker often pulled other people into discussions about the client’s case, which caused the client to feel as if she could not trust the caseworker. After reviewing the records, we found that the caseworker had indeed been communicating with multiple individuals with no valid release to do so. We were also able to determine that the client’s doctors agreed that pursuing a trade would be better for her, post-injury. With our help, the client obtained letters from her doctors, including her neurologist, explaining how her brain is now better equipped for working within the trades.

After joining our client at a meeting with the manager at DVR, they agreed to assign a new caseworker. Soon after, the client reported to us that she was beginning a welding apprenticeship and that she was very happy with that outcome.

Rights & Responsibilities Explained: Individuals requesting assistance from the P&A are sometimes best served by informing them of their rights and responsibilities and explaining some of the parameters of the DVR system. In one such case, a man with paraplegia contacted us for help regarding barriers to completing 3 trial work experiences (TWE) with DVR. He felt DVR was not adequately accommodating him when they refused requests to provide the following at one of his TWEs: * A change of working hours from morning to afternoon; * An every-other-day work schedule, instead of every day; * Bed to lie down on when he got tired that he could also use for catheter service; * a raised toilet seat installed in the TWE bathroom; and, * For DVR to pay cab fare if he needed to leave early.

Unfortunately, there was nothing in the physical capacities report to indicate that the individual required these accommodations. (In addition, the restroom at his TWE was fully accessible.) We advised him of the type of documentation he would need to back up his requests, for which he thanked us and decided to spend time considering his next steps.

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 Signed12/21/2016