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

Montana (Disability Rights Montana) - H161A160027 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
CityHelena
StateMontana
Zip Code59601
E-mail Addressbernie@disabiltiyrightsmt.org
Website Addresshttps://disabilityrightsmt.org
Phone406-449-2344
TTY 406-449-2344
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743
Fax406-449-2418

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
CityHelena
Zip Code59601
E-mail Addressbernie@disabiltiyrightsmt.org
Website Addresshttps://disabilityrightsmt.org
Phone406-449-2344
TTY406-449-2344
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743
Fax406-449-2418

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/Coordinator
Person to contact regarding report
Contact Person Phone

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program3
2. Information regarding independent living programs0
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided2
6. Information regarding CAP5
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)10

B. Training Activities

10-1-15 New VR employee Orientation of CAP Program, VR Central Office, Helena, MT 20 People, CAP did a presentation to new counselors what CAP was and CAP does. Included information on how to get a hold of CAP advocate and to include CAP information to all new VR clients. 7-14-16 CAP training to ASPIRE (Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment) Helena, MT 5 People ; CAP advocate invited to do a P&A overview and talk about the CAP program specifically involving WIOA and what CAP can do with students transitioning.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.2
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.25
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.

10-6-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Ft. Belknap Reservation, 8 People; CAP advocate introduced herself to Tribal VR and gave contact information.

10-6-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Rocky Boy Reservation, 8 People; CAP advocate introduced herself to Tribal VR and gave contact information.

10-7-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Ft. Peck Tribe, 7 People; CAP advocate introduced herself to Tribal VR and gave contact information.

10-8-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, 10 People; CAP advocate introduced herself to Tribal VR and gave contact information.

10-8-15 P&A Overview at a NAMI meeting, Voting Information, Missoula, MT 8 People; CAP Program brochures and CAP advocate information handed out. 10-21-15 to 10-23-15 P&A Overview at NAMI Convention, Billings, MT 200 People; CAP Program brochures and CAP advocate information handed out.

12-3-2015 International Day of PWD, Kalispell, MT 10 People; CAP Program brochures and CAP advocate information handed out.

2-26-16 Educate MT attorneys on P&A, Voting Information, Yellowstone Area Bar Assoc., Billings, MT 70 People; CAP Program brochures and CAP advocate information handed out.

5-12-16 Voter Registration and Information, Montana Disability Employability Conference, Great Falls, MT 200 People 7-20-16 to 7-23-16 Voter Registration and P&A Information, Rebecca Farm Art and Event Fair, Kalispell, MT 2000 people; CAP Program brochures and CAP advocate information handed out.

7-14-16 CAP Outreach to ASPIRE (Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment) Helena, MT 5 People ; CAP advocate invited to do a P&A overview and talk about the CAP program specifically involving WIOA and what CAP can do with students transitioning.

7-20-16 to 7-23-16 Voter Registration and P&A Information, Rebecca Farm Art and Event Fair, Kalispell, MT 2000 people; CAP Program brochures and CAP advocate information handed out.

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.

CAP advocate was the guest contributor in the September 2016, PABSS Newsletter talking about the CAP Program and what the Transition Services mandated in the new WIOA. This was sent to 250 people by E-Mail; and 50 people by hard copy.

Also, DRM Newsletters

Date Recipients

11-13-15 608

2-12-16 612

5-16-16 608

7-27-16 610

8-19-16 600

9-16-16 635 Total 3673 Recipients

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 Agency5840
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.5
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.

DRM Newsletters

Date Recipients 11-13-15 608 2-12-16 612 5-16-16 608 7-27-16 610 8-19-16 600 9-16-16 635 Total 3673 Recipients

Twitter Account: 132 Currently following Facebook - 877 Likes; 3,947 Followers

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)18
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year50
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)68
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.)31

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information3
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor24
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided30
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process4
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
6
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems4
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 Assistance23
2. Investigation/Monitoring0
3. Negotiation9
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution2
5. Administrative / Informal Review5
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total39

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 favor18
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)1
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual2
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)3
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint0
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor1
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP14
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.)

11-Client did not return Release of Information, no further contact with CAP; 1- Client did not follow thru with VR or CAP; 1- No information or grounds to follow thru with Adm. Review; 1- Client has criminal record and the Dean of the Law School did not accept him into law school, CAP could not clear his numerous felonies; 1- Client was able to get Post Employment Services with CAP’s help;1-CAP was able to get client into private in-state school that compared with the cost of a state college/maintenance fees; 1- Client was unable to clear bad credit debt to secure a business loan to help with his business plan; 1- After successful Adm. Review, client was able to start his business; 1- VR told client they would pay to repair wc then denied, with CAP’s involvement they paid for repairs;1- After successful Adm. Review, client would not stick with work goal and changed her mind 3 times and never followed thru with any of them, failed to work with VR; 1- After getting a degree in Music, college would not let him sit for his teaching certificate due to felonies on his records, CAP worked with Dean of Students but they still would not allow him to sit for certificate, 1- Due to several semesters of bad grades, VR refused to pay for make up classes, CAP tried to work with VR but this was client’s 2nd warning.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual0
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided0
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party9
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office4
8. Alternative resources identified for individual3
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made22
10. Other (Please explain below)

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 182
2. 19 - 245
3. 25 - 4017
4. 41 - 6440
5. 65 and over4
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)68

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females27
2. Males41
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)68

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native6
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American3
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White54
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown1

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury1
2. ADD/ADHD0
3. AIDS/HIV1
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)3
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)5
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness3
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)1
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy0
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions2
20. Intellectual Disability3
21. Mental Illness23
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment2
26. Orthopedic Impairments16
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)1
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)1
34. Other Disability6
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)68

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR55
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list3
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list7
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student2
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act1

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

In Montana, this is a time of huge changes in Vocational Rehabilitation services. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program has been in an Order of Selection for some months and has been closing categories as time has progressed. At this time, Montana VR has closed two categories, leaving only one eligibility category for services. We have heard that there is a possibility that VR may close this last category before the year is out.

The decision to stay in an Order of Selection is in part because of the passage of WIOA and its requirement that certain funds be directed solely to those youth in school. As Montana is now the only state that does not require schools to provide special education services past the age of 18, this has meant that the WIOA requirement has had unintended, negative consequences with regard to VR funding to serve people who are 19 and older.

In addition, Montana VR is having trouble getting schools on board to take Pre-ETS money, and to use it for the purpose it is intended. The 121 Programs largely have not taken Pre-ETS monies offered to them either, even when the State VR stated their were no strings attached. This is largely because it is quite difficult to find employment and supports in these communities.

We also have seen the results of the great demographic shift with the retirement of baby boomers and the subsequent hiring of millennials to fill those positions. This shift is complicated by the very low unemployment rate that Montana is facing currently. Consequently, many of these new employees do not have the education that the prior counselor had and has much less familiarity with the vocational rehabilitation system in general.

As a response to all of these profound changes and pressures in the Montana VR system, we have been focusing even more closely on issues at VR offices in addition to our focus on systemic issues. We have unfortunately learned that several new VR clients have been experiencing some difficulties when going to their local VR offices. For instance, we have heard of many instances where VR staff have been telling new applicants about the Order of Selection, but not doing an intake or putting them on a waiting list for services for when their category opens up. Also, some staff were also telling new applicants that they would only be served if they were in a wheelchair. The CAP advocate is working with the Chief of Field Offices at the State VR level to help remedy these problems as they come up. Now all new applicants must have an intake done with a VRC and be put on a waiting list if they do not qualify for the one remaining eligibility category.

Another issue that has been brought to CAP’s attention is the VR rule stating that if a client is doing a business plan they can only receive $5,000 in start up money and 25% of approved funds after that. Of course, with VR Central’s office approval more funding can be approved, but vr counselors were customarily telling clients and applicants that the $5000 was an absolute cap. In response, VR staff members from the Central Office are to begin drafting a new policy for self-employment in the coming months. This will be great news for people who want to do a business plan and explore self-employment.

The CAP advocate has also found that several CAP clients who have had their cases closed by VR, only after VR failed to fully address all of their disabilities and barriers to employment. Most of these clients have had either a diagnosed mental illness or an undiagnosed mental illness. All of them clearly had difficulty with searching for employment. Three of these cases were appealed, and during an administrative review, the issues were decided in the client’s favor. CAP will remain involved with these cases to insure proper case development.

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

B. Litigation

Disability Rights Montana is representing a young, deaf woman who experiences bi-polar disorder, is receiving post employment services through VR. She was in competitive, integrated employment until she had her infant taken by CPS soon after his birth. CPS did so because it believed that her bi-polar disorder was not well controlled and that she had a cognitive impairment. Both are incorrect.

When CPS finally made visitation available for this client, it insisted upon a certain date and time each week that conflicted with her employment. She was forced to quit this job and rely solely on her work at a sheltered workshop for her income. CPS continues to require her to have visitation on this schedule so she can only hold her sheltered workshop job. Fortunately, she did get a raise to minimum wage, but it is still a segregated position. We have helped her to convince CPS to reunite her with her child and that reunification will occur in the next months. She then will be able to work with VR to find integrated, competitive employment.

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).1
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-Protection and Advocacy agency
2. Name of designate agencyDisability Rights Montana
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:NA

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-years Professional Full-time 1.72 100 9 Part-time 0.06 100 3 Vacant Clerical Full-time 0.13 100 1 Part-time Vacant

Part VI. Case Examples

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

CAP advocate has worked with a client who has been in VR services since 2014. Her first VRC was a young man with very little experience and a gruff demeanor with clients. He basically told this client that because of her learning disabilities she could be nothing more than a secretary in an office and would not support her goal of becoming a parole/probation officer. A new VRC was requested and the client changed her goal to becoming an attorney. Her new VRC did not think she could make the grades requested of being in law school successfully. She was required to do a job experience and her CRP was able to get one in the local County Attorney’s office. She did very well and got experience shadowing an attorney in court. With CAP’s help she was able to become enrolled in the Fall of 2016 as a law student at the University of Montana. She has supports from the college’s Disability Services and is doing well.

A 15 year old woman who experiences cerebral palsy in a rural Montana town, became enrolled in the Pre-ETs program with the local VR and was doing a summer job as a camp counselor. One of the issues for her became transportation to and from school and her summer job, as her parents’ van was not accessible for her motorized wheelchair and her mother had great difficulty physically lifting her into the van. Client has an oversized, motorized wheel chair and this requires a special make and model of van and ramp system. At the time of her Pre-ETs intake with VR, her family income was not considered per VR. However, VR had her parents fill out financial information. The parents then asked for VR to purchase a specialized van for their daughter. VR denied this request. CAP got involved and was able to present this as the clients vehicle so she could be more independent in the community, at her job and school. Parents agreed that their daughter could then take driver’s education and learn to drive the van. CAP was able to negotiate that VR pay for 49% of the van and the parent’s pay and retain ownership of 51% of the van. VR also agreed to pay for a personal driver’s education trainer and someone who could train her on how to work her accessible van.

CAP has had 2 clients from the same VR counselor who saw their cases closed as the counselor failed to develop their medical issues to determine eligibility. Both of these cases went to Administrative Review and one case was found to be that VR did not develop the medical record and is now being served with the addition of mental illness as a disability in his VR record. He will be able to get some mental health services that will further help him in being successful in a job.

The other individual was receiving post employment services and was only offered 90 days of job search. This gentlemen has a very significant mental health issue and diabetes, but neither of these were addressed in his original VR plan. Although we lost the Administrative Review for more post employment services, CAP was able to get him a new VRC and another intake was done. He is now going to be able to get a full psychological evaluation which with his several other disabilities should let him be in a Category 1 to obtain full VR services.

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 OfficialBernadette Franks-Ongoy
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed11/01/2016