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

Washington (CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM) - H161A160058 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameClient Assistance Program
Address2531 Rainier Avenue South
Address Line 2
CitySeattle
StateWashington
Zip Code98144
E-mail Addressjcap@qwestoffice.net
Website Addresshttp://washingtoncap.org
Phone(206) 721-5999
TTY (206) 721-6072
Toll-free Phone(800) 544-2121
Toll-free TTY(888) 721-6072
Fax(206) 721-5980

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

Name
Address
Address Line 2
City
Zip Code
E-mail Address
Website Address
Phone
TTY
Toll-free Phone
Toll-free TTY
Fax

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJerry Johnsen
Person to contact regarding reportJerry Johnsen
Contact Person Phone(206) 721-5996

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program846
2. Information regarding independent living programs32
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects40
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA81
5. Other information provided176
6. Information regarding CAP539
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)1,714

B. Training Activities

1. Presentation to Seattle Public School Districts:

Topic: Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and their role in working with transition students, and changes with WIOA legislation.

Purpose: Explain, clarify and answer questions regarding VR services and role of VR in the transition process, including changes for students with disabilities under WIOA.

Description of attendees: Special Education Coordinators

Two presentations, for a total of 15 persons.

2. Presentations to WorkSource staff:

Topic: Workforce staff and their role in providing services to persons of disability and other resources for customers needing disability related assistance. Vocational Rehabilitation resources in our state and CAP’s role.

Purpose: To increase partnerships and better serve job seekers with disabilities. To engage and educate WorkSource staff to increase awareness and appropriate referrals to VR agencies.

Description of attendees: All levels of WorkSource staff.

Five presentations, 20 staff each, for a total of 100 persons.

3. Presentation to general VR agency local units:

Topic: Role and purpose of the Client Assistance Program within both state VR systems to provide advocacy and address clients’ rights and remedies throughout their VR process.

Purpose: To engage VR Counselors, VR support staff and VR Supervisors, throughout the state to build relationships, strengthen partnerships and promote open communication and transparency with the Client Assistance Program.

Description of attendees: VR Counselors, Supervisors and Rehabilitation Technicians.

Seven presentations to units of VR staff, for a total of 90 persons.

4. Presentations to General and Blind State Rehabilitation Councils:

Topic: Updates on CAP role and interventions with VR agencies.

Purpose: Educate council members on relevant aspects of VR agency policy, systemic issues impacting the delivery of VR services, and WIOA updates.

Description of attendees: Council members, representatives from community agencies and concerned citizens.

Four presentations to General Agency State Rehab Council (SRC) members, one presentations to Blind Agency State Rehab Council (SRC) members = 5 presentations, for a total of 105 persons.

5. Presentations to State Independent Living Council (SILC):

Topic: CAP’s role in both policy and individual advocacy, WIOA legislation and challenges around Independent Living (IL) services.

Purpose: Provide CAP updates to the SILC, discuss IL challenges in the VR process, educate about WIOA, and build relationships with new SILC members.

Description of attendees: SILC Council members and representatives from Independent Living Centers, community agencies, and concerned citizens.

Three presentations to SILC members for a total of 60 persons.

6. Presentations to Governors Committee on Employment and Disability

Topic: Role of the Client Assistance Program in the state VR system, compliance problems with the placement of General VR program, and WIOA legislation.

Purpose: Increase knowledge about CAP, provide background and information related to placement issues, and educate about changes to the VR system resulting from WIOA.

Description of attendees: Committee members and citizens concerned with the employment needs of persons with disabilities.

Two presentations, for a total of 100 persons.

7. Presentations to families of Transition age children with disabilities.

Topic: VR services and process for transition students.

Purpose: Educate families about the fundamental VR services and VR’s obligations under WIOA, including how to best self-advocate for your needs, and to encourage informed choice when participating in VR services.

Description of attendees: Individuals with disabilities, their family members and supports.

Ten presentations, for a total of 32 persons.

8. Individual training with VR staff about CAP role and services.

Topic: Role and purpose of the Client Assistance Program within both state VR systems to provide advocacy and address clients’ rights and remedies throughout their VR process.

Purpose: To engage VR staff by working with them one on one to understand Client Assistance Program role and function to improve customer service, build relationships and promote open communication and transparency with the CAP.

Description of attendees: VR Counselors and VR Supervisors from General and Blind VR agencies.

Twenty two individual sessions, for a total of 22 persons.

9. Training on rehabilitation law, history, systemic issues in VR system and how to better serve customers.

Topic: Rehabilitation Law and WIOA

Purpose: Enlighten VR staff to the mission, purpose and goals of VR legislation. Explain history of VR related laws, nationally and locally, as well as providing an overview of WIOA related changes.

Description of attendees: VR Counselors, Supervisors, and support staff from General, Blind and Tribal VR agencies.

Three training sessions, for a total of 90 persons.

10. Presentations to Tribal VR staff.

Topic: Client Assistance Program role in both individual and systemic advocacy for the Tribal VR programs.

Purpose: Engage Tribal VR programs as partners with CAP to improve customer service, build relationships and promote open communication and transparency.

Description of attendees: Tribal VR Counselors and VR Supervisors.

Two presentations for 24 persons total.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.61
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.638
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.

CAP is located, as a tenant, in a large WorkSource located in the most diverse zip code in the state. We work closely with our workforce partners providing information and referral to their staff and customers.

CAP also continues to reach out to school districts and special education providers to help them, their transition youth, and families understand services under WIOA.

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.

In addition to the above outreach, CAP has worked closely with the State Independent Living Council (SILC), both General and Blind Agency SRC’s, and the Governor’s Committee on Disability and Employment to provide information on our advocacy services across the state. CAP has also disseminated over 15,000 brochures to its rehabilitation partners and clients.

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 Agency15000
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.7
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)48
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year160
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)208
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.)16

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information31
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor58
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided74
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process29
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
131
7. Related to independent living services2
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems6
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
70
10. Related to Title I of the ADA13

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 Assistance35
2. Investigation/Monitoring41
3. Negotiation111
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution10
5. Administrative / Informal Review11
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total208

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 favor50
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)91
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual37
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)5
5. Individual chose alternative representation5
6. Individual withdrew complaint5
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor5
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.0
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP10
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 individual65
2. Application for services completed6
3. Eligibility determination expedited18
4. Individual participated in evaluation6
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided66
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party28
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office18
8. Alternative resources identified for individual1
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 1811
2. 19 - 2436
3. 25 - 4087
4. 41 - 6466
5. 65 and over8
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)208

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females111
2. Males97
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)208

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)35
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native13
3. Asian12
4. Black or African American45
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander5
6. White83
7. Two or more races10
8. Race/ethnicity unknown5

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury17
2. ADD/ADHD6
3. AIDS/HIV3
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism6
6. Anxiety Disorder4
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder10
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)2
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)9
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)0
11. Cancer1
12. Cerebral Palsy7
13. Deafness12
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)6
15. Deaf-Blind4
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders1
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions2
20. Intellectual Disability7
21. Mental Illness37
22. Multiple Sclerosis9
23. Muscular Dystrophy3
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment0
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment6
26. Orthopedic Impairments25
27. Personality Disorders12
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)10
31. Speech Impairments1
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)6
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)208

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR60
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list138
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living6
5. Transition student/High school student25
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act3

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

1. Education on, and implementation of WIOA. Shaping the future through collaboration.

CAP has been very involved with our State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and State Rehabilitation Councils (SRC’s) to understand and implement the new mandates under WIOA. After the release of the CFR’s, CAP was invited to be a part of a WIOA workgroup at the General VR agency. Blind VR agency staff also participated. The workgroup reviewed the entire law providing an opportunity not only to understand the law, but to shape its rollout to VR staff. CAP will continue to partner with VR as they develop training around the legislation, as well as developing our own training to outreach to the community.

2. Placement of our general VR agency.

CAP continues to work in partnership with our general agency State Rehab Council (SRC) to address the placement of VR within Designated State Agency. It has been our contention that because our VR Director does not report to, or have direct access to, the Director of the Designated State Agency, that we are out of compliance. It is also our concern that the Designated State Agency creates an environment that is not healthy to promoting employment of persons with disability and creates obstacles to the smooth flow of services.

3. Case closures too severely disabled without use of Trial Work Experience (TWE).

CAP continues to work with VR staff on understanding the need to do a Trial Work Experience (TWE) on cases closed as too severe to benefit. This is less problematic at the Eligibility phase that it is for those closed post-Eligibility. In many cases doctors, CRP’s and other practitioners make the “unemployable” decision without clear and convincing evidence.

4. Timely intake and eligibility determination.

CAP has been discussing when the clock starts ticking with the General VR Agency for some time as customers experience inconsistent wait times prior to being given an application. This concern has been highlighted by the new 90 days to Vocational Plan requirement as the 60 days to Eligibility has become a case management tool, delaying access to the VR Application and preventing prompt Eligibility decisions. CAP has heard complaints about lack of timely progress with VR services and process from customers CAP is serving as well as receiving this as consistent feedback VR customers at SRC forums. CAP feels these upfront delays and inconsistencies in the intake process rob clients of their momentum and dampen their enthusiasm about participating in the rehabilitation process. CAP is working with VR to develop a more universal and accessible intake process reflecting access mandates for all WIOA customers.

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.4
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 agencyClient Assistance Program
3. Is the designated agency contracting CAP services?No
4. If yes, name of contracting agency:N/A

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

1.0 Director 0.75 Rehabilitation Coordinator

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Interesting case (1)

Catherine is a 37 year old woman with MS who contacted CAP because she was denied further college training. Although Catherine was currently working part time (2/3 FTE ) as a job placement counselor, the work was not full time and her health was deteriorating. She also felt her employer was not being honest with her about her future role in the company. She was well liked and appropriately accommodated.

Catherine felt if she completed her BA degree (she had 2 years left) she would be much more marketable, especially as her MS worsened.

Her VR counselor was a bit defensive when talking with CAP when CAP initially contacted her. The counselor felt she and Catherine had a great relationship. The VR counselor had gotten her placed in her current job and purchased an accessible van.

The VR counselor had a number of concerns about supporting more training. Primarily, she felt Catherine did not have the stamina to go to school and work. She also her current employment was a good fit and did not want to jeopardize her job by working less hour or having to quit for school. She is also concerned about VR agency’s policy discouraging summer school support.

CAP pulled together a meeting with Catherine, her VRC counselor, and the VR supervisor. CAP met with the VR counselor prior to the meeting to obtain more candid feedback from the counselor and to provide CAP perspective on creating opportunities, working to capacity, future job security and concerns about VR summer school policy. We also met separately with Catherine to help her articulate her desires and concerns.

When we all met together, the meeting was very open, positive and productive. It was decided that school made sense. Catherine should have a long work life ahead of her, and that the job she was in was a good fit for social services, her desired employment field. Catherine is bilingual and getting a degree opened the door to many more opportunities. Catherine and her counselor made a date to write a new plan for school with the supports needed for her success.

CAP, in the spirit of WIOA continues to challenge VR to look towards employment goals that will maximize employment opportunities and provide customers with livable wages and benefits.

Interesting case (2)

Bill is a 24 year old man who’s disability was due to autism. Bill was referred to CAP by his Mother. DVR had closed his case because they determined his disability too severe to benefit from services. After CAP investigated we found that the counselor had made this determination based on a report from a CRP who had said he was “unemployable”. The CRP and the counselor had called it a Trial Work Experience, (TWE). CAP challenged the TWE informing DVR that what they called a TWE did not provide clear and convincing evidence nor did it allow Bill to demonstrate his abilities. CAP staffed the case with the unit supervisor and they agreed it was a poor closure and reversed the case closure.

CAP has been diligent about clarifying what truly meets the standards of a TWE both with the VR agencies and staff. Problematic is the CRP’s they contract with understanding the what is a truly a TWE and making a distinction between regular Community Based Assessments (CBAs) and TWEs.

CAP regularly engages VR staff on this issue and has advocated that the agency take a bigger role in training CRPs on the clear difference between a CBA and a TWE and requirements of a TWE.

Interesting case (3)

Doug is a 37 year old male with a back injury and ADD. He contacted the Client Assistance Program because his IPE development was delayed and he didn’t know why. Doug’s goal is to be an Electrical Inspector. He has an extensive history working as an electrician with a large industrial construction company. He has already some of the training requirements. However, the criteria for obtaining a license are changing in January 2017. If he doesn’t get the credential before this time, he will not qualify as some of his past experience and training don’t meet the new criteria.

CAP staff spoke with Doug’s VR counselor (VRC) and reviewed his VR case file. VRC said he had not finalized the IPE, even though he agreed it was an appropriate goal, because his Supervisor (VRS) was worried the job market was limited and Doug may not get a job as an Electrical Inspector. VRS was also concerned about the cost of the IPE, and suggested not all training may be needed. Training was away from Doug’s home and so lodging and transportation expenses would be included in the IPE.

CAP staff talked with VRS about why cost was preventing IPE development, as well as the appropriateness of the job goal and possibility of plan amendment if needed. VRS told VRC they could move forward an VRC promptly finalized IPE and began working on authorizing services.

In addition to training cost, transportation costs, and lodging, Doug requested assistance with meal expenses. Doug primarily relies on $100 of food stamp benefits for his food. Staying in a hotel for 3 weeks, Doug would not have access to cook his own food, and would therefore need to eat all meals out. Food stamp benefits would not provide enough money for food.

VRS was hesitant to authorize food expenses, initially agreeing to authorize $100, but could not explain how that amount was determined CAP staff recommended VRS follow up with DVR Policy representative to learn what Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and procedure manual stated. CAP staff did their own research.

DVR Customer Service Representative staffed case with CAP staff and provided appropriate WAC and procedure process outlining that DVR must provide per diem when customer is attending training that requires lodging and extensive time away from home. Once this was shared with VRS, VRC was authorized to do direct pay for per diem food expenses. It was explained that Doug must keep all receipts and refund money not spent to DVR.

VRC set up necessary authorizations, a challenging process given Designated State Agency’s purchasing limitations and contract requirements. CAP continues to advocate for, and address at agency SRC meetings, how problems with timely service impact customer motivation, increase frustration, and may delay needed services.

Regarding per diem payments, VRS made a decision without reviewing laws and procedures, nor did they seek guidance from knowledgeable internal staff. Initial decision was arbitrary and could not be explained. Only when CAP staff provided law and procedure information from DVR Customer Service Representative, did VRS agree for VRC to authorize direct payment for per diem. CAP would like to see VR staff approaching cases from a client centered perspective, including initiating problem solving where there is room for flexibility.

Interesting case (4)

Jessica is a 52 year old woman experiencing depression, anxiety, and orthopedic disabilities. She contacted the Client Assistance Program because she wanted a new Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC). She reported that her VRC was rude and “talked harshly” to her. VRC also did not have good follow through, Jessica had to frequently leave more than one message before hearing back. Jessica has a MSW degree and wanted to return to Social Work or Case Management. She felt her VRC was not providing services to help her find a job because the VRC felt she “could do it on her own”. Jessica was requesting assistance with job placement, resume help, interview skills, and interview clothing.

CAP finds the VRC to be skilled and client centered, but has heard similar feedback regarding their communication style from other customers. CAP staffed case the VR Supervisor who agreed a change of VRC was appropriate so Jessica felt supported in her VR goals. This VR office was going through personnel changes and a new VRC was starting in 3 weeks. VR Supervisor felt this new VRC was a good match for Jessica, but offered another VRC if Jessica wanted to get started sooner. Jessica agreed to wait 3 weeks for the new VRC to start.

Once new VRC started, VRC sent an appointment letter to customer scheduling 6 weeks out. Jessica was understandably upset, as she had already been waiting for 3 weeks. With CAP counseling and guidance, Jessica contacted the VR Supervisor directly to complain about further delays. An appointment was scheduled sooner. However, when Jessica showed up for the appointment, the VRC was sick. The customer had taken two buses to travel to the VR office and was upset that no one called to cancel the appointment.

When the VRC returned to work, a new appointment was scheduled for Jessica 3 weeks out. Jessica was extremely frustrated by the delays. Jessica did not want CAP to intervene, and again, with CAP counseling and guidance, Jessica called the VR Supervisor to complain about the delay. Jessica is extremely motivated to do a job search and return to work, she just needs support with the process. The VR Supervisor followed up with the VRC and an appointment was scheduled within 1 week. Jessica was happy to report that after all of that, VRC completed the IPE and set up CRP Job Placement services. Jessica continues to look for a job but feels things are moving along well now with DVR.

This case is an example of systemic issues CAP hears about frequently from customers: delays in services and lack of communication and follow through from the VRC’s. There are noticeably more CAP calls related to these issues in offices with high turnover of staff, and uncovered caseloads. In some offices, CAP has experienced turnover of VRC’s resulting in customers having been assigned to 2 or more VRC’s, due to VRC’s leaving the VR agency for other employment, as well as getting promoted within the VR system. On a positive note, once the VR Supervisor gets involved, cases generally start to get some movement.

CAP has shared these systemic issues at SRC meetings, noting the increase in complaints from offices with high turnover. CAP has reinforced the concept of being client centered and shares this feedback when doing office outreach and presentations. Clear and timely communication is important to customers, especially those eager and motivated to obtain their goals. Lack of good communication increases frustration and has a negative impact on customer/VRC rapport.

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 OfficialJerry Johnsen
Title of Designated Agency OfficialCAP Director
Date Signed12/14/2016