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

Arizona (Arizona Center for Disability Law) - H161A170002 - FY2017

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 East Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
StateArizona
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY 602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameArizona Center for Disability Law
Address5025 East Washington Street
Address Line 2Suite 202
CityPhoenix
Zip Code85034
E-mail Addresscenter@azdisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.azdisabilitylaw.org
Phone602-274-6287
TTY602-274-6287
Toll-free Phone800-927-2260
Toll-free TTY800-927-2260
Fax602-274-6779

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJohn Gutierrez
Person to contact regarding reportJohn Gutierrez
Contact Person Phone602-274-6287

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program10
2. Information regarding independent living programs3
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects1
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA27
5. Other information provided20
6. Information regarding CAP27
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)88

B. Training Activities

1) 10/24/2016 Title: Client Assistance Program a) Topics Covered: Client Assistance Program (CAP), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Rehabilitation Act §501 b) Purpose of the training: c) Description of the trainees: 3

2) 1/18/2017 Title: Client Assistance Program and VR Rights a) Topics Covered: CAP, VR, Rehabilitation Act §501 b) Purpose of the training: To educate VR Counselors of the CAP c) Description of the trainees: 15

3) 5/16/17 Title: Your Rights as an Applicant or Client of VR a) Topics Covered: CAP, VR, Transition Services b) Purpose of the Training: To educate staff from Raising Special Kids c) Description of the trainees: 20

4) 7/20/2017 Title: Elite Community Services/Your Rights as an Applicant or Client of VR a) Topics Covered: VR, CAP, and Social Security b) Purpose of the training: Provide information on the services available to VR clients c) Description of the trainees: 22

5) 7/24/2017 Title: Arizona Assistive Technology Conference a) Topics Covered: How to Obtain Assistive Technology as a Client of VR b) Purpose of the training: c) Description of the trainees: 31

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.5
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.91
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 Advocates staffed ACDL’s table at the 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities, providing information on CAP. This conference was attended by 225 participants.

During FY 2017, the CAP Advocates revised three of our CAP self-advocacy guides. These guides are entitled: (1) Your Appeal Rights for Disputes Regarding Vocational Rehabilitation Services; (2) Summary of VR Rights: Vocational Rehabilitation Services; and (3) Summary of VR Rights: Eligibility for Services.

The following CAP guides are also available: An Overview of the Employment Protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act; How to Enforce Employment Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act; The ADA and the Job Applicant: Recruitment, Applications and Interviews; The ADA and the Reasonable Accommodations; Drug and Alcohol Testing under the Americans with Disabilities Act; The ADA and Medical Examinations; The ADA and Confidentiality of Medical Information; The ADA and Disability-Related Harassment; Summary of Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Evaluations — Summary of Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Individual Plan for Employment (IPE); and A Summary of Your Vocational Rehabilitation Rights: Assistive Technology and Services.

Four of these guides have been translated into American Sign Language (ASL) videos and posted on our website: Reasonable Accommodations for Employees Under the ADA; Disability-Related Harassment; What Happens After I File a Charge of Discrimination; and Enforcing Your Employment Rights.

ACDL provides guides in alternate formats such as plain language to accommodate our clients who may have cognitive disabilities or a lower reading level or difficulty with English. The Center has 17 self-advocacy guides written in plain language. The plain language guides relating to the CAP are: How to File a Charge When You Have Been Treated Unfairly; Making Your Job Work for You; Have You Been Treated Unfairly at Work?; Getting a Job When You Have a Disability; and How the ADA Protects Your Medical Information at Work.

ACDL also has 16 of our guides translated into Spanish. All of our guides are available on our website and in additional alternate formats by request. All of our intake information materials have been translated into Spanish and are available at our outreach events, conferences, trainings, and on our website. Our satisfaction surveys, training materials, and grievance procedures are all translated into Spanish.

ACDL has increased its use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube where individuals can find out more about our agency, including the Client Assistance Program.

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) 11/19/2016 Booth/Table, Alhambra High School Transition Open House, Phoenix, AZ. 60 individuals attended. 2) 1/18/2017 Booth/Table, Beyond High School Open House, Andrada Polytechnic High School, Vail School District, Tucson, AZ. 25 individuals attended. 3) 2/17/2017 Booth/Table, 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities, Phoenix, AZ. 200 individuals attended. 4) 3/29/2017 Booth/Table, Education Rights of Students with Disabilities under IDEA and Section 504, Casa Grande, AZ. 22 individuals attended. 5) 4/5/2017 Booth/Table, Westwood High School Transition Fair, Phoenix, AZ. 100 individuals attended. 6) 4/28/2017 Booth/Table, Health and Wellness Fair, Phoenix, AZ. 400 individuals attended. 7) 6/29/2017 Booth/Table, Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council Community Meeting, Globe, AZ. 23 individuals attended. 8) 7/24/2017 Booth/Table, Assistive Technology Conference, Phoenix, AZ. 75 individuals attended. 9) 9/16/2017 Booth/Table, 2nd Annual Latino Disability Summit, Phoenix, AZ. 10 individuals attended.

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 Agency819
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.9
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)56
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year79
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)135
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.)8
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)44

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information0
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor43
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided76
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process8
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category7
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
10
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems1
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 Assistance70
2. Investigation/Monitoring1
3. Negotiation26
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution2
5. Administrative / Informal Review0
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing2
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total101

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 favor53
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)29
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual1
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)1
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint9
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 CAP1
10. CAP unable to take case due to lack of resources6
11. Conflict of interest0
12. Other (Please explain below)0

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.)

Economic need changed to benefit client

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual53
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited5
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided21
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party12
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office8
8. Alternative resources identified for individual1
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)1

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 188
2. 19 - 2422
3. 25 - 4031
4. 41 - 6468
5. 65 and over6
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)135

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females71
2. Males64
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)135

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)21
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian3
4. Black or African American15
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White90
7. Two or more races3
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury2
2. ADD/ADHD4
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism1
6. Anxiety Disorder9
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder5
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)0
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)9
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)8
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy5
13. Deafness12
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)8
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders1
18. Epilepsy3
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions1
20. Intellectual Disability6
21. Mental Illness41
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment2
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment3
26. Orthopedic Impairments8
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)3
31. Speech Impairments1
32. Spina Bifida2
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)1
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)135

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR7
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list7
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list123
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

Systemic Activity 1

Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) held a public forum to introduce new policies that Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) was planning to implement. The most concerning policy to be discussed at the public forum was the issue of VR Administration attempting to set a policy that would require all VR clients to first utilize a One-Stop/Career Center for basic job development and placement services prior to receiving those services from VR. The proposed policy reads:

1. Require the exploration and utilization of One-Stop/Career Center services when considering VR support for basic job development and placement services. a. VR will continue to purchase disability related employment services when One-Stop/Career Center services have been exhausted or are unable to meet the client’s disability related employment needs.

The proposed policy change was in direct violation of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, which states that job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, are exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits. (34 CFR §361.53(b)(4)).

Additionally, CAP Advocate shared the notice of the public forum with several VR service providers and community partners who had not seen the notice. When community partners asked why they had not received the notice, RSA’s response was that they only posted the notice on RSA’s website. Community partners responded that simply posting the notice on RSA’s website did not constitute a true effort in informing the public of the forum.

Ultimately, after questioning by the CAP Advocate and the overwhelming negative response from the community partners to this proposed policy change, VR Administration opted not to implement this policy.

Systemic Activity 2

CAP Advocate met with the new VR Administrator to discuss concerns regarding the manner in which they have been revising and eliminating policies. CAP Advocate questioned why several essential sections of the policy manual had been eliminated including information on CAP, the self-employment policies, and approximately half of the manual. The policy manual had been removed from Rehabilitation Services Administration’s website, denying access to the general public as well as CAP staff. CAP Advocate requested and the Administrator agreed to write a letter stating she would conduct public meetings with both the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and the Director of the CAP in matters relating to policy changes governing VR services. The Administrator also agreed to work towards a strong, cooperative relationship with both the SRC and CAP and assured collaboration with both entities for both programmatic policy development and any future amendments. Even though the Administrator wrote the letter, the Administrator has failed to collaborate with both the SRC and CAP. Additionally, services that had formerly been provided to VR clients are no longer being provided. For example, VR has initiated a policy that they will no longer provide basic driving lessons, and only for clients who use an adaptive vehicle. This is particularly concerning in rural areas where there are no forms of public transportation. Many VR clients live in small towns and have to travel into the larger cities to receive their VR services. VR is claiming that family members and friends can drive the clients instead of providing what would be a necessary service, such as driving lessons. CAP has been successful in obtaining driving lessons for a client who did not use an adaptive vehicle. This resolution was obtained at mediation during the formal appeal process. CAP Advocates are also involved in several cases where VR is not allowing clients to attend schools out of state. Currently, there are clients who because of disability-related reasons need to attend a school that can best meet both their educational and disability needs that have been denied that service. Past Administrations would provide, with documentation and evidence, an out-of-state school. CAP Advocates are in the process of reviewing a couple of cases to possibly appeal to a higher level, such as an administrative fair hearing. Another concern is that VR is enforcing a policy that clients need to attend a community college within 50 miles of their residence, even if the clients have the ability and capability to attend a university. Some clients have scholarships, but VR is requiring these clients to start at the community college level. VR has changed the above policies without providing notice to the SRC and CAP and without a public forum in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. A CAP Advocate is in discussions with the SRC and other community partners on how to best confront these continued issues regarding VR’s arbitrary and restrictive policies. CAP has and will continue to represent individual clients whose vocational services are adversely affected by VR Administration’s current practice of changing policies that are limiting or eliminating services.

Systemic Activity 3

CAP Advocates assisted two clients who are deaf and advocated for other similarly situated clients who were denied American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters by a contracted service vender who provides eye evaluations for VR clients. The vendor refused to provide these clients with an ASL interpreter. While VR attempted to secure another vendor to provide the reasonable accommodation of ASL interpreting services, the clients’ VR services were delayed. CAP Advocates spoke initially with the VR Supervisor about this issue and were informed that VR had filed a vendor deficiency report. CAP Advocates’ inquiries about the results of this report were not answered, so they requested more information from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Assistant Manager for Services for the Blind/Visually Impaired and Deaf (SBVID) and the RSA Ombudsman. Again, CAP Advocates received no reply.

CAP Advocates then discussed the issue at their quarterly meeting with the RSA Administrator, Assistant Administrator and the Program Manager for SBVID. These individuals agreed to do their own investigation of this issue. After this meeting, one of the clients again was sent to the vendor for an evaluation and was again denied an ASL interpreter.

Due to the continuing problems with this VR vendor, the CAP Supervising Attorney filed a complaint with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Office of Equal Opportunity, based on RSA’s responsibility to require its vendors to comply with Title II of the ADA. Under this Title, public entities, such as RSA, must ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.

CAP is seeking corrective actions to address this ADA violation, including: (1) requiring the vendor to provide the clients an assessment with a qualified ASL interpreter; (2) notifying the provider of its obligations under Title II of the ADA to provide ASL interpreters and outline the consequences for discrimination; and (3) training VR Supervisors and Counselors in their responsibility to ensure VR clients are accommodated by their vendors. The Office of Equal Opportunity is currently conducting an investigation of our complaint regarding this vendor.

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.3
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

N/A

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

Part V. Agency Information

A. Designated Agency

1. Agency Type (select only one option) External-Protection and Advocacy agency
2. Name of designate agencyArizona Center for Disability Law
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)

CAP — PPR Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2017 Description of CAP Staff Attorneys Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL) attorneys, Executive Director J.J. Rico and Legal Director Rose Daly-Rooney, provide direct supervision for the CAP and its staff. Total CAP attorney person years: .15 Advocates CAP advocates and short-term assistance team (STAT) provide assistance to persons with disabilities who are seeking or receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services as well as individuals who are receiving services from independent living centers or other Rehabilitation Act funded programs. Total CAP advocate person years: 1.37. Support Staff Support staff provides clerical support to the CAP advocates and attorneys. Total CAP support staff person years: .88. Other The financial staff, Grants Manager, Director of Abuse & Neglect Investigations, and Office Manager provide support to the CAP. The financial staff is responsible for budget preparation, day-to-day accounting duties, and the financial reporting requirements for the CAP. The Grants Manager develops data systems necessary to complete reports for the CAP, tracks the CAP’s activities, and compiles responses from the Consumer Satisfaction Surveys. The Grants Manager also supervises the preparation of the annual CAP Program Performance Report (PPR). The Director of Abuse & Neglect Investigations is responsible for providing leadership and direction to the STAT. ACDL’s Phoenix office manager facilitates the distribution of support services and serves as a liaison to coordinate the workload between attorneys/advocates and support staff. Total CAP other staff: .43.

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Case Example 1

A CAP Advocate assisted a 55-year-old male with a mental illness who had been working in a successful self-employment business as a chiropractor. However, after working in this field for over 12 years, there were serious concerns that he would not be able to continue in this field. He had an evaluation done that showed he had developed carpel tunnel syndrome and also had developed fractures and dislocations in his hands and wrists.

Since he would no longer be able to work as a chiropractor, he was seeking Vocational Rehabilitation’s (VR) assistance to determine what field would be most appropriate for him. Since he had a background in the medical field, he decided he would pursue a nursing degree. VR initially denied his request. The CAP Advocate assisted the client with having VR support him in obtaining a degree in the nursing field, and he is currently attending school to obtain a Master’s Degree in Nursing.

Case Example 2

A CAP Advocate assisted a 20-year-old male with Autism. The client had completed his freshman year at a state university, working towards a degree in business. He asked Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to provide him with driving lessons so he could drive himself to classes and activities required for his degree. VR authorized a driving evaluation, which recommended specialized driving training to accommodate his autism. VR then made the decision to not pay for driver training saying they only provide driver training to clients who need to learn to drive an adaptive vehicle for persons with physical disabilities. VR also said they would not pay for the training because the client’s employment goal did not require a driver’s license. He appealed VR’s decision. The CAP Advocate represented the client at mediation and argued that the federal Rehabilitation Act says nothing about limiting driving lessons to only clients who need an adaptive vehicle. The CAP Advocate also argued that without the ability to drive, the client would have a difficult time fulfilling his college requirements and reaching his employment goal. It is a 2.5-mile walk from his home to the nearest bus stop. Each bus ride to and from campus is approximately 2 hours long. The client also participates in tutoring services and required activities on campus that are scheduled after the public bus system stops running. VR agreed to pay the client to take lessons at a commercial driving school, which includes 30 hours of one-to-one driving instructions. If the driving school is unable or unwilling to accommodate the client’s disability-related needs, VR also agreed to reconsider his request for driving lessons from their provider who specializes in driver’s training for individuals with disabilities.

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 OfficialJ.J. Rico
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed11/03/2017