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

Pennsylvania (Center for Disability Law and Policy) - H161A180039 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameCenter for Disability Law & Policy
Address1515 Market Street
Address Line 2Suite 1300
Zip Code19102
Website Address
Phone215 557 7112
TTY 215 557 7112
Toll-free Phone1-888-745-2357
Toll-free TTY1-888-745-2357
Fax215 557 7602

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

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

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorStephen S. Pennington
Person to contact regarding reportStephen S. Pennington
Contact Person Phone215-557-7112

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program362
2. Information regarding independent living programs75
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA12
5. Other information provided442
6. Information regarding CAP335
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)1,226

B. Training Activities

CAP visited several OVR offices in Pennsylvania during FY'18. In January of 2018, CAP staff visited with approximately 25 of the Allentown VR staff. We discussed and refreshed their knowledge of CAP's role in the VR process. We strongly emphasized our interest in assisting the VR counselor with any case they feel they could use some objective problem solving and informing them of some specifics regarding OVR policy and the law. In addition, CAP staff spent time visiting with the staff from Reading, York, Williamsport and the Philadelphia OVR/BVS District Offices. Our training also included visits to the Philadelphia County Center for Independent living (Liberty Resources) and the Camp Hill Center for Independent Living. It also gave us an opportunity to inform them of how our advocacy services can assist their consumers that are receiving services under any of their federally funded programs. We met with 15 of their staff/consumers.

We were invited to speak at a York OVR staff meeting. At lunch, we had an opportunity to talk informally with some counselors. At the staff meeting, CAP staff spoke generally about CAP, but focused primarily on the types of calls we get and some of the more common client issues that cause clients to be concerned with OVR services. Communication problems, such as miscommunication, lack of communication, mixed communication, confusing communication, etc. and questions about cost services when a plan has not been developed yet are examples of cases that we assist with as we help reconnect the client and counselor. The importance of forming and maintaining a good relationship with your client is paramount to a successful closure, which is the common goal we all share in this process. We discussed the three times in the process the counselor is required to inform their client of our services, at application, at the developing and signing of their IPE, and at closure/denial of services. We referred them to our website and active Facebook page and suggested they refer clients to our “Guide to VR Services” as this should help clients have a better understanding of the process which in turn should help the counselor work more effectively with their clients. We also spoke of our active role in systemic changes such as the college policy workgroup. A few OVR staff had questions and we also had a chance to speak privately with counselors who had specific client questions. Finally, we reiterated our commitment to being available to counselors as well who have questions about specific cases in which they could use some advice to further assist their clients. CAP staff also spoke with the OVR supervisor who runs their Consumer Advisory Committee.

CAP staff and an OVR Transition Supervisor visited Penn Air, in York. We met with the Human Resources Manager, and the Transition Consultant at Lincoln IU 12 to explain the services CAP provides to its clients.

In the last few months CAP has been working on strengthening our connections with the Centers for Independent Living statewide and providing training to CIL staff. At the Bucks County CIL, CAP staff met with 10 staff. We spoke in detail about our services and how we want to be a resource for them as well as for their consumers. We referred them to our website/Facebook and we gave them 200 of our bookmarks. We recommended they reach out to their consumers and encourage them to attend the Norristown OVR CAC meetings. We also provided training on how we can advocate on behalf of their consumers who are interested in OVR services but for various reasons are hesitant and/or need to be better educated about what to expect/not to expect from OVR, their rights and responsibilities. Their Person-Centered Planning Manager spoke about how she tries to work with consumers teaching them some self-advocacy skills to help empower them. We referred her to our Guide to VR Services on our website which details some ways one can become a better self-advocate. The Career Planning Manager does their Community Outreach and discussed how difficult it is to spread the word even though they only handle one county. Transportation is always an issue and part of the county is rural. CAP was one of about 40 exhibitors each of whom had the spotlight briefly to highlight the specific services provided and how we can be part of the students transition team. CAP gave a short synopsis of our services and how we can advocate, educate and inform students and parents regarding OVR services pre-employment transition services. We added that CAP can help with advising students of their rights and responsibilities as they take their journey through the OVR process. We handed out CAP brochures and encouraged them to review our Guide to VR Services on our website. There were about 250 people at this event. Some of the other exhibitors were: Montgomery County Community Connections, Delaware County Advocacy and Resource Organization, formerly the ARC, County of Chester Department of MH/ID, Temple University Office of Disability Services, PIAT, Arcadia University, Montgomery County Community College Office of Disability Services, and Montgomery County Office of Developmental Disabilities. We exchanged information with all these groups and will follow up with them to continue my connection. CAP staff met with the ODS Director at Montgomery County Community College to provide training. The goal of this event was to provide information, discussion, and personal sessions with community resources to students 14-21. CAP staff also provided training to the staff of Service Access Management. There were 40 mental health staff members present a few of whom had good questions about how they could approach OVR counselors better so their clients could receive more timely and improved services. CAP staff informed them of the online application process, went over the eligibility process and the importance of the Individualized Plan for Employment, IPE which is the cornerstone of a client’s services. We discussed the benefits of a case manager’s involvement in a client’s OVR case and how in my experience they could be an integral part of the client’s team. They could assist the client with follow up, commitment to the process and other needed support services which can have a positive effect on a client’s overall success with OVR. We explained CAP’s role in the OVR process and how we encourage self advocacy with our clients so they could become more effective communicators which is usually the key in attaining needed services with OVR not to mention in life in general. We referred them to our website/Facebook page and highlighted our “Guide to VR Services” on the CAP website which has a couple chapters on self-advocacy.

CAP staff also provided training to the Montgomery County IU. The IU serves 22 public schools and 170 nonpublic schools. CAP staff presented to 40-45 transition coordinators, learning support specialists who are part of this Transition Coordinating Council, TCC At the North Penn school district. CAP staff presented to transition staff and detailed our advocacy services, how we can assist students who are journeying through the transition experience. We also gave some tips on how students can become their own advocate in part by better understanding their rights and responsibilities within the OVR process. We touched on how we can also help students receive PETS services and educate parents and students on these services. We referred them to Our Guide to VR Services which provides an objective step by step walk through the OVR process. We highlighted the chapters on self-advocacy, some tips on how to be your own advocate and the importance of students learning to be their own self advocate. We also referred them to CAP's website/Facebook pages and handed out our information.

In April of 2018, CAP staff were asked to meet with Reading OVR staff about The Client Assistance Program. They had many questions about CAP services. We talked about how CAP can help them resolve issues with their clients. The OVR staff wanted to know what type of complaints that we receive from clients. Most of the complaints center around lack of communication between VR staff and clients.CAP Advocate also provided training to the new staff on the differences between self-advocacy and systemic advocacy. There were approximately 30 VR staff in attendance. The OVR District Administrator discussed how the Reading Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is addressing the transportation issues for clients. The District Administrator provided CAP staff with information on transportation companies in Berks county and the surrounding communities for the disabled.

CAP staff also met with several transition coordinators at the Berks County Intermediate Unit. We provided information to 40 transition coordinators on how students and family can work better in communication with VR staff to obtain a successful outcome. In addition, we reported on what transition services are available to students who are receiving services from OVR. Lastly, we provided some training on how students can become their own self-advocate. CAP staff visited the Allentown Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to meet with their staff and talk about CAP services. The OVR interns wanted to know about CAP services. CAP staff spoke about self-advocacy and systemic advocacy. We talked about how important it is to help clients speak up for themselves and make their own decisions. We also discussed how CAP can help the VR staff with difficult clients. There were about 25 VR staff that attended the meeting. In FY 2018 CAP staff participated in a Female Re-Entry Help Fair training hosted by Canaan Baptist Church. We talked about self-advocacy. Many of the female offenders were not familiar with CAP or the VR system. We educated the female offenders of the role that CAP plays in the VR process. Advocate also had an exhibit table and provided bookmarks to providers, female offenders who were recently released from incarceration and their families.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.46
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.1,506
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’s commitment to unserved and underserved disability populations flourished in 2018. These populations included: deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, drug and alcohol, and HIV/AIDS. Some of our specific outreach efforts to these groups include the following connections. In FY 2018 one of our advocates focused on reaching out to organizations that work with individuals with some form of an autoimmune condition. A few of these are American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, AARDA; Lupus Foundation of PA; National Fibromyalgia Association; Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America; Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation Inc.; and the National Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Foundation. CAP outreach materials were sent to these organizations in the hope that this underserved group will now have a chance to become aware of our advocacy services.

One of the underserved populations CAP outreached to was individuals with epilepsy. As we have focused a lot this year on transition, in connecting with some of these support groups, the CAP advocate learned that there are support resources for youth and young adults with epilepsy. There is an Epilepsy Youth Council which provides various support services. A successful transition requires determination, patience and a touch of creativity, this is true for any youth with a disability. Transition is an event not a process. The Youth Council advocates a Comprehensive Transition Plan and refers to it as BASIC. B- be prepared to make changes and repeat certain steps one must adapt to changes in health/personality A-assessments Obtain current social/educational assessments from schools, doctors, therapists, community partners S-set goals and write them into plans I-identify individuals who you can invite to assist you with your Transition Plan such as teachers, doctors, advocates. C-commit to success in education, employment and independence! A few of the epilepsy support groups we outreached to in FY'18 include: Bucks County Epilepsy Support Group, Delaware County Epilepsy Support Group, Lackawanna Epilepsy Support Group, Lancaster Epilepsy Support Group, Lehigh Epilepsy Support Group, Philadelphia Epilepsy Support Group and the Epilepsy Foundation of Central/Western PA. Each of these groups were contacted and provided CAP information. The Epilepsy Foundation stated they would look into adding a short blurb about our services on their website.

We will continue to connect and reconnect with these groups as we take pride in our commitment in spreading the word as there is always at least one more individual with a disability who could become more productive as a result of CAP advocacy. CAP's outreach to underserved/unserved disabilities is strong and steady. We will continue to be passionate about uncovering more such groups in addition to networking more with the individuals we educated, informed and assisted within these groups in FY 18.

CAP advocate Margaret McKenna also outreached to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. PSD is the third oldest school of its kind in the USA. It is 195 years old and has about 250 students from pre-k to 12th grade. Peter Bailey is the Director of the school and was pleased with this year's Transition Fair. This was the 5th year for this event at which 40 exhibitors participated, the most exhibitors for this conference. Out of the 40 exhibitors 6 did a 30 min presentation. CAP was one of the 6 asked to speak about the services we provide and how we can help transition students who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families learn about how CAP can help advocate with them so they can have a more successful experience with OVR. Her training gave a general overview of CAP and our role as the statewide advocate for IWD who are in need of help with becoming more aware of OVR's policies and procedures, communicating better with their OVR counselor, and being informed of their rights and responsibilities within the process. She provided a summary of the OVR process from application through closure and gave examples of how CAP could assist during any part of the process. She highlighted PETS services and how CAP was available to transition students and their families to help them better understand these services and how they can receive them from OVR even if they have not been found eligible yet by OVR. She spoke of the importance of choosing a realistic employment goal with your counselor which is consistent with the students abilities, capabilities, interests, etc. She emphasized the fact that no cost service other than diagnostic, will be provided until their IPE is jointly developed and signed. Advocate McKenna also emphasized the importance of being your own advocate and offered some tips on self advocacy. Lastly, she provided them our contact info, our bookmarks and our Guide to VR Services. There were about 200 people at this event. She visited all 39 other tables and have already started outreaching to these other exhibitors who also support persons who are deaf/hard of hearing. A few were new contacts and others were nice reconnections. Some of the exhibitors were: JEVS, Gallaudet University, Germantown Deaf Ministries Fellowship, Philadelphia Chapter Black Deaf Advocates, Liberty Resources Deaf Outreach and Advocacy, Elwyn, Free Library of Philadelphia and HGA. As a result, CAP staff was invited to speak at the Deaf Advocacy group at Liberty Resources and also participate in an event hosted by Germantown Deaf Ministries Fellowship both in April. Advocate McKenna also outreached to the visually impaired community as a result of her own treatment for vision loss. She went for an updated low vision exam at Scheie Eye Institute at Penn and developed a relationship with the doctor Dr. Prasad, Low Vision Rehabilitation Specialist. On her second visit she mentioned to her what she did and gave her some CAP bookmarks. The doctor went on to tell advocate McKenna many unhappy stories of her patients who have tried on and off over the years to receive services from OVR with little success and lots of frustration. She asked if she could give her patients advocate McKenna's name and number and then went on to ask if she would be willing to speak at one of their next Low Vision support group at the Ralston House. She thought our advocacy services would be helpful to these patients. She stated the group normally brings about 20 people although there are 60 members. We scheduled a date which was September 25, 2018. She said she would be sending the group an announcement to inform them CAP would be coming to discuss help with BVS services. This group was eager for my information and they had a lot of questions. There were about 40 members present. We explained what OVR services they should expect and legally what their scope of services are under the law, these individuals appeared to have a better understanding of how to move forward with a different perspective. We highlighted Our Guide to VR services on our website and spent time detailing time frames for eligibility and IPE development and importance of this document and its content in order to receive vocational services. We also spoke about the appeal process and more importantly the importance of self-advocacy not only with your OVR counselor but in life in general. We also touched upon the difference between OVR's vocational track and social services and how one can open a case with one type of service have it closed and open a case with the other service. This group had lots of questions a couple of which the difference between social services were and vocational services. ions for job placement services and difference between Associated Services for the Blind in Philadelphia. CAP staff was contacted by an individual who is deaf who organizes expos within the deaf community. He asked if we would be interested in participating in this event which would include 14 other exhibitors. CAP was one of 15 exhibitors a majority of which were selling something, crafts, holiday gifts, etc. all proceeds going to individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing. The other tables were service oriented providers, some of these included Liberty Resources, Deaf Communication Center, Black Deaf Advocates, Presley Ridge, a School for the deaf who serves children 6-21. I of course connected with each exhibitor, provided our CAP bookmarks. CAP staff spent time talking with the representative from Presley Ridge and she was very interested in our services. CAP will be following up with her as she will see if she could add us to their website. We spoke with each vendor one on one about our advocacy services and referred them each to our website/Facebook page. We provided a CAP bookmark to about 40 people.

This year CAP advocate Lannette Suarez directed her outreach efforts on the drug and alcohol populations. She wanted to bring awareness to drug and alcohol support groups and treatment centers about CAP services and the integral role that CAP plays in the VR system. She contacted several organizations by phone, email and mailed bookmarks regarding CAP services. These are just some of the agencies that she contacted: The Harwood House, Big Brothers and Sisters, Eagleville Hospital, The Rase Project, Clarity Way, Life’s Beacon Center, Keep it Green, The Gate House for Men and Women, Madison House West and True Wellness Services. By providing this information to this underserved population, they will know that there are several resources that they can contact after recovery. In my efforts to reach out to these organizations it keeps me abreast of viable new resources that I can share with my clients.

In FY ’18, two unserved/underserved populations focused on were HIV/AIDS and spinal cord injuries. To reach the HIV/AIDS community, strategic outreach to support groups, treatment centers, and non-profits was conducted. In addition, attending the AIDS/HIV Prevention and Outreach Summit resulted in the distribution of 1,000 CAP brochures. To reach the Spinal Cord Injury community, statewide outreach to support groups was conducted and we plan to follow-up with these contacts in 2019.

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/Journals4
3. PSAs/Videos Aired about the CAP Agency0
4. Publications/Booklets/Brochures Disseminated by the Agency26379
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.34
6. Other (specify below)0

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)98
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year132
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)230
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.)96

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information10
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor120
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided125
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process17
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category2
6. Related to IPE development/implementation
  1. Selection of vendors for provision of VR services
  2. Selection of training, post-secondary education
  3. Selection of employment outcome
  4. Transition services
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
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 Assistance10
2. Investigation/Monitoring23
3. Negotiation99
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution2
5. Administrative / Informal Review0
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total134

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 favor107
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)16
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual1
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)0
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint8
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.2
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)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.)

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual30
2. Application for services completed4
3. Eligibility determination expedited5
4. Individual participated in evaluation17
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided48
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party28
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office2
8. Alternative resources identified for individual0
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)0

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 1826
2. 19 - 2450
3. 25 - 4049
4. 41 - 6497
5. 65 and over8
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)230

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females121
2. Males109
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)230

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)6
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian5
4. Black or African American74
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White139
7. Two or more races5
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury9
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities2
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism2
6. Anxiety Disorder5
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder40
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)2
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)7
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)16
11. Cancer2
12. Cerebral Palsy5
13. Deafness10
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)5
15. Deaf-Blind1
16. Diabetes1
17. Digestive Disorders3
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions3
20. Intellectual Disability12
21. Mental Illness45
22. Multiple Sclerosis4
23. Muscular Dystrophy3
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment4
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment6
26. Orthopedic Impairments11
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment2
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)12
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)1
34. Other Disability4
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)230

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR39
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list5
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list152
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living5
5. Transition student/High school student27
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act2

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

CAP continued to address systemic issues with OVR, which are ongoing. No specific change has occured during the fiscal year with regard to CAP's systemic activities.

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

B. Staff Employed

Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)

4 full-time professionals - 4 person years 2 part-time, 1 full-time equivalent 1 Director, 3 CAP Advocates, 2 part-time clerical

Part VI. Case Examples

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

CAP advocate Margaret McKenna: This case shows the importance of thinking "outside the box" and working together with the client valuing his pride and justifying his ability and capability of being productive. This case also reveals how the strong support of the counselor can have a positive role in vocational services. This gentleman is a very proud man who is trying his best to earn a living and be productive. He owns a farm which is borderline profitable. His employment goal is farmer. He contacted CAP after OVR had denied him a skid steer which was recommended by an Agribility evaluation he had done in an effort to determine what equipment could benefit him on the farm. Based on OVR's farm policy a skid steer is a piece of equipment that is excluded from equipment that OVR would be able to provide as per their policy. In addition to his farm this man also has an auto repair shop which is a bit more profitable than his farm right now. After various attempts to see how OVR would agree to buying a skid steer, in my efforts to advocate on his behalf, I spoke with client and counselor to see if perhaps an evaluation could be done to see what assistance/equipment would be recommended to assist him in being more profitable with his auto repair shop. My client agreed to amend his IPE and change his goal. His counselor liked this idea and provided him some choices of providers. An evaluation was done at his auto repair shop and there are pieces of equipment that are being recommended which OVR may provide which may also help him work better on his farm! Although OVR had not made a final decision regarding approval of equipment in this evaluation, there does definitely appear to be a much better chance of OVR providing these recommendations and of my client being more successful in this chosen field. In following up with the counselor last week he agrees this was a much more viable option in helping Michael be more productive and profitable still within his capabilities, abilities and interests. In sum, a bit of brainstorming and creative thinking Combined with a trusting client counselor relationship is the key to good advocacy.

This case has a couple different positive pieces which is what makes it interesting to me. First, this case was referred by a guidance counselor from a school district I had outreached to awhile ago as I had done a CAP training to the Transition Coordinating Council of which this school district is a part of in this particular county. It is worthwhile to note that this guidance counselor remembered about our services and had my contact information from a year or so ago and was glad to reconnect with me. She contacted me on behalf of the student as for a few reasons his mom was not very involved in this process. It is becoming more and more clear as I handle more transition cases that the student needs as many support persons in his corner as possible as there are many pieces to this process. It was also helpful that this young man had developed a good relationship with his guidance counselor which not only helped him to be more receptive to her but also it gave him some positive experience in working with a professional, in field of transition as a start, who he will need to work with for help with needed services. This did help in providing this student some foundation in working more effectively with his OVR counselor who was not as responsive initially until CAP became involved with his case. This student has some orthopedic impairments and has no arms. He was a senior in high school and in need of an assistive technology evaluation, attendant care while in college, help with transitional living and funding for college so he could pursue his employment goal, journalism. I advocated on behalf of this client in various ways. I educated the client and his guidance counselor about OVR’s policies and how he would benefit from possible waiver services as well. There are many important pieces to a good transition puzzle. I had a few calls with just the client and his guidance counselor informing and detailing the steps they needed to take and the options available to him as a transition student. In terms of his employment goal choice we discussed OVR’s Labor Market and how helpful it would be for him to do some volunteer work in this field. His guidance counselor was able to assist him with doing some journalism work at his high school with the school yearbook, newsletter, etc. As we know a simple suggestion as volunteering has a ripple effect in terms of benefit! His advocacy skills were improved as he gained confidence and he had samples of his work to share with his OVR counselor which helped in his counselor realizing his commitment and interest in this goal. In addition, I provided his guidance counselor and my client with some basic information regarding waivers and how this may be another avenue for him to receive support service that he may be eligible for which could be a nicely fit piece in his transition puzzle. His guidance counselor is very excited as she is now much better informed and will be able to make these systems more user friendly for other students. I arranged a meeting with his counselor and an Assistive Technology, AT evaluation was agreed upon in addition to some Transitional Living services to help better prepare him when he moved out and transitioned into his college journey. As a result of CAP advocacy, he was better prepared for this meeting and was able to participate more fully in his Individualized Plan for Employment, IPE As part of my advocacy services I also referred him to our website and Our Guide to VR Services. Another great benefit was as this process was unfolding this client reconnected with his mother. In sum, this client/student has received most of the assistive technology that was recommended, transitional living, waiver services are in process and funding for college all in a great day of a CAP advocate. Last but not least, this case will have an additional cascading effect and will benefit many other students with OVR services in the future. I am going to speak at the Transition Coordinating Council for this county as this Guidance Counselor is anxious to help CAP spread the word. CAP advocate Lannette Suarez: One of the positive results of CAP’s involvement was helping a female client who was attending college and requested equipment to assist her while attending school. The client was interested in pursuing college and obtaining her degree in Health Information Administration. Once eligibility was determined, the VR counselor failed to keep in contact with the client. After repeated attempts to contact her VR counselor, client contacted the Client Assistance Program for assistance. Client wanted OVR to pay for her books and supplies for her college training, but OVR did not respond. CAP Advocate contacted the VR counselor and requested a meeting to be set up to discuss client’s concerns. A meeting was set up with VR counselor, supervisor, client and CAP Advocate. Customer conveyed that she has problems with memory and concentration. VR counselor discussed various options and recommended a live scribe pen for client to help her with her memory problems. Advocate recommended that OVR provide an AT evaluation to determine what customer needs to be productive in college. As a result of this meeting, client was approved for an Assistive Technology Evaluation. The issue was resolved and OVR agreed to provide client with the equipment that is needed for her to be successful. This customer is a 22-year young Hispanic male that was diagnosed with Autism. I met his mother at a workshop where I gave a brief presentation on The Client Assistance Program. The mother reported that OVR completed several assessments on her son, but she never received any feedback on the sessions. She attempted to contact VR counselor on numerous occasions, but she did not receive a response. Mother contacted The Client Assistance Program for assistance with her son. Advocate contacted the VR counselor and requested a meeting between all concerned parties. A meeting was held, and we reviewed the assessments. The provider felt that customer was not ready for employment since he has difficulty accepting criticism and does not like to follow directions. When customer is re-directed, he becomes very agitated and has explosive outbursts. Therefore, customer would not benefit from the discovery program. After advocate reviewed the reports, she found that customer did have a lot of positive qualities and with assistance could become employable. Advocate recommended that customer continue with his therapy and requested a 2nd evaluation. OVR agreed to provide customer with a second evaluation to determine if he is employable. Once the evaluation was completed, advocate recommended another meeting to sit down and discuss the results of the evaluation. Based on the results of the evaluation, it showed that working on computers peaked his interest. Upon review of the results, all concerned parties felt that customer could benefit from job development services. OVR agreed to provide job development services for the customer.

CAP advocate Julia Blackwell: Client is a 23-year-old man diagnosed with Autism who is pursuing a bachelors degree. Client contacted the Client Assistance Program with several concerns. Client was having difficulty navigating the Vocational Rehabilitation program and understanding the connection with the Social Security Administration(SSA). The CAP advocate assigned to his case has extensive SSA knowledge from previous employment with the Social Security Administration was able to provide self-advocacy training tailored to the SSA process to the customer. Through this provided guidance, the client was able to resolve his SSA concerns by himself. The client was also having difficulty with communication with his assigned Vocational Rehabilitation counselor. CAP provided self-advocacy training to the client to resolve his communication concerns with the Vocational Rehabilitation State Agency. Client also was having difficulty in having the state agency agree to fund an extra semester that was necessary for the client to obtain a business minor in addition to his psychology major. Through CAP advocacy, client was able to justify the payment with the VR agency due to his government internship being able to offer him full-time employment after graduation if he was to obtain a minor in business.

An interesting case was a 55-year-old woman diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer. This case was unique because the woman was determined to work, but did not have the expertise to navigate the vocational rehabilitation and Social Security systems. Due to advocate Julia Blackwell’s past experience as an SSI Specialist, Julia was able to guide the client to the appropriate resources and advise her of best practices to avoid losing her benefits and continue working. Julia also advocated for this client to receive an assistive technology evaluation ensuring she was equipped with the appropriate tools to be successful in the workplace. As a result of CAP's advocacy, client received the services she needed to allow her to pursue her vocational goal.


Reports are to be submitted to RSA within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report. Please be reminded that you can enter data directly into RSA's website via the internet. Information on transmittal of the form is found on pages 19 and 20 of the reporting instructions.

Name of Designated Agency OfficialStephen Pennington
Title of Designated Agency OfficialC.E.O.
Date Signed12/31/2018