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

Tennessee (Disability Rights Tennessee) - H161A180043 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Tennessee
Address2 International Plaza
Address Line 2Suite 825
CityNashville
StateTennessee
Zip Code37217
E-mail Addressgethelp@disabilityrightstn.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightstn.org
Phone615-298-1080
TTY 615-298-1080
Toll-free Phone1-800-342-1660
Toll-free TTY1-800-342-1660
Fax615-298-2046

Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)

NameDisability Rights Tennessee
Address2 International Plaza
Address Line 2Suite 825
CityNashville
Zip Code37217
E-mail Addressgethelp@disabilityrightstn.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightstn.org
Phone615-298-1080
TTY615-298-1080
Toll-free Phone1-800-342-1660
Toll-free TTY1-800-342-1660
Fax615-298-2046

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorLisa Primm
Person to contact regarding reportAnna Bass
Contact Person Phone615-298-1080

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program18
2. Information regarding independent living programs0
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects0
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA0
5. Other information provided2
6. Information regarding CAP17
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)37

B. Training Activities

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT)’s Client Assistance Program (CAP) utilized training to achieve a twofold objective. DRT disseminated crucial knowledge about individual rights and state rehabilitation agency responsibilities that will arm individuals, families, and service providers to self-advocate, fight for established rights, and makes systemic impact through improved and informed services. Secondarily, DRT’s training attracted individual clients and referrals to our CAP program through increased exposure and experience with CAP. Apart from general information about CAP, how we can help, and how to contact us, DRT’s CAP training included information about reasonable accommodations in the workplace, teaching self-advocacy skills, deadlines for filing complaints, and the value of providing pre-employment transition services. DRT provided its CAP training to families at the Fort Campbell Exceptional Family Member Program. DRT’s CAP program also trained approximately forty members of the Deaf community when it was asked to provide a training at the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults with a focus on reasonable accommodations in the workplace. DRT presented its CAP training to thirty new Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors at three New Counselor Institutes. DRT’s CAP also trained five Community Work Incentive Coordinators and five employees at Tennessee’s Centers for Independent Living. DRT’s CAP even reached the next generation of service providers by providing a training to rehabilitation graduate students at the University of Memphis. Further training was completed across Tennessee that provided CAP’s education to 264 more VR staff and service providers. DRT continues to use training to achieve systemic change that will make competitive employment a viable and desired choice for every Tennessean with a disability.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.14
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.360
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.

In this fiscal year, of the fifty-eight CAP outreach efforts completed, fifty-two percent were located within a community or population that is historically unserved or underserved in Tennessee. These communities include inner city populations, rural communities, as well as disability groups such a Traumatic Brain Injury, Deaf, and Deaf-Blind. Additionally, Disability Rights Tennessee began active exploration of ways to more intentionally conduct outreach to the Hispanic/Latino communities, which together are the second largest minority group in Tennessee at about 5% of the population. This fiscal year, efforts continued to translate key publications and website information into Spanish.

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.

n/a

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 Agency5612
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.32
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.

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)8
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year45
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)53
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.)4
5. Individual still being served as of September 30 (Carryover to next year. This total may not exceed Line A3.)10

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information6
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor8
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided31
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process1
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category1
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
11
7. Related to independent living services0
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
0
10. Related to Title I of the ADA0

C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases

(Choose one primary service the CAP provided for each closed case file. There may be more case files than actual individuals served.)

1. Short Term Technical Assistance22
2. Investigation/Monitoring9
3. Negotiation15
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution1
5. Administrative / Informal Review1
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total48

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.)

n/a

1. All issues resolved in individual's favor30
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)5
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual4
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.0
9. Individual not responsive/cooperative with CAP1
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.)

Individual withdrew complaint before results could be achieved.

1. Controlling law/policy explained to individual22
2. Application for services completed0
3. Eligibility determination expedited1
4. Individual participated in evaluation0
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided17
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party3
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office1
8. Alternative resources identified for individual2
9. ADA/504/EEO/OCR complaint made0
10. Other (Please explain below)2

Part III. Program Data

A. Age

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Up to 182
2. 19 - 2410
3. 25 - 4013
4. 41 - 6425
5. 65 and over3
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)53

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females32
2. Males21
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)53

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)4
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American16
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White30
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury2
2. ADD/ADHD3
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities0
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism0
6. Anxiety Disorder3
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder7
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)1
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)4
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)6
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy2
13. Deafness0
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)0
15. Deaf-Blind0
16. Diabetes0
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy1
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions2
20. Intellectual Disability2
21. Mental Illness7
22. Multiple Sclerosis0
23. Muscular Dystrophy1
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment2
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment2
26. Orthopedic Impairments1
27. Personality Disorders0
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment0
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)4
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)0
34. Other Disability3
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)53

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR12
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list0
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list41
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 Act1

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

In FY18, Tennessee’s CAP focused systemic efforts toward effective implementation of Pre-Employment Transition Services. As a result of those efforts, CAP continued to ensure that Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) implementation became more successful in Tennessee. Through this initiative CAP provided VR with clarifications regarding regulations that VR must follow, ensuring that services would be provided to not just high school students but also post-secondary students with disabilities. In addition to this, CAP sent letters to high schools throughout the state explaining the importance of Pre-ETS services and asking for referrals of individual clients and any systemic Pre-ETS implementation issues encountered.

To address systemic issues, including policy and practice concerns, CAP resumed regular quarterly meetings with Tennessee’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) leadership. These meetings had been discontinued but following CAP’s advocacy through emphasizing statutes and regulations that in CAP’s opinion necessitated such meetings, these meeting resumed at the end of FY2017. This initiative resulted in VR changing its practices regarding consistent communication with CAP about VR issues and policies which has led to more effective individual advocacy and the remedy of systemically identified issues for individuals with disabilities who are VR applicants and clients. One such systemic policy change resulting from these regular discussions between VR and CAP is the revision to VR policy based on CAP concerns about its self-employment policy which was inappropriately restrictive to part-time hours. Another example is VR addressing long waiting times for initial client intakes in a certain region. This effort will continue, as it has been found to be a productive method of addressing policy and practice concerns identified by CAP.

1. Number of non-litigation systemic activities not involving individual representation that resulted in the change of one or more policy or practice of an agency.2
2. Describe the systemic activities conducted by CAP during the fiscal year and its impact on other agency's policies or practices.

B. Litigation

DRT's CAP did not utilize CAP resources in any litigation efforts in FY18.

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 agencyDisability Rights Tennessee
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)

14 FTE (Advocacy&Legal) -13 employed 100% of year 1 employed 75% of year.

2 FTE ( Clerical) - 1 employed 100% of year, 1 employed 88% of year.

2 PTE (Advocacy&Legal) 2 employed 100% of year

Part VI. Case Examples

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

A 20-year-old African-American woman with an anxiety disorder and other mental illness contacted Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) because Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) would not provide transportation reimbursement costs to our client in support of job readiness training services. After review of our client’s file, DRT verified that both the job readiness training services and the transportation services were listed on our client’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). DRT also confirmed that the training services were provided beginning February, 2018, and VR paid for the training services but not transportation costs until May, 2018. Due to both training services and support transportation services being listed on the IPE with the same timeline, DRT informed VR that they owed our client those transportation costs. VR did comply and provided the transportation reimbursement to our client. Through DRT’s advocacy efforts, our client received her VR services in full and has successfully moved into gainful employment with the assistance of VR services.

Following DRT intervention, an individual's case with VR has been re-opened and assigned to a new counselor. Additionally, VR has agreed to provide financial assistance as necessary for our client to participate in ongoing therapy and to provide transportation assistance for our client to attend the VR-required therapy sessions. A 59-year-old Caucasian male who resides in a rural area and has orthopedic disabilities and mental illness contacted DRT to report that he had difficulty working with his VR counselor (VRC) and had requested to be assigned to a new VRC but this had not occurred. Upon contact with VR, DRT learned that our client's VR case was currently closed and VR agreed to re-open the case with a new VRC being assigned. Due to our client's past difficulties in cooperating with co-workers and supervisors during the prior VR training program, VR requested that our client participate in therapy services. As our client had experienced difficulties in receiving such services due to having to independently make the co-payment, and because he is a recipient of Social Security benefits which prevents him from being required to participate in the cost of VR services, DRT worked with VR to ensure that our client's co-payment for the required therapy services will be covered by VR if no other options are available to him. VR also agreed to provide financial support for bus transportation for our client to attend the required therapy sessions as he lives in a rural area of the state and must travel to another town for these services. At the time of closure our client had recently met with his new VRC and would begin participating in the therapy services very soon to prepare him to attend VR training again in the near future. The goal of the training program will be to prepare our client to move forward to secure employment as a general laborer or custodian.

A 42-year-old Caucasian man with anxiety disorder and ADHD contacted DRT because his VR counselor was not maintaining communication with him and his IPE did not accurately reflect his employment goal which was to become a Nurse Practitioner. DRT met with our client, his counselor, and his counselor’s supervisor to discuss the issue. DRT discussed reviewed the issues prior to the meeting with our client and provided self-advocacy support. Our client presented his case well concerning his employment goals. The VR counselor and supervisor agreed with our client’s employment goal based on his presentation. DRT then advocated for our client to have his IPE accurately reflect his employment goal, as well as the services he would need to acquire the goal of Nurse Practitioner, which included support for a Master’s Degree. VR expressed the plan to wait on this but through DRT’s persistent advocacy, VR agreed to immediately make changes to our client’s IPE and support his goals.

A VR client retained his VR sponsorship for his college training program, and as a result will be able to complete his training and move forward to gain employment in his chosen field. At the time he contacted DRT, a 29-year-old Caucasian man with autism reported that VR had terminated services listed on his IPE. Such a funding loss would have been devastating for our client since he did not have the financial resources to replace his VR sponsorship. Upon contacting VR, DRT learned our client’s services had stopped due to his income during the previous year. He had acquired a paid internship with Apple, Inc. in California for the summer, which was an invaluable experience for our client in his employment goal of Electrical Engineering. DRT advocated for reconsideration of the VR decision in light of the significant difference in cost of living between Tennessee and California. VR complied with this request. Upon their recalculations, VR determined our client would still financially qualify for VR services. VR agreed to fund services for the spring semester and to fund our client’s services for the fall semester through his graduation in December.

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 OfficialLisa Primm
Title of Designated Agency OfficialExecutive Director
Date Signed12/21/2018