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

Washington (CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM) - H161A180058 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameClient Assistance Program
Address2531 Rainier Avenue South
Address Line 2
CitySeattle
StateWashington
Zip Code98144
E-mail Addresscapjerryj@gmail.com
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)

NameClient Assistance Program
Address2531 Rainier Avenue South
Address Line 2
CitySeattle
Zip Code98144
E-mail Addresscapjerryj@gmail.com
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

Additional Information

Name of CAP Director/CoordinatorJerry Johnsen
Person to contact regarding reportJerry Johnsen
Contact Person Phone(206) 721-5999

Part I. Non-case Services

A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Information regarding the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program1,313
2. Information regarding independent living programs38
3. Information regarding American Indian VR Service projects37
4. Information regarding Title I of the ADA128
5. Other information provided324
6. Information regarding CAP476
7. Total I&R services provided (Lines A1 through A6)2,316

B. Training Activities

1. 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. Explain CAP’s perspective related to WIOA and Order of Selection.

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

8 presentations to units of VR staff, for a total of 95 persons.

2. 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. Explain CAP perspective on WIOA and Order of Selection.

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

30 individual sessions, for a total of 30 persons.

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

Topic: New Employee Orientation (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation)

Purpose: Explain CAP role, responsibilities, function, and how to best work with CAP to support customers. Enlighten VR staff to the mission, purpose and goals of VR legislation. Brief explanation of history of VR related laws, nationally and locally, as well as providing an overview of WIOA related changes.

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

2 training sessions, for a total of 68 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, Oder of Selection, WIOA updates and draft Washington Administrative Code (WAC) changes.

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

4 presentations to General Agency State Rehab Council (SRC) members, 3 presentations to Blind Agency State Rehab Council (SRC) members = 7 presentations, for a total of 130 persons.

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

Topic: CAP’s role in both policy and individual advocacy, WIOA legislation, Order of Selection 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 Order of Selection, and build relationships with new SILC members.

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

2 presentations to SILC members for a total of 40 persons.

6. 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, including changes resulting from the passage of WIOA. Vocational Rehabilitation resources in our state and CAP’s role. CAP provided information on OOS and WorkSource need to be able to serve customers from VR agencies currently on waitlist.

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.

6 presentations, 25 staff each session, for a total of 150 persons.

7. 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. Provide update on VR agency’s OOS status and impacts on services to the disabled community

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

2 presentations, for a total of 60 persons.

8. 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. Discussed how customers being served jointly by the Tribes and the State VR programs are affected by OOS.

Description of attendees: Tribal VR Counselors and VR Supervisors.

2 presentations for 20 persons total.

9. 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, including Pre-Employment Transition services.

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

3 presentations, for a total of 15 persons.

1. Number of training sessions presented to community groups and public agencies.48
2. Number of individuals who attended these training sessions.864
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 one of the most diverse neighborhoods 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 and changes related the implementation of Order of Selection.

CAP continues to work with the with the Deaf-Blind Service Center and the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.

CAP continues to work with the Statewide Benefits Planning Network, a consortium of all the certified Benefits Specialists in WA state. They work for a variety of programs, from Vocational Rehabilitation to Mental Health, and include the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance organizations funded by Social Security. This group assists customers who receive Social Security benefits and want to go to work. Many of their customers are not connected to a VR program. CAP reached out to provide information on OOS and how CAP could assist VR customers.

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 continues to work 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 18,000 brochures and other CAP materials 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 Agency18000
5. Number of Times CAP Exhibited at Conferences, Community Fairs, etc.0
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)15
2. Additional individuals who were served during the year114
3. Total individuals served (Lines A1+A2)129
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.)17

B. Problem areas

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Individual requests information13
2. Communication problems between individual and VR counselor72
3. Conflict about VR services to be provided66
4. Related to VR application/eligibility process19
5. Related to assignment to order of selection priority category21
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
66
7. Related to independent living services2
8. Other Rehabilitation Act-related problems0
9. Non-Rehabilitation Act related
  1. TANF
  2. SSI/SSDI
  3. Housing
  4. Other:
18
10. Related to Title I of the ADA4

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 Assistance24
2. Investigation/Monitoring43
3. Negotiation46
4. Mediation and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution0
5. Administrative / Informal Review16
6. Formal appeal / Fair Hearing0
7. Legal remedy / Litigation0
8. Total129

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 favor41
2. Some issues resolved in individual's favor (when there are multiple issues)52
3. CAP determines VR agency position/decision was appropriate for the individual26
4. Individual's case lacks legal merit; (inappropriate for CAP intervention)0
5. Individual chose alternative representation0
6. Individual withdrew complaint0
7. Issue not resolved in clients favor0
8. CAP services not needed due to individual's death, relocation, etc.10
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 individual42
2. Application for services completed4
3. Eligibility determination expedited13
4. Individual participated in evaluation13
5. IPE developed/implemented/Services Provided25
6. Communication re-established between individual and other party23
7. Individual assigned to new counselor/office9
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 185
2. 19 - 249
3. 25 - 4035
4. 41 - 6471
5. 65 and over9
6. Total (Sum of Lines A1 through A5. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)129

B. Gender

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females64
2. Males65
3. Total (Lines B1+B2. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)129

C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race (for individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only)3
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native8
3. Asian8
4. Black or African American33
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander2
6. White62
7. Two or more races13
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Acquired Brain Injury9
2. ADD/ADHD5
3. AIDS/HIV0
4. Amputations or Absence of Extremities1
5. Arthritis or Rheumatism1
6. Anxiety Disorder6
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder4
8. Autoimmune or Immune Deficiencies (excluding AIDS/HIV)0
9. Blindness (Both Eyes)13
10. Other Visual Impairments (Not Blind)2
11. Cancer0
12. Cerebral Palsy0
13. Deafness8
14. Hard of Hearing/Hearing Impaired (Not Deaf)3
15. Deaf-Blind4
16. Diabetes1
17. Digestive Disorders0
18. Epilepsy2
19. Heart & Other Circulatory Conditions3
20. Intellectual Disability6
21. Mental Illness35
22. Multiple Sclerosis3
23. Muscular Dystrophy0
24. Muscular/Skeletal Impairment8
25. Neurological Disorders/Impairment2
26. Orthopedic Impairments3
27. Personality Disorders5
28. Respiratory Disorders/Impairment1
29. Skin Conditions0
30. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)3
31. Speech Impairments0
32. Spina Bifida0
33. Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drugs)1
34. Other Disability0
35. Total (Sum of Lines D1through D34. Total must equal Part II, Line A3.)129

E. Types of Individual Served

Multiple responses permitted.

1. Applicant of VR20
2. Individual eligible for VR services currently on a wait list12
3. Individual eligible for VR services not currently on a wait list72
4. Applicant or individual eligible for Independent Living0
5. Transition student/High school student26
6. All other applicants or individuals eligible for other programs or projects funded unther Rehabilitation Act5

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities

CAP continues to be involved closely with both state VR agencies, participating in the development and review of policy and procedures. Our efforts along with the awareness and willingness of or state agencies has gone a long way to develop client centered policies.

Roll Back of Closed Cases It is not uncommon that CAP is working with a customer whose VR case has been closed inappropriately. This year RSA began collecting Data on a quarterly basis. It gave notice that in order to have more relevant data collection, VR cases closed from the previous quarter could not be rolled back unless the customer: went to an administrative hearing; won the hearing; and was directed by the administrative law judge to reopen the case. This left customer punished for the negligence of VR and forced the customer to go through a draining appeals process. When CAP INITIALLY addressed concerns, the general VR agency was sympathetic and was proposing to not challenge cases where they felt the closure was inappropriate. This option still forced the client to engage in an appeal process even though the facts supported a bad closure. CAP reached out to other state VR programs, other CAPs across the country, and to RSA, in an effort to understand and resolve this issue. Discovering CAPs in other states had found remedies that did not force customers to go through a formal administrative appeal process, we at WA CAP encouraged the general agency to have similar work arounds. Our general agency (WA VR) now has a process that allows for case roll backs outside of the current quarter. This process is more involved than previous roll back procedures but it workable. The challenge continues to be getting the word out not only to all VR staff but customers as well who are affected by inappropriate case closure. CAP would like to give credit to our VR agencies for finding a resolution to this practice and at the same time we are disappointed that RSA would create a procedure that so negatively affected customers.

State VR Programs and the Financial Squeeze The passage of WIOA has forced both Washington VR programs into Order of Selection, OOS. Our Department of Services for the Blind has all categories closed and the general VR program has all but MSD closed. The financial state of both agencies has resulted in a new sense of austerity. Mixed messages about spending smartly but not making VR decisions based on costs requires CAP to be hyper attentive in messaging to staff that might compromise the integrity of services.

There is little doubt that VR staff are more sensitive to their spending. For some that means directly saying to customers, “the agency is out of money and cannot support...”. CAP has heard from customers, and seen correspondence, that clearly indicates agency financial stress has impacted services, particularly in the general agency.

CAP continues to monitor policies, procedures, and messaging that impacts client services. CAP has been involved in several cases where decisions were made, not on their merit, but based on costs. Counselor based budgets also put a chill on services especially to those significantly disabled who may require more costly services. CAP has no issues with VR addressing spending practices that are not well thought out and need to be re- examined. CAP supports quality, individual services that offer the customer the best opportunity for success.

Assistive Technology Support Assistive technology plays can play a major role in a VR customers success. Due to attrition, WA DVR now has one-person state-wide providing AT support. AT requires full attention to the many devices, services and innovative approaches. Accessing customer needs and knowing what is available, addressing the customer accommodations needs, and providing training, mentoring and promoting AT cannot be left to one individual. CAP currently sees an inequity of AT services in the state. CAP has addressed this issue with DVR and they are in process of exploring options that will help to resolve the current deficit. In the meantime, we are scrutinizing cases that require AT support to make sure resources can be provided as needed.

Staff Training CAP for the past couple years has addressed the issue of DVR staff development and training. In the past year with the role out of the new state WACS, (Washington Administrative Code), DVR provided a quality training that addressed the new rule changes created by WIOA. However, DVR lacks a rigorous internal training program. This is especially crucial as agencies go into OOS and are asking their staff to be more engaged in counseling and guidance; providing services that were once commonly brokered out to vendors. In addition, many new staff, some moving up within the agency across the state, require ongoing training. We are only as good as the quality of the TRAINING we provide our staff. DVR recognizes this challenge and is exploring training options.

Department of Services for the Blind Moving into Order of Selection This year saw our state Blind Agency, (DSB) move into OOS with all categories closed. CAP worked closely with DSB to share our experiences with DVR in hope to support a smooth transition. A key focus for CAP as DSB moved into OOS was addressing secondary disabilities that were not blindness or visual impairment. CAP advocated for a thorough assessment process upfront that fully addresses identified barriers. CAP feels a customer’s success has to address those barriers often ignored. DSB was very open to our suggestions and our being invited to participate with them has enhanced our working relationship.

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.1
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

We were not involved in any 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 CAP Director 1.0 Rehabilitation Coordinator

Part VI. Case Examples

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

Sally Sally is a twenty-one-year-old woman with autism who came to CAP because DVR was going to close her case. She was being told she had to change her vocational goal, due challenges she was experiencing with her math classes. Sally loved animals and had been very active for several years volunteering at the local zoo. She had a plan at VR to get a degree in zoology and use her many connections to obtain a job and maybe later down the road pursue graduate work in the field. Sally had many letters of support and had made good grades in other courses outside of the math curriculum in her two years of college.

Her vocational counselor had done much to support Sally’s passion and was hopeful she could work through her math challenges. However, Sally was not able to achieve the 3.0 agree upon in her plan even though she met the school standard of passing at 1.9. The rational from VR for the higher standard was Sally needed to be competitive and any thought of grad school would require a better performance. CAP met with VR counselor to discuss options.

The VR counsel had been trying to persuade Sally for some time to look at other related courses that did not require the heavy math curriculum. Sally was adamant that she succeeds at this major in order to pursue dream vocation. CAP advocated for creating some flexibility and looking for creative options. The VR counselor finally agree to let Sally focus one quarter on her math class without other distractions and support from disability services and tutoring support. If Sally could perform at an adequate level VR would continue to support her vocational plan if not, she would have to choose another goal or go it alone without VR support. Sally would also have to return to a normal caseload the next quarter. At the end of her quarter Sally had successfully completed her Math curriculum and exceeded VR’s expectations. Sally, her family and the VR counselor were pleased that they could continue and support her passion and vocational goal.

SYSTEMIC ISSUE Many VR clients struggle with math requirements and do quite well in other subjects. It is imperative that VR provide supports and flexibility to help overcome math hurdles. Often allowing math to be done in summer months when they can focus all attention on their course work leads to beating this barrier. Also making sure supports are in place at the school or home as well as addressing disability related challenges.

Bill

Bill was a twenty-five-year-old quadriplegic who was involved in a successful employment plan with DVR. Part of his plan was the purchase and modification of a van. Bill contacted CAP because he had become very frustrated with the lack of progress moving this vehicle purchase forward. A new VR counselor had inherited the case and was trying to make sense of the numerous requirements and steps to purchase and modify the van, when CAP contacted DVR.

CAP, having been involved in this bewildering process in prior years, was sympathetic and offered to help shepherd the process. We first contacted the VR supervisor who confessed that she was trying to understand the procedures involved. CAP suggested we involve John the Washington state ‘s one and only remaining AT specialist to help address the procedural challenges.

(Background: Washington State DVR used to have three Assistive Technology professionals who focused their expertise in helping VR staff to access client needs and make recommendations on AT solutions. They also understood the procurement process and procedures surrounding purchasing more complicated devices as well as vehicle purchase and modification. However, due to attrition, staffing is down to one AT person serving the entire state.)

As it turns out, John, had already provided some assistance earlier on in Bill’s case. John was able to staff the case with the VRS and lay out the steps that needed to be addressed. CAP also met with John to better understand the requirements involved and the hurdles that lay ahead. CAP reviewed all the steps with Bill, who was very frustrated since he had tried to address the many requirements over the past several months. Bill was eager to be more independent, so his business could be more profitable.

CAP continued to be involved in this case for several more months as the case moved at a glacial speed. In the final outcome it was determined that Bill could use a part of his earnings to buy the chassis and DVR would provide all the modifications

Systemic Issue 1. The procedures for purchasing and modifying a vehicle are arduous, long, and discouraging. Most staff will resist exploring the service because they are complicated and burdensome.

2. The state general agency does not have the resources to provide good AT assistance to staff and customers. This issue is being addressed with the VR Director and will be discussed later in this report.

3. Staff lack the appropriate training and resources to provide quality assistive technology.

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 OfficialDirector
Date Signed12/20/2018