RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Florida (Disability Rights Florida) - H240A110010 - FY2011

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Florida, Inc.
Address2728 Centerview Dr Suite 102
Address Line 2
CityTallahassee
StateFlorida
Zip Code32301
E-mail Addressinfo@DisabilityRightsFlorida.org
Website Addresshttp://www.DisabilityRightsFlorida.org
Phone850.488.9071
TTY 800.348.4127
Toll-free Phone800.342.0823
Toll-free TTY800.348.4127
Fax850.488.8640
Name of P&A Executive DirectorRobert E. Whitney
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorCarol Stachurski
Person to contact regarding reportCarol Stachurski
Contact Person phone850.488.9071
Ext.9727

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas1,665
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas15
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)1,680

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff14
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)600

Special Education Students frequently do not have a clear understanding of their disability and the impact it has on their education, self-concept and perception of others. PAIR provided training, using a presentation, to ESE students to develop a pragmatic understanding of their disability and to develop self-advocacy skills. Forty (40) students, four (4) teachers and eight (8) district staff received training regarding student self-empowerment. Students mastered self-advocacy skills and follow-up indicated improved self-concept. Teachers and staff reported strategies presented at training were being incorporated into daily classes. At the request of the school district and parents, Disability Rights Florida provided “pragmatic” IEP training to parents in Madison County. Classroom instruction and a presentation were used. The purpose was to explain the IEP process, develop strategies for communicating concerns, disagreement and conflict resolution. Forty-five parents, nine district staff and six school base staff attended and received training. Evaluations indicated it was well received and helpful. Questions after the training were insightful and indicated an understanding of the concepts presented. A follow-up session may be requested. As a result of the training provided to parents regarding pragmatic IEP training in Madison County, the ESE director requested PAIR staff provide the same training (adapted for teachers) be provided for teachers during pre-planning in August. Fifty-one teachers and district staff were provided training regarding IEP participation- roles and responsibilities, empowerment, communication between parents and school personnel, strategies for advocacy, and technical aspects of IDEA. Parents and staff reported strategies presented at training were beneficial in understanding their respective roles and responsibilities and provided guidance on better methods for communicating needs, reporting progress and effective advocacy.

PAIR staff provided (in collaboration with USF) disability sensitivity/etiquette training to 40 various transit personnel at the 2011 NTI Transit Trainers’ and FDOT/FPTA/CUTR Professional Development Workshop held in Tampa, Florida. The training is a hands-on, simulation experiential-type training program with special emphasis for providing sensitive and appropriate transit services to individuals with disabilities. PAIR staff utilized classroom instruction presented training on guardianship and alternatives to guardianship to the Florida Peer Network with emphasis on raising awareness of the need to establish alternatives to guardianship and enhance self-determination. A PAIR Attorney presented to the Florida Peer Network. The training focused on the student’s rights under IDEA and Restraint and Seclusion, including the recent changes to the current law. Powerpoint presentation was used to provide information regarding: What is an IEP?, preparing for your IEP meeting, breaking down important sections of the IEP, when you disagree with your IEP team, tips for a successful meeting and being your child’s advocate. PAIR staff presented at the Youth Conference Workshop with focus on Individual Education Plan (IEP) strategies and rights. The presentation focused on appropriate IEP’s, rights, strategies, advocacy tips and resolving disputes. It also covered information regarding: What is an IEP?, Preparing for your IEP meeting, Breaking down important sections of the IEP, When you disagree with your IEP team and Tips for a successful meeting. The purpose of the training was to prepare students and parents to be successful advocates. The presentation by PAIR staff at the Family Café covered conflict resolution, restraint and seclusion and behavior including information about the current use of restraint and seclusion in school. Discussion and presentation focused on practices, policies, state law and what you need to know to protect your child. Current policies, technical assistance papers and ideas to ensure your district is complying with child safety were included. The presentation informed participants of the state law and status of the federal law. PAIR staff provided training to Holland and Knight attorneys at the Fort Lauderdale office. Ten attorneys from the firm were trained to assist in advocacy on behalf of students with disabilities. Six modules were presented to provide attorneys the pre-requisite skills required to represent a student with a disability at a 504 Plan Meeting or an Individual Education Plan Meeting. Information was provided on the following topics: Evaluations and Eligibility, IEP’s and 504 Plans, Inclusion, Discipline and Behavior, Transition and Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution. PAIR staff participated in a training panel on the topic of Benefits and Supports for Children and Adults with Special Needs on how to successfully plan for transition from secondary to post-secondary education and employment at the SPARC / STAND Pinellas Accessing Resources Conference. PAIR presented at the STAND-Pinellas Accessing Resources Conference to students, parents, care givers, guardians, teachers, and agency providers at the STAND (Statewide Advocacy Network on Disabilities). Information was provided regarding TIEP’s, agency resources and protections, monitoring and reporting requirements under the state law regarding restraint and seclusion.

Students with challenging behaviors miss out on important instructional time because they spend more time out of the classroom. Many students are suspended for manifestations of their disability and the function of their behavior is often misunderstood. The PAIR staff presentation at Family Café focused on the student behavior providing guidance on when to request a Functional Behavior Assessment and Positive Behavior Intervention Plan and how to draft a meaningful positive Behavior Intervention Plan. The presentation allowed for open dialogue between presenter and participants.

PAIR staff provided training to members of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA). Training provided basic understanding of federal causes of action regarding Medicaid provisions and potential pitfalls of such actions. Presentation introduced attendees to Medicaid provisions that have been litigated on a national level and subsequent outcomes. Training also raised awareness of PAIR services with members of the private bar who may encounter individuals who need PAIR services. PAIR has determined there is a systemic issue developing with the utilization of school resource officers (SRO) by school staff to provide behavioral intervention. This use of SROs results in students with disabilities being charged with criminal violations based on manifestations of their disability. The counties are utilizing the SROs to deny students with disabilities placement in the least restrictive environment. PAIR provided training to one county and is in contact with other counties to consider training.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff3
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles1
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website135,849
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated11
6. Other (specify separately)67,500

Narrative

A standard 30 second promotional announcement about Disability Rights Florida ran during drive time on local public radio station, WFSU, through February 2011. At the beginning of the Florida legislative session, announcements began to reach a statewide audience on Florida’s public radio show, Capital Reports. A large print announcement of the name change to Disability Rights Florida appeared in the February 15, 2011, Florida Bar news. Disability Rights Florida Executive Director, Bob Whitney, discussed funding programs in times of budget cuts on “Comcast Newsmaker”. PAIR distributed 11 different publications totaling 67,500 disseminations at 14 training events and 49 outreach functions. Publications included brochures, ‘rave’ cards, annual reports, education clinic brochures, transition brochures, “Voting in Florida” books and 10-Steps to Self-Advocacy. Outreach populations included veterans, teachers, students, transportation providers, housing providers, lawyers, emergency planners and other disability stakeholder groups.

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)34
2. Additional individuals served during the year206
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)240
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)7

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 62

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility46
2. Employment0
3. Program access7
4. Housing26
5. Government benefits/services15
6. Transportation17
7. Education93
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care17
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services8
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records2
15. Abuse7
16. Neglect7
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor137
2. Other representation found2
3. Individual withdrew complaint18
4. Appeals unsuccessful1
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
6. PAIR withdrew from case3
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit22
9. Other2

Please explain

Other: 1.) Did not fit within priorities of Education Team and parent was referred to Florida Department of Education. 2.) Unable to assist and issue not resolved. Client referred to APD.

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy70
2. Short-term assistance30
3. Investigation/monitoring34
4. Negotiation49
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings2
7. Litigation (including class actions)0
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 41
2. 5 - 2291
3. 23 - 5995
4. 60 - 6413
5. 65 and over40

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females129
2. Males111

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race28
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native3
3. Asian2
4. Black or African American40
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White159
7. Two or more races5
8. Race/ethnicity unknown3

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent127
2. Parental or other family home92
3. Community residential home6
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home4
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement4
8. Jail/prison/detention center4
9. Homeless1
10. Other living arrangements0
11. Living arrangements not known1

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment28
2. Deaf/hard of hearing23
3. Deaf-blind4
4. Orthopedic impairment34
5. Mental illness42
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation1
8. Learning disability27
9. Neurological impairment34
10. Respiratory impairment14
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment10
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment12
13. Speech impairment3
14. AIDS/HIV4
15. Traumatic brain injury1
16. Other disability3

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities11

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes3,200,000

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

Emergency Preparedness

FEMA Functional Needs Support Services: Individuals with disabilities will need accessible General Population Shelters as well as Special Needs Shelters in the event of an emergency. Disability Rights Florida has been involved with disaster preparedness groups on the local, state and Federal level to promote policies and procedures that will allow individuals with disabilities equal access to emergency services in the event of a disaster. In November 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) issued its “Functional Needs Support Services Guidance (FNSS)” so state emergency planners would better integrate the needs of persons with disabilities into their sheltering plans and insure compliance with applicable law. The guidance prompted inquiry from some county emergency planners about their need to plan for the provision of services and other supports that might be requested by individuals in the General Population Shelters. Disability Rights Florida was asked to be part of a small workgroup which included the Florida Division of Emergency Management Statewide Disability Office, the Florida Disaster Office of the Red Cross and the Office of Public Health Preparedness of the Florida Department of Health. A white paper was developed entitled “Guidelines for the Implementation of Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) in General Population Shelters in the State of Florida.”

Background Screening Following the 2011 legislative session, Governor Scott vetoed a bill that would have lessened some of the requirements regarding background screening that were passed during the 2010 legislative session. At the time of his veto, the Governor appointed a state interagency work group to meet and make recommendations to him regarding any possible changes for consideration during the 2012 legislative session. PAIR submitted comments to the work group that supported alternative methods of conducting background screening of volunteers who have direct contact with vulnerable individuals and who are not required to undergo background screening under current law. We also supported keeping the standard of screening for volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month. If there is a compelling reason to change it to less than 20 hours per month, this could be examined individually by statute, rather than making an across the board change. In the vetoed bill there was a change to 394.4572 Florida Statutes that would have allowed mental health personnel who worked less than 15 hours per week in direct face-to-face contact in facilities licensed under Ch. 395, Florida Statutes, to be exempt from fingerprinting and background screening. We did not support this provision. Additionally, in the vetoed bill was a provision that would have allowed an employer to hire an employee to a position that requires background screening, for training and orientation purposes, before the employee completes the screening process. However, this employee could not have direct contact with vulnerable persons until the screening process was completed. While we are supportive of the current law, we understand this may create challenges in certain circumstances. We do believe, if training starts before hiring, the trainee should remain in the sight of personnel who have passed background screening. The recommendations of the Background Screening Interagency Work Group went to Governor Scott for consideration. Many PAIR recommendations were included in the draft. Changes to existing background screening law will most likely again be taken up during the 2012 session and we will track it closely. Notice of Restraint/Seclusion Related Deaths from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Congress enacted the Children’s Health Act of 2000. The Act requires federally-funded health care facilities, including hospitals, to notify the appropriate agency, as determined by the Secretary of HHS, of each restraint/seclusion related death that occurs at a covered facility, as well as the name of the individual who died. The hospital conditions of participation (COPs) currently in effect require hospitals to report deaths associated with the use of restraint and seclusion to CMS by telephone no later than the close of business the next business day following the patient’s death. HHS established this short reporting timeline so that reporting delays would not compromise investigations, e.g., staff may leave, medical/documentary evidence may be lost or concealed, and potentially deadly practices might continue. HHS recognized the important role that protection and advocacy (P&A) organizations play in investigating restraint/seclusion-related hospital deaths and preventing future deaths. In its guidance to the hospital rules, HHS stated that it supports the roles of P&As, believes that a coordinated effort between CMS and P&As is appropriate, and that HHS has a distinct interest in the health and safety of patients, which is shared by P&As. HHS explained that, among other things, it uses the hospital death reports to authorize on-site investigations and to inform the federally-mandated P&A entity in the respective state or territory. In reality, this reporting system to the P&As has been flawed for many years. We have not received a death notice since 2006 and in the fall contacted our Atlanta Regional Office (RO) to ask if any deaths have occurred since 2006. We then learned that because of complaints about the reporting system, reports to the P&As were suspended until 2008. We then asked if any deaths had occurred since 2008 and were told we could not access that information, as we did not have on file a current Data Use Agreement with CMS. Through working with NDRN, we learned of changes in the notice system and in mid-October, submitted the necessary paperwork to allow us to have access again to the reported deaths through the CMS system. As of the end of the quarter, we had not received a reply to our application. This is a national problem that NDRN is attempting to resolve with CMS. Florida Prosperity Partnership/Real Economic Impact Tour PAIR is a participant in the Florida Prosperity Partnership (FPP), which is a coalition of government agencies, financial institutions, and non-profits that serve low income individuals, including racial and ethnic minorities and individuals with disabilities. PAIR staff participates in partnership work groups and events in several local communities throughout the state. The Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) is a series of activities and events sponsored by the National Disability Institute to raise awareness about asset building strategies and financial literacy for individuals with disabilities. FPP works with REI Tour in Florida to expand economic opportunities for persons with disabilities. For the third consecutive year, Disability Rights Florida hosted a VITA Income Tax preparation mobile site at its Tallahassee office to assist individuals with disabilities to prepare their taxes. The site was open on March 18, March 25 and April 8. The tax returns prepared for persons with disabilities or persons having family members with disabilities more than doubled from 75 last year to 162 this year at VITA tax preparation sites in Tallahassee. Expansion of Housing Options Disability Rights Florida is happy to report the affordable housing pieces of legislation that PAIR staff have worked on for the past two years did pass this year. This bill includes provisions related to the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program. This legislation will improve the SAIL program by: requiring that rental housing resources be distributed to address the housing needs of persons most in need of housing and establishing a 10% set-aside within the SAIL program for the creation of housing for persons with special needs. Those populations are defined as veterans with disabilities, persons with disabilities, youth aging out of the foster care system, survivors of domestic violence, elders who are frail and individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. The bill requires that a portion of housing for extremely low-income residents be targeted to persons with special needs. Another provision in this bill removed the cap on the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which helps fund affordable housing in Florida. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

PAIR staff was assigned to respond to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rules to be codified within 42 CFR Section 441. The proposed rules would among other things, provide clearer guidance on the definition of “community” eligible for HCBS funding as well as permit combining targeted groups within one waiver which would remove barriers faced by individuals and families in states that seek to combine. In the context of a newly combined waiting list, we would request CMS provide additional guidance regarding how a state should distribute new slots, new funding, and attrition slots to each target group. A written comment was submitted on behalf of Disability Rights Florida in support of CMS’s proposed rules.

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB)

As a result of numerous cases being opened at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) involving, discipline, transition, bullying, access to curricula, and safety issues, PAIR staff opened an investigation to determine the extent to which abuse, neglect and rights violations are occurring at this institution. The purpose of the investigation will be to determine if the case issues are systemic in nature and are the result of policy, practice, supervision or lack of knowledge, skills and abilities. During this fiscal year, PAIR staff completed the systemic investigation and is in the process of completing the final report. Due to ongoing issues related to communication between parents and FSDB related to what can and cannot be communicated to parents during the bullying investigations, findings and follow-up related to FERPA, Disability Rights Florida is working with the Florida Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights to seek clarification prior to completing the final report.

Special Education Clinic - An Exceptional Cause — Lawyers Helping Students Succeed at School

The Special Education Clinic, which is a partnership with the Holland and Knight law firm, has been expanded to include the following counties: Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Duval, and Polk.This will allow the PAIR staff to serve more families. PAIR staff created a Special Education Law Clinic this year with recruitment and provision of specialized training of Florida Attorneys. There is a tremendous need for advocacy for students with disabilities and this was an effort to increase the capacity of the P&A using trained volunteers. Disability Rights Florida staff took this step to increase the number of attorney advocates with specialized training to provide services to students with disabilities in their communities with ongoing technical assistance from P&A attorneys and staff. Data reported 341,632 ESE students age 6-21 and 17,908 Children with disabilities in Pre-Kindergarten Programs for a total of 359,540 individuals with disabilities served. Estimates are based on available data from Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services for 2009-2010 school years. Planned Residential Communities — SB 1166 Implementation Attended APD sponsored Community Residential Roundtable to provide input regarding how APD might draft rules implementing SB 1166 related to planned residential communities. Along with other advocates, we raised ongoing concerns about issues including: freedom of movement, bus routes, offering of housing options to people who do not have developmental disabilities, and direct care staff living within a planned residential community. Disability Rights Florida staff also commented about our heightened concern regarding the state’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to all abuse, neglect and rights violations in residential settings particularly in light of the abolition of the State Advocacy Council/Local Advocacy Council. Duval County School Board Health Services Committee PAIR staff submitted a position statement to the Chair of the Duval County School Health Advisory Council, Health Services Committee, for consideration at their February24, 2011 meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to consider revising the District’s policy related to students with diabetes. A PAIR staff attorney collaborated with the American Diabetes Association in the provision of position statements by each agency. DOE-Student Administration of Medication 2011 A PAIR staff Attorney attended a workshop at the University of South Florida hosted by the Department of Education’s (DOE) Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services on March 29, 2011. She presented testimony concerning the agency’s position on DOE’s development of a rule regarding students with diabetes, asthma and cystic fibrosis. She advocated that the rule protect the right to least restrictive environment (LRE) and no loss of educational time (FAPE), while ensuring safety. This was the third workshop on the rule. Each workshop was in a different part of the state and accommodated participation by phone. The fact that there was more than one workshop and that they were geographically diverse and accessible by phone was due to advocacy on the part of PAIR. The PAIR Senior Attorney continues to work with four students that have been denied adult assistance for their diabetic needs. The parents have been informed that their children cannot receive adult assistance for insulin administration as the District has deferred the decision to the nurse. The District has interpreted the new law not to require adult assistance for insulin administration. The District has informed the parents they are responsible for insulin administration during the school day. If the parent cannot provide the student with insulin administration the student must move to a school with a full-time nurse on staff. PAIR staff has consulted with the American Diabetes Association on the implementation and intent of the new law and has determined these cases are potentially ready for litigation.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts602,095
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

Disability Rights Florida v. Judd - U.S.M.D. Fla. Case 8:10-cv-2666-T-26TGW. Update: Lawsuit challenging the denial of access to Polk County Jail infirmary following report that a client had sustained broken teeth and all individuals in infirmary were observed in one to four point restraints.

Whiley v. Scott — Florida Supreme Court, Case No. SC11-592. Disability Rights Florida filed an amicus brief in support of a challenge to Governor Scott’s newly created Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform (OFARR). Executive Order 11-72 required agencies to obtain formal approval from OFARR prior to publishing rulemaking notices. Oral argument was held on June 29, 2011 with Sandy D’Alemberte arguing on behalf of the petitioner. A five-member majority of the Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners and held that the Governor impermissible suspended agency rulemaking by requiring agencies to submit proposed rules to OFARR and that overstepped his constitutional authority and violated the separation powers.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

Priority 1: Provide information and outreach about disability rights, community resources and Disability Rights Florida. Needs/Issues/Barriers: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida and individuals who are in need of the services of the PAIR program. Significant outreach was conducted during the fiscal year to notify stakeholders and the disability community of the name change from Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc. to Disability Rights Florida, Inc d/b/a Disability Rights Florida. Indicators: PAIR worked to increase access to services as seen by the number of information and referrals outlined in Part 1, Non-Case Services A. of this report. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with advocacy groups, state councils, task forces and state agencies to promote system wide information and referral as outlined, Non-Case Services B. of this report. Of Note: PAIR participated in 49 outreach events with emphasis on services provided and the agency name change. PAIR continued improvement of the website with additional technical assistance and referral information added. Priority 2: Provide quality education/training services to individuals with disabilities, their families and supporters. Needs/Issues/Barriers: In order to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida, it is incumbent upon PAIR to educate individuals with disabilities, their families and supporters as to their rights. Indicators: PAIR provided 14 trainings to the disability community, their families and various stakeholders as outlined in Part 1, Non-Case Services B. of this report. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with advocacy groups, state councils, task forces and state agencies to provide training. Of Note: PAIR staff provided training to attorneys with the statewide law firm of Holland and Knight at the Fort Lauderdale office. Ten attorneys from the firm were trained to assist in advocacy on behalf of students with disabilities. Six modules were presented to provide attorneys the pre-requisite skills required to represent a student with a disability at a 504 Plan meeting or an Individual Education Plan Meeting. Information was provided on the following topics: Evaluations and Eligibility, IEP’s and 504 Plans, Inclusion, Discipline and Behavior, Transition and Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution. Number of cases: For Priority 3 and Priority 4 total 134. Priority 3: Provide services to individuals with disabilities who allege rights violations in community settings, with focus on physical and programmatic access. Needs/Issues/Barriers: In order to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community in the State of Florida, which is in need of the services provided through PAIR, it is necessary to address issues regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws all of which promote equal access to goods and services from Title III entities within the community on an individual and systemic basis. These include, but are not limited to, places of public accommodation. Indicators: PAIR worked to increase physical and programmatic access in the community through individual case representation, investigation and negotiation and addressing systemic issues. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system wide reform and compliance. Cases of Note: PAIR was contacted by a 24 year old female who is deaf. She contacted PAIR regarding a central Florida county’s community education center’s denial to provide a sign language interpreter for GED classes. Investigation and advocacy resulted in the provision of this accommodation which now provides C.R. with effective communication in the classroom.

PAIR was contacted by a 36 year old male with deafness. He contacted Disability Rights Florida for assistance with obtaining an ADA reasonable accommodation for a sign language interpreter at a local hospital where he was scheduled for outpatient surgery. A PAIR advocate provided technical assistance and information for contacting the risk manager of the hospital. Due to PAIR intervention and technical assistance, the accommodation was approved and subsequently provided. PAIR was contacted by a 41 year old male with deafness who alleged an ADA Title III violation when his banking institution delayed telephonic banking services due to his use of a video relay operator. The banking institution also requested the individual provide a written statement to be put in his file notifying future customer service representatives that he is deaf and will be using a relay operator for phone transactions. PAIR investigation concluded that the banking institution was in violation of the ADA by requiring this individual to take additional measures for conducting financial business that persons without disabilities are not asked to do (i.e. wait for verification that the Relay operator is an acceptable call and require member to identify himself as a person with a disability in writing). Intervention resulted in a policy change and increased awareness for the staff of the financial institution. Priority 4: Provide services to individuals with disabilities who allege rights violations in community settings, with focus on physical and programmatic access to publicly funded necessary supports and services. Needs/Issues/Barriers: In order to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida who are in need of the services provided through PAIR, it is necessary to address issues regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and other laws all of which promote equal access to goods and services from Title II entities within the community on an individual and systemic basis. These would include but not be limited to government building access, transportation (over the road and air), and public post-secondary institutions. Indicators: PAIR worked to increase physical and programmatic access in the community through individual case representation, investigation and negotiation and addressing systemic issues. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system wide reform and compliance. Cases of Note: E.P. is a 78-year-old female with blindness. She contacted PAIR regarding an ADA Title II violation when her application for paratransit with Broward County was not being immediately approved. PAIR advocate provided technical assistance and counseling during the application process, which was ultimately approved. J.K., an adult with a learning disability, contacted PAIR for assistance with financial aid at a public university. J.K. is a student at the university, whose tuition is being paid through a voucher from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The university told J.K. that it would be unwilling to accept the tuition voucher from DVR unless J.K. would sign a general waiver and release under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). J.K. was quite willing to release relevant information to DVR, but was unwilling to sign a broad release that would permit disclosure of all educational and personal information contained in university files. PAIR staff worked with the office of the university’s general counsel to negotiate and craft a limited FERPA release that would satisfy the requirements of DVR and the university, while protecting personal and educational information that J.K. wanted to remain confidential. PAIR was contacted by a 55 year old female with respiratory disabilities who alleged a civil rights violation under the ADA and Section 504 when St. Petersburg College denied her reasonable accommodation request to have her service dog attend classes with her. PAIR intervention and negotiation resulted in the provision of additional documentation from a treating physician which the college accepted; and subsequently, her request was granted by the school. Priority 5: Provide services to individuals who expand the range of options for safe, affordable, and accessible housing and ensuring compliance with the Fair Housing Act, Florida Building Code, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Needs/Issues/Barriers: In order to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida who are in need of the services provided through PAIR, it is necessary to address issues regarding the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws regarding housing and housing discrimination so as to promote equal access to appropriate housing within the state on an individual and systemic basis. Indicators: PAIR worked to increase physical and programmatic access in the community through individual case representation, investigation and negotiation and addressing systemic issues. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system-wide reform and compliance. Number of Cases: 5 Cases of Note: L.P. is a 66 year-old with a physical disability. She contacted PAIR regarding a Fair Housing Act violation when she was unable to access the common area clubhouse because the door was too heavy to open. A Community team advocate conducted an investigation. Ultimately, negotiation resulted in the clubhouse door being adjusted so that it was more accessible. PAIR is contacted by a 55 year old female with a neurological disability. D.S. contacted Disability Rights Florida regarding a Fair Housing violation by a Section 8 housing provider. Investigation revealed the housing provider was requiring paperwork from a physician which seemed to require the physician to testify under oath. The HUD regional office was contacted to determine HUD requirement and the matter was clarified with the physician’s office. PAIR intervention resulted in the application for accessible housing being accepted. PAIR is contacted by a 27 year-old male with a mental illness. He contacted Disability Rights Florida regarding a potential Fair Housing Act violation against a condo association for failing to provide him with a reasonable accommodation so that he could maintain an emotional support animal in “no-pet” housing. Community Team conducted an investigation and negotiation that resulted in the association ceasing efforts to have his emotional support animal removed. He is now allowed to keep his support animal in his condo. Priority 6: Provide services on a variety of issues relating to access and inclusion within the community, including but not limited to disaster preparedness, guardianship, older Americans, K-12 education, and other topical issues. Needs/Issues/Barriers: In order to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida who are in need of the services provided through PAIR, it is necessary to address a variety of topical issues regarding all aspects of laws providing access and inclusion within the community, which include the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and other laws regarding equal access and opportunity for individuals within Florida on an individual and systemic basis. Indicators: PAIR worked to increase physical and programmatic access in the community through individual case representation, investigation and negotiation and addressing systemic issues. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system wide reform and compliance. Number of Cases: 101 Cases of Note: PAIR is contacted by the parents of a student with ADHD, Depression, Speech Impairment, Reading Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, ODD, Borderline Tourette’s Syndrome, Expressive Language Disorder, and Tic Disorder. C.S.B.’s parent contacted Disability Rights Florida seeking assistance in obtaining appropriate supports and services, additional speech services, opportunities for inclusion time with support and behavioral support. The school district refused placement in the general education classroom with additional supports and denied additional services in speech. PAIR staff investigation revealed that C.S.B. was in need of additional supports and service, specifically behavioral support since the parents were often called to pick C.S.B. up from school. PAIR staff worked with the family to prepare them for the meeting. This intervention resulted in the parent successfully advocating for services in the general education setting, additional behavioral supports, and additional speech services documented on the IEP. PAIR is contact by L.T., a student with a Speech Impairment. L.T.’s parent contacted Disability Rights Florida concerning an expulsion hearing. As a result of Disability Rights Florida negotiation with the school district, a new manifestation determination meeting was held, the offense was determined to be a manifestation of the disability and it was determined that the Individual Education Plan was not implemented with fidelity. Consequently, a new IEP was developed, all discipline records related to the incident were expunged and appropriate interventions were implemented. PAIR is contacted by the parent of D.G., a student with ADHD, requesting assistance with evaluations, eligibility, and an IEP. D.G. had attended a private school on the McKay Scholarship. The parent was concerned that the private school was not providing appropriate academic services. Upon return to the public school, the school refused to provide exceptional education services, as D.G. had missed the three year re-evaluation. D.G. was failing all of D.G.’s high school classes. PAIR Senior Attorney contacted the Director of Exceptional Student Education and the Florida Department of Education and requested they intervene with the matter. The Director, at the urging of the FLDOE, assisted in having D.G.’s evaluation expedited and in the meantime D.G. received comparable services to the previous IEP. D.G. received an appropriate transition Individual Education Plan with supports and services.

J.F. v. OCSB - A Due Process hearing request was filed with DOAH and subsequently withdrawn from the Court. PAIR staff successfully negotiated a settlement that included: immediate enrollment into a vocational culinary program at a new District school, comprehensive reading evaluation, mileage reimbursement for the five school days during which the client had to provide own transportation to the culinary program, subsequent door to door transportation to the culinary program/student’s home, district payment for 2 Florida Safety Council driving courses, new laptop for student containing web browser, operating system, text-to-speech software, educational software for reading, math and writing, district payment to private tutoring company of student’s choice totaling $4500 for tutoring services and district tutoring offered in reading, math and writing at student’s new school. J.F. will be allowed to remain in school past 22nd birthday and up through June, 2012. A.V. v. HCSB - The parent of a student with auto-immune deficiency disorder, contacted Disability Rights Florida requesting assistance with obtaining evaluations and an appropriate individual education plan for student. PAIR provided parent legal representation at several school meetings and was successful in obtaining for student evaluations and a 504 plan that provides student with appropriate accommodations. PAIR staff also filed a state complaint with the Florida Department of Education on behalf of student alleging failure on the part of the school district to provide student with free and appropriate education (FAPE). S.B. v. IRCSB - PAIR filed a state complaint alleging the school district failed their Child Find Obligation, to provide parent procedural safeguards, prior written notice, comprehensive and timely evaluations, service under 504, LEA supports to Charter School, protections for students not yet identified and a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

Priority 1: Protect individuals with disabilities from abuse and neglect, including use of inappropriate restraint and seclusion, in facilities and community settings, by utilizing all appropriate strategies to remedy adverse conditions. Need Addressed: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida with regard to abuse and neglect and compliance with state and federal laws. Activities: Investigate complaints of abuse of adults with disabilities in public and private facilities, including forensic programs, jails, detention centers and prisons, investigate complaints of neglect of adults with disabilities in public and private facilities, including forensic programs, jails, detention centers and prisons, reduce the unnecessary incarceration of persons with disabilities utilizing strategies that increase opportunities for early identification, intervention and community case management, investigate complaints of abuse, including inappropriate restraint and seclusion, of youth with disabilities in facilities and community settings, including juvenile justice facilities, foster care, child competency restoration programs and educational settings, investigate complaints of neglect of youth with disabilities in facilities and community settings, including juvenile justice facilities, foster care, competency restoration programs and educational settings. Priority 2: Protect and promote the rights of individuals with disabilities utilizing all appropriate strategies to prevent or remedy violations. Need Addressed: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida including issues regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act and Florida Building Code to promote equal access to Title II, Title III, housing and post-secondary institutions. Activities: Investigate complaints of violations of the rights of adults with disabilities in facilities, Investigate complaints of violations of rights of youth with disabilities in facilities, implement appropriate strategies to advocate for persons with disabilities, both youth and adults, in community settings to insure full enjoyment of available rights and privileges, with focus on publicly funded benefits and supports, pursue appropriate remedies so individuals with disabilities waitlisted for services from state agencies will receive those services on a reasonably timely basis in an appropriately integrated setting, expand residential options for persons with disabilities, especially persons with severe and persistent psychiatric disabilities to expand the opportunity for individual choice in living options rather than reliance on institutionalized settings, investigate complaints regarding inadequate access for persons with disabilities in both physical settings and program participation, including failure to provide access to assistive technology, advocate for students with disabilities in community settings and facilities who are negotiating the transition process from secondary education to post-secondary education or employment to increase successful outcomes. Priority 3: Protect and promote rights to educational opportunities for students with disabilities using appropriate strategies. Need Addressed: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida regarding compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, IDEA, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Activities: Provide representation to students with disabilities to secure free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment, advocate for students with disabilities in the dependency system (foster care) in both community settings and residential facilities, who allege violations of educational rights, advocate for students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system who allege violations of education rights in both community settings and residential facilities, educate parents of students with disabilities to improve access to and utilization of dispute resolution mechanisms, and provide representation to students with disabilities for reasonable accommodations, supports and related services to ensure students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum, education in the least restrictive environment. Priority 4: Promote self-determination, self-advocacy and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities using appropriate strategies. Needs Addressed: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida regarding economic self-sufficiency, guardianship, disaster planning and shelter accessibility. Activities: Investigate complaints of financial abuse of representative payees and promote through education, advocacy and representation economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities, use appropriate strategies, including education and outreach, to promote a person-centered approach to decision making for and about individuals with disabilities, including alternatives to guardianship, and educate policy makers and stakeholders on emergency planning to promote self-advocacy and independence in disaster planning and development of appropriate shelter facilities and monitor development of appropriate and accessible shelter facilities Priority 5: Provide information, referral and outreach about Disability Rights Florida and available community resources. Needs Addressed: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately educate individuals and the disability community within the State of Florida who are in need of the services of the PAIR program. Activities: Increase callers’ direct access to intake to provide prompt information and referral or team assignment, increase outreach efforts to military Veterans with disabilities and their families, implement statewide and local strategies to educate policymakers, individuals with disabilities, families and other stakeholders on disability rights and protection and advocacy systems, and increase public awareness about PAIR services through appropriate forums, including media, networking and exhibits.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

A. Sources of funds received and expended No outside sources of funds were received or expended. B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report Expenses 2011 Actual 2011 Budget Wages/Salaries 415,025.00 520,500.00 Fringe Benefits 139,948.00 173,600.00 Material/Supplies 7,790.00 7,300.00 Postage 2,340.00 3,200.00 Telephone 12,640.00 15,100.00 Rent 54,501.00 55,700.00 Travel 22,234.00 27,600.00 Bonding/Insurance 8,984.00 9,100.00 Equipment (rental/purchase/lease) 23,194.00 21,600.00 Legal/Consulting Services 13,751.00 20,900.00 Indirect Costs 6,651.00 7,500.00 Miscellaneous 19,094.00 14,480.00 Total Expense 726,152.00 876,580.00

C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years) Title PAIR TOTAL AVERAGE % of Year Person Year Team Manager 100% 1.00 Accounting Associate 16.00% 100% 1.00 Administrative Assistant 16.00% 100% 1.00 Administrative Assistant 16.00% 100% 1.00 Advocacy Specialist 16.00% 35% 0.35 Advocacy Specialist 16.00% 100% 1.00 Advocacy Specialist 16.00% 50% 0.50 Advocate 26.00% 100% 1.00 Advocate 5.00% 100% 1.00 Advocate 5.00% 100% 1.00 Advocate 7.00% 100% 1.00 Attorney 2.00% 100% 1.00 Attorney 16.00% 100% 1.00 Attorney 11.00% 100% 1.00 Attorney 10.00% 100% 1.00 Bookkeeper 16.00% 25% 0.25 Dir of Legal & Advocacy Services 2.00% 100% 1.00 Dir. of Finance & Admin 16.00% 100% 1.00 Dir. Of Legislative & Public Policy 2.00% 100% 1.00 Dir. Of Legislative & Public Policy 16.00% 100% 1.00 Executive Assistant 16.00% 100% 1.00 Executive Director 16.00% 100% 1.00 External Affairs Coordinator 16.00% 100% 1.00 Intake Coordinator 16.00% 100% 1.00 IT & Training Manager 16.00% 100% 1.00 MIS/IT Support Technician 16.00% 100% 1.00 Paralegal 10.00% 100% 1.00 Paralegal 8.00% 100% 1.00 Personnel & Benefits Manager 16.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Trial Counsel 16.00% 25% 0.25 Sr. Advocacy Specialist 2.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocacy Specialist 16.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocacy Specialist 16.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocate 52.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocate 22.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocate 51.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocate 4.00% 25% 0.25 Sr. Advocate 23.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocate 19.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Advocate 7.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Attorney 16.00% 8% 0.08 Sr. Attorney 12.00% 100% 1.00 Sr. Paralegal 17.00% 100% 1.00 Staff Assistant 16.00% 100% 1.00 Staff Assistant 16.00% 100% 1.00 Team Manager 9.00% 100% 1.00 Team Manager 22.00% 100% 1.00 Team Manager 5.00% 100% 1.00 Team Manager 12.00% 100% 1.00 Team Manager 17.00% 100% 1.00 Team Manager - Intake 16.00% 100% 1.00 Tech & Communications Manager 16.00% 100% 1.00

D. Involvement with advisory boards (if any) During Fiscal Year 2011, PAIR served as a member of: Florida Building Code Accessibility Council: Seat on the Accessibility Advisory Council for the Florida Building Commission under the Department of Community Affairs. Tasks for council members include providing guidance and recommendations for Waiver Requests for Vertical Accessibility as well as other Florida Specific Code to be heard before the Florida Building Commission.

Committee to Advocate for Persons with Impairments (CAPI): A mayoral appointed position for the City of St. Petersburg. CAPI’s charge is to advise the Mayor and City Council on accessibility and equal rights to citizens and visitors to the City.

Caring and Sharing Center for Independent Living (CASCIL): Board Member responsible for overseeing and directing the management of the operations and affairs of the Corporation as well as the establishment of policies and procedures and the safekeeping, maintenance and use of its assets. It is a three year term.

Special Needs Shelter Interagency Committee: Policy subcommittee tasked to develop guidelines for county emergency managers on compliance with Functional Needs Support Services.

Jacksonville Mayor’s Council on Disabilities: Purpose of council is to bring awareness of disability rights issues to city officials.

Abilities Housing Board: Board member for the Abilities Housing programs including Homes For Independence (HFI), and the numerous Section 811 projects owned and/or operated by Abilities.

E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure During this fiscal year, no PAIR grievances were filed. F. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency PAIR coordinates with CAP as CAP is housed within Disability Rights Florida. PAIR intake has a collaborative relationship with the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByRobert E. Whitney
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/27/2011