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

Georgia (Georgia Advocacy Office, Inc.) - H240A110011 - FY2011

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameGeorgia Advocacy Office Inc.
Address150 E Ponce de Leon Ave. 430
Address Line 2
CityDecatur
StateGeorgia
Zip Code30030
E-mail Addressinfo@thegao.org
Website Addresshttp://www.thegao.org
Phone404-885-1234
TTY 404-885-1234
Toll-free Phone800-537-2329
Toll-free TTY800-537-2329
Fax404-378-0031
Name of P&A Executive DirectorRuby K. Moore
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorJoshua Norris
Person to contact regarding reportCrystal Beelner
Contact Person phone404-885-1234
Ext.

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 areas192
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas340
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)532

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff104
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)7,370

On September 15, 2011, the Executive Director of the Georgia Advocacy Office testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions during a roundtable discussion regarding the future of employment for people with disabilities and how to best expand job opportunities for individuals with the most significant disabilities. Ms. Moore explained to the participants that, “People are ready to work. And even in this economy, employers have unmet needs.” Therefore, it is time to stop waiting for individuals to raise their hands to be offered employment services. There was much discussion about subminimum wages and the re-conceptualization of “prevocational” services. We assisted senators, through facilitating contacts, to meet with community employment providers and others in their respective states to get a better understanding of how people with disabilities are being supported to have real jobs and careers.

The GAO participates on the Statewide Transition Steering Committee sponsored by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia Department of Education, Division of Exceptional Services. In January, GAO and EFG hosted the first Discovering Jobs: Linking the Discovery Process to Employment for Youth Steering Committee Meeting. Discovering Jobs is a pilot created to address barriers to providing students with appropriate assessments to lead to employment. The Southeast Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (SE TACE) has facilitated the Steering Committee and its meetings. Approximately 120 individuals participated. In addition, the GAO and Employment First Georgia hosted training on the Discovery process and best practices for citizens supporting individuals and their employment teams to develop customized employment. Approximately 60 individuals have participated.

The GAO spoke to two groups of self-advocates transitioning from high school into college and college into the workforce. Approximately 40 individuals and their family members attend support groups at the Emory Autism Center and a North Fulton Autism support group. The GAO provided information to the groups about advocating around barriers to work including those posed by discrimination and Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Throughout the year, the GAO also provided training for staff and participants in a day program for individuals with traumatic brain injury and the staff of the Shepherd Center so that they could learn how to provide real employment opportunities to their participants. Approximately 50 individuals participated. The GAO also provided training to the Veterans Administration on employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Approximately 20 individuals participated.

The GAO and EFG are convening a group of stakeholders in South Georgia to develop an employment collaborative to facilitate increased employment for individuals with disabilities in the southern part of Georgia. Work Works for All includes self-advocates, family members, school staff, transition coordinators, VR counselors, leaders from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, and employment service providers. Through the employment collaborative, the participants will share information, resources, and facilitate the development of social capital to increase employment opportunities and options as we work directly with individuals and businesses. The collaborative meets bi-monthly and is receiving technical assistance through SE TACE. In this fiscal year, the group of 40 participants met three times.

The GAO provided training at two conferences this year sponsored by PEPNet, an institute to provide technical assistance and personnel development to improve educational and employment outcomes for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. The GAO presented on best practices in employment and approximately 160 individuals participated.

The GAO participates in numerous transition council meetings and transition fairs for students in high school throughout the state. The GAO presented to students, families, and school staff in Bibb County, Lowndes County, Cobb County, Hall County, and Henry County. Approximately 675 individuals participated.

The GAO presented to chapters of the ARC around the state disseminating information about the GAO, Employment First Georgia, the Children’s Freedom Initiative, the United States v. Georgia settlement, voting rights, Social Security benefits and the rights of beneficiaries, and employment. Approximately 95 individual participants in the ARC chapters, family members, and staff attended from Fulton County, Carroll County, Camden County, and Bibb County.

As the supporter for People First of Georgia, the GAO participates and provides training during the People First Annual Conference. Over 100 self-advocates from across Georgia participated. The GAO also presented to the People First chapter of Athens on the advocacy services of the GAO. Approximately 30 self-advocates participated.

The GAO provided training at the Douglas County Disabilities Coalition on the Georgia Advocacy Office and the advocacy provided. Approximately 10 individuals participated. The The GAO provided training at the Baldwin Life Enrichment Center on the Georgia Advocacy Office and the advocacy provided. Approximately 25 individuals participated.

The GAO presented at Work Incentive Seminar Events sponsored by the Social Security Administration in Macon, Albany, Dalton, & Carrollton. Over 156 beneficiaries of Social Security attended these events. The GAO presented about our advocacy and networked with Employment Networks throughout Georgia to provide the best referrals to beneficiaries that seek assistance from the GAO. The GAO also participated in a National WISE webinar.

Over 2,500 people joined at the 2011 Disability Day at the Capitol to remind the legislature of the importance of home and community-based services for people with disabilities. This year, the Governor committed to supporting individuals and enforcing the settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. The event was covered by newspapers, journals, and television.

The GAO presented to the Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired on advocacy services and individual rights related to effective communication. Over 200 Georgians who are deaf or hard of hearing and staff of GACHI participated.

The GAO supported Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered and Georgia self-advocacy leader, Bernard Baker, to participate in a video created by the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Human Development and Disability.

FEMA selected a team from the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults (Coalition) to the FEMA sponsored 2011 Getting Real II - Promising Practices in Inclusive Emergency Management for the Whole Community Conference. The team was comprised of representatives from the GAO, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Tools for Life, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) and the Director of a local County Health & Human Services Department. 100 participants attended from across the country.

The GAO presented during a webinar hosted by the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered webinar on the National Technical Assistance Center for Voting and Cognitive Access. Over 100 self-advocates participated to gain more information about their right to vote and what to do when they experience barriers to their voting rights.

On March 15, 2011, the Executive Director of the Georgia Advocacy Office testified on an expert panel before the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission on the myths and fears about employment for individuals with mental disabilities, as well as giving testimony about best practices in employment, reasonable accommodations under the ADA, and what the EEOC might require of employers. According to Ms. Moore, “one of the biggest obstacles to employment is consciously and unconsciously-held beliefs about people with psychiatric, cognitive or intellectual disabilities.” She further testified that most of the accommodations that individuals with mental disabilities require can be provided in a well-managed, flexible work place often without any out-of-pocket costs to the employer. She stated that these flexibilities have the effect of aiding all employees, not just those with disabilities. Ms. Moore presented the Commissioners with a publication detailing successful employment outcomes from Georgia (http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/3-15-11/upload/real-jobs_real-lives.pdf).

On July 14, 2011, the National Disability Rights Network testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Lessons from the Field: Learning From What Works for Employment for Persons with Disabilities (http://help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=ffc34a32-5056-9502-5dd8-b6276d41f1df). Testimony described GAO’s work regarding customized employment and collaboration with VR (http://www.ndrn.org/en/advocacy/testimony/465-testimony-the-need-for-new-strategies-for-improving-employment-for-people-with-disabilities.html). The GAO participated in a meeting with 4 other community leaders with the leadership of the City of Atlanta regarding Concrete Change. Concrete Change is an international network whose goal is to make all new homes visitable.

The GAO supported self-advocates to attend the Administration on Developmental Disabilities’ Envisioning the Future: Allies in elf-Advocacy Summit. Approximately 100 individuals from the southeast attended. The purpose of the summit was to assess the current state of the states in self-advocacy and to develop policy recommendations to lead to a more effective self-advocacy movement. The GAO Executive Director helped to facilitated these sessions that happened regionally across the country.

The GAO presented during the National Disability Rights Conference on self-advocacy, transition services for students, advocating for individuals leaving sheltered shops, and collaboration with the United States Department of Justice. Over 200 participants attended these sessions.

The GAO provided training to individuals on a conference call regarding Self-Advocacy Month at the Capitol. 15 participants from across the state were on the call.

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2011, there were readings of “Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community.” The voices of voices of Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb and the GAO read this incredible story around the state in living rooms, museums, and on the Georgia Radio Reading Service.

The GAO presented to Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS), a support group for families of children with significant medical needs on microboards and how the creation of a microboard for their child could keep their child directing his or her services. There were over 100 family members in attendance.

The GAO and Employment First Georgia hosted the first Georgia Self-Employment gathering where 28 entrepreneurs, family members, and community partners came together to network. Individuals asked questions of the benefits navigators, the self-employment experts in the room, and heard about marketing from Christopher Coleman, a life coach and SSI beneficiary who has gone on to start his own business with the assistance of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office of Disability Employment Policy grant. Some of the entrepreneurs brought their goods and sold over $350 worth of merchandise.

The GAO presented to the Answers and Alternatives for Families of the Developmentally Disabled where approximately 25 family members learned about the United States Department of Justice settlement with the State and Employment First Georgia.

The GAO supports self-advocates from across the state in the celebration of the Olmstead decision each year. This year, there were 9 celebrations across the state this summer called “The Long Road Home” with approximately 300 participants reminding communities of the continued need for community-based supports for individuals with disabilities.

The GAO presented to the Chief Operating Officers of the Community Service Boards, approximately 30 individuals, on the settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice and Georgia. The GAO provided training to the Service Providers Association for Developmental Disabilities on the settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice and Georgia and Employment First Georgia. Approximately 50 providers participated.

This year, the GAO did outreach to veterans through the Blind Veterans Association, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and the NAMI-sponsored “Open Doors to Recovery Project” to improve housing and employment opportunities for returning veterans.

The GAO provided training and technical assistance to 5 attorneys from Georgia Legal Services Program regarding the Georgia Pediatric Program that provides private duty nursing services for Medicaid-eligible children.

The GAO hosted trainings based on Social Role Valorization throughout the State for providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, specifically, individuals who are vulnerable or who have been denied effective communication. Advocates need a high level of awareness and advocacy practices aimed at establishing and maintaining positive social roles for people subject to all forms of exclusion. This year, the GAO put a specific emphasis on training for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and their family members.

The GAO collaborated with the Crossroads Program of the Dekalb County Community Service Board and the Wellness Center in an on-going role as a trainer. Approximately 30 self-advocates from the Community Service Board and 10 self-advocates from the Wellness Center attend the trainings on topics such as People First language and internalized stigma, housing opportunities, employment and reasonable accommodations, and the Olmstead decision.

GAO continues to support the Georgia Microboard Association led by Ms. Nancy Vara. The group of approximately 35 self-advocates and family members meet monthly to discuss the creation and sustainability of microboards to support individuals with disabilities. Microboards provide an alternative to the traditional provider network. Individuals, most of whom are beneficiaries of Social Security, have started their own businesses through the support of the Georgia Microboard Association.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff13
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles54
3. PSAs/videos aired5
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website3,000
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated18
6. Other (specify separately)19

Narrative

The GAO, the Children’s Freedom Initiative, and the Parent Leadership Support Project maintain current Facebook pages.

The Children’s Freedom Initiative and Employment First Georgia maintain current websites.

http://imadvocate.com/ Marie Goll, Parent Leadership Support Project graduate’s website

10/21/2010 PsychCentral Blog by John M. Grohol http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/10/21/georgia-mental-health-joins-the-21st-century-with-settlement/

11/17/2010 “Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community” Centenary Methodist Church, Macon, Georgia Pictures and story-telling of citizen advocacy

01/03/2011 http://www.ehow.com/list_7720902_factors-can-promote-inclusion-classroom.html “Factors that Can Promote Inclusion in the Classroom” References “Promoting Inclusion” by the Georgia Advocacy Office

01/03/2011 http://dayinwashington.com/?p=693 Day in Washington: Home of the Disability Policy Podcast “Top 10 Disability Events in 2010” — Number 7: Olmstead Settlement in Georgia and Prioritization of Community Living (also in Health Reform)

01/12/2011 http://www.ehow.com/info_7767871_georgia-medicaid-children.html The Georgia Advocacy Office: Important Information for Medicaid-Eligible Children in Georgia

01/13/2011 www.silccongress.org/SILC_Congress_Sponsor.doc SILC Congress 2011, Bronze Plus Sponsors Georgia Advocacy Office

01/25/2011 Story of Nandi Isaacs’ Microboard and business supported by Employment First Georgia http://www.parentmentors.org/Family/index.php

01/27/2011 http://www.spinalcordinjury-paralysis.org/Multicultural_Outreach/blog/2011/01/27/dream-and-community-building-in-georgia “Dream and Community Building in Georgia” Blog by Robin Wilson-Beattie who attended the Georgia Winter Institute co-sponsored by the Georgia Advocacy Office

01/29/2011 TBISERV@list.nih.gov The Federal Traumatic Brain Injury and its technical assistance center congratulated the Georgia Advocacy Office on the tremendous work highlighted in the 12/09/10 National Public Radio article as part of its investigative series, Home or Nursing Home

02/23/2011 www.georgiacfi.org Letter to Commissioner Sharon Lewis, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services regarding Envision 2010 campaign and the Children’s Freedom Initiative, and the Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network

04/04/2011 http://childrensdisabilityrights.org/wordpress/?tag=childrens-medical-rights Children’s Medical Rights Education Association Request for assistance regarding Medicaid funds used for continence needs

04/08/2011 “11th Circuit EPSDT Case” Jane Perkins, National Health Law Program National Disability Rights Network Listservs

08/02/2011 “Featured microenterprise marketplace exhibitor: Just for You Card Art” www.tash.org

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)21
2. Additional individuals served during the year67
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)88
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 41

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility4
2. Employment6
3. Program access8
4. Housing7
5. Government benefits/services6
6. Transportation2
7. Education5
8. Assistive technology5
9. Voting0
10. Health care37
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights1
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse8
16. Neglect8
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor47
2. Other representation found1
3. Individual withdrew complaint0
4. Appeals unsuccessful0
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit1
9. Other0

Please explain

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-advocacy20
2. Short-term assistance7
3. Investigation/monitoring3
4. Negotiation17
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)2
8. Systemic/policy activities1

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 2210
3. 23 - 5968
4. 60 - 643
5. 65 and over7

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females43
2. Males45

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American36
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White50
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent44
2. Parental or other family home11
3. Community residential home2
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home16
6. Public institutional living arrangement2
7. Private institutional living arrangement2
8. Jail/prison/detention center6
9. Homeless1
10. Other living arrangements4
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

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

1. Blind/visual impairment3
2. Deaf/hard of hearing17
3. Deaf-blind1
4. Orthopedic impairment16
5. Mental illness5
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation1
8. Learning disability6
9. Neurological impairment22
10. Respiratory impairment3
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment4
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment5
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury3
16. Other disability2

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities5

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes1,456,812

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.

The GAO continues to host Employment First Georgia (EFG). EFG is a statewide resource promoting innovative, customized employment practices with new and existing providers. EFG works extensively throughout Georgia in collaboration with others, including Vocational Rehabilitation, to develop new strategies to improve systems for individuals with disabilities through conversion, best practices, and evidence-based supports. The GAO participates on the Statewide Transition Steering Committee sponsored by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia Department of Education, Division of Exceptional Services. In January, GAO and EFG hosted the first Discovering Jobs: Linking the Discovery Process to Employment for Youth Steering Committee Meeting. Discovering Jobs is a pilot created to address barriers to providing students with appropriate assessments to lead to employment. The Southeast Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (SE TACE) has facilitated the Steering Committee and its meetings. The Steering Committee developed a student profile form for schools and VR counselors to use to refer youth to the Steering Committee. Upon referral, the Steering Committee will discuss the available resources for the student, the students’ needs, and the necessary participants for this student’s success in obtaining customized employment. Then, EFG and GAO will meet with the students and their teams. EFG and GAO have already met with teams in 3 of the 4 counties participating in Discovering Jobs to introduce students to the concept of customized employment. The teams include the student, their families, their teachers, their transition coordinators, their VR counselors and unit managers, and potential employment service providers. Where the school and VR personnel were not prepared for the GAO and EFG to meet with students, we met with teachers, transition coordinators, and VR staff to ensure that they are familiar with Discovering Jobs and the referral process. GAO will provide individual advocacy to any of the students experiencing barriers to employment as they go through the process of receiving employment services from VR. As part of the referral process, students and their families will meet with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance programs (WIPA) often. They will meet with the WIPA before beginning the process, after the Discovery Process, before they earn any money, and after they begin to earn a salary. The WIPA is part of the Discovering Jobs Steering Committee. The Steering Committee spent much of the year identifying qualified providers of the Discovery Profile, an evidence-based best practice that increases an individual’s potential for finding meaningful employment. EFG and GAO are working across the state to build interest in providing quality services to people with the most significant impact of their disability. EFG is providing technical assistance to provider organizations on how to provide the Discovery Profile and customized employment. GAO is spearheading the efforts of a newly-formed stakeholder group to address “Access to Effective Communication.” This project has a multi-level approach: (1) Educate persons who are deaf/hard of hearing on their rights to access effective communication from their medical providers and (2) Educate medical providers/medical office managers on their responsibilities to provide effective communication to persons who are deaf/hard of hearing. We have developed a “Know Your Rights” card for persons who are deaf/hard of hearing to give their medical providers and we have also developed a brochure for medical providers that describe the responsibilities of the medical community to provide effective communication to persons who are deaf/hard of hearing. We have distributed approximately 200 of each brochure. The stakeholders involved in this group consist of representatives from the Georgia State ADA Coordinator’s Office, GACHI (Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired), Helen Keller National Center for the Blind, GAD (Georgia Association for the Deaf), interpreters, and hospital representatives. GAO is the lead partner on the Children’s Freedom Initiative (CFI) to ensure that all children live in permanent, loving homes, not in institutions. The CFI is a collaborative effort of the GAO, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD), the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), People First of Georgia, and the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). GAO has identified children in facilities, provided individual protection and advocacy, deflected institutional placement, provided technical assistance to facility administrators, state agencies, and child protection caseworkers regarding available community-based resources including early periodic screening and diagnostic testing (EPSDT), prepared necessary litigation, and provided oversight of discharge to homes in the community. GAO participates on the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and the Elderly, which includes American Red Cross, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund, Disability Resource Group, Emory Center for Public Health Preparedness, Georgia Division of Human Services, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, State ADA Coordinator’s Office, GCDD, Southeast ADA Center, the SILC, and Tools for Life. Participation in this coalition is changing the way emergency management professionals design emergency response systems for individuals with disabilities, reducing the risk they face during times of natural disaster and crisis. This year, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency Coalition dispersed 1,425 emergency preparedness brochures and 533 Tip Guides for First Responders. GAO is a member of the Unlock the Waiting List campaign to address the State’s failure to implement the Olmstead decision by its low number of community based supports available to people with disabilities, including people with traumatic brain injuries. Georgia underutilizes the Medicaid home and community-based services option and is 42nd in the nation in providing home and community based services, according to AARP. There are approximately 190,000 Georgians with disabilities who require assistance from a family member or caregiver every day, and thousands of people living in nursing facilities that would prefer to live in the community. The GAO, GCDD, IHDD, CLD, All About Developmental Disabilities, SILC, and People First of Georgia formed a committee with the goal of expanding community based supports and services for Georgians with disabilities. The Unlock campaign currently has over 300 member organizations and over 500 individual members throughout the state. The Legislature allocated 150 waivers for people moving out of state hospitals and 100 waivers for people currently residing in the community. Georgia will also provide family support for 1350 families to keep children with disabilities and traumatic brain injuries at home. The GAO collaborated with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Center for Leadership and Disability, and the Unlock the Waiting List Campaign to support 20 self-advocates and their families to speak to their state legislators regarding “visitability”/accessibility in housing, home and community-based services, voter rights, and other issues of significance to individuals with disabilities. The GAO hosted meetings involving self advocates, the collaborators, and ADAPT to prepare for self advocates day at the Capitol. Additionally, the GAO prepared written materials that were distributed at the event. GAO advocates assisted self advocates to speak with their legislators at the Capitol and to disseminate information related to Olmstead, the waiting list for services, and public transportation. The Concerned Transit Riders for Equal Access meet monthly to discuss solutions to the problems that individuals in Georgia who are dependent on public transportation face. The group is a collaboration of the Center for Independent Living in Atlanta and the Georgia Advocacy Office. MARTA officials are invited to discuss solutions to the complaints related to inaccessible transportation in metropolitan Atlanta. The group has encouraged riders to make formal complaints when ramps are broken, announcements are not made on the trains, and rides on the buses have been for extremely long periods of time. As a result of this advocacy, issues are becoming resolved. The Livable Communities Coalition is a diverse network of leaders, citizens, organizations, institutions, and businesses who all share a determination to work together to achieve quality growth for the Atlanta region. The GAO attended meetings regarding public transit and advocacy around promoting public transit statewide.

GAO negotiated with DeKalb Medical Center on behalf of a woman with deafness who was discriminated against by DeKalb Medical for their failure to provide a qualified sign language interpreter to her during her hospital stay. Specifically, DeKalb Medical wrote a letter of apology to the woman, trained its staff about effective communication with patients with hearing impairments, and also trained its staff regarding its policy for providing qualified interpreters and assistive communication devices for patients who are deaf/hard of hearing at no cost to the patient.

The GAO has collaborated with Disability Connections, the independent living center located in Middle Georgia, to provide advocacy with and for person who were in need of peer support to move out of nursing facilities and into the community. An employee from the independent living center met M.L. while he was staying at a nursing facility. M.L. worked in the construction business and lived with his son before being sent to the facility. M.L. did not receive active rehabilitation while in the nursing facility and lost his ability to walk. However, he was determined and began maintaining a personal exercise regimen. He began walking again, on his own.

He met peer supporters from the independent living center during outreach with the nursing facility. The independent living center assisted M.L. in obtaining community based services, obtaining documents required by the housing authority, reversing his representative payee financial situation, obtaining home furnishings and start up groceries, and paying the deposits associated with moving into a new apartment. M.L. moved into an apartment in middle Georgia. He enjoys reading at home and playing his guitar.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts6
2. Number of individuals named in class actions1,456,812

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.

GAO currently has two cases filed in federal court against Georgia’s Medicaid agency (DCH) regarding the provision of private duty nursing services to children who have medically complex conditions. In the first case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the both the treating physician and State have roles to play in determining what is medically necessary for Moore, a Medicaid-eligible child; and where there is disagreement, a trial in necessary. A trial date in that case has not been set. In the second case, the trial court recently allowed GAO to add four additional plaintiffs and to add claims regarding the manner in which DCH manages private duty nursing services for all Medicaid-eligible children, a claim under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to assert allegations for certifications as a class action.

On 10/19/10, the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement with the State to resolve all claims brought under US v. GA, in which the GAO was appointed amici. The Settlement Agreement resolves the Civil Rights Division’s complaint against the State of Georgia regarding the State’s failure to serve people with psychiatric and developmental disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

GAO filed suit against the State for systemic violations of GAO’s authority under the P&A Acts to have access to people in state-run hospitals, to their records, and to state hospital facilities, and also to information about people in services in the community. GAO and the State entered into a detailed partial settlement agreement that fully preserves GAO’s access authority and embodies unique training and dispute resolution components. The sole remaining issue in dispute is GAO’s access to peer review records, which are necessary to protect and advocate for people in institutions. GAO filed a motion requesting that the court enter a permanent injunction incorporating the settlement agreement and further barring the State from interfering with GAO’s access to peer review records. An evidentiary hearing following submissions of briefs is expected.

G.R. received 12 hours a day of ICWP services until she was hospitalized over 60 days. Because of that hospitalization, ICWP terminated her services and said she would have to go on the bottom of the waiting list to get services again. GAO appealed that decision and ICWP agreed to provide 10 hours a day of services to G.R. G.R. accepted this, but after a couple of months, she called GAO to say she still needed the additional 2 hours a day of services to reach the original 12 hours a day of services she received prior to her hospitalization. GAO then advocated for the additional 2 hours of services, but was told by the provider that Glenda could only receive those additional hours if she promised not to ask for anything else. GAO brought this to the attention of the Department of Community Health, who promptly rectified the situation and said that G.R. could receive the additional 2 hours a day (thus, totaling 12 hours a day. G.R. is satisfied with the amount of services she is receiving under ICWP.

A doctor refused to provide a sign language interpreter to S.V. GAO advocated on behalf of S.V. with the doctor, but the doctor was not cooperative. GAO then filed a complaint with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) on behalf of S.V. against the doctor. USDOJ assigned the complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta for investigation. GAO and S.V. met with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Atlanta to discuss the case. The U.S. Attorney’s office met with the doctor and he agreed to provide the following: 1. The doctor’s office will adopt a written policy stating that the office will ensure that persons who are deaf or hard of hearing have an equal opportunity to benefit from the services provided at that office. The policy must provide that, when the office has received notice that interpreting services or other auxiliary aids are necessary, the office will provide, at its expense, the services of a qualified interpreter or necessary aid. 2. The office will develop and implement a training program to ensure that all appropriate staff, including those responsible for answering the telephone and making appointments, receive training on the office’s written policy regarding auxiliary aids and services. The program will ensure that the office provides such training to its new personnel who will have contact with the public, within one week of their hire and to all appropriate office personnel at least once every year. 3. The office will post a notice in a conspicuous location in the waiting room and inside the office informing the public that auxiliary aids and services for persons with disabilities are available upon request. 4. The office will establish and maintain contracts to ensure qualified sign language interpreters are available when required.

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.

1. Identify and describe the priority.

The first priority is to protect individuals with disabilities in Georgia from abuse and neglect. Individuals with disabilities are vulnerable to mistreatment, exploitation and neglect. GAO investigates and, where possible, seeks to rectify the situation and ensure it does not recur.

2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.

Georgians with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization due to the lack of appropriate community-based services and supports. People who reside in congregate facilities are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, and even death. Children are at the greatest risk due to their heightened vulnerability. Community-based supports are needed to end the institutional bias in Georgia.

3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.

The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to investigate and positively address instances of abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities, especially children, reported to PAIR. To intervene to protect any persons with disabilities from circumstances of abuse and neglect, and to assist in their transfer to circumstances they prefer and in which abuse and neglect is less likely to occur.

4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration

The GAO receives Critical Incident Reports based upon reports from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Incident Management and Investigations Division received on a monthly basis. From those reports, we identify the incidents that require more depth in depth investigation. The GAO investigated incidents such as physical abuse, unexplained serious injuries, attempted suicides, medical neglect, exploitation, and deaths. The GAO also receives telephone calls, letters, and e-mails from family members, community partners, Ombudsmen, and disability advocates reporting abuse and neglect.

5. Cases under this priority numbered 11.

6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

As an example of the GAO’s investigations into abuse and neglect, GAO received a call from the mother of R.S., a child in first grade, who alleged that R.S. was sexually abused by an older student on the bus last year and this year. R. S.’s mother stated that R.S. reported the other child as having pulled his pants down and putting his finger(s) in his rear. R.S.’s mother filed a police report, reported the incidents to the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS), contacted his pediatrician, and contacted Center of Hope and Healing in Gainesville (to start play therapy for her son). DFCS conducted a forensics interview with R.S. DFCS’s investigation substantiated the abuse as child on child sexual assault (fondling). R.S.’s school put safeguards in place to ensure that this did not happen again. The school addressed the behaviors in the children’s behavior support plans. The perpetrator is being kept segregated from the general school population and is receiving counseling. R.S. is also receiving counseling.

The GAO met T.T. while he was living in a nursing facility. He clearly expressed his desire to leave the facility and was a very strong self advocate. Through the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program, T.T. was able to access the SOURCE program. Originally, the extra funds available through MFP were going to be used to purchase a power wheelchair for T.T. The GAO intervened and informed T.T. and the MFP caseworker that once in the community, T.T. would likely be approved by Medicaid for a power wheelchair. This allowed T.T. to use the additional money from MFP to pay deposits on rent and utilities and move out quickly. T.T. is currently receiving six hours a day of supports and enjoying life outside of the nursing facility. 1. Identify and describe the priority.

The second priority is to address instances of discrimination and legal rights violations against persons with disabilities.

Discrimination persists through disdain and fear, but also through indifference and the failure to accommodate. This priority seeks to remedy discrimination against persons with disabilities by state and local government and by the private sector in the areas of healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. Also, this priority seeks to remedy legal rights violations against persons with disabilities who are subject to fiduciary relationships against their will.

2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.

Priority 2 addresses the need of individuals with disabilities to be free from overt discrimination or the failure to provide requested reasonable accommodations in government services, and public accommodations. Persons with disabilities are subject to discrimination in essential services and domains of life, particularly with respect to healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. Public and private accommodations need to be accessible and free from discriminatory policies and practices in order for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to participate fully in their communities. People with disabilities are more likely to have their rights restricted based upon the perception that they are not able to make decisions regarding their own lives.

3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.

The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to investigate and reverse the effects of reliable reports of overt deprivation of fundamental rights for individuals; to avert discrimination against persons with disabilities by achieving equal opportunities from employers, housing providers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, public entities, and public accommodations through reasonable accommodations and removal of policy barrier; and to obtain appropriate restitution for persons with disabilities who have suffered from financial abuse.

4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.

GAO is spearheading the efforts of a newly-formed stakeholder group to address “Access to Effective Communication.” This project has a multi-level approach: (1) Educate persons who are deaf/hard of hearing on their rights to access effective communication from their medical providers and (2) Educate medical providers/medical office managers on their responsibilities to provide effective communication to persons who are deaf/hard of hearing. We have developed a “Know Your Rights” card for persons who are deaf/hard of hearing to give their medical providers and we have also developed a brochure for medical providers that describes the responsibilities of the medical community to provide effective communication to persons who are deaf/hard of hearing. We have distributed approximately 200 of each brochure. The stakeholders involved in this group consist of representatives from the Georgia State ADA Coordinator’s Office, GACHI (Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired), Helen Keller National Center for the Blind, GAD (Georgia Association for the Deaf), interpreters, and hospital representatives. The GAO also collaborated with the Georgia State ADA Coordinator to address the legal issues surrounding public transportation, private transportation, and rights violations experienced by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who request sign language interpreters in court proceedings and jails. The GAO also collaborated with the U.S. Attorney’s office to address rights violations in medical facilities such as doctor’s offices and hospitals refusing to provide individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who request sign language interpreters.

5. Cases under this priority numbered 30.

6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

The GAO received a complaint from T.O., a person confined in a state prison, stating that he was supposed to get his enzymes with each nutritional supplement every hour or so, as well as with meals. T.O. stated that he was only getting enzymes with meals and that he was losing weight rapidly. GAO brought this to the attention of the prison. GAO then reviewed T.O.’s medication records, which indicated that he was receiving his enzymes timely. T.O. also said that he was concerned about leakage from his old feeding tube site. GAO brought this to the attention of the facility medical director. The situation was assessed by a surgeon and T.O. received a resection of a gastro-cutaneous fistula and the situation was remedied.

T.S. contacted the GAO because she was told not to return to the Georgia School for the Deaf (GSD) after she served a 3-day suspension. GAO contacted GSD and the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE)regarding the following violations they committed against T.S.: 1. Denial of FAPE when T.S. was removed from GSD; 2. GSD’s failure to hold a manifestation determination review even though GSD’s removal of T.S. constituted a change in placement; 3. GSD’s failure to provide written notice in a reasonable time before GSD proposed to change T.S.’s placement and FAPE; and 4. GSD’s failure to convene an IEP meeting to determine appropriate services to T.S. as her removal from GSD was for more than 10 days. The GDOE (who oversees GSD) immediately contacted GAO and stated that they would ensure T.S.’s return to GSD and that she would receive compensatory instruction for the time she missed school and that transportation would be provided for T.S. to return to GSD. T.S. returned to GSD within a week of GAO’s letter to GSD and GDOE regarding their violations.

D.T. and his wife were in the process of adopting a child out of the country. One of the adoption requirements was that the adoptive parents needed to provide fingerprints so a background check could be run. Due to D.T.’s disability, he was not able to open his hands wide enough to get clear fingerprints The GBI and the FBI recognized this and provided documentation as such and also provided the criminal background checks they had run on D.T. However, the adoption agency refused to go forward with the adoption process because they thought they may be cited by the Georgia Department of Human Services (their regulatory agency) for failure to meet the ’requirement’ that fingerprints must be on file. GAO advocated on D.T.’s behalf with both the adoption agency and the attorney for the Georgia Department of Human Services to ensure that the adoption agency would go forward in the adoption process despite the fact that he did not provide fingerprints and was successful.

1. Identify and describe the priority.

The third priority is to promote self-determination and integration of persons with disabilities in the community. GAO seeks to support persons with disabilities and families to apply for home and community-based supports and other government services. GAO also supports persons with disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens to advocate for competitive employment, education, healthcare and other services that are appropriate to the person’s needs.

2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.

Priority 3 addresses the need of people to live fully integrated lives in their communities. Persons with disabilities have been continually isolated and segregated from the community. Starting when they are young, they are placed in classes separate from everyone else. It continues when opportunities to be in the community are limited because of inaccessibility. Most significantly, too many persons with disabilities are isolated in nursing facilities or other congregate settings away from life in the community. The best safeguard for individuals with disabilities is to be involved and connected with their communities.

3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.

The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to support graduates from the Parent Leadership Support Project to advocate on behalf of children throughout Georgia to obtain an inclusive education, to support individuals and concerned citizens to obtain equal opportunities from employers, housing providers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, and to support individuals and concerned citizens to obtain home and community-based supports for individuals to live and fully participate in their communities.

4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.

The GAO continues to sponsor the Parent Leadership Support Project (PLSP). PLSP was created to increase the capacity of the community to respond to students with disabilities being excluded from the neighborhood classroom and denied high quality instruction. The project has graduated 215 trained advocates who are assisting students with disabilities throughout the State and has had a positive direct impact on at least 2200 families in 100 counties. The graduates created an Advisory Council this year to facilitate future training, systemic advocacy, and continuing education. The Advisory Council also participated in Social Role Valorization training.

The GAO participates on the State Advisory Panel (SAP) of the State of Georgia in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004. The Panel provides policy guidance with respect to special education and related services for children with disabilities in the State. The GAO supported a self-advocate, the first individual with autism, to be appointed by the Governor to the SAP this year.

Also, the GAO continues to support the Georgia Microboard Association led Ms. Nancy Vara. The group meets monthly to discuss the creation and sustainability of microboards to support individuals with disabilities. Microboards provide an alternative to the traditional provider network. Individuals, most of whom are beneficiaries of Social Security, have started their own businesses through the support of the Georgia Microboard Association. The GAO provides the group with information about leveraging resources such as Vocational Rehabilitation services and Medicaid waivers.

5. Cases handled under this priority numbered 9.

6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

J.M.’s family contacted GAO for assistance in arranging appropriate supports and services for J.M. at home upon his discharge from the hospital, so that he would not have to enter a nursing facility. GAO provided short term assistance and ensured that J.M.’s family and the hospital social worker submitted an application for SOURCE services. SOURCE services were approved and Medicaid also approved services for J.M. to have in-home care during the week so that J.M. could live at home with appropriate services and supports and his family could continue to work at their full-time jobs. The GAO advocated for P.B., an individual with a neurological disorder that results in short term memory loss, to maintain his long-time employment with a Kroger grocery store. Specifically, GAO advocated for P.B. to be placed in a department within the store that had limited customer interaction and that limited highly technical and fast-paced duties. The store management had scheduled P.B. to work on the express register, which was fast-paced and sometimes had customers who thought that P.B. was not going ’fast enough’ on the register. The GAO advocated on behalf of P.B. at a meeting with P.B., his parents, the store manager, and the Kroger Atlanta area Training and Development Manager to structure P.B.’s job duties in a way that enabled him to successfully perform his job. S.B. contacted the GAO to request assistance in advocating for Athens Clarke County to make certain requested documents available in accessible format due to her vision impairment. The GAO advocated on behalf of S.B. by writing the county a letter educating them on the ADA and requesting the documents in accessible format. The county responded favorably and agreed to provide the documents in accessible format.

GAO supported the Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett STOPP) to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education against Gwinnett County Public Schools, alleging the school system’s contract with the state to improve student performance is discriminatory. The complaint alleges that the methodology used in the contract between the county and the state to establish increased aggregate performance targets over a five-year period is discriminatory for each sub-group of students because it compares sub-groups against themselves while students with disabilities are held to separate flattened performance targets. The complaint alleges that having different academic standards for sub-groups amount to state-sponsored segregation in public schools. GAO provided support in framing the issues in the OCR complaint, provided legal research and technical assistance in drafting the complaint, as well as support in the filing of the complaint.

GAO provided technical assistance in self advocacy to a woman who was discriminated against by the Delta airline company at their Rome airport counter. Specifically, GAO informed E.V. of what it believed she could reasonably obtain in remedies and offered to review a letter E.V. wrote to Delta and to be carbon copied on the letter. A PLSP graduate successfully advocated for Fulton County Public Schools to change their policy of releasing students with disabilities from instructional time earlier than students without disabilities in order to be provided with special transportation as required by their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The volunteer advocate ensured that Fulton County Public Schools recognize that all children should have the opportunity to attend a full school day and participate in the end of day educational activities that are critical components for academic social, and emotional development.

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

A. Priority 1: Protect individuals with disabilities in Georgia from abuse and neglect.

Objective 1: Investigate and address allegations of abuse or neglect, including the suspicious or unexplained deaths of persons with disabilities.

Objective 2. Advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services for persons with disabilities residing in facilities, with a focus on monitoring the State’s compliance with Olmstead and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

B. Needs

Georgians with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization due to the lack of community-based services and supports. People who reside in congregate facilities are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, and even death. Children are at the greatest risk due to their heightened vulnerability. Community-based supports are needed to end the institutional bias in Georgia.

C. Activities

GAO monitors state hospitals, nursing facilities, and private residential treatment facilities. GAO responds to calls involving community-based services including community living arrangements, sheltered shops, and other day services. Children and other individuals residing in facilities will be considered more vulnerable than those living in community settings and will receive priority response from GAO. The Investigations Team will investigate deaths and cases of severe abuse and neglect against people with disabilities. GAO will identify people on the waiting list for community-based services and advocate for the provision of these services. GAO will seek the full range of remedies for individuals through protection and advocacy from abuse and neglect.

Priority 2

A. Priority 2: To respond to allegations of discrimination and legal rights violations of persons with disabilities.

Objective 1: Advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services, including healthcare and educational, for people with disabilities at risk of institutionalization.

Objective 2: Advocate for people with disabilities subject to legal rights violations and discrimination in any of the following areas: fiduciary relationships, local and state government, healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment.

B. Needs

People with disabilities often face discrimination in areas such as healthcare, transportation, housing, and employment. People need to be free from overt discrimination or the failure to provide requested reasonable accommodations in government services and public accommodations. Public accommodations need to be accessible and free from discriminatory policies and practices in order for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to participate fully in their communities. Additionally, persons with disabilities can be subjected to financial exploitation by family members or acquaintances or by other persons upon whom they are dependent.

C. Activities

GAO will seek the full range of remedies for individuals who have been subjected to discrimination and rights violations. GAO will address discrimination in healthcare, transportation, housing and employment by negotiation, mediation, and litigation. GAO refers individuals to and hosts Employment First Georgia which is a collaborative effort that seeks to protect and empower individuals through real employment opportunities. GAO advocates for and collaborates with Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia Legal Services Program, the State ADA Coordinator, and private attorneys to assist people whose rights are being violated and who are being subject to fiduciary relationships.

Priority 3

A. Priority 3: Promote the integration and self-determination of persons with disabilities in the community.

Objective 1: Support people with disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens to advocate for competitive employment, educational, healthcare, and other services that are appropriate to the person’s needs.

Objective 2: Recruit ordinary citizens to advocate for the full inclusion of Georgians with disabilities in their communities.

B. Needs

Persons with disabilities have been continually isolated and segregated from the community. Starting when they are young, they are placed in classes separate from everyone else. It continues when opportunities to be in the community are limited because of inaccessibility. Most significantly, too many persons with disabilities are isolated in nursing facilities or other congregate settings away from life in the community. The best safeguard for individuals with disabilities is to be involved and connected with their communities.

C. Activities

GAO will provide training and technical assistance to the more than 200 Parent Leadership Support Project (PLSP) graduates located throughout the state who advocate on behalf of students receiving special education services. GAO refers families that contact GAO to PLSP graduates who successfully obtain inclusive education for students each year. GAO supports individuals to participate in ADAPT, the largest national grassroots organization of people with disabilities. Through information and referrals, GAO provides information to individuals about their human and legal rights to ensure that individuals secure the accommodations and services that they are entitled to under the law. GAO also assists individuals and families in applying for community-based supports and refers individuals and families to local independent living centers for information about transitioning into community life.

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. Source of Funding

Federal (section 509): Amount Received = 478,934 Federal (section 509): Amount Spent = 552,341 State: Amount Received = 0 State: Amount Spent = 0 Program income: Amount Received = 0 Program income: Amount Spent = 0 Private: Amount Received = 0 Private: Amount Spent = 0 All other funds: Amount Received = 0 All other funds: Amount Spent = 0 Total (from all sources): Amount Received = 478,934 Total (from all sources): Amount Spent = 552,341

B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report

Wages/salaries: Prior Fiscal Year = 296,192 Wages/salaries: Current Fiscal Year = 349,731 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc): Prior Fiscal Year = 66,384 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc): Current F/Y= 79,608 Materials/supplies: Prior Fiscal Year = 5,000 Materials/supplies: Current Fiscal Year = 5,823 Postage: Prior Fiscal Year = 600 Postage: Current Fiscal Year = 956 Telephone: Prior Fiscal Year = 5,210 Telephone: Current Fiscal Year = 6,960 Rent: Prior Fiscal Year = 35,000 Rent: Current Fiscal Year = 31,678 Travel: Prior Fiscal Year = 24,000 Travel: Current Fiscal Year = 18,516 Copying: Prior Fiscal Year = 1,450 Copying: Current Fiscal Year = 1,123 Bonding/insurance: Prior Fiscal Year = 3,500 Bonding/insurance: Current Fiscal Year = 400 Equipment (rent/purchase): Prior Fiscal Year = 7,000 Equipment (rent/purchase): Current Fiscal Year = 1,553 Legal Services: Prior Fiscal Year = 25,400 Legal Services: Current Fiscal Year = $22,571 Indirect costs: Prior Fiscal Year = 0 Indirect costs: Current Fiscal Year = 0 Miscellaneous: Prior Fiscal Year = 20,424 Miscellaneous: Current Fiscal Year = 33,422 Total Budget: Prior Fiscal Year = 490,160 Total Budget: Current Fiscal Year = 552,341

C. Description of PAIR Staff

Professional position: 14 FTE filled 100% of year Professional full-time positions: 12 FTE, 12 person-years Professional part-time positions: 2 FTE, 1 person-year Professional vacant positions: 5 FTE, 1 person-year Clerical position: 5 FTE filled 100% of year Clerical full-time positions: 5 FTE, 5 person-years Clerical part-time positions: 0 FTE, 0 person-years Clerical vacant positions: 0 FTE, 0 person-years

Josh Norris is the Director of Legal Advocacy. He has been with GAO for seven years. He supervises all legal advocacy at the GAO and coordinates with program staff regarding targeted advocacy strategies.

Crystal Beelner is the Director of Program Accountability and an attorney. She has been with GAO for nine years. She has experience in employment discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Denise Quigley is the Director of Resource Advocacy. She has been with GAO for fourteen years.

Naomi Walker works part of her time as a PAIR attorney. She has been with GAO for seventeen years and has extensive experience in Assistive Technology litigation and Medicaid law.

Leslie Lipson is an attorney who has been with GAO for ten years. She specializes in education law and devoted a portion of her time this year to the coordination and continued development of the Parent Leadership Support Project (PLSP).

Julie Kegley is the PAIR attorney who has been with the GAO for three years. She has expertise in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues and nursing facility issues. She comes from the Virginia protection and advocacy system where she specialized in special education and worked with the Client Assistance Program.

Nicole Smith is an advocate who has been with GAO for seven years. She works part of her time for PAIR clients, especially those in nursing facilities and personal care homes.

The Comptroller and his assistant, all members of the Administrative Support team, as well as the Executive Director have all contributed to and participated in support for the PAIR program.

D. Involvement with Advisory Boards

GAO serves on the following boards and committees: Georgia’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, the State Traumatic Brain Injury Steering Committee, Unlock the Waiting List Steering Committee, Employment First Georgia Steering Committee, National Disability Rights Network Employment Committee, National Disability Rights Network Continuing Education & Self-Advocacy Committee, Money Follows the Person Stakeholders Committee, and GAO is an advisor to People First of Georgia.

E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure

GAO did not receive any grievances filed under the grievance procedure.

F. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program and the State Longterm Care Program

The GAO has limited interaction with the Client Assistance Program (CAP). The GAO has invited the CAP to meet to learn about the GAO’s work with Vocational Rehabilitation Services and how the two organizations, located within blocks of one another, can work together to leverage services for those that the Rehab Act was specifically written to assist. The GAO serves on several Boards and Committees at the local, state, and national levels related to employment representing the protection and advocacy system.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByCrystal Beelner, JD
TitleProgram Director
Signed Date12/21/2011