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

Florida (Disability Rights Florida) - H240A120010 - FY2012

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 areas1,938
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas0
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)1,938

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff21
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)1,181

PAIR staff participated in a round table at the 2012 Florida Emergency Preparedness Association (FEPA) Annual Meeting regarding compliance with the Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) guidance developed by FEMA. Training and technical assistance was provided on responding to requested reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities and facility accessibility in the shelter. Panel included staff from FEMA, local Center for Independent Living, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Health and Department of Justice. Of particular interest to the county emergency managers was requirements and responsibility of providing requested reasonable accommodation. Approximately 150 emergency managers attended. A PAIR senior attorney was a panelist for the American with Diabetes Association Safe at School Campaign’s “Advocating for the Rights of Students with Diabetes” webinar. This webinar provided Protection and Advocacy attorneys and other legal professionals with the information and resources needed to assist the parents of school-aged children with diabetes facing discrimination at school through a variety of methods and tools ranging from education and negotiation to litigation and legislation. Approximately 30 people attended the webinar.

PAIR staff presented in English and Spanish training in the 10 Steps to Effective Self Advocacy at the 2012 Family Cafe. The 23 participants were educated in self-advocacy techniques.

PAIR staff collaborated in developing a training seminar on the new 2010 ADA accessible standards and regulations. Two hundred registered participants attended the 2012 ADA Symposium. Information and training covered on the new 2010 Standards, Fair Housing Act, FDOT regulations and Florida Building Code.

PAIR staff provided training on conflict resolution techniques at the statewide staff meeting of VR technicians, counselors, supervisors, district administrators and state office employees of Division of Blind Services. Training stressed client rights and DBS and VR staff’s professional role to fully evaluate client requests through information gathering and partnership. Presentation to 70 participants also reviewed the National RSA 911 data on RT/AT services provided nationally by combined blind and VR agencies.

PAIR staff conducted a statewide disability rights training on navigating the IEP process, self-advocacy, transition, discipline, Progress Monitoring and how to more effectively participate in IEP and other related meetings. Training had 74 participants in attendance and was also made available for webcast by USF to parents, who could not attend in person (approximately 200). PAIR staff presented a workshop to 50 individuals on disability sensitivity in collaboration with the City of Jacksonville at the 1st Annual ADA Symposium in Jacksonville. The overall Symposium focused on Title II and Title III of the Florida Accessibility Code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was an Educational Opportunity and Continuing Educational Credits on ADA Accessibility. PAIR training was provided to families who are members of the Arthritis Foundation, Florida Chapter, regarding 504 and IDEA educational supports/options. Approximately 50 families attended and received instruction regarding educational options for children with Juvenile Arthritis.

PAIR staff presented to a parent support group at Broward CHADD. Parents received training and technical assistance on accommodations under IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Presentation also provided an overview of updates to Fla. Statutes, covering assistive technology, restraints and seclusion and McKay Scholarship. Attendance was 12.

PAIR Attorneys provided training in administrative appeals to assist clients and family members in self-representation. Materials included the Advocacy 101 manual, a short version of the manual, step-by-step training guide, Powerpoint presentation, and handouts. There were 27 participants.

PAIR staff provided training to families in Bay County with information regarding inclusion, LRE, and ESE support and services for their children in the public school. The PAIR program has received many calls with questions from this area and parents requested training on these issues. Approximately 25 attended.

PAIR conducted training to 3 individuals at the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), an independent, nonprofit membership organization of special education attorneys, special education advocates, other professionals, and parents/family members at their 2012 Annual Conference. Topics included knowledge of protections under the law, advocacy strategy, and educational best practices; an important part of leveling the playing field and enabling parents to meaningfully participate in their child’s educational programs.

PAIR staff provided a thirty minute training to members of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) on federal causes of action and potential pitfalls. Goal was to provide basic understanding of federal causes of action regarding Medicaid provisions and potential pitfalls of such actions. Approximately attendance was 50.

PAIR provided training to Heart & Hope Statewide Family Conference, a group designed to bring together individuals who are at risk, families who have children with disabilities, and the professionals that serve them. Training provided 8 attendees with awareness in regard to their options and rights that are available to them within the school system and beyond.

PAIR Intake staff presented "Hitting the High Note- Increase Your Knowledge of Disability Resources and Etiquette by Several Octaves" at the 34th I&R Annual Training and Education Conference in New Orleans. Training was in collaboration with the Vermont Center for Independent Living. Training goal was to increase knowledge of disability specific information and resources including NDRN and state affiliates, CIL programs, Tech Act Projects, and VR for I&R professionals which included Military I&R, 2-1-1 and I&R Helpline Systems and Aging and Disability Resource Centers. Fifty (50) persons attended the training.

PAIR staff prepared a workshop on developing and maintaining a personal budget. It was presented to 14 individuals. PAIR staff worked in conjunction with a Hancock Bank representative. Training objective was educating participants on how to better manage their money and to build and maintain financial independence.

PAIR provided training to parents and guardians at the 14th Annual Family Café on manifestation determinations, functional behavior assessments and positive behavior intervention plans. Training focused on the problem of students with challenging behavior spending more time out of the classroom and missing out on important instructional time. Many students are suspended for manifestations of their disability and the function of their behavior is often misunderstood. This presentation focused on the student’s behavior and when to request a Functional Behavior Assessment and Positive Behavior Intervention Plan. Also covered was how to draft a meaningful positive Behavior Intervention Plan. Attendance was 50.

PAIR staff developed and presented at the 14th Annual Family Café on information about the current use of restraint and seclusion in school, data and updates of SP&P. Discussion focused on practices, policies, state law and what you need to know to protect your child. Current policies, technical assistance papers and ways to ensure your district is complying with keeping your child safe were included. The presentation also informed participants of the state law and status of the federal law. The presentation allowed for open dialogue between presenter and approximately 25 participants.

PAIR staff developed a presentation for the 14th Annual Family Café which focused on the number of disability-related issues facing Veterans including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Sexual Abuse, and Substance Abuse. The presentation provided a roadmap to the many resources that can help. Presentation was attended by veterans and agencies that serve veterans. Training was attended by 25 individuals.

PAIR staff collaborated with critical partners in the transition community to provide a presentation entitled “Shelby Nurse--From Pre-K to College: A Real- Life Transition Success Story”. Presentation was at the National Transition Conference and covered changes in the systems of support and protections such as the Rehabilitation Act., Olmstead v. L.C. and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Presenters shared transition practices that lead to improved employment outcomes and self-sufficiency for young people with disabilities. Training attended by 15 individuals.

PAIR presented “When The Team Can’t Come to Consensus, What’s Next?” at 14th Annual Family Cafe. Training focused on miscommunications that can often lead to IEP break down. Parents need to understand how to resolve disagreements and the benefit of mediation as a tool for conflict resolution. Due Process is not always a viable solution. This presentation covered how to work toward resolving disagreements between the parent and the school. Presentation also addressed informal conflict resolution and mediation, State Complaints, and Office of Civil Rights Complaints with a goal to provide knowledge to parents and legal guardians regarding conflict resolution and Due Process Hearings. The presentation allowed for open dialogue between presenter and 30 participants.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff3
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles1
3. PSAs/videos aired184
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website140,539
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated52,700
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

200 Facebook postings by the agency with 1, 352 FB followers. National Public Radio paid spots in morning drive time and in run of schedule — 184 radio spots reaching approximately 433, 820 individuals. YouTube videos — Ten Steps to Self-Advocacy with 332 viewers Interview of Disability Rights Executive Director on Comcast Television — 49 viewers.

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)72
2. Additional individuals served during the year218
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)290
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)10

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 72

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility8
2. Employment5
3. Program access0
4. Housing41
5. Government benefits/services26
6. Transportation25
7. Education104
8. Assistive technology41
9. Voting0
10. Health care20
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services2
13. Privacy rights15
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse11
16. Neglect6
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor171
2. Other representation found3
3. Individual withdrew complaint34
4. Appeals unsuccessful5
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
6. PAIR withdrew from case4
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources1
8. Individual case lacks legal merit14
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-advocacy79
2. Short-term assistance55
3. Investigation/monitoring39
4. Negotiation44
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution2
6. Administrative hearings11
7. Litigation (including class actions)2
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 - 2293
3. 23 - 59137
4. 60 - 6419
5. 65 and over40

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females156
2. Males134

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race44
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian3
4. Black or African American39
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White187
7. Two or more races4
8. Race/ethnicity unknown7

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent172
2. Parental or other family home91
3. Community residential home4
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home8
6. Public institutional living arrangement3
7. Private institutional living arrangement4
8. Jail/prison/detention center5
9. Homeless3
10. Other living arrangements0
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 impairment24
2. Deaf/hard of hearing34
3. Deaf-blind3
4. Orthopedic impairment68
5. Mental illness50
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation2
8. Learning disability27
9. Neurological impairment33
10. Respiratory impairment12
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment9
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment18
13. Speech impairment5
14. AIDS/HIV2
15. Traumatic brain injury3
16. Other disability0

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities13

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes500,000

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.

PAIR has contacted several of the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in an effort to work together on issues that can be better identified at the local level. Often, the CIL is in a better position to communicate with clients that might not contact the P&A, but the CIL doesn’t always have the resources, either financial or manpower, to address their concerns. Our staff began with the largest CIL in the state, the South Florida CIL in Miami and we’ve had three meetings over the past six months. Topics of these meetings have been disaster awareness, housing, paratransit, accessibility issues, and voting rights. The agencies have collaborated on letters to state entities and we have provided technical assistance on two of their projects. In the coming months, we plan to expand our focus to other CILs throughout the state.

PAIR staff participated in Hurricane Access exercise. Sponsored by Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, Hurricane Access was a unique exercise which served as an opportunity for stakeholder agencies and organizations charged with providing (Functional Needs Support Services) assistance to disabled, transportation disadvantaged, senior citizens and limited or non-English speaking residents to work with local county emergency management officials to gain a thorough working knowledge of actions that will need to be taken prior to, during and following a category two hurricane striking their county.

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. A key focus of FPP’s and the REI Tour’s education and outreach is at tax time. Every year, persons with disabilities are entitled to millions of dollars of unclaimed earned income tax credits and child tax credits. For the fourth 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 during the upcoming tax season.

PAIR staff serves on the Jacksonville Mayor’s Council on Disabilities (MDC). The purpose of the Council is to bring awareness of disability rights issues to city officials. The Council typically meets monthly. The Council discussions include the organization of disability services within city government, violations in use of handicapped parking spaces, “Employee of the Quarter” recognitions of persons with disabilities in the local community, hikes in transportation fares and advocating for employment of people with disabilities.

DOE initiated rulemaking in the fall of 2010 concerning students with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and asthma as required by 2010 legislation. PAIR Senior Attorney has represented Disability Rights Florida throughout this rulemaking process. In response to stakeholders’ continued concerns regarding the diabetes-related portion of DOE’s proposed rule, DOE withdrew its proposed rule. It then restarted the rulemaking process with new proposed rules including one addressing only diabetes. The first public hearing concerning the new proposed diabetes rule was held on January 24, 2012. PAIR Senior Attorney participated. The Senior Attorney suggested the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) issue a technical assistance paper to the district and post on their website to guide the districts on the requirements of the 2010 diabetes legislation, while the lengthy rulemaking process continues. FLDOE agreed to consider it. Senior Attorney was informed by a FLDOE representative that they have drafted a white paper on the topic and that it is in the approval process. Senior Attorney continues to collaborate with the American Diabetes Association on the rule making.

PAIR staff monitored pediatric nursing homes to determine quality of care, least restrictive setting, appropriate screenings and information regarding the recent push to eliminate the bed caps at these facilities. Monitoring tools have been developed and visits to pediatric nursing homes have begun. There is ongoing collaboration with experts in the area and with the Department of Justice.

PAIR staff served on an interagency committee to develop emergency planning assistance for emergency planners on vulnerable populations. Participated in the following subcommittees: (1) Vulnerable populations subcommittee. Identified needs of vulnerable populations; developed a website available to local emergency planners with regard to vulnerable populations including developmentally disabled, mental illness, physical disability, non-English speaking, low income, elderly populations; and (2) Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) Policy Subcommittee. Developed policy as guidance for local emergency management to be compliant with DOJ requirements and FEMA Functional Needs document.

PAIR staff participated in several activities related to emergency preparedness to include (1) monitoring implementation of Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) whitepaper (2) providing policy guidance to lawmakers and other stakeholders; (3) disseminating emergency planning information so that persons with disabilities can prepare for disasters; (4) assessing and ensuring ADA accessibility of shelters; (5) collaborating with and providing technical assistance to Florida Division of Emergency Management, local Community Organizations Active in Disaster, and County Emergency Managers; (6) continuing involvement and providing assistance to NDRN project of developing technical assistance, a listserv; and (7) PAIR staff served as a contact to NDRN for Region 4. Staff monitored FEMA activities related to two storms (Hurricane Isaac and Tropical Storm Debby).

PAIR receives letters from prisoners in state and federal prisons in Florida. PAIR staff evaluated the issues raised by the letters to determine if any matters are related to a person’s disability and provide information and referral or advocacy, as appropriate.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts2,127
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. FINR - The Florida Institute of Neurologic Rehabilitation refused access to PAIR staff investigators during an abuse and neglect investigation. Specifically, FINR refused to release the names of the residents and their guardians, disallowed communication in many cases between the residents and our agency, and refused to allow our investigator access to certain parts of their facility. The agency filed suit in federal court alleging violations of the PAIR Act. After an initial hearing, both parties agreed on a settlement that stipulated: FINR would allow unrestricted communication between residents and Disability Rights Florida; FINR would provide the list of guardians to Disability Rights Florida; and FINR would allow unrestricted, unaccompanied access to our staff members when they are investigating abuse or neglect. This settlement affects all present and future residents of FINR and allows us to continue the ability to investigate at that facility.

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: 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. Indicators: PAIR worked to protect individuals with disabilities from abuse and neglect through investigating complaints of abuse of adults with disabilities in public and private facilities, including forensic programs, jails, detention centers and prisons, reduced the unnecessary incarceration of persons with disabilities utilizing strategies that increase opportunities for early identification, intervention and community case management, investigated 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, investigated complaints of neglect of youth with disabilities in facilities and community settings, including juvenile justice facilities, foster care, competency restoration programs and educational settings.

Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system-wide reform and compliance.

Number of cases: 13

Cases of Note:

LS is an adult with MS who was incarcerated in a county jail. Her husband contacted PAIR requesting assistance obtaining needed medications for his wife while she was incarcerated. The PAIR staff contacted the jail and spoke with the medical providers. PAIR staff then worked with the staff and with the client’s family to identify the steps necessary to ensure that the client received the appropriate medical care. The client ultimately was released to probation and the family was provided local referral information for medication resources.

The client, MG, is an adult who was in a county jail. His mother contacted PAIR and reported that her son was having uncontrolled seizures and the jail was not properly caring for his illness. PAIR staff investigated this report and found some discrepancies in his medical records at the jail. This was discussed with jail staff and the client’s medical care was correctly arranged and condition stabilized.

VC is an adult diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome residing in a private nursing home. Her disability is primarily neurological in nature and requires extensive physical and occupational therapy. A report was received that VC’s OT/PT services had been discontinued, likely due to the lack of insurance coverage. Our staff worked with the facility to renew the therapies.

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. Indicators: PAIR investigated complaints of violations of the rights of adults with disabilities in facilities, complaints of violations of rights of youth with disabilities in facilities, implemented 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, pursued 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, expanded residential options for persons with disabilities, especially persons not PAIMI eligible with severe and persistent psychiatric disabilities to expand the opportunity for individual choice in living options rather than reliance on institutionalized settings, investigated complaints regarding inadequate access for persons with disabilities in both physical settings and program participation, including failure to provide access to assistive technology, advocated 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. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system-wide reform and compliance.

Number of cases for Priority 2 and Priority 5: 159

Cases of Note:

LL is a 45 year old person who is deaf and requested assistance with an accommodation from her physician. She contacted PAIR after attempting to schedule a new patient appointment with a new physician and was denied an interpreter. A PAIR advocate was assigned. After a detailed explanation of the need for effective communication and some negotiation, the physician’s office manager granted the request and provided LL with an interpreter at her next appointment.

The parent of EB, a student with diabetes, was an honor student prohibited from taking a full load of classes appropriate to EB’s abilities because of failing FCAT scores the previous spring. The parent tried unsuccessfully to have the FCAT score voided because contrary to the 504 Plan, EB had been required to take the spring 2011 FCAT when EB’s blood sugar was out of range. PAIR advocate successfully negotiated the removal of EB from remedial reading and math courses as well as voiding the 2011 FCAT scores after proving the district failed to follow EB’s 504 Plan. Improvements were made to the 504 Plan to address the related issue of how long a recovery time EB is to be provided prior to resuming testing if hypo or hyper glycaemia occurred before or during an academic test.

AC is a 70 year-old-male who is a person with a neurological disability. He contacted PAIR regarding a Fair Housing Act and an ADA Title II violation when he was denied a request for accommodation to install a low threshold door at his home. PAIR staff conducted an investigation and provided assistance that resulted in him receiving a variance to the county ordinance that was preventing him from having the door installed.

PB is a 48 year-old-female who is a person with a physical disability. She contacted PAIR regarding a Section 8 housing related matter when she was asked to move from her 2 bedroom accessible apartment to a 1 bedroom inaccessible unit. PAIR staff conducted an investigation and provided assistance that resulted in her being able to stay in her already modified and accessible apartment.

The client was a 52 year old male with physical disabilities, including terminal cancer. He contacted PAIR in regards to the lack of wheelchair access across the Manasota Beach Bridge in Sarasota County due to the lack of curb cuts onto the pedestrian sidewalk. PAIR staff intervened and obtained the immediate attention of the Sarasota County employees who were able to assess, plan and implement the curb cuts in a relatively quick time frame. The client was able to finally cross the bridge using his wheelchair safely and on the pedestrian sidewalk.

PW is a 58 year old female with visual disabilities who contacted PAIR when her ADA paratransit services were not meeting all of her transportation needs, specifically she could not get to work. The ADA paratransit could not provide a short distance portion of her trip to her job and she was not eligible for the Transportation Disadvantaged program due to the priority listing. PAIR staff advocated on her behalf and she appealed the decision and was granted approval to be able to obtain transportation to her place of employment.

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. Indicators: PAIR provided representation to students with disabilities to secure free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment, advocated for students with disabilities in the dependency system (foster care) in both community settings and residential facilities, who alleged violations of educational rights, advocated for students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system who alleged 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 provided 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. Collaboration: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system-wide reform and compliance.

Number of Cases: 88

Cases of Note:

NR is a student with a learning disability and visual impairment (not blind). NR’s parent contacted PAIR seeking assistance in obtaining appropriate Exceptional Student Education (ESE) supports and services, eligibility for an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and 504 accommodations. The school district denied ESE evaluations for the client and would only provide client with a Response to Intervention (Rti) plan. PAIR staff provided the parent with technical assistance and helped the parent prepare for several team meetings. NR received a 504 plan.

CW is a student with ADHD. CW’s parent contacted PAIR seeking assistance in obtaining appropriate IEP goals, supports and services, and behavioral supports. The school district continually restrained CW and suspended CW based on CW’s classroom behavior. PAIR staff sought to change placement because CW was not exposed to the standard general education curriculum. The parent put in writing that CW should not be restrained. A behavior tech was assigned to CW to provide additional support. PAIR staff intervention resulted in additional supports and services for CW.

The parent of CG, a student with SLD, contacted PAIR requesting assistance with having the school district complete reevaluations in a timely manner. PAIR staff represented the parent at two IEP meetings and subsequently filed a State Complaint with the Florida Department of Education on behalf of the student, alleging that the District had failed to timely complete reevaluations. The parties attended a subsequent mediation where the allegations on the State Complaint were successfully resolved. The parent then attended an IEP meeting where the school district agreed to increase ESE push-in services for student, provide social skills instruction to the student and find the student eligible for ESY.

The parent of EL, a student with SLD, contacted PAIR requesting assistance with obtaining appropriate educational services for the student. PAIR staff representation at an IEP meeting resolved all concerns. PAIR staff successfully addressed the parents’ request for reevaluations, student progress reports, counseling for the student and addition of IEP goals.

The parent of DI, a student with a language impairment and learning disability contacted PAIR regarding concerns that DI required a 504 Plan. DI had continually been evaluated but was not found eligible for a 504 Plan. PAIR staff made contact with the district’s ESE Director. An ESE eligibility meeting was scheduled and a new psychoeducational evaluation was completed. DI was found eligible and an IEP was drafted under the categories of Language Impairment and Specific Learning Disability. An IEP was written and DI received an intensive reading program and ESY services in the home.

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.

Indicators: 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.

Number of Cases for Priority 2 and Priority 5: 159

Priority 5: Provide information, referral and outreach about PAIR services 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.

Indicators: Increased 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.

Collaborators: PAIR worked in partnership with state councils, advocacy groups, and task forces to promote system-wide reform and compliance.

Number: 57 events reaching 8773 persons.

Examples:

PAIR attended three (3) Veteran Stand Down events in the State of Florida. Attendees included disabled veterans, homeless veterans and agencies that serve veterans. Participants received information regarding PAIR services available to residents of Florida. These events were also a vehicle for determining the needs of disabled veterans.

PAIR attended the 22nd Anniversary ADA Celebration and Gala held at the Center for Independent Living of Broward County. The Annual ADA & Gala Celebration celebrates equal rights for persons with disabilities. Participants received information regarding PAIR services available to residents of Florida.

PAIR attended the Southeast Institute on Homelessness and Supportive Housing Annual Conference. The conference focused on supportive housing and resources available to individuals who have experienced homelessness or are in transition from shelters. Participants received information regarding PAIR services available to residents of Florida.

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: Abuse and Neglect - Eliminate abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities including use of inappropriate restraint and seclusion, in facilities and community settings, by utilizing all appropriate strategies to remedy adverse conditions.

Needs 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 or neglect, including restraint or seclusion, of adults with disabilities in public and private facilities, including forensic programs, jails, detention centers and prisons; investigate complaints of abuse or neglect, 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 financial abuse of individuals with disabilities by representative payees and promote economic self-sufficiency.

Priority 2: Individual Rights - Protect the full and equal enjoyment of rights for all individuals with disabilities. Needs 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 individuals 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; implement appropriate strategies to advocate for individuals with disabilities, both youth and adults, in facilities and in community settings to insure full enjoyment of available rights and privileges, focusing on a reduction of unnecessary incarceration or commitment and access to legal services; 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; advocate for students with disabilities in the dependency system who allege violations of educational rights in community and residential settings; advocate for students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system who allege violations of educational rights in both community settings and residential facilities; Challenge discrimination based on disability in the workplace utilizing education, outreach, legislative and legal strategies to ensure rights under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act; ensure the independence of individuals with disabilities and explore alternatives to guardianship to avoid unnecessary restrictions on their rights as a result of guardianship.

Priority 3 — Community Integration - Utilize state and federal laws to ensure full participation of individuals with disabilities in integrated community settings through equal access to programs, transportation, recreation and housing.

Needs Addressed: There is a continued and constant need to adequately and appropriately serve the disability community within the State of Florida with regard to ensuring community integration and access to services while living in a community setting.

Activities: Individuals with disabilities shall have equal access to physical settings and programs, including use of assistive technology; individuals with disabilities waitlisted for services from state agencies will receive those services on a reasonably timely basis in an appropriately integrated setting; individuals with disabilities, especially those with severe and persistent psychiatric disabilities, will have increased opportunity for individual choice in residential options rather than reliance on institutionalized settings; explore strategies and support initiatives to increase availability of accessible housing across disabilities; promote self-advocacy and independence in disaster planning and monitor development of appropriate and accessible shelter facilities.

Priority 4: Education - Ensure the right to quality educational opportunities for students with disabilities.

Needs 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 free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment; educate parents of students with disabilities to improve access to and utilization of dispute resolution mechanisms; 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 5: Information, Referral and Outreach - Provide information, referral, outreach and education about Disability Rights Florida and community resources available to individuals with disabilities.

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 direct access to skilled intake specialists who will provide prompt information and referral or team assignment; continue outreach efforts to military veterans with disabilities and their families and provide information about protection and advocacy services, especially persons with disabilities that are homeless, have psychiatric disabilities, have physical disabilities, have chronic and disabling conditions or have experienced a traumatic brain injury; implement statewide and local strategies to educate policymakers, individuals with disabilities, families and other stakeholders on disability rights and protection and advocacy systems especially where there are underserved populations; increase public awareness about Disability Rights Florida through appropriate forums, including media, networking and exhibits; increase opportunities for public input and public engagement throughout the year by implementing a process to increase dialogue at outreach and training events.

During FY 2012, approximately 6,885 individuals received information and referral services through the Disability Rights Florida intake unit and 276 of this number were responded to entirely in Spanish. Disability Rights Florida has two full time bilingual (English/Spanish) intake specialists. We utilize Certified Language Interpreters and have the capacity to respond to other languages. We also have a Spanish website and Spanish online intake system. Disability Rights Florida provided an online intake option this year for 647 individuals or 9% of our intakes. Approximately 30-35% of intake and I&R was to PAIR callers.

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

During Fiscal Year 2012, 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. 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. Disability Achievement Center Board: Board shall be 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.

Tampa International Airport Disability Accessibility Advisory Committee: The Airport is modernizing and The Aviation Authority is seeking help of disability advocates and organizations to ensure the new design concepts also enhance the accessibility of the terminal.

Wounded Warrior Advisory Group: St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) has been exploring the possible development of Veterans/Wounded Warrior Housing and is looking for community and stakeholders input to gather needs assessment, financing resources as well as a proper design for new or remodeled homes for wounded warriors

Three grievances filed under PAIR.

Grievance 1 was re-contacted by the Intake Department where options for resolving issue were discussed. PAIR client issues were resolved and grievance was dismissed by client.

Grievance 2 was reviewed by Executive Director. PAIR client agreed to reopen PAIR case with advocate and pursue resolution. Case is currently pending.

Grievance 3 Executive Director reviewed and responded to grievance. ED agreed with the decision of the PAIR Managing Attorney. PAIR client was notified in writing of decision. PAIR client did not appeal the decision.

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 Whitney
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/26/2012