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

Alabama (UNIV OF ALABAMA ALABAMA - DISAB ADVOCACY PROGRAM) - H240A130001 - FY2013

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameAlabama Disabilities Advocacy Program
AddressBox 870395
Address Line 2
CityTuscaloosa
StateAlabama
Zip Code35487
E-mail Addressadap@adap.ua.edu
Website Addresshttp://www.adap.net
Phone205-348-4928
TTY 205-348-4928
Toll-free Phone800-826-1675
Toll-free TTY800-826-1675
Fax205-348-3909
Name of P&A Executive DirectorEllen B. Gillespie
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorEllen B. Gillespie
Person to contact regarding reportRosemary Beck
Contact Person phone205-348-4928
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 areas208
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas146
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)354

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff24
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)929

Topic: “Together We Can Make A Difference” — a presentation on transition, Social Security benefits and work incentives, and individualized plans for employment. Purpose: To train the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (AFAPA). Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint, panel discussion, followed by a question and answer (Q&A) session.

Topic: “My Client’s Been Suspended from School….What’s My Next Step?” — a presentation on the IDEA’s discipline regulations at the annual conference of the Alabama Association of Community Mental Health Boards. Purpose: To train case workers, therapists and other professionals associated with the Alabama Council of Community Mental Health Boards on what to do if their clients are suspended or expelled from school and how to advocate for appropriate behavior planning to decrease the chance of misconduct. As a result of attending this training, participants: 1. Understand how federal and state law require schools to proactively address a child’s behavior problems 2. Learn how to respond when their clients are subjected to school disciplinary actions 3. Learn how to ensure provision of school services during any disciplinary actions. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: “Special Education is More than ‘Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic” — a presentation introducing special education services. Purpose: Educate case workers, therapists and other professionals to advocate for the special education needs of their clients so that they are successful in school. Participants will: 1. Understand how special education and related services can support the mental health needs of students 2. Learn how to refer a student for evaluation 3. Learn how to participate effectively in eligibility and planning decisions, including transition issues for older youth. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint, followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: JBS Parent Support Group — a presentation on special education. Purpose: To provide members of the Jefferson, Blount, St. Clair Mental (JBS) Health Authority’s parent support group the advocacy skills they need to ensure their children’s mental health and behavioral needs are met in school through proper implementation of the IDEA and Section 504. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Community Integration Conference. The training focused on the rights of persons with disabilities to be fully integrated into community life. Purpose: To explain the meaning of community integration for persons with disabilities. Method: A PowerPoint presentation followed by a Q&A session. Topic: Assistive Technology (AT)- Provided education/training on the use of AT for persons with disabilities and how it can provide them with more independence and choice. Purpose: So persons will better understand how AT can increase independence and which potential funding sources may be used to acquire AT. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Community Outreach Special Education Parent Teacher Association (COSEPTA) — assistive technology (AT) training. Purpose: To ensure parents understand their children’s rights to AT and empower them to advocate effectively for their children’s AT needs. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Court Appointed Juvenile Advocates (CAJA) presentation on special education rights under IDEA. Purpose: To provide information on special education rights to court volunteers to represent children in abuse and neglect cases in family court. Method: A PowerPoint presentation.

Topic: Chief Probation Officers (CPO) — A presentation on the rights of students with disabilities to special education services. Purpose: To ensure that the unique disciplinary provisions which protect students with disabilities under federal and state law are applied correctly. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: East Alabama UCP to provide information to parents of adult children with disabilities about their rights. Purpose: To increase knowledge about general community rights, rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), rights with respect to employment and fair wages, rights to access assistive technology, and rights in the voting process. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Family Voices Conference to provide an education/training session regarding Medicaid waivers, transition planning, and information on the P&A. Purpose: To educate transition aged youth and their family members about transition issues. Method: A lecture with an exhibit followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: AFAPA Meeting to provide a general overview of the P&A and train on special education eligibility, IEP development, transition and conflict resolution. Purpose: To provide education to foster and adoptive parents on special education rights in Alabama. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Transition Training - Region II Community Services - Regional Meeting - to provide training regarding special education and transition for Department of Mental Health (DMH) Region II Regional meeting attendees including DMH employees and providers. Purpose: To provide information and training to service providers of the P&A’s role in special education and transition advocacy and to enhance attendees advocacy skills. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Individual and Family Support Group — a presentation to provide information and educate members about disability rights and Medicaid waivers. Purpose: To provide information about the P&A and the basics of Medicaid Waivers. Method: A PowerPoint presentation followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Jacksonville State Conference — presentation at social work conference regarding disability rights for Alabama’s children and adults. Purpose: To address specific questions related to Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act implementation, Autism, Mental Health, Gun rights, Deinstitutionalization and DHR, among others, with an audience of social work professionals and students. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Low vision Support Group to provide information on the P&A’s services and how we can help with access to AT. Purpose: To provide information about the P&A’s free legal and less formal ways of advocating for needed AT and to make members of this low vision support group aware of the P&A as a resource. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Montgomery Seraaj to train therapeutic foster care workers on special education rights and advocacy. Purpose: To provide foster care workers with the information they need to advocate for children in therapeutic foster care with disabilities in the public school system. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: RC Video - A presentation at the University Of Alabama, School Of Social Work to discuss the context which brought about the R. C. class action lawsuit as well as effects of the R. C. Consent Decree on the Alabama child welfare system. Purpose: To create a video that will be embedded in a family preservation course taught online every semester as a part of the University Of Alabama, School Of Social Work MSW Program. Method: A Q&A session followed the presentation of the video.

Topic: School Readiness Conference to present on special education rights and processes. Purpose: To educate early childhood teachers and officials who work with programs funded through the Alabama State Office of School Readiness so they will understand basic special education rights and processes and be able to help parents be effective advocates for their children’s needs. Method: A lecture with a PowerPoint followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Social Work Policy Class to discuss RC and Wyatt cases and the role the P&A plays along with the current state of mental health in Alabama. Purpose: To address current P&A advocacy issues generally with a University of Alabama BSW class (mostly seniors who will enter a field placement in the fall, and who plan to get an MSW). Our goal is to provide relevant background for subsequent sessions on state policies, and thus to provide a good introduction for the students. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: Supported Employment Conference training on ethics. Purpose: To provide service providers with information on provider ethics and commonly encountered issues. Method: A lecture

Topic: Tuscaloosa Civitans to speak generally about the P&A’s services and activities focusing on polling place access following a recent election. Purpose: To sign up members for the P&A newsletter and solicited opportunities to speak to sister organizations. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

Topic: UA School of Law to speak on a career in public interest law. Purpose: To urge law students to pursue a career in public interest law. Method: A panel discussion.

Topic: West Alabama Mental Health Center to conduct training on disability rights, personal decision making, and rights under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Purpose: To increase the knowledge of service providers. Method: A lecture followed by a Q&A session.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles8
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website21,255
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated5,381
6. Other (specify separately)4

Narrative

1) The P&A uses 16 distinctive publications for PAIR training: A Family Guide to ISP’s; Access to Protect and Advocate; Agency Brochure; Goals and Priorities; Beneficiaries of Social Security; Get Ready for Work!; Go to Work - Partnering for Success!; Know Your Rights; On Guard: Making Sensible Decisions about Guardianship; School Mental Health and Behavioral Services; Seclusion and Restraint; Reference Guide for Parents to Seclusion and Restraint in Alabama Schools; Special Education: A Right Not a Favor; SSI for Youth Who Want To Work; Traumatic Brain Injury; Voting Rights for People with Disabilities.

2) 19 online newsletters or bulletins were published from our mail system, Mail Chimp, and the open rate of our newsletter is 65% (2,100 people that opened) with approximately 100 shares of information.

3) Twenty-nine postings were made to the P&A Facebook page.

4) Newspaper article distribution date and title: July 19 Disability advocate meets with city officials. July 28 Special Education at a crossroads: State scales back inspection July 29 — Advocates concerned about AL special education July 29 — Concerns Raised Over Special Education in Alabama July 29 — Budget Concerns Impact Special Education Programs July 30 — Special Education Today — Alabama ED to monitor special ed programs less frequently under budget cuts Aug 8 — Alabama State Laws Hurting Special Education Aug 24 — Advocates Concerned About AL Special Education

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)39
2. Additional individuals served during the year31
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)70
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)2

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 28

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility21
2. Employment1
3. Program access7
4. Housing5
5. Government benefits/services4
6. Transportation0
7. Education13
8. Assistive technology1
9. Voting0
10. Health care5
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services1
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse1
16. Neglect11
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor24
2. Other representation found1
3. Individual withdrew complaint5
4. Appeals unsuccessful2
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.4
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit6
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-advocacy3
2. Short-term assistance12
3. Investigation/monitoring12
4. Negotiation11
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings1
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 - 2215
3. 23 - 5934
4. 60 - 649
5. 65 and over12

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females54
2. Males16

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race0
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American27
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White43
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent25
2. Parental or other family home16
3. Community residential home1
4. Foster care1
5. Nursing home4
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center22
9. Homeless1
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 impairment12
2. Deaf/hard of hearing3
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment12
5. Mental illness1
6. Substance abuse3
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability2
9. Neurological impairment14
10. Respiratory impairment4
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment4
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment5
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV1
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability9

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities2

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes3,830

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.

1) After the state of Alabama refused for years under a previous Governor to even apply for the Money Follows the Person (MFP)grant, the state’s MFP application was approved by Center’s for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) in FY13. The P&A played a significant role in encouraging both the State Medicaid Agency and the Governor to apply for the grant. 2) The scope of a child’s right to special education services was not clearly defined in newly passed legislation that provides tax voucher to pay for private school tuitions. The P&A provided regulatory input on the impact of this new voucher program on children receiving special education services through IEPs. Children receiving special education services under the IDEA will receive a "services plan" as defined under the IDEA if they transfer from a failing school to a private school. Children who transfer to a non-failing public school will retain the right to FAPE.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts6,590
2. Number of individuals named in class actions7

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.

1)The P&A filed an amicus brief on behalf of plaintiffs’ parents in the trial court. Plaintiffs claim Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBOE) violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) by denying their child an independent education evaluation (IEE) at public expense and copies of their child’s educational record. The state due process hearing officer ruled the parents were entitled to copies of their child’s record and IEE. In a related action for attorney’s fees, the U.S. Magistrate recommended summary judgment for JCBOE, ruling the IDEA does not require school systems to provide parents copies of their child’s record and the IDEA fails to give clear notice of a public funding requirement for an IEE, thus prohibiting parents from reimbursement for the IEE at issue. The P&A, as amicus, argues JCBOE’s position is contrary to Congressional intent under the IDEA to provide parents with meaningful participation in their child’s education and utilize expert testimony in due process proceedings. The district court granted summary judgment to JCBOE regarding the records issue, but denied summary judgment to JCBOE regarding the IEE issue. JCBOE appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. The P&A filed an amicus brief in the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of the Alabama P&A, the protection and advocacy agencies for Florida and Georgia, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), and the Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC). The plaintiffs prevailed on appeal. In October 2013, the US Supreme Court denied the district’s petition for certiorari in Phillip C. and Angie C. v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 60 IDELR 30 (11th Cir. 2012), cert. denied,113 LRP 40516(U.S. 10/07/13) (No. 12-1252). 2) The P&A filed a Complaint with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Civil Rights (OCR), alleging that the Alabama Department of Mental Health (DMH) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Olmstead case law. The P&A alleged that DMH delayed in providing DS ( a deaf mental health consumer) with a community mental health placement (group home) because no deaf group homes were available and no American Sign Language Interpreters were available in hearing group homes. As a result of this delay DS stayed an inordinate amount of time at Bryce Hospital which became an overly restrictive setting for her following many months of progress and mental health stabilization. Shortly after the P&A filed this Complaint, DMH found a mental health group home serving deaf consumers in Jefferson County. DS is now living successfully in a community setting. 3) SafetyNet Academy, a psych <21 program, denied the P&A access to youth receiving services in their moderate program on three separate occassions. The P&A provided SafetyNet information about the P&A’s access authority in person and via written correspondence. SafetyNet deferred to the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and denied our access. At the close of fiscal year 13, the P&A has drafted a complaint and demand letter to resolve the access dispute. 4) In collaboration with litigation partners, this issue involves the provision of mental health services to children with emotional and bahavioral disorders who are at risk of school failure in a large Alabama urban school district. Potential claimants have been identified for legal action under the IDEA and Section 504. As a result of this litigation, policies and procedures relted to the identification and support of students with severe emotional disturbance have been improved in the school district. Ongoing work by the parties’ expert will continue during FY14 emphasizing parent engagement and tracking student outcomes.

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: Institution Individuals with disabilities, residing in institutions, will be safe from abuse, neglect, and disability rights violations. Need: The need for individuals with disabilities, residing in institutions, to be safe from abuse, neglect, and disability rights violations. Indicators: 1) Advocate for appropriate treatment on behalf of individuals with disabilities. 2) Advocate for out-placement of individuals with disabilities from institutions who are appropriate for community placements. 3) Monitor two nursing homes to ensure residents are receiving appropriate treatment and are free from abuse and neglect. Collaboration: The P&A collaborated with the Alabama Medicaid Agency serving on its Money Follows the Person committee. Cases: One individual case advocacy service and nine information and referral services were provided under this priority. Summary: When the Alabama Department of Mental Health closed Greil Hospital in FY12, it moved its in-house deaf unit from Greil to Bryce Hospital. With the closure of Greil, remaining patients who were not prepared for community placement were transferred to Bryce. In FY13, the P&A monitored the care provided to more than a dozen individuals who had moved from Greil to the new deaf unit at Bryce. The P&A periodically conducts on-site monitoring of the Bryce deaf unit, interacts with the patients, and advocates on their behalf for appropriate community placements. The P&A also monitors to ensure that Bryce staff have appropriate skills to work with residents who are deaf.

Priority: Choice Individuals with disabilities will be able to exercise freedom of choice. Need: The need for individuals with disabilities to be able to exercise their freedom of choice. Indicators: 1) Provide eight individuals with disabilities advocacy services in situations where their freedom of choice is threatened. 2) Provide two education/training sessions to persons with disabilities regarding freedom of choice. 3) Monitor three sheltered workshops to ensure participants are receiving appropriate services and wages. 4) Provide an education/training session on the use of assistive technology for persons with disabilities and how it can provide them with more independence and choice. Collaboration: n/a Cases: Nine individual case advocacy services and 62 information and referral services were provided under this priority. Summary: JAD is a 32 year old female with a mobility impairment. After AP moved into a new apartment building, she experienced an accessibility issue with her parking. The P&A met with JAD and inspected the parking area, the apartment manager agreed to address the parking space issue by: 1) repainting an accessible parking space, 2) painting a no parking area in front of a ramp, and 3) placing appropriate signage to indicate the new accessible parking area.

Priority: Access Individuals with disabilities will be able to exercise their rights to access state and local government services and places of public accommodation. Need: The need for individuals with disabilities to be able to exercise their rights to access state and local government services and places of public accommodation. Indicators: 1) Provide advocacy services to four individuals with disabilities who have been denied access under Titles II and/or III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Collaboration: Southern Poverty Law Center assisted the P&A with prisoner visits and will assist as co-counsel if litigation becomes necessary. Cases: 17 individual case advocacy services and 31 information and referral services were provided under this priority. Summary: The P & A was contacted by several persons with disabilities who claimed a public intersection in Montgomery, Alabama, was modified so that accessibility was significantly reduced. Through our investigation the P&A revealed that contractors who were renovating a nearby building had placed a support in the middle of a curb cut. The P&A met with the persons who claimed they were denied access to the intersection and explained their rights pursuant to relevant federal disability laws. The P&A then wrote to the City of Montgomery and building owner demanding the curbs cuts and crosswalk be made fully accessible. The City and contractor constructed new curbs cuts and painted a new crosswalk. The intersection is now fully accessible and complies with accessibility standards.

Priority: Medicaid Persons with disabilities will have access to Medicaid waiver services. Need: The need for persons with disabilities to have access to Medicaid waiver services. Indicators: 1) Provide advocacy services to two individuals with disabilities who need or are at risk of losing Medicaid waiver or other community services. 2) Advocate for Alabama’s Department of mental Health to expand waiver services provided to persons with developmental disabilities. 3) Provide three education/training sessions on Medicaid waiver services. 4) Advocate for an eligibility determination at the time an individual applies for Medicaid waiver services. Collaboration: The P&A collaborated with Alabama Arise to assist in advocating the needs of persons with disabilities who are served by the Alabama Medicaid Agency. The P&A collaborated with the Alabama Association of County Commissions to address how the term “disability” is defined in state law for purposes of certain benefits available under state law. Cases: Two individual case advocacy services and nine information and referral were provided under this priority. Summary: PB is a 37 year old male with tetraplegia (paralyzed below the neck) who resides in a nursing home. The P&A represented PB in an administrative hearing before the State Medicaid Agency when Medicaid determined PB was ineligible for benefits due to excess income and resources. After the administrative law judge found in favor of Medicaid and that decision was affirmed by the Commissioner, the P&A appealed to the Circuit Court. Prior to trial, the P&A settled the case and PB agreed to pay part of the money Medicaid claimed was owed. With his Medicaid eligibility restored, PB has remained in the nursing facility as a temporary measure while he seeks to develop a plan to move from the nursing home to the community.

Priority: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Eligible students with disabilities will be identified for services and education in their least restrictive environment with appropriate support. Need: Students with disabilities encounter barriers in receiving appropriate special education services in their least restrictive environment. Indicators: 1) Provide advocacy services to students with disabilities ensure the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment with appropriate support. 2) Provide ten education/training sessions to parents and service providers on special education rights and advocacy skills. 3) Monitor the Alabama State Department of Education’s (ALSDE) exercise of its supervisory authority to ensure that public agencies comply with state and federal special education laws. Produce a series of Q&A newsletters in collaboration with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and the Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC) on matters related to special education. Collaboration: The P&A collaborated with the Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC) to develop a training session and presented it together at the School Readiness conference; the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and the Georgia Protection & Advocacy Agency to provide support and assistance on the development of 11th Circuit Amicus Brief; the Family guidance Center, Department of Human Resources (DHR), the Alabama Partnership for Children, the Department of Children’s Affairs, and Early Intervention to develop indicators to recommend for Alabama’s Blueprint for Zero to Five which is a part of Alabama’s Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative. Cases: Three individual case advocacy services and 125 information and referral services were provided under this priority. Summary: The P&A provided regulatory comments to the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) related to the ALSDE’s oversight of the general and special education programming in residential treatment centers which serve youth with disabilities placed in them by courts, child welfare agencies and/or the mental health system. The proposed regulatory changes address the state supervision and oversight of such treatment centers which presently falls outside the purview of many of the ALSDE’s regulatory requirements. Some of the issues include: 1)Related to who is responsible for ensuring the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and who is the “local education agency” (LEA) for a child residing in one of these treatment center programs? The center itself, the LEA where the center is physically located, or the child’s home school? 2)How is the quality of the curriculum provided in these treatment centers ensured by the ALSDE? 3)How will ALSDE ensure that course credits are legitimately earned in such facilities such that when children transfer back to their home school, they are not penalized by not having earned legitimate credit? 4)How will ALSDE ensure that children in these facilities receive the same number of hours of schooling as children in regular public schools as many of these programs provide school for only a limited number of hours per day? 5)How will children placed in these facilities be accounted for in state testing? At their home school? At the LEA where the center is physically located? The proposed regulatory changes have not been finalized yet and the P&A will continue to monitor this regulatory action to ensure that youth with mental and developmental disabilities educated in heretofore un-monitored and unregulated treatment facility schools will receive FAPE.

Priority: Transition Youth with disabilities will have effective school and community-based transition services to ensure successful movement from school to post-high school education, work and independent living. Need: Students with disabilities encounter barriers in transitioning from school to post-high school education, work and independent living. Indicators: 1) Identify and provide policy recommendations regarding barriers in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, school-based transition services, employment services and other support service that impede access to employment in integrated settings. 2) Provide three education/training sessions to families and service providers about transition rights, planning, and services. Collaboration: n/a Cases: n/a Summary: To ensure a comprehensive array of vocational supports for persons with significant disabilities, the P&A investigated the need and utility of an Order of Selection (OOS) for the state. The P&A consulted with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) which provided the P&A with training and policy materials related to vocational rehabilitation rights and OOS issues. The P&A began to attend meetings of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and became familiar with SRC policies, procedures, and functions as required under the Rehabilitation Act. The P&A consulted other states under an OOS about their experiences. While Alabama is not presently under an OOS, the SRC determined that a policy should be developed to ensure a smooth transition in the event fiscal or personnel constraints would require that the state implement an OOS. The P&A also joined the State Interagency Transition Committee (SITC). While the state vocational and education agencies participated on the SITC, the SITC did not have any representatives from the child welfare system. The P&A worked collaboratively with the chairperson and obtained participation from child welfare personnel. The P&A is working with a subcommittee to develop a cross agency method to identify youth receiving services from multiple agencies without violating their privacy rights. The goal is to facilitate a smooth transition for the child between child and adult service agencies.

Priority: Community Mental Health (CMH) Youth with disabilities will have appropriate community-based mental health and behavioral services. Need: The need for family and child centered planning. Indicators: 1) Advocate for the enhanced family and child centered planning by the state’s Multiple Needs Child local and state committees. Collaboration: n/a Cases: n/a Summary: Through an Open Records Act (ORA, aka FOIA) request, the P&A sought data from the State Multiple Needs (MN) Child Office regarding the utilization of MN services at the county level (number of children served, what services were purchased, what monies were spent, etc.). While these data were provided, they appeared to be incomplete. The P&A sought further clarification from the MN Office. A separate ORA request was filed with the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) which acts as the fiscal agent for the MN Office. The P&A contacted the Office of Public Accounting to see what expenditure information it could provide. The P&A has drafted a complaint to file re the lack of access to state records.

Priority: Juvenile Justice Youth with disabilities involved in the juvenile justice system will receive appropriate educational and treatment services, will be free from abuse, neglect, and disability rights violations, and will be served in the least restrictive setting possible, to include appropriate community-based alternatives to incarceration. Need: The need for youth with disabilities to receive appropriate educational and treatment, including community-based alternatives to incarceration. Indicators: 1) Monitor adult jails to ensure that youth with disabilities are receiving appropriate treatment services and are free from abuse, neglect, and disability rights violations. Collaboration: n/a Cases: n/a Summary: DA, a resident of a juvenile correction system facility nearly fell 30 feet to the ground from a stairwell balcony in his dormitory. After the P&A became aware the potentially life-threatening incident which involved a poorly designed balcony, the P&A investigated and learned that other youth had, in the past, climbed out onto the balcony, endangering themselves. The P&A advocated for the correction system to modify the design of the stairwell area in this and its sister building nearby. As a result of the P&A’s advocacy, the system contracted with an architectural firm to modify the dangerous stairwells and balconies in the two dorms, thereby ensuring that residents are safe. Construction in the one dorm has been completed and work in the other dorm will start soon.

Priority: School Behavior & Discipline Youth with disabilities in schools or daycare centers will have appropriate mental health supports and services, protection from illegal disciplinary measures, and protection from the use of seclusion and restraint. Need: The need for youth with disabilities in schools to have appropriate supports and services and protection from illegal discipline and seclusion and restraint. Indicators: 1) Monitor compliance with Alabama’s new school seclusion and restraining regulations by reviewing state and local system data. 2) Provide five education/training sessions to parents and service providers on special education rights and advocacy related to behavior, discipline, and seclusion and restraint issues. Collaboration: n/a Cases: n/a The P&A surveyed 29 randomly selected school districts to determine compliance with the state’s newly enacted public school seclusion and restraint regulations. Summary: The P&A surveyed 29 randomly selected school districts to determine compliance with the state’s newly enacted public school seclusion and restraint regulations. Almost ¾ of the surveyed districts reported using physical restraint; 40% had developed policy reflecting all six elements of the state’s restraint law. The remaining districts were in the midst of developing appropriate policies or provided no answer to the question. 40% of the surveyed districts had documented staff and faculty training in the use of positive interventions, prevention, de-escalation techniques, and physical restraint; 25% had not provided training. ¾ of the surveyed districts had not prepared or reviewed monthly reports on the use of restraint at the district level.

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: Institution Individuals with disabilities residing in institutions will be safe from abuse, neglect, and disability rights violations. Need: The need for individuals with disabilities residing in institutions to be safe. Objectives: 1) Provide information to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman about the services the P&A provides, including advocacy for appropriate placement. 2) Advocate for the implementation of the Alabama Community Transition (ACT) and ACT II waiver.

Priority: Choice Individuals with disabilities will be able to exercise freedom of choice. Need: The need for individuals with disabilities to have freedom of choice. Objectives: 1) Provide individual advocacy services to nine individuals with disabilities in situations where their freedom of choice is threatened. 2) Provide two education/training sessions on the right to freedom of choice for persons with disabilities. 3) Monitor the Regional Care Organizations (RCO) established by Alabama Medicaid to ensure persons with disabilities receive appropriate medical care.

Priority: Access Individuals with disabilities will be able to exercise their rights to access state and local government services and places of public accommodation. Need: The need for individuals with disabilities to have access to government services and public accommodations. Objectives: 1) Provide individual advocacy services to four individuals with disabilities who have been denied access under Titles II and/or III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 2) Provide four education/training sessions on the rights of persons with disabilities under Titles II and III of the ADA. 3) Improve access for persons with disabilities to a specific public accommodation and/or state/local government service. 4) Monitor a municipality for accessibility, including sidewalks, city buildings, and other municipal-operated structures.

Priority: Medicaid Persons with disabilities will have access to Medicaid waiver services. Need: The need for persons with disabilities to have Medicaid waiver services. Objectives: 1) Provide individual advocacy services to two individuals with disabilities who need or are at risk of losing Medicaid waiver or other community services. 2) Advocate for Alabama’s Department of Mental Health to expand waiver services provided to persons with developmental disabilities. 3) Provide three education/training sessions on Medicaid waiver services. 4) Advocate for an eligibility determination at the time an individual applies for Medicaid waiver. 5) Advocate for persons with disabilities to receive appropriate Medicaid services under Alabama’s new managed care systems.

Priority: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Eligible students with disabilities will be identified for services and educated in their least restrictive environment with appropriate support. Need: The need for students with disabilities to be free of barriers in receiving appropriate special education services in their least restrictive environment. Objectives: 1) Provide individual advocacy services to 50 students with disabilities to ensure the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment with appropriate support. 2) Provide ten education/training sessions on special education rights and advocacy skills of youth with disabilities. 3) Monitor the Alabama State Department of Education’s (ALSDE) exercise of its supervisory authority to ensure that public agencies comply with state and federal special education laws. 4) Produce a series of webinars in collaboration with the Alabama Parent Education Center (APEC) on matters related to special education.

Priority: Transition Youth with disabilities will have effective school and community-based transition services to ensure successful movement from school and post-high school education, work and independent living. Need: The need for youth with disabilities to have a smooth transition from school to work and independent living. Objectives: 1) Identify and provide policy recommendations regarding barriers in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services, school-based transition services, employment services, and other support services that impede access to employment in integrated settings. 2) Provide three education/training sessions about transition rights, planning, and services for youth with disabilities.

Priority: School Behavior & Discipline Youth with disabilities in schools or daycare centers will have appropriate mental health supports and services, protection from illegal disciplinary measures, and protection from the use of seclusion and restraint. Need: The need for youth with disabilities to have appropriate supports and services and be protected from illegal disciplinary measures. Objectives: 1) Monitor compliance with Alabama’s new seclusion and restraining regulations by reviewing state and local system data. 2) Provide five education/training sessions on special education rights and advocacy related to behavior, discipline, and seclusion and restraint issues.

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

Source of Funding Amount Received Amount Spent Federal (section 509) 218,530 119,596 State 0 0 Program Income 0 0 Private 0 0 All other funds FY2012 Carryover 79,276 79,276 Total (from all sources) 297,806 198,792

B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report Category Prior Fiscal Year Current Fiscal Year Wages/Salaries 111,809 116,500 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.)33,461 38,250 Materials/Supplies 1,008 2500 Postage 550 750 Telephone 1301 2000 Rent 0 0 Travel 3598 8000 Copying 0 500 Bonding/Insurance 10 1500 Equipment (rental/purchase) 0 0 Legal services 103 1500 Indirect Costs 43503 49896 Miscellaneous 3529 6700 Total Budget 198872 228096

C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years) Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-years Professional Full-time 1.69 96.4 1.63 Part-time Vacant 1.63 3.6 .06 Clerical Full-time .39 97.4 .38 Part-time Vacant .38 2.6 .01

D. Involvement with advisory boards if any. N/A

E. 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.

In relevant cases, the P&A refers individuals with disabilities to the state CAP where those individuals may experience problems or need information regarding the Alabama’s Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VRS) or vocational rehabilitation service providers. Likewise, the P&A also receives referrals from the state’s CAP.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByEllen Gillespie
TitleDirector
Signed Date12/20/2013