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

Georgia (Georgia Advocacy Office, Inc.) - H240A140011 - FY2014

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

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

Part I. Non-Case Services

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

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas504
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas260
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)764

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff30
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)3,856

The P & A supported People First chapters to host Long Road Home events throughout the State to commemorate the Olmstead decision. Annually, the P & A supports People First of Atlanta to host a Long Road Home event. This year, the P & A collaborated with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, People First of Georgia, the Developmental Disabilities Network, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, and Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, to host a Long Road Home event commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Olmstead decision. Over 250 self-advocates, family members, professionals, and engaged citizens participated at the Carter Center. The P & A presented on self-advocacy, the current implementation of the ADA, and the self-advocacy movement. The P & A also provided technical assistance to Long Road Home events in Savannah, Georgia, and Thomasville, Georgia where over 80 people attended. The P & A also encouraged and supported Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Washington, and Kansas to hold Long Road Home events where 200 people participated.

The P & A created a Self-Advocacy Mentoring Project this year. The P & A provided peer mentorship on advocacy strategies to 11 people with disabilities to expand knowledge of available methods to use when advocating for themselves. Topics included grassroots advocacy, the practice of self-advocacy, assistive technology, how to use social media, and how to create a handout or flyer. Several people created advocacy projects pertaining to issues in their own lives, and in some cases, to address systems issues such as working on Medicaid Buy-In. The P & A provided support to the individuals in the design and implementation of the advocacy projects.

The P & A presented to Planning List Administrator Supervisors and other Region staff about Employment First and supported employment. Planning List Administrators are the case managers that introduce families to the array of services available through the Medicaid Waiver, including supported employment. Without accurate and relevant information, families are hesitant to select supported employment services for their job seeker. Further, Planning List Administrators are not necessarily familiar with all of the providers in their Regions that provide supported employment services.

The P & A presented as part of the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice Webinar Series. The P & A’s presentation was on Informed Choice and Most Integrated Setting: Making these Critical Principles More Than Just Slogans. Specifically, the P & A Executive Director addressed how “providing services in the most integrated setting” is used in terms of definitions, standards, processes, and safeguards. See http://econsys.adobeconnect.com/p1krk5q3zs2/.

The P & A co-sponsored a one-day regional conference by TASH with a specific focus on evidence-based practices in facilitating and supporting self-direction as a tool for improved transition processes and results for youth with significant disabilities. It was a dynamic day with job seekers, parents, Vocational Rehabilitation staff, and Division of Developmental Disabilities staff present. National experts shared best practices in supporting young people to transition into adult life with an expectation of working and making a living wage.

The P & A presented to the Georgia Microboards Association board in June. The P & A shared how the P & A can support microenterprises to access supports from Vocational Rehabilitation.

Thirty teachers from metropolitan Atlanta attended a training on the issues that people with disabilities face. The P & A shared its mission and vision as well as its Goals and Priorities with the audience. Teachers learned about how increase their students’ independence, promote community living, and how to refer individuals subject to abuse and neglect to the P & A.

The P & A supported People First of Georgia in the planning and implementation of their annual self-advocacy conference. Presentations during the conference included: “I am Olmstead”, “Real Jobs, Real Pay”, Project Vote, “Moving into the Community”, and “Disability is Natural”. There were also workshops on recreation, health and wellbeing, and having a good life. The conference also provided an opportunity for a micro-enterprise fair where several people were able promote their own businesses.

The P & A co-hosted the Georgia Winter Institute (GWI), a gathering of individuals using services, family members, citizen advocates, direct support professionals, advocates, trainers and other professionals who come together to enhance their community building skills and person centered planning philosophies. The P & A presented several sessions at GWI including an Employment First Georgia session, where information was given on how to access employment supports. Over 100 people participated in GWI and learned about using their gifts to strengthen their communities and organizations to create more inclusive places where everyone contributes. The P & A also obtained continuing education units for Georgia Winter Institute from the National Association of Social Workers.

The P & A hosted 2 Social Role Valorization events in March 2014 entitled: “What is a Home” and “Supporting People with Significant Impact of Disabilities to Have a Meaningful Life During the Day.” The workshops were conducted by Darcy Elks, who has been a consultant, evaluator, and advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities for over 25 years. We partnered with colleagues from DD Council, the Institute on Human Development and Disability, the Delmarva Foundation (the Georgia Quality Management System) and a consultant with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to lead our small groups through discussions at the events.

“What is a Home” focused on the differences between a place to live and a home, what we can do to assist and support people to have a true home, the challenge of creating home with and on behalf of people who are societally devalued, and some of the obstacles that are often encountered as we work to create home. There were 40 participants, consisting of 88% service providers and policy makers; and 12% family members and individuals with disabilities.

The Meaningful Day workshop focused on why it is difficult to design and implement supports for people with significant impact of disability to have a full, meaningful daytime life, what kind of a vision is needed to guide our actions to effectively support people to be active, engaged, and contributive during the day, and the value of positive social roles in bringing that vision about. There were 40 participants, consisting of 68% service providers and policy makers; and 32% family members and individuals with disabilities.

In May, the P & A hosted “The Power of Roles” to give participants a practical introduction to the concept of Social Role Valorization (SRV) and some of its main elements. SRV is a theory that contains certain positive assumptions, principles, and practices which have proven to be important as a framework for supporting persons who are at risk of being devalued by society. In particular, it is designed to help participants understand the devaluation process that society and even human service providers perpetuate upon people using services. The one day workshop also aims to assist participants to understand the power of valued social roles in an effort to counteract some of the effects of devaluation and the importance of assisting people who have been marginalized to have a full, inclusive life. This concept is vital and part of the foundation needed to create high-quality human services. The DD Network partners helped market and sent staff to this training and have asked for the training to be held again.

The P & A provided feedback to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) training leadership around the events they hosted in 2013 contracting with Jo Masseralli from the Social Role Valorization Implementation Project (SRVIP). Early events were poorly attended. The P & A agreed to partner with DBHDD to market the events with SRVIP and open them up to a broader audience of people with disabilities, family members, providers, and advocates. We are planning for 6 one day introduction to SRV events in November 2014 entitled: “Understanding Devaluation and the Service Worker’s Role: A Social Role Valorization Approach Workshop.” We encouraged the Department to open up the training to include individuals who receive their services, family members, and concerned citizens in addition to their formal service providers. The DD Network partners are helping with marketing and recruitment for these sessions.

The P & A presented to a metro-Atlanta school system on the Long Road Home, the importance of voting and removing barriers to a good life, self-advocacy, and the work of the P & A. The audience was comprised of 27 students with disabilities and family members.

The P & A presented at the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education (GACTE) annual conference. GACTE is the professional association for all career and technical educators at the state level, offering services to career, technical and agricultural education (CTAE) professionals. GACTE is also the association for personnel in middle schools, high schools, technical colleges, career academies, community colleges or universities, as well as business and community leaders. This session was presented at GACTE’s annual conference. The intended audience was professionals who support students as they transition out of high school, and the P & A presented on innovative transition outcomes. The P & A made this presentation at the Georgia Department of Education’s Division for Special Education Services and Supports IDEAS (Institute Designed for Educating All Students) Conference in partnership with Tools for Life at Georgia Tech and Georgia CEC, also.

The P & A presented to the Harris-Gude Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization, offering help and support to parents of children with disabilities through professional networks, events, and seminars to inform and educate and share information regarding various resources and organizations. The P & A attended and shared with 50 family members, service providers, and self-advocates.

The P & A presented information about the P & A Goals and Priorities to 21 grandparents raising grandchildren who experience developmental disabilities. The P & A reviewed how grandparents can access Medicaid waivers for their grandchildren. The P & A also reviewed EPSDT and how to access services through Medicaid.

The P & A provided information and responded to questions from the audience at the Georgia Mental Health Day at the Capitol. Over 400 individuals joined the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network in raising awareness about issues that affect the mental health community.

The P & A collaborated with the Crossroads Program of the Dekalb County Community Service, Georgia Health Partnership, and Community Friendship in an on-going role as a trainer. Approximately 80 self-advocates attended the trainings on topics such as People First language and internalized stigma, housing opportunities, employment and reasonable accommodations, and the Olmstead decision. The P & A also provided training for Certified Peer Specialists.

The P & A was invited to participate in the Johnson & Johnson — Dartmouth Community Mental Health Program Summit because United States v. Georgia was the first case that the Department of Justice worked on where the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model was written into the settlement agreement. The P & A attended the conference to also present on the national context for promoting evidence-based practices in supported employment for people with psychiatric disabilities and to encourage Johnson & Johnson to pay for Dartmouth to provide technical assistance to states when IPS is written into a settlement agreement.

Over 2,500 people joined at the 2014 Disability Day at the Capitol to remind the legislature of the importance of home and community-based services for people with disabilities. The Governor spoke, and the event was covered by newspapers, journals, and television. This year, the Governor committed to supporting individuals with disabilities in employment, and the P & A is following up on the promise by advocating for an Employment First Executive Order (see below).

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff3
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles15
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website3,000
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated22
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

4/7/2014 Atlanta Journal Constitution Long Ride Leaves Students Isolated http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/fulton-aims-to-cut-bus-rides-isolation-for-special/nfRPw/ The P & A spoke to the reporter about the best safety for vulnerable people as being around and in relationship with their typical peers. The P & A talked about loss of education when students spend time on the bus rather than in the classroom. The P & A spoke about the things that students learn from each other — teaching opportunities, turn taking, mentoring, etc. The P & A spoke about the importance of being imbedded in your community from early childhood through transition to post-secondary education / work. Then, the P & A advised parents to contact the reporter to tell their story.

6/24/2014 WABE NPR http://wabe.org/post/olmstead-anniversary-celebrated-amid-report-deaths-community-group-homes Long Road Home featured

The P & A presented as part of the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice Webinar Series. Her presentation was on Informed Choice and Most Integrated Setting: Making these Critical Principles More Than Just Slogans. Specifically, Ruby addressed how “providing services in the most integrated setting” is used in terms of definitions, standards, processes, and safeguards. See http://econsys.adobeconnect.com/p1krk5q3zs2/.

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)24
2. Additional individuals served during the year45
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)69
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)6

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 21

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility5
2. Employment11
3. Program access1
4. Housing4
5. Government benefits/services10
6. Transportation1
7. Education3
8. Assistive technology2
9. Voting0
10. Health care26
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services2
13. Privacy rights2
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse6
16. Neglect4
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor50
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint1
4. Appeals unsuccessful2
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit0
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

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

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy20
2. Short-term assistance18
3. Investigation/monitoring4
4. Negotiation6
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings2
7. Litigation (including class actions)3
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 - 224
3. 23 - 5952
4. 60 - 647
5. 65 and over6

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females32
2. Males37

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American23
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White41
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent31
2. Parental or other family home8
3. Community residential home2
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home21
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement4
8. Jail/prison/detention center1
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 impairment2
2. Deaf/hard of hearing13
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment10
5. Mental illness4
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation1
8. Learning disability5
9. Neurological impairment22
10. Respiratory impairment2
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment2
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment2
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV2
15. Traumatic brain injury2
16. Other disability2

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

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

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

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

The P & A is the lead partner on the Children’s Freedom Initiative (CFI) to ensure that all children live in permanent, loving homes, not in institutions or nursing facilities. The CFI is a collaborative effort of the P & A, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Institute on Human Development and Disabilities, the Center for Leadership in Disability, People First of Georgia, and the Statewide Independent Living Network. The P &A has identified children in facilities, provided individual protection and advocacy, deflected institutional placement, provided technical assistance to facility administrators, state agencies, and child protection caseworkers regarding available community-based resources including early periodic screening and diagnostic testing (EPSDT), prepared necessary litigation, and provided oversight of discharge to homes in the community. The CFI partners are collaborating to plan a 10 year anniversary celebration for Spring 2015 and have started meeting with Commissioners of state agencies to garner their support.

The P & A is a member of the Unlock the Waiting List campaign to address the State’s failure to adequately implement the Olmstead decision by its low number of community based supports available to people with disabilities, including people with traumatic brain injuries. The P & A, the DD Council, the University Centers for Excellence, All About Developmental Disabilities, the State Independent Living Network, and People First of Georgia comprise a committee with the goal of expanding community based supports and services for Georgians with disabilities. The Unlock campaign currently has over 300 member organizations and over 500 individual members throughout the state.

This year, Unlock asked the Legislature for $200,000 in new funding to increase funds for Inclusive Post-Secondary Education for students with disabilities. The Legislature allocated $100,000 in new funding. The P & A was asked to provide stories of success in post-secondary education and employment to share with the legislature. Unlock also asked for funding for approximately 800 students transitioning from high school to receive supported employment services. The Legislature allocated new funding for approximately 50 students.

The P & A is collaborating with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities in asking the Governor to issue an Employment First Policy and Executive Order. Employment First is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of people with the most significant disabilities in the workplace and community. Under the Employment First approach, community-based, integrated employment is the first option for employment services for youth and adults with significant disabilities. The P & A is working with the Council and the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) to gather public support to encourage the Governor to create the Policy and Executive Order.

The P & A supports the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and has worked locally and nationally to make that happen. The P & A, with the Center for Leadership in Disability, prepared information sheets about the CRPD. The information sheets were disseminated at a People First of Atlanta meeting at a critical time for Georgia legislators to hear from constituents. Self-advocates were educated about the legislation and what can be done to support it. After the meeting, self-advocates had the information that they needed to contact their legislators.

On January 16, 2014, final Home and Community Based Services regulations were published to begin to eliminate the state and federal level funding for segregated settings. The regulations pertain to services for people with developmental and psychiatric disabilities as well as “aging” services. Leaders from the P & A were asked, along with several other experts across the country, to give feedback to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) prior to the publishing of the regulations. We brought forth values of the P & A as well as some operational advice for transitioning services to “most integrated settings” for people. States will have five years to transition their segregated services. Executive Director of the P & A participates on the state’s task force to oversee the state’s planning and implementation of changes to transition from funding segregated services to those that comply with Home and Community Based Services standards and the new guidance issued from CMS.

The P & A signed a letter to the Georgia Medicaid Agency with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Legal Services Program, People First of Georgia, and the Unlock the Waiting List campaign regarding the Department’s July 3rd public notice regarding its HCBS Transition Plan for the waiver. In addition to giving feedback to CMS, we are also on an advisory committee to the State in their development of a transition plan, to divest from segregation over the next several years. The State’s transition plan is due to CMS by December 15, 2014.

The P & A provided peer support to individuals who are transitioning from nursing facilities under Money Follows the Person. Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the P & A are representing these individuals. The P & A is helping the individuals realize that they can live successfully in the community. The P & A is helping them connect with the disability community outside the nursing facility and helping them re-learn social skills that people lost while living in a nursing facility or institution.

On February 12, 2014, Senator Harkin submitted a report to the United States Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (H.E.L.P.): “Dangerous Use of Seclusion and Restraints in Schools Remains Widespread and Difficult to Remedy: A Review of Ten Cases.” The P & A provided input to the 2009 General Accountability Office report on restraint and seclusion in the schools which was included in the recent H.E.L.P. Committee Report. The Georgia P & A was recognized several times in the report for our work to abolish restraint and seclusion in schools.

"Georgia is currently the only state that outlaws seclusion completely. Georgia also forbids prone restraints, mechanical restraints, and chemical restraints. However, according to the Georgia Advocacy Office, a key safeguard that is missing is a reporting requirement for incidents of restraint. Data collection and analysis are lacking, meaning it is difficult to pinpoint which schools or districts need additional support. Further, students with disabilities remain segregated in antiquated “psychoeducational” programs and schools. The programs, which are sometimes in separate schools altogether or are sometimes “schools within schools,” have been renamed the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS). The Georgia Advocacy Office reported that around twenty to twenty-five cases of seclusion and restraint are filed per year, most of which come from GNETS. One advocate described these GNETS as “archaic,” “lawless,” and “unaccountable” and said rural school districts ship troubled students to the GNETS to avoid responsibility for their education. Most often, those sent to GNETS are boys who have been labeled “disruptive” or “violent.” Georgia continues to educate about 5,600 students with disabilities through its network of 24 GNETS."

The P & A operated a voter hotline from 7am until 7pm on Super Tuesday, May 20, 2014, to answer questions about the voting process, address barriers to polling locations, and to address barriers to casting ballots by individuals with disabilities.

The P & A also served as a "Commissioner" at a national hearing at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in conjunction with the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Laws to create a report on continued patterns of discrimination, affecting voters with disabilities, as well as members of minority populations.

The P & A participates on the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and the Elderly, which includes American Red Cross of Georgia (ARC), Atlanta Autism Consortium, Center for Advance Communication Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), GACHI, Serving the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Georgia Advocacy Office (THE P & A ), Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services (DAS), Georgia Department of Human Services, Office of Facilities and Support Services (OFSS), Georgia Department of Public Health, Division of Health Protection, Office of Emergency, Preparedness and Response (DPH), Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), Georgia Emergency Management Interpreting Initiative (GEMINI), Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission — State ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator’s Office, Gwinnett Coalition Emergency Preparedness Committee, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Public Health Department, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Joseph’s Network, Shepherd Center, Southeast ADA Center, and Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program.

The Coalition serves as a comprehensive clearinghouse between local advocacy groups serving individuals with disabilities and older adults, and Georgia agencies responsible for emergency preparedness under the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan. The Coalition also provides subject matter expertise to emergency response planners to ensure that all emergency plans incorporate the needs of people with disabilities and older adults and organizations throughout Georgia that serve and advocate for people with disabilities and older adults enabling them to share disaster preparedness and response information with their constituencies. The P & A is member of the Training and Technical Assistance Committee. The Committee provided train the trainer seminars around the State to stakeholder agencies who in return can train the individuals they serve.

The P & A hosts Employment First Georgia (EFG). The work of EFG builds on several years of work at the state and local level to create consensus and participation regarding “who can work” and to develop examples of innovative practices to demonstrate customized approaches to employing people with significant disabilities. EFG receives a small amount of funding from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. In addition to hosting EFG, the P & A continues to identify individuals who need employment services and provides protection and advocacy.

SB is a well known self-advocate in metro-Atlanta. He works in a complex position within the Department of Natural Resources, and he looks forward to retirement with State benefits in 3 years. When SB learned that his office was transferring to a new building, he requested reasonable accommodations to ensure that he could continue to do the essential functions of his job. When SB was denied these accommodations, he contacted his lay advocate and the P & A. Together, the lay advocate and the P & A helped SB obtain all of the reasonable accommodations that he requested to do the essential functions of his complex job. A few weeks later, SB received a less than ideal performance evaluation. He suspected that it was in retaliation for requesting reasonable accommodations. The P & A advocated for SB to establish a better working relationship with his supervisor and to receive ongoing supervision to ensure that he knew which deadlines were expected of him.

To assist people in overcoming barriers to employment and to effect systems change, the P & A hosts EFG; coordinates collaboration between and the Georgia Microboard Association; provides technical assistance and training to overcome barriers to employment; identifies individuals who need employment services; provides protection and advocacy; identifies and supports leadership and others in self-advocacy; and meets with leadership to ensure that State agencies provide employment services to people with developmental disabilities.

EFG, with the Center for Leadership in Disability and the Department of Education, convened a Community of Practice in Transition. This year, the Community of Practice will work with stakeholders to increase the vision and expectation of families regarding employment for transition-age youth. The Community of Practice will host three Youth Summits throughout Georgia in the spring of 2015. These will be held across the State, and EFG will support the Regional Planning Teams. The Summits will give youth and young adults ideas and tools to use while focusing on transitioning into adulthood. Presentations will be given by peers and professionals on transition in the areas of education, health, employment, legal rights, community life, and recreation and leisure. There will be a parent track focused on transitioning into adulthood and what parents need to know to support their students to access a life well lived after high school.

The P & A and the Council hosted the Employment First Coalition of Georgia at the P & A this year. Over 30 providers, parents, DD Network partners, and advocates came together to reiterate their commitment to an Employment First policy in Georgia and moving forward beyond the Division’s delay in building capacity across the State to provide best practices in supported employment.

The P & A and other advocacy partners supported the Department of Education to rewrite the Georgia Transition Manual (transition from school to work for youth with disabilities). The Manual is a resource on the Department of Education’s website for parents, self-advocates, teachers, and providers.

The P & A hosts meetings of the Georgia Microboard Association, provides individual protection and advocacy, and coordinates with EFG to assist individuals to create their own microenterprises.

The P & A continues to host People First of Georgia and continues to work with the leadership in building their leadership skills and strengthening local chapters statewide. The P & A continues to function as fiscal agent for the organization. For the past several years, we have supported Board Member and President of People First to attend national board meetings in his Regional Representative role with the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) national advocacy organization. This year the P & A worked closely with People First to help make their annual conference a huge success. The P & A also supported People First members to attend and present at the SABE conference. Throughout the year, the P & A supported People First of Georgia in reviewing and updating bylaws.

The P & A collaborated with Atlanta Legal Aid to host the “I Am Olmstead” event held on June 23, 2014, at the Carter Center, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Olmstead decision, which originated out of Georgia. Over 200 self-advocates, service providers, allies, and state employees attended the all-day event. The P & A was instrumental in securing the speakers for the event, which included the “voices of Olmstead”—people with disabilities who were able to successfully transition from an institution into the community; Eve Hill, an attorney with the United States Department of Justice who has facilitated several Department of Justice settlement agreements around the country regarding the integration of persons with disabilities into the community; as well as the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner. The P & A reached out to private law firms who donated funds for the event to be held at the Carter Center. The P & A also worked with the statewide Developmental Disabilities Network to ensure that the facilities were accessible (i.e., adding a portable ramp and providing sign language interpreters and real time captioning).

A woman contacted the P & A to request assistance in having MARTA Mobility memorialize in writing a verbal agreement the woman made with MARTA officials for MARTA to change their policy how they tie down wheelchairs. She wanted MARTA’s policy to be in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act and require that a wheelchair not move more than two inches rather than their current policy that a wheelchair be tied down at all four points. The woman also wanted P & A assistance in ensuring that a General Order was disseminated to all MARTA Mobility drivers.

The P & A contacted the Director of MARTA Mobility and received written assurances of the following: 1. Effective April 29, 2013, if a MARTA Mobility driver calls MARTA dispatch to report that a rider requested a less than a four (4) point tiedown on a common wheelchair or mobility aid, MARTA dispatch will tell the driver that such request will be noted and the rider is to be transported in the manner they request; 2. Beginning with the next Safety meeting, all MARTA Mobility drivers will be informed of the procedure in paragraph (1) above. 3. A General Order regarding this new procedure in paragraph (1) will be drafted by May 6, 2013; and 4. The finalized General Order regarding the new procedure in paragraph (1) will be completed within a couple of months. The Director of MARTA Mobility responded in writing to confirm that the above steps had been completed. She also stated that the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity met with the Operations Training Department to request that they place emphasis on the person’s rights when it comes to securing all types of wheelchairs and mobility aids. During training, operators were told that persons with disabilities cannot be refused transportation because their wheelchair or mobility aid is not standard and that the person has the right to inform the driver of their preference and must be allowed to offer an alternative of which they must comply. Further, operators were trained that such incidents must be performed courteously and with respect. This emphasis was revisited with the groups in class at the time of the meeting and would become a permanent part of Mobility and the fixed route operator’s new candidate class.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts1,456,812
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.

Hunter v. Cook is a case brought in federal court pursuant to the Medicaid Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of five children with complex medical conditions. The P & A challenged the practices of the Georgia Department of Community Health in its determination of the amount of in-home nursing services that will be provided to the Plaintiffs pursuant to the GAPP program. There is one remaining Plaintiff. The State appealed the District Court’s decision granting the Plaintiff’s injunctive relief to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral argument is scheduled before the Eleventh Circuit on December 9, 2014.

The P & A continues to have full and effective access to the state hospitals. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities has trained its staff in the basics of our access authority. The few access issues that have arisen have been resolved promptly and favorably. While the Department continues to be subject to the terms of the permanent injunction, the District Court’s jurisdiction to enforce the injunction expired on August 31, 2014. The P & A and the Department have a productive working relationship with the leadership of the Department and the P & A does not anticipate any significant access issues while the current administration is in office.

In response to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s complaint the United States Department of Justice, the Civil Rights Division is investigating Georgia’s segregated educational program for students with labels of emotional behavioral disorder or autism, GNETS (Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support). This year, the P & A connected the DOJ with families who have youth that have the label “emotional behavior disorder” and (more accurately) need certain supports around behavior and self-regulation) in and around Savannah, Athens or Augusta. The P & A also encouraged other entities that serve youth such as Vocational Rehabilitation to connect the families with the Department of Justice to tell their stories. The P & A wants professionals to have the input of families to design, create and deliver supports that meet families’ needs.

This year, the P & A did significant work in monitoring the State’s implementation of United States v. Georgia (U.S. v. GA). The P & A met regularly with the Independent Reviewer to note progress and to address the persistent lack of compliance regarding some core provisions of the Settlement Agreement (i.e., quality management, protections from harm, independent support coordination, transition planning, and community integration). The Independent Reviewer requested the P & A’s input on the State’s Plan to come into compliance on the provisions of Settlement Agreement related to developmental disabilities services and supports and transition planning from institutions to the community. The P & A crafted a response that began with core values and a framework for accomplishments to come into compliance. The P & A also met with the Independent Reviewer’s experts on Housing, Employment, and Assertive Community Treatment. A man under a guardianship/conservatorship contacted the P & A to request assistance in having his guardians and conservators removed. The P & A contacted the man’s sister and daughter who were co-guardians and they agreed to support the man’s guardianship removal. The P&A also contacted the man’s other sister and daughter who were co-conservators and they also agreed to the conservatorship removal. The P & A worked with the man to obtain a favorable report and affidavit from his physician supporting the removal of guardianship/conservatorship. The P & A filed a Petition for Restoration of Rights on behalf of the man in Probate Court and represented the man at the Probate Court hearing on the Petition. The P & A presented evidence and testimony at the hearing that the man no longer needed a guardian/conservator and the Judge agreed with the P & A and restored the man’s rights fully.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

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

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

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

1. Identify and describe the priority. The first priority is to protect individuals with disabilities in Georgia from abuse and neglect. Individuals with disabilities are vulnerable to mistreatment, exploitation and neglect. GAO investigates and, where possible, seeks to rectify the situation and ensure it does not recur. 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. Georgians with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization due to the lack of appropriate community-based services and supports. People who reside in congregate facilities are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, and even death. Children are at the greatest risk due to their heightened vulnerability. Community-based supports are needed to end the institutional bias in Georgia. 3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to investigate and positively address instances of abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities, especially children, reported to PAIR. To intervene to protect any persons with disabilities from circumstances of abuse and neglect, and to assist in their transfer to circumstances they prefer and in which abuse and neglect is less likely to occur. 4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. The P & A receives Type I critical incident reports from the DBHDD Director of Incident Management and Investigations based upon reports received from state institutional staff. P & A makes case-by-case determinations as to which reports warrant further investigation by the P&A and other entities. The P & A monitors the discharge of individuals leaving state hospitals, with particular emphasis on compliance with the United States v. Georgia Settlement Agreement, and the “fit” between what people need and what they are actually receiving in terms of supports and services and real choices. The P & A reports findings to the Department of Justice and the Court Monitor as part of their investigation into the State hospital system.

The P & A is monitoring the closure of the Craig Building at Central State Hospital to make sure that the State is providing appropriate community-based services to individuals transitioning into the community from the Craig Building. The P & A met with the State regarding closure of the hospital, and the P & A attended planning sessions for family members to provide information about community resources. The P & A also initiated and continues conversations with Adult Protective Services, who acts as the legal guardian for several individuals at Craig, about appropriate community-based services.

The P & A monitored the closure of Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville, Georgia as it closed in December, 2013. The P & A has worked with individuals and with the Department so that individuals would receive appropriate community- based services upon discharge. The P & A is monitoring the creation of new or expanded services in that rural part of the State, including but not limited to, Behavioral Health Crisis Centers, Crisis Stabilization Units and Intensive Case Management Teams. The P & A is advocating for the provision of services in the most integrated setting for individuals who were transferred from Southwestern State Hospital to other state hospitals when Southwestern closed.

The P & A has participated in transition meetings and service plan meetings. The P & A has helped to identify barriers to discharge and advocated for services within the ISP that will bring more self-determination and full inclusion to people’s lives. During the P & A’s visits, the P & A has discussed current census and inquired about any developments regarding transition planning specifically to certain individuals and for the population as a whole. The P & A also attended planning sessions for family members to provide information about community resources upon discharge from the hospital.

During this time, the P & A learned that the transition process has been stopped and started when DBHDD has identified areas of concern and have put a hold on transitions. This has occurred 2 different times and the second hold is still in place. The P & A reported this to the DOJ and Independent Reviewer. Periodic visits to Southwestern State Hospital following the announcement of its permanent closing revealed a strong emphasis on transfers to other State Hospitals for numerous individuals rather than person centered individualized discharge planning. 5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 11 6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. The P&A became aware of a young man living in a personal care home through the Children’s Freedom Initiative. He was paralyzed as a result of a gunshot wound. He received community-based services through the SOURCE waiver program, but then developed wounds and was transferred into a nursing facility. The P & A submitted a referral to Money Follows the Person on his behalf. The young man applied for, and received, services through the Independent Care Waiver Program to cover his increased needs. The young man is now successfully living in an apartment in the community. 1. Identify and describe the priority. The second priority is to address instances of discrimination and legal rights violations against persons with disabilities. Discrimination persists through disdain and fear, but also through indifference and the failure to accommodate. This priority seeks to remedy discrimination against persons with disabilities by state and local government and by the private sector in the areas of healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. Also, this priority seeks to remedy legal rights violations against persons with disabilities who are subject to fiduciary relationships against their will. 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. Priority 2 addresses the need of individuals with disabilities to be free from overt discrimination or the failure to provide requested reasonable accommodations in government services, and public accommodations. Persons with disabilities are subject to discrimination in essential services and domains of life, particularly with respect to healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. Public and private accommodations need to be accessible and free from discriminatory policies and practices in order for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to participate fully in their communities. People with disabilities are more likely to have their rights restricted based upon the perception that they are not able to make decisions regarding their own lives. 3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to investigate and reverse the effects of reliable reports of overt deprivation of fundamental rights for individuals; to avert discrimination against persons with disabilities by achieving equal opportunities from employers, housing providers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, public entities, and public accommodations through reasonable accommodations and removal of policy barrier; and to obtain appropriate restitution for persons with disabilities who have suffered from financial abuse. 4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. The P & A has aggressively advocated for the housing provisions set forth in U.S. v. Georgia. At conferences and meetings, the P & A reminds advocates and stakeholders that individuals with disabilities want to live in typical, integrated housing. The P & A advocates for individuals to live in integrated housing in spite of the bias toward congregated, segregated housing. Many providers are unclear about the mandates of Olmstead and U.S. v. Georgia. The P & A has been working with a diverse group of stakeholders to build more consensus and momentum around integrated supported housing models, to offer people with disabilities options that are culturally normative and afford a real choice. 5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 21 6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. The P & A was contacted by a woman who moved out of the nursing facility on April 1, 2013, through Money Follows the Person (MFP) and approved for 8 hours/day of support from the Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) waiver. Her ICWP case manager found out that her Medicaid did not transfer over to community Medicaid once she moved out. Her ICWP case manager re-applied for Medicaid benefits on her behalf. Because the Medicaid eligibility process can take anywhere from 30-60 days, the P & A contacted Georgia Medicaid to expedite that process since she was getting Medicaid in the nursing facility, but needed it to transfer to community Medicaid so she could continue receiving ICWP Waiver services. The Medicaid system made the switch from facility Medicaid to community Medicaid and the woman was able to remain in the community with waiver supports.

A young woman who is deaf contacted the P & A about an appointment with a periodontist. When she requested an ASL interpreter she was advised that they would not provide one and that she could bring one at her expense. The P & A mailed this person our written information on responsibilities and rights of healthcare providers to provide an interpreter to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and also the rights of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to be provided an interpreter during medical appointments (which includes dental appointments). The P & A also faxed the information to the office manager of the periodontist because she was experiencing a medical emergency and needed to be seen as soon as possible. An ASL interpreter was provided by the periodontist at the appointment that week.

A woman with deafness contacted the P & A to request assistance in advocating for the Costrini Sleep Services group provide an interpreter for her at an appointment to discuss the results of her sleep study and to discuss the proper use of a CPAP machine. The Sleep Services group told the woman they would not provide an interpreter for her, despite the information she gave them regarding their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The P & A wrote a letter to the Sleep Services group on behalf of the woman and the group responded to say that they were actively locating an interpreter and would schedule an appointment with the woman with an interpreter. 1. Identify and describe the priority. The third priority is to promote self-determination and integration of persons with disabilities in the community. GAO seeks to support persons with disabilities and families to apply for home and community-based supports and other government services. GAO also supports persons with disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens to advocate for competitive employment, education, healthcare and other services that are appropriate to the person’s needs. 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. Priority 3 addresses the need of people to live fully integrated lives in their communities. Persons with disabilities have been continually isolated and segregated from the community. Starting when they are young, they are placed in classes separate from everyone else. It continues when opportunities to be in the community are limited because of inaccessibility. Most significantly, too many persons with disabilities are isolated in nursing facilities or other congregate settings away from life in the community. The best safeguard for individuals with disabilities is to be involved and connected with their communities. 3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to support graduates from the Parent Leadership Support Project to advocate on behalf of children throughout Georgia to obtain an inclusive education, to support individuals and concerned citizens to obtain equal opportunities from employers, housing providers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, and to support individuals and concerned citizens to obtain home and community-based supports for individuals to live and fully participate in their communities. 4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. In 2014, the P & A filed an addendum to a United States Department of Justice complaint that we filed on behalf of Disability Link, a Center for Independent Living. The complaint, first filed in 2013, was against the parking deck owner that services the Disability Link office for failure to allow paratransit vans onto the parking deck; thus, rendering the Center for Independent Living’s office inaccessible to persons with disabilities. In 2014, the parking deck company was bought out by another company, who persisted in the discrimination against persons with disabilities. Because the parking deck refused to allow mobility vans onto the parking deck, a person with a significant mobility impairment was forced to be dropped off at the curb of the parking deck, maneuver up a hill to the entrance of the parking deck, and then avoid parking deck traffic, while others with visual impairments had to locate a sighted guide to assist them in traversing the lot. The P & A continues to support the Georgia Microboard Association (GMA) by hosting meetings at our office and working with GMA to address systemic obstacles to people with disabilities exercising more self-determination and to getting the supports needed to live good lives in the community. The Georgia Microboard Association supports micro-boards and micro-enterprises with technical assistance as well as hosting relevant training. The P & A participated in the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) meetings this year. Attendees of the SILC meetings included representatives from each of Georgia’s eight Centers for Independent Living. The P & A contributed to the discussions surrounding ensuring that Georgians with disabilities have access to, among others, accessible housing, transportation, living alternatives, and assistive technology. The P & A provided live public comments to the SILC on integrating on integrating nursing facility transition into each of its proposed goals. The P & A participated in the quarterly Money Follows the Person (MFP) stakeholder meetings held throughout the state. The P & A heard reports from the state Division of Aging and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities regarding information about its nursing facility transitions for the previous quarter. The P & A actively participated in these meetings by asking questions about various policies and procedures governing the transition process. The P & A collaborates with People First of Georgia on key projects including the establishment of new chapters; the annual Long Road Home Olmstead celebration; Project Vote; providing support at their annual conference; and ongoing personal, professional, and organizational development support to People First of Georgia leadership, membership, and the network. The P & A supported People First chapters to host Long Road Home events throughout the State to commemorate the Olmstead decision in June. Annually, the P & A supports People First of Atlanta to organize and host a Long Road Home event at the State Capitol. The Capitol event gave self-advocates a platform to share their personal stories of transition from an institutional setting to a place of belonging in the community. The P & A participates in and contributes financially to GCDD’s annual Disability Day event, disseminates information about key projects, and supports people with disabilities to attend. The P & A supports a board member to serve as Southeastern Regional Representative on the Self Advocate’s Becoming Empowered National Board. 5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 22 6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. The P & A supported advocates to file a complaint with the Department of Justice related to performance targets under the district’s Investing in Educational Excellence contract, or IE². The OCR investigation centers on possible discrimination against students on the basis of race (black), national origin (Hispanic and English language learners), and disability by subjecting them to different treatment through the establishment of different performance targets. This year, the Department requested documentation of discrimination from Gwinnett County. The P&A was contacted by a man whose doctor refused to obtain an accessible examination table, despite repeated requests from the man. The man has used a wheelchair for 22 years and had started developing pressure sores. He went to his doctor to to request that the doctor examine his pressure sores on a full-length examination table, but the doctor refused, saying his table was not accessible and that he did not want to assume liability for any injuries that may occur to the man if his staff were to lift the man onto the examining table. The P&A provided technical assistance in self-advocacy to the man in the letter he wrote to the doctor requesting that his doctor obtain an accessible examining table. When the doctor refused to provide an accessible table, the man filed a complaint with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The P&A provided technical assistance to the man on his DOJ complaint. As a result of the man’s complaint, DOJ investigated the issue and entered into a settlement agreement with the doctor whereby the doctor agreed to provide an accessible examining table for the man.

CC had made arrangements to travel to Georgia from Texas for specialized medical treatment from a trio of physicians. In addition to having chronic pain from her physical impairments, CC also has multiple psychiatric labels. The Practice Manager at an office, told CC she was "too difficult to work with," and took her off the surgical schedule. With coaching and encouragement from the P&A, CC reasserted her need for accommodations around communication with the medical office. CC was put back on the surgical schedule before she had to make any changes to her travel plans. CC is looking forward to getting some relief from her chronic pain.

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.

1. Goal 1: Protect individuals with disabilities in Georgia from abuse and neglect. Priority 1: Investigate and address allegations of abuse or neglect, including the suspicious or unexplained deaths of persons with disabilities. Priority 2: Advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services for persons with disabilities residing in facilities, with a focus on monitoring the State’s compliance with US v GA, the ADA and Olmstead.

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

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

1. Goal 2: To respond to allegations of discrimination and legal rights violations of persons with disabilities. Priority 1: Advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services, including healthcare and educational, for people with disabilities at risk of institutionalization. Priority 2: Advocate for people with disabilities subject to legal rights violations and discrimination in any of the following areas: fiduciary relationships, local and state government, healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment.

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

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

1. Goal 3: Promote the integration and self determination of persons with disabilities in the community. Priority 1: Empower people with disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens to advocate for competitive employment, educational, healthcare, and other services that are appropriate to the person’s needs.

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

3. Activities: GAO supports individuals to participate in ADAPT, the largest national grassroots organization of people with disabilities. Through information and referrals, GAO provides information to individuals about their human and legal rights to ensure that individuals secure the accommodations and services that they are entitled to under the law. GAO also assists individuals and families in applying for community-based supports and refers individuals and families to local independent living centers for information about transitioning into community life.

Part VI. Narrative

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

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

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

A. Source of Funding Federal (section 509): Amount Received = 462,788 Federal (section 509): Amount Spent = 465,668 State: Amount Received = 0 State: Amount Spent = 0 Program income: Amount Received = 0 Program income: Amount Spent = 0 Private: Amount Received = 0 Private: Amount Spent = 0 All other funds: Amount Received = 0 All other funds: Amount Spent = 0 Total (from all sources): Amount Received = 462,788 Total (from all sources): Amount Spent = 465,668

B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report

Wages/salaries: Prior Fiscal Year = 296,000 Wages/salaries: Current Fiscal Year = 280,000 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc): Prior Fiscal Year = 72,000 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc): Current F/Y= 70,000 Materials/supplies: Prior Fiscal Year = 5,300 Materials/supplies: Current Fiscal Year = 4,000 Postage: Prior Fiscal Year = 1,000 Postage: Current Fiscal Year = 1,500 Telephone: Prior Fiscal Year = 3,000 Telephone: Current Fiscal Year = 3,500 Rent: Prior Fiscal Year = 35,000 Rent: Current Fiscal Year = 35,000 Travel: Prior Fiscal Year = 7,900 Travel: Current Fiscal Year = 8,000 Copying: Prior Fiscal Year = 2,600 Copying: Current Fiscal Year = 2,500 Bonding/insurance: Prior Fiscal Year = 2,000 Bonding/insurance: Current Fiscal Year = 2,400 Equipment (rent/purchase): Prior Fiscal Year = 3,000 Equipment (rent/purchase): Current Fiscal Year = 4,000 Legal Services: Prior Fiscal Year = 20,000 Legal Services: Current Fiscal Year = $20,000 Indirect costs: Prior Fiscal Year = 0 Indirect costs: Current Fiscal Year = 0 Miscellaneous: Prior Fiscal Year = 37,907 Miscellaneous: Current Fiscal Year = 31,888 Total Budget: Prior Fiscal Year = 485,707 Total Budget: Current Fiscal Year = 462,788

C. Description of PAIR Staff

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

Julie Kegley is the PAIR Director, an attorney, who has been with the P & A for 6 years. She has expertise in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues and nursing facility issues. She comes from the Virginia protection and advocacy system where she specialized in special education and worked with the Client Assistance Program.

Josh Norris is the Director of Legal Advocacy. He has been with P & A for 10 years. He supervises all legal advocacy at the P & A and coordinates with program staff regarding targeted advocacy strategies.

Crystal Rasa is the Director of Program Accountability and an attorney. She has been with P & A for 12 years. She has experience in employment discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Denise Quigley is the Director of Resource Advocacy. She has been with P & A for 17 years.

Naomi Walker works part of her time as a PAIR attorney. She has been with P & A for 20 years and has extensive experience in Assistive Technology litigation and Medicaid law.

Stacey Smith is an advocate with the PAIR program. She advocates on behalf of individuals who experience employment discrimination and who are transitioning from nursing facilities. She has been with the P & A for 10 years.

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

D. Involvement with Advisory Boards

The P & A serves on the following boards and committees: Georgia’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, the State Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Steering Committee, Unlock the Waiting List Steering Committee, Georgia’s taskforce to oversee the planning, design and implementation of the state’s transition plan to divest from segregation and come into compliance with Olmstead, the ADA, and CMS “settings” guidance; National Disability Rights Network Employment Committee, TASH Employment Committee, National Disability Rights Network Continuing Education & Self-Advocacy Committee, Money Follows the Person Stakeholders Committee, and the P & A is an advisor to People First of Georgia. The P & A serves on several Boards and Committees at the local, state, and national levels related to employment representing the protection and advocacy system.

E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure

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

F. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

The P & A has invited the Client Assistance Program to be part of the Employment Coalition. To date, the CAP has not participated. The VR Agency continues to reach out to the P & A. Georgia Vocational Rehab Agency’s (GVRA) Executive Director, Greg Schmieg, met with the P & A as a follow up to the core values training that the P & A provided to his executive-level staff. We outlined next steps for them operationalizing the elements of a high quality rehabilitation system. This year, the P & A joined his executive leadership team to participate in strategic priority setting for near term and long term.

The P & A has received referrals from the Long Term Care Ombudsman regarding individuals residing in nursing facilities that want to move into the community.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByCrystal Rasa
TitleProgram Director
Signed Date12/01/2014