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

Oklahoma (Oklahoma Disability Law Center) - H240A140037 - FY2014

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameOklahoma Disability Law Center Inc.
Address2915 Classen Blvd Suite 300
Address Line 2
CityOklahoma City
StateOklahoma
Zip Code73106
E-mail Addresskayla@okdlc.org
Website Addresshttp://www.okdlc.org
Phone405-525-7755
TTY 405-525-7755
Toll-free Phone800-226-5883
Toll-free TTY800-226-5883
Fax405-525-7759
Name of P&A Executive DirectorKayla A. Bower
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorMelissa K. Sublett
Person to contact regarding reportQuinton Underwood
Contact Person phone405-550-1193
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 areas135
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas372
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)507

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff16
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)1,200

16 conferences using the lecture method, with handouts for training on rights regarding employment, foster and adoptive parent rights and educational rights. Trainings included and question and answer periods for each topic. Educational rights topics including PBIS, restraint and seclusion, transition to employment and community living, prevention of drop outs, learning disabilities, etc. for students in public schools, their parents, therapists, teachers, attorneys, case managers (DHS, OJA), and Native American providers.

The purpose of the trainings was to educate the participants about their rights and how to enforce them.

Also, not included in the total number were 8 booths at various statewide conferences where ODLC handed out information about our P&A and information regarding the conference topics (i.e. education); estimated 1,045 people came to booths.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles0
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website11,499
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated6,500
6. Other (specify separately)7

Narrative

WEBSITES:

http://www.okdlc.org

http://www.peapods.us

http://www.redlandspartners.org

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: Kayla Bower

Facebook: Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc.

Twitter: @okdisabilitylaw

WEBSITES OF OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLIC AGENCIES ON THE WEB

BROCHURES AND HANDOUTS OF OTHER AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS LISTSERVS

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)527
2. Additional individuals served during the year306
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)833
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)52

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 429

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility21
2. Employment72
3. Program access6
4. Housing96
5. Government benefits/services318
6. Transportation8
7. Education119
8. Assistive technology2
9. Voting0
10. Health care39
11. Insurance16
12. Non-government services162
13. Privacy rights5
14. Access to records1
15. Abuse29
16. Neglect3
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor441
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint0
4. Appeals unsuccessful0
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
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-advocacy0
2. Short-term assistance418
3. Investigation/monitoring3
4. Negotiation11
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution2
6. Administrative hearings6
7. Litigation (including class actions)1
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 42
2. 5 - 22142
3. 23 - 59488
4. 60 - 64103
5. 65 and over98

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females415
2. Males418

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race33
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native66
3. Asian3
4. Black or African American145
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White538
7. Two or more races48
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent553
2. Parental or other family home200
3. Community residential home8
4. Foster care2
5. Nursing home29
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement1
8. Jail/prison/detention center13
9. Homeless12
10. Other living arrangements14
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 impairment20
2. Deaf/hard of hearing12
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment382
5. Mental illness51
6. Substance abuse3
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability83
9. Neurological impairment135
10. Respiratory impairment18
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment67
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment22
13. Speech impairment6
14. AIDS/HIV6
15. Traumatic brain injury1
16. Other disability27

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

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

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes47,500

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.

DYSLEXIA: Oklahoma schools have had history of denying that dyslexia is covered as a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), despite clear statutory language to the contrary. The P&A began hearing frequently from school districts and then attended a presentation which included personnel from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). At that presentation, the OSDE staff stated that dyslexia was not covered under IDEA. The P&A filed a State Complaint against the OSDE, requesting that it investigate itself for the denial of dyslexia. The OSDE issued an opinion that dyslexia was covered under IDEA and that no one from the OSDE was authorized to say otherwise. The P&A has distributed this opinion at conferences where P&A staff speak as well as putting it on the P&A website for distribution, so that families can provide the OSDE opinion to the school district if needed.

TRANSPORTATION OF PRESCHOOL AGE CHILDREN: The P&A learned of a large rural school district’s policy that would not allow pre-school age children to be transported from the school to the child’s daycare. As a result, many pre-school age children with disabilities were not able to attend school. The P&A addressed this issue with the school and as a result, the district changed their policy and no longer refused to transport pre-school age children to and from their daycare.

FERPA: A large urban local school district was using Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) inappropriately against parents of student with disabilities. The school had a policy of telling parents that FERPA prevented them from coming to the school to observe their children. However, the school staff routinely invited their own family members to come to their classes to see them. The school district changed their policy of allowing school staff family members in the classroom at any time and not allowing the children’s parents to come observe their children in class.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The P&A has continued the relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Health and their emergency preparedness efforts in developing a statewide training and a questions and answers booklet for agencies providing care during and after disasters. The training and documents were created to assist in the care of Access and Functional Needs population and was a collaboration of multiple agencies s in the state who provide services to individuals with disabilities. PBIS WORKGROUP: The P&A continues efforts on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) which have been the focus of federal grants to Oklahoma. The P&A has participated in the SDE’s workgroup on PBIS, including the merging of RTI and PBIS principles.

RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION GUIDELINES: The P&A continues to undertake systemic activity to reduce seclusion and restraint in public schools throughout the state. Because Oklahoma still has no statutes or regulations regarding seclusion and restraint in school, the published SDE guidelines for reducing seclusion and restraint are extremely important to students. The P&A activity increases the awareness of PAIR eligible clients and their families, as well as lawmakers, of the hidden practices of restraint and seclusion.

TRAINING: P&A continues training to clients, state agencies and service providers regarding rights and responsibilities of clients and self advocacy.

OBA COMMITTEES: The P&A participates in Oklahoma Bar Association committees related to the juvenile justice system. The P&A also continues to work with the Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts to achieve accessible courthouses in Oklahoma and increase information about accessibility to the public.

COURTHOUSE ACCESSIBILITY: The P&A continues to photograph the county courthouses (77 counties) so that entrance access (or lack thereof) is readily identifiable for PAIR eligible clients and their families who want to use the court house (for hearings, jury service, serving as a witness and other public events). Pictures of each county courthouse are posted to the P&A’s Facebook account as soon as they are acquired. The P&A continues to solicit information from PAIR eligible clients about accessibility issues at their local courthouses and provides information on procedures for filing complaints for accessibility issues.

FACILITIES OUTREACH: The P&A continues to visit nursing homes and other facilities where people who are eligible for PAIR live to assure that PAIR eligible clients are aware of their rights where they live and are free from abuse and neglect.

TRIBAL TRAINING AND OUTREACH: The P&A continues its collaboration with the tribal community and regional training on legal rights and their enforcement.

LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE: The P&A continues monitoring of proposed legislation and activity of legislatively created task forces. The P&A continues to subscribe to a legislative reporting service to track proposed legislation by identified subject matter and reviews bill status, meetings and analysis throughout the legislative session. The P&A prepared a report that can be shared with PAIR eligible clients. The P&A is in a better position to inform clients of the significance of proposed legislation.

RTI/EDUCATIONAL EVALUATIONS: The P&A continued its investigation into the school districts’ implementation (or lack thereof) of RTI as a means of identifying learning disabilities. This year, Oklahoma would have been required to start retaining third graders who could not read at grade level under Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act. Because approximately 20% of all students likely have a specific learning disability (i.e. dyslexia), the P&A is concerned about the failure to identify this learning disability and respond with research-based interventions so that children with unidentified learning disabilities are not automatically retained. The legislative moratorium on automatic retentions applied only to the past school year and the current school year. Legislative proposals continue to be advanced to deal with this issue. The P&A is concerned that the primary responses are to excuse students from reading rather than require research-based methodology. The P&A will continue to monitor the legislative proposals.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

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

The P&A accepted a case regarding Oklahoma’s Optional Hiring Program for People with Disabilities (HB 1340). The P&A used the individual case to address the larger, systemic issues of individuals with disabilities who applied for State jobs under HB 1340. As a result of mediation, staff from one major state agency did an investigation of their hiring practices under HB 1340 and provided the statistics for individuals with disabilities who applied under HB 1340 in the three months prior to the P&A’s case and the statistics of individuals with disabilities who applied under HB 1340 in the three months after the involvement of the P&A in the case.

In the three months prior to the P&A’s case, none of the 71 individuals with disabilities applying under HB 1340 were interviewed and only 5 individuals had their applications considered. In the three months after the case was initiated, 31 individuals with disabilities applied under HB 1340 — of those, 10 individuals were considered, 11 individuals were contacted for an interview and 4 were interviewed.

The P&A believes the case has had, and will continue to have a substantial positive impact on individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs under Oklahoma’s HB 1340.

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.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 1: Improve access to appropriate services for persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, employment, housing, transportation, income, medical care, education and vocational training.

NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to live productive lives free of discrimination based on disability

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: provide representation to enforce anti-discrimination statutes, including education; coordinate complaints with federal and state agencies that enforce anti-discrimination statutes; provide representation to clients to achieve income and medical benefits or referral to appropriate, available attorneys; provide representation to clients who face systemic, physical barriers and exclusion based on disability; provide legal advice and counseling to develop and implement self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities, including maintenance of websites, listservs and social media; improve skills for mediation and other remedies to promote inclusion in the least restrictive environment

CASE SUMMARY

A PAIR eligible client in a large urban school district was failing Social Studies and History and diagnosed with a learning disability. He was also having difficulties in reading and math. His mother found out that he was not receiving appropriate accommodations for his learning disability and not getting reading remediation as stated on his IEP. Furthermore, his teacher was bullying him by calling him names. The P&A provided advice to the parent on the client’s rights and advised her what she needed to do in order to address the issues. P&A also advised client’s mother on how to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to address the teacher’s behavior.

A PAIR eligible client contacted the P&A about his employment. He wanted advice on ending his employment in a favorable manner or to file a complaint concerning the employer because of what the client believed was discrimination based on disability. The P&A worked with the client and his employer and was able to help resolved the issue with a favorable outcome for the client and avoided the necessity of litigation.

A PAIR eligible client contacted the P&A because Oklahoma’s Health Care Authority (OHCA) was trying to collect an overpayment of Medicaid benefits, alleging the client had not been truthful in his application for benefits. The P&A represented the client in a hearing and was successful in showing the client had provided the necessary information to the OHCA and therefore, did not have an overpayment owing to the OHCA.

A PAIR eligible client contacted the P&A because she was being evicted from her home, and the landlord threatened to change the locks to the doors the next day. The P&A contacted the client’s landlord and was able to work out a resolution for the client so she would not be homeless the next day and would not loose her eligibility for housing assistance in the future.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 2: Monitor facilities, state agencies and other service providers that provide or supervise services for persons with disabilities to: eliminate abuse and neglect; improve access to appropriate services and improve quality of services

NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to be free of abuse and neglect

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: compliment activities of the PAIMI program to improve community mental health services in Oklahoma and the efforts of the PADD program to improve community services for people with developmental disabilities; provide representation to residents of nursing homes and facilities to protect them from abuse and neglect and to access needed assistive technology services; coordinate with Long Term Care Ombudsman, Adult/Child Protective Services and enforcement agencies for facilities.

CASE SUMMARY:

A PAIR eligible client contacted the P&A about treatment she was receiving in a nursing home. She told the P&A that the nursing home was telling her she had to move her bed. Moving her bed as the nursing home was requiring would prevent her from being able to get her scooter in her room and would restrict her movement within the nursing home. It would also put her in danger if there were a fire or other emergency at the nursing home. The P&A contacted the nursing home about her concerns. The nursing home did not make the individual move her bed and prevent her from being able to use her scooter. STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 3: Respond to issues and needs identified by groups who advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities

NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Groups identify needs of their members with disabilities and seek relief to systemic issues. Often issues arise that could not be anticipated at the time priorities and objectives were developed. The P&A will be responsive, when appropriate, to these situations, as well as continue efforts on identified systemic issues.

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: The P&A will continue to participate in task forces and advisory committees on disability-related issues. The P&A will work with the federally funded parent training and information center (Oklahoma Parents Center), the Office of Disability Concerns, Decoding Dyslexia OK and other organizations which focus on the concerns of their members with disabilities.

CASE SUMMARY:

The P&A works collaboratively with Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma (DDOK), a grassroots movement driven by OK families concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia. They are a group made up of parents of children who are dyslexic. The group encourages parents. The P&A has provided information and training to DDOK groups around the state, as well has have accepted individual cases referred to them by DDOK.

The P&A worked with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and disability agencies to help develop a training program (Functional Access Support Team) to provided disability awareness and support to agencies active during disasters, such as the American Red Cross.

The P&A continues to enhance its collaborative relationship with the federally funded parent training and information center known as Oklahoma Parents Center (OPC). The P&A and OPC conducted joint trainings, coordinate case handling and collaborated on systemic issues. Staff from the OPC attend the P&A’s Partners in Education Advocacy (PEA) training program. During the fiscal year, the P&A and OPC worked collaboratively on educational cases for PAIR eligible clients.

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.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 1: Improve access to appropriate services for persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, employment, housing, transportation, income, medical care, education and vocational training.

NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to live productive lives free of discrimination based on disability

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: provide representation to enforce anti-discrimination statutes, including education; coordinate complaints with federal and state agencies that enforce anti-discrimination statutes; provide representation to clients to achieve income and medical benefits or referral to appropriate, available attorneys; provide representation to clients who face systemic, physical barriers and exclusion based on disability; provide legal advice and counseling to develop and implement self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities, including maintenance of websites, listservs and social media; improve skills for mediation and other remedies to promote inclusion in the least restrictive environment

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 2: Monitor facilities, state agencies and other service providers that provide or supervise services for persons with disabilities to: eliminate abuse and neglect; improve access to appropriate services and improve quality of services NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to be free of abuse and neglect

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: compliment activities of the PAIMI program to improve community mental health services in Oklahoma and the efforts of the PADD program to improve community services for people with developmental disabilities; provide representation to residents of nursing homes and facilities to protect them from abuse and neglect and to access needed assistive technology services; coordinate with Long Term Care Ombudsman, Adult/Child Protective Services and enforcement agencies for facilities.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 3: Respond to issues and needs identified by groups who advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities

NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Groups identify needs of their members with disabilities and seek relief to systemic issues. Often issues arise that could not be anticipated at the time priorities and objectives were developed. The P&A will be responsive, when appropriate, to these situations, as well as continue efforts on identified systemic issues.

DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: The P&A will continue to participate in task forces and advisory committees on disability-related issues. The P&A will work with the federally funded parent training and information center (Oklahoma Parents Center), the Office of Disability Concerns and other organizations which focus on the concerns of their members with disabilities.

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

Sources of funding for the PAIR program is the federal grant from RSA.

Description of PAIR staff:

Executive Director: responsible for implementing the policies of the Board of Directors and for managing the day-to-day activities of the program

Program Manager: responsible for implementing program requirements

Attorneys (5): responsible for rendition of legal services

Advocates (5): responsible for rendition of advocacy services under supervision of attorneys

Secretaries (2): responsible for support services to attorneys and advocates

The PAIR Advisory Council coordinated its activities with the PADD and PAIMI Advisory Councils to provide direction to the Board of Directors on development of priorities and objectives.

Grievances: There were no grievances filed under the P&A written grievance procedure, which is posted on websites of the P&A and distributed to individual clients.

The P&A coordinates its activities with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) by accepting referrals from the Office of Disability Concerns when those matters are not covered within the CAP responsibility and by participating jointly on systemic projects. The P&A coordinates with the State long-term care program by accepting referrals for persons who are not covered by their program and by sending them referrals of persons who are covered by their program.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByKayla Bower
TitleAuthorized Certifying Official
Signed Date12/30/2014