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

Nebraska (NEBRASKA ADVOCACY SERVICES, INC.) - H240A150028 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Nebraska (formrly Nebr Advocacy)
Address134 South 13th St.
Address Line 2Suite 600
CityLincoln
StateNebraska
Zip Code68508
E-mail Addresseric@drne.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightsnebraska.org
Phone402-474-3183
TTY 402-474-3183
Toll-free Phone800-422-6691
Toll-free TTY800-422-6691
Fax402-474-3274
Name of P&A Executive DirectorEric A. Evans
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorEric A. Evans
Person to contact regarding reportSharon T. Ohmberger
Contact Person phone402-474-3183
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 areas98
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas50
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)148

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff10
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)466

COO served as panelist on Public Interest Activism for undergraduates in Social Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Public Policy Specialist delivered a presentation on the ADA / How does Disability Rights Nebraska do Advocacy / What issues are we tracking - delivered to Nebraska Wesleyan Social Work students Staff Attorney did a training at the ABA/NSBA 2015 Law Day for High School Students on the Magna Carta Staff Attorney did a presentation on the Promise of Community Integration & Olmstead at the Ombudsman Association's National Conference. Senior Staff Attorney presented a training to Nebraska Clerks of the District Court on Access to the Courts and the ADA, focused on discussion of accommodations for individuals with disabilities who access the courts, services, and programs. Senior Staff Attorney presented training for CLE' at the Creighton University Diversity Law Summit on representing clients with disabilities and the ADA. Delivery of model educational program on shared decision making for use specifically by people with mental illness.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles2
3. PSAs/videos aired40
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website11,680
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated11,435
6. Other (specify separately)1,539

Narrative

Facebook, Twitter and Newsletter recipients Facebook - 662 followers. Most popular posts: ? Employee anniversaries: Molly, Jenn, Pat (Jenn’s reached over 550 people) ? ADA 25th Anniversary proclamation signing and celebration announcements and photos reached almost 500 people ? Information about a free Seclusion & Restraint webinar reached 439 people ? Posting of an article from the North Platte paper about LR 314 in which Brad Meurrens is quoted reached 474 people Twitter: Currently, our Facebook and Twitter accounts are connected, such that every time a post is made on Facebook, it is tweeted through @DisabilityRtsNE . We currently have 130 Twitter followers. Newsletter: Four e-mail newsletters were sent out during FY 2015. o The average number of individuals receiving the e-mail = 730 o The largest “open rate (22%)” and “click rate (44 clicks)” were for the February 2015 newsletter which included links for: ? An infographic version of the CEO’s Annual Report for FY 2014 ? Report on Mental Health and Prisons ? The newsletter also contained a brief description of the topics Disability Rights Nebraska would be focusing on for the legislative session. Circulation for newspaper articles: Lincoln Journal-Star: Judge sides with officers - June 5, 2015. Circulation: 76,374 Omaha World-Herald: Disability Advocates Seek Reform for Inmates' Mental Health Care, Solitary - November 28, 2014. Circulation: 125,470

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)4
2. Additional individuals served during the year16
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)20
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)0

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 11

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility8
2. Employment1
3. Program access4
4. Housing2
5. Government benefits/services0
6. Transportation1
7. Education1
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care1
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse0
16. Neglect1
17. Other1

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor5
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint1
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 merit3
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-advocacy2
2. Short-term assistance5
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation0
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)2
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 222
3. 23 - 5911
4. 60 - 641
5. 65 and over6

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females9
2. Males11

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American2
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White15
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent16
2. Parental or other family home1
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home2
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center0
9. Homeless0
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 impairment0
2. Deaf/hard of hearing5
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment6
5. Mental illness2
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability0
9. Neurological impairment3
10. Respiratory impairment0
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment0
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment3
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV1
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability0

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities11

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes468,000

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

1. Legislative Resolution 314 • Disability Rights Nebraska Public Policy Staff conducted research on the use of restraint and seclusion in school and produced a report outlining the findings from an extensive literature review of both national and state-level reports and data. There were requests for presentations of the report from several advocacy groups. Based on the report, Disability Rights Nebraska developed language for a legislative study resolution on the issue of restraint and seclusion use in Nebraska schools. We approached Senator Kolowski to introduce this resolution. Senator Kolowski introduced LR 314, pretty much verbatim. • Disability Rights Nebraska met with various stakeholders several times to get input on the language and to discuss responses to LR 314. The list of stakeholders included: parents; special education teachers; Sen. Kolowski’s office; Sen. Coash’s office; special education directors from metro Omaha schools; PTI Nebraska; Nebraska Department of Education; Department of Health and Human Services--Education, Children and Family Services; Arc of Nebraska. Legislative Resolution 314 was granted a public hearing on September 10, 2105 (which is an added bonus—we were told that it is unusual for the Education Committee to grant public hearings to issues that are not already on its agenda) and Disability Rights testified at the hearing as well as coordinated testifiers for the hearing. We have a meeting scheduled with Sen. Kolowski’s office in November to gauge interest in crafting legislation, and we are in the process of setting up a meeting with the Department of Education to discuss what improvements can be made internally without legislation. PWD Affected: 9,900 2. ADA Coordinator • Disability Rights Nebraska contracted with a person with a disability to work as a consultant on this project. The Consultant performed issue research and conducted the two meetings of interested stakeholders. These meetings were held to discuss the issue and solicit input on next steps. • Public Policy Specialist Brad Meurrens attended the ADA Coordinator Conference in Omaha in the end of September and made some good connections with regional ADA experts who were extremely pleased at the progress we have made on getting policymakers to consider requiring a State ADA Coordinator and promised to provide information and other resources to us. • Brad met with the Director of the Department of Administrative Services to discuss the issue and see if that office would support a legislative initiative to require Nebraska to have a State ADA Coordinator. Brad was told that Department of Administrative Services would support such an initiative and that the Governor would not oppose it. We are currently in the process of developing legislative language and seeking a senator who would introduce our legislation requiring Nebraska to have a State ADA Coordinator. PWD affected: 360,000 3. Accessibility of State computer networks • Disability Rights Nebraska convened a meeting with the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired to discuss accessibility of state computer systems. Disability Rights Nebraska arranged meetings with Senators Hansen, Pansing-Brooks, and Krist to raise awareness of the issue and to discuss potential options to correct the situation. Disability Rights Nebraska also met with the Department of Administrative Services to discuss the issue and to see if any steps have been or could be taken to address the Commission’s concerns. The Director of the Department of Administrative Services indicated that a member of the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been included in beta testing some of the state software platforms and web sites/services as well as consulted on software accessibility. Total number of State employees: 36,921. 10% with disabilities: 3,692 potentially impacted. 4. Mental Health/Prisons • COO Eric Evans and Brad met with Senator Bolz’s staff to discuss further measures to improve the situation of people with mental illness who come into contact with the criminal justice and corrections systems. We discussed the need to improve not only the services inside corrections/prisons, but also evidence-based practices focused on diversion from the corrections system (e.g., mental health courts), and measures to provide more support/community services for people with mental illness in crisis before they end up in prison/jail. Our meetings were a prelude to Sen. Bolz’s LR 295, scheduled to have a hearing in October. LR 295 is an interim study to examine how to improve behavioral health and mental health services in Nebraska in order to prevent crime and reduce costs associated with the incarceration of people who have heightened behavioral and mental health needs. 6,544 people in Nebraska jails & prisons in 2014; according to a national report, 54% of inmates have a mental illness. 3,400 individuals potentially impacted. 5. Office of Public Guardian • The Office of Public Guardian released proposed rules/regulations for their office. Dianne DeLair and Brad reviewed these proposed rules/regulations and submitted written comment. There were not many areas where we disagreed with the proposed regulations. In particular, Disability Rights Nebraska provided support for the improved Court Visitor Program and uniform assessment tool: i. “Disability Rights Nebraska further commends the OPG on the design of the Volunteer Court Visitor Program… The visitor program broadly encompasses education, training and the use of a uniform assessment screening tool in order to objectively gather evidence that will tailor the guardianship to the least restrictive option for the individual. The Visitor Program may also be a tool that judges can use in determining the least restrictive alternative for individuals who may need some form of substitute decision making. This objective nature of the Visitor Program will help ensure that individuals who do not need a guardian, who may no longer need a guardian, or who need a limited guardianship, do not unnecessarily have rights taken away. All too often, courts impose a full guardianship that strips away many of an individual’s civil rights and liberties, sometimes with as little evidence as a letter from a physician outlining the diagnosis. This situation could be avoided by the use of a limited guardianship and other alternatives. The uniform assessment screening tool will aid in increasing the use of limited guardianships and other alternatives, thereby maintaining and preserving to the greatest degree possible, an individual’s independence and protected rights. Moreover, the assessment screening tool requires visitors and/or the guardians ad litem to explain to an individual what rights he or she has. The visitor must also ask the individual if he or she would like to exercise any of his/her rights as enumerated.” Potential number of individuals affected: 6,000 (AABD) Other systemic activity — High-Priority Legislation (addressed with testimony, provision of information, collaborative letters with other disability groups): • LB 212: Prohibit use of restraints in juvenile courts. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed and approved by Governor. of individuals potentially affected: 3,350 • LB 366: Change the personal needs allowance under the Medical Assistance Act. The original bill was written such that individuals would receive an increase from $50 per month to $75 per month. Though an increase was approved, the amount was reduced in the final bill to $60.00 per month. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed and approved by Governor. of individuals potentially affected: 6,000 (AABD) • LB 472: Adopt the Medicaid Redesign Act: Position: Support. Bill Status: Advanced out of Committee and Carried over. of individuals potentially affected: 15,400. This bill is designed to address the gap in coverage between individuals eligible for Medicaid and those eligible for the marketplace. The number of individuals who fall between those two indicators is approximately 77,000, and the affected represents 20% of that figure, as roughly 20% of Nebraskans experience a disability. • LB 592: Change provisions relating to corrections and parole and mentally ill offenders. Position: Support. Bill Status: portions amended into another bill and passed and approved by the Governor. of individuals potentially affected: 3,400 • LB 598: Change and provide requirements regarding treatment and segregation of mentally ill inmates. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed, governor approved. of individuals potentially affected: 3,400. Disability Rights Nebraska provided legislators with a copy of our report Selected Issues in Mental Health and Corrections: A Collection and Summary of Research. (This report is available at our website http://www.disabilityrightsnebraska.org/what_we_do/mental-health-and-prison-reform.html ) • LB 607: Adopt the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act: This bill was passed but not in its original form, and therefore not as robust as we would have preferred. Position: Support. Bill Status: as noted above. of individuals potentially affected: 6,000 (AABD) • LB 12: Suspend medical assistance provided to persons who become inmates of public institutions. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed and approved by the Governor. of individuals potentially affected: 3,400. This bill suspends, rather than terminates, Medicaid coverage for inmates, so that benefits may be more readily re-activated upon release. • LB 287: Change provisions relating to licensure of interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed and approved by the Governor. of individuals potentially affected: 24,000 (Gallaudet U.) Requires that sign language interpreters in Nebraska be licensed to assure quality and consistency. • LB 320: Adopt the Aging and Disability Resource Center Act. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed, Governor approved. of individuals potentially affected: 360,000. Disability Rights Nebraska was part of a coalition involved in the development and support of this bill. We were pleased to welcome two new partners in the effort, two state-wide organizations for families touched by Down Syndrome. • LB 591: Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. Position: Support. Bill Status: Passed, governor approved. of individuals potentially affected: 58,000 In addition to the continued work of the LR 34 Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee, a legislative focus on Corrections was heightened by the events of May 10. Inmates rioted at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, leaving two dead, several injured, and extensive property damage. The Special Investigative Committee will continue in FY 2016. LR 33 monitoring changes to the ACCESSNebraska online benefits system, will also be continued.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts100,000
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

Disability Rights Nebraska worked with Michael Argenyi from July of 2009 to October of 2014 to secure accommodations from Creighton University to allow him to attend medical school. Michael is deaf. For full details of the case, see the FY 2014 PAIR PPR. On December 19, 2013, United States District Court Judge Smith Camp entered an Order granting Plaintiff’s Motion for injunctive relief by ordering the following: Beginning in the fall semester of 2014, and continuing until his graduation or the discontinuation of his enrollment as a medical student, Creighton University will provide Michael Argenyi with auxiliary aids and services for his effective communication, including Communication Access Real-time transcription (CART) in didactic settings and sign-supported oral interpreters in small group and clinical settings (Doc. No. 424). On July 2, 2014, Michael Argenyi returned to medical school at Creighton University. Creighton is providing Michael the auxiliary aids and services as ordered by the District Court and the matter has been resolved. The case remained open until early October 2014 in order to monitor the provision of auxiliary aids and services as Michael began the fall semester. There were no further incidents and the case was finally closed. We have already seen the effects of this case elsewhere as it is cited as precedent in situations where a person with a disability is being denied accommodations in higher education. In 2014, Josh Featherstone was forced to filed suit against Pacific Northwest University when the school revoked his acceptance to medical school and denied his request for accommodations. Relying on Argenyi, the U.S. District Court granted a preliminary injunction requiring the university to allow Featherstone to enroll, and ultimately found Featherstone’s requested accommodations reasonable (CART and interpreters).

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

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

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

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

PRIORITY 1: PROTECTING AND ADVOCATING FOR HUMAN AND LEGAL RIGHTS Image of the Future / Need Addressed: We protect and advocate for the human and legal rights that ensure the safety, personal integrity and self-determination of all people with mental or physical disabilities in the state of Nebraska and especially those who are isolated, vulnerable and at risk. We are committed to seeking justice for people with disabilities, including freedom from harm, abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Indicator/ Objective 1.1: Investigate and respond to 3 allegations of practices that cause or contribute to the physical and/or emotional abuse, neglect or death, or financial exploitation of any individual with a disability in Nebraska. Indicator/ Objective 1.2: Investigate and respond to 14 allegations of rights violations. Collaboration: N/A Number of Cases: 20 Case Summaries: During treatment at Bryan LGH, located in Lincoln, NE, two individuals who are deaf were denied appropriate auxiliary aids and services after they requested a live interpreter for effective communication. The hospital denied the request on several occasions and instead offered Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). Unfortunately, VRI did not provide effective communication in the particular setting due to the age of the individual, her unfamiliarity with the signs being used by the VRI interpreter and the position of the monitor. At all other medical appointments the individual has requested, and had been provided, a live interpreter for effective communication during the appointment. Disability Rights Nebraska filed complaints with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska citing violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaints were opened for investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who successfully negotiated a settlement. Bryan LGH has agreed to adopt, implement, enforce, maintain and provide staff training on the model policy for ensuring effective communication for individuals with disabilities, and to post a Notice in conspicuous locations informing patients and the public that auxiliary aids and services are available, free of charge, upon request. A deaf individual scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor in western Nebraska and requested an interpreter. The man has limited reading and writing skills and works with two interpreters in the area who are aware of his challenges and can accommodate his process of communication. The Dr.’s office initially told him that the interpreter was his responsibility and his cost. With intervention from Disability Rights Nebraska, the Dr.’s office did hire an interpreter, but it was someone the man had worked with unsuccessfully in the past and whom he did not trust. The man cancelled the appointment. The Dr.’s office was required to absorb the cost of the interpreter. A woman contacted Disability Rights Nebraska because she felt the door to her neurologist’s office was inaccessible. Disability Rights Nebraska visited the office and determined that the door was inaccessible and was in violation of the ADA. Disability Rights Nebraska wrote a letter to the doctor’s office outlining the accessibility issues and requested a response with a plan of action. On September 4, 2015, the owner of the building completed construction of a door buzzer system by which individuals can get assistance from staff in order to gain entrance to the office. The office manager reported that a number of patients have now been using the door buzzer. Construction of the door buzzer brings the office into compliance with the ADA and provides an accessible entrance for individuals with mobility impairments. Our client is a 51-year old white female with an anxiety disorder. She contacted our agency re: Goodwill Industries was not allowing her to bring her service dog to the Goodwill day program. The Disability Rights Nebraska Staff Attorney worked with a law clerk to draft a letter to send to Goodwill explaining why our client was entitled under the ADA to bring her service dog to the day program. We heard back from our client that, thanks to our letter, Goodwill was allowing her to bring her service dog to the day program. Our client was very appreciative of our help in clarifying her rights. PRIORITY 2: LEADING CHANGE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY: Advocate for the elimination of segregated, congregated, and isolated programs, services, and facilities as well as the development of socially inclusive programs and person-centered services that are based on an individual’s preferences, choices, and desires. Image of the Future / Need Addressed: We are a community-minded organization that partners with other like-minded organizations to help people learn and serve in order to create meaningful, authentic opportunities for all people with disabilities to be fully included in communities of their choice. We recognize that “community” has multiple meanings, but our understanding emphasizes: Non-segregation; Having valued social roles; Accessing culturally-valued opportunities; and Honoring people’s individuality and meaningful choices based on their interests, desires, and wishes. Indicator/ Objective 2.1: Analyze and educate individuals about new and current regulations regarding Long-term Care and Home and Community-Based Services waiver(s) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Indicator/ Objective 2.2: Expand Inclusion Workgroup to a Coalition for Community Inclusion to advocate for the elimination of identified barriers to providing inclusive services and supports in integrated community settings. Indicator/ Objective 2.3: Monitor the development and implementation of the Office of Public Guardian, including commenting on implementing regulations and attendance at regular meetings of the Advisory Council on Public Guardianship. Indicator/ Objective 2.4: Conduct one (1) training for attorneys and judges to provide Continuing Legal Education credits on guardianships in Nebraska and one (1) educational presentation for law students. Collaboration: Office of Public Guardian; Nebraska Association for Service Providers; State Bar Association; Arc of Nebraska; PTI-Nebraska; Lincoln Public Schools; The Coalition for Community Inclusion. The Coalition for Community Inclusion includes people connected to policymakers, service providers, State agencies, colleges and advocacy organizations, along with parents and individuals with disabilities. Since the work of the Coalition may be controversial to the individual entities, to allow work to go forward without obstruction, members are asked to keep the composition of the group and its work confidential until its findings are made public. Cases: N/A Summary: Home and Community-Based Waivers: Public Policy Staff conducted research on the changes to the waivers and provided both oral and written comments on the state plan to implement the new federal regulations at the regulatory hearing and independently. Public Policy staff were invited and participated in several meetings of both state and national leaders on the implementation and requirements of the new federal regulations. Public Policy staff also attended a national convention focused on the requirements and implementation of the new home and community-based services federal regulations. At their request, we worked with Nebraska State Sen. Schumacher’s office to educate them and their constituents about the new regulations. They had received several calls from constituents with disabilities concerned about the impact that the new federal regulations would have on their access to services. Public Policy Staff provided written information and state agency contacts to help Sen. Schumacher’s office understand the regulations/process and to respond to those constituents. A Review of the Home and Community Based Waiver process and how the State of Nebraska’s transition plan was progressing revealed that the initial transition plan the State submitted in July 2014 had to be withdrawn and resubmitted, as there was issue with their Tribal Notification and some of the language used. The State corrected the problems and resubmitted the plan in October 2014. As of April 16, 2015 the transition plan and waiver amendments the State submitted to CMS had not been accepted. The Disability Rights Nebraska Public Policy Specialist attended the public meeting on progress regarding implementation of the new rules. At this meeting the results of state reviews of community services and providers to assess their compliance with the new rules were also revealed. As of the end of the fiscal year, the rulemaking process continues and we wait to see if Nebraska’s transition plan is approved. We will continue to monitor the progress of the rulemaking process and analyze its impact. Inclusion Workgroup: The mission of the Inclusion Workgroup, now the Coalition for Community Inclusion, is to study the dynamics and impact of segregated, congregated, and isolating services on vulnerable people, to identify the barriers and create a plan for statewide change. The Coalition includes people connected to policymakers, service providers, State agencies, colleges and advocacy organizations, along with parents and individuals with disabilities. Since the work of the Coalition may be controversial to the individual entities, to allow work to go forward without obstruction, members are asked to keep the composition of the group and its work confidential until its findings are made public. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Coalition made the decision to focus its efforts by drafting legislation to make Nebraska an Employment First State. One of the Coalition members and Disability Rights Nebraska Public Policy Specialist Brad Meurrens worked together to research and create a first draft of the proposed legislation. Senator Colby Coash and his Legislative Aid met with members of the Coalition to review the rough draft of the legislation and to provide feedback and suggestions. The Public Policy Specialist also worked with the Coalition to develop model language for legislation to adopt disability employment services premised on Employment First principles. A report highlighting the work of the Coalition, including an analysis of the weaknesses of community-based services in Nebraska, has been developed. The report includes recommendations and solutions to address these problems. Once the summary is completed and reviewed, the report will be released to the public by Disability Rights Nebraska after the beginning of the new fiscal year. Office of Public Guardian: Disability Rights Nebraska has developed an excellent collaborative relationship with both the Director and the Deputy Director of Office of Public Guardian. Public Policy staff met with the new director to talk with her about our research into other states’ public guardianship offices and to provide additional resources to help the Office of Public Guardianship function efficiently and effectively. The Senior Staff Attorney attends advisory council meetings. Eleven members have been named to the council, and the group selected Judge Bazis as their chair. The council has drafted a timeline of duties and a map was presented outlining the number of active guardian/conservator cases for each county as of January 14, 2015. The preliminary plan for the Office is to divide the state by the Area Agencies on Aging regions for assistant guardianship assignment. The Office of Public Guardian will not be filing court documents or pleadings to establish guardianships or conservatorships. Instead, courts will determine whether the individual meets the criteria for appointment of a public guardian. The Director has completed extensive research into the models of Delaware, Washington and Oregon, whose programs are closest to Nebraska’s model. The Senior Staff Attorney also consulted with the Deputy Director about the rationale for an office located in Beatrice, NE. According to the map, Gage County has 327 active guardianships, but she was not certain if there was in fact a real need in this geographic area. They discussed possible resources that might be helpful when training new associate guardians. The Senior Staff Attorney drew attention to the lack of representation on the committee for individuals with a diagnosis of mental illness and the Office is taking this into account. As of June 12, 2015, the Office of Public Guardian had hired eleven associate public guardians to serve the seven identified service areas for the state. The office has also hired a business manager, intake administrative assistant and an education and outreach coordinator. Internal policies and procedures have been created and draft county court rules have been written. Disability Rights Nebraska submitted public comment on the proposed county court rules. (See Systemic Activities — High Points, Item 5. Office of Public Guardian for excerpts from comment on Visitor Program.) Additionally, the Office has implemented best practices training for its associate public guardians, including the creation of a model assessment tool for the volunteer visitor program. The outreach and education coordinator, along with the associate public guardians, will work to establish the program throughout the state. The court appointed visitors will have training and expertise and act as independent investigators. Guardianship Training: The goal was to provide trainings for both family members, people with disabilities and advocates, and the legal community: attorneys, guardians, law students and judges. The training would be focused on guardianship/conservatorship from the perspective of a disability rights organization. Staff began the fiscal year by conducting research on applying for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits through the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA) for future attorney participants in the proposed trainings. Staff met with Pat Cottingham and Mike Chittenden from the Arc of Nebraska to discuss a contract for presenting the trainings to people with disabilities, family members, advocates, and providers. Pat developed the training materials that will be used for the presentations (titled "Guardianship and Reasonable Alternatives") and will select two people from the training in each of the six regions of the state to attend the train the trainers event. The contract was finalized in March, 2015. Disability Rights Nebraska staff also met in March to discuss the draft of the training and information received from the NSBA regarding requirements for CLEs. The presentation has been expanded to include more information on supported decision making and samples of a Power of Attorney have been included. Pat conducted the following Guardianship and Reasonable Alternatives trainings over the course of the year: • By webinar hosted by PTI Nebraska: January 13, 2015. The training was offered twice during the day - once over the noon hour and once in the evening. It was attended by 33 individuals. • Grand Island, NE in April - 11 people attended. this training was requested because of requests from The Arc of Central Nebraska membership to repeat it. • Columbus, NE, June 19 - 12 people attended including service coordinators, parents and a person with a developmental disability. • North Platte NE, July 9 - 8 people attended. • Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, NE, Sept. 18 - 19 School Psychologists attended. • Southeast Community College, Lincoln NE, Sept. 29 - as part of the Transition Conference sponsored by the Lincoln Public Schools VOICE program. Attended by 19 parents of children with DD and two people with DD. • September 30 - October 1 - training held in Cozad, McCook, and North Platte, attended by staff from DD service providers, management team members and service coordinators. Overall the training was attended by 208 individuals and families. 49% were professionals, 30% were DD provider staff, and 18% were parents. 2 participants identified as siblings, 2 were college practicum students, and 4 were individuals with DD. The training was well-received. 43% reported being highly satisfied with the training; 44% satisfied; and 12% somewhat satisfied, commenting that tmore time was needed to cover all of the material in more depth. During the two years of this program, 367 people have been made aware of what guardianship is and isn't and less restrictive alternatives that can be considered to keep vulnerable people safe in their communities. Disability Rights Nebraska Staff Attorney Mike Elsken continued his contact with NSBA staff responsible for coordinating Continuing Legal Education, and developed a Power Point presentation. He completed the initial application and paperwork required by NSBA for CLE credits. We are targeting December 2015 as a time when we would offer a CLE presentation on guardianship and ethics. PRIORITY 3: EMPOWERING OTHERS TO ACHIEVE FULL PARTICIPATION: Enable individuals to become strong advocates by providing individual advocacy and systems advocacy trainings, including ongoing support and follow-up to participants after the trainings. Image of the Future / Need Addressed: Empowering people who have been devalued strengthens communities and we commit ourselves to the call, “nothing about us without us.” We affirm our belief that people who experience disabilities are the experts when it comes to living with a disability. We seek justice and empowerment in partnership with people who experience disabilities. Visible action and the power of positive expectations enable us to collaborate with others to create meaningful results. Through compassion, really listening to others, and building trusting relationships, we share a common purpose to support people’s hopes, dreams, and things not yet imagined. Indicator/ Objective 3.1: Develop the third module (self advocacy skill development) of a self-advocacy education curriculum for people with mental illnesses in Assisted Living Facilities, Community Mental Health Centers, Day Treatment Programs, Day Rehabilitation Programs and Adult Day Programs. Indicator/ Objective 3.2: Develop a final proposal and submit to potential funding sources to re-establish a Pathfinder Volunteer Lay Advocacy Network across the state to support people in the community. Indicator/ Objective 3.3: Facilitate greater self-determination of people with mental illness by creating opportunities for shared decision-making. Through collaboration with the University of Nebraska’s Department of Psychology--Serious Mental Illness Research Group, develop a model educational program on shared decision making for use specifically by people with serious mental illnesses. Collaboration: University of Nebraska’s Department of Psychology--Serious Mental Illness Research Group; Nebraska Wesleyan University; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska; Region V Consumer Family Coalition; Easterday Recreation Center (Lincoln Parks & Rec). Cases: N/A Summaries: Lay-Advocacy: Planning began in January 2015 with a face-to-face meeting involving Darcy Elks and members of the work group to establish criteria and develop a plan to fund an “Inclusive Education Project” Disability Rights Nebraska Board Member and Inclusion Education Advocate Mary McHale accepted an invitation to join the work group. The meeting included a Model Coherency analysis of the lay advocacy program proposal in order to clarify its purpose and ensure its effectiveness. In addition to Disability Rights Nebraska staff members and Board member Mary McHale, the work group also included a representative from Nebraska Wesleyan University. We have worked with Nebraska Wesleyan on Social Role Valorization workshops in previous years. The lay advocacy plan was updated based on the Model Coherency discussion. It was decided that Disability Rights Nebraska would plan and hold an Inclusion Education Institute at Nebraska Wesleyan University in the spring of 2016. Contact was made with representatives of the Woods Charitable Fund, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Nebraska, and Nebraska Wesleyan University about providing financial and/or in kind support for the Inclusive Education Institute. As a result, Disability Rights Nebraska was invited by Woods Charitable Fund to submit a grant proposal to plan and organize the event. In August, Disability Rights Nebraska staff participated in a site visit interview with the Kathy Steinauer Smith of Woods Charitable Fund regarding the proposal. Notification is expected by the end of November 2015. Contact was initiated with a number of potential plenary speakers for the event and will be confirmed should the proposal be funded. In addition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska has tentatively agreed to commit funds to the project in the event the foundation proposal is funded. Finally, Nebraska Wesleyan University has been asked to provide an in-kind donation of their auditorium and break out classrooms for the Institute. Self-Advocacy Curriculum development: The Region V Consumer Family Coalition provided $19,500.00 in funding to help support the development Module III of the self-advocacy curriculum. This module focuses on self-advocacy skills development and is designed so that participants will learn: self-advocacy steps, how to identify a change they would like to make in their life, to explore personal attributes, about their rights related to the area they wish to change, how to develop a Self-Advocacy Action Plan, how to develop skills in taking action, how to put their ‘best foot forward’ during personal encounters, and other avenues to build their self-advocacy skills. The presentation length for each content area is about 45 minutes. Throughout the project period Disability Rights Nebraska staff met with the project consultants monthly and with the Self Advocacy Project Advisory Group quarterly to review drafts of the curriculum content and training materials and to provide feedback to the consultants. Field tests of the curriculum module were conducted with 12 participants from the Easterday Recreation Center’s Adult Day Program as focus group members. A final report was prepared and submitted to Region V Systems. PRIORITY 4: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN THE COMMUNITY: Create collaborative partnerships with other organizations to address issues which affect people with disabilities who are vulnerable, isolated, and/or at-risk. Image of the Future / Need Addressed: We create tangible results and get things done while acting with courage, perseverance, tenacity, and flexibility. We act with integrity through respectful and honest communication and collaboration that reflects positive teamwork among the Board, Advisory Councils, staff, people who seek our assistance, community partners, and allies. We value connections with community resources outside the service world. Indicator/ Objective 4.1: Analyze federal and state Department of Education guidance, directives, regulations, etc. regarding school zero-tolerance policies and collaborate with school districts about the effects of these policies on special education students and other students with disabilities. Indicator/ Objective 4.2: Develop language for, and identify senator to introduce, a legislative study resolution that addresses the issue of restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities in Nebraska’s schools. Indicator/ Objective 4.3: Identify members and organize a statewide collaborative work group to develop strategies and a plan to advocate for systemic improvements in the quality of mental health services provided in Nebraska prisons, re-entry planning and specialized community-based re-entry services. Indicator/ Objective 4.4 Collaborate with appropriate state agencies to ensure greater accessibility of state computer systems and applications by state employees and Nebraska citizens. Indicator/ Objective 4.5: Collaborate with other organizations and state agencies to advocate for the establishment of the position of an ADA Coordinator for the State of Nebraska. Collaboration: parents; special education teachers; Sen. Kolowski’s office; Sen. Coash’s office; special education directors from metro Omaha schools; PTI Nebraska; Nebraska Department of Education; Department of Health and Human Services--Education, Children and Family Services; Arc of Nebraska; Sen. Bolz, Sen. Hansen; Sen. Pansing-Brooks; Sen. Krist. Cases: N/A Summaries: Zero-Tolerance: Public Policy staff conducted a literature review on zero-tolerance policies and is developing a draft report of findings. We met with Dr. Reece Peterson with the University of Nebraska College of Education and Human Services to assess Nebraska-specific information on the extent and any activities that have been taken by the state and/or school districts to address the issue. Disability Rights Nebraska continues to analyze the research we have collected. Information about a free webinar that featured Dr. Peterson as a panel member was shared through our Facebook account and reached 439 people. The webinar, "Reducing the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools" is a new video summarizing the practice and policy issues regarding the use of these procedures in schools. The video was produced at Clemson University’s College of Health, Education and Human Development, and is one of their Policy Matters series. The video is about an hour long and includes four panelists, Dr. Reece Peterson-University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Joe Ryan—Clemson University, Dr. Dan Stewart- an attorney at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, and Bill Lichtenstein a journalist and parent of a child who had been restrained. Seclusion & Restraint: During the first quarter, Public Policy staff, working alongside an intern from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, finished a research report on seclusion and restraint of students with disabilities and presented our findings to a number of interested stakeholders, including the offices of Sen. Scheer and Sen. Kowolski. Sen. Kowolski’s office offered to work with the Public Policy staff to develop language for a legislative study resolution to be introduced the 2015 legislative session. Model language was developed at his request and submitted to his office. LR 314 was introduced toward the latter part of the session. Public Policy staff met with Senator Kolowski’s staff to garner support for a potential public hearing and legislation in the next legislative session. On September 10, 2015, LR 314 was granted a public hearing. Disability Rights Nebraska provided testimony to the Legislature's Education Committee in support of Legislative Resolution 314. The use of restraint and seclusion presents significant risks to the health and safety of students. Many students subjected to restraint or seclusion have been physically injured, traumatized, or died as a result. Students with disabilities are also disproportionately subject to the use of restraint or seclusion. The Resolution is concerned with four main points: 1. Existing regulatory and statutory mechanisms that allow or circumscribe the use of restraint or seclusion in Nebraska schools; 2. Data collection techniques used by schools to report incidences of the use of restraint or seclusion, to whom incidences are reported, and how those reports are catalogued; 3. The incidence of the use of restraint or seclusion in Nebraska schools and the extent and duration of the restraint or seclusion used on students, especially those with disabilities; and 4. Nebraska school policies and procedures on the use of restraint or seclusion. In addition to sharing it with elected officials and collaborators, Disability Rights Nebraska's report, "At Risk With Only Guidance for Protection", was published on our website and publicized via press release to 200+ outlets. The report can be found at www.disabilityrightsnebraska.org / What We Do / Seclusion & Restraint. -State Computer Systems: See Systemic Advocacy High Points, Item 3. Accessibility of State computer networks. -ADA Coordinator: See Systemic Advocacy High Points, Item 2. ADA Coordinator. PRIORITY 5. PUBLIC AWARENESS AND OUTREACH Image of the Future / Need addressed: We respect the strength of difference and diversity across disability and ethnicity. We promote awareness of the life experience of people with disabilities and the importance of diversity in creating strong communities. We recognize and incorporate people’s strengths and commit the time and resources necessary to enable all stakeholders to provide input, express their ideas, and support our mission. We value the energy, creativity and enthusiasm that all participants bring to achieving our shared vision. Indicator/ Objective 5.1: Establish collaborative partnerships with ethnic, linguistic, and minority community organizations to share information and provide outreach and services to people with disabilities. Do this through: • Continuing to build and/or maintain relationships with key stakeholders/gatekeepers in the Nebraska Panhandle, and • Continuing conversations with two (2) ethnic-based groups or organizations to strengthen the relationships and increase participation and awareness building between Disability Rights Nebraska and these groups. Indicator/ Objective 5.2: Participate in workgroup to plan and organize the 25th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Indicator/ Objective 5.3: Produce content for, update and maintain Disability Rights Nebraska website, Facebook page, Twitter account and email newsletter. Identify, develop, update and/or maintain Disability Rights Nebraska public awareness materials and activities. Information about collaboration is included in the description of the activities below. No cases were addressed under this priority — not applicable. Ethnic Groups: Disability Rights Nebraska is dedicated to serving underserved populations in Nebraska. We hired a bilingual Intake Specialist to assist us to better serve the Hispanic community. We also have a bilingual contractor who conducts outreach for the organization in the Omaha metro area. In addition, we have focused our outreach efforts to better serve Native Americans, especially in Western Nebraska. Our Community Outreach Advocate located in Scottsbluff was involved in a number of outreach events. The following diversification activities occurred during the reporting period: · Intake Specialist- visited with the Latin American Commission (which represents Hispanic communities throughout Nebraska) and the South Omaha Community Care Council (50 participants at meeting) to talk to them about Disability Rights Nebraska and referrals. · Intake Specialist and contractor staffed a booth at the Cinco de Mayo event in Omaha on May 2nd and 3rd. This was a well-attended event and staff disseminated almost 800 Disability Rights Nebraska related materials/premiums. · Contractor staffed a booth at the World Refugee Day. The event was held at Benson High School on June 20, 2015. She disseminated 189 Disability Rights Nebraska related materials/premiums. · Intake Specialist and Contractor staffed a booth at the “El Grito Event” in Omaha. · Intake Specialist and Contractor staffed a booth at the Festival Hispano in Columbus. · Community Outreach Advocate staffed a booth at the Cinco de Mayo event in Scottsbluff. The event took place at the Guadalupe Center on May 2, 2015. · Senior Attorney served on a panel at the Diversity Law Summit sponsored by the Nebraska State Bar Association. She spoke about representing clients with disabilities and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. · Community Outreach Advocate continued our outreach efforts to Native Americans in the Panhandle. She was a member of the planning committee for the Circle of the Bluffs Pow Wow. She participated in several planning meetings and also staffed a booth at the 2 day event that took place on June 27th and 28th. CEO Tim Shaw's Meetings with gatekeepers: * Tim met with Larry Williams, Executive Director, Malone Community Center. We initiated discussion of possible collaboration between our agencies. He suggested use of their facility for a public meeting location of our board of directors. * Tim met with Roger Garcia, Executive Director of El Centro de las Americas to initiate discussion of possible collaboration between our agencies. * Tim met with Emiliano Lerda, Executive Director, Justice for Our Neighbors in Omaha. We initiated discussion of possible collaboration between our agencies. Possible inclusion in their unified intake form to ask disability related questions. * Tim met Sergio Sosa, Executive Director, Heartland Workers Center in Omaha. We initiated discussion of possible collaboration between our agencies. Possible disability questions on community survey that they do door to door. * Tim met Ava Barrios, Juan Diego Center with Catholic Charities in Omaha. We initiated discussion of possible collaboration between our agencies. Possible connection with orientation of their staff to the work we do. Western Nebraska Outreach: Lincoln office staff traveled to Scottsbluff in February to meet with the Community Outreach Advocate in our office there and support a Lakota Lutheran Center fundraiser for Disability Rights Nebraska. Staff split their time between Scottsbluff and Alliance & Chadron, where they met with community gatekeepers to introduce themselves, share information and discuss possible collaboration. The CEO also took the opportunity to meet with staff of Rep. Smith, Sen. Sasse, and Sen. Fischer in their western offices. The Panhandle, due to its geographic expanse and proportionally small population, has engendered a level of inter-agency cooperation far exceeding that of the more populous areas of the state. One of the primary tools to facilitate this cooperation is the Panhandle Partnership for Health and Human Services. Our Community Outreach Advocate Mindy Nepper in the Scottsbluff office is an active participant in the Partnership and through that connection, collaborates with at least 70 different entities in that area. She has been an invaluable asset in bringing visibility to Disability Rights Nebraska's name and services. The Partnership works on many issues that affect our community such as poverty, safe and stable housing, maternal and child health, disability specific issues, Juvenile Justice, safe and stable communities, child well-being, substance abuse prevention, and homelessness, just to name a few. Mindy is also actively involved with several boards and committees in an effort to work collaboratively together to address social issues. In addition to serving as Vice President for the Panhandle Partnership: Continuum of Care for Housing and Homelessness -Vice President Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) -Board Member Foster Care Review -Board Member Juvenile Justice -Committee Member Disproportionate Minority Contact -Committee Member System of Care for Youth Birth to Age 8-Committee Member System of Care for Older Youth — Committee Member Community Response Team- Board Representative Developmental Disabilities- Council Member Prevention Coalition -Committee Member Some of the local activities our Community Outreach Advocate participated in included the following in FY15: * Social Entrepreneurship Regional Conference * Youth Network/TILT meeting * Juvenile Justice with Anne Hobbs Crime Commission meeting and Prevention meeting * Continuum of Care training at CAPWN * Brain Injury Resource Facilitation Summit Facilitator * Katie Snow presentation at the Harms Center * Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing meeting * ACLU Human Rights Campaign meeting * Munroe Meyer Genetics Clinic * Community Response Retreat meeting with community providers to review annual data * ACLU Human Rights Campaign Event * Office of Public Guardianship meeting of new staff members * Networking with Open Door Counseling and Probation * Right Turn and Nebraska’s Children’s Home Society * Southwest WRAP (services for veterans) new office opening event * Veteran’s Administration Stand Down Event on March 23, 2015 at the Harms Center- Scottsbluff. PPHHS Board Retreat Fair Housing Conference “Change Your Language; Change Their Lives and Beyond Poverty” Event Joint Agency Meeting (JAM) Event in Gering Community Military Veteran Advocacy Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support Group meeting United Way Interagency meeting Prevention Coalition meeting Buffet Foundation meeting Staffed booth at SPARKS Festival - resources for children with mental illness and families Staffed booth at United Way Color Dash Assisted with United Way video shoot Monument Prevention Coalition meeting Nebraska Appleseed- Insurance for All meeting Ribbon cutting for Optimal Family Preservation Social Enterprise Workshop * National Night Out- 53 visitors to booth, event attendance approx.. 2,000 and 250 kids played a game that Mindy had at the booth * Out of Darkness Walk- 15 visitors to booth * United Way Duck Dash- 41 visitors to booth * Panhandle Pride Picnic- 75 visitors to booth (175 people in attendance) Outreach to underserved population- Veterans * No Wrong Door Veteran’s Conference- Scottsbluff * Veteran’s Resource Network meeting Attended a training with OMNI* entitled, “Who’s Life is it Anyway?’ sponsored by the Independent Living Council. *OMNI is shorthand for the Health and Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities and OMNI Behavioral Health joint training initiative. Invited to be a member of the Region 22 Disaster Planning committee and attended an all-day committee training on September 29, 2015. ADA 25th Anniversary Celebrations: • July 7, 2015 signing ceremony: approximately 50 people came to celebrate the signing of a proclamation by the Governor recognizing the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. The planning group had been working with the Governor’s office to make the venue as accessible as possible. To that end, the Governor’s office decided to move the event to the Capitol Rotunda rather than make any temporary changes to the Warner Chamber. While an impressive venue, the Rotunda provided some visual and auditory challenges. • July 24, 2015 celebration: approximately 75 in attendance. A four-hour program included music, artwork, appetizers and cake, a disability advocates’ panel and several official speakers. The speakers included Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel, and City Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird, who delivered a proclamation from Mayor Chris Beutler. • Concurrently, a celebration was held in Omaha at the AllPlay barrier free playground, splash park and ball fields at Seymour Smith Park. Refreshments were provided by Target and the City Parks Department and included lots of cold water, snow cones, light snacks and fresh popcorn. Vendors included organizations involved in the planning of the event, along with Domesti-pups Service Dog Training and Victory Stables. Mayor Jean Stothert, Omaha Parks Department Director Brook Bench, and Mike Masker, Chair of the Mayor’s Committee on Citizens with Disabilities were honored speakers along with City Councilman Ben Gray. Approximately 200 people attended. Media and Public Awareness Activities: Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletter, printed materials Facebook most popular posts: * Employee anniversaries - these posts fostered large "reach" numbers through their personal connections - and thus shared and hopefully increased recognition of Disability Rights Nebraska. * ADA 25th Anniversary proclamation signing and celebration announcements and photos reached almost 500 people * Information about a free Seclusion & Restraint webinar reached 439 people * Posting of an article from the North Platte paper about LR 314 in which Public Policy Specialist Brad Meurrens is quoted reached 474 people * Other popular posts: o CEO Retirement photos o Disney Channel program’s autism focus o Case Advocate Job opening announcement o TEDx Video of Lily Sughroue, advocate and person with a brain injury Twitter: Currently, our Facebook and Twitter accounts are connected, such that every time a post is made on Facebook, it is tweeted through @DisabilityRtsNE . We currently have 130 Twitter followers. Website updates were continuous over the course of the year. During FY 2015, there were over 11,000 hits to the website. In addition to the home page, the top five pages people looked at were as follows: 1. Resources - Legal Resources 2. About us — Board of Directors 3. Resources — Frequently Asked Questions 4. Mobile Home Page 5. Resources — Contact Us * Four e-mail newsletters were sent out during FY 2015. o The average number of individuals receiving the e-mail = 730 o The largest “open rate (22%)” and “click rate (44 clicks)” were for the February 2015 newsletter which included links for: * An infographic version of the CEO’s Annual Report for FY 2014 * Report on Mental Health and Prisons * The newsletter also contained a brief description of the topics Disability Rights Nebraska would be focusing on for the legislative session. Printed Materials: In addition to the materials noted in the Non-Case Related Advocacy section of the report, Disability Rights Nebraska Staff mailed out over 1,000 large laminated posters. The posters urge individuals to know their rights and call to report abuse, neglect or rights violations and give Disability Rights Nebraska contact information. They were mailed to: Adult Day Services providers, Assisted Living Facilities, Centers for DD, DD Offices and Service Providers, Faith-Based Organizations, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Goodwill Industries, Hospitals, Libraries, Long-Term Care Facilities, Mental Health Centers, Nursing Homes, Private Services Providers, Psychiatric Residential Facilities, and Behavioral Health Regional Service Providers.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

Priority 1 - Protecting and Advocating for Human and Legal Rights Need Addressed / Image of the Future: We protect and advocate for the human and legal rights that ensure the safety, personal integrity and self-determination of all people with mental or physical disabilities in the state of Nebraska and especially those who are isolated, vulnerable and at risk. We are committed to seeking justice for people with disabilities, including freedom from harm, abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Indicator / Objective 1.1: Investigate and respond to 3 allegations of practices that cause or contribute to the physical and/or emotional abuse, neglect or death, or financial exploitation of any individual with a disability in Nebraska. Indicator / Objective 1.2: Investigate and respond to 15 allegations of rights violations. Indicator / Objective 1.3: Research, compile and analyze licensure and certification survey data (over a 3-5 year) period from Assisted Living Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers to determine patterns and practices that contribute to abuse, neglect, rights violations, health and safety violations and barriers to access to integrated and inclusive services and supports. Priority 2 - Leading Change Within The Community Need Addressed / Image of the Future: We are a community-minded organization that partners with other like-minded organizations to help people learn and serve in order to create meaningful, authentic opportunities for all people with disabilities to be fully included in communities of their choice. We recognize that “community” has multiple meanings, but our understanding emphasizes: • Non-segregation • Having valued social roles • Accessing culturally-valued opportunities, and • Honoring people’s individuality and meaningful choices based on their interests, desires, and wishes. Indicator / Objective 2.1: Continue educating individuals about changes to the Long-term Care and Home and Community-Based Services waivers and monitor the development and implementation of guidance or regulations issued pursuant to the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver changes. Indicator / Objective 2.2: Monitor the development and implementation of the Office of Public Guardian, including commenting on implementing regulations and attendance at regular meetings of the Advisory Council on Public Guardianship and review current guardianship statute and seek changes to statutory language that is devaluing to people with disabilities. Indicator / Objective 2.3: Conduct one (1) training session on guardianships/ conservatorships from the perspective of a disability rights organization to existing guardians and conservators, people under guardianship/conservatorship, family members, and guardians ad litem in each of the six (6) Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Service Regions. Indicator / Objective 2.4: Conduct one (1) training for attorneys and judges to provide Continuing Legal Education credits on guardianships in Nebraska and one (1) educational presentation for law students. Priority 3 - Empowering Others To Achieve Full Participation Need Addressed / Image of the Future: Empowering people who have been devalued strengthens communities and we commit ourselves to the call, “nothing about us without us.” We affirm our belief that people who experience disabilities are the experts when it comes to living with a disability. We seek justice and empowerment in partnership with people who experience disabilities. Visible action and the power of positive expectations enable us to collaborate with others to create meaningful results. Through compassion, really listening to others, and building trusting relationships, we share a common purpose to support people’s hopes, dreams, and things not yet imagined. Indicator / Objective 3.1: Integrate the existing three (3) self-advocacy education curriculum modules for people with mental illnesses into a comprehensive curriculum, including a Facilitator Education Module and train a total of 16 self-advocacy education facilitators, 8 from Region I and 8 from Region V. Priority 4 Building Relationships In The Community Need Addressed / Image of the Future: We create tangible results and get things done while acting with courage, perseverance, tenacity, and flexibility. We act with integrity through respectful and honest communication and collaboration that reflects positive teamwork among the Board, Advisory Councils, staff, people who seek our assistance, community partners, and allies. We value connections with community resources outside the service world. Indicator / Objective 4.1: Prepare and disseminate a report on the use of zero-tolerance policies in Nebraska’s schools and collaborate with school districts to address the impact of these policies on students with disabilities. Indicator / Objective 4.2: Develop language for and identify senator to introduce, a legislative bill to protect students from and limit the use of restraint and seclusion in Nebraska’s schools. Indicator / Objective 4.3: Continue working with a statewide collaborative work group to develop a plan to advocate for systemic improvements in the quality of mental health services provided in Nebraska prisons, re-entry planning and specialized community-based re-entry services. Indicator / Objective 4.4: Continue to collaborate with appropriate state agencies to ensure accessibility of state computer systems and applications by state employees and Nebraska citizens. Indicator / Objective 4.5: Secure the establishment of an ADA Coordinator position for the State of Nebraska. Priority 5 — Valuing and Appreciating Diversity Need Addressed / Image of the Future: We respect the strength of difference and diversity across disability and ethnicity. We promote awareness of the life experience of people with disabilities and the importance of diversity in creating strong communities. As our reach expands so must our connections and resources. Indicator / Objective 5.1: Travel to the Nebraska Panhandle two (2) times to continue building and/or maintaining relationships with key stakeholders/gatekeepers. Indicator / Objective 5.2: Continue conversations with two (2) ethnic-based groups or organizations to strengthen the relationships and increase participation and awareness building between Disability Rights Nebraska and these groups. Indicator / Objective 5.3: Produce content for, update and maintain Disability Rights Nebraska website, Facebook page, Twitter account and email newsletter. Indicator / Objective 5.4: Identify, develop, update and/or maintain Disability Rights Nebraska public awareness materials and activities.

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 - Amount Received : Amount Spent Federal (section 509) 124,999 : 124,999 State 0 : 0 Program income 11,563 : 105,746 Private 0 : 0 All other funds 0 : 0 Total (from all sources) 230,745 : 230,745 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by the report: Outline the budget for the fiscal year covered by the report (prior fiscal year), as well as a projection for the current fiscal year. Prior Fiscal Year FY 2014 : Current Fiscal Year FY 2015 Wages/salaries 116,069 : 131,558 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) 29,925 : 31,387 Materials/supplies 691 : 1,967 Postage 365 : 1,589 Telephone 780 : 1,164 Rent 15,608 : 17,141 Travel 1,977 : 2,795 Copying - included w/ supplies & rental 0 : 0 Bonding/insurance 1,461 : 1,915 Equipment (rental/purchase) 3,361 : 3,641 Legal services 9,436 : 878 Indirect costs 5,422 : 9,000 Miscellaneous 8,362 : 27,710 Total Budget 193,457 : 230,745 C. Description of PAIR staff: Type of Position FTE : % of year filled : Person-years Professional Full-time 12 : 100% : 12 Part-time 3 : 33% : 2 Vacant 0 : 0 : 0 Clerical Full-time 4 : 100% : 4 Part-time 1 : 100% : 1 Vacant 0 : 0 : 0 D. Involvement with Advisory Boards: PAIR is represented on a joint advisory council along with Assistive Technology, Beneficiaries of Social Security, Traumatic Brain Injury and Voting Access funding sources. The Advisory Council meets 2-3 times a year to review and suggest new objectives, and review and recommend adoption of budgets and specific objectives. The composition of the PAIR/PAAT/PABSS/PATBI/PAVA Advisory Council includes individuals with disabilities and representatives from collaborating organizations such as the CAP, Statewide Independent Living Council, Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Assistive Technology Partnership. E. Grievances Filed: Grievance 1: Client who uses a walker wished to sue store for lack of accessible entrance because store policy was to keep one of a pair of double doors locked. CEO investigated, researched ADA requirements, visited store and talked with staff about the policy and communicated his progress to the client in writing. CEO spoke with managers about policy of keeping one door locked. Managers agreed to leave both doors unlocked for greater accessibility. No other accessibility infractions were noted in the shop. CEO informed client of action taken. No appeal received. Grievance 2: A man grieved the decision to not take his case involving what he perceived to be unlawful detainment during a traffic stop in Missouri. CEO spoke with the man by phone and followed up by e-mail. The man was referred to the Missouri P&A as the incident occurred there. Grievance 3: A man with concerns about the length of life of his scooter tires contacted the CEO in the grievance process. The CEO provided self-advocacy strategies by phone and followed up with a letter detailing the strategies. No further contact, grievance closed. Grievance 4: A man wanted Disability Rights Nebraska to sue an apartment building owner who denied him access to his friend's apartment with his service animal. CEO spoke with man on 9/30/15 and followed up with Legal Advocacy Team. It was agreed to conduct a follow-up investigation limited to contacting his friends who were the people he was visiting at the apartment unit and the police officer who responded to the complaint, and that we would determine if there was a video recording of the incident. F. Coordination with the CAP: P&A staff and CAP staff have periodic case consultation throughout the year. The CAP Director is a member of the Disability Rights Nebraska Board of Directors and a member of the PAIR Advisory Council. There have been staff changes in the Nebraska Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and we are in the process of re-establishing a relationship with them. Disability Rights Nebraska and the Director of the State Unit on Aging were part of the collaborative effort in support of LB 320, the Aging and Disability Resource Center Act, to establish the ADRC's in Nebraska. The bill was successful.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByEric A. Evans
TitleChief Executive Officer
Signed Date01/06/2016