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

Nebraska (NEBRASKA ADVOCACY SERVICES, INC.) - H240A160028 - FY2016

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 areas0
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas207
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)207

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff16
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)682

Training subjects: 3 trainings to community college students with disabilities on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Guardianship law and practice in Nebraska (see full report in Priority 2) ; Olmstead and the Integration Mandate; Pathfinder Volunteer Network; Self-Advocacy Educator training; Assisted Living Issues in Nebraska; Legislator education re: restraint and seclusion and the need for a State ADA Coordinator.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff2
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles1
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website11,473
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated9,781
6. Other (specify separately)22,275

Narrative

225 of 9781 publications distributed were in Spanish. 2,275 individuals were reached through Outreach efforts focused in South Omaha and Western Nebraska. The population in South Omaha is predominantly Latino. Western Nebraska is geographically broad and has concentrations of Latino and Native American populations. In early 2016, the Media Team began working with a graduate student in Integrated Media Communications at UN-L to do a thorough review of the website and extensive “housecleaning” of the content with an eye towards transitioning to a new template. It had been over five years since our website design was updated. The Staff Attorney was featured in a television interview on the ADA and service animals, and was also interviewed for a local newspaper regarding the ADA and public accommodations. The Communications Director was interviewed by a northeast NE radio station about what the P&A does and the annual public meeting of the Board of Directors.

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)11
2. Additional individuals served during the year6
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)17
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 7

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility5
2. Employment1
3. Program access3
4. Housing3
5. Government benefits/services0
6. Transportation1
7. Education0
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care1
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse0
16. Neglect2
17. Other1

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor4
2. Other representation found1
3. Individual withdrew complaint3
4. Appeals unsuccessful0
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit1
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 assistance1
3. Investigation/monitoring6
4. Negotiation3
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)0
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 - 221
3. 23 - 597
4. 60 - 642
5. 65 and over7

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females10
2. Males7

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 American1
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White14
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent12
2. Parental or other family home2
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home1
6. Public institutional living arrangement2
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 hearing3
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment4
5. Mental illness3
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/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability1

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities6

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes557,314

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.

a. Legislative Resolution 530 LR 530 addressed a perceived need to amend language in state statute which requires nursing homes and hospitals to provide a ballot for registered voters. However, the issue that was discussed at the hearing for LR 530 was what action could the state take to limit voting by persons with disabilities who families or other professionals perceive as lacking the cognitive ability to do so. Suggested solutions centered on cognitive pre-tests and parents/doctors pronouncing the individual as lacking the capacity to vote (and thus preventing the individual from voting). Disability Rights Nebraska testified at the hearing on LR 530 that such restrictions would violate several established federal laws, primarily the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act, and Help America Vote Act, as well as would require a re-write of the state’s standard for disqualifying a voter based on mental incapacity (non compos mentis) which is fundamentally different than a simply declaration of general perceived cognitive incapacity. PWD affected: 40,000 b. Election Technology Committee The Election Technology Committee of the Nebraska legislature was created to examine the need to update voting technology and how that will be financed. Disability Rights Nebraska was invited to testify before the committee and argued that the current voting technology is outdated and needs to be updated as well as the development of a uniform training module to be provided to poll workers regarding the importance of voting technology for people with disabilities and how to operate and troubleshoot the new technology. PWD affected: 242,593 c. Olmstead Plan (Legislative Bill 1033) Disability Rights Nebraska worked with Senator Kathy Campbell’s office to introduce a bill to require Nebraska to develop an Olmstead Plan. Disability Rights Nebraska testified in support of the bill, LB 1033, at its public hearing. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law. Disability Rights Nebraska has a representative on the Olmstead Advisory Council prescribed in the legislation and continues to work with relevant entities regarding the development and implementation of the Olmstead Plan. PWD affected: 222,000 d. Aging and Disability Resource Center A bill was introduced in the legislature to create an pilot Aging and Disability Resource Center program (ADRC) in Nebraska to serve as a one-stop, no-wrong-door resource to connect people with appropriate services (state, public, or private agency) who contact the center with disability or aging issues. Disability Rights Nebraska offered a letter of support for this program in the legislature. Disability Rights Nebraska has a representative on the state and a local advisory councils required by the legislation to guide and develop the implementation of the ADRC project. Disability Rights Nebraska has also signed a contract to work as a resource for people who the ADRC refers to our office for assistance. PWD affected: 10,000 e. Changes to the Office of Public Guardian Disability Rights Nebraska supported the development of the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) in the previous legislative session(s). Legislation was introduced to make minor changes in the composition and operation of the OPG, for example reducing the number of cases per Associate Guardian from 40 to 20, which would increase expediency, efficiency, and efficacy of the OPG. Disability Rights Nebraska met with the Executive Director and Deputy Director of the OPG to discuss the need for these adjustments and offered support for the legislation in the legislature. The legislation was passed. Additionally, Disability Rights Nebraska has a representative appointed to the advisory council that serves to advise and monitor the OPG. PWD affected: 480 f. Restraint and Seclusion Disability Rights Nebraska was invited to a meeting with representatives from the Nebraska Department of Education and a family whose child had been subjected to seclusion. The outcome of the meeting was a commitment by the Department of Education to convene a taskforce to examine areas where Nebraska rules could be strengthened to reduce the incidence of restraint and seclusion in schools. Disability Rights Nebraska has chosen to seek a departmental solution rather than legislation, at this point in time, and continues to communicate the need to reform state practices in this area. Disability Rights Nebraska had conducted several webinars and presentations about restraint/seclusion in schools over this fiscal year and has consistently reminded families to contact the Department of Education about issues stemming from the use of restraint/seclusion. Disability Rights Nebraska had not met with the taskforce by the end of this fiscal year, but is hopeful that the taskforce will accelerate in the beginning of FY 2017. PWD affected: 42,241 g. Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act (LB 698) Disability Rights Nebraska provided a letter in support of LB 698. The bill creates the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act, requiring home care service providers to maintain the confidentiality of the home care consumer receiving services from the provider, disclose the provider's employment status to the home care consumer, and provide the home care consumer with a copy of the rights guaranteed by the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act in an appropriate format. Amendments to LB 698 clarified the definition of home care consumer to include the parent or guardian of a minor child or guardian of an incapacitated person and changed the list of rights to include the right to privacy and confidential information, right to receive information about the employment arrangement, right of certain information, right to refuse service, right to express grievances. The bill passed and was approved by the Governor. PWD affected: 4,500 Other policy activities: • LB 900 Change motorcycle and moped helmet provisions, motorcycle registration fees, rename the Health Advisory Board, and create the brain injury services program o DRN position: Oppose o Status: Bill did not pass: Filibuster Succeeds 30-17 • LB934 Change provisions relating to the Office of the Public Guardian o DRN Position: Support o Status: Bill passed and approved by Governor on April 18, 2016 • LB1032 Adopt the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act o DRN Position: Support o Status: Bill did not pass • LB1033 Create an advisory committee relating to persons with disabilities within the Department of Health and Human Services o DRN Position: Support o Status: Bill passed and approved by Governor on April 18, 2016 • LB1107 Create the Nebraska Election System Initiative o DRN Position: Support o Status: Bill did not pass • LB1110 Adopt the Nebraska Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act o DRN Position: Support o Status: Bill passed and approved by Governor on April 13, 2016 • LR403 Appoint the Election Technology Committee as a special committee o DRN Position: Support o Status: Resolution passed and President/Speaker signed March 1, 2016

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts0
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.

Not applicable FY 16.

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 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 6 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. Collaboration: We attempted to collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services Survey and Licensure Division, but were unsuccessful in establishing a working relationship with them. Number of Cases: Six PAIR cases were addressed under this Priority during FY 2016. Case Example: Our client is a 26-year-old woman who has a diagnosis of hearing impairment. She was working for McDonalds located in Wal-Mart on December 6, 2015 when she expressed to her managers that she was having a hard time hearing the customers as she was working the register. She asked to work in the back that day because it was especially busy and loud that day. The manager instructed her to make a sign and place it in front of her register that says, “Hard of Hearing, Speak Up.” Her manager told her to tape it to the front of her register. Our client felt humiliated and upset with the way she was treated. She contacted Disability Rights Nebraska for assistance. The Disability Rights Nebraska Case advocate met with our client to obtain additional information about the events that occurred at McDonald’s. We advised her to file a complaint with NEOC. The NEOC launched an investigation and is currently negotiating a settlement with McDonalds and our client. Case Example: The client contacted our office regarding a complaint that her landlord was not allowing her to keep an emotional support animal in her apartment. Our initial investigation was based on our belief that our client intended to remain a tenant at her current residence. Upon further conversation with her, it became apparent that she intended to pursue a legal remedy against her landlord. Additionally, she had already begun the process to secure different housing at a property that is accessible and allows emotional support animals. We referred her to the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission in the event she wishes to file a complaint with regard to the alleged housing discrimination related to her emotional support animal and referred her to Legal Aid of Nebraska and the Nebraska State Bar Association regarding the matters pertaining to the current eviction proceedings. OTHER ACTIVITIES: The indicator was to “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.” The team, which included the CEO, Case Advocate, Senior Attorney and a Clinical Psychology Extern, made contact with the Department of Health and Human Services Survey and Licensure Division to request access to their database in order to retrieve the data electronically. Unfortunately, this request was denied and the information had to be obtained from violations uploaded to the Public Health Regulation and Licensure website. Additional data questions were discussed and added to the research, including what violations trigger a follow-up from an on-site visit with Regulation and Licensure, the number of appeals granted to the facility, when and how penalties are determined. As of the time of this report, available data has been entered and the Psychology Extern is in the process of completing an analysis of the information to identify any patterns and practices as noted in the indicator, above. This information will be used to strategize future monitoring visits and legal action if necessary. 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. Collaboration: We collaborated with the Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council (NESILC), Nebraska Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (NCCD), the Office of Public Guardian, and the Arc of Nebraska. See activities descriptions below for details of collaboration. HCBS Waiver: Nebraska’s waivers were not approved by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). The Public Policy Director attended a stakeholder’s meeting with the Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities where she outlined a plan to respond to the concerns identified by CMS. The stakeholder response included the establishment of a Coalition to comment on revisions to the Waivers. Disability Rights Nebraska signed on to a letter from the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Coalition recommending changes to the HCBS Transition Plan and the HCBS components of the Aged and Disabled Waivers. Our Public Policy Director attended the HCBS conference in Washington, D.C. Staff developed a fact sheet outlining the purpose of the HCBS waiver changes, links to the Nebraska Transition Plan, and upcoming dates in the plan where public input is needed. Information about the upcoming waiver changes and transition plan was presented to the Nebraska Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities. Staff also attended several of the town hall meetings conducted by DHHS regarding changes to Long-Term Care and HCBS waivers. Guardianship: Disability Rights Nebraska staff attended the advisory council meetings for the Office of Public Guardian on October 16, 2015, and December 18, 2015. Legal Advocacy Team staff met with Michelle Chaffee, director of the OPG, and Marla Fischer-Lempke, deputy director, to discuss LB934. Staff provided written comment on regulations that limit the Office of Public Guardian. The Office of Public Guardian Advisory Council now meets on a quarterly basis instead of monthly. There were no meetings during the 3rd Quarter. Instead of attending Advisory Council meetings during the 4th Quarter, staff met several times with the director and/or deputy director of the Office of Public Guardian to discuss proposed changes in the rules creating practice standards for guardians ad litem in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings as promulgated by the Nebraska Supreme Court Commission on Guardianships and Conservatorships. Disability Rights Nebraska contracted with the Arc of Nebraska to provide a training on guardianship and least restrictive alternatives. One training was conducted in North Platte NE. The Staff Attorney prepared a Continuing Legal Education training entitled “Guardianship in Nebraska- A Walk in the Woods”. The training was approved and coordinated by the Nebraska Bar Association. It was presented on December 1, 2015 to an audience of 20 attorneys in person and two attorneys participating on the phone. The coordinator of the program with the bar association informed the Staff Attorney that the presentation was very informative and that she learned a lot about guardianships. On September 22, 2016 the Staff Attorney gave a presentation to approximately 40 University of Nebraska College of Law students and recent law graduates, on the topic of guardianship. Olmstead: When the Olmstead decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court in 1999 we began an effort to get the state to develop what has become known as an “Olmstead Plan”. Despite our many efforts, we were never able to gain any traction on this issue with the Governor’s office, the Department of Health and Human Services, or within the Legislature. This year we sensed that we might have the opportunity to move a proposal for an Olmstead Plan forward and we were asked by Senator Kathy Campbell to develop a draft of the initial language for what became LB 1033. We continued to work closely with Senator Campbell’s office in developing the final version that was introduced. We were encouraged when LB 1033 was passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee and placed on General File. The bill continued to hold strong in the Legislative process and was passed, with its Final Reading on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. We are looking forward to the implementation of this bill and the beginnings of a long-overdue process. The bill will require the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services to “develop a comprehensive, effective working plan for placing qualified persons with disabilities in the most integrated community-based service settings…” The bill also creates a stakeholder advisory committee to assist in the development of the plan, and Disability Rights Nebraska will play a strong role in that process. Disability Rights Nebraska Senior Staff Attorney Dianne DeLair was appointed by the Governor to be a part of the advisory committee. The first steps have been to inform the committee what Olmstead is all about and why it’s important to Nebraskans with disabilities. 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. Disability Rights Nebraska contracted with Fritz-O’Hare Associates for curriculum integration and revision of Power Point materials. A Self Advocacy Curriculum Advisory Workgroup met on March 22, 2016 to review the progress to date and make recommendations for changes to the curriculum. Self Advocacy Educator Education sessions were conducted during late-July in Region V (Lincoln) and in mid-September in Region I. Over both sessions we trained a total of twenty (20) self advocacy educators, nine participants completed the training in Region V and eleven were trained in Region I. CEO Eric Evans conducted the training in Region V and 2 of our Case Advocates attended the training as well. The training in Region I was then conducted by the CEO and one of the Case Advocates. 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. The Public Policy Director has drafted a report on the impact of zero tolerance policies and the disproportionate numbers of students with disabilities caught up in harsh disciplinary policies. The report will be distributed in FY 2017 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. The Public Policy Director met with Senator Kolowski’s office to gauge interest in introducing legislation and with the Deputy Commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Education to discuss potential collaborative efforts to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion and to discuss needed data collection. At the request of Senator Kolowski’s office, we developed suggested language for a bill this session and met again with Senator Kolowski and staff to discuss the language and possible introduction. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure introduction of a legislative bill due to the State’s fiscal situation and it being a short legislative session. However, Senator Kolowski has indicated that he is interested in considering a legislative initiative next session. . To “keep the drive alive”, our Public Policy Director convened meetings with other advocates to strategize approaches to achieve legislative or administrative action on reducing the use of restraint and seclusion. He met with a representative from the State Department of Education, a family whose son with disabilities was restrained repeatedly, and a former Disability Rights Nebraska Case Advocate who now works with foster children with disabilities to discuss departmental solutions to the practice and how the Department expects to meet requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Department promised to create a workgroup to examine how to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion, to review and strengthen policies and guidance, and to meet the requirements of ESSA. Through this process, our approach to the issue of seclusion and restraint in schools has changed from legislation to working with the Nebraska Department of Education. 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. The State Department of Corrections initiated a workgroup to review policies related to solitary confinement/secure housing. Our Public Policy Director was invited and participated in the initial meeting of the workgroup. A meeting was held with the Department of Correctional Services’ behavioral health officials to discuss mental health policies and practice. An initial meeting of the work group was held to discuss possible areas of reform, issues that need to be addressed and improvements that are planned or underway. Further meetings are scheduled for FY 17. We are waiting to be invited either to participate or to provide guidance to the taskforce. 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. The Public Policy Director met with representatives of the Commission on Blind and Visually Impaired (NCBVI) to understand the issue and organized subsequent meetings with Nebraska Senators Pansing-Brooks, Hansen, and Krist to discuss potential solutions. The Governor’s office has contacted the Commission to develop an issue brief for the Governor and is now working with his administration. NCBVI said, “This step, with Davidson [Governor’s Chief Information Officer] is probably just as good if not better as a step toward our goal.” Indicator / Objective 4.5: Secure the establishment of an ADA Coordinator position for the State of Nebraska. The Public Policy Director met with Nebraska Senators Krist, Kolterman, Bolz, and Mello as well as the Director of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services to discuss the need for creating an ADA Coordinator position through legislation. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a sponsor for legislation to create a Statewide ADA Coordinator position. As a result, we decided to target the Department of Administrative Services. The Public Policy Director, along with the director of the Nebraska Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, met with Director of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to discuss administrative options for the creation of the Statewide ADA Coordinator position. The Director of DAS has committed to creating a workgroup within the department to assess and examine how a position could be created. 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. Disability Rights Nebraska is dedicated to serving underserved populations in Nebraska. We have a bilingual Intake Specialist on staff to assist us to better serve the Hispanic community. We also have a bilingual contractor who conducts outreach for the organization in the Omaha-Lincoln 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. 1.) Western Nebraska: Our Community Outreach Advocate in the Nebraska Panhandle continues to be engaged in numerous activities with the following collaborative partners: People First, Continuum of Care (homelessness), System of Care, Youth Network, Panhandle Partnership for Health and Human Services (NDHSS), Sustainability Committee, Region I Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Homelessness Prevention Coalition. Her activities this year included: • Met with the pastor at the Lakota Lutheran Center to coordinate a workshop on disability resources in conjunction with a core group of women from the Center. • Did a presentation at the Lakota Lutheran Center about Disability Rights Nebraska to a group of about 25 people. • Met with local gatekeepers to discuss homelessness in Scottsbluff, the lack of affordable housing and the lack of a homeless shelter in the area. • Worked with staff and four students from ESU 13 to make a video of services available in the Scottsbluff community. • Met with parents of children with disabilities through a bus tour of community agencies coordinated by ESU 13. The tour gave parents an opportunity to see what services are available and ask questions. • Participated in the Cirrus House Mental Health Celebration and the Children’s Mental Health Sparks Festival • Served on the organizing committee and participated in the Scottsbluff Pow Wow 2.) Metro Community Outreach: • Our Intake Specialist staffed a booth at a health fair for children and parents held at the Malone Center, a local community center whose mission is to honor and strengthen the African American community in Lincoln and Lancaster County by serving as a cornerstone for educational, cultural, and advocacy programs for all people. • The Intake Specialist gave a presentation about Disability Rights Nebraska to a group of Spanish-speaking domestic violence survivors. The presentation took place at the Centro de Las Americas. Originally scheduled for one hour, the presentation was extended to two hours to allow for many questions from the audience about disability issues. The presentation was made possible through The Intake Specialist’s previous meeting with the Director of the Centro de Las Americas. • Our bi-lingual contractor arranged a number of meetings in May and June with key ethnic-based groups in Omaha. The CEO and Legal Services Director joined her to connect with the following organizations: • Heartland Workers Center • Lutheran Family Services • Latino Center of the Midlands • Justice for Our Neighbors • Intercultural Senior Center • Juan Diego Center These meetings were an opportunity to learn about south Omaha organizations serving the minority and refugee communities of the area. We also explained about Disability Rights Nebraska and the services we provide for people with disabilities. • The contractor and Intake Specialist staffed a booth at the El Grito Event in South Omaha and disseminated 251 disability-related materials. • The CEO, Legal Services Director and contractor attended the Destino Dinner in South Omaha on July 25th. This event was in support of the work of the Latino Center of the Midlands. Media: Facebook : Posts with the highest reach once again included those with connection to individual staff members. We also use our Facebook page to disseminate information about public meeting and comment opportunities and share advocacy-related information. As of the end of FY 2016, we had 829 followers on our page. The Facebook page is also connected to our Twitter account, so posts on Facebook are automatically posted on Twitter as well. We currently have 165 followers on our Twitter feed. Website: This year, we brought on an intern from the University of Nebraska Lincoln Department of Journalism to assist with our media program. A graduate student in Integrated Media Communications, she helped to review all of the material and the organization of our website, and worked with staff to choose and implement another format for a total update of the site to make it cleaner, more visual, and more user- and mobile-friendly. It had been over five years since our website design was updated. E-Newsletter: Information was also disseminated through our e-newsletter that went to over 560 addresses. Newsletters went out bi-monthly. These media channels are especially useful when conducting our public comment process. The e-newsletter and Facebook page provide platforms for reminders, and comments can be gathered and aggregated using Google Forms. Alternate formats, including large format forms and opportunity to comment in person or by phone with a staff member, are provided. Here are some highlights of the information shared through various channels: • We helped to publicize the second meeting of the Community for a Cause group to discuss the use and abuse of Assisted Living Facilities, and as a result: • Powerful emotions and stories emerged and were covered in a video by local stations 10/11 News . Disability Rights Nebraska issued a statement seeking a Legislative Study of placements for people with mental illness. • We posted the Editorial written by Molly Klocksin and Eric Evans on conditions in Assisted Living Facilities for people with mental illness. This editorial was featured in the Lincoln Journal Star. • We shared the new “Promise of the Good Life” report on Community Inclusion of People with Disabilities that was generated by the Inclusion Workgroup. • Shared highlights of coverage of the hearing on LR 314 and written testimony in front of the Legislature’s Education Committee about the use of restraints and seclusion in schools. • Shared a video interview with Ahmed Alserhani of the Saudi Student Association to talk about how they chose Disability Rights Nebraska as the recipient of their $1,400 donation. The video was filmed and edited by the Intern from UN-L. • Distributed information about “It’s All About the Plan — Self-Advocacy course for students” • Posted an article written for Nebraska Lawyer by Staff Attorney Brian Craig on Guardianship, also shared through e-newsletter. • Shared information about Department of Health and Human Services Town Hall meetings across the state — the post was popular and shared several times. • We videotaped two FAQ discussions with Staff Attorney Brian Craig and Public Policy Director Brad Meurrens. We hope to post clips of these discussions on our website as an alternative to text Q&A’s. They are currently in the editing process. • Our intern revamped the format of the Annual Report into a smaller highly-visual format. It was shared through the channels and posted on the website along with an all-text version. • Staff Attorney was interviewed by KETV news to discuss issues related to service animals, what service animals are, and what the legal responsibilities businesses have to individuals with service animals. • Staff Attorney was interviewed by the Waverly newspaper regarding architectural accessibility requirements of municipalities under the ADA. • Communications Director was interviewed by phone by WJAG radio in Norfolk about the upcoming public meeting in Kearney and what the P&A does. WJAG contacted us as a result of our public meeting postcard mailing.

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.

PAIR Priorities and Objectives for FY 2017 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 2 new and 8 current allegations of rights violations, especially those addressed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Indicator / Objective 1.2: Research best and emerging practices and develop a monitoring protocol to address environmental conditions and the provision of mental health treatment in prisons and juvenile detention facilities in the State of Nebraska. Indicator / Objective 1.3: Continue on-site visits to isolated, segregated and congregated facilities and services and develop strategies to address the lack of community-based services for individuals with mental illness. 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 to monitor the development and implementation of the Office of Public Guardian. Indicator / Objective 2.2: 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 2.3: 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: Create self-advocacy curriculum packages for use by self-advocacy educators and provide on-going support to educators to conduct two (2) self-advocacy on-site educational sessions (1 in Region I and 1 in Region V) and upload self-advocacy curriculum materials so they are available to individuals and groups on-line through Southeast Community College’s website. 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: Advocate to reduce the use and impact of zero-tolerance policies on students with disabilities, including the School to Jail/Prison Pipeline aspect. Indicator / Objective 4.2: Advocate to protect students from and eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion in Nebraska’s schools. 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: Conduct outreach in the Nebraska Panhandle 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. PRIORITY 6 — DISABILITY RIGHTS NEBRASKA WILL BE THE PREMIER CROSS-DISABILITY PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILTIES IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA. Indicator / Objective 6.1: Monitor state and federal legislation, rules and regulations, policies and procedures, and planning activities and conduct research to develop Disability Rights Nebraska’s position and to communicate it to appropriate policy makers. Indicator / Objective 6.2: Partner with other public policy organizations to conduct public policy advocacy and related educational activities on specific disability topics.

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 Advisory Councils: The Public Policy Director serves: as the Chair of the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) Statewide Advisory Council; on the ADRC Regional / Local Advisory Council; on the National Council for Independent Living's ADA / Civil Rights Advisory Council; on the Government Relations Committee for the State Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society; and as a member of the Executive Committee for the Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council. One PAIR grievance was filed during FY 2016. It was a Housing issue (out of priority). A man wanted to sue an apartment complex owner for denial of access to friend’s apt with his service dog. 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, the police officer who responded to the complaint, and that we would determine if there was a video recording of the incident. Based on the limited information we have been able to obtain, we cannot find evidence that corroborates the information client provided, or substantiates allegations against apartment complex. Service Request closed. 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. 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.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByEric A. Evans
TitleChief Executive Officer
Signed Date12/22/2016