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

Georgia (Georgia Advocacy Office, Inc.) - H240A180011 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameGeorgia Advocacy Office Inc.
AddressOne West Court Square
Address Line 2Suite 625
CityDecatur
StateGeorgia
Zip Code30030
E-mail Addressinfo@thegao.org
Website Addresshttp://www.thegao.org
Phone404-885-1234
TTY 404-885-1234
Toll-free Phone800-537-2329
Toll-free TTY800-537-2329
Fax404-378-0031
Name of P&A Executive DirectorRuby K. Moore
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorJulie Kegley
Person to contact regarding reportJulie Kegley
Contact Person phone404-885-1234
Ext.N/A

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 areas149
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas216
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)365

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff33
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)2,506

Congressional Briefing: “What is the Most Integrated Setting?” P & A CEO Ruby Moore organized (with TASH and United States Senator Bob Casey’s Office) a Congressional Briefing on "What is the Most Integrated Setting? How the Olmstead v. L.C. & E.W. Supreme Court Decision Has Impacted Public Policy for Services for People with Disabilities." In 1999, in the matter of Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W., the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act required that individuals with disabilities have the right to receive services in the “most integrated setting.” Since that time, state and federal policy regarding services and supports has shifted greatly away from institutional and segregated services and supports to those that offer opportunities to live and work in the community. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the Home and Community Based Settings Rule that applies to Medicaid funded long-term care services to promote greater community integration. Bi-cameral, bipartisan legislation passed by Congress such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act recognized that barriers continue to exist for people with disabilities who seek jobs in competitive integrated settings. Ms. Moore introduced the panel of experts and participated in this briefing that explained why maintaining current federal laws and policies is important to the continued enforcement of the Olmstead decision. Over fifty (50) people attended. TASH 2018 Legal Symposium P & A CEO, Ruby Moore introduced and facilitated TASH’s second annual Outstanding Leadership in Disability Law Symposium and Award Dinner celebrating those who have made history in the disability field, and who have worked tirelessly in the legal field for equity, opportunity, and inclusion for people with disabilities, including in the workplace. The symposium with 108 attendees explored the history and future of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the landmark Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W. decision, followed by a reception and dinner to honor Susan C. Jamieson for her exceptional leadership in disability law, including the Olmstead decision. Panelists discussed the history of the case and how it has contributed to the transformation of home and community-based services and supports; how this significant change has impacted their lives and the lives of their children; the gains that have been made; and the advocacy that is still needed to ensure that these opportunities remain in place for future generations. The P & A also collaborated with TASH to ensure the event was accessible, and to recruit the national expert panelists who spoke at the Symposium. Employment Advocacy Day The P & A was a supporter during the 2018 Employment Advocacy Day sponsored by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). This year, GCDD encouraged people with disabilities to advocate for 4.8 million dollars in state funds to be added to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) budget for state fiscal year 2019 to provide supported employment so that approximately 480 Georgians with developmental disabilities who do not have a NOW/COMP Medicaid Waiver can work in their communities. Supported employment services include ongoing supports to help people with disabilities find and keep meaningful employment, and recognizes that employment should be based on a person's strengths, needs, and interests. Through supported employment, people with disabilities can live full and productive lives while contributing to Georgia's economy. For every dollar put into supported employment programs in Georgia, taxpayers gain $1.61 in benefits. The P & A supported 12 people with disabilities to talk to their Senators and Representatives on this issue. Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) Advocacy Day at the Capitol Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) provides opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities to access higher education. This prepares them to live increasingly independent lives and pursue careers of their choice. With legislative support, the number of Georgia IPSE programs has grown from one to eight over the past five years with two more programs to come. Students who attend IPSE programs have far better employment outcomes than their peers who do not. Specifically, 40% of students who went to an IPSE program had a paid job within 90 days of graduation versus the 17% of adults with intellectual disabilities served by state intellectual/developmental disabilities agencies that are in a paying job. The P & A supported one hundred (100) students from the IPSE programs around the state to speak with their local representative at the Capitol about the benefits of IPSE. Training to Certified Peer Specialists The P & A provided training to 241 individuals who experience psychiatric disabilities at 5 locations around the state who are undergoing certification to become employed as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). CPS provides peer support services, serves as an advocate, and provides information and peer support for other people who experience psychiatric disabilities in a variety of settings. The CPS performs a wide range of tasks to support their peers in living their own lives and directing their own recovery and wellness process. As a result of the P & A’s training, the individuals gained advocacy skills in order to support other individuals in meeting their life goals, such as employment, in recovery. The P & A discussed the importance of being registered to vote when performing systems and legislative advocacy. The P & A also trained the individuals on implementing a “do with, not for approach” to guide individuals to meet their goals. Georgia Peer Support Institute Presentation The P & A partnered with the Georgia Mental Health Network to educate 37 people in north Georgia with psychiatric disabilities on how to develop and use their self-advocacy skills. The P & A provided technical assistance to the individuals on how to learn to speak up for oneself, and make decisions about their own life, such as what kind of job they want and how to ask for any accommodations that may be needed on the job. Southeast Interpreter Conference 2018 The P & A was invited to present on the rights of persons with deafness at the 2018 Southeast Interpreter Conference held in Atlanta. This conference was for healthcare, legal, and American Sign Language Interpreters. Over 100 people from 11 different states, with 10 languages represented, attended. The P & A presented at an interactive session with twenty interpreters who wanted to learn more about the rights of people with deafness in obtaining and maintaining employment; effective communication with state and local governments, as well as places of public accommodation; and assistive technology. Forsyth Presbyterian Church training The P & A provided information to 14 people in north Georgia about opportunities in employment, and issues facing people who experience psychiatric disabilities. The P & A provided technical assistance on how to support people who experience psychiatric disabilities recovering in the community. Supported Decision Making Presentation at Georgia State University The P & A was invited to speak on the topic of "Supported Decision-Making as an Alternative to Guardianship" to the trainees and fellows who are a part of the 2018-2019 Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (GA LEND) Program at Georgia State University. GA LEND is an interdisciplinary training program that teaches participants to work together for good outcomes for children, adults and families impacted by disabilities. The P & A educated the 20 participants as to the availability and the reasons for using supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship and how to utilize supported decision making to support a person with a disability to obtain competitive, integrated employment. The P & A engaged in a highly interactive dialogue with the participants wherein a rich conversation was held as to how to move the supported decision-making conversation forward within the State of Georgia. The participants are now well-informed of the principles of supported decision-making and expressed desire in sharing the information with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their supporters. Georgia Probate Judges Council Spring 2018 Meeting The P & A provided training on Supported Decision-Making (SDM) to 267 Probate Court Judges and their staff at the Probate Judges Council Spring Meeting on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. As a part of that training, the P & A created a one-page resource for the Probate Court Judges explaining the P & A's Supported Decision-Making Project sponsored by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). The P & A provided information and resources to Probate Court Judges on the negative impact of guardianship and the available alternatives that can allow people with disabilities to make their own decisions with the support of others, rather than decisions being made for them. As a result of the P & A's outreach and education to Probate Court Judges in Georgia, the P & A was invited to present on its efforts with the process of SDM at the Georgia Probate Court Judges Conference in the spring of 2019. Best Practices in Restoration of Rights Cases Presentation to the Georgia State Bar The P & A presented to 90 attorneys at the Georgia State Bar regarding Best Practices in Restoration of Rights cases. The P & A encouraged the attorneys to utilize alternatives to guardianship when representing people with disabilities to remove their guardian. The P & A shared with the attorneys the best practices around the country around how to prepare the person's case for removing the guardian, what steps need to be taken, what self-advocacy strategies the person would undertake, and how the person would plan to live their life without a guardian. The P & A shared client restoration stories with the attorneys, and one person whom the P & A had represented to restore his rights shared his story with the audience. The P & A educated the audience that, as a result of rights restoration, many people begin searching for, and obtain, competitive, integrated employment. Supported Decision-Making Presentation to Special Education Administrators At the annual Georgia Council of Administrators of Special Education (GCASE) conference, the P & A provided training, information and resources to Special Education Administrators and educators on the negative effect of guardianship and the available alternatives such as Supported Decision-Making that can allow people with disabilities to make their own decisions with the support of others, rather than decisions being made for them. The P & A advocated for Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship that allows a person with a disability to work with a team and make choices about his or her own life. The attendees included 200+ school Special Education Administrators throughout the state of Georgia. Supported Decision-Making in Healthcare Presentation at the 2017 national TASH conference The P & A educated the audience at the national 2017 TASH conference on how people with disabilities can create a circle of support to ensure equity, opportunity, and inclusion so that they can make their own informed decisions about their health care needs (including, but not limited to, selecting a health care provider, making appointments to be treated by the medical provider, and attending the medical appointment). The attendees included 35 people with disabilities around the country, their supporters, family members, and advocates. Supported Decision-Making Presentation to Adult Protective Services The P & A presented information regarding the risks and impacts of guardianship, the range of substitute decision-making options available, the power of autonomy and self-determination, and introduced the concept of Supported Decision-Making to 120 employees of Adult Protective Services (APS). Every APS investigator in the state of Georgia was in this room along with the Director of the State Office of Public Guardianship. The P & A also introduced, as part of this presentation, a gentleman who shared his personal story of being subjected to state guardianship and the process by which his rights were restored with the assistance of the P & A. Money Follows the Person Transition Coordinator training The P & A provided training and mentorship to 5 new Money Follows the Person (MFP) Transition Coordinators at three Centers for Independent Living (CIL) around the state. The CILs are now serving as MFP Transition Coordinators and requested technical assistance from the P & A on how to support a person with a disability to transition out of the nursing facility into the community and how to support the person in beginning the conversation around employment services and supports. TASH Community Living Committee and Self-Advocacy Committee The P & A is a member of the 14-person TASH Employment Committee, the 10-person TASH Community Living Committee and the 6-person TASH Self-Advocacy Committee. TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy and advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs — those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families and self-advocates. Through its work on these committees, the P & A informs and promotes the vision for all people with disabilities to obtain competitive, integrated employment. Self Advocacy Resource Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) Advisory Committee The P & A is a member of the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Self Advocacy Resource Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC). SARTAC was created as a result of a grant from the Administration for Community Living to Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the oldest national self-advocacy organization in the country. The resource center is funded as a Project of National Significance by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities under the Administration on Disabilities. Through its participation on SARTAC’s Advisory Committee, the P & A actively educates the committee members and self advocacy organizations on the benefits of obtaining competitive, integrated employment. Assistive Technology and Housing Presentations at the Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) National Conference The P & A presented to 70 self-advocates around the country at the Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) National Conference about ways to self-advocate for assistive technology and how to locate affordable, accessible housing in your area. Deinstitutionalization Presentation to South Carolina’s Long Road Home chapter The P & A presented to 100 members of South Carolina’s Long Road Home chapter to raise awareness of the importance of the United States Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision and to educate self-advocates about deinstitutionalization which means that people with disabilities can have a real home in the community instead of being segregated into a facility. The P & A also discussed the importance of voting. Training at Sangha Unity Network (SUN)’s Self-Advocacy Days The P & A provided support to the Sangha Unity Network (SUN) on the implementation of its grant from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) to expand Self-Advocacy in Georgia. SUN’s goal is to lay the groundwork for a robust and sustainable statewide self-advocacy network in Georgia that will support local projects and initiatives. A series of four one-day training sessions were held in rural locations throughout the state, with over 289 people who experience intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, their families, and supporters in attendance. The P & A provided education on the history of self advocacy and human rights and explored ideas for community impact. Side by Side Clubhouse Presentation People with traumatic brain injuries are often underserved in Georgia when it comes to Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers as well as employment supports. The P & A presented to 84 people with disabilities, family members, support staff, and program staff at Side by Side Clubhouse, a day program for people who experience traumatic brain injuries (TBI), on the role of the P & A in obtaining competitive, integrated employment, self-advocacy and self-determination, and the use of supported decision-making to support people with disabilities to make decisions on their own with the support of others who play an important role in their lives. Brain Injury Association of Georgia Think Big Symposium The Brain Injury Association of Georgia and the Shepherd Center, a nationally ranked hospital that serves people with spinal cord and brain injuries, held a Think Big symposium for 150 people who experience traumatic brain injuries, their families, as well as medical professionals to present resources available to people who experience traumatic brain injuries in Georgia, including the services and supports that the P & A provides. Presentation to Restore Rehabilitation The P & A provided training on the rights of people under guardianship, the process of supported decision-making, the right to vote, and discussed the services provided by the P & A to Restore Rehabilitation, an organization that provides services to people who experience brain injuries. The P & A educated the attendees, who included 18 people who experience traumatic or acquired brain injuries and their in-home service providers, on the restrictions that guardianship imposes upon a person, and educated the attendees about alternatives to guardianship. LIFE Celebrate Abilities Resource Fair The P & A provided information and materials to over 100 people with disabilities, their families, and supporters at the LIFE Celebrate Abilities Resource Fair. LIFE is the Center for Independent Living that services the Savannah regional area. The P & A hosted a table with information on all P & A programs, voter education materials, and resources on Supported Decision-Making. As a result of the P & A’s outreach during the Resource Fair, 3 young adults with disabilities and 5 family members attended discussions held by the P & A on a later date regarding the use of Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship, giving people with disabilities the autonomy to make decisions about their life on their own, including decisions about obtaining competitive, integrated employment. Richmond County Transition Resource Fair The P & A was invited to participate in the Transition Fair hosted by the Georgia Department of Labor, the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Richmond County Department of Special Education & Support Services, Columbia County Special Services Department, and East Georgia Learning Resource System. The purpose of this fair was to educate parents, students with disabilities, and professionals in the field of Special Education to appropriate community services that are available for transition-age youth with disabilities. The P & A educated 26 people who are now better informed about options available after high school including, but not limited to, competitive, integrated employment, voting, alternatives to guardianship, and supported decision-making. Presentation to the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office The P & A presented "An Abbreviated Overview of Mental Health Law" at the request of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Georgia to the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. The purpose of the training was to educate the audience on legal issues surrounding mental health for individuals housed in jail settings. The attendees included 20 staff members of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. Education to local chapter of the National Thalidomide Survivors Group The P & A trained, educated, and provided encouragement to individuals to form an advocacy support group and advocacy organization called the National Thalidomide Survivors Group. The P & A provided a framework for networking with peers to provide support and encouragement. The attendees included 35 people who experience psychiatric and physical disabilities. Disability Link Voting Presentation The P & A presented on the rights of people with disabilities to participate in the electoral process at Disability Link, a Center for Independent Living. The purpose of the training was to educate the attendees on the rights of people with disabilities to participate in the electoral process. Participants learned about their rights when it comes to voting, learned how to advocate for themselves if they experience issues with voting, and participants were also provided with the P & A contact information and voting hotline information. The 35 attendees included Atlanta-area Center for Independent Living staff and self-advocates. Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered “Go Voter Project” Presentation at the National Disability Rights Network conference The P & A presented at the National Disability Rights Network’s Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland along with Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) to 57 P & A staff members from across the country and the territories. The P & A discussed the benefits of partnering with self-advocates to develop a training program to educate self-advocates about the rights that people have when it comes to voting, and to encourage self-advocates to train others about the importance of participating in the electoral process. One of SABE’s priorities is to encourage collaboration between P & As and state self-advocacy organizations. The P & A partnered with People First of Georgia to obtain training on voting rights from SABE, which was then used to create a presentation that both the P & A and People First of Georgia could deliver to self-advocates across the State. People First of Georgia has several chapters throughout the state, including in rural areas where people with disabilities are often underserved. The P & A and People First of Georgia provided additional support to chapters when needed and the P & A was available to answer any questions that self-advocates had regarding voting rights. Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Voter Accessibility Panel The P & A was invited by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office to speak on a panel at the Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission Meeting in August 2018. The SAFE Commission is responsible for conducting discussions on a new voting system in Georgia, including the feasibility of using all hand-marked paper ballots to all electronic machines with a voter-verified paper trail. Members will research options, review comments and concerns, and then provide legislative recommendations to Georgia lawmakers before the 2019 session of Georgia’s General Assembly. The P & A participated on the panel before an audience of 76 people to discuss voting accessibility for people with disabilities in Georgia. The panel was moderated by the Assistant Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Disabilities. The P & A brought up concerns from network partners, including Rev-Up Georgia and People First of Georgia, about accessibility issues that would arise with a hand-marked paper ballot system. As a result, the SAFE Commission noted these concerns in their legislative report that will be reviewed during the 2019 session of Georgia’s General Assembly. Training to families on an Army base The P & A provided training to families at an Army base about Medicaid, Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT), and Home and Community Based Services. The purpose of the training was to educate families on how to access and use Medicaid, as well as Home and Community Based Services, to ensure that children who experience healthcare needs have access to, and benefit from, services mandated through EPSDT. Families will know how to apply for Medicaid waiver programs as a way to deflect from institutional settings. The attendees included 10 families of children who experience disabilities. The families are enlisted with the Army and include families of various ethnicities. Know Your Rights Advocacy Webinar In recognition of the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this national webinar focused on the rights of parents and prospective parents with disabilities. The P & A provided a brief overview of disability rights laws, and their application to families. The P & A shared advocacy strategies for ensuring accessibility throughout the community, such as in schools and health care facilities. Seventy-two social workers, and others who support parents with disabilities, around the country gained an understanding of these families and their rights by learning directly from parents about their needs and experiences.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff2
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles29
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website834,108
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated9,714
6. Other (specify separately)2,546

Narrative

The “Other” information disseminated to the public in 6 above is 2546 likes on the P & A’s Facebook page. The P & A developed a new brochure this year titled, "The Importance of Competitive, Integrated Employment for Students," which is geared towards educating transition-age youth with disabilities on the benefits of making at least minimum wage or higher, and working in jobs alongside their peers without disabilities, as well as educating students on the role of the local educational agency and the state vocational rehabilitation agency in ensuring the student has an opportunity to engage in, and obtain, competitive, integrated employment. The P & A also translated the “Reminding You to Vote” brochure to Spanish as part of a continued effort to assure that all people with disabilities in Georgia have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process. The P & A is featured on websites and blogs as a legal advocacy resource. In addition, hundreds of websites feature events involving the P & A. The P & A, the Children’s Freedom Initiative, and the Parent Leadership Support Project maintain current Facebook pages and websites. Also, some of the Citizen Advocacy offices funded by the P & A maintain websites and Facebook pages.

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)32
2. Additional individuals served during the year64
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)96
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)26

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 26

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility1
2. Employment16
3. Program access8
4. Housing28
5. Government benefits/services40
6. Transportation5
7. Education3
8. Assistive technology2
9. Voting0
10. Health care15
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services4
13. Privacy rights4
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse3
16. Neglect7
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor97
2. Other representation found2
3. Individual withdrew complaint2
4. Appeals unsuccessful1
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-advocacy39
2. Short-term assistance24
3. Investigation/monitoring5
4. Negotiation22
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution1
6. Administrative hearings3
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 - 5960
4. 60 - 6411
5. 65 and over23

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females51
2. Males45

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race0
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian1
4. Black or African American53
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White36
7. Two or more races5
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent51
2. Parental or other family home5
3. Community residential home3
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home31
6. Public institutional living arrangement3
7. Private institutional living arrangement2
8. Jail/prison/detention center0
9. Homeless1
10. Other living arrangements0
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment10
2. Deaf/hard of hearing12
3. Deaf-blind1
4. Orthopedic impairment24
5. Mental illness3
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation2
8. Learning disability0
9. Neurological impairment26
10. Respiratory impairment4
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment3
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment9
13. Speech impairment2
14. AIDS/HIV0
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 activities27

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes5,306,618

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.

Employment First Georgia The P & A provided input to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) in drafting language for Georgia’s Employment First Act (House Bill 831), which establishes competitive, integrated employment as the first and preferred option for people with disabilities in Georgia who want to go to work. The Act also creates a fourteen member Council to guide recommendations for policies and possible legislation to advance Georgia as an Employment First state. The Council is comprised of disability community members, a business representative, and heads of state agencies crucial to successful implementation. The P & A provided testimony to the Georgia Legislature regarding the importance of this Bill. As a result of advocacy efforts, the Governor signed this Bill. GVRA then reached out to the P & A to specifically request that the P & A serve on the Council. The Governor will announce the Employment First Council appointments in the coming months. Monitoring the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency’s (GVRA) Career Counseling and Information and Referral required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The P & A undertook efforts this year to monitor the career counseling and information and referral (CC & IR) that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) to conduct at sheltered workshops. The P & A submitted an Open Records Request (ORR) to GVRA for these data. After the P&A reviewed the information provided in response to the ORR, we discovered that out of the 49 sheltered workshops/day programs serving people with disabilities working at subminimum wage, GVRA provided CC & IR to 1187 people in 38 sheltered workshops/day programs. One of the most concerning trends was that out of the 1187 who received CC & IR, only 7 people were in “work plan development” status, only 26 people were in “work plan services” status, and only 7 people were “working.” The P & A monitored 14 of the sheltered workshops around the state. The P & A’s monitoring revealed inconsistencies with the data reported by GVRA. For example, workshops reported to the P & A fewer number of individuals who requested services from GVRA than what GVRA reported in its ORR response. Of the people that the P & A met during its monitoring visits who wanted to receive services from GVRA, several reported long waiting periods for GVRA to open a case for them. The P & A opened over 30 cases during this monitoring process to support people in sheltered workshops to remove barriers to obtaining competitive, integrated employment. One of the identified barriers was that the person and the program staff were not aware of the availability of augmentative communication devices and where to obtain an AAC evaluation. The P & A provided education to the person, staff, and family members on how to obtain assistive technology. Another barrier was that the person and their loved one did not know that the person could work and still retain benefits. The P & A provided referrals to those people to contact a Benefits Navigator who would work with the person to identify how much money the person could make and still retain benefits. Another identified barrier was that the person’s guardian was unsupportive of the person working. The P & A talked with the guardians to let them know the benefits of competitive, integrated employment, as well as utilizing Supported Decision Making to allow the person to be supported to have more control over their own life. Another identified barrier was that the sheltered workshop/day program staff did not believe the person could work in the community. The P & A spent time with program staff educating the staff on the various strategies that can be used in obtaining successful competitive, integrated employment, such as the development of a Discovery Profile, an employment circle of support, and trial work experiences. Another identified barrier was that some people who do not use words to communicate were not able to tell the sheltered workshop/day program staff they wanted to receive services from GVRA. The P & A has submitted another ORR to GVRA for updated data, and will continue to monitor sheltered workshops/day programs regarding GVRA’s progress in this area. The P & A will continue to support people in sheltered workshops/day programs to obtain competitive, integrated employment. Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Board meetings The P & A attended Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Board Meetings to keep abreast of GVRA’s plans and policies as well as for the P & A to continue its systemic advocacy for people with disabilities across the state of Georgia to access competitive, integrated employment so that people with disabilities can earn living wages in employment positions that are aligned with their interests and skills. At a recent GVRA Board meeting, the P & A noted that all the information presented were data about GVRA staff and GVRA funding; however, no data were presented regarding the people that GVRA serves, or how many people were supported by GVRA to obtain competitive, integrated employment. The P & A spoke with the Board Chairman who agreed it was good practice to present data to the public about employment outcomes for people GVRA serves. The P & A will attend the next GVRA Board meeting to see if GVRA followed through on the P & A’s recommendations. Testimony to the United States Commission on Civil Rights The Georgia Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), held a public meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss the civil rights implications in the Olmstead v. L.C. decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Commission is an independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress and directed to study and collect information relating to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, or in the administration of justice. The Commission has established advisory committees in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These State Advisory Committees advise the Commission of civil rights issues in their states that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction. The P & A provided testimony regarding the status of Georgia’s efforts towards Olmstead implementation of integration, including the fact that people with disabilities still experience barriers to competitive, integrated employment. Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Working Group The United States (U.S.) Attorney's Office Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Working Group investigates instances of abuse and neglect in nursing facilities, and initiates investigations by the U.S. Attorney's Office. In addition to the P & A, the group includes representatives from Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). As a result of the P & A's participation in this Working Group, the P & A has been able to inform the group of issues concerning particular nursing facilities in Georgia. The Working Group conducted three preliminary investigations into facilities referred by the P & A, and is currently preparing a full investigation on one facility. Alliance for Nursing Facility Alternatives (ANFA) The P & A collaborated with the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD) to form the Alliance for Nursing Facility Alternatives (ANFA). The purpose of ANFA is to explore the barriers that exist in Georgia for people with disabilities transitioning from nursing facilities and hospitals to real homes in their local community. Identified barriers include inadequate Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and an inadequate screening process that leads to unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities in Georgia. The P & A proposed a pilot program between Grady Hospital (a large public hospital in metro Atlanta), Crestview Nursing Facility, and the State of Georgia to advocate for the transition of people with disabilities from Grady to a home or apartment with HCBS rather than transitioning to the Crestview Nursing Facility and then waiting for HCBS. The P & A is in talks with all parties to implement the proposed pilot program. Monitoring Institutionalized Settings The P & A routinely monitors state hospitals, nursing facilities, and private residential treatment facilities where people with disabilities are confined. Among the things the P & A monitors include the following: 1. The person’s quality of life, 2. The facility conditions, 3. Whether the person is experiencing a meaningful day, and 4. Whether the facility adheres to the Patient’s Bill of Rights. The P & A responds to calls involving people with disabilities subjected to abuse and neglect that receive community-based services including community living arrangements, pre-employment programs/sheltered workshops, and other day services. Through routine monitoring, the P & A has documented and responded to these situations involving abuse, neglect, and rights violations. This information has been reported to the appropriate oversight agencies (such as Georgia’s Healthcare Facility Regulations Division and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — CMS) for use in their investigations. The P & A reviewed the new CMS regulations for nursing facilities. Additionally, throughout the course of routine monitoring, the P & A met people with disabilities who expressed an interest in moving into the community. The P & A assisted many individuals to move into their own homes in the community and to gain access to supports such as waiver services, assistive technology, employment, and transportation. Supported Decision-Making The P & A obtained a grant from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) in order to educate and train stakeholders, who often look to guardianship as the only option for people with disabilities, on less restrictive alternatives available to people with disabilities and their families. The project seeks to lay the foundation for widespread adoption of Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship in Georgia. The project addresses the lack of information and materials on Supported Decision-Making in Georgia by creating training materials and providing trainings throughout the state to key stakeholders such as probate court judges, attorneys, physicians, and educators. Guardianship has often been the "go to" option for families, although Georgia law states that less restrictive means should be explored, and that guardianship shall be an option of "last resort." For generations, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been over-protected, over-controlled, isolated, segregated and excluded from communities, and often forced to live in places removed from the lives and experiences that people without disabilities take for granted. Moreover, they are not afforded the opportunity to access competitive, integrated employment. This kind of segregation has led to a constrained life with loss of power, autonomy and “inalienable rights.” The inherent design of controlled environments often causes people to become further disenfranchised from the community, leading to a lack of opportunities to build relationships and make choices. People are classified and categorized rather than supported as contributing members of society. Guardianship’s prominence within society as a primary vehicle to “protect” people with disabilities from making the “wrong” decisions about their lives and resources further compromises accessibility to basic rights. These historical and current processes permeate society and result in people with disabilities being treated as if they are “less than” and incapable of managing their own lives including the most basic of life’s choices. People under guardianship experience a kind of “civil death” because they have no right to make their own decisions about their health care, finances, relationships, and other day-to-day decisions. People under guardianship are less likely to live in their own homes or apartments, less likely to have jobs in the community, and less likely to have friends. An advisory committee to the project has been formed and the P & A has hosted several trainings by Dr. Michael Kendrick, an international expert on Supported Decision-Making. Advancing Values This year, the P & A had the opportunity to advance values via a statewide series of Social Role Valorization (SRV)-related trainings sponsored by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) in collaboration with the P & A and the Institute on Human Development and Disability. The scope of the SRV contract included 17 workshops over 20 days with 683 attendees. The P & A recruited and supported 37 leaders from across the state as part of a cohort to create more capacity for local learning opportunities about SRV. This sequence of training events was critical in building and enhancing competencies in people who support individuals with developmental disabilities around Georgia. First, the P & A conducted six introductory workshops -The Power of Roles - in each region, followed by a four-day SRV workshop in Tifton. Then, the P & A offered two different SRV-implementation workshops for people who wanted to explore a deeper understanding of the themes of SRV: 1. What is a Home? and 2. Supporting People with Multiple/Significant Disabilities to have a Meaningful Life During the Day. The two SRV-implementation workshops were offered twice, once in Athens and once in Savannah. All of the workshops used small-group leaders to improve learning and understanding of the material. The P & A received positive evaluations about the material, and is in discussions with DBHDD to continue these trainings. Effective Communication at the Georgia General Assembly The P & A made a request for a communications access real-time transcriber (CART) to the Georgia General Assembly for a Joint House/Senate Appropriations Committee meeting that was occurring two weeks from the date of the CART request. The response from the General Assembley was that CART must be requested three weeks in advance of the meeting. The General Assembly said that the only two options available at that time were to take a video of the committee meeting and upload the video to YouTube, where captions can be embedded. The other option provided was that a transcript of the meeting could be ordered, but that would take two to three weeks. The P & A educated the General Assembly members as to the responsibilities of state governments under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide effective communication. The Office of the Legislative Counsel agreed with the P & A that it was the General Assembly's responsibility to provide effective communication, such as CART, at committee meetings, and other meetings open to the public. As a result of P & A intervention, the General Assembly will draft a policy regarding CART requests so that members of the public who request CART can be provided with effective communication. Effective Communications at the Fox Theatre The Fox Theatre in Atlanta is a world-renowned concert and event venue. The P & A received complaints from several people who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely upon open captions in order to hear the plays and performances conducted at the Fox Theatre, that the Fox refused to provide open captions at their performances. The P & A notified the United States (U.S.) Attorney’s Office of this issue, and that office opened an investigation into the matter. As a result of the open investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Fox Theatre has been exploring different avenues for ensuring accessibility who people who are deaf/hard of hearing and rely upon captions to follow the plays and performances at the theatre. The Fox invited the P & A to utilize one option for captioning during a live performance. Following that experience, the P & A met with the Chief Executive Officer of the Fox to discuss the benefits and the drawbacks of that particular captioning option. As the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office is still open, the Fox assured the P & A that it remains committed to exploring additional captioning options in order to provide captioning at its performances. Continued Collaborations with the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) The P & A recognizes that guardianship over a person with a disability is often unnecessary, can be very restrictive and, in some cases, can result in abuse and/or neglect or unnecessary rights restrictions of the person under guardianship. The P & A has successfully represented numerous individuals throughout the state to have their guardian and conservator removed. As a result of gaining their independence, people with whom we have advocated are now able to live in their own homes and obtain jobs. The P & A has continued its relationship with the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) of the Georgia Division of Aging to collaborate on cases where the person is under state guardianship and wants a more independent life. PGO will refer individuals to the P & A whom they believe may no longer need a guardian. PGO is also working with us to enrich the lives of people under state guardianship, by ensuring that they have the right and the ability to receive appropriate services and supports to live in the community. Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC) The P & A is an active member of the Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC), which seeks to create opportunities for students who have historically not had access to post-secondary educational (PSE) opportunities. Students who attend PSE programs have a higher employment rate than their peers who do not attend these programs. Consortium members include colleges and universities, community support agencies, families, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA), Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), and K-12 educators. This year, GVRA proposed policy changes regarding post-secondary academic and vocational training for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) mandated that vocational rehabilitation agencies such as GVRA focus its efforts on pre-employment transition services. Inclusive post-secondary education (IPSE) programs address and incorporate the pre-employment transition services that GVRA is charged to provide. GVRA’s current policy allowed for GVRA to financially support qualified individuals to attend an IPSE program if the program had earned the federal designation of a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP). However, the federal government, in awarding CTP designations, does not require schools to award students a certification, diploma, or degree. Nor do any federal regulations or laws impose such a requirement of CTP-designated programs. Yet, under GVRA’s proposed policy revisions, GVRA would no longer provide financial support to qualified individuals attending CTP-designated schools unless the school awarded the student a “recognized credential” such as a certification, diploma, or degree. Students attending the CTP-designated programs engage in multiple internships, experience significant growth in life skills independence, and have been solidly prepared for competitive employment. The P & A provided written and oral comment and encouraged GVRA to retract its proposed policy revisions regarding post-secondary academic and vocational training and to retain the current policy provisions on this issue. The P & A's efforts, as well as the advocacy efforts by the students, parents, and other stakeholders, resulted in success as GVRA agreed to revoke its proposed policy changes before the public comment period had concluded. Advocacy Days at the Capitol The P & A continued its support of the 2018 Advocacy Days at the Capitol, sponsored by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). This year, GCDD encouraged people with disabilities to advocate for 4.8 million dollars in state funds to be added to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) budget for state fiscal year 2019 to provide supported employment for approximately 480 Georgians with developmental disabilities who do not have a NOW/COMP Medicaid Waiver to work in their communities. Supported employment services include ongoing supports to help people with disabilities find and keep meaningful employment, and recognizes that employment should be based on a person's strengths, needs, and interests. Through supported employment, people with disabilities can live full and productive lives while contributing to Georgia's economy. For every dollar spent on supported employment programs in Georgia, taxpayers gain $1.61 in benefits. The P & A supported 12 people with disabilities to talk to their Senators and Representatives on this issue. The P & A also participated in the Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) Advocacy Day. Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) provides opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities to access higher education. This prepares them to live increasingly independent lives and pursue careers of their choice. With legislative support, the number of Georgia IPSE programs has grown from one to eight over the past five years with two more programs to come. Students who attend IPSE programs have far better employment outcomes than their peers who do not. Specifically, 40% of students who went to an IPSE program had a paid job within 90 days of graduation versus the 17% of adults with intellectual disabilities served by state intellectual/developmental disabilities agencies that are in a paying job. The P & A supported one hundred (100) students from the IPSE programs around the state to speak with their local representative at the Capitol about the benefits of IPSE. The P & A also participated in the Children’s Freedom Initiative (CFI)/Medicaid Advocacy Day, the NOW/COMP Waiver Advocacy Day, and the Mental Health Advocacy Day. Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia, Inc. (SILC) The Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia, Inc. (SILC) is a private nonprofit corporation governed by people with all types of disabilities from all across the state. The role of the SILC is to identify societal barriers to independent living and to collaborate with Centers for Independent Living, Rehabilitation Services and other related entities to remove those barriers, including barriers to employment, and to increase the supports and services needed to create independent living opportunities. The P & A collaborates with the SILC to identify and advocate on behalf of individuals in nursing facilities and in the community who want to engage in competitive, integrated employment. People First of Georgia and People First of Atlanta The P & A continues to host People First of Georgia, People First of Atlanta, and leadership of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered. P&A works with People First leadership to build their leadership skills and strengthen local chapters statewide. We supported People First members to attend national board meetings in Regional Representative roles with the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) national advocacy organization. The P & A conducted advocacy training this year for People First members on Medicaid issues, assistive technology, the legislative process, the death penalty in Georgia, and voter access. The P & A supported People First members to attend the Advocacy Days at the Capitol sponsored by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). Children’s Freedom Initiative Established by the P & A in 2005 to address the institutionalization of children and youth who experience disabilities, the Children’s Freedom Initiative (CFI) continues to work to fulfill its mission of ensuring all children live with families in permanent, loving homes — not in nursing facilities, institutions or other congregate settings. CFI has a core membership comprised of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), University of Georgia’s Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD), Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), Statewide Independent Living Centers (SILC), People First of Georgia, and the Arc-Georgia. CFI requests quarterly updates of the Department of Community Health, Georgia’s Medicaid authority, as to the location of any Medicaid eligible youth confined to a congregate care facility setting. CFI travels to meet the youth and works to educate family members about the home and community based services available to bring the child home with the appropriate supports in place. CFI continues to explore the increasing numbers of youth with disabilities entering Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) custody as a result of: 1) the family’s inability to cope, 2) the family’s inability to manage challenging behaviors, and 3) abandonment (families who refuse to pick up their child from treatment facilities when support services are not available within the home. Of the more than 2,200 youth with disabilities in DFCS custody between April 2017 and March 2018, almost 2,000 admissions are a result of the above mentioned DFCS admission criteria. CFI collaborated with five Georgia State University Masters of Social Work candidates to conduct a gap analysis of Medicaid-funded services to children/youth who experience disabilities in Georgia. The goal of the gap analysis was to gather data and stories to better inform and provide anecdotal evidence as to how and why children/youth continue to be institutionalized when home and community based services are reportedly available through the state Medicaid plan and EPSDT. This information is used to educate the community, including the Georgia General Assembly, of the barriers faced by families raising a child/youth who experience a disability. CFI continues to participate in the Cold Case Project, a Georgia superior court initiative created to determine why children/youth under the care of the child welfare system are not achieving permanency within the time mandated by federal requirements. CFI serves an as expert to educate child welfare attorneys and juvenile judges about EPSDT/state Medicaid plan, autism services, community based mental health programs (CBAY), Georgia’s Medicaid waiver programs, and other home and community based service options that are available to support a child to be placed in a permanent, loving home. While CFI monitors all facilities admitting youth who experience disabilities, most are not classified as long term care facilities with the exception of Parkwood Developmental Center (ICF-IDD). CFI, as a result of the P & A’s access authority, collaborated with the Valdosta Police Department regarding issues of abuse and neglect. The Valdosta Police Department opened an investigation into the ICF-IDD and substantiated numerous incidents of abuse and neglect over a three month period resulting in the termination of 4 direct care staff and the arrest of 1 direct care staff. CFI has experienced success during 2017/2018 in assisting 4 people to move from the ICF/IDD to home and community based services. Child Youth Brain Injury Subcommittee of the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund The P & A is a member of the Child Youth Brain Injury Subcommittee of the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund. The P & A participates in monthly meetings to provide updates to the committee members (including representatives from the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund, the Shepherd Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) regarding the number of youth with brain and spinal cord injuries residing in skilled nursing facilities, as well as resources related to Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Services (EPSDT) and Medicaid waiver programs to ensure youth with brain and spinal cord injuries have access to home and community based services and avoid risk of institutionalization. Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults The P & A continues to serve as an active member of the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults, which is a clearinghouse between local advocacy groups serving people with disabilities and older adults, and Georgia agencies responsible for emergency preparedness under the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan. In addition, the Coalition provides subject matter expertise to emergency response planners to ensure that all emergency plans incorporate the needs of people with disabilities and older adults and organizations throughout Georgia that serve and advocate for people with disabilities and older adults enabling them to share disaster preparedness and response information with their constituencies. Georgia State Advisory Panel for Special Education (SAP) The P & A continues to attend Georgia State Advisory Panel for Special Education (SAP) Meetings. The SAP is comprised of parents, people with disabilities, educators and administrators, as well as representatives from public and private agencies. This diverse group of stakeholders assists the Division of Special Education Services and Supports in addressing a variety of special education issues and topics. Specifically, the SAP advises the Division on the unmet needs related to the education of children with disabilities within the State and provides feedback on any rules or regulations proposed by the State regarding special education. Spread the Vote Collaboration The P & A continued to collaborate with the Georgia chapter of Spread the Vote, a non-profit organization that supports people with disabilities to obtain the identification required to vote, in order to increase the number of people with disabilities in Georgia who can vote. Many people with disabilities do not have a State Identification (ID) because they are unable to locate the documents necessary to obtain the State ID or they do not have the financial resources to pay the costs associated with obtaining a State ID. Spread the Vote provides assistance to people to obtain the documents required for a State ID and for the State ID itself. Through this collaboration, the P & A can make referrals to Spread the Vote to provide people with disabilities their State IDs which gives them the opportunity not only to vote, but also to access affordable housing, and to obtain services and supports outside of a nursing facility. Rev-Up Georgia The P & A continued to be a part of Rev Up Georgia, a statewide non-partisan network of individuals and groups dedicated to increasing participation of people with disabilities in the electoral process. This includes, but is not limited to, helping people with disabilities to navigate the registration and voting process, engaging people with disabilities to participate in all forms of the political process, and educating the public and candidates about disability rights issues. The network also discusses issues with voter accessibility in Georgia and makes recommendations regarding voter accessibility to the State of Georgia, including Georgia’s newly formed Secure, Accessible, and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission, which is responsible for providing recommendations to the Georgia legislature regarding a proposed overhaul of Georgia’s voting system. State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) The P & A attends the Georgia State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meetings to stay on top of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) initiatives and to monitor how GVRA is implementing the Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA). The P & A made public comment at these meetings based on meeting agenda topics and asked questions as part of our monitoring Georgia’s implementation of WIOA. SRC is a federally mandated council composed of Georgia citizens from across the state appointed by the Governor to represent a broad range of individuals with disabilities and stakeholders. The SRC collaborates with GVRA to develop plans for services and make recommendations to assist individuals with disabilities achieve employment and independence. Georgia Microboard Association (GMA) The P & A launched the Georgia Microboard Association (GMA) and continues to support the organization to develop microboards and microenterprises that allow people to guide and direct their own services and supports. As an example, this year, the GMA supported a young woman to find employment utilizing her gift in creating art, supported a young man in meetings with his vocational rehabilitation counselor, and supported a young man to continue with his own recycling company based on his PATH from a few years ago. Collaborations with Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) The P & A continued to meet with Georgia Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) staff to discuss collaborative efforts to support people who want to work but need benefits navigation and assistance. Referrals continue between offices. Tools for Life (TFL) Advisory Council The P & A is a member of Georgia's Tech Act agency, Tools for Life (TFL)’s Advisory Council. The P & A serves in an advisory capacity in assisting TFL in accomplishing its goal and mission with measurable outcomes, which includes ensuring people with disabilities have access to assistive technology while obtaining and maintaining employment. The P & A serves as a statewide resource of information to the TFL project, reviews and gives input on programs and services, and assists the Council in being a statewide voice for public awareness and advocacy on increased access to Assistive Technology, including in the workplace. P & A Sign on to Letter to Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights The P & A, along with hundreds of other advocacy and self-advocacy organizational allies, reviewed and signed on to a letter drafted by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD) to the Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. As the vast majority of people with disabilities and their families want opportunities for competitive, integrated employment, most employment service providers are working to change their business models away from sheltered work and other segregated settings to competitive, integrated employment, and almost all states have embraced an “employment first” approach reflecting that shift, the letter expressed concern about the United States Justice Department’s recent withdrawal of a number of guidance and technical assistance documents concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts750
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.

United States v. Georgia: The P & A represents ourselves in the United Sates v. Georgia, as well as being a member of the amici, which Bazelon is representing in this case. The amici are comprised of a variety of mental health stakeholders and us. The amici have been an active and integral participant in this case between the state and the Department of Justice (DOJ). We had several meetings with our Amici partners, the monitor and DOJ to discuss the independent reviewer’s reports and next steps in the litigation. The State and DOJ will file a joint status report that advises the Court that the independent reviewer issued a report in September outlining the State’s progress in fulfilling the terms of the agreement. The report found the State to be non-compliant in several areas. The State has made little progress since the last parties’ meeting. All parties agree that the State has not shown compliance in several areas including: Supported Housing, behavioral supports, provider recruitment and serving those with complex needs. The P & A’s next steps are dictated by the Independent Reviewer’s September report in conjunction with the resilience of DOJ in pursuing the action. The Georgia Advocacy Office, et al. v. The State of Georgia et al.: On August 23, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit alleging the State of Georgia violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by public entities. The Court has now stayed this case in anticipation of a ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the DOJ’s authority to bring cases under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, the P & A and its partners filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia, challenging Georgia's use of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Prior to filing the suit, the P & A and its partners formulated a comprehensive outreach strategy that included national outlets and media to highlight the impact and harms associated with segregated education. As part of this strategy, the P & A identified affected families as well as experts to effectively portray the reason behind the litigation and the goals moving forward. We are awaiting a ruling on the State’s motion to dismiss the case. While waiting on a ruling, the legal team is working to build the framework to file a motion for class certification. In addition, the P & A continues to engage in individual advocacy to support people who are part of the projected class. We continue to handle several Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and work with allies to divert GNETS placement and to represent students who are currently housed in a GNETS. J.B. v. Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH): J.B. is a 55-year-old man who uses a wheelchair and is confined to a nursing facility. J.B. wants to transition out of the nursing facility and into independent housing near his family in the community. He applied for community services and supports through the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH)’s Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP). However, DCH denied his application, stating that because he did not have a family member or a friend to sign a “Circle of Support” form, he was ineligible for the waiver. The P & A represented J.B. to appeal DCH’s denial to the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH). The Court’s decision ordered the State to find J.B. eligible for the ICWP Waiver and to work with him to identify a circle of support once he was living in the community. The State appealed the Judge’s decision to the DCH Agency Appeals Reviewing Officer. The Reviewing Officer reversed the OSAH Judge’s decision and denied J.B. entry into the ICWP program. The P & A appealed that decision to the Fulton County Superior Court. The parties have completed briefing of the case, and are awaiting the Court's decision, which can have a systemic impact on others applying for the ICWP waiver if the Court rules that DCH's use of the "Circle of Support" form is improper. R.W. v. Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH): The P & A represented R.W. to appeal the Georgia Department of Community Health’s (DCH) SOURCE (Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment) waiver program’s decision to terminate home- and community-based services to R.W. He is a 63-year-old man who experiences paralysis who has been receiving SOURCE services in his home for several years. His SOURCE provider refused to provide services to him, and terminated him from the SOURCE program instead of assisting him in locating another provider who could provide services to him. R.W. was then at risk of entering into a nursing facility because he did not have home- and community-based services. The P & A negotiated with DCH to restart his SOURCE services with another provider, as he clearly met the SOURCE eligibility criteria. The P & A was successful in deflecting nursing home placement. R.W. now receives a home health aide five days a week, home-delivered meals, and a lifeline call button. K.M. v. Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH): K.M. is a 54-year-old woman with multiple disabilities who had been receiving services through the SOURCE (Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment) waiver for three years. However, this year, the Department of Community Health (DCH) denied her re-application for SOURCE, saying she no longer met the nursing facility level of care. The P & A entered an appearance on K.M.’s behalf. The P & A obtained a detailed letter from K.M.’s doctor explaining the reasons why K.M. still needed waiver services, so that K.M. could deflect nursing facility placement and remain in her own home. The P & A submitted that letter to DCH, who determined that was enough evidence to find K.M. eligible for SOURCE services again, and DCH moved to dismiss the case. K.M. now receives in-home support services 8 hours a day/5 days a week, as well as an emergency response system. In the Matter of V.R.: V.R. is a young woman who uses a tracheostomy and a ventilator and needs assistance with mobility. V.R. received pediatric benefits from the state. However, on the eve of her 21st birthday, the state made a determination that V.R. did not qualify for services through the state’s New Options Waiver and the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (NOW/COMP) waiver. The state’s rationale was that V.R.’s disability was not an intellectual disability, nor was it a closely related condition. The P & A threatened to file an emergency restraining order, and the state agreed to maintain hours through the pendency of the appeal. Negotiations will continue through the date of the appeal.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

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

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

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

1. Identify and describe priority. The first priority is to protect individuals with disabilities in Georgia from abuse and neglect. The P & A will investigate and address allegations of abuse or neglect, including the suspicious or unexplained deaths of persons with disabilities. 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. Georgians with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization due to the lack of appropriate community-based services and supports. People with disabilities who reside in congregate facilities are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, and even death. Community-based supports are needed to end the institutional bias in Georgia. 3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. The P & A investigates and positively addresses instance of abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities. The P & A intervenes to protect any persons with disabilities from circumstances of abuse and neglect, and to assist in their transfer to community settings, in which abuse and neglect is less likely to occur. 4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. The P & A receives Type I Critical Incident Reports from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD)’s Director of Incident Management and Investigations based upon reports received from state institutional staff. The P & A makes case-by-case determinations as to which reports warrant further investigation by the P & A and/or other entities. The P & A monitors the discharge of individuals leaving state hospitals, with particular emphasis on compliance with the United States v. Georgia settlement agreement, and the “fit” between what people with disabilities need and what they are actually receiving in terms of supports and services and real choices. The P & A reports findings to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Court Monitor as part of its investigation into the State hospital system. The P & A has participated in facility transition meetings and individual service plan (ISP) meetings. The P & A has helped to identify barriers to discharge and advocates for services within the ISP that will bring more self-determination and full inclusion to people’s lives. During the P & A’s visits, the P & A has discussed current census and inquired as to any developments regarding transition planning specifically to certain individuals and to the population as a whole. The P & A also attended planning sessions for family members to provide information about community resources upon discharge from the hospital. 5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 31 6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. The P & A was contacted by W.H. who requested assistance in removing his brother and sister as his guardians/conservators. W.H. is a 66 year old man who experienced a stroke and uses a power wheelchair. W.H.’s guardians/conservators placed him in an assisted living facility where W.H. did not want to live. W.H.’s guardians/conservators were not supportive of W.H.’s desire to return to work in his field of information technology, integrating computer database operating systems for businesses. Moreover, W.H.’s guardians/conservators were not supportive of him driving. Even though W.H. has a driver’s license and can drive an accessible vehicle, his guardians/conservators sold his vehicle. W.H. is a very active and social person. He used his power wheelchair to move around his community, to the library, to his church, to restaurants, and to the farmer’s market. He scheduled and attended his medical appointments, and ensured his prescriptions are filled. He prepared a budget and wants to move into a home with one of his long-time friends. He located caregivers who can come to his home in the community and assist him with his activities of daily living. The P & A located a psychologist to evaluate W.H. The psychologist wrote an affidavit saying that W.H. had the sufficient capacity to make and communicate responsible decisions about his health, his safety, and the management of his property, and that W.H. did not need a guardian or a conservator. The P & A filed a Petition for Restoration of Rights on behalf of W.H., and included the psychologist’s affidavit. The Court appointed a social worker to evaluate W.H. and the social worker agreed with W.H. and the psychologist that W.H. did not need a guardian or a conservator. The P & A spoke with W.H.’s guardian/brother who stated he and the co-guardian/sister would not oppose W.H.’s rights restoration. W.H. testified at the rights restoration hearing as to his plans for managing his health, safety, and property if his rights were restored. The Judge agreed with W.H. that he no longer needed a guardian or a conservator and restored W.H.’s rights! W.H. is now on his way to moving into his friend’s home with appropriate supports to live in the community, he will purchase an accessible vehicle, and he will be able to pursue his information technology business and become gainfully employed! The P & A worked diligently for two years with T.B., a young 31 year old man who was segregated in a nursing facility, to move back into the community. T.B. uses a wheelchair as a result of a neurological disability. The P & A explained the Money Follows the Person (MFP) transition program to T.B., as well as the various Medicaid waivers and the services and supports that each waiver would provide. With the assistance of the P & A, T.B. applied for the Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP), and T.B. was approved for 6 hours per day, 7 days a week of ICWP services! During the transition process, and to ensure as much independence as possible, the P & A encouraged T.B. to self-advocate with the nursing facility to provide him with physical therapy and occupational therapy so that he could work on increasing his activities of daily living. T.B.’s self-advocacy efforts paid off and the facility provided him with physical therapy and occupational therapy through Medicaid. In addition, the P & A assisted T.B. to think through the assistive technology he would need at home, such as a hospital bed, grab bars, a lift recliner, a ramp, a bedside commode, and a hoyer lift. The P & A provided technical assistance in self-advocacy to T.B. for him to request that MFP and/or Medicaid provide these items for him in the community. He was successfully able to do so, and had those items waiting for him at home when he moved. The P & A also showed T.B. some applications (apps) he could download onto his smartphone that would increase his independence. Specifically, T.B. downloaded an app that would remind him to take his medication, as well as transportation apps that would show him mobility routes around town. T.B. is happy to be living back in the community and is now working with the P & A to pursue employment opportunities. W.R., a 49 year old woman who experiences multiple sclerosis, contacted the P & A for assistance in transitioning from the nursing facility to the community. The P & A supported W.R. to connect with Money Follows the Person (MFP). The P & A also supported W.R. to apply for the Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) so she could receive appropriate services and supports in the community. Through her self-advocacy efforts, W.R. was found eligible for daily ICWP services and supports. W.R. was placed on a waiting list for housing in the Atlanta area. She experienced a delay when the Housing Authority claimed it did not have a required form from the property manager. The P & A intervened on W.R.’s behalf with the Housing Authority and successfully ensured that all appropriate forms were submitted. As a result, the inspection was conducted and W.R. moved into her new apartment! Her new two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is accessible, complete with a roll-in shower. W.R. is thrilled to be in the community and to spend more time with her niece and nephew! 1. Identify and describe the priority The second priority is to respond to allegations of discrimination and legal rights violations of persons with disabilities. The P & A will advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services, including healthcare and educational, for people with disabilities at risk of institutionalization. The P & A will also advocate for people with disabilities subject to legal rights violations and discrimination in any of the following areas: fiduciary relationships, local and state government, healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. 2. Identify the need, issue, or barrier addressed by this priority. This priority addresses the need of individuals with disabilities to be free from overt discrimination or the failure to provide requested reasonable accommodations in government services and public places. Persons with disabilities are subject to discrimination in essential services and domains of life, particularly with respect to healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. Public and private accommodations need to be accessible and free from discriminatory policies and practices in order for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to participate fully in their communities. People with disabilities are more likely to have their rights restricted based upon the perception that they are not able to make decisions regarding their own lives. 3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to investigate and reverse the effects of reliable reports of overt deprivation of fundamental rights for individuals; to avert discrimination against persons with disabilities by achieving equal opportunities from employers, housing providers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, public entities, and public accommodations through reasonable accommodations and removal of policy barriers. 4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. The P & A works closely with the Money Follows the Person (MFP), a program designed to transition persons with disabilities from facilities into the community and provides funding for one year following the transition for items such as environmental modifications to the home, coverage of the first month’s rent and utilities, peer support, and transportation. The P & A has successfully facilitated scores of transitions of individuals from nursing facilities into the community, in part because of our current relationships with the long-term care ombudsman’s office, MFP, and Medicaid waiver staff. Through the P & A’s collaboration with the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) of the Georgia Division of Aging on cases where the person is under state guardianship and wants a more independent life, PGO refers individuals to the P & A whom they believe may no longer need a guardian. PGO is also working with the P & A to enrich the lives of persons under state guardianship, by ensuring that they have the right and the ability to receive appropriate services and supports and live in the community. The P & A works closely with the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and each of the nine (9) Center for Independent Living (CIL) offices. The P & A contributed to the discussions surrounding ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to, among others, accessible housing, transportation, living alternatives, and assistive technology. 5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 29 6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. T.G., a woman with deafness whose first language is American Sign Language (ASL), contacted the P & A because she did not have effective communication on the job. Her employer was Walmart. T.G. was receiving negative reviews on her job performance because her supervisors did not effectively communicate with her by using an ASL interpreter. As a result of the P & A’s negotiations with Walmart's attorney, Walmart agreed to transfer T.G. to another store and to make sure that she had the following accommodations: Walmart agreed to provide an ASL interpreter for all training sessions, performance reviews, and major meetings or employment events. Walmart also agreed to provide T.G. with written instructions regarding work assignments and they agreed to provide T.G. with a cell phone to allow T.G. to communicate with her manager via text messaging. T.G. was able to remain gainfully employed! J.H. is a 49 year old man who experiences physical disabilities. J.H. earned a physics degree from Vanderbilt University prior to enlisting in the military. While serving our country, J.H. incurred a significant injury. J.H. returned home for rehabilitative therapy through the Veterans Administration (VA). Several years later, J.H. wanted to return to work. He sought services and supports through the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) to find a job that would utilize his training and education. After working with various GVRA offices throughout the state for three years and not obtaining competitive, integrated employment, J.H. contacted the P & A for assistance. The P & A advocated on J.H.’s behalf for GVRA to assist J.H. in creating a resume, preparing for interviews, and discovering the types of employment that he would be interested in pursuing for a long term career. During this time, the P & A also provided J.H. with resources on potential employment programs that were available for veterans through the V.A. J.H. then contacted the V.A. to enroll in a three-month Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program through Central Georgia Technical College. J.H. was awarded funding by the V.A. to enroll in the program, and he received a V.A. scholarship to pay for any additional costs associated with the program. The V.A. also plans on providing J.H. with the supports he needs to obtain a job once he completes the program in November 2018. J.H. is on his way to competitive, integrated employment! The P & A met C.J., a 67 year old man who experiences an intellectual disability, during a monitoring visit to a sheltered workshop that was also an Employment Network. At the sheltered workshop, C.J. was putting together tourist bags for the Federal Reserve. C.J. did not want to do this. He wanted to engage in competitive integrated employment in the maintenance field. However, C.J.’s family was the barrier to C.J.’s desire for a real job. The family was concerned that by working, C.J. would lose his social security benefits and healthcare. The P & A spent time with C.J.’s family educating them on the benefits of work and dispelling myths in order to change the family’s perspective so that C.J. could be employed. Once the family was educated, they came on board with C.J. engaging in competitive, integrated employment. The P & A also educated the staff at the sheltered workshop regarding the benefits of competitive, integrated employment. As a result, the staff changed their practices and their goals and shifted their focus to ensuring the people they support are able to have real jobs in the community making minimum wage or greater. As a result of P & A intervention, C.J. is now engaged in competitive, integrated employment for twenty hours a week making ten dollars an hour in the maintenance field, where he wanted to work! 1. Identify and describe the priority. The third priority is to promote the integration and self-determination of persons with disabilities in the community. The P & A seeks to empower people with disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens to advocate for competitive, integrated employment, educational, healthcare, and other services that are appropriate to the person’s needs. 2. Identify the need, issue, or barrier addressed by this priority. This priority addresses the need of people to live fully integrated lives in their communities. Persons with disabilities have been continually isolated and segregated from the community. Starting when they are young, they are placed in classes separate from everyone else. It continues when opportunities to be in the community are limited because of inaccessibility. Most significantly, too many persons with disabilities are isolated in nursing facilities or other congregate settings away from life in the community. The best safeguard for persons with disabilities is to be involved and connected with their communities and to develop and practice self-advocacy skills. 3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. The indicators of success for this priority are as follows: to support individuals and concerned citizens to obtain equal opportunities from employers, housing providers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, and to support individuals and concerned citizens to obtain home and community-based supports for individuals to live and fully participate in their communities. 4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. The P & A provides ongoing support to People First of Atlanta and People First of Georgia. The P & A also hosts their monthly meetings as well as serving as their fiscal agent. The P & A sends a supporter to monthly meetings and also provides support to the chapter and the Board in the planning and execution of the annual Long Road Home event and the annual People First of Georgia conference that all People First chapters attend. The P & A actively participated in the Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) Advocacy Day. Its objective was to support self-advocates in meeting with their locally-elected officials within the Georgia legislature to share personal stories and informational materials that address the financial barriers experienced by waiver recipients when attempting to hire qualified personal support staff as a result of the ICWP low Medicaid-reimbursement rate. The ICWP Advocacy Day was a coordinated effort by the Developmental Disabilities Network, self-advocates, and other community partners to provide informational materials to educate policy makers regarding Medicaid reimbursement rate disparities among the state's numerous Medicaid waiver programs. 5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 49 6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. S.W. is a 5 year old boy who experiences physical disabilities and uses a wheelchair. To get around town, S.W. and his mother utilized the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) public transportation system. However, MARTA drivers were refusing to assist S.W.’s mother with securing S.W.'s wheelchair on the MARTA bus, creating an unsafe situation for S.W. while riding the bus. S.W. and his mother attempted to advocate on their own by contacting the MARTA Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator to discuss the issue, but they were unsuccessful. S.W. and his mother then reached out to the P & A to request assistance. The P & A provided guidance to S.W.'s mother regarding how to file an ADA complaint and a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) complaint so that she could advocate on behalf of her son. As a result of the advocacy skills obtained through the P & A, S.W.'s mother was successful in advocating for MARTA to agree for its bus drivers to assist her in securing S.W.’s wheelchair on the bus. Now, S.W. and his mother can safely utilize the MARTA transportation system to move around their community! C.M., a 55 year old man who experiences blindness, requested P & A assistance to self-advocate to identify housing options that would accept his Section 8 Home Choice voucher, as he was being displaced and at risk of homelessness. The P & A provided technical assistance to C.M. by discussing with C.M. what type of housing he desired and questions to ask future landlords. The P & A also provided him with housing leads he could pursue. As a result of C.M.’s self-advocacy, he was able to locate housing! In the meantime, C.M. shared with the P & A that he experienced housing discrimination with his previous landlord. The P & A supported C.M. to file a complaint with Metro Fair Housing against the landlord, and they agreed to investigate C.M.’s complaint. T.E. is a man in his thirties who experiences speech issues and uses a wheelchair. T.E. was currently employed part-time, but requested P & A assistance to locate full-time employment. The P & A worked with T.A. to create a Path to Employment. This Path gave T.E. action steps towards obtaining a full-time job, with the possibility of going back to school part-time. As a result of the Path, T.E. received a promotion in his current job, and he decided to return to school. T.E. reported that the Path was very helpful to him in determining what to do to advance in employment.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

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

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

1. A statement of each priority. The first goal is to protect individuals with disabilities in Georgia from abuse and neglect. The first priority of this goal is to investigate and address allegations of abuse or neglect, including the suspicious or unexplained deaths of persons with disabilities. The second priority of this goal is to advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services for persons with disabilities residing in facilities, with a focus on monitoring the State’s compliance with US v GA, the ADA and Olmstead. 2. Needs: Georgians with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization due to the lack of community-based services and supports. People who reside in congregate facilities are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, and even death. Children are at the greatest risk due to their heightened vulnerability. Community-based supports are needed to end the institutional bias in Georgia. 3. Activities: The P & A monitors state hospitals, nursing facilities, and private residential treatment facilities. The P & A responds to calls involving community-based services including community living arrangements, sheltered workshops, and other day services. Children and other individuals residing in facilities will be considered more vulnerable than those living in community settings and will receive priority response from the P & A. The P & A will investigate deaths and cases of severe abuse and neglect against people with disabilities. The P & A will seek the full range of remedies for individuals through protection and advocacy from abuse and neglect. 1. A statement of each priority. The second goal is to respond to allegations of discrimination and legal rights violations of persons with disabilities. The first priority of the second goal is to advocate for appropriate home and community-based supports and services, including healthcare and education, for people with disabilities at risk of institutionalization. The second priority of the second goal is to advocate for people with disabilities residing in the community who are subject to legal rights violations and discrimination in any of the following areas: fiduciary relationships (such as unnecessary and restrictive guardianships), local and state government, healthcare, housing, transportation, and employment. 2. Needs: People with disabilities often face discrimination in areas such as healthcare, transportation, housing, and employment. People need to be free from overt discrimination or the failure to provide requested reasonable accommodations in government services and public accommodations. Public accommodations need to be accessible and free from discriminatory policies and practices in order for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to participate fully in their communities. Additionally, persons with disabilities can be subjected to financial exploitation by family members or acquaintances or by other persons upon whom they are dependent. 3. Activities: The P & A will seek the full range of remedies for individuals who have been subjected to discrimination and rights violations. The P & A will address discrimination in healthcare, transportation, housing, and employment by negotiation, mediation, and litigation. The P & A collaborates with a wide range of agencies, such as the State ADA Coordinator’s office, the Centers for Independent Living, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia Legal Services, and private attorneys to assist people whose rights are being violated and who are being subjected to fiduciary relationships. 1. The third goal is to promote self-advocacy and self-determination of persons with disabilities in the community. The first priority of the third goal is to empower people with disabilities, family members, and concerned citizens to advocate for competitive, integrated employment, educational, healthcare, and other services that are appropriate to the person’s needs. 2. Needs: Persons with disabilities have been continually isolated and segregated from the community. Opportunities to be in the community continue to be limited because of inaccessibility. Most significantly, persons with disabilities are isolated in nursing facilities or other congregate settings away from life in the community. The best safeguard for persons with disabilities is to be involved and connected with their communities. 3. Activities: The P & A supports persons to be involved in their community by teaching self-advocacy skills and mentoring persons with disabilities on their individual self-advocacy plans. The P & A provides information to individuals with disabilities about their human and legal rights to ensure that individuals secure the accommodations and services they are entitled to under the law. The P & A also provides technical assistance in self-advocacy by assisting individuals and their families in applying for community-based supports and also refers individuals and families to local independent living centers for information and peer support about transitioning into community life.

Part VI. Narrative

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

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

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

A. Source of Funds expended and received: Federal (section 509): Amount Received = 466,831 Federal (section 509): Amount Spent = 467,093 State: Amount Received = 0 State: Amount Spent = 0 Program income: Amount Received = 42,630 Program income: Amount Spent = 42,630 Private: Amount Received = 0 Private: Amount Spent = 0 All other funds: Amount Received = 0 All other funds: Amount Spent = 0 Total (from all sources): Amount Received = 417,272 Total (from all sources): Amount Spent = 467,093 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report Wages/salaries: Prior Fiscal Year = 288,966 Wages/salaries: Current Fiscal Year = 275,289 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc): Prior Fiscal Year = 74,736 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc): Current F/Y= 60,951 Materials/supplies: Prior Fiscal Year = 3,450 Materials/supplies: Current Fiscal Year = 3,388 Postage: Prior Fiscal Year = 441 Postage: Current Fiscal Year = 297 Telephone: Prior Fiscal Year = 4,364 Telephone: Current Fiscal Year = 6,170 Rent: Prior Fiscal Year = 39,742 Rent: Current Fiscal Year = 47,772 Travel: Prior Fiscal Year = 18,566 Travel: Current Fiscal Year = 24,566 Copying: Prior Fiscal Year = 1,971 Copying: Current Fiscal Year = 2,384 Bonding/insurance: Prior Fiscal Year = 2,357 Bonding/insurance: Current Fiscal Year = 2,470 Equipment (rent/purchase): Prior Fiscal Year = 8,756 Equipment (rent/purchase): Current Fiscal Year = 3,159 Legal Services: Prior Fiscal Year = 10,000 Legal Services: Current Fiscal Year = $10,000 Indirect costs: Prior Fiscal Year = 0 Indirect costs: Current Fiscal Year = 0 Miscellaneous: Prior Fiscal Year = 35,544 Miscellaneous: Current Fiscal Year = 30,665 Total Budget: Prior Fiscal Year = 463,534 Total Budget: Current Fiscal Year = 488,893 C. Description of PAIR Staff Professional position: 14 FTE filled 100% of year Professional full-time positions: 12 FTE, 12 person-years Professional part-time positions: 2 FTE, 1 person-year Professional vacant positions: 2 FTE, 1 person-year Clerical position: 5 FTE filled 100% of year Clerical full-time positions: 5 FTE, 5 person-years Clerical part-time positions: 0 FTE, 0 person-years Clerical vacant positions: 0 FTE, 0 person-years Description of PAIR Staff and duties Julie Kegley is the PAIR program director and an attorney with seventeen years of experience working with P & A systems. Ms. Kegley supervises the PAIR caseload, provides individual advocacy in PAIR cases, (such as defending the P & A’s access authority, representing people with disabilities in nursing facilities to receive a Medicaid waiver so they can live successfully in the community, and representing people with disabilities to have their guardian/conservator removed), participates on stakeholders’ committees, conducts presentations, and provides information and referrals. Denise Quigley is the Director of the Resource Advocacy unit and an attorney who has been with the P & A for over twenty-one years. Cheri Mitchell is an advocate who has been with the P & A for over eleven years. Ms. Mitchell’s primary focus is advocating for the transition of people with disabilities from nursing facilities into the community, supporting self-advocacy, advocating for affordable and accessible housing, and assistive technology. Stacey Gardenhire is an advocate who has been with the P & A for fourteen years prior to her departure. Ms. Gardenhire advocated on behalf of individuals transitioning into the community from facilities, as well as on behalf of individuals experiencing employment discrimination. Ilias Savakis has been with the P & A for three years and he provides direct advocacy, outreach, training, self-advocacy support, and information and referral to PAIR-eligible clients. The Executive Director, Litigation Director, Chief Operating Officer, Comptroller, Accountant, and all members of the Administrative Support team have contributed to, and participated in support of, the PAIR program. D. Involvement with Advisory Boards The P & A serves on the following boards and committees: Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities; Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program, Tools For Life; Training and Technical Assistance Committee of Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults; Georgia’s Council on Developmental Disabilities; State Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Steering Committee; Unlock the Waiting List Steering Committee; TASH Employment Committee; and the Money Follows the Person stakeholders committee. The P & A is an advisor to People First of Georgia. The P & A serves on several Boards and Committees at the local, state, and national levels related to employment representing the protection and advocacy system. E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure. The P & A did not receive any grievances filed under the grievance procedure this year. F. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P & A agency. The P & A and the Client Assistance Program (CAP), which is not housed within the P & A, communicated with each other about the best way to support persons with disabilities in employment through its shared participation on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). The P & A and CAP recognize that it is essential to work together to support people with disabilities who seek services from the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) in a way that promotes strong advocacy and employment opportunities. The State long-term care program is not housed within the P & A. However, the P & A continues to receive referrals from the Long Term Care Ombudsman regarding individuals residing in nursing facility who have experienced abuse and/or neglect in the facility and/or who want to transition from the facility into the community.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByJulie C. Kegley
TitlePAIR Program Director
Signed Date12/18/2018