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

Nebraska (NEBRASKA ADVOCACY SERVICES, INC.) - H240A180028 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Nebraska
Address134 South 13th St.
Address Line 2Suite 600
Zip Code68508
Website Address
TTY 402-474-3183
Toll-free Phone800-422-6691
Toll-free TTY800-422-6691
Name of P&A Executive DirectorEric A. Evans
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorEric A. Evans
Person to contact regarding reportSharon T. Ohmberger
Contact Person phone402-474-3183

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 areas1
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas223
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)224

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff4
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)125

Staff Attorney Michael Elsken gave an hour-long presentation on Disability And Federal Employment at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Center in Lincoln, NE. Approximately 55 USCIS Staff members (especially supervisory and employment / accommodations implementation employees) were in attendance, in addition to audience members who watched online. The presentation discussed general disability employment matters such as accommodations, disclosure / nondisclosure, the interactive process and what to do if you cannot reach an agreement. Senior Staff Attorney Dianne DeLair spoke with 15 family members and people with disabilities at a Transition conference in Scottsbluff, NE about guardianship. She described what traditional guardianship is, what that has looked like in the past and what alternatives are out there and why these alternatives are a better “fit” for the majority of youth now. She talked about how to really talk to the youth, those who are working with the youth and to access the needs of the youth to make the right choice for their futures.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff4
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles46
3. PSAs/videos aired5
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website11,473
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated2,562
6. Other (specify separately)48


11 - Presentations made to community groups about the P&A. 38 - Times the P&A exhibited at conferences, community fairs, etc. 1144 - Facebook followers. 350 - Twitter followers. 638 - email newsletter list. 6 - email newsletters sent out in FY 18. Created and published video "Service Animals and your rights regarding them" - and re-shared other "why we do what we do" and informational videos made in house in the past several years. The Disability Rights blog team published a total of 28 blog pieces in FY 2018. Eight pieces were from guest bloggers who provide another point of view and bring a different set of followers to the site. Most popular blogs included: • A Day In the Life: Independence, Dependence and Adaptability by guest blogger and Public Policy Intern Shanae Heard • Alternatives to Guardianship: Best practices in guardianship focus on those options that are the least restrictive. Marla Fischer Lempke from Nebraska's Office of Public Guardian examines the options and shares some resources. • LB 968 and My Thoughts: Disability Rights Board Member Michael Warner shares his thoughts on how LB 968 would immensely improve not only the quality of a person's work viability and options, but the overall quality of life of people with disabilities. During the first year of our new strategic plan (FY 2018), the Media Team focused on updating our printed and online materials to reflect not only a new logo but a new vision based in the principles of Social Role Valorization. The team designed and produced: • New general information tri-fold color brochure • New letterhead design • Updates throughout the website and internally produced website materials to reflect new vision and logo • An annual report for FY 17 with a limited number of hard copies and published online. • New tabletop and pull-up signage for presentations and training events.

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)5
2. Additional individuals served during the year8
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)13
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)0

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 9

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility1
2. Employment3
3. Program access4
4. Housing3
5. Government benefits/services0
6. Transportation0
7. Education0
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care1
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services1
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse0
16. Neglect0
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor4
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint0
4. Appeals unsuccessful0
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit0
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

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

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy0
2. Short-term assistance3
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation1
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)0
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 222
3. 23 - 596
4. 60 - 641
5. 65 and over4

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females5
2. Males8

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 Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American1
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White9
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown2

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent8
2. Parental or other family home2
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home1
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement1
8. Jail/prison/detention center0
9. Homeless0
10. Other living arrangements0
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

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

1. Blind/visual impairment0
2. Deaf/hard of hearing5
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment2
5. Mental illness2
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability0
9. Neurological impairment1
10. Respiratory impairment0
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment0
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment1
13. Speech impairment0
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability2

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities8

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes37,298

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.

Olmstead Plan Development: During FY 2018, Disability Rights Nebraska played a central role in the significant progress made on the development of an Olmstead Plan and related issues in our state. Our Senior Staff Attorney was a key member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee to develop an Olmstead plan for Nebraska. She provided background and a context for the plan for the Committee and attended several meetings with senators, organizations, and other stakeholders to inform the plan’s development. She worked with policymakers to help guide legislation (LB 800) to appropriate funding for a consultant for the Olmstead Plan development. Although LB 800 did not pass, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) received funding for consultation for the development of the Olmstead Plan. In August, the Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities announced that it would provide funding for consultation from the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) for the Olmstead Plan’s development. The TAC team members have experience in services and housing across disabilities and completed work in Nebraska in the last five years. The project plan has three phases: 1. TAC will perform a system scan and analysis to develop a general baseline of the services, housing and other factors that support the ability of people with disabilities to live in integrated community-based settings. 2. TAC will meet onsite with the state team, the Advisory Committee, and conducting key stakeholder interviews. 3. TAC will draft and finalize the Olmstead Plan. On August 15-17, 2018, TAC consultants made an on-site visit to Nebraska. At this time, they met with the Olmstead Stakeholder Advisory Committee and held several listening sessions with community stakeholders. TAC visited again on September 25-27, 2018, during which, they held listening sessions in Omaha and Grand Island and met with numerous other stakeholders. In October 2018, TAC conducted additional stakeholder interviews, meeting with DHHS divisions and other groups. There have been difficulties in getting the State to acknowledge the importance of and necessity for the plan and in engaging all of the State partners in the planning process. Pursuant to the statute, the final plan must be submitted to the legislature by December 15, 2018. It is likely that this deadline will be missed, and DHHS will submit a letter to the legislature outlining what has been completed thus far with a date of March 31, 2019 for completion of the Plan. Incidents at LifeQuest in Palmer, NE: The suspicious deaths of two military veterans at Life Quest at the Coolidge Center in late spring and early fall of 2017 served as the primary drive behind our efforts toward this objective. During the summer of 2017, concerns arose regarding the health and safety of residents living at the aforementioned facility. State surveyors’ findings led to a state investigation of the facility, which found multiple violations noted in an 81-page report. The violations resulted in the state’s revocation of the facility’s license for failing to meet Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) standards, and the facility closed its doors on February 26, 2018. Disability Rights Nebraska responded to news of the facility losing its license with a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Nebraska DHHS expressing grave concern about the deaths of two residents at the facility and encouraging the state to consider the bigger picture of what community-based services in our state could look like. The state responded with a letter to our agency that, from our point of view, failed to address these issues adequately. In addition to opening case files regarding the deaths of both veterans and conducting an investigation of the facility, Disability Rights Nebraska put substantial effort into supporting the formation of a state legislative committee to provide oversight of such facilities. Our Senior Staff Attorney attended several meetings with policymakers to advise the development and drafting of LR 296 and LB 1093. LR 296 passed, and seven state legislators were appointed to the State-Licensed Care Facilities Investigative Committee of the Legislature. Although it did not pass, LB 1093 would have created the office of Inspector General of Nebraska Public Health. After LR 296 passed, our Senior Staff Attorney met with the chair and co-chair of the newly appointed State-Licensed Care Facilities Investigative Committee of the Legislature regarding the proposed issue outline for LR 296. She held additional meetings with other members of the committee to discuss issues surrounding LR 296. Supplementary information was provided to the co-chair and her staff regarding possible assisted living facilities for members of the committee to visit. The new state oversight committee has been touring facilities and is expected to announce its findings in December 2018. Complete Streets - Breaking Down Barriers in the Panhandle Tri-Cities: In the mid-2000’s, we began the process to open a second office to expand our reach and our visibility. The western office in Scottsbluff in the Nebraska Panhandle was opened in 2011 and is staffed by a Community Outreach Disability Advocate who was hired locally and is well known in the Panhandle advocacy community. She is a member of the Panhandle Partnership for Health & Human Services and the Tri-Cities (Scottsbluff-Gering-Terrytown) Active Living Advisory Committee’s “Complete Streets” initiative. As part of these organizations, she brings awareness of disability issues to service providers and city officials. Through these organizations, she has been working to build collaboration on several different barriers in the Tri-Cities for people with disabilities. In her words: “Bringing different sectors to the table from City Council members, city planners, public health department, and so many other community partners, we have seen everyone embrace the idea of inclusive, accessible communities. It has taken a lot of hard work for everyone, but I believe that they have seen the positive outcomes and how it not only benefits the disability community but the community as a whole. The idea of inclusive, accessible communities has blossomed into a community wide concept that is spreading to include so many more projects such as additional accessible parking in our Scottsbluff downtown area, redesign of our Amphitheater to improve accessibility and additional parking, making sure our new collegiate baseball park is fully accessible including adequate parking spaces, and the new Gering downtown revitalization plan includes an accessibility plan. The most important piece is engaging people with disabilities to get their feedback and to have them be part of the process to ensure that we are meeting the needs of people with disabilities. They play an intricate role in this process.” The Active Living Advisory Committee works to "increase safety for all people who use roads, whether they be in cars or buses, using a bike or a wheelchair, or on foot." (Quote from blogger Katie Bradshaw: ) With participation and input from the disability community who bring their unique challenges and strengths to the table, a new set of pedestrian traffic signals were installed, and then put to the test by volunteers from the Committee and from the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Task Force responds to Autonomous Vehicle demo: The City of Lincoln did a test-run of autonomous vehicles in 2018 but they did not have accessible demonstration vehicles. The Public Policy Director is a member of Nebraska’s ADA Task Force. He worked with the Taskforce to draft a letter to appropriate policymakers to remind them that the autonomous vehicles that Lincoln has purchased must be accessible to people with disabilities. Service Animals in Rental Housing: We worked with Sen. McCollister’s office and lobbyists for Lincoln/Omaha realtors regarding legislation addressing the issue of service animals / assistance animals for persons with disabilities in rental housing. The legislation would have been cumbersome and mostly unnecessary. The P&A provided the senators with information about state and federal laws that already address this issue. As a result, Sen. McCollister determined the issue needed more discussion and did not introduce legislation this session regarding animals and housing.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts0
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

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


Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

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

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

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

PRIORITY 1: Freedom From Harm NEED ADDRESSED: Monitor places where people with disabilities who are most in danger of harm live, work, or learn, and investigate and respond to allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation using a range of remedies to ensure that the most vulnerable people with disabilities are free from harm. DESCRIPTION / INDICATORS: 1.1: Develop a plan to monitor facilities, day programs, employment settings, service settings, etc. where people with disabilities are segregated, isolated and congregated. Throughout the fiscal year, Disability Rights Nebraska worked on developing a monitoring protocol for use by staff members when monitoring community-based facilities. Staff members met on two occasions to discuss the development of the monitoring plan, but in December 2017, the staff attorney in charge of this objective left our employment. Our agency did not hire a new attorney until May 2018. Although we were not able to expand our monitoring activities as we had initially planned, we were able to identify the types of facilities that will be in the monitoring plan. Disability Rights Nebraska conducted monitoring visits at Life Quest at the Coolidge Center, Spring Creek Home, Liberty House, Madison County Jail, and Norfolk Regional Center. The Legal Advocacy Director and Senior Attorney were engaged in a number of additional activities related to monitoring and issues surrounding Olmstead planning, including: • Meetings with the Mental Health Association and Lincoln Police Department regarding police calls to assisted living facilities in the area and conditions observed in those facilities. • Composing and sending a letter to the Director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regarding a death at Life Quest at the Coolidge Center in Palmer, NE. • Meetings with policymakers to draft legislation to convene a special investigative committee surrounding assisted living facilities and mental health centers in Nebraska. • Meeting with staff from the Mental Health Center to discuss legislation to convene the special investigative committee • A presentation to the Mental Health Association and Lincoln Police Department R.E.A.L. officers regarding assisted living facilities, mental health centers, and proposed legislation to address concerns These activities reflect our agency’s focus on trying to address subpar assisted living facilities by utilizing legislative strategies. The death of two people at an assistive living facility housing individuals with mental illnesses finally grabbed the attention of some legislators. This gave our organization an opportunity to push for legislative oversights and involvement in addressing lack of housing choices for people with mental illness. This approach was time-consuming and is where we placed our energy rather than expanding our monitoring or developing a monitoring plan. 1.2: Conduct one (1) monitoring visit at a juvenile justice facility and one (1) monitoring visit at the Segregated Housing Unit at the Nebraska State Prison in Lincoln. N/A, see Indicator 1.7. 1.3: Investigate and respond to at least two (2) allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Disability Rights Nebraska responded to one allegation abuse from a woman in an assisted living facility who alleged that her guardian was inappropriately curtailing her choices and that the guardianship was unnecessary. The investigation is still in progress. 1.4: Address guardianship issues through trainings, working with the Office of Public Guardian and analyzing and proposing changes to guardianship procedures. Senior staff attorney attended two out of four Office of Public Guardian Advisory Council meetings during FY2018. Due to scheduling conflicts, two meetings could not be attended. However, a follow-up meeting with the Deputy Director of the OPG was held for updates from the OPG for those meetings not attended. During the regular meetings of the committee the following updates were provided in the following areas: • Guardianship education • Volunteer court visitor program • Successor guardianship • Financial Operations manager • OPG Case and court updates. The annual report from the OPG to the legislature was also reviewed. Disability Rights Nebraska law clerks continued to conduct research on guardianship procedures and right to counsel during guardianship proceedings. The Senior Staff Attorney was appointed by the Nebraska Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Commission on Guardianships and Conservatorships. This will be a productive vehicle to not only make changes to the guardianship process, but to further enhance the rights of people with disabilities in Nebraska. Senior Staff Attorney Dianne DeLair spoke with 15 family members and people with disabilities at a Transition conference in Scottsbluff, NE about guardianship. She described what traditional guardianship is, what that has looked like in the past and what alternatives are out there and why these alternatives are a better “fit” for the majority of youth now. She talked about how to really talk to the youth, those who are working with the youth and to access the needs of the youth to make the right choice for their futures. 1.5: Provide greater protection for people with disabilities from abuse, neglect, exploitation and retaliation by service providers, including Personal Assistants, by advocating for changes to statutory and/or regulatory requirements. N/A 1.6: Eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint in Nebraska schools by advocating for changes in practices, policies, regulations and/or statutes. N/A 1.7: Improve medical and mental health services for people with disabilities in Nebraska’s juvenile justice and adult correctional facilities by advocating for changes in practices, policies, rules/regulations and statutes. The Legal Services Director is a member of the Juvenile Justice Task Force Nucleus Team and the Juvenile Justice Brain Injury and Cognitive Disability Task Force. The goal of the task force is to identify a plan with strategies to prevent and reduce the entry of youth with brain injury or cognitive disabilities into the juvenile justice system. The Task Force had 6 meetings of the entire Task Force and the 5 Committees that each met 4 times: The 5 committees were divided into the following topics: Stakeholder Strategy, Training and Education, Needed Services, Policies and Procedures and Research and Case for Change. The Task Force collaborative partners included Administration of Probation, NE Vocational Rehabilitation,The Arc of Lincoln and Autism Family Network of Lincoln, Disability Rights Nebraska, Behavioral Health Region V, NE Department of Education, KVC Behavioral Health Nebraska, Department of Health and Human Service-Division of Behavioral Health, Department of Labor, UNO Mentoring Program, Catalyst Behavioral Specialists, League of Human Dignity, Probation Administration,Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities, Nebraska Court Improvement Project, NJJA, PTI Nebraska, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, CASA(Court Appointed Special Advocate) for Lancaster County, Nebraska Lifespan Respite Network, DHHS, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Voices for Children, Center on Children, Families, and the Law - UNL. Through the work of the Nucleus Team, Task Force and Committees, we developed: · Classroom to Courtroom Pathway Flowchart that depicts how youth enter the juvenile justice system · This tool allowed all the stakeholders to see where they were in relation to each other · Identify gaps and needed services · Served as a framework for a Vision · Task Force was able to formulate future recommendations divided into these categories: training and education, information and communication and stakeholder engagement Task Force’s Next Steps: • Engage communities around the state • Conduct community-based discussion and refine the insights and recommendations • Build consensus for change initiatives on the local, regional and state levels • Position stakeholders statewide to pursue change initiatives. Our Public Policy Director conducted background research and attended 3 public hearings on the status of Nebraska’s efforts at prison reform. The public hearings discussed the overall status of corrections in Nebraska, the number of mental health staff in facilities and overcrowding. As a result of our insights from these hearing attendances and additional research, our agency has identified issues that we may pursue in the future, including reductions in the use of solitary confinement for adults and/or juveniles and the interrelationship between corrections and mental health in general. PRIORITY 2: Most Inclusive Setting NEED ADDRESSED: Investigate and respond to allegations of rights violations that impede people with disabilities from living, working, and learning in the most inclusive settings, and advocate for people with disabilities to learn, live and work in the most inclusive settings. DESCRIPTION / INDICATORS: 2.1: Investigate and respond to at least eight (8) allegations of rights violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Disability Rights Nebraska responded to 12 allegations of rights violations during FY 2018. Four of those service requests were closed with all issues resolved in the person’s favor. We worked with a 46-year-old firefighter who suffered an on-the-job injury in 2017 resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He wanted to remain with the fire department after recovering from his injury, but experienced difficulties returning to active duty. The department sent him off for training to address the PTSD and he was placed with a service animal as a temporary measure, with the goal of returning to active duty without the animal. He was assigned to administrative duty during his recovery and attempted to work with his employer to get an accommodation to allow him to bring the service animal to work. His employer refused, even though the animal was a temporary measure as part of a treatment plan. The employer claimed the administrative duty was the accommodation and that it was not necessary for them to accommodate the service animal as well. He requested our assistance to file an EEOC complaint. Our Staff Attorney assisted. In addition, the staff attorney attended a meeting with his employer to inform them of the law. This resulted in the employer agreeing to allow the service animal to come to work with the man. We worked with a 66-year-old man who has Parkinson’s disease. He contacted our agency seeking help with obtaining a reasonable accommodation to take continuing education credits for his family’s day care operation. The credits were only offered online and because of his disability, he has difficulty operating a computer. His wife had already filed a complaint with the Nebraska Department of Education. Our Senior Staff Attorney and Staff Attorney helped to negotiate a reasonable accommodation for the man so he could earn his continuing education credits. Based on our agency’s input in the negotiation, the state agreed to let the man enter his information manually and gain his credits so he could continue to work in the family day care business. A 44-year-old woman with a physical/orthopedic disability called with concerns about her landlord not allowing her to have her service animal in her rental unit. When the staff attorney followed up with the woman, she indicated she had come to some agreement with the landlord, but that she wanted something about her rights in writing to provide to him. The staff attorney drafted a “Renter’s Rights for Emotional Support/Service animals” document for her and submitted it along with the closing letter. The document now provides another resource we can share with people who call in with that sort of question. A man with diabetes and heart issues who uses a service animal contacted our agency to obtain assistance with an issue regarding his employer. The man’s dog is professionally trained to sense when his blood sugar level is high or low, and trained to sense and calm him when his heart rate is elevated as the man has experienced 3 heart attacks. When he first obtained the service animal his employer did not indicate there were problems with his dog accompanying him to job sites. However, two months later the employer began to question his disability and his need for a service animal. As such, the employer made several requests for information the man felt were invasive. Disability Rights Nebraska opened a service request to provide Short Term Assistance. The Senior Staff Attorney and Case Advocate provided our client with verbal and written information to assist him with navigating the process of providing the necessary and appropriate documentation to verify his need for a service animal. The issue was resolved successfully: the man reported that his employer had agreed to allow his service animal to accompany him to work. He reported some frustration that the employer required additional documentation on an annual basis and that the employer was requesting he sign a waiver regarding any objectionable behavior by the dog. However, since this part of the matter was outside of our realm of expertise, we referred him to the Great Plains ADA Center and the Job Accommodation Network for additional resources and assistance. 2.2: Participate in the Stakeholder Advisory Committee to develop a state Olmstead plan. See Part IV. A Systemic Activities for details of progress on this objective and other activities connected to it. 2.3: Conduct targeted outreach to raise awareness about the needs of the most vulnerable people with disabilities. See Part IV.A Systemic Activities for details of Complete Streets - Breaking Down Barriers in the Panhandle Tri-Cities. The Western Office Outreach Advocate also cultivates a regular presence at local events to provide information about the P&A, staffing booths at 19 events where she reached over 900 people in the Panhandle area. A sampling of the events includes: • Scottsbluff Neon Lights 5K Run/Walk/Roll • Educational Service Unit 13 “Youth First” Transition Conference • Youth Network Meeting (service organizations joined to address the needs of at-risk youth in the community) • Presentation at Doves Program for women and families who have been abused • Caring & Sharing Resource Workshop - Lakota Lutheran Center (See Narrative in PPR Section II.A., Goal 2B ) • Caregiver Education and Resource event at Bridgeport Community Center • “Veterans Stand-Down” events — resource fairs for local veterans • Panhandle Price Celebration • National Night Out Family / Nonprofit Resource Fair • Transition Conference at Western Nebraska Community College. Within the past fiscal year, other funding has allowed us to contract with a bi-lingual Spanish-speaking advocate in the Panhandle area who works alongside our Community Outreach Disability Advocate to provide information about the P&A. This has provided support and relief for the existing staff person and created new opportunities in the Spanish-speaking community that we look forward to exploring. Sharing & Caring Resource Event: The Western Office Outreach Advocate, Legal Services Director and Voter Outreach Specialist collaborated with Pastor Will Voss and the women of the Lakota Lutheran Center in Scottsbluff to host a Day of Caring Resource Workshop. We met with the members of the Lakota Lutheran Center to see what kind of resources they were interested in. They identified transportation, youth, disability, landlord-tenant and health. The Center hosted the Sharing & Caring Resource Workshop on February 15 in conjunction with their regular lunch service. The Legal Services Director and the Pastor, who is also a member of the Disability Rights Nebraska Board of Directors, welcomed attendees. The Outreach Advocate from our Scottsbluff office emceed a series of presentations from a resource panel that covered a number of topics: · Aging & Disability Resource Centers — what the centers offer — Mandy Fertig · Panhandle Public Health — next steps in your community’s health plan — Tabi Prochazka · Scotts Bluff County Transit — expanded bus lines and on-call services — Curtis Richter · Legal Aid of Nebraska — questions and answers about landlord/tenant rights — Danny Reynaga · Community Action Partnership of Western NE — ways for at-risk youth to get involved in leadership — Dustin Amack Materials from all of the participating organizations were available for people to look through over lunch. Several of the presenters expressed their excitement about sharing more resources and looked forward to returning for future events. The day was well attended with 58 participants and the proceedings were enlivened by beautiful hand-crafted Valentine-themed decorations, drawings for donated prizes and good food and good will. “The speakers talked about things that were important to us: help for our youth, things our community can do to stay healthy, advice about landlords, the new bus routes and disability resources. And it was fun to win a prize!” said attendee Betsy Poor Bear. Images and stories from the event were shared via web page, social media and e-newsletter. Disability Rights Nebraska was appreciative of the genuine welcome and hospitality provided by the Lakota Lutheran Center community and the willingness of our Panhandle area partners to participate. Creative Outreach Builds Issue Awareness Outside the Office: Outside of the office, the Public Policy Director works with high school policy debate teams, both training them for and judging at competitions. In December of 2017, the topic for the policy debate season was that the United States Federal Government should increase regulation of and/or funding for elementary and/or secondary education in the U.S. Teams (2 debaters to a team) have to debate both sides of the topic in alternating rounds (Round 1 Affirmative, Round 2 Negative, etc.). The Policy Director worked with the high school team to develop an affirmative proposal to support the topic of strengthening regulation of restraint and seclusion use in elementary and secondary schools. The text of the affirmative proposal read as follows: “Plan: The United States Congress shall amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to regulate the use of restraints and seclusion in U.S. elementary and secondary schools by prohibiting their use in non-emergency situations, banning the use of prone restraint, and prohibiting their use as discipline; requiring documentation and parental reporting of individual incidences; and requiring all teachers and staff be trained on appropriate use of restraints and seclusion, safe restraint and de-escalation techniques, and positive behavior supports.” Information gathered through reports from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) on the topic proved to be very valuable to the team. At one local tournament, two members of the team scored 3 wins-1 loss, winning both of their affirmative rounds. The team also won the Novice Policy division. As far as we know, this is the only team in Nebraska, and possibly the country, arguing the regulation of restraint/seclusion. 2.4: Include the “most integrated setting” standard in policies, regulations and/or statutes relating to the provision of services and supports to people with disabilities. N/A 2.5: Eliminate sheltered workshops and increase competitive, integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Disability Rights Nebraska held a screening of the documentary movie “Bottom Dollars” by Disability Rights Washington for both staff and the public. The documentary interviews individuals who are or were working in sheltered workshops for subminimum wages and disability advocates. The screening led to an invitation for our Public Policy Director to conduct a workshop at the Brain Injury Conference in March of 2019 including screening parts of the “Bottom Dollars” movie. Additionally, the Nebraska Association for People Supporting Employment was an organization that we approached about the issue and discussed participating in the screening and, although they could not be present for our screening, they have scheduled their own screening after meeting with us. Our Public Policy Director also met with Sen. Crawford, her staff, and representatives from Easter Seals and the Arc of Nebraska regarding proposed changes to the Medicaid Insurance for Workers with Disabilities. Additionally, we provided additional information about sheltered workshops and subminimum wage to Sen. Crawford. PRIORITY 3: Engaging People with Disabilities in Advocacy NEED ADDRESSED: Provide people with disabilities opportunities to learn how to be effective advocates and support them in advocating on things that impact their lives DESCRIPTION / INDICATORS: 3.1: Provide two (2) three-month public policy advocacy internships for post-secondary students who have disabilities. Staff met with the advisor for People First of Nebraska, a self-advocacy group for and by people with disabilities, early in the 1st quarter to discuss the opportunity to place a person from People First in an internship position in Lincoln. We made a commitment to work collaboratively with the Arc of Nebraska and the Statewide Independent Living Council to provide supervision for a paid internship for People First members to gain experience in the area of public policies that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The director of the Arc will also serve on the selection committee for this position. During the second quarter, Disability Rights Nebraska supported Michael Warner, a man with physical and developmental disabilities, in providing testimony on LB 968. The bill would increase the allowable income and assets for workers with disabilities so they can retain Medicaid coverage. We also supported Michael in attending the annual Legislative Advocacy Day at the Capitol and the Arc Senatorial Dinner by providing accessible transportation to the events. The Public Policy Director spoke to the People First chapter in Grand Island about legislation proposed this session. He also participated in selecting a legislative advocate for People First of Nebraska and supported her in her advocate role throughout the legislative session. Our Public Policy Director worked with the advisor from People First of Nebraska to develop the structure of the internship program and to identify potential interns from the applications for their public policy advocate program. Disability Rights Nebraska has been in discussions with People First and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) program regarding potential funding for our internships. PRIORITY 4: Values-Based Programs NEED ADDRESSED: Initiate and promote cultural change in the perception of people with disabilities. DESCRIPTION / INDICATORS 4.1: Provide staff support for the Nebraska Values-Based Education Coalition and organize and conduct one values-based training workshop or related event. Through members of the Nebraska Values-Based Education Coalition* who are connected with the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), the Disability Rights Values-Based Program Director and the CEO met with staff at the college to discuss how best to introduce the principles of Social Role Valorization (SRV)** into the Social Work curriculum. An opportunity presented itself through a recurring event, an annual Social Work Conference on Aging sponsored by UNK. We worked with the organizers of the Conference to include an introductory SRV component. We recommended, and they contracted with, Darcy Elks as the featured presenter at the Seventh Annual Social Work Conference on Aging: Pathways to A Full & Inclusive Life on October 5, 2017. Over 200 UNK students were in attendance at this event. **Disability Rights Nebraska is committed to operating in alignment with the principles of Social Role Valorization. The basic premise of Social Role Valorization is that people are much more likely to experience the "good things in life" if they hold valued social roles than if they do not. Some examples of the "good things" in life include: · being accorded dignity, respect, and acceptance in your relationships with people · a sense of belonging · an education and opportunities to develop and use your abilities and talents · a voice in the affairs of your community and society and opportunities to participate in a typical way · a decent standard of living · a place to live that is typical of dominant society · opportunities for work and support. *The purpose of the Values-Based Education Coalition is to expand and promote opportunities to learn about SRV for professionals, service providers, advocates, family members and people with disabilities with the idea that systemic change begins with a change in individual philosophy. This is facilitated through at least one annual Social Role Valorization training opportunity. The annual Social Role Valorization workshop was held at Nebraska Wesleyan University on July 25 — 27, 2018. In addition to the primary presenter, Darcy Elks, Marnie Crowley from Macon, Georgia; Joni Thomas from Lincoln; and Pat Cottingham from Lincoln also presented. A total of 35 people attended the workshop. The workshop was made more accessible due to the addition of a ramp, which was built in the Callen Conference Room using specifications from the Nebraska Assistive Technology Partnership. Additionally, our Program and Media Assistant reformatted the workshop manual to make it more accessible and easier to follow. Members of the Values-Based Education Coalition and the Values-Based Program Director met with the management of ENCOR (a service provider for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in eastern Nebraska) to encourage attendance at the Social Role Valorization workshop. They also met with management of the Office of Public Guardian to encourage the involvement and attendance of their staff. The Values-Based Education Coalition includes representatives from Region V I-DD Services, the Disability Rights Nebraska Board of Directors, several people with disabilities and representatives from the Office of Public Guardian. They have been working in cooperation with representatives of Nebraska Wesleyan University for over 6 years on various Values-Based Events, including a Summer Institute on Inclusive Lifestyles and the Inclusive Education Institute. PRIORITY 5: Systemic Change through Public Policy Change NEED ADDRESSED: Disability Rights Nebraska will be the premier cross-disability public policy advocacy organization for people with disabilities in Nebraska. DESCRIPTION / INDICATORS 5.1: Educate 60 state and 10 federal policymakers about public policy activities that directly impact people with disabilities. 5.2: Collaborate with 10 other organizations to inform them about state or federal public policies that directly impact people with disabilities. Disability Rights Nebraska’s Public Policy Team selected 26 pieces of legislation to focus on during the 2018 session. We often worked with staff from the Arc of Nebraska and Easter Seals where our goals matched theirs. No individual cases were handled under this priority. We worked with Senator Briese’s office to develop more succinct language for LB 845. LB 845 clarifies that, in matters of custody in which one of the parents is a person with a disability, that disability cannot be used to determine custody when the parent with a disability is a capable parent. It also clarifies that the burden of proof is on the party asserting that the other is incapable or less capable of parenting effectively as a result of a disability. We also worked with Sen. Briese’s office to develop language for two Legislative Resolutions that would address issues not covered by the amended/limited version of LB 845. LRs 459 & 460 were introduced by Sen. Briese to address custody/disability issues in the juvenile justice and child welfare contexts. Our Public Policy Director, along with staff from the Arc of Nebraska and Easter Seals, met with Sen. Crawford to discuss potential legislation to address deficiencies in the current Medicaid Insurance for Workers with Disabilities program. While Sen. Crawford did not introduce a bill to fix problems with the program, she did introduce Legislative Resolution 448 to conduct an interim study that would involve a comprehensive review of Nebraska's Medicaid Insurance for Workers with Disabilities eligibility under the Medical Assistance Act. Disability Rights Nebraska was involved in drafting language for LR 448. We were also involved in drafting and reviewing language for LB 968 to allow people with disabilities who are on Medicaid and working to avoid losing Medicaid coverage because of increased income. Although LB 968 did not pass, we hope that a concrete solution emerges out of the LR 448 discussion. For additional narrative on public policy work, see Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation.

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.

FY 2019 PAIR Statement of Priorities and Objectives PRIORITY 1: Freedom from Harm Need Addressed: Monitor places where people with disabilities who are most in danger of harm live, work, or learn. Activities / Indicator: Implement the monitoring plan for facilities, day programs, employment settings, service settings, etc. where people with disabilities are segregated, isolated and congregated. Need Addressed: Use a range of systemic remedies to ensure that the most vulnerable people with disabilities are free from harm. Activities / Indicator: Address guardianship issues through trainings, working with the Office of Public Guardian and analyzing and proposing changes to guardianship procedures. Activities / Indicator: Engage in three (3) public policy related activities to secure changes in statues or regulatory requirements that provide greater protection for people with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and retaliation. Activities / Indicator: Educate 60 state policymakers, 10 federal policymakers, and collaborate with 10 other organizations to inform them about public policies that directly impact people with disabilities. PRIORITY 2: Most Inclusive Settings Need Addressed: Address rights violations that impede people with disabilities from living, working, and learning in the most inclusive settings. Activities / Indicator: Investigate and respond to 14 allegations of rights violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Need Addressed: Advocate for people with disabilities to learn, live and work in the most inclusive settings. Activities / Indicator: Participate in the Stakeholder Advisory Committee to develop an Olmstead plan for Nebraska. Activities / Indicator: Contribute to meaningful change in the cultural perception of people with disabilities through values-based education; provide staff support to the Values-Based Education Coalition and plan, organize and conduct one values-based training workshop Activities / Indicator: Conduct targeted outreach to raise awareness about the needs of the most vulnerable people with disabilities.

Part VI. Narrative

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

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

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

A. Source of Funding - Amount Received : Amount Spent: Federal (section 509) 207,022 : 207,022 State 0 : 0 Program income 0 : 0 Private 0 : 0 All other funds 0 : 0 Total (from all sources) 207,022 : 207,022 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by the report: Prior Fiscal Year FY 2017 : Current Fiscal Year FY 2018 Wages / salaries - 87,770 : 126,878 Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) 28,557 : 37,380 Materials / Supplies 466 : 791 Postage 385 : 372 Telephone 927 : 426 Rent 14,412 : 15,234 Travel 1,365 : 841 Copying 0 : 1,054 Bonding / Insurance 1,353 : 1,847 Equipment (rental/purchase) 2,493 : 1,789 Legal Services 215 : 2,934 Indirect Costs 4,452 : 6,288 Miscellaneous 9,372 : 11,188 Total Budget 151,763 : 207,022 C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years) Type of Position FTE : % of year filled : Person-years FY 2018 Professional Full-time : 100% : 11 Part-time : 100% : 2 Vacant : 0 : 0 : 0 Clerical Full Time : 100% : 4 Part-time : 100% : 3 Vacant : 0 : 0 : 0 D. Involvement with Advisory Boards: The senior attorney is a member of the advisory council on public guardianship. The council meets quarterly to discuss regulations, changes and trends of the public guardianship program; including referrals to and from the organization. In order to further community inclusion for people with disabilities, integrated employment and the monitoring of employment services is key to ensure this goal. The senior attorney is a member of the Olmstead planning advisory council that meets quarterly to further the mandate of creating an Olmstead plan for the State of Nebraska. The Senior Staff Attorney was appointed by the Nebraska Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Commission on Guardianships and Conservatorships. This will be a productive vehicle to not only make changes to the guardianship process, but to further enhance the rights of people with disabilities in Nebraska. A Stakeholder E-mail Group comprised of partners from the community, people with disabilities, and family members provides input on the proposed legislative priorities and on proposed organizational priorities and objectives. E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure: -NonGovernment Services: Man wants to return to own home after nursing home placement. CEO spoke with caller and his advocate and provided the following recommendations: 1. Write a letter to the County Probate Court stating that you want to return to a community living setting, but your guardian objects to such a move. 2. Make a request in writing to your treatment team at the [facility] for an assessment of your community living skills and that a written discharge plan be developed. 3. Contact the Medicaid Long-Term Care Program in the Department of Health and Human Services at [number] to get additional information about requesting an assessment of your independent living skills. 4. Contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman's office for possible advice and assistance at 402.471.2307 or 1.800.942.7830. No further contact, grievance closed. -— Housing: Woman seeking action against previous landlord whom she feels discriminated against her because of her disabilities. CEO contacted Fair Housing Center and is waiting on information from them to provide to woman. -— Program Access: Difficulty accessing Medicaid Waiver services through local channels. CEO spoke with caller and followed up with written recommendations: “Since the [local organization] receives funding from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ Medicaid Division, you can take advantage of the appeals mechanisms available through the Department. One action that you may take is to contact the Nebraska Medicaid Program and you can find information about who to contact at: [web link, and hard copy enclosed]. Another option you may wish to consider is to file a request for a fair hearing with the Department [web link, and hard copy enclosed].” No further contact, grievance closed. F. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program and State long-term care program: P&A staff and CAP staff have periodic case consultation throughout the year. The director of the CAP and the Director of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman's office are members of the PAIR et al Stakeholder Advisory Group.


Signed ByDr. Eric A. Evans
Signed Date01/18/2019