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

New Mexico (NATIVE AMERICAN P and A PROJECT -- DNA - PEOPLES LEGAL SERVICES) - H240A180057 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameNative American Disability Law Center Inc.
Address405 W. Apache Street
Address Line 2
CityFarmington
StateNew Mexico
Zip Code87401
E-mail Addresstyanan@nativedisabilitylaw.org
Website Addresshttp://www.nativedisabilitylaw.org
Phone505-566-5880
TTY
Toll-free Phone800-862-7271
Toll-free TTY
Fax505-566-5880
Name of P&A Executive DirectorTherese E. Yanan
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorTherese E. Yanan
Person to contact regarding reportTherese E. Yanan
Contact Person phone505-566-5880
Ext.

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas18
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas51
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)69

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff2
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)263

The Law Center provided three training sessions at the 2018 Native American Conference on Special Education in Albuquerque, NM. The Conference is designed to provide resources to families of children with disabilities through skill building and information sharing. Two of the Law Center’s training sessions were 90-minute sessions aimed at providing students with disabilities and their parents additional information about their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The third session was a daylong comprehensive training session on IDEA that the Law Center provided in partnership with Disability Rights New Mexico. 125 people attended the daylong post-conference session. 18 people attended a session on drafting effective IDEA state complaints. This session was available only to parents who have some familiarity with IDEA and their rights. The session grew out of a parent concern that there was no intermediate advocacy training available at the conference. In response, the Law Center specifically designed this session to provide a skill-building workshop for parents already familiar with their basic rights. 22 people attended a session about the interplay of state and federal VR programs and the IDEA in transition planning for high school students with disabilities to achieve their post-secondary education and vocational goals. In total, the Law Center provided trainings to 165 people. At least 62 people visited the Law Center’s informational booth during the three-day conference. In total, the Law Center provided 284 informational brochures on a variety of topics to conference attendees.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles33
3. PSAs/videos aired2
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website4,446
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated1,532
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

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)9
2. Additional individuals served during the year9
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)18
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)0

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 7

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility0
2. Employment2
3. Program access1
4. Housing1
5. Government benefits/services0
6. Transportation0
7. Education10
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care0
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights1
14. Access to records2
15. Abuse0
16. Neglect1
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 complaint1
4. Appeals unsuccessful4
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
6. PAIR withdrew from case1
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources1
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-advocacy4
2. Short-term assistance2
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation1
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)4
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 - 2213
3. 23 - 593
4. 60 - 641
5. 65 and over1

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females4
2. Males14

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race1
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native18
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American0
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White0
7. Two or more races0
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent3
2. Parental or other family home13
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home0
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center2
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 impairment1
2. Deaf/hard of hearing0
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment0
5. Mental illness1
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability10
9. Neurological impairment1
10. Respiratory impairment1
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment1
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment0
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability3

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities1

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes37,000

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

Thirty percent of Navajos between the ages of 21 & 54 have a disability; for those over the age of 64, 70% have a disability. Based on current enrollment statistics, close to 40,000 enrolled members of the Navajo Nation have a disability. The Navajo Nation passed a Vocational Rehabilitation Act (VR Act) in 1984 that prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities & required that reasonable accommodations be provided across major life activities, including employment. After receiving a legal challenge to whether the VR Act allowed a private right of action, the Law Center began considering whether it provided sufficient legal protections. The Navajo Nation Advisory Council on Disabilities (the Advisory Council) is a statutorily established body to advise the Navajo Nation on issues facing those with disabilities. The Law Center & the Advisory Council began working together to ensure that appropriate legal protections are in place & ultimately decided that the VR Act needed to be updated. A Law Center provided legal technical assistance (TA) to the Advisory Council on drafting revisions to the VR Act. This initiative formed into a collaborative effort with the Navajo Nation President’s Office, Navajo Nation Department of Justice, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Honorable Jonathan Hale (Council Delegate), and the Navajo Nation Tribal Council on addressing this situation. As part of providing TA, the Law Center directed conversations that explored ways to improve civil rights protections for Navajos with disabilities under Navajo law so that they are able to more fully participate in the community and have those rights enforced. The Advisory Council and Law Center then presented the legislation to required Standing committees, as part of the Legislative Process. The legislation went in front of the Navajo Tribal Council on July 17, 2018; the legislation passed 14-2. Subsequently this legislation became Navajo Nation law when President Russell Begaye signed it on August 6, 2018. The new legal protections include prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s disability across all areas, such as employment, housing, access to services, and education. The statute also requires that employers, service providers and other providing services provide reasonable accommodations. The statute also clearly provides for a private right of action so that individuals who are treated unfairly have recourse.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts1
2. Number of individuals named in class actions7

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.

Stephen C. v. Bureau of Indian Education is a multi-plaintiff civil rights lawsuit that the Native American Disability Law Center (along with four other legal organizations and law firms) filed on behalf of nine Havasupai students against the federal government in January 2017 (now seven students). The lawsuit alleges that the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), tasked with providing education to Native American students, including students with disabilities, who attend its schools, has failed to provide basic education services including special education services and necessary community wellness and mental health supports in violation of numerous federal laws including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The lawsuit seeks to provide the seven students with compensatory education to “restore” what they missed by attending the school. Plaintiffs hope that the lawsuit will reform the school’s operations to create a school that will effectively educate generations of Havasupai children to come. Plaintiffs obtained a major victory in the case on March 29, 2018 when, in a historic ruling, the federal court denied the federal government’s partial motion to dismiss several of the plaintiffs’ claims. The court ruled, for the first time in the country, that the federal government must meet the educational needs of Native American students attending schools run by the BIE by affirmatively addressing the mental health and wellness needs of students impacted by trauma and childhood adversity. This is a huge victory for Native American students and their families because the court has paved a path forward for other students who have experienced historical or complex trauma to have their unique needs met by the BIE consistent with federal civil rights law. The lawsuit is the first federal civil rights action ever filed to address a wholesale denial of educational opportunities for both the general education and special education of Native American students. It was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. While BIE schools are routinely ranked as some of the worst schools in the country, Havasupai Elementary School is at the bottom of that list. Students who attend this school are only taught math and reading because the school does not have the capacity to provide the students with additional instruction. Students with disabilities are not provided with the special education or related services that they need to thrive in the classroom. Students do not have access to culturally appropriate curriculum, a library or extracurriculars. Students who “graduate” from the 8th grade are often unable to get into public or other BIE high schools around the country because they are so far behind academically. Three of the seven current Havasupai student plaintiffs have disabilities that make them eligible to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Some of the plaintiffs have been identified as having ADHD, specific learning disabilities, a hearing impairment, and mental illness. Four of the plaintiffs have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences that impact their abilities to learn. This impact is not being adequately addressed by the federal government. For example, Stephen C., an 11-year-old boy with ADHD who has been eligible to receive special education services at the Havasupai Elementary School, has been on a shortened school day for years and routinely sent home as a means of dealing with his behaviors. Since the lawsuit was filed, the School suggested that Stephen C. attend a residential treatment school in Phoenix where attended school for one year. He is now back in the community attending HES. When it was filed, the lawsuit received broad local and national media coverage. The Havasupai Tribal Council supports the lawsuit and has filed an amicus brief with the Court articulating its support. The Society of Indian Psychologists has also filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit. Currently, in August 2018, the Plaintiffs and the federal government entered into an interim settlement agreement that allows the parties to stay the litigation while a team of independent experts evaluate the needs of the student plaintiffs and the school. The parties continue to work toward settlement. A trial date has not yet been set.

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 & Describe the Priority Priority A: Abuse & Neglect 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. The Law Center exists primarily to prevent abuse & neglect & address it when it does occur. 3. Identify & describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. Objective 1: Monitor the investigation by the appropriate agency of all reported incidents of abuse & neglect. Objective 2: Represent children in abuse & neglect cases as appointed by relevant courts. Objective 3: Provide information regarding rights & services to individuals living in group homes, institutions, detention centers & prisons across the service area by visiting them on a quarterly basis. 4. Provide the number of cases handled under this priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. The Law Center addressed this priority using other funding. 5. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. Since we did not have any PAIR cases, we do not have a case summary. _________________________________________ 1. Identify & Describe the Priority Priority B: Community Services 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. People with disabilities continue to face discrimination, which frequently manifests itself as a lack of access to public services & building, lack of employment opportunities & other civil rights violations. Without adequate civil rights protections, this type of discrimination will continue & prohibit people with disabilities from living, working & fully participating in their communities. 3. Identify & describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. Objective 1: Advocate for improved civil right protections that guarantee access to community services. Objective 2: Work with other disability advocacy organizations to address systemic discrimination toward individuals with disabilities & to increase the awareness of their needs & services; pass the VR act in collaboration with the Navajo Nation. Objective 3: Pass a Hopi Adult Protection Act that addresses abuse & neglect of adults with disabilities. 4. Provide the number of cases handled under this priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. This Priority focuses on systemic & policy changes, so is not generally used for individual cases. 5. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. As described in more detail in another section of the report, the Law Center worked closely with the Navajo Nation & the Navajo Nation Advisory Council on Disability to update the legal protections for Navajos with disabilities. Additionally, the Law Center worked with the Hopi Tribal Government to create an ordinance that allows the community to address abuse & neglect. This Adult Protection Ordinance is still working its way through the legislative process. _______________________________ 1. Identify & Describe the Priority Priority D: Special Education 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. In 2015, the Law Center updated the community needs assessment by conducting several community based focus groups & surveying previous clients, advocacy groups & service providers. The needs assessment & the Law Center’s experience continually identify special education cases as the primary concern facing our client community. The community feels that providing appropriate services to children with disabilities is essential to later providing these children with the opportunity to fully participate in their communities. 3. Identify & describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. Objective 1: Provide one (1) training on education rights to students with disabilities & their parents reaching 80 individuals. Objective 2: Provide technical assistance to students or their parents or guardians of twenty-five (25) children with disabilities to empower them to advocate for their children to obtain & receive appropriate education services in their community & in the least restrictive environment. Objective 4: Provide direct representation in meetings & other informal settings & administrative proceedings for twenty (20) children with disabilities who are not receiving a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Objective 6: Work with other advocacy organizations to address systemic education issues facing students with disabilities. 4. Provide the number of cases handled under this priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. The Law Center addressed the needs of 20 clients under this priority. 5. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. In other areas of the report, there are details about the training & litigation pursued under this objective. The Law Center also focused on providing parents with technical assistance & helping them to develop advocacy skills. _________________________________ 1. Identify & Describe the Priority Priority F: Housing 2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority. The lack of accessible housing is the primary reason people with disabilities are unable to live in their community & are either placed in institutional or supportive living settings or are forced to move from tribal communities to the border communities. 3. Identify & describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority. Objective 1: Advocate for Navajo & Hopi housing that accommodates the needs of people with disabilities. Objective 2: Assist 5 individuals with disabilities in their efforts to obtain public housing, when they have been denied housing or reasonable accommodations because of their disability. 4. Provide the number of cases handled under this priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. The Law Center did not provide any representation for clients using PAIR funds. We did provide information & referral & technical assistance to 5 PAIR eligible clients. 5. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority. The Law Center continued to advocate for housing policies to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Although the Navajo Housing Authority initially resisted, it did ultimately provide their internal policies & procedures so that we had a better understanding of how it processes claims for accommodations & grievances when accommodations are not provided. Although the Law Center was encouraging NHA to adopt universal design standards for all of their homes, they continued to refuse to do so because of other administrative considerations & the lack of a Navajo building code. NHA continues to insist that their units are “partially accessible”. According to the information provided by NHA, it still does not have an adequate number of accessible units, but it is getting close. Because of the Law Center’s consistent pressure & advocacy, the NHA is increasing available accessible units & has requested disability sensitivity training.

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. Statement of Each Priority Priority A: Abuse and Neglect 2. The Need Addressed by each Priority The Law Center exists primarily to prevent abuse & neglect. 3. Description of the Activities to be Carried Out under Each Priority Objective 1: Monitoring Facilities and Services. Monitor facilities and institutions at least quarterly for instances of abuse and neglect, distributing educational materials, and providing advocacy services for individuals who are allegedly being abused or neglected. Objective 2: Represent abused and neglected children. Represent Native American children as Guardian Ad Litem or Youth Attorney in child abuse & neglect cases in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Objective 3: Legal Protection for Hopis with Disabilities. Advocate for the Hopi Tribe to adopt a Hopi Adult Protection Act that provides Hopis with disabilities legal protection from abuse and neglect. 1. Statement of Each Priority Priority B: Education 2. The Need Addressed by each Priority In 2015, the Law Center updated the community needs assessment by conducting several community based focus groups & surveying previous clients, advocacy groups & service providers. The needs assessment & the Law Center’s experience continually identify special education cases as the primary concern facing our client community. The community feels that providing appropriate services to children with disabilities is essential to later providing these children with the opportunity to fully participate in their communities. 3. Description of the Activities to be Carried Out under Each Priority Objective 1: Promote Self-Advocacy. Provide technical assistance to twenty-five (25) students with disabilities, or their parents or guardians, as well as give one training on education rights to 80 students and their parents to empower them to advocate for their children to obtain appropriate education services in the least restrictive environment in their community. Objective 2: Systemic Advocacy. Ensure that the federal Bureau of Indian Education meets the educational needs of Native American students with disabilities enrolled in their schools by addressing the general education, special education, mental health, and wellness needs of students, including those impacted by trauma and adversity. Objective 3: Direct Representation. Provide direct representation in meetings and other informal settings and administrative proceedings to twenty (20) children with disabilities who are not receiving a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Objective 4: Improve Education Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities in the Justice System. Provide technical assistance and education advocacy to students referred to the juvenile justice system in an effort to ensure they are receiving appropriate education, supports and services. 1. Statement of Each Priority Priority C: Community Integration 2. The Need Addressed by each Priority People with disabilities continue to face discrimination, which frequently manifests itself as a lack of access to public services & building, lack of employment opportunities & other civil rights violations. Without adequate civil rights protections, this type of discrimination will continue & prohibit people with disabilities from living, working & fully participating in their communities. 3. Description of the Activities to be Carried Out under Each Priority Objective 1: Promote Self-Advocacy for Accommodations in Public Housing. Provide five (5) Navajos or Hopis with disabilities with direct representation and increase community awareness of the necessary information and resources to empower Navajos and Hopis with disabilities to navigate the Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) and Hopi Housing Authority’s public housing accommodation process. Objective 2: Policy Changes at NHA. Advocate for NHA and the Hopi Tribe to increase the amount of accessible housing available to individuals with disabilities. Objective 4: Champion Right to Autonomy. Work with other disability advocacy organizations to address systemic discrimination by transforming attitudes of paternalism, recognizing the right to autonomy in individuals with disabilities, and to increase the awareness of their needs and services

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 received & expended Received Expended Federal $73,600.00 $46,116.00 State 0 0 Program Income 0 0 Private 0 0 All Other Funds $73,600.00 $46,116.00 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report Expenses Salaries & Related Expenses $34,845.00 Contract Services $2,684.00 Non-Personnel $1,107.00 Occupancy $2,475.00 Travel/Mileage $2,546.00 Miscellaneous Expenses $1,859.00 Total $46,116.00 C. Description of PAIR Staff (duties & person-years) Program Staff Full-Time 0.6 FTE Part-Time 0.02 FTE Vacant 0 Administrative Staff Full-Time 0.30 FTE Part-Time 0.10 FTE Vacant 0 The Full-Time staff include 3 attorneys, 2 advocates & 1 Community & Government Liaison. The attorneys experience ranges from over 20 years to 4 years. The advocates have 19 years & 3 years of experience & the Community & Government Liaison has been with the Law Center for 9 years,but has 20 years of community advocacy & organizing experience. D. Involvement with advisory boards The Law Center is an active member of the Navajo Advisory Council for People with disabilities. The Law Center provides technical assistance to the Council, works with them on parallel initiatives, & the Law Center’s Government & Community Liaison is the President of the Council. E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure The Law Center did not receive any grievances under its grievance procedures. F. Coordination with the CAP & State long-term care program There is not a long-term care program located on the Navajo Nation or the Hopi reservation with which the Law Center can coordinate.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByTherese E. Yanan
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date11/20/2018