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

Tennessee (Disability Rights Tennessee) - H240A180043 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Tennessee
Address2 International Plaza
Address Line 2Suite 825
CityNashville
StateTennessee
Zip Code37217
E-mail Addresslisap@disabilityrightstn.org
Website Addresshttp://www.disabilityrightstn.org
Phone615-298-1080
TTY 615-298-1080
Toll-free Phone800-287-9636
Toll-free TTY800-287-9636
Fax615-298-2046
Name of P&A Executive DirectorLisa Primm
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorLisa Primm
Person to contact regarding reportAnna Bass
Contact Person phone615-298-1080
Ext.176

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 areas97
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas637
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)734

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff12
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)1,560

Training continues to be a strong component of DRT’s integrated advocacy efforts within identified priority areas. In FY 18, DRT conducted a number of trainings and collaborated with groups to provide a state-wide conference. Due to training efforts, individuals across the state now have more information about Functional Behavior Assessments, Behavior Intervention Plans, manifestation hearings, IEP implementation, Endrew F, Legal Issues in Transition, corporal punishment, and unauthorized practice of law. DRT staff held 13 trainings across the State of Tennessee to address topic areas relevant to our areas of work, collaborating with several agencies, including the National Business Institute, the Volunteer Advocacy Project, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, and TALS. Those in attendance included attorneys, school administrators, SPED teachers and trainers, parents, and advocates. DRT provided 10 trainings to 246 individuals with disabilities, service providers, retail sales people, state workers and an employee of the American Red Cross. Training topics included effective communication, service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). DRT conducted 3 of these trainings to hotel staff, as well as staff of a local car dealership as the result of advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities who had attempted to visit these type businesses. These trainings included the following topics: description of who is covered under the ADA, what businesses' responsibilities are for allowing service animals into their establishments under the ADA, an explanation of service animals vs. emotional support animals, and examples of work tasks that are often performed by service animals. The training included several interactive examples for the participants to apply learning, and time was allowed to answer the attendees' general questions about service animals and the ADA. As a result, individuals who use service animals should be allowed to go to these businesses with their service animals. As a result of DRT's collaborations with Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Aging Commission, DRT Abuse and Neglect Investigators in each region were invited to provide training on Elder Abuse at the 4th Annual Behavioral Health and Aging Conferences across the state. One hundred and fifty participants received information about protection from harm for individuals who are aging with disabilities. DRT helped plan and sponser the Tennessee Disability MegaConference. The 2018 MegaConference was another successful collaborative event of the DD Network Partners (the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center UCEDD, UT Boling Center UCEDD, and DRT) along with The Arc Tennessee. Attendance at this year’s event totaled 573, of which 145 individuals received stipends to cover the cost of attending. The theme for this year's conference was "Rising Strong Together!” Topics covered at this year’s conference were: transportation; recreation; volunteering; self-advocacy; relationships/sexuality; spirituality; education; job training; employment; employment and day services waiver changes; benefits & employment; mental health; physical health; emotional health; self-care; weight, healthy eating, exercise; aging; coping with stress; health care planning; educational planning; person-centered planning; transition to adulthood; policy; voting rights; and supported decision-making.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles2
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website46,264
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated12,563
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

DRT uses multiple avenues to distribute information including social media, email marketing, and media interaction to support and enhance the agency’s legal advocacy work. DRT reached 188,780 people total through Facebook (75,556) and Twitter (113,224). During FY 2018, DRT continued its e-news distribution to 2,468 subscribers which covered topics from employment services, access to vote, access to assistive technology, self-advocacy skills, disability discrimination, special education, updates to public policy, and more.

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)21
2. Additional individuals served during the year90
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)111
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)9

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 20

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility5
2. Employment0
3. Program access61
4. Housing0
5. Government benefits/services1
6. Transportation0
7. Education19
8. Assistive technology1
9. Voting0
10. Health care2
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services1
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse5
16. Neglect22
17. Other2

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor81
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint3
4. Appeals unsuccessful9
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case8
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources2
8. Individual case lacks legal merit6
9. Other0

Please explain

N/A

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-advocacy15
2. Short-term assistance13
3. Investigation/monitoring30
4. Negotiation24
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings3
7. Litigation (including class actions)0
8. Systemic/policy activities3

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 43
2. 5 - 2224
3. 23 - 5957
4. 60 - 646
5. 65 and over21

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females47
2. Males64

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race2
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native1
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American18
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White89
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent49
2. Parental or other family home24
3. Community residential home3
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home8
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center24
9. Homeless1
10. Other living arrangements0
11. Living arrangements not known1

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

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

1. Blind/visual impairment4
2. Deaf/hard of hearing43
3. Deaf-blind1
4. Orthopedic impairment24
5. Mental illness3
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability1
9. Neurological impairment21
10. Respiratory impairment0
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment1
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment4
13. Speech impairment1
14. AIDS/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability8

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities15

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes744,701

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.

DRT continues to utilize systemic advocacy efforts locally and state-wide as part of its integrated advocacy efforts. Through systemic efforts, DRT is able to address the experienced of numerous Tennesseans with disabilities. Each priority area address concerns through systemic means when that action is supported. Below are highlights of systemic activities undertaken during FY18: Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) was informed through two individual cases that an urban county detention center had been failing to provide adequate effective communication to deaf inmates. DRT investigated these complaints and confirmed the lack of provision of auxiliary aids and services. DRT expressed concern to the facility and advocated for the evaluation of all policies and procedures related to effective communication for inmates who are deaf and utilize American Sign Language as their primary language. DRT’s position was that not only was this required for programmatic access but it was necessary to ensure the safety of deaf inmates. As a result of DRT advocacy, the facility revised policies and practices. A new comprehensive video relay interpreting system was installed in all common areas and was made available to inmates on the cell blocks through mobile tablets. DRT tested the technology at the facility and confirmed that on that day the system was working and had no technological barriers. The facility is now better equipped to meet the communication needs of deaf inmates who use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication, and these individuals now have increased safety as a result of communication access. As a result of the advocacy of a local municipal advisory body, on which DRT serves, library patrons with service animals will be able to access all library services. This effort was the result of a report of a community member with a disability who reported that she visited the library with her service animal, and was told by the security guard that she could not enter. DRT’s representative to this group, along with other members, and the municipal ADA coordinator worked with library personnel to ensure that individuals with disabilities who have service animals are allowed to access the facility with no issues. Library staff were extensively trained on accurate ADA compliant processes. The advisor group and municipal ADA coordinator will monitor to ensure that no other library patron is denied access within the county due to use of a service animal. Students with disabilities in a focus school system are receiving access to a free and appropriate public education due to systemic advocacy. This county was identified as a county that showed systemic similarities in issues handled through individual DRT cases. Though DRT continues to represent individual clients in this school system, because of the serious systemic violations of IDEIA and Section 504 observed DRT conducted a listening session in that county, and continues to collect data to determine next course of action for system change including possible legal complaints, parent training on rights, collaborations with other agencies, and negotiations with administration. These efforts are ongoing and collaborative planning sessions will continue with the Parent Training Institute. DRT monitored 245 state level bills that had potential to impact Tennesseans with disabilities. Through this monitoring, DRT was able to conduct research and provide educational support to policy makers in their decision-making process. Additionally, the list of bills monitored was disseminated weekly over 15 weeks to a subscribing list of readers. This allowed this readership to become more aware and knowledgeable of state-level policies that influence people with disabilities. As a result of an investigation into the treatment and death of an elderly deaf woman who who was denied effective communication at a skilled nursing facility in an urban area of the state, DRT pursued systemic policy change to protect other residents. The parent company of the skilled nursing facility owns 150 skilled nursing facilities across 10 states, including Tennessee. DRT worked with the corporate compliance manager and general counsel of the parent company. The company drafted a new policy that would ensure effective communication and the provision of auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, for deaf and hard of hearing patients and companions at these 150 skilled nursing home facilities throughout the United States. This policy was specifically drafted to comport with the Americans with Disabilities Act. DRT reviewed the policy and found it to be exemplary. As a result major systemic change was achieved across 10 states and at 150 skilled nursing, as any individual who is deaf or hard of hearing who is a patient at one of these facilities or a companion of a patient at one of these facilities should now receive effective communication, including interpreters or other appropriate auxiliary aids and services, and have meaningful access to his or her healthcare.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts4,006
2. Number of individuals named in class actions4,000

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

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT), along with a private law firm and the ACLU, filed a class action lawsuit against the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) and its employees on behalf of all inmates in custody of TDOC that have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and are not being medically treated for it by TDOC. Suit was filed in the Middle District of Tennessee on July 25, 2016, and the class was certified thereafter. A Motion for Summary Judgment was filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs in June of 2018. The defendants filed a response. The court has yet to rule on the motion. Trial date has been set for December 4, 2018. Goal is to affect systemic change in the TDOC system regarding inmates with Hep C; DRT and Plaintiffs desire that all inmates who have Hep C in the state and who have a certain length of time left on their sentences be treated with the most up-to-date Hep C treatment, which are knows as Direct Acting Anti-Viral Agents.

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: Tennesseans with disabilities will experience reduced abuse and neglect and have appropriate safeguards to ensure their legal and human rights. Need Addressed: As recent data collection showed, the needs addressed by this priority unfortunately remain unchanged from prior years. Individuals with disabilities continue to experience abuse and neglect in public and private facilities in Tennessee due to limited resources, lack of knowledge of service providers, lack of supervision by service providers, lack of effective oversight by administrators, and the failure to follow identified best practices. Success Indicators: Investigations, Advocacy, and Monitoring Activities completed Cases: 28 (24 new cases in FY18) DRT is an active member of the Coordinated Community Response task force which is focused on improving the investigation, response, and delivery of protective services to vulnerable adults in Tennessee by the agencies tasked with that work. The group consists of representatives from TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, TN Department of Commerce and Insurance, TN Attorney General, TN Commission on Aging and Disability, TN Department of Human Services, TN Housing Development Agency, law enforcement (LE), TN Department of Health, TN Department of Transportation, TennCare (Medicaid), TN Department of Financial Institutions, TN Department of Finance and Administration, TN Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, TN Regulatory Authority, DRT, and TN Council on Developmental Disabilities. Over the course of this year, the group has established collaborative relationships, developed a workflow and reporting map for each investigative agency, collected data on current processes, and identified potential gaps within the system. Subsequently, the group has made plans, developed concept work. Over the next fiscal year the CCR group plans to further develop processes/protocols for the improvement plan, create trainings to educate all stakeholders, and publish our work. As a result we will have improved the investigation, response, and service delivery of protective services to vulnerable adults within Tennessee. DRT received complaints from eight women incarcerated at a state prison. All of the complaints related to their healthcare and the lack of communication they received from their medical provider. As a result of investigation, DRT issued the following recommendations: 1. ensure that inmates are involved in their medical treatment and are given the opportunity to understand their diagnosis and treatment options. 2. ensure that individuals are not assigned to assisted living unit in a punitive manner for inmates that are medically non-compliant. 3. medication distribution that accommodates inmates who are unable to access med line due to disability. DRT monitored the response to the recommendations and the resulting implementation of agreed upon changes. DRT will continue to track issue reported by incarcerated women in this facility and monitor the implementation of these and any future recommendations. DRT was contacted by an inmate at a state correctional facility who was concerned for another inmate. It was reported that a 74-year-old Caucasian female inmate with dementia was not receiving the care she needed. The writer stated that our client was not eating or taking care of her activities of daily living (ADL) without promoting of other inmates. At the request of those inmates our client was moved to the assisted living unit at the facility but that the staff was not assisting her as the other inmates had and she was not showering or keeping herself clean. DRT met with the client, and reviewed our client’s records which were found to lack a plan of care for ensuring that our client’s ADL needs were being consistently met. Additionally, it was found that there was plan to monitor her care or disease progression. Therefore DRT advocated for: 1. Our client be evaluated by mental health to develop a plan of care for her MH diagnosis of Dementia. 2. A detailed plan of care be drafted an implemented to include; An inmate aid be assigned to assist our client with her daily care needs, a plan for assisting with commissary orders, Staff document meal consumption and daily hygiene care and staff report to medical if there are issues of concern regarding our client mental state. 3. Our client should be evaluated to determine if she would benefit from Level IV care. An individual living in a skilled nursing facility was able to successfully self-advocate for additional supports due to DRT self-advocacy training. Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) was contacted by a 57 year old Caucasian male with a mobility disability living in in a long term care facility. The caller informed DRT that he was having several minor issues in receiving supports needed at the facility. DRT Advocate educated the client on his patient rights and how to file a grievance. Caller was instructed to contact social services office in the facility and complete a grievance form for each issue he had. Client reported to DRT that he followed the outlined self-advocacy strategies and his issues were resolved. Priority 2: To ensure Tennesseans with disabilities have equal access to the same programs and services as Tennesseans without disabilities, and to increase opportunities for independent decision making and independent living for Tennesseans with disabilities Need addressed: Individuals with disabilities continue to experience communication discrimination in business and government settings. For example, many business and government providers are reluctant to provide auxiliary aids and services such as sign language interpreters and information in alternate formats. Individuals with disabilities also continue to experience discrimination in employment. Such discrimination includes refusal to hire, termination, and failure to grant necessary reasonable accommodations. In addition to discrimination in communication and employment, there continue to exist other discriminatory policies and practices which negatively impact people with disabilities. For example, some medical providers will not grant reasonable modifications necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to access critical healthcare services. The impact of these persistent discrimination touches many communities within Tennessee and various disability groups. Success Indicators: Successful individual and systemic advocacy, as well as collaborative efforts Cases: 72 (59 new cases in FY18) DRT continues to participate on municipal advisory boards to the mayor and collaborated with community agencies in efforts to make the major municipal areas of the state accessible for individuals with disabilities; to expand rights of individuals with disabilities; and to increase services to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities living in the municipality. After nearly 10 years, an individual who is deaf and has mental illness will finally be ensured effective communication with health care providers at her local hospital. A 51-year-old, Caucasian female (client) contacted Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) about a rural hospital not providing her with a sign language interpreter during an ER visit and subsequent hospitalization. Client had been going to this same rural hospital for nearly 10 years and nearly every time, the hospital failed to provide her with sign language interpreters so that she could effectively communicate medically relevant information with health care providers. Client felt discriminated against and confused as to her health care status. Thus, she contacted DRT for assistance. DRT determined that the rural hospital had just been purchased by a large health-care corporation. DRT contacted the compliance manager and attorney for the health-care corporation. The compliance manager happened to be a sign language interpreter herself, and the attorney had been counsel for a hospital in a prior case with DRT. The hospital recognized the problems at this small rural hospital and took immediate action to ensure effective communication through immediately contracting with six on-site interpreters, purchasing a Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) system for the first time, and training its employees regarding both the VRI system and how to contact the on-site interpreters. As a result, any individual with a disability who goes to this rural hospital should be provided with effective communication, including qualified sign language interpreters. Priority 3: Tennesseans with disabilities will understand their rights and how to self-advocate and Tennesseans without disabilities will develop cultural competency regarding the disability experience. As a result, Tennesseans with disabilities will be treated with respect and dignity and will be included in their communities. Needs Addressed: In recent data collection, Tennesseans with disabilities overwhelmingly noted increased stigma, discrimination, and a lack of sensitivity throughout the state and in all aspects of community life. Success Indicators: Completion of collaborative efforts and training efforts. DRT continues to play a leading role on an exciting collaboration among numerous disability rights organizations and state agencies on Supported Decision Making (SDM), an important new concept and practice that is spreading across the nation. The concept is opening the potential for individuals to seek less restrictive forms of support other than guardianship/conservatorship, where they can keep their rights and exercise them to their unique strengths and abilities so that the lives they lead are ones that they choose. In FY 2018 DRT achieved its goals of educating the community, including policy makers, about SDM at outreach events throughout the state. These efforts educated about the recent revisions to Tennessee code. Tennessee’s code now defines “least restrictive alternatives,” required when conservatorship is being considered, as “techniques and processes that preserve as many decision-making rights as possible for the person with a disability.” This change will help judges meet their affirmative duty of only imposing conservatorship when it is absolutely necessary. In the lead-up to the bill passing, DRT responded to concerns and questions the judiciary had about the bill on phone calls and in letters. We will continue as part of this collaboration to help Tennessee operationalize SDM in FY 2019. We continue to meet with our partners on this collaboration, and this group divides outreach events across the state. Every single individual that the group touches will be educated on a concept that could lead to important retained rights for people with disabilities, leading to increased self-determinism and self-advocacy, more confidence, employment, and independence, and less need for focus on protection rather than focus on individual strengths and potential. Priority 4: Students with disabilities in Tennessee will receive a free appropriate public education through appropriate implementation of educational plans, and educational rights will be protected through appropriate development and implementation of educational plans. Need addressed: Recent data has shown that there is little change in the needs within the education system in Tennessee. As stated before, there is an ongoing failure of Tennessee school systems to appropriately implement IEPs and 504 plans. These school systems also fail to develop appropriate Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. Success Indicators: Successful individual and systemic advocacy, as well as collaborative efforts Cases: 18 (18 new in FY18) DRT’s focus on systemic efforts within Tennessee school systems had many benefits for students with disabilities. Collaborations with partner agencies such as TN Voices for Children, STEP, The Arc, The Boling Center, and many other yielded the beginnings of processes that will continue to be implemented to improve access to a free, appropriate, public education for students with disabilities. One process of particular interest and promise is the development of a multi-agency, secure database to be used to record data related to barriers to education in school districts across the state. The proposal is for the partner agencies to analyze this information and formulate a plan of action to most efficiently address areas of concern. Another systemic effort centers on a collaboration with DRT legal staff and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Concerns were noted related to possible judicial overreach in the area of educational placement decisions. DRT legal staff reached out to AOC to begin review of information related to the issue. This work will continue in the next fiscal year, with a focus on disseminating information to the juvenile court system. Finally, DRT did extensive focused advocacy in educational systems that were determined to have a pattern of possible rights violations related to the provision of services for students with disabilities. Through numerous individual advocacy cases, tracking of IDEIA and Section 504 violations, listening sessions in the identified systems, and filing administrative and due process complaints as appropriate, systemic outcomes were attained in the targeted systems. Examples of systemic change include changes to school-wide policies related to participation of students with disabilities in extracurricular school activities and revision to practices related to consideration of all disabilities in manifestation determination for disciplinary actions. Collaborations continued to be a valuable tool for DRT’s efforts to ensure families across Tennessee receive appropriate special education services and have a better understanding of the rights of the students in their family. Through our collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Education (TNDOE), DRT participated on the Disproportionate Impact Advisory Committee. The United States Department of Education (USDOE) had identified Tennessee as a state with a disproportionate number of minority student referrals for special education services and for placement in alternative school settings. DRT worked with TNDOE to provide comment to USDOE, including possible flaws in calculation of disproportionality. DRT also assisted with collection and submittal of public comments related to the USDOE’s report. The issue of access to draft Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) was addressed through collaboration the Disability Coalition on Education (DCE). Until such time as the issue was taken on by DCE, parents of students with IEPs were not guaranteed access to a draft of their student’s IEP prior to the meeting at which the plan was to be finalized. As one of the many community partner members of DCE, DRT was instrumental in a change of policy within TNDOE requiring schools to provide draft IEPs to families a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the IEP meeting. Through the collaboration with DCE, general improvements in the Special Education Advisory Council’s (SAEC) engagement on issues related to students with disabilities were accomplished as well as a focus on increased participation on the SEAC by persons with disabilities as well as family members of persons with disabilities. A young man is no longer in a self-contained behavior class where he was put in isolation and is now attending an elementary school class in his school of zone with typical peers. The parent of a seven-year-old Caucasian male student with ADHD in an urban area contacted DRT because the school system would not agree to allow her son to attend school with typical peers and have access to the general education curriculum. In addition, he was not progressing academically as he should for his ability level. DRT provided legal consultation on strategies for the IEP meeting and materials on IEP goal development as well as the standard of progress and goals for students with disabilities. The student's parent used the information to advocate for her son who is now in his school of zone with typical peers, behavior supports, and appropriate goals. A student who was experiencing ongoing frustration due to lack of appropriate behavior supports is now more engaged in his daily classroom activities and improving focus. DRT was contacted by the parent of sixteen-year-old, Caucasian male diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, who resides in a rural county, requesting assistance obtaining appropriate behavior supports for his son. DRT worked with the school and the parents to revise the behavior support plan and add additional goals and accommodations to support the student's behavioral needs. DRT monitored for implementation of the plan. At closure in addition to the new plan, it was noted that the parent was using advocacy strategies taught by DRT to effectively communicate concerns with the staff and the school was responding appropriately to these concerns. Priority 5: Improve transportation access for Tennesseans with disabilities through statewide systemic efforts. Needs Addressed: Tennesseans with disabilities experience a significant lack of reliable transportation options throughout the state. This gap leads to barriers to employment, higher education, community living, and social interactions. Success indicators: Successful collaborative efforts. In an effort to accomplish our goal to identify and address transportation gaps through collaboration with stakeholders, the team decided to participate as a collaborative partner on committees and councils that advocated for accessible transportation options. During the course of the year, team members participated on four collaborations statewide. Some of the groups did not hold regular meetings and one collaboration had to be resigned from. A new collaboration toward the end of the year shows future promise for an opportunity to advocate for employment transportation options for people with disabilities. DRT transportation team members identified 20 transportation systems, private and/or public, that people with disabilities can access. These services could both lead DRT to identify collaborations to participate and advocate in and learn transportation available to people with disabilities across the state for DRT to monitor and evaluate. One example of results from these collaboration is that DRT participated in the newly re-formed Metro Nashville Airport Accessibility Committee (MNAA). This group was reconvened due to renovations at the airport. DRT provide input into the accessibility of the pending renovation projects that effect people with disabilities. One suggestion provided by DRT was for seating to be installed along the long international concourse and made recommendations for service animal relief areas to be included on both the secure and unsecure side of the airport.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

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

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

Priority 1: Tennesseans with disabilities will experience reduced abuse and neglect and have appropriate safeguards to ensure their legal and human rights. Need Addressed: As recent data collection showed, the needs addressed by this priority unfortunately remain unchanged from prior years. Individuals with disabilities continue to experience abuse and neglect in public and private facilities in Tennessee due to limited resources, lack of knowledge of service providers, lack of supervision by service providers, lack of effective oversight by administrators, and the failure to follow identified best practices. Anticipated Activities: Investigate complaints of and monitor facilities and programs for abuse, neglect, exploitation, or death. Prioritize incidents indicating underlying systemic problems that, if uncorrected, may result in additional harm to people with disabilities. Provide individual advocacy to enforce the rights of residents of facilities and participants in programs. Identify incidents of abuse and neglect that impact large numbers of Tennesseans with disabilities. As issues are identified, utilize all available advocacy methods to address identified issues. Priority 2: To ensure Tennesseans with disabilities have equal access to the same programs and services as Tennesseans without disabilities, and to increase opportunities for independent decision making and independent living for Tennesseans with disabilities Anticipated Activities: Provide individual advocacy, technical assistance, and litigation for individuals who have experienced a denial of equal access in programs or services; providing education, training, and self-advocacy skills as appropriate. Monitor opportunities to provide systemic advocacy for equal access to existing programs and services in Tennessee, in collaboration with outside consumer organizations via informed policy-making as well as educational training. Priority 3: Tennesseans with disabilities will understand their rights and how to self-advocate and Tennesseans without disabilities will develop cultural competency regarding the disability experience. As a result, Tennesseans with disabilities will be treated with respect and dignity and will be included in their communities. Needs Addressed: In recent data collection, Tennesseans with disabilities overwhelmingly noted increased stigma, discrimination, and a lack of sensitivity throughout the state and in all aspects of community life. Anticipated Activities: The public will be informed about rights and disability sensitivity by the use of targeted media campaign, as well as the development of targeted training and materials. Dissemination will continue to attempt to reach historically underserved and unserved communities. Collaboration with key disability stakeholders regarding policy initiatives will improve the respect, dignity, and integration of people with disabilities. Priority 4: Students with disabilities in Tennessee will receive a free appropriate public education through appropriate implementation of educational plans, and educational rights will be protected through appropriate development and implementation of educational plans. Need addressed: Recent data has shown that there is little change in the needs within the education system in Tennessee. As stated before, there is an ongoing failure of Tennessee school systems to appropriately implement IEPs and 504 plans. These school systems also fail to develop appropriate Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. Anticipated Activities: Students with disabilities across the State will receive individual advocacy for the development and implementation of IEP’s and 504 plans, especially those related to behavior supports. In addition, limited advocacy and technical assistance will be provided when appropriate. Systemic educational issues will be identified and focused advocacy will be utilized to address the issues found. Students in identified school systems will receive advocacy and training resulting in policy change and successful outcomes for students with disabilities. Through collaborative efforts with key education stakeholders, the public (including families of students with disabilities and agencies) will receive education and training statewide on Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavioral Intervention Plans.

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) 301,152.00 300,126 State Program income 849.23 Private All other funds 6,896.00 Total (from all sources) 308.897.23 300,126 B. Budget Category Prior Fiscal Year Current Fiscal Year Wages/salaries 156,801 143,903 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) 33,760 44,349 Materials/supplies 4,367 2,308 Postage 281 252 Telephone 3,562 2,797 Rent 23,535 17,678 Travel 5,581 7,203 Copying 188 1067 Bonding/insurance 1,755 1,888 Equipment (rental/purchase) 12,442 3,611 Legal services 0 100 Indirect costs 40,102 34,363 Miscellaneous 17,752 18,799 Total Budget 300,126 278,318 C. Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-years Professional Full-time 20 95 19 Part-time 2 100 2 Vacant Clerical Full-time 2 91.5 Part-time Vacant D. DRT does not have a PAIR advisory board E. DRT had 4 PAIR grievances in FY18 F. Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) has the CAP program. The Tennessee Long-term Care Ombudsman Program is not within DRT. There is a longstanding relationship between DRT. Both entities refer to one another, participate on community boards that impact individuals with disabilities living in long term care facilities, and provide training to one another.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByLisa Primm
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/21/2018