State Plan for the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and
State Plan Supplement for the State Supported Employment Services Program
Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired State Plan for Fiscal Year 2012 (submitted FY 2011)
2.1 Public participation requirements. (Section 101(a)(16)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.10(d), .20(a), (b), (d); and 363.11(g)(9))
(a) Conduct of public meetings.
(b) Notice requirements.
(c) Special consultation requirements.
3.1 Submission and revisions of the State Plan and its supplement. (Sections 101(a)(1), (23) and 625(a)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; Section 501 of the Workforce Investment Act; 34 CFR 76.140; 361.10(e), (f), and (g); and 363.10)
- comprehensive system of personnel development;
- assessments, estimates, goals and priorities, and reports of progress;
- innovation and expansion activities; and
- other updates of information required under Title I, Part B, or Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act that are requested by the commissioner.
3.2 Supported Employment State Plan supplement. (Sections 101(a)(22) and 625(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.34 and 363.10)
4.1 Designated state agency and designated state unit. (Section 101(a)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.13(a) and (b))
(a) Designated state agency.
- There is a state agency designated as the sole state agency to administer the State Plan or to supervise its administration in a political subdivision of the state by a sole local agency.
- The designated state agency is a state agency that is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and includes a vocational rehabilitation unit as provided in paragraph (b) of this section (Option B was selected/Option A was not selected)
- In American Samoa, the designated state agency is the governor.
(b) Designated state unit.
- If the designated state agency is not primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(B) of this section, the state agency includes a vocational rehabilitation bureau, division or unit that:
- is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and is responsible for the administration of the designated state agency's vocational rehabilitation program under the State Plan;
- has a full-time director;
- has a staff, at least 90 percent of whom are employed full-time on the rehabilitation work of the organizational unit; and
- is located at an organizational level and has an organizational status within the designated state agency comparable to that of other major organizational units of the designated state agency.
- The name of the designated state vocational rehabilitation unit is
4.2 State independent commission or State Rehabilitation Council. (Sections 101(a)(21) and 105 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.16 and .17)
- is responsible under state law for operating or overseeing the operation of the vocational rehabilitation program in the state and is primarily concerned with the vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities in accordance with subparagraph 4.1(a)(2)(A) of this section.
- is consumer controlled by persons who:
- are individuals with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities; and
- represent individuals with a broad range of disabilities, unless the designated state unit under the direction of the commission is the state agency for individuals who are blind;
- includes family members, advocates or other representatives of individuals with mental impairments; and
- undertakes the functions set forth in Section 105(c)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(h)(4).
4.3 Consultations regarding the administration of the State Plan. (Section 101(a)(16)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.21)
(a) individuals and groups of individuals who are recipients of vocational rehabilitation services or, as appropriate, the individuals' representatives;
(b) personnel working in programs that provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(c) providers of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
(d) the director of the Client Assistance Program; and
(e) the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
4.4 Nonfederal share. (Sections 7(14) and 101(a)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 80.24 and 361.60)
4.5 Local administration. (Sections 7(24) and 101(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47) and .15)
(a) ensures that each local agency is under the supervision of the designated state unit with the sole local agency, as that term is defined in Section 7(24) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(47), responsible for the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program within the political subdivision that it serves; and
(b) develops methods that each local agency will use to administer the vocational rehabilitation program in accordance with the State Plan.
4.6 Shared funding and administration of joint programs. (Section 101(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.27)
(a) a description of the nature and scope of the joint program;
(b) the services to be provided under the joint program;
(c) the respective roles of each participating agency in the administration and provision of services; and
(d) the share of the costs to be assumed by each agency.
4.7 Statewideness and waivers of statewideness. (Section 101(a)(4) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.25, .26, and .60(b)(3)(i) and (ii))
(a) Services provided under the State Plan are available in all political subdivisions of the state.
(b) The state unit may provide services in one or more political subdivisions of the state that increase services or expand the scope of services that are available statewide under this State Plan if the:
- nonfederal share of the cost of these services is met from funds provided by a local public agency, including funds contributed to a local public agency by a private agency, organization or individual;
- services are likely to promote the vocational rehabilitation of substantially larger numbers of individuals with disabilities or of individuals with disabilities with particular types of impairments; and
- state, for purposes other than the establishment of a community rehabilitation program or the construction of a particular facility for community rehabilitation program purposes, requests in Attachment 4.7(b)(3) a waiver of the statewideness requirement in accordance with the following requirements:
- identification of the types of services to be provided;
- written assurance from the local public agency that it will make available to the state unit the nonfederal share of funds;
- written assurance that state unit approval will be obtained for each proposed service before it is put into effect; and
- written assurance that all other State Plan requirements, including a state's order of selection, will apply to all services approved under the waiver.
(c) Contributions, consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR 361.60(b)(3)(ii), by private entities of earmarked funds for particular geographic areas within the state may be used as part of the nonfederal share without the state requesting a waiver of the statewideness requirement provided that the state notifies the commissioner that it cannot provide the full nonfederal share without using the earmarked funds.
4.8 Cooperation, collaboration and coordination. (Sections 101(a)(11), (24)(B), and 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.22, .23, .24, and .31, and 363.11(e))
(a) Cooperative agreements with other components of statewide work force investment system.
(b) Cooperation and coordination with other agencies and entities.
- cooperation with and use of the services and facilities of the federal, state, and local agencies and programs, including programs carried out by the undersecretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture and state use contracting programs, to the extent that those agencies and programs are not carrying out activities through the statewide work force investment system;
- coordination, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 4.8(c) of this section, with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services;
- establishment of cooperative agreements with private nonprofit vocational rehabilitation service providers, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 5.10(b) of the State Plan; and,
- efforts to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and entities with respect to the provision of supported employment and extended services for individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with the requirements of subsection 6.5 of the supplement to this State Plan.
(c) Coordination with education officials.
- Attachment 4.8(b)(2) describes the plans, policies and procedures for coordination between the designated state agency and education officials responsible for the public education of students with disabilities that are designed to facilitate the transition of the students who are individuals with disabilities from the receipt of educational services in school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services under the responsibility of the designated state agency.
- The State Plan description must:
- provide for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment in accordance with 34 CFR 361.45 as early as possible during the transition planning process but, at the latest, before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting; and
- include information on a formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency that, at a minimum, provides for:
- consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to postschool activities, including vocational rehabilitation services;
- transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and the educational agency for students with disabilities that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs under Section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services; and
- procedures for outreach to students with disabilities as early as possible during the transition planning process and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.
(d) Coordination with statewide independent living council and independent living centers.
(e) Cooperative agreement with recipients of grants for services to American Indians.
- There is in the state a recipient(s) of a grant under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for American Indians who are individuals with disabilities residing on or near federal and state reservations. Yes
- If "Yes", the designated state agency has entered into a formal cooperative agreement that meets the following requirements with each grant recipient in the state that receives funds under Part C of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act:
- strategies for interagency referral and information sharing that will assist in eligibility determinations and the development of individualized plans for employment;
- procedures for ensuring that American Indians who are individuals with disabilities and are living near a reservation or tribal service area are provided vocational rehabilitation services; and
- provisions for sharing resources in cooperative studies and assessments, joint training activities, and other collaborative activities designed to improve the provision of services to American Indians who are individuals with disabilities.
4.9 Methods of administration. (Section 101(a)(6) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.12, .19 and .51(a) and (b))
(a) In general.
(b) Employment of individuals with disabilities.
4.10 Comprehensive system of personnel development. (Section 101(a)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.18)
(a) Data system on personnel and personnel development.
- Qualified personnel needs.
- The number of personnel who are employed by the state agency in the provision of vocational rehabilitation services in relation to the number of individuals served, broken down by personnel category;
- The number of personnel currently needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services, broken down by personnel category; and
- Projections of the number of personnel, broken down by personnel category, who will be needed by the state agency to provide vocational rehabilitation services in the state in five years based on projections of the number of individuals to be served, including individuals with significant disabilities, the number of personnel expected to retire or leave the field, and other relevant factors.
- Personnel development.
- A list of the institutions of higher education in the state that are preparing vocational rehabilitation professionals, by type of program;
- The number of students enrolled at each of those institutions, broken down by type of program; and
- The number of students who graduated during the prior year from each of those institutions with certification or licensure, or with the credentials for certification or licensure, broken down by the personnel category for which they have received, or have the credentials to receive, certification or licensure.
(b) Plan for recruitment, preparation and retention of qualified personnel.
(c) Personnel standards.
- standards that are consistent with any national- or state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or, in the absence of these requirements, other comparable requirements (including state personnel requirements) that apply to the profession or discipline in which such personnel are providing vocational rehabilitation services.
- To the extent that existing standards are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to a particular profession or discipline, the steps the state is currently taking and the steps the state plans to take in accordance with the written plan to retrain or hire personnel within the designated state unit to meet standards that are based on the highest requirements in the state, including measures to notify designated state unit personnel, the institutions of higher education identified in subparagraph (a)(2), and other public agencies of these steps and the time lines for taking each step.
- The written plan required by subparagraph (c)(2) describes the following:
- specific strategies for retraining, recruiting and hiring personnel;
- the specific time period by which all state unit personnel will meet the standards required by subparagraph (c)(1);
- procedures for evaluating the designated state unit's progress in hiring or retraining personnel to meet applicable personnel standards within the established time period; and
- the identification of initial minimum qualifications that the designated state unit will require of newly hired personnel when the state unit is unable to hire new personnel who meet the established personnel standards and the identification of a plan for training such individuals to meet the applicable standards within the time period established for all state unit personnel to meet the established personnel standards.
(d) Staff development.
- A system of staff development for professionals and paraprofessionals within the designated state unit, particularly with respect to assessment, vocational counseling, job placement and rehabilitation technology.
- Procedures for the acquisition and dissemination to designated state unit professionals and paraprofessionals significant knowledge from research and other sources.
(e) Personnel to address individual communication needs.
(f) Coordination of personnel development under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
4.11. Statewide assessment; annual estimates; annual state goals and priorities; strategies; and progress reports.
(a) Comprehensive statewide assessment.
- Attachment 4.11(a) documents the results of a comprehensive, statewide assessment, jointly conducted every three years by the designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council (if the state has such a council). The assessment describes:
- the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program carried out under this State Plan; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide work force investment system.
- The need to establish, develop or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
- For any year in which the state updates the assessments, the designated state unit submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding updates to the assessments.
(b) Annual estimates.
- number of individuals in the state who are eligible for services under the plan;
- number of eligible individuals who will receive services provided with funds provided under Part B of Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and under Part B of Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act, including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection in accordance with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of this State Plan, estimates of the number of individuals to be served under each priority category within the order; and
- costs of the services described in subparagraph (b)(1), including, if the designated state agency uses an order of selection, the service costs for each priority category within the order.
(c) Goals and priorities.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(1) identifies the goals and priorities of the state that are jointly developed or revised, as applicable, with and agreed to by the State Rehabilitation Council, if the agency has a council, in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
- The designated state agency submits to the commissioner a report containing information regarding any revisions in the goals and priorities for any year the state revises the goals and priorities.
- Order of selection.
If the state agency implements an order of selection, consistent with subparagraph 5.3(b)(2) of the State Plan, Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order; and
- identifies the service and outcome goals, and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds.
Attachment 4.11(c)(4) specifies, consistent with subsection 6.4 of the State Plan supplement, the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under Section 622 of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of supported employment services.
- Attachment 4.11(d) describes the strategies, including:
- the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities, including how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to those individuals at each stage of the rehabilitation process and how those services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis;
- outreach procedures to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities in accordance with subsection 6.6 of the State Plan supplement, and individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program;
- as applicable, the plan of the state for establishing, developing or improving community rehabilitation programs;
- strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- strategies for assisting other components of the statewide work force investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the designated state agency uses these strategies to:
- address the needs identified in the assessment conducted under paragraph 4.11(a) and achieve the goals and priorities identified in the State Plan attachments under paragraph 4.11(c);
- support the innovation and expansion activities identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) of the plan; and
- overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and State Supported Employment Services Program.
(e) Evaluation and reports of progress.
- The designated state unit and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state unit has a council, jointly submits to the commissioner an annual report on the results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program and the progress made in improving the effectiveness of the program from the previous year.
- Attachment 4.11(e)(2):
- provides an evaluation of the extent to which the goals identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3) were achieved;
- identifies the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals and priorities;
- describes the factors that impeded their achievement, to the extent they were not achieved;
- assesses the performance of the state on the standards and indicators established pursuant to Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- provides a report consistent with paragraph 4.12(c) of the plan on how the funds reserved for innovation and expansion activities were utilized in the preceding year.
4.12 Innovation and expansion. (Section 101(a)(18) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.35)
(a) The designated state agency reserves and uses a portion of the funds allotted to the state under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for the:
- development and implementation of innovative approaches to expand and improve the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under this State Plan, particularly individuals with the most significant disabilities, consistent with the findings of the statewide assessment identified in Attachment 4.11(a) and goals and priorities of the state identified in Attachments 4.11(c)(1) and, if applicable, Attachment 4.11(c)(3); and
- support of the funding for the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 105(d)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.17(i), and the funding of the Statewide Independent Living Council, consistent with the resource plan prepared under Section 705(e)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 364.21(i).
(b) Attachment 4.11 (d) describes how the reserved funds identified in subparagraph 4.12(a)(1) and (2) will be utilized.
(c) Attachment 4.11(e)(2) describes how the reserved funds were utilized in the preceding year.
4.13 Reports. (Section 101(a)(10) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.40)
(a) The designated state unit submits reports in the form and level of detail and at the time required by the commissioner regarding applicants for and eligible individuals receiving services under the State Plan.
(b) Information submitted in the reports provides a complete count, unless sampling techniques are used, of the applicants and eligible individuals in a manner that permits the greatest possible cross-classification of data and protects the confidentiality of the identity of each individual.
5.1 Information and referral services. (Sections 101(a)(5)(D) and (20) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.37)
5.2 Residency. (Section 101(a)(12) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.42(c)(1))
5.3 Ability to serve all eligible individuals; order of selection for services. (Sections 12(d) and 101(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.36)
(a) The designated state unit is able to provide the full range of services listed in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, as appropriate, to all eligible individuals with disabilities in the state who apply for services. Yes
(b) If No:
- Individuals with the most significant disabilities, in accordance with criteria established by the state, are selected first for vocational rehabilitation services before other individuals with disabilities.
- Attachment 4.11(c)(3):
- shows the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services;
- provides a justification for the order of selection; and
- identifies the state's service and outcome goals and the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Eligible individuals who do not meet the order of selection criteria have access to the services provided through the designated state unit's information and referral system established under Section 101(a)(20) of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR 361.37, and subsection 5.1 of this State Plan.
5.4 Availability of comparable services and benefits. (Sections 101(a)(8) and 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.53)
(a) Prior to providing any vocational rehabilitation services, except those services identified in paragraph (b), to an eligible individual or to members of the individual's family, the state unit determines whether comparable services and benefits exist under any other program and whether those services and benefits are available to the individual.
(b) The following services are exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits:
- assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs by qualified personnel, including, if appropriate, an assessment by personnel skilled in rehabilitation technology;
- counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice consistent with the provisions of Section 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act;
- referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies, including other components of the statewide work force investment system, through agreements developed under Section 101(a)(11) of the Rehabilitation Act, if such services are not available under this State Plan;
- job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services;
- rehabilitation technology, including telecommunications, sensory and other technological aids and devices; and
- post-employment services consisting of the services listed under subparagraphs (1) through (5) of this paragraph.
(c) The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply if the determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits under any other program would interrupt or delay:
- progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome identified in the individualized plan for employment;
- an immediate job placement; or
- provision of vocational rehabilitation services to any individual who is determined to be at extreme medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate qualified medical professional.
(d) The governor in consultation with the designated state vocational rehabilitation agency and other appropriate agencies ensures that an interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination that meets the requirements of Section 101(a)(8)(B)(i)-(iv) of the Rehabilitation Act takes effect between the designated state unit and any appropriate public entity, including the state Medicaid program, a public institution of higher education, and a component of the statewide work force investment system to ensure the provision of the vocational rehabilitation services identified in Section 103(a) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.48, other than the services identified in paragraph (b) of this section, that are included in the individualized plan for employment of an eligible individual, including the provision of those vocational rehabilitation services during the pendency of any dispute that may arise in the implementation of the interagency agreement or other mechanism for interagency coordination.
5.5 Individualized plan for employment. (Section 101(a)(9) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.45 and .46)
(a) An individualized plan for employment meeting the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and implemented in a timely manner for each individual determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, except if the state has implemented an order of selection, and is developed and implemented for each individual to whom the designated state unit is able to provide vocational rehabilitation services.
(b) Services to an eligible individual are provided in accordance with the provisions of the individualized plan for employment.
5.6 Opportunity to make informed choices regarding the selection of services and providers. (Sections 101(a)(19) and 102(d) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.52)
5.7 Services to American Indians. (Section 101(a)(13) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.30)
5.8 Annual review of individuals in extended employment or other employment under special certificate provisions of the fair labor standards act of 1938. (Section 101(a)(14) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.55)
(a) The designated state unit conducts an annual review and reevaluation of the status of each individual with a disability served under this State Plan:
- who has achieved an employment outcome in which the individual is compensated in accordance with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 214(c)); or
- whose record of services is closed while the individual is in extended employment on the basis that the individual is unable to achieve an employment outcome in an integrated setting or that the individual made an informed choice to remain in extended employment.
(b) The designated state unit carries out the annual review and reevaluation for two years after the individual's record of services is closed (and thereafter if requested by the individual or, if appropriate, the individual's representative) to determine the interests, priorities and needs of the individual with respect to competitive employment or training for competitive employment.
(c) The designated state unit makes maximum efforts, including the identification and provision of vocational rehabilitation services, reasonable accommodations and other necessary support services, to assist the individuals described in paragraph (a) in engaging in competitive employment.
(d) The individual with a disability or, if appropriate, the individual's representative has input into the review and reevaluation and, through signed acknowledgement, attests that the review and reevaluation have been conducted.
5.9 Use of Title I funds for construction of facilities. (Sections 101(a)(17) and 103(b)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.49(a)(1), .61 and .62(b))
(a) The federal share of the cost of construction for facilities for a fiscal year does not exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the state's allotment under Section 110 of the Rehabilitation Act for that fiscal year.
(b) The provisions of Section 306 of the Rehabilitation Act that were in effect prior to the enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 apply to such construction.
(c) There is compliance with the requirements in 34 CFR 361.62(b) that ensure the use of the construction authority will not reduce the efforts of the designated state agency in providing other vocational rehabilitation services other than the establishment of facilities for community rehabilitation programs.
5.10 Contracts and cooperative agreements. (Section 101(a)(24) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.31 and .32)
(a) Contracts with for-profit organizations.
(b) Cooperative agreements with private nonprofit organizations.
Section 6: Program Administration
6.1 Designated state agency. (Section 625(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(a))
6.2 Statewide assessment of supported employment services needs. (Section 625(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(b))
6.3 Quality, scope and extent of supported employment services. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(c) and .50(b)(2))
6.4 Goals and plans for distribution of Title VI, Part B, funds. (Section 625(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(d) and .20)
6.5 Evidence of collaboration with respect to supported employment services and extended services. (Sections 625(b)(4) and (5) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(e))
6.6 Minority outreach. (34 CFR 363.11(f))
6.7 Reports. (Sections 625(b)(8) and 626 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(h) and .52)
7.1 Five percent limitation on administrative costs. (Section 625(b)(7) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.11(g)(8))
7.2 Use of funds in providing services. (Sections 623 and 625(b)(6)(A) and (D) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 363.6(c)(2)(iv), .11(g)(1) and (4))
(a) Funds made available under Title VI, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act are used by the designated state agency only to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are eligible to receive such services.
(b) Funds provided under Title VI, Part B, are used only to supplement and not supplant the funds provided under Title I, Part B, of the Rehabilitation Act, in providing supported employment services specified in the individualized plan for employment.
(c) Funds provided under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act are not used to provide extended services to individuals who are eligible under Part B of Title VI or Title I of the Rehabilitation Act.
8.1 Scope of supported employment services. (Sections 7(36) and 625(b)(6)(F) and (G) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54), 363.11(g)(6) and (7))
(a) Supported employment services are those services as defined in Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.5(b)(54).
(b) To the extent job skills training is provided, the training is provided on-site.
(c) Supported employment services include placement in an integrated setting for the maximum number of hours possible based on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
8.2 Comprehensive assessments of individuals with significant disabilities. (Sections 7(2)(B) and 625(b)(6)(B); 34 CFR 361.5(b)(6)(ii) and 363.11(g)(2))
8.3 Individualized plan for employment. (Sections 102(b)(3)(F) and 625(b)(6)(C) and (E) of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 CFR 361.46(b) and 363.11(g)(3) and (5))
(a) An individualized plan for employment that meets the requirements of Section 102(b) of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 CFR 361.45 and .46 is developed and updated using funds under Title I.
(b) The individualized plan for employment:
- specifies the supported employment services to be provided;
- describes the expected extended services needed; and
- identifies the source of extended services, including natural supports, or, to the extent that it is not possible to identify the source of extended services at the time the individualized plan for employment plan is developed, a statement describing the basis for concluding that there is a reasonable expectation that sources will become available.
(c) Services provided under an individualized plan for employment are coordinated with services provided under other individualized plans established under other federal or state programs.
Required annually by all agencies except those agencies that are independent consumer-controlled commissions.
Identify the Input provided by the state rehabilitation council, including recommendations from the council's annual report, the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction, and other council reports. Be sure to also include:
- the Designated state unit's response to the input and recommendations; and
- explanations for the designated state unit's rejection of any input or recommendation of the council.
The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) works closely with DBVI leadership and staff on many aspects of our service delivery system. The primary objective of the SRC is to be a direct influence for improving the responsiveness of VR services in Maine. During the past year, the SRC has been involved in many activities with DBVI.
The SRC compiled Customer Satisfaction Survey results. DBVI received a rating of 94% overall satisfied (good — excellent) on its Customer Satisfaction Surveys.
A statewide public hearing was held on June 15, 2011 using the ‘Polycom’ system which connected Career Center sites in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, Presque Isle and Augusta. These locations were advertised in a number of newspapers as well as on a statewide Radio Reading Service (Maine AIRS), the Blind Forum and the DOL website. This time was used to review, answer any questions and address concerns of the 2012 draft State Plan. The full SRC was provided a copy of the 2012 draft state plan and given an opportunity to make comments. SRC or DBVI staff were present at each location.
There has been a large change in membership with the Maine DBVI SRC this past year. The new members have a lot of new ideas to increase and expand outreach activities so more individuals will learn about DBVI services.
In an effort to connect the SRC more directly with the state plan, DBVI will look into the possibility of building a folder in the public folders section of its email system for SRC and their comments. This way any thoughts or suggestions that come up to the SRC members, they could input those directly into the folders.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 1:01PM by Brenda Drummond
Describe interagency cooperation with and utilization of the services and facilities of agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce investment system with respect to
- Federal, state, and local agencies and programs;
- if applicable, Programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development of the United States Department of Agriculture; and
- if applicable, state use contracting programs.
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired has continued the use of cooperative planning to expand and enhance the work of rehabilitation for consumers who are blind or have low vision. DBVI works in conjunction with other agencies that are not in the statewide workforce investment system.
The Division works cooperatively with University of Southern Maine and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) (to include Coastal Enterprise Inc, a private, non-profit organization) in assisting and supporting consumers who are interested in self-employment opportunities. The consumer works with his/her VR Counselor to learn more about self-employment prior to being referred to a business counselor at the SBDC. Each consumer that wants to pursue an employment goal through self-employment is required to research the business and develop a business plan. The business counselor provides expertise/guidance on the business plan prior to approving the plan. This process helps to guide the consumer in the right direction by providing more information to make an informed choice about self-employment and whether or not it is right for him/her.
The staff, from the DBVI regional offices, have been involved in teaming efforts with the staff at the Veterans Administration (VA) program at the Togus, VA hospital to provide services not provided by the VA to veterans who are blind or have low vision. A Memorandum Of Understanding with the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program has been developed and signed by both parties.
The Division works collaboratively with representatives of the Maine State University system to explore ways to effectively integrate VR services and community colleges statewide to ensure that the financial issues of students who are blind or have low vision are being addressed.
This screen was last updated on Sep 14 2011 2:50PM by Brenda Drummond
- Describe the designated state unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services, including provisions for the development and approval of an individualized plan for employment before each student determined to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services leaves the school setting or, if the designated state unit is operating on an order of selection, before each eligible student able to be served under the order leaves the school setting.
- Provide information on the formal interagency agreement with the state educational agency with respect to
- consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including VR services;
- transition planning by personnel of the designated state agency and educational agency that facilitates the development and completion of their individualized education programs;
- roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of each agency, including provisions for determining state lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services;
- procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who need transition services.
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, along with the Department of Education developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In an effort to capture changes in resources and maximize our on-going efforts between agencies, the MOU has been updated. The updated version addresses topics such as youth in transition and reflects changes in federal and state legislation since the original MOU was written. The existing MOU reflects coordination of staff training and development, strategies for determining financial responsibility, as well as dispute resolution procedures.
The purpose of this collaboration with DOE is to promote and establish a process that results in an effective working relationship between state agencies on behalf of, and with youth with disabilities, in order to gain the greatest benefit from their respective programs and services. Specific areas of collaboration include: consultation, technical assistance, transition planning, roles and responsibilities, financial responsibilities of each agency and procedures for outreach and identification.
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Department of Education (DOE), Division of Applied Technology, Division of Special Services, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Department of Labor, Department of Corrections, Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, parents, consumers, and private agency providers continue to work together regionally and statewide, to update agreements on transition. The transition agreement with the Department of Education defines and strengthens the relationships with DOE and calls for identification of students with disabilities, both in Special Education and regular programs, in order to plan their transition before graduation. The agreement focuses upon the needs of the individual student and allows for flexibility and professional judgment to be exercised by personnel. It also spells out the roles of each agency in referral, outreach, and the provision of service. The blindness-specific curriculum elements and services that are identified in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) facilitate the achievement of the employment goal, which is further developed in the Vocational Rehabilitation Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE is developed by DBVI, the student and parent(s), utilizing the interests, strengths, and needs of the student.
Local transition events continue to be effective in connecting employment programs, vocational programs, and special education programs to employers as an aid to sorting out career options, developing successful work histories, and creating jobs for students. As a result of the elimination of funds for COT, Maine Parent Federation has begun to provide training/information for parents to function as case managers for their children and espousing the notion of choice for students in transition. Service coordination between the schools and the adult agencies serving people with disabilities has been strengthened through the catalyst of COT project staff providing local school systems with technical assistance in transition planning.
This screen was last updated on Jun 17 2011 1:52PM by Brenda Drummond
Describe the manner in which the designated state agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers.
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired contracts with private non-profit providers through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, which is facilitated by the Division of Purchases, Bureau of General Services. We work closely with contracted community providers to ensure that their staff is qualified to deliver rehabilitation services for individuals who are blind or have low vision. DBVI sponsors joint events, which cover a variety of topics such as the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act, with its inclusion in the Workforce Investment Act; promotion of informed consumer choice in all services; : monitoring of consumer satisfaction with these services; and blindness-specific skills training.
The primary community provider for adult blindness rehabilitation services for DBVI continues to maintain its’ National Accreditation Council (NAC) accreditation for delivery of rehabilitation services for people who are blind.
DBVI also contracts with other community providers on a fee for service basis. Some of the services are job development and coaching, assistive technology, low vision rehabilitation, adjustment to blindness counseling and transportation. The Division will continue the expansion of the number and types of service providers available to consumers who are blind or have low vision.
This screen was last updated on Jun 17 2011 1:53PM by Brenda Drummond
Describe the efforts of the designated state agency to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other state agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide the following services to individuals with the most significant disabilities:
- supported employment services; and
- extended services.
The Division has remained committed to assuring that individuals with the most severe disabilities receive supported employment services when this is appropriate. An Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) is developed that describes the services provided, the need for extended services, if appropriate, and an assurance that the individual has been able to make an informed choice in the provision of these services and the goal itself.
DBVI staff participate in meetings with the Division of Adult Mental Health Services (DAMHS) and the Division of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disability Services (DACPDS) to discuss how to work more effectively in assisting consumers in obtaining employment with appropriate and necessary supports. The objective of these meetings is to get people together regularly to provide the opportunity for face-to-face communication so that we can better network services, increase understanding of program and resource limitations, and refine procedures. As a result of regular meetings with Community Rehabilitation Providers, DHHS, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the DBVI continue to advocate with the DACPDS agency for increased state financial support for extended support and supported employment services. Another outcome of these meetings has been increased collaboration at the local level in troubleshooting individual consumer circumstances.
The Division will continue regular consultation at both state and local levels with the DHHS.
This screen was last updated on Jun 17 2011 1:55PM by Brenda Drummond
Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development
The Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired believes that in order to ensure a high level of skilled staff to deliver quality services to consumers, the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) plan must address long-range college training needs for qualified rehabilitation blindness professionals and paraprofessionals. In addition, the CSPD must provide short-term training needs that allow for continuous learning and the maintenance of Certification to include Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credentials, Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) for Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialists and Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (VRT).
Maine DBVI currently does not have a wait list for individuals seeking services. It is anticipated that approximately 1,020 VR individuals will be served in FFY 2012. The average caseload for the past five years has ranged from 77 — 91, with an overall average of 80 clients per one FTE. However, at any given moment, that average caseload of 80 clients could increase with an additional 20-30 clients moving in and out of the system throughout the year resulting in as many as 110 clients per caseload. We expect these numbers to remain fairly consistent going forward. DBVI has experienced a turnover of counselors but expects that trend to decrease over the next five years. Based on the number of personnel and the previous numbers served, the number of individuals we expect to serve over the next five years should have a range of 760-1020. We predict that will include 100% of individuals with significant disabilities due to the population that DBVI serves.
Current service delivery is performed by DBVI staff, which consists of staff as outlined in the table below.
All O&M/VRT staff currently are ACVREP certified or certifiable, with the exception of one who is out on extended medical leave. One O&M is still vacant but we anticipate filling that prior to the end of the fiscal year.
During this fiscal year, four of the VRCs meet the qualified staff requirements. Four additional VRCs are working on their requirements to become qualified staff. To date we have two VR Counselor vacancies that we have not received permission to fill. Two VRCs have retired during this fiscal period.
The Division continues to have four paraprofessional staff.
It can be projected that DBVI staffing needs could include as many as eight staff including three VRC II in the next five years.
|Row||Job Title||Total positions||Current vacancies||Projected vacancies over the next 5 years|
|2||Rehabiliation Services Manager||2||0||1|
|3||Regional Director - Rehabilitation Services||2||0||0|
|4||Blindness Rehabilitation Specialist||3||0||1|
|5||Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II||8||3||3|
|6||Paraprofessional VRC I||4||0||1|
|9||Business Enterprise Program Staff||3||0||0|
|10||Orientation & Mobility Specialist||10||1||2|
Maine has only one in-state institution of higher education, the University of Southern Maine (USM), that offers an educational program which satisfies the standards set forth by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for states lacking a state standard for fully qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors (i.e. qualifies to sit for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) exam). Unfortunately, USM does not offer RSA grant funding to rehabilitation program participants. Maine DBVI utilizes distance educational programs that offer RSA grant funding to participants in order to leverage our training funds. University of Wisconsin-Stout and Assumption College in Massachusetts previously offered on-line graduate programs with RSA funding; however, we currently do not have any staff enrolled in either of these programs. University of Virginia-Commonwealth currently has a RSA sponsored program. Maine DBVI has one VRC enrolled in the On-Line graduate program and is in his second year. One new hire has applied and will begin in September 2011. Maine has one other VRC that needs to complete two courses to be eligible to take the CRC. In total, Maine DBVI has four VRC II staff that do not currently meet the fully qualified VRC standard but are working towards the standard.
|Row||Institutions||Students enrolled||Employees sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates sponsored by agency and/or RSA||Graduates from the previous year|
|2||University of Wisconsin-Stout||0||0||0||0|
|3||University of Virginia-Commonwealth||3||3||0||0|
|4||University of Southern Maine||0||1||0||1|
Despite the low salary scale for professional staff, Maine DBVI has had an adequate track record for recruitment and outstanding track record for retention of qualified staff. However, it continues to be a major concern for the future. In FFY 2009, an appeal to reclassify the salary scales for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, supported by Maine DBVI, was successful. Equally important for retention of qualified personnel was the ability for DBVI to successfully reclassify several other positions. In addition to looking at salary scales, the following strategies of the Division are utilized in order to retain qualified staff: Support of the use of flex time, support of training and dual certification, CSPD committee representation from all disciplines and regions, and financial support for certification maintenance. Although State Government in Maine is currently subject to a hiring freeze, the Division, through its close work with the State of Maine’s Bureau of Human Resources (BHR), has often been provided an exemption status to this hiring freeze when filling vacancies for VRC II positions. Recent recruitment efforts, which have included electronic vacancy postings on national and State of Maine websites, local postings with community providers and through information sharing with Maine and other Northeast regional colleges that offer a rehabilitation/blindness program, have yielded increased and more highly credentialed candidates. Recruitment methods used continue to be extensive and include internet postings on a variety of specific and general job bank sites, ongoing contact with graduate programs throughout the country, promotion of Maine DBVI staffing opportunities at national conferences, networking with Community Rehabilitation Providers, other state agencies, our contracted partners, and offering internship opportunities to pre-and post-graduate level students, as well as job listings in Maine Career Centers.
The State of Maine promotes the employment of persons from diverse backgrounds. In February 2006, then Governor Baldacci issued an executive order calling for the state to better promote state jobs to persons with disabilities, to identify difficult-to-fill jobs, and to survey state workers about their disabilities and experiences with state government. The Bureau of Human Resources provides a system, referred to as ‘Special Appointment’, to facilitate the recruitment of people from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities in filling State government vacancies. Through this initiative, the individual must meet the qualifications for the position and then can be hired under this program in an “acting capacity” for up to one year. The worker receives the same pay and health benefits as other workers, but does not accumulate seniority time. If at any time during this year the supervisor deems the worker has performed their duties satisfactorily, he/she will be placed in the position as a new employee and the usual probationary period will begin. A unique feature of this initiative is that the Human Resources Department throughout all of state government is centrally connected to this process, which allows for people with disabilities from anywhere within the state to be contacted at the very first point we become aware that we will be having an open position. In this manner we can recruit from across a comprehensive network to fill vacancies within DBVI, as long as they meet the qualifications of our position. Once hired through this Special Appointment process, the individual will have available all CSPD programs to support the retention and training of qualified staff.
Maine DBVI personnel requirements and hiring practices are aligned with the Rehabilitation Act mandates and its regulations. Maine DBVI does not have an established state standard for fully qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors so defers to the Rehabilitation Services Administration standard whereby an individual must possess a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, CRC status, or be eligible to sit for the CRC examination when filling Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor II vacancies. Applicants and staff who possess masters degrees in counseling or a counseling-related degree, defined as Social Work, Psychology, Special Education, and Counseling also meet the standard if a graduate course in Theories and Techniques of Counseling course was completed as part of the degree requirements and additional graduate courses have been completed with a primary focus on Assessment, Occupational Information or Placement, Medical or Psychosocial Aspects of Disabilities, and in Community Resources or Delivery of Rehabilitation Services. In Maine, DBVI requires that new hires lacking fully qualified status enter into educational plans designed to achieve fully qualified status as a condition of employment and anticipates that some new employees may require up to five years to achieve qualified status. If there are extenuating circumstances, a new plan will be developed and the time may be extended. If the employee is still unable to achieve qualified status and it affects the performance of his/her job, disciplinary steps will be put in place through the annual performance appraisal process.
DBVI also supports educational programming for existing staff seeking to meet fully qualified status and, for those who have achieved CRC status and require on-going CRC training credits. Maine DBVI personnel standards for O&M/VRT staff are the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) certified or certifiable. ACVREP website explains: The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) offers professional certification for vision rehabilitation and education professionals in order to improve service delivery to persons with vision impairments. ACVREP is committed to quality certification programs that meet rigorous recognized standards. Programs are designed to offer applicants the means to demonstrate that professional knowledge and skills that promote the provision of quality service and ethical practice. ACVREP offers certification in three disciplines: Low Vision Therapy, Orientation & Mobility, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (formerly Rehabilitation Teaching). Individuals who possess ACVREP certification demonstrate a level of quality and care that is unmatched in the field.
When recruiting or hiring new staff, Maine DBVI gives preference to fully qualified individuals. If, however, it is necessary to meet a critical agency staffing need and recruitment efforts do not result in the identification and securing of suitable candidates who meet the DBVI hiring standard, individuals can be hired conditionally subject to agreement and implementation of a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) plan to acquire the appropriate credentials toward becoming fully qualified. CSPD plans and schedules for completion, with timeframes responsive to the needs to the individual counselor, and agreed to by management, are incorporated into the employee’s annual performance review to ensure continuity and progress toward fully qualified status. Counselors who require a full master’s degree program to meet fully qualified status are allotted up to five years after completion of their probationary period to meet the requirements while those with related counseling master’s degrees seeking to meet CRC exam standards or are currently in a master’s in counseling program are provided accelerated timeframes dependent on remaining coursework.
Working to ensure that CSPD standards are achieved to the maximum extent possible, Maine DBVI regularly reviews the qualifications of all staff and tracks the educational plans of new hires and personnel requiring education and training. Content of CSPD plans for rehabilitation counselors who have not met the State standard are developed with supervisors upon completion of probation and reviewed as part of an annual performance review. CSPD plans reflect a balance between personnel development and operational needs. The plans seek optimal training modalities and formats, as well as the most cost effective methods by utilizing those institutions with RSA grants. Upon entering CSPD plans, program and coursework approval must be from the DBVI Training Coordinator, who will maintain a record of all staff training activities and certifications.
DBVI has identified that having internships results in hiring of qualified staff. Therefore, we will be having three to five internships over the next year in hopes of recruiting for staff vacancies. Additionally, ARRA funds have allowed Maine DBVI to hire temporary staff that could result in filling current vacancies with qualified staff.
The Division provides a variety of staff development opportunities and monitors staff development through a variety of methods. All DBVI staff are subject to annual performance reviews, a portion of which specifically addresses personal development. At these reviews, staff and supervisors jointly identify training required to address performance enhancement or, for professional staff, training needs to ensure adequate progress to maintain credentialing, as well as timeframes needed to complete the training(s).
Training funds are available for all DBVI staff members in all areas of the state. The CSPD committee addresses current and projected needs of staff on an annual basis in a training plan. The committee surveys all staff annually, identifying both long and short-term training needs. The CSPD committee is made up of staff from each region and discipline. This provides a streamlined method of communication and involvement. A member of the DBVI State Rehabilitation Council also serves on the committee. The chair of the DBVI CSPD maintains ongoing communications with the DVR CSPD chair. We are able to coordinate training for the benefit of both programs.
The DBVI, along with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, hosts a two-day statewide training event every 18 months at which multiple trainings that are identified and prioritized by staff and oversight bodies (i.e. State Rehabilitation Council, CSPD Advisory Committee) are offered. DBVI CSPD has committed in-service training grant funds to go towards a variety of training needs and have prioritized these funds: 1) VR personnel to meet the state standard 2) Staff to maintain certification. Training needs and activities are often identified and offered at regional/office/discipline levels at staff meetings, internal committee work, and at individual initiation.
In an effort to maximize training resources, staff often solicit local training resources to provide free or low cost workshops, attend trainings with a ‘train the trainer’ perspective to provide turn-around training to other staff, and share internal expertise through in-house training opportunities. In prior years, DBVI has been successful at leveraging training funds through collaboration with Assumption College RCEP, Perkins training funds, Lovill Trust and NY Lighthouse School for the Blind.
In the previous year, Maine DBVI has made continuous efforts to seek and identify enhanced learning opportunities, particularly through use of distance learning modalities, in providing educational forums for its staff. Videoconferencing capacity has been established on a statewide basis and has led to an extensive learning collaborative with DVR, the Career Center One Stops, and the Social Security Administration, external partners such as Maine CITE, the Small Business Development Corporation, college preparation and the local workforce development boards. Maine DBVI staff also take advantage of distance training opportunities through webinars and teleconferences such as those offered by Workforce One, Independent Living Research Utilization, Social Security Administration and Parent Education Advocacy Training Center.
One very successful training provided by videoconferencing is the new counselor training curriculum, which entails a three-week, comprehensive overview of the VR process. It includes topic areas such as rehabilitation technology, job placement and assessment, and vocational counseling. It is available to all staff and required of new VRC staff, as well as interactive training modules in casework flow and post-secondary education. Additionally, training opportunities and conference materials are shared through a number of statewide avenues, including the Internet and Intranet, the CSPD advisory committee, and counselor, managerial and supervisory networking activities and interactions.
A library of training resources, including texts, journals and videotapes addressing vocational rehabilitation topic areas, are loaned to regional offices as needed. These materials include Institute on Rehabilitation Issues publications, computer CD’s and videotapes, Consumer Choice News, National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, and other documents from the various National Rehabilitation and Research and Training Programs throughout the United States.
In October 2010, DBVI received a new In-Service Training Basic Award. Priorities will address recruitment and retention of qualified rehabilitation professionals; provide for succession planning, leadership development and capacity building; and training on the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 made by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.
In addressing issues associated with diversity and cultural needs, the Division has staff who are visually impaired who utilize and are well versed in adaptive technology utilized by our consumers. DBVI has an agreement with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on referral of individuals who are deaf-blind who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their native language. Counselors for the deaf have videophones at their desks for visual telephone communication and Video links, Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) as well as Video Remote Captioning which are at various stages of implementation within DVR and the Career Centers. DBVI has also worked with the Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened and a variety of other collaborative partners to create a training program for professional interpreters for people who are deaf-blind. This training has resulted in approximately twenty individuals being certified in this area.
When consumers do not speak English, staff employ interpreter services for individuals with whom they can not communicate directly. Specifically, Maine State Interpreters and Catholic Charities Maine are used. Additionally, Language Line is used for telephone interpreting.
Collaboration exists on an administrative level with the Commissioners of Education and Labor working jointly in a number of capacities. The Division continues to work with several other departments, including Health and Human Services and Corrections, and has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health and Human Services to promote cross-training of personnel seeking better vocational preparation and quality outcomes for individuals with pervasive mental health issues. DBVI continues to maintain reciprocal partnerships with institutions of education, recognized for their commitment to rehabilitation services. The Division participates with the Institute for Community Inclusion and Assumption College, identified as the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE) for Maine, through its involvement in various advisory boards, planning committees, and training opportunities.
This screen was last updated on Sep 8 2011 1:49PM by Brenda Drummond
Provide an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities residing within the state, particularly the vocational rehabilitation services needs of:
- individuals with most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;
- individuals with disabilities who are minorities;
- individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the vocational rehabilitation program; and
- individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.
Identify the need to establish, develop, or improve community rehabilitation programs within the state.
The Division and its SRC continue to explore strategies in an effort to reach out to as many potential consumers as possible. The SRC receives reports from different organizations at each bi-monthly meeting. Topics that are discussed are vocational rehabilitation services, home and personal needs, mobility and safe travel, personal adjustment to blindness, support groups, Braille, adaptive devices, the Internet, Talking Books, recreation and leisure activities and activities within the Business Enterprise Program. These meetings are available through the polycom system to Augusta, Portland, Bangor, Lewiston, and Presque Isle.
The Division sends out survey questionnaires to closed cases to determine the satisfaction of the consumer for the services that he/she received. Other surveys are conducted from a sampling of current and former consumers. Responses were received from consumers currently receiving services, consumers who had received services in the past, consumer family members, friends, DBVI SRC members and DBVI staff.
There were a number of unmet needs identified through all of these efforts. These included:
•A continued need for information, resources and training in assistive technology for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Specific unmet needs identified in this category included: low vision devices/services, video magnifiers (CCTV), computers, assistive technology devices and information technology training. These identified needs will be addressed in a priority related to assistive technology.
•Transportation continued to be identified, as a major unmet need by consumers statewide. Due to a small population spread throughout a large geographic area, transportation presents a significant barrier in most areas of the state. Specific issues included information on existing transportation that is available, and concerns regarding the timeliness and safety of some publicly funded transportation programs. In many areas of the state transportation is non-existent for medical appointments, transportation to work and travel options for routine daily activities. Issues related to these needs will be addressed in a priority related to transportation.
•The need for additional public education and outreach activities to identify minorities with the most significant disabilities continues to be a significant unmet need. Barriers include: difficulty in finding services as a new resident of Maine, difficulty in identifying resources for adjustment to blindness counseling, not enough information identifying the Business Enterprise Program as a vocational option, not enough information / awareness of vocational services for children, families and schools when the student is blind, visually impaired or has low vision. These identified needs will be addressed with the priority related to public education, awareness of existing services and resources and community outreach programs and services.
These identified needs became the focus of our on-going efforts to improve our community rehabilitation services and programs for consumers who are blind or have low vision throughout the state.
Data collected from the Muskie Center from the University of Southern Maine was compiled in a comprehensive needs assessment and submitted to RSA by 12/31/10 described the VR needs of:
a) Individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment; b) Individuals who are minorities; c) Individuals who are unserved; d) Individuals who are underserved; and e) Individuals served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system.
The Division developed numerous strategies to address these unmet needs.
DBVI created an Outreach and Public Education work group tasked with coming up with strategies to expand our activities in this area. This committee is comprised of a cross-representation of staff from each of our geographic regions who are charged with creation of various strategies to increase our efforts to identify and reach out to underserved populations. These strategies will be a mix of short, medium, and long-term efforts.
ARRA funds were used to create the Community Connection Project, which is an effort to network a variety of independent activities that already occur across Maine. This will reinforce the agency’s connection to the blindness community, and provide us with an opportunity to have a more consistent presence with our customers.
DBVI continues to work with the Veterans Administration’s Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS) to better serve the veterans of the state of Maine. Together, the agency will develop a formal MOU within the next year.
DBVI is in collaboration with the Department of Corrections to develop an MOU for inmates transitioning out of confinement.
Maine is faced with a critical need for highly qualified interpreters and other well-trained staff with skills to work with our consumers of the VR program who are deaf-blind. There is limited access in Maine to anyone with this specialty training, both from within the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired and elsewhere. It is relatively ineffective to have professionals in either blind or deaf rehabilitation attempt to address the amplified needs of an individual with a dual sensory impairment, but having access to this specialized training will afford us the opportunity to begin to build the capacity within our state. Therefore, DBVI utilized ARRA funds to support a week long deaf-blind training for Interpreters and Support Service Providers (SSP) to fill the need for these specialized services in Maine. A volunteer Support Service Provider program was created for adults with dual sensory impairment as a result of these efforts. To date, approximately fifteen individuals have been trained and are available to provide these volunteer support service provider services. Approximately twenty professional ASL interpreters have been trained as interpreters for people who are deaf-blind.
This screen was last updated on Jun 17 2011 2:29PM by Brenda Drummond
DBVI looked at the total state population of individuals identified as visually impaired and the number of individuals eligible for services when estimating these numbers. DBVI then took into consideration the number of referrals, expenditures, and average case costs from prior years to estimate the number of individuals who will receive services with funds provided under Title I and Part B of Title VI. DBVI estimates for FFY 2012, approximately 1,020 individuals who are blind or visually impaired will be served in Title 1 by the Division at a cost of $3,705,120. Supported employment services are provided to approximately six consumers in Title I and fourteen consumers in Title VI. DBVI has determined that many consumers are able to work in the competitive labor market without supports.
|Category||Title I or Title VI||Estimated Funds||Estimated Number to be Served||Average Cost of Services|
|Vocational Rehabilitation Services||Title I||$3,684,552||1,014||$3,633|
|Supported Employment Services||Title VI||$48,000||14||$3,428|
|Supported Employment Services||Title I||$20,568||6||$3,428|
This screen was last updated on Sep 8 2011 1:59PM by Brenda Drummond
The goals and priorities are based on the comprehensive statewide assessment, on requirements related to the performance standards and indicators, and on other information about the state agency. (See section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act.) This attachment should be updated when there are material changes in the information that require the description to be amended.
- Identify if the goals and priorities were jointly developed and agreed to by the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has a council.
- Identify if the state VR agency and the State Rehabilitation Council, if the state has such a council, jointly reviewed the goals and priorities and jointly agreed to any revisions.
- Identify the goals and priorities in carrying out the vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
- Ensure that the goals and priorities are based on an analysis of the following areas:
- the most recent comprehensive statewide assessment, including any updates;
- the performance of the state on standards and indicators; and
- other available information on the operation and effectiveness of the VR program, including any reports received from the State Rehabilitation Council and findings and recommendations from monitoring activities conducted under section 107.
DBVI’s Goals and Priorities as listed in the Maine DBVI FFY12 State Plan were developed with, agreed to and reviewed by the State Rehabilitation Council. The comprehensive statewide needs assessment and on-going consumer surveys identified the continuous needs such as transportation, improved assistive technology, the need for continued public outreach & education, the need for support services for transition students and the continued need to measure consumer satisfaction. The most recent 107 monitoring report identified the need to develop and implement a ‘financial enhancement’ initiative for homemakers and older blind IL participants in order to increase competitive closure outcomes, the need to continue to improve administrative structure and staff responsibilities within the DBVI as well as the need to develop and strengthen the support services for students transitioning to work or post-secondary education. Staff surveys also acknowledged the need to continue to clarify and improve the administrative structure for improved efficiency within DBVI. The performance on the standards and indicators supports the need to develop and implement a financial enhancement initiative for homemakers and participants in the IL program and strengthen the support services for transition students.
DBVI continues to focus on these needs and develop activities/trainings to address them while monitoring the progress
Goals & Priorities:
(1) Identify, Develop and Improve Assistive Technology Resources Throughout the State.
(2) Identify and Address Transportation Related Issues Regionally
(3) Provide Public Outreach, Education and Awareness of Existing Services and Resources for the Community and Consumers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
(4) Develop and Implement a Financial Enhancement Initiative for Homemakers and Older Blind IL participants to increase the number of Competitive Employment Outcomes.
(5) Measure Consumer Satisfaction.
(6) Continue to Clarify and Improve Administrative Structure and Staff Responsibilities.
(7) Develop Support Services/Activities/Initiatives for Students Transitioning to Work or Post-Secondary Training
These goals/priorities were initially developed (2009) as a result of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment, surveys from consumers currently receiving services and consumers who received services in the past, and the most recent 107 monitoring report.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 1:04PM by Brenda Drummond
- Identify the order to be followed in selecting eligible individuals to be provided vocational rehabilitation services.
- Identify the justification for the order.
- Identify the service and outcome goals.
- Identify the time within which these goals may be achieved for individuals in each priority category within the order.
- Describe how individuals with the most significant disabilities are selected for services before all other individuals with disabilities.
This screen was last updated on Sep 21 2009 4:24PM by Brenda Drummond
Specify the state's goals and priorities with respect to the distribution of funds received under section 622 of the Act for the provision of supported employment services.
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired continues to identify more diversified employment opportunities as well as long-term supports for individuals in the supported employment Title VI program.
Based on level funding, the division’s goal will be to continue to use the Title VI-B funding on a fee-for-service arrangement, providing services to a minimum of 14 consumers with the most significant disabilities for whom supported employment is an appropriate vocational alternative. Priorities for supported employment are services to individuals with most significant disabilities in rural areas that, in addition to being blind or having low vision, are individuals with long-term mental illness, individuals with traumatic brain injury, individuals with cognitive deficits and individuals with severe physical disabilities.
We continue to participate in a number of service improvement initiatives that look at the way that we do business in order to identify more effective and efficient methods of providing rehabilitation services. A current area of focus is examining the various roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders and how these can be improved to benefit consumer services.
DBVI encourages CRPs to use training resources such as the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE), an RSA resource currently a part of UMass Boston. We have an in-state accreditation process for CRPs and anticipate that it will improve services to all our consumers.
The plan is to continue to purchase services for designated VI-B clients. Purchased services will continue to be primarily job coaching, transitional employment services for individuals with long-term mental illness, and job development. We will also continue to work with relevant stakeholders, i.e., consumers and CRP’s, to expand the availability of supported employment services.
The Division continues to use Title VI-B money to provide services for individuals with the most severe disabilities as an integral part of our VR program. Securing long-term employment resources continues to be a primary challenge for the Division. DBVI continues to collaborate with Department of Health and Human Services - MH and MR Services to explore long-term support mechanisms for those individuals completing their VR plan and who have been utilizing Title VI, Part B funds.
At this time, only a small number of clients are using their tickets from the Social Security Ticket to Work Program to get services and support for their rehabilitation goals. With the new regulations that went into effect on July 21, 2008, we anticipate increased opportunities for individuals who have visual impairments and receive SSI and/or SSDI to participate in the Ticket to Work Program. The SSA is actively recruiting Employment Networks (EN) to provide services to its beneficiaries. DBVI is pleased that changes made to the program encourage collaboration between EN’s and State VR agencies and will be working on how the new regulations can improve the likelihood of employment success for its clients over the next year.
The Division places a small number of blind and visually impaired consumers in supported employment settings. We are finding that many clients are able to work in the competitive labor market without supports, due to the increased availability of technology, technology adaptations and both technological and natural supports available in today’s market.
This screen was last updated on Jun 17 2011 2:41PM by Brenda Drummond
This attachment should include required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the vocational rehabilitation and the supported employment programs. (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Act and Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)).
Describe the methods to be used to expand and improve services to individuals with disabilities.
Identify how a broad range of assistive technology services and assistive technology devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities at each stage of the rehabilitation process; and describe how assistive technology services and devices will be provided to individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.
Identify what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who are minorities, including those with the most significant disabilities; and what outreach procedures will be used to identify and serve individuals with disabilities who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program.
If applicable, identify plans for establishing, developing, or improving community rehabilitation programs within the state.
Describe strategies to improve the performance of the state with respect to the evaluation standards and performance indicators.
Describe strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce investment system in assisting individuals with disabilities.
Describe how the agency's strategies will be used to:
- achieve goals and priorities identified in Attachment 4.11(c)(1);
- support innovation and expansion activities; and
- overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the state Supported Employment Services Program.
The Division continues to identify and develop strategies to use Title I funds for innovation and expansion activities.
Goal (1) Identify, Develop and Improve Assistive Technology Resources Throughout the State: The Division has come up with strategies to address assistive technology needs that were identified either through the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, surveys of consumers, input from the SRC, or the most recent 107 monitoring review. In order to provide consumers with more options, the division continues to identify assistive training resources in the community. These efforts have proven successful over this past year as we continue to develop and support a network of specialized providers who have become experts in adaptive technology. This is accomplished in conjunction with consumer feedback, satisfaction surveys, assistive technology demonstration presentations, (including low vision service options, techniques, devices and CCTVs), newsletters, Internet assistive technology resources, information forums and requests for proposals (RFPs) as appropriate, when funding is available.
These activities provide a broader awareness of technology resources as well as more options for informed consumer choice. These strategies provide additional tools, skills and knowledge for consumers in achieving their employment goal with earnings equivalent to or exceeding minimum wage.
Goal (2) Identify and Address Transportation Related Issues Regionally: The Division continues with the development and implementation of strategies to increase transportation options and advocate for increased availability of transportation resources. Orientation and Mobility (O&M) staff have worked directly with local transportation departments to make busy city intersections safe to cross by an individual who is blind or has low vision, as well as continue with efforts to improve and expand bus routes to CareerCenters throughout the state in order to make them more accessible for people.
DBVI staff and consumer groups continue to work closely with existing transportation providers to explore safety and timeliness issues identified by consumers. The state of Maine has developed a carpool network that provides transportation to various agencies throughout the state. This service continues to be available to all state employees and provides employees with disabilities another option to get to their jobs.
Goal (3) Provide Public Outreach, Education and Awareness of Existing Services and Resources for the Community and Consumers Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision: The DBVI has put a lot of focus on strategies related to public education, awareness of existing services and resources, and awareness of community outreach programs and services.
Division staff, partnering with consumer groups, continue to participate in a variety of public forums, education and awareness activities related to the capabilities of individuals who are blind or have low vision. The State’s mandatory reporting of legal blindness continues to be an excellent source of information of potential consumers of our services. The regional offices are notified of each potential applicant and then the Division mails a brochure to the applicant, which describes the available services and the name and number of a staff person to contact for more information. This procedure has become a natural process from referrals sent from the state’s Optometrists and Ophthalmologists. During this past year, several hundred consumers who are blind or visually impaired benefited from our services as a result of this process.
Staff members have continued to be involved in outreach activities. They share information about DBVI services through schools, congregate housing settings, health fairs, job and college fairs, and the Department of Veterans Affairs educational program. The State Rehabilitation Council continues to work with the Legislature, various newspapers, and other state agencies to promote the variety of supportive services available through the Division, as well as success stories that reflect the great potential of persons with vision impairments. Both the Iris Network and the Division participate in the Radio Reading program that is broadcast statewide on the SAP channel of Maine Public Broadcasting. Division staff make themselves available to discuss blindness services issues and provide new information to listeners. DBVI and partner agency staff make consumers aware of the BEP opportunities in Maine within DBVI. Regional teams work to identify resource options for the provision of adjustment to blindness counseling services statewide. We have attempted to address this issue by identifying a personal adjustment counselor position through a contract with one of our major rehabilitation services provider agencies, The Iris Network. We are funding a personal adjustment counseling (PAC) position, whose major task is to identify and develop resources statewide. This continues to be one of the most challenging elements of our services to develop and maintain in our most rural areas. These awareness and outreach activities continue to result in increased referrals from people needing services to obtain employment.
The State Rehabilitation Council is planning to hold some of its regular meetings in various locations around the state. These meetings will be advertised locally and consumers will be invited and encouraged to attend. In conjunction with these SRC meetings, the Division Director will host town hall type meetings also inviting and encouraging consumers to attend.
Goal (4) Develop and Implement a Financial Enhancement Initiative for Homemakers and Older Blind IL participants to increase the number of Competitive Employment Outcomes: The Division has put a large emphasis on this strategy to increase the number of competitive outcomes by developing a ‘Financial Enhancement’ initiative for homemakers and Older Blind IL participants. In order to promote and make available the option of a competitive employment outcome to Homemakers and participants in the Older Blind program, Staff have developed an informal presentation to encourage them to consider competitive employment as a possible goal once their ability to function independently improves. When consumers enter our VR program with a homemaker goal or the Older Blind program, their major concern is just to be able to function independently at home and in their community with their sudden vision loss. As the individual gains more skills and confidence, they are generally more willing to consider other possibilities. Anecdotal information and some research indicate that nearly 80% of individuals over 65 end up getting into some type of full-time, part-time or volunteer work for a number of years after retirement. We believe that there are a number of consumers who are closed from the VR program as a ’Homemaker’, who become competitively employed at least part-time for several years. The reasons are for financial necessity or to keep involved in community activities. In order to assist and support these consumers, the Division has taken a more proactive approach with this group by determining when the most appropriate or most effective time would be to introduce information pertaining to pursuing a goal of full or part-time employment prior to exiting our programs.
In conjunction with our blindness services partners, DBVI developed a process that introduces financial enhancement possibilities and prospects to consumers whose initial goal is homemaker. As the individual becomes more independent through his/her IPE rehabilitation process, we will initiate discussions and provide information on full and part-time work through individual and group presentations and workshops. DBVI staff have continued communications with a representative from RSA on this initiative as they work with clients to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the initiative and to make sure that all competitive closures are captured. These initiatives were implemented statewide.
Goal (5) Measure Consumer Satisfaction: The Division continues to monitor and improve consumer satisfaction. DBVI works with the State Rehabilitation Council to continuously improve the consumer satisfaction surveys. Each year the survey is reviewed to clarify the meaning of the questions and to add questions if needed. This is done in order to solicit the most beneficial feedback for program improvement. Supervisors continue to follow up any request or complaint noted in the surveys. In addition, supervisors emphasize their commitment to continuous improvement in service delivery. The outcome of this effort continues to be improvement in the quality of services and increased customer satisfaction.
Goal (6) Continue to Clarify and Improve Administrative Structure and Staff Responsibilities: The Division has implemented strategies to clarify and improve administrative structure and responsibilities. The Division works actively on development of outcome-based RFP’s, new computer-generated data reports for Orientation and Mobility and other disciplines, and issues related to staff training. Management is using the Internet to recruit potential employees for all disciplines, particularly emphasizing qualified staff issues. In addition, we are continually upgrading our own technology in order to collect, track and analyze data more accurately and effectively. The development of a comprehensive training process has enabled the Division to upgrade a number of support staff to Rehabilitation Counselor I classifications. By providing staff with additional knowledge and technical skills, they are able to provide more support for counselors in their efforts to meet consumers’ needs. This effort has provided flexibility and has reduced the amount of time for the intake process; it facilitates completion of the eligibility determination process in a timelier manner. This has resulted in a high level of consumer satisfaction.
DBVI along with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation are in the process of implementing a new case management system. This system should provide more efficiency and accuracy of the statistical and financial data.
A case review system has been developed which includes a comprehensive review of cases statewide. This has been done successfully using present Division staff and restructuring individual responsibilities. The management team continues to review and refine the process to provide consistency and accuracy in case management statewide.
The DBVI management team meets every three weeks to monitor, measure and discuss casework issues, training needs, goals and objectives, allocation of resources, cost effectiveness of service delivery, legislation, budget and service issues. The results of these efforts are shared with the State Rehabilitation Council for input and guidance in our efforts to improve administrative structure and service activities.
Goal (7) Develop Support Services/Activities/Initiatives for Students Transitioning to Work or Post-Secondary Training: The Division continues to focus on its strategy to more effectively prepare transitioning students to achieve a successful work or post-secondary outcome. Staff continue to identify, develop and implement regional support services or activities for students transitioning to work or post-secondary training. The Division developed an array of service support activities, which provide relevant/necessary skills, abilities, knowledge, awareness and experiences that increase the probability of a successful transition outcome. This activity provided relevant information for those students preparing to continue on in school and has provided the necessary information to develop a college preparation program for these individuals. Dr. Karen Wolffe, a renowned educator with a specialty in transition processes for students who are blind or have low vision, presented information on the Employability Skills Program. This provided staff with the information to create a program for individuals within the Maine system. There will be an opportunity for students who plan to enter the world of work to learn more about themselves, their skills and abilities, and the opportunities for work in their field of interest.
The Visually Impaired Community Awareness Team (VICAT) project, developed by the Augusta regional office staff, has been discussed by the management team as instrumental in the successful transition to work and post-secondary training for a number of students over the past several years. Staff are now exploring replicating elements of this project where appropriate and possible.
Support innovation and expansion activities
Other strategies to carry out outreach activities to identify and serve individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities:
The 2000 census confirmed the very small percentage of minority groups in Maine (2%). In the larger cities, outreach is being done for Asian, Middle Eastern, Spanish-speaking, French Canadian, African, and other minority groups. The City of Portland’s Health and Human Services Department, Collaborative Refugee Service Program, and the Portland CareerCenter have formed an exciting partnership and have hired a Human Services/Case Manager specializing in immigrant and refugee employment issues. This person will assist with the Portland CareerCenter initiatives in linking immigrants with southern Maine employers and will be housed in the CareerCenter and Portland City Hall. An employee is assigned to assist immigrants in the CareerCenter with job counseling and placement, employer-client intervention, and language and cultural issues. This individual works with all partners to serve new Mainers, many of who are from Somalia. Persons with English as a Second Language can attend classes with an emphasis on the language of work. These classes are part of a partnership with Portland Adult Education. Our regional offices have opened accounts with AT&T Interpreter Services, and the CareerCenter has sponsored two multicultural workshops for immigrants from Somalia and Sudan, with more scheduled for the future. An information session was presented on who can legally work (green cards, etc.). Immigrants from Iran, Sudan, Liberia and Cambodia are being served, some with interpreters or a mentor.
Somalis are also being served in the Lewiston CareerCenter with the assistance of an interpreter who works with the Center. The French Canadian community in Lewiston has also been served for many years by staff interpreting for that population.
DBVI continues to maintain ongoing communications with the four Maine tribes: Passamaquoddy Tribe Penobscot Indian Nation Houlton Band of Maliseets Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians
The Division continues to work with the Native American health centers doing outreach for all of our programs. These centers, managed by each of the tribes in Maine, have served as a contact point and focus for outreach efforts by the Division. We have periodic in-service trainings at the Health Center on Indian Island.
These initiatives impact Performance Indicator: 2.1 & 1.1.
Strategies To Overcome Identified Barriers
Other strategies to overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and the State Supported Employment Services Program:
The regulations under the 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act regarding the presumption of eligibility for persons on SSDI and SSI have made it easier and quicker for consumers to become eligible. The Division is using the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act to encourage blind and visually impaired consumers to get involved in the VR process as the Ticket to Work program evolves and continues to be implemented.
The Division’s commitment to do outreach to underserved populations has been strengthened in the last several years through training, outreach activities, collaboration with other agencies and community groups. The staff and the council continue to work to ensure that no one is denied the opportunity to access services they need to work and be fully integrated into the community. A cooperative agreement for a smooth transition for children with disabilities has been developed between the Division and the Special Education and Vocational-technical units of the Department of Education. The agreement strengthens the coordination of vocational and educational services as children begin the transitional phase from school to work. The Division continues to work with the pupil evaluation teams and local school districts to assure that careful planning takes place with the educational team, the student, the family and vocational rehabilitation staff. This program is reinforced by having specialized staff in the Division whose job it is to coordinate the services for students and to provide some of the specialized information that the school team needs in the transition process.
The state mandated Registry of Blindness reports all persons who have been found to be legally blind to the Division. In addition to increasing the numbers of persons being served by the Division, this process has helped to forge a working relationship between each region and the doctors who serve that region. As soon as the Registry card arrives in a region, there is a follow-up contact from Division staff providing information on all programs and services.
This screen was last updated on Jun 29 2011 2:01PM by Brenda Drummond
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment (SE) Goals
(1) Identify, Develop and Improve Assistive Technology Resources Throughout the State. Various activities took place throughout the state in an effort to achieve this goal.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region V - Aroostook County:
•Staff presented a two-day workshops/ training seminars for consumers requiring intensive low vision device instruction in order to achieve their employment goal. Approximately, twenty consumers participated in this activity, and 90% will achieve their employment goal.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region IV - Bangor area:
A Demo Day was held on May 5, 2011. Vendors demonstrated new CCTV technology, talking book program digital players, Maine Handicapped Skiing program, VA programs, low tech devices for consumers for daily living and recreation. Although the number of participants was less than anticipated, those that attended spent an average of over an hour at the Demo Day to learn what items are available to them.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region III - Augusta/Rockland area:
•Staff obtained information about technology classes from a local provider to share with at least 15 clients. Approximately 10 consumers participated in some of these classes, which improved their ability to achieve a competitive employment outcome.
A demonstration of the Dragon Dictate was presented to DBVI staff by Smart Technologies, a company that sells adaptive technology. DBVI staff will use their increased knowledge to be a resource for consumers.
DBVI worked with their IT staff and contracted staff to adapt equipment for consumers to participate in a training program. Individuals who use JAWS were able to participate once the Department of Labor programs were scripted for JAWS, making the computer program accessible to them.
These strategies impact Performance Indicators 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.
(2) Identify and Address Transportation Related Issues Regionally.
The Division has continued to focus on transportation related issues and continues to strive to achieve this goal.
Specific measurable activities/events that have taken place in Region V - Aroostook area
DBVI staff have retained a driver for consumers that might not otherwise have transportation to get to their meetings.
Specific measurable activities/events that have taken place in Region III - Augusta/Rockland area:
Staff have worked together to identify drivers for transportation to DBVI classes and appointments with specialists at the CareerCenter for at least 15 consumers. Staff worked with the local bus company to get their new bus schedules produced in large print and made available on line.
Specific measurable activities/events that have taken place in Region I - Portland area:
Staff have actively participated in groups pertaining to transportation issues. One of our staff spearheaded an effort to make city officials aware of the dangers presented by roundabouts (rotaries) for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. She was able to demonstrate the complexities of negotiating a safe crossing at a roundabout as opposed to light-controlled intersections. As a result, the city engineers invited DBVI staff to collaborate with municipal planning teams on several new design and infrastructure improvement projects to ensure they are both accessible and safe for visually impaired users. Staff have also met with the Regional Transportation Program (RTP) to discuss safety issues and are now members of the Advisory Committee for the RTP.
Through this strategic planning, approximately 15 consumers have been able to proceed through their rehabilitation plan, participating in the necessary trainings and activities, in a timelier, expeditious manner.
These strategies impact performance indicators 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.
(3) Provide Public Outreach, Education and Awareness of Existing Services and Resources for The Community and Consumers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.
The Division continuously looks for more effective methods of public outreach and education as a means to reach all consumers eligible for services.
DBVI outreach activities continue to include the use of television & local newspapers to inform the public of consumer success stories reflecting the potential of persons with blindness and visual impairment. The Division has most recently used the Blind Forum, Maine Airs radio service, and the State of Maine website to provide information regarding our programs and services. We have also worked with the SRC members to provide legislative awareness, the status of bills, hearings and work sessions, which are tracked on a daily basis in order to assure timely information to consumers and consumer groups on issues, which may affect blindness rehabilitation services. These strategies have broadened recognition of the agency as a vital resource for persons experiencing vision problems. This, coupled with a more efficient system for delivery of services, has increased employment outcomes and has resulted in more interaction with and recognition from potential employers, in addition to a high level of consumer satisfaction.
The State Rehabilitation Council is planning to hold some of its regular meetings in various locations around the state. These meetings will be advertised locally and consumers will be invited and encouraged to attend. In conjunction with these SRC meetings, the Division Director will host town hall type meetings also inviting and encouraging consumers to attend.
DBVI and the Department of Education have collaborated in conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the DBVI Education Program for Blind Children, which contains a specific component for transition-aged students.
DBVI and it contracted partner providing educational services for children who are blind or have low vision have embarked on a process by which each student aged 14 receives an evaluation for appropriateness of referring the student to the DBVI VR Program.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region V - Aroostook County: DBVI Staff will continue to contact area ophthalmologists, optometrists, and low vision doctors with information regarding available services.
DBVI Staff will continue to provide in-service training at nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other health care facilities in regard to available services and instruction of adaptive equipment presently available.
DBVI Staff will host a one or two day Low Vision training workshop with Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, Rehabilitation Counselors, Orientation & Mobility Specialists, and Personal Adjustment Counselors.
These activities resulted in approximately 25 new referrals.
These trainings enabled 80% of the participants to achieve an employment outcome in a timelier manner.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region IV - Bangor area: Three Bangor DBVI staff attended a workshop on the local Indians and their culture. This provides staff with a better understanding of the culture and their needs as well as becomes an opportunity to provide outreach to that community.
Other public outreach activities include presentations of the different programs within DBVI, to include VR, Education, IL and the BEP. These presentations were done for other state agencies and the target audiences were: regional public health nurses and case managers of Maine Care funding.
Another activity within this region is the establishment of the Augusta DBVI Central Office phone listing in the Bangor area phone book. This provides another resource for individuals who are blind or have low vision and their families.
These activities generated approximately 10 new referrals.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region III - Augusta/Rockland area:
•Staff has continued to work with local ophthalmologists and optometrists in Kennebec, Knox and Lincoln counties, providing program materials to providers as appropriate. •Staff acknowledged 100% of MDs that return general medical exams, eye reports and other specialty exam reports with a thank you letter.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region II - Lewiston area:
•Staff provided several presentations highlighting services to groups in the area. In-service workshops/trainings were presented to older consumers living in assisted living center as well as to children in middle schools.
In February, staff provided an introduction to services for the Blind & Visually Impaired at Seniors Plus in Lewiston. There were 6 individuals who attended.
In March, staff did in-service and staff consult at Victorian Villa in Canton.
June 13th presentation will be given to Region II VR staff on DBVI case services.
Staff participated in training on the cultural aspects of the Somalia population living in the greater Lewiston area. The presenter worked extensively with the Somalia population since 2001. The training ended with a question/answer period that focused largely on the cultural norms around children and the role of women in the Somalia culture.
Specific measurable activities/events that took place in Region I - Portland area:
•Staff made contact with optometrists/ophthalmologists in the area to discuss roles with participants to identify ways to better serve the consumers who are blind or have low vision. •Staff provided information for the DBVI website throughout the year. •Staff made arrangements for an advertisement about the services provided by the Division in the yellow pages of the phone book.
These activities are expected to generate approximately 20 new referrals.
These activities will impact Performance Indicator: 1.1.
(4) Develop and Implement a "Financial Enhancement" Initiative for "Homemakers" and Older Blind IL participants to increase the number of Competitive Employment Outcomes:
The Division experienced a slight increase in the number of competitive employment cases closed this year as in the previous FFY year. Although there were still a large number of homemaker closures, the initiative to focus more on ’enhanced employment’ allowed us to meet Standard & Indicator 1.3 for FFY10.
We continue to increase the amount and availability of information for job seekers available through the CareerCenters in order to increase our competitive closures. We were able to move some individuals from the Title VII program to the VR Title I program as part of our ongoing efforts to increase the number of possible competitive closure outcomes.
Analysis of case review data allows us to streamline and improve overall casework documentation elements and activities, which ultimately enhances service delivery by making the rehabilitation process more efficient. These efforts allow us to expeditiously collect the necessary and required data and focus more resources on competitive outcomes.
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired encouraged staff to consider the possibility of enhanced income for each new applicant for the homemaker service track.
DBVI staff statewide participated in an Employability Skills Program training presented by Dr. Karen Wolffe, who is a renowned educator with a specialty in transition processes for students who are blind or visually impaired. This three-day training was used to broaden staff knowledge in connecting career awareness, career exploration, and actual work for DBVI clients of all ages. This presentation resulted in the preparation of a program specifically designed for Maine DBVI to provide consumers with more information about themselves, their abilities and career choices available to them.
These efforts have generated additional competitive closures from consumers which ultimately allowed us to achieve our competitive closure goal.
Region V - Staff organized and presented a quilting workshop for interested consumers. Each consumer was provided with at least 15 hours of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). Instruction was provided by a certified VRT for two separate sessions with six consumers participating.
These initiatives will impact Performance Indicators: 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.
(5) Measure Consumer Satisfaction: Another priority for the Division is to continuously measure consumer satisfaction and define consumer needs.
The Division and the State Rehabilitation Council continue to work together to refine the DBVI Satisfaction Survey and to track the results from year to year. The results have been a consistent record of high levels of satisfaction. Last year’s results indicate an overall satisfaction rate of 100%.
These results continue to be consistent with the 2004 New England CSAVR satisfaction survey where key findings indicated that:
-93% of clients were satisfied with the DBVI-VR program; -89% of clients indicated that services through DBVI compared favorably to services offered through their ideal program; and -99% of clients would recommend DBVI programs to a friend with similar disabilities.
The Division continues to work closely with the SRC to monitor and review consumer feedback; DBVI continues to receive positive high customer satisfaction results. The SRC has been discussions on ways to conduct consumer satisfaction surveys using a web-based model, as well as creating a process for doing telephone surveys while consumers are in the middle of their program.
(6) Continue to Clarify and Improve Administrative Structure and Staff Responsibilities.
DBVI has been successful in upgrading all of our support staff to Rehabilitation Counselor I. This allows them to do the intake process for new clients and prepare the necessary paperwork for the Rehabilitation Counselor II. This has resulted in faster processing of paperwork and a smoother intake system, as well as a high level of consumer satisfaction.
We continued our strategy of assessing staff position roles and responsibilities in relation to geographical area needs. These efforts have resulted in maximum utilization of the skills and experience of a small statewide staff. Coverage of each region continues to be enhanced by the creativity and flexibility of our administrative team and our dedicated professional staff.
As a result of the expertise and flexibility of staff, the OOS has been lifted, and applicants no longer have to wait 60 days for service. The Division has been able to serve all eligible applicants in all categories.
DBVI continues to analyze and refine its case review system as a long-term continuous improvement strategy. A random sample of cases in status 12 or above for at least six months is reviewed on a quarterly basis. Ten percent of DBVI’s cases within these statuses are reviewed annually. Case reviews are also done on a random sample of closed cases on a quarterly basis.
One staff member is in the process of earning a Certificate in adult deaf-blind rehabilitation through Northern Illinois University and the Helen Keller National Center.
DBVI has undertaken a project that will enable agency documents and case file documents to be converted electronically so they can be made accessible to staff who are blind and consumers.
These priorities impact Performance standard 1.1.
(7) Develop Support Services/Activities/Initiatives for Students Transitioning to Work or Post-Secondary Training
The Division has focused heavily on transition students and has developed specific strategic activities to accomplish this goal.
Due to increasing need for assistance/training in areas of low vision, deafblindness, functional vision assessments and other vision impairment issues, DBVI has increased the hours of the Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children (ESBVIC) Consultation Services. The ESBVIC Consultation Services will also be utilized for expansion and the further development of transition related activities preparing high school students who are blind or visually impaired to successfully participate in the VR program as they transition to college or the world of work. The consultant continues to be involved in Futures Planning, which is a process whereby extensive communication occurs with the clients, their families and other support people within their lives in order to determine the most appropriate goal to pursue.
An in-service training was done with the Department of Education on students who are blind or have low vision and who are transitioning into the school system.
These activities impacted Performance Indicators: 1.1 and 1.2.
The Division has remained committed to assuring that individuals with the most severe disabilities receive supported employment services when this is appropriate. An Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) is developed that describes the services provided, the need for extended services, if appropriate, and an assurance that the individual has been able to make an informed choice in the provision of these services and the goal itself.
The lack of adequate long term funding as well as the lack of a variety of natural supports, has limited the number of consumers within DBVI achieving supported employment.
DBVI Vocational Rehabilitation Program Federal fiscal year 2010 - Performance Standards & Indicators GOAL: To achieve successful performance on Evaluation Standard 1 (Employment outcomes) by meeting or exceeding the performance levels established for four of the six performance indicators in the evaluation standard, including meeting or exceeding the performance level for two of the three primary indicators (Performance Indicators 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)
Standard 1: Employment Outcomes Performance 1.1 Change in Employment Outcomes DBVI is showing 149 closures at the end of the fourth quarter for the FFY10. This is forty-four greater than the same time period a year ago. The required performance level for this indicator is to meet or exceed performance in previous period. Therefore, DBVI has met this indicator. Quarter/Year of closures Diff s/b =/same as previous period (105 total for 2009 & 82 for 2008) Oct 1/09 — Sept 30/2010 149 +44 Oct 1/08 — Sept 30/2009 105
Performance 1.2 Percent of Employment Outcomes
This indicator seeks to compare successful closures against all closures after receiving services. The prescribed indicator for DBVI is 68.9%. At the end of the fourth quarter, DBVI was at 73.40% with 149 successful closures and 203 total closures (26’s + 28’s). Therefore, we have met this indicator.
Quarter/Year of 26’s of 26 & 28’s Perf. Level s/b+/>68.9% Oct 1/09 — Sept 30/2010 149 203 73.40% Oct 1/08 — Sept 30/2009 105 176 59.70%
Performance 1.3 Competitive Employment Outcomes
This indicator is the first of three primary indicators. This indicator is to measure what % of all successful closures represent closures in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage. The prescribed % for DBVI is 35.4%. At the end of FFY10, 55 of the 149 DBVI closures met the definition for this standard. This gave us a competitive rate of 36.91%, which exceeds the necessary amount to meet this indicator.
Quarter/Year of 26’s of 26’s in specified category Perf. Level S/b =/> 35.4% Oct 1/09 — Sept 30/2010 149 55 36.91% Oct 1/08 — Sept 30/2009 105 42 40.00%
Performance indicator 1.4 Significance of Disability
This is the 2nd primary indicator, which measures the % of closures in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with the hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage that were individuals with significant disabilities. The prescribed level for this performance indicator is 89%. At the end of FFY10, DBVI has 98.18% for this indicator which meets the standard.
Quarter/Year of 26’s of 26’s in spec category in spec cat. w/ sign. dis. Perf. Level S/b =/> 89% Oct 1/09 — Sept 30/2010 55 54 98.18% Oct 1/08 — Sept 30/2009 42 42 100%
Performance indicator 1.5 Earnings Ratio
This is the 3rd primary indicator and is used to measure the average earnings of clients exiting the VR program (in competitive, self-, or BEP employment with the hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage) to the State of Maine average earnings (as derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report “State Average Annual Pay” for the most recent available year).
The performance level for this indicator for DBVI is =/> 59%. DBVI has met this performance indicator for FFY10 by achieving 104% of the prescribed performance indicator..
Quarter/Year of 26’s of 26’s in spec cat in spec cat — ave hr earn Maine’s Ave hr earn Perf. Level S/b =/> 59% Oct 1/09 — Sept 30/2010 55 *$18.82 $18.11 104% Oct 1/08 — Sept 30/2009 42 $15.53 $17.53 89% *DBVI successfully closed a number of clients earning wages exceeding the minimum wage. With the small number of 26 closures, one or two clients earning higher wages can increase this number significantly.
Performance indicator 1.6 Self-Support
This indicator measures the difference between the percentage of individuals identified in PI 1.3, who report their own income as the largest single source of economic support at the time they exit the VR program and the percentage who report their own income as the largest single source of support (SOS) at the time they apply for VR services.
The prescribed level for this performance indicator is 30.4. DBVI had 55 closures (in the specified category) for the FFY 2010. During this year, DBVI has a performance level of 36.36 which meets this indicator.
Quar/Yr of 26’s Primary SOS (app) Primary SOS (cl) in spec cat Perf. Level S/b 30.4 (math diff) Oct 1/09 — Sept 30/2010 55 16 36 36.36 Oct 1/08 — Sept 30/2009 42 20 39 48
Standard 2: Assess Equal Access Opportunity for Individuals of all Groups and Backgrounds
GOAL: To achieve successful performance on Evaluation Standard 2 (Equal access), by meeting or exceeding the performance level established for Performance Indicator 2.1 or meet the performance requirement in paragraph (2) (iii).
(iii) If a DSU’s performance does not meet or exceed the performance level required for Performance Indicator 2.1, or if fewer than 100 individuals from a minority population have exited the VR program during the reporting period, the DSU must describe the policies it has adopted or will adopt and the steps it has taken or will take to ensure that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to VR services.
DBVI must meet or exceed an .80 (Ratio).
At this time, DBVI is serving significantly less than 100 individuals.
RSA is looking at the proportion of minorities who receive services compared to the ratio of non-minorities served. The % of minorities served divided by the % of non-minority served gives DBVI a service rate. At this point, DBVI has a service rate of 0.868.
2.1 (minorities) 10/01/2009 - 09/30/2010 All 26&28 All 244 195 White 238 192 Bl/Afr Am. 3 2 Indian/Alaskan 2 2 Asian 2 0 Native/Pacific Is. 0 0 Hispanic/Latino 3 3 Total Minorities 10 7 % Minorities in VR 4.20% 3.65% % Minorities Srvd 70.00% % Non-Minority Srvd 80.67% Serv. Rate for Min 0.868 s/b .80 or>
This number meets or exceeds the standard but because the number of minorities is less than 100, DBVI also must describe the policies it has in place to ensure that individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds have equal access to VR services. Therefore, the draft 2010 DBVI State Plan has included the following strategies:
(d)(2) Strategies to Carry Out Outreach Activities to Identify and Serve Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities who are Minorities:
The 2000 census confirmed the very small percentage of minority groups in Maine (2%). In the larger cities, outreach is being done for Asian, Middle Eastern, Spanish-speaking, French Canadian, African, and other minority groups. The City of Portland’s Health and Human Services Department, Collaborative Refugee Service Program, and the Portland CareerCenter have formed an exciting partnership and have hired a Human Services/Case Manager specializing in immigrant and refugee employment issues. This person will assist with the Portland CareerCenter initiatives in linking immigrants with southern Maine employers and will be housed in the CareerCenter and Portland City Hall. An employee is assigned to assist immigrants in the CareerCenter with job counseling and placement, employer-client intervention, and language and cultural issues. This individual works with all partners to serve new Mainers, many of who are from Somalia. Persons with English as a Second Language can attend classes with an emphasis on the language of work. These classes are part of a partnership with Portland Adult Education. Our regional offices have opened accounts with AT&T Interpreter Services, and the CareerCenter has sponsored two multicultural workshops for Somalia and Sudan, with more scheduled for the future. An information session was presented on who can legally work (green cards, etc.). Immigrants from Iran, Sudan, Liberia and Cambodia are being served, some with interpreters or a mentor.
Somalis are also being served in the Lewiston CareerCenter with an interpreter who works for the Center. The French Canadian community in Lewiston has also been served for many years by staff interpreting for that population.
DBVI continues to maintain ongoing communications with the four Maine tribes: Passamaquoddy Tribe Penobscot Indian Nation Houlton Band of Maliseets Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians
The Division continues to work with the Native American health centers doing outreach for all of our programs. These centers, managed by each of the tribes in Maine, have served as a contact point and focus for outreach efforts by the Division. We have periodic in-service trainings at the Health Center on Indian Island. Discussions continue in an effort to provide information about the Divisions programs in the Health Center newsletter that goes to all of the registered Penobscot tribal members on and off the island.
Title I resources continue to be used for development and expansion of assistive technology and low vision rehabilitation services for DBVI consumers in collaboration with all of our blindness rehabilitation services partners throughout the state.
ARRA funds were used to development new training sites with private industry in the southern Maine area. These sites will provide opportunities for individuals who are blind or have low vision to learn new job tasks and prepare them for future opportunities as they arise.
The Division continued to support the development of low vision rehabilitation services in communities throughout Maine in order to make these vital services more accessible for consumers. The division worked with community providers to assure that quality low vision services were provided in all settings to included Ophthalmologists and Optometrists offices as well as public or private low vision clinics.
The Division was involved in process improvement activities:
-Staff established a consistent ordering/replacement process for low vision devices and established a system of service delivery with Low Vision Service providers as they are identified in the community.
-DBVI staff convened a personal adjustment counseling (PAC) group in Northern Maine. They provided 15 hours of PAC year impacting at least 15 consumers.
One of our most important and challenging initiatives again this year will be to expand the knowledge base to focus on VR homemakers and Older Blind IL consumers in order to identify and support those individuals who would ultimately be engaged in full or part-time competitive employment upon completion of their program. We will continue to capture that competitive employment data element prior to closure for those individuals who would proceed in that direction after closure.
This screen was last updated on Sep 8 2011 1:02PM by Brenda Drummond
- Describe quality, scope, and extent of supported employment services to be provided to individuals with the most significant disabilities
- Describe the timing of the transition to extended services
The Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired continues to provide and expand supported employment services for individuals who are blind or have low vision living in Maine. We are committed to assuring that the individuals with the most severe disabilities for whom a supported employment setting is most appropriate will have an IPE that describes the services to be provided; documents the need for post-employment services and how they will be provided; and gives assurance that extended employment services will be in an integrated setting. The applicant will receive information concerning the availability of employment options and vocational rehabilitation services to supported employment in an integrated setting. If the individual chooses not to pursue employment in an integrated setting, he/she will be referred to other systems for services.
(1) Quality of Supported Employment Services:
The Division made the commitment to the development of an electronic information system (ORSIS), that monitors these services and streamlines the rehabilitation process. The staff now have access to up-to-date information on weekly wages, hours worked, public assistance at the time of application and closure, the cost per case, and the average cost by counselor, region, and state. We are now able to track the individuals who are eligible for VR but for whom the lack of long-term support prevents the development of a plan. The system will enable us to evaluate who is being served, costs related to supported employment, its benefit to the client, and other systemic issues.
The Division gets technical assistance in supported employment that is available through the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The agency remains committed to Continuous Quality Improvement in order to provide better services to our customers. There is an ongoing self-evaluation process that will positively impact the quality of all service areas, including supported employment.
(2) Scope of Supported Employment:
The primary service provided to clients in supported employment continues to be job skills training. This service is performed by a job coach who also provides intervention with supervisors and peers towards integrating into the company’s social environment. Other services which are provided when a need has been identified include: supplemental assessments, job development and placement, social skills training, specific skills of blindness training, transportation, support services to parents, spouse and children, and/or facilitation of natural supports. Trial work settings should be available to assess the consumer’s ability to work in an integrated, competitive setting. The agency provides whatever is required to achieve and maintain integrated competitive employment.
The majority of supported employment services are being provided to individuals who are blind or have low vision along with mental retardation or with severe and prolonged mental illness. There still is some restriction in getting long-term support commitment through DHHS (formerly the Bureau of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services) due to funding limitations, and the limitation of other sources.
Due to these current restrictions and the fact that the success of the supported employment model, as a whole, will ultimately hinge on the ability of the system to continue to develop options for extended/long-term support, the Division focuses on greater utilization of natural supports and the various SSI/SSDI work incentives as well as trying to explore new ideas for extended support. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Act (TWWIA) when fully implemented will offer additional support to persons in Supported Employment.
The Division participates in the state-funded Long-term Support Program, which purchases extended support without regard to disability group. Presently among the disability groups, this program is funding extended support to include individuals who are visually impaired, individuals with cerebral palsy and individuals with physical disabilities. In addition, we also have access to state-funded extended support for individuals with head injuries, but both of these appropriations are very limited in the number of people who can be supported.
(3) Extent of Supported Employment Services:
The Division served nine supported employment clients in FFY 2010 with five of them successfully closed in supported employment placements.
(4) Timing of Transition from Extended Employment to Integrated Employment:
In day-to-day practice, a team approach is used to determine when an individual has stabilized and reached an acceptable level for transitioning to integrated employment.
This process calls for continual communication between the DBVI Rehabilitation Counselor, a representative of the state agency providing extended support and the job coach. The team determines each agency’s responsibility, estimates of costs, time in training and the criteria for extended support. Once the agreement to provide extended support is signed, the team meets a minimum of every three months to evaluate progress, and, if needed, amend the agreement. The Division will pay the cost of the rehabilitation services only when the extended support will lead to integrated employment.
Each individual, including those with the most significant disabilities, should get the services and support that he/she needs to work in an integrated, competitive setting.
This screen was last updated on Jun 17 2011 2:52PM by Brenda Drummond
The following documents have been identified as being related to the information you are viewing.
ED-80-0013 - Certification Regarding Lobbying — 34 CFR 82.110(b) requires each State VR agency to submit for approval a signed certification regarding lobbying for each program for which federal funds are requested. In other words, one certification must be submitted for the VR program and another for the Supported Employment program.
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