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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1181

Idaho
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Idaho
4477 Emerald
Suite B-100
Boise
Id
83706
2083365353
866-262-3462
866-262-3462
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Christine Meeuwsen
Therese Varela
208-336-5353 ext 202
therese@disabilityrightsidaho.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
12
110
10
0
0
0
132
B. Training Activities
11
307
1. Highland High School Transition IEP's
a. Transition from school to post secondary Education/Employment
b. Informing transition age special education students about DRI services and their rights when it comes to the drafting and creation of their Transition IEP's.
c. Transition aged students

2. Minidoka Transition Fair
a. Transition from school to post secondary Education/Employment
b. Informing transition age special education students about DRI services and their rights when it comes to the drafting and creation of their Transition IEP's.
c. Transition aged students

3. Supported Decision Making
a. High schoolers with disabilities transitioning into either post-secondary education or a vocation.
b. This presentation explores what Supported Decision-Making is and how you can use it to get the support you need to make the large and small decisions in your life as an individual transition.
c. Transition age students and their parents

4. Transition workshops DRI Conducted transition workshops that provided information on the benefits of competitive, integrated employment, to local high school aged students with disabilities.
a. DRI completed Transition IEP presentations to the Pocatello School District 2 high schools: Pocatello High School, and Century High School Recently, an alternative High School participated this last May. b. Information regarding what transition IEP's look like, who is on the team, what a student's rights are, Voc rehab information is provided, CAP information is given, Voting and General DRI information is discussed. PABSS program is explained, SSA beneficiary information is explained, what happens when students turn 18 is discussed.
c. transition age students
C. Agency Outreach
DisAbility Rights Idaho (DRI) was limited in our outreach efforts this fiscal year due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a reduction in resources because of loss of a number of staff members. DRI was able to conduct outreach to transition programs and provided significant outreach to the Deaf and Blind community about the services provided by the CAP program.

DRI also exhibited at the virtual Fred Riggers Disability Awareness Day normally held at the Idaho State Capitol building. Due to the pandemic, the event was virtual. DRI provided information, including information on the CAP, to members of the public, and legislators, and connected with other disability agencies throughout the state. DRI gave a presentation on supported decision-making.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
3
0
0
4161
11
20988
This number reflects the number of hits on the agency website and blogs.
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
The P&A had a articles published in the disability advocate regarding voting and also 2 on air interviews regarding voting and the rights of individuals with disabilities and accessible voting. The P&A also sent out a press release to all media outlets to announce the settlement regarding the the lawsuit brought against the Idaho State Legislature regarding accessibility to provide testimony during covid pandemic.
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
0
8
8
8
1
B. Problem areas
0
0
5
2
0
0
0
1
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
6
0
0
0
1
0
7
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
4
1
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
3
0
0
0
0
2
0
2
0
0
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Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
2
1
5
0
8
B. Gender
5
3
8
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
1
0
0
0
5
2
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
8
E. Types of Individuals Served
5
0
1
2
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
1
DisAbility Rights Idaho (DRI) participated in the negotiated administrative rulemaking process for Idaho Vocational Rehabilitation’s (IDVR’s) Extended Employment Services (EES) program. The administrative rules are needed to flesh out operations of the program beyond what is outlined in the statute authorizing the program. The EES program is for individuals who need longer term employment supports and assistance than is usually provided by IDVR through their regular vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. EES includes community integrated employment, group supported employment, and work services/sheltered workshop services. DRI attended and provided comments at listening sessions used to collect public feedback to inform the drafting of the proposed rules. DRI also met with IDVR staff to discuss the EES program in greater detail to better understand the history and pressure points of these services.

IDVR drafted and disseminated proposed rules for the EES program based on the comments received during the listening sessions. At that point, the proposed rules were open for public comment and DRI again submitted comments on the proposed rules. The theme of DRI’s comments centered on supporting individuals to make informed choices and ensuring transparency and accountability within the program. Many others community members and stakeholders provided comment as well. Due to both the intense public interest and state legislator interest in the program following this comment period, the Idaho Governor’s office determined that the EES rulemaking process would be more efficient if the EES program was pulled out of the negotiated rulemaking process and sent it back to the Idaho state legislature to amend the EES statute. The current EES statute does not include details regarding program operation. The idea is the statute should be more detailed in order to more fully reflect the legislature’s intent with the program’s operation. DRI and other advocacy groups who had worked hard on facilitating participation by individuals with disabilities in the rulemaking process became concerned that a shift back to the legislature would mean that those who the program is intended to serve would no longer have a way to engage in the process.

To address these concerns, DRI and other advocacy partners requested a meeting with the Idaho Governor’s office and Director of the State Department of Education. We received further details about the process and plans for the program implementation. We also offered input and suggestions regarding how to keep the process transparent and provide an avenue for those who the program would serve to be involved in the process.

In addition to these activities, DRI also wrote a letter to IDVR regarding the negotiated rulemaking process to offer suggestions on how to improve access to the public meetings in the future. DRI and advocacy partners identified specific shortfalls in the process this year and hopes that providing feedback will improve the process moving forward.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many activities initially planned and undertaken by CAP
and other collaborator agencies did not proceed as intended. As a result, fewer nonlitigation systemic activities were able to come to fruition to result in a change of policy or practice of an agency.


2. DRI’s CAP Coordinator met quarterly with Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (IDVR) Administrator and other staff to discuss systemic issues identified by CAP with IDVR. During these meetings in FY21, CAP was able to bring to IDVR’s attention concerns about potential need for training of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs) regarding discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. The conversation also included recommending renewed staff training that case closure before employment is obtained is not something that a client feels pressured into but rather is the result of collaboration between IDVR and the client. Throughout the year CAP engaged with IDVR regarding the Extended Employment Services program and provided feedback regarding the rulemaking and process. During these quarterly meetings CAP also addressed an apparent systemic issue regarding records requests, clarifying the regulation requirements around records that VR deems to be potentially harmful to the client and requesting additional IDVR staff training regarding this process. IDVR stated they would review these procedures and provide further guidance to IDVR staff regarding responding to records requests appropriately.
B. Litigation
1
0
1
DRI participated as an organizational plaintiff in a lawsuit in federal court to against the Idaho Legislature for failure to make reasonable accommodations under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 504 to allow Idahoans with disabilities to virtually participate in the Legislative session. All plaintiffs entered into a consent decree with the Idaho Legislature that ensured that all persons with disabilities could testify before legislative committees and participate in activities at the State Capitol during the legislative session. DRI and the other plaintiffs were represented by pro bono counsel. The federal court ruled that DRI had organizational standing.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Idaho
No
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B. Staff Employed
TYPE OF POSITION FTE % OF YR FILLED PERSON-YEARS
Professional 0.52 80.30% 0.50
Full-time NA NA NA
Part-time 0.52 80.30% 0.50
Vacant 1.17 9.72% 0.11
Clerical 0.29 80.00% 0.27
Full-time NA NA NA
Part-time 0.29 80.00% 0.27
Vacant 1.00 8.33% 0.08
Submit in narrative format: as shown below
Part V: Agency Information
B. Staff Employed
Description of staff …
"Professional positions: Part-time FTE = .52; 80.30% of year filled; .50 person years
Vacant FTE = 1.17; 9.72% of year vacant; .11 person years
Clerical positions: Part-time FTE = .29; 80.00% of year filled; .27 person years
Vacant FTE = 1.0; 8.33% of year vacant; ..08 person years
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the CAP/DRI received a reduced number of calls for
assistance. Through meetings with the state's VR program CAP/DRI learned that VR
was also experiencing a significant reduction in clients seeking VR services. CAP/DRI
attributes the reduced number of calls for assistance to the reduced number of clients
served by the state's VR program as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the
reduced number of calls for assistance CAP/DRI also saw a reduced number of
individuals served as compared to prior years.


1. Disability Rights Idaho provided assistance a 20 year old Caucasian male diagnosed with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism whose mom called the CAP program on his behalf, requesting assistance with securing accommodations at the client's college. The CAP advocate reviewed the client's information, and determined that the client was an active client with VR. The CAP advocate explained to the client, and to his mom, that VR should be helping the client with this request. After speaking with the VRC, the CAP advocate confirmed that the client and his mom do not always communicate with the VRC, and this communication problem was resolved. After explaining how VR and the ADA office at the colleges work together, the CAP advocate was able to assist the client with transferring to a college of his choice, and establish communication with the local ADA office for accommodations. However, the client's mom insisted that the client not work with VR any longer, but work with a psychologist her friend recommended. As a result of the CAP advocates technical assistance, the client is now attending school at the college of his choice with the assistance of the ADA office director's help. The client was able to advocate for the college he wanted to go to, and advocate for self.

2. The P&A/CAP represented a client who is a 23-year-old female with a heart condition that has resulted in physical and cognitive impairments. The client sought assistance from the CAP to aid in reopening her case with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). The client reported that her Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) closed her case citing that the client no longer wished to receive services. In fact, the client did wish to continue receiving services but the VRC had informed her that VR could not help her because no one would hire her while she was pregnant. Due to staff resources CAP offered limited assistance to reach out to VR supervisors to request reopening on the basis of the seemingly discriminatory statements of the VRC. In addition to requesting assistance from CAP, the client had also appealed her case closure directly to VR requesting informal review. The VR program manager reached out to the client and CAP, offering case reopening and reassignment to a new VRC since the stated reason for closure was not accurate. CAP discussed the VRC’s alleged statements with the VR Program Manager and requested a meeting with VR supervisors to discuss CAP’s discrimination concerns. The client was satisfied with case reopening and reassignment to a new VRC. CAP continues to address the systemic concerns as a training issue directly with VR. CAP also provided the client with information and assistance related to other VR questions and reminded her that CAP is available should she encounter issues in the future. With CAP’s involvement, the client was able to learn about her rights with VR, reopen her case, and transfer to a new VRC so that she may continue to pursue VR services and employment.

3. Disability Rights Idaho provided assistance to a 34 year old female who is currently receiving treatment at a recovery center for Alcoholism who called requesting assistance with finding employment opportunities. The CAP non attorney advocate researched the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation, as the client's case worker was specific about the client being a tribal member with the local Shoshone Bannock tribes. The CAP non attorney advocate confirmed that due to COVID limitations, the eligibility requirements for tribal members who live off the reservation has become less restrictive, and she would now be eligible for further resources besides Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab/VR). It was also explained to the client that she can choose either the Voc Rehab in Pocatello, or the tribal VR to work with. When speaking with the client, the CAP non attorney advocate provided the tribal VR information, as well as the 477 programs such as housing assistance, rent assistance, food and commodity program assistance. 4 Directions Recovery Program services were also explained, such as brown lunch programs and sweats, when and where they were held. Should the client need to update her enrollment ID, who to talk with was also explained. The Shoshone Bannock Tribes phone operator contact information was provided to the client, should she want to call any other programs or entities within the tribal system. As a result of the P&A's technical assistance, the client was provided with the information to self advocate and access further programs.
Certification
Approved
Amy Cunningham
Executive Director
2021-12-20
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