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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1187

Florida
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Florida
2473 Care Drive
Suite 200
Tallahassee
Florida
32308
850-488-9071
800-342-0823
800-346-4127
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Ann Siegel, Legal Director/CAP Director
Allison Klein, CAP Coordinator
850-617-9752
allisonk@disabilityrightsflorida.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
130
8
0
50
1
34
223
B. Training Activities
15
3499
The Covid pandemic impacted CAP outreach activities this fiscal year and many trainings and events were moved to a virtual platform.

CAP presentation to the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Central Florida: Trained staff on ADA access, Employment (benefits to hiring individuals with disabilities) and accommodations in the workplace. Attendees were CIL staff.

CAP presentation to EmployU: Trained staff on Disability Rights Florida services and reasonable accommodations. Attendees were approximately 100 staff members of EmployU.

Family Café 2021: Presentation on relationship violence. Virtual event for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Family Café 2021- Presentation on Covid-19 and it’s traumatic effects on the lives of people with disabilities. Virtual event for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Family Café 2021: Update Your Winning Ticket: Making Work Pay – Understanding Vocational: Virtual Event for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Family Café 2021: Great Expectations: Exploring How Expectations Influence Successful Transition to Higher Education and Employment after High School. Virtual event for students with disabilities and their families to explain the role of high and low expectations in the outcome of school to work transition.

FAU CARD Advocacy for Youth: Presented information for youth on Supported Decision Making, reasonable accommodations in employment and education, voting, social media and self advocacy. Attendees were consumers of CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders).

Fearless Caregiver Broward: Virtual conference where Disability Rights Florida presented on the P&A and services provided, discussions on how Covid-19 has affected productivity and communication with clients, and what issues we have seen rise during the pandemic.

Grow Group Presentation: Presented information on DRF and reasonable accommodations to Grow Group staff in order to better assist them in their goal of serving individuals with disabilities.

Navigating Supported Decision Making, Vocational Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education: Provided transition information and how to cross the bridge to adulthood and addressing transition for youth with intellectual and developmental differences to teachers, OT/PT/SLP, and families.

Visions 2021: Staff presented on Raising the Bar on Transitioning to Adulthood & Employment. Attendees were about 100 Educational Professionals.

Youth Council Summit: Presented on Play it Safe with your Words and Thoughts, Think Before you Post. Attendees included youth with disabilities and their families.
NSU (Nova SouthEastern University) CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) presentations: Present to a parent group regarding transition and alternatives to guardianship/guardian advocacy.

2021 FL SAND Conference : Mission Inclusion - Educated persons with disabilities and their families about DRF and the programs and services offered.

Crisis Center of Tampa Bay : Staff presented on the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability sensitivity outreach training to approximately 20 staff via Zoom.
C. Agency Outreach
The CAP was active in outreach efforts, both in person and virtual, throughout the year in urban and rural areas to reach diverse groups, transition students and their families, with increased emphasis on foster youth with disabilities and individuals from minority and previously under-served groups. The Intake Outreach Coordinator has 26 years of experience with Disability Rights Florida and has an extensive background in serving CAP clients. One of the key roles within Disability Rights Florida is rural outreach where the Intake Outreach Coordinator can share information on the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Division of Blind Services (DBS), CAP, Ticket-to-Work and Independent Living Services during outreach events. The Florida CAP is located within the Florida P&A, Disability Rights Florida, and we have an External Affairs Coordinator that provides onsite face-to-face contact with the public at all agency outreach events. Both of these individuals are representatives of a minority group. We have bilingual staff (English/Spanish) attending many events as well. The CAP Coordinator is a Senior Advocate-Investigator with 19 years experience at the P&A. Disability Rights Florida has a Spanish website and Spanish online intake system. This accessible computer system allows individuals to contact us at night and on the weekend. Certified Language Interpreters are utilized when needed as well.

Special events CAP participated in this year include: Vocational Rehabilitation Explainer Video, National Disability Employment Awareness Month Podcast and Blog, Family Café 2021, Fl Development Disabilities Leadership Consortium, Alachua County Disability Awareness Celebration, Florida PTA Leadership Convention, Veterans/Military Stand Down outreach events, Autism Speaks Broward, Autism Speaks North Florida Walk, AIRS 2021: E-conference, Florida Behavioral Health Conference 2021, It’s a Deaf Thing sponsored by Project Deaf, Daniel Memorial 33rd Annual National Independent Living Conference, The Big IDEA Virtual Conference, Florida Youth Council 14th Annual Youth Summit, Unserved and underserved Communities in Florida Outreach, and Evening with the Agencies 2021 (Osceola County School District).
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
43
0
0
3946
17
3342
1. There were 21 TV news stories where a Disability Rights Florida employee was interviewed and another 22 radio news stories where an employee was interviewed, for a total of 43.

4. Disability Rights Florida (DRF) disseminated 835 annual reports, 1338 brochures in English and 74 in Spanish, 10 DRF posters, 345 CAP brochures, 552 Emergency Prep materials, and 762 Obtain, Maintain, Regain employment brochure in English and 30 in Spanish. Total is 3946.

5. CAP exhibited at the following conferences: 2021 Florida SAND conference, AIRS 2021, Alachua County Disability Awareness Celebration, Autism Speaks Broward, Daniel Memorial 33rd Annual National Independent Living Conference, Evening with the Agencies 2021, FACIL Youth Leadership Round Robin, Family Cafe 2021, FDDC 2021 Virtual Annual Developmental Disabilities Day, Fearless Caregiver Broward, Florida Behavioral Health Conference 2021, Florida DCDT Visions 2021, Florida PTA Leadership Convention, Fl Youth Council 14th Annual Youth Summit, Seminole County Public Schools Transition Showcase, The Big IDEA, and Veterans/Military OUtreach


6. Podcasts are on the Disability Rights Florida website related to CAP and ADA (Title 1 included). There were 1962 downloads of Episode 19 - Barriers to Employment and there were 1380 downloads of Episode 9 - What is the Client Assistance Program (CAP).
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
NA
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
17
153
170
2
22
B. Problem areas
0
37
59
57
0
8
3
4
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
78
2
67
0
2
1
151
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
90
26
1
8
0
22
4
0
0
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
70
39
0
2
1
30
6
3
0
0
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Part III. Program Data
A. Age
18
32
33
73
14
170
B. Gender
84
86
170
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
24
0
4
36
0
94
9
3
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
7
1
2
0
5
28
3
15
5
0
5
7
6
0
1
1
5
3
5
22
1
2
3
11
22
0
0
0
6
1
1
0
1
170
E. Types of Individuals Served
42
1
81
4
44
1
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
During this fiscal year, DVR agreed and executed putting information/posters in all offices with the supervisor's name and contact information as well as CAP information. Now clients entering the building will know who to contact if there are any questions or concerns about how their case is going. They will also be made aware of CAP earlier in the process.

Department of Education (DOE) legal agreed to meet with AEO Director and/or Legal Director prior to filing fair hearings to determine if we can come to an agreement prior to any hearing. This has already begun and benefited our clients by reaching agreements prior to filing.

The CAP are involved with both the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) and the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (FRCB). During the FRC meetings, CAP advises DVR on the systemic issues we are seeing, such as DVR policy changes without CAP input. CAP is now being provided policy changes prior to them becoming finalized and provided the opportunity to discuss concerns regarding those changes.
B. Litigation
1
1
0
JW is an individual who identifies as blind. JW is a consumer of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Division of Blind Services (DBS). JW has been a consumer for over 10 years. He graduated around 2013 from Janitorial and Cleaning classes. He was working with DVR and DBS with the goal of self-employment. Around 2016 with the intervention from the Client Assistance Program (CAP), we negotiated a settlement agreement resulting in JW, with DVR and DBS support, to start JW’s Janitorial and Cleaning Company. They agreed to purchase the equipment, including two floor scrubbers and supplies, business license, and to pay the rent for an office and warehouse space. When JW’s case was closed DBS and DVR were proceeding with the plan. Around 2018, JW reached out to the CAP due to DVR and DBS refusal to secure the equipment and supplies, and lack of implementation of the business plan. CAP investigated the issue and uncovered that DBS had purchased the equipment and supplies but because DVR and DBS didn’t secure storage space, the vendor kept the equipment and demanded over $18000 in storage fees. DVR moved to close JW’s case and the CAP represented JW at an administrative hearing and the decision was overturned and DVR agreed to provide services and committed DBS’ participation. The CAP proceeded to advocate for implementation of the plan and DBS moved to close JW’s case. The CAP reached out to DBS’ attorney but the attorney refused to address the enforcement of the settlement agreement. There was a disconnect between DVR and DBS working collaboratively on behalf of a shared consumer. The CAP filed for enforcement with the Department of Administrative Hearings(DOAH) but DOAH lacked the authority to enforce the settlement agreement. The CAP filed a complaint against DVR and DBS in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit of Leon County seeking enforcement of the settlement agreement. The parties were ordered to mediation where the matter was settled. Since then, JW was working with a new Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultant (CBTAC) who helped modify the business plan to a more sustainable business. An addendum to the settlement agreement was needed to justify the changes to the equipment needed. This matter resulted in DVR and DBS working together on behalf of JW. The DVR and DBS, along with the CBTAC, meet with JW and the CAP every two weeks to ensure they are making progress on the plan and working collaboratively on behalf of JW. In 2021, the CAP resolved the dispute between DVR and DBS on behalf of JW.

This successful CAP litigation may benefit 900-1000 clients served by DVR and DBS as well as clients of both agencies involved in the small business and rehabilitation engineering process. This estimate is based on information from both agencies for 2020-2021 that together they served 49,926 clients. A small subset of clients served by both agencies or individuals involved in small business or rehabilitation engineering services is estimated at 2% of total DVR/DBS clients which would be approximately 998 individuals. The litigation in this case positively impacted overall communication and coordination of effort of both agencies.

Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Florida
No
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B. Staff Employed
Position Position Type % of Year filled % of position funded by CAP Person Years
Accounting Manager Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 9.8% 1
Advocacy Specialist Bilingual Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Avocacy Specialist Bilingual Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 24.4% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.5% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 50.00% 1.2% 0.5
Advocate Investigator Professional 50.00% 53.0% 0.5
Advocate Investigator Professional 10.00% 1.4% 0.1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 13.6% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.4% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.5% 1
Director of Advocacy, Education and Outreach Professional 6.00% 27.6% 0.06
Director of Communications Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Director of Investigations Professional 100.00% 0.6% 1
Director of Operations Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Director of Public Policy Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Director of Systems Reform Professional 83.00% 1.1% 0.83
Director of Systems Reform Professional 100.00% 1.3% 1
Emergency Management Coordiantor Professional 17.00% 9.4% 0.17
Equal Justice Fellow Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Executive Director Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Information Technology Coordinator Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Intake Manager Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Intake Outreach Coordinator Professional 100.00% 9.8% 1
Legal Director Professional 100.00% 18.7% 1
Outreach Coordinator Professional 100.00% 8.3% 1
Personnel & Benefits Coordinator Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Project Manager Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Public Policy Analyst Professional 75.00% 4.9% 0.75
Public Policy Reporting Coordinator Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Sr. Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Sr. Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 9.7% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 88.0% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.6% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 7.7% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 8.6% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 5.2% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator/CAP Coordinator Professional 100.00% 68.4% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 1.3% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 10.7% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.2% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 5.0% 1
Sr. Public Policy Analyst Professional 100.00% 6.0% 1
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 50.00% 2.1% 0.5
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.8% 1
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 75.00% 12.9% 0.75
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.0% 1
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.4% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 15.4% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 11.7% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.4% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 4.6% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 7.7% 1
Team Operations Coordinator Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Technology & Communications Manager Professional 100.00% 7.3% 1
Accounting Associate Clerical 100.00% 7.3% 1
Administrative Assistant Clerical 25.00% 12.4% 0.25
Administrative Assistant Clerical 100.00% 9.9% 1
Communications Intern (quarter time) Clerical 25.00% 7.8% 0.25
Executive Assistant Clerical 100.00% 7.3% 1
Legal Coordinator/Sr. Paralegal Clerical 75.00% 2.0% 0.75
Paralegal Clerical 100.00% 0.7% 1
Paralegal Clerical 100.00% 7.3% 1
Public Policy Intern Clerical 10.00% 12.2% 0.1
Public Policy Intern Clerical 10.00% 10.8% 0.1
Public Policy Intern Clerical 10.00% 6.6% 0.1
Public Policy Intern Clerical 10.00% 10.2% 0.1
Public Policy Intern Clerical 10.00% 6.9% 0.1
Public Policy Intern Clerical 10.00% 11.4% 0.1
Receptionist Clerical 100.00% 9.7% 1
Senior Paralegal Clerical 100.00% 9.7% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 7.3% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 7.4% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 9.7% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 7.5% 1


Total Professional 55.16
Total Clerical 12.85
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
J.H., an individual with cancer (brain and breast), epilepsy, TBI, stage 4 hypertension, physical impairment, lupus, trigeminal neuralgia, and dental issues, contacted Disability Rights Florida Client Assistance Program (CAP) requesting assistance with getting the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to expedite approval of dental restoration services provided on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The CAP team’s Advocate-Investigator’s (AI) investigation and intervention led to the understanding that the delay was caused from the dental consultant and lack of response was putting J.H. at further risk of infection. The DVR counselor and supervisor agreed to forego the dental consultant step and approve dental restoration services so J.H. can move forward with securing employment.

MR, an individual with Absence of Extremities and Physical / Orthopedic Impairments, contacted Disability Rights Florida Client Assistance Program (CAP) requesting assistance with communication with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and getting the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) amended to include the requested career goal and services required for self-employment. The CAP team’s Advocate-Investigator’s (AI) investigation and intervention led to the re-writing of MR's IPE to specify the correct employment goal and services necessary to update MR's business plan for self-employment. The CAP AI advised on DVR process and policies, which led to an understanding of MR’s rights. DVR agreed to pay for a CBTAC to review MR's existing but outdated business plan and provide a list of goods and services that will be necessary for MR to start the business at this time.

JW, a person with Autism, contacted Disability Rights Florida seeking assistance in obtaining assistance with vocational choice and sponsorship of tuition for college through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate Investigator (AI)’s investigation revealed that DVR was basing the decision on educational evaluations that, while not supportive, did not rule out the possibility of higher education with accommodations in place. DVR was offering an employment goal that did not include the need for a college degree and pushed for additional evaluations. The CAP AI’s intervention and negotiation led to a change of DVR unit with a new counselor, a change of employment goal in line with JW’s informed choice, as well as sponsorship in college and a residential college experience to improve upon social and independent living skills.

MC, a person with carpal tunnel syndrome and orthopedic issues, contacted Disability Rights Florida regarding a potential case closure by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The Client Assistance program (CAP) Advocate Investigator (AI)’s investigation led to the understanding that MC had been slow to provide course schedules, grades and other class material to DVR. The CAP AI’s intervention involved multiple conference calls with various DVR staff, explaining rights, clarifying disputed issues, technical assistance on change of counselors and technical assistance on appeal rights and negotiation. The CAP AI’s intervention led to DVR agreeing to keep the case open and to the agreement to follow their policy on continuation of services throughout the appeal process.

LMVD, an individual with Multiple Sclerosis and obesity, contacted Disability Rights Florida requesting assistance obtaining a reasonable accommodation to work remotely due to the risk factors of Covid19 from the employer, Tallahassee Community College (TCC). The Advocacy, Education & Outreach Team (AEO) Advocate-Investigator (AI) educated the employer about reasonable accommodations and the interactive process. The AEO AI advised LMVD on documentation needed to obtain the accommodations needed. The AEO’s investigation and intervention led to the employer allowing for 100% remote work during the pandemic.

KE, a person with a spinal cord injury-based disability, contacted Disability Rights Florida regarding multiple denial of services issues including a threat of case closure by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). DVR refused to assist with transportation, access to mental health counseling, van modification and was unwilling to amend the individualized plan for employment to move forward in providing employment services. A decision letter has been issued indicating plans to terminate services. A Client Assistance Program (CAP) team investigation confirmed the complaint but also revealed flawed accounts and misrepresentation of facts on the part of DVR. The Client Assistance Program intervention involved a conference call, facilitation of vendor certification, negotiation and limited monitoring. DVR agreed to provide mental health services, to assist with transportation allowing KE to participate in services, a referral for Rehabilitation Engineer assessment and referral for job placement services. CAP facilitated KE’s Fair Hearing withdrawal request.

H.G., an individual with progressive visual impairment of both eyes, contacted Disability Rights Florida requesting assistance securing a reasonable accommodation to receive on the job assistive technology training to become a wholly audio software engineer. The Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate-Investigator (AI) educated the employer about reasonable accommodations and the interactive process. The CAP’s investigation and intervention led to the employer offering several options, including other positions with equal pay and status, that could allow for full audio programming without an outside agency modifying the servers. H.G. is now back at work full time and utilizing new software that allows for all audio accessibility.

J.H., an individual with Trigeminal Neuralgia, cancer, neurological disorders, respiratory disorders and Traumatic Brain Injury, contacted Disability Rights Florida Client Assistance Program (CAP) requesting assistance with dental restoration through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), which needed to be completed prior to brain surgery. The CAP team’s Advocate-Investigator’s (AI) investigation and intervention led to a new counselor/consultant, new dentist and an agreement for DVR to sponsor any out of pocket dental fees so that J.H. can have brain surgery and eventually get back to work.

O.S., an individual who is blind in both eyes, contacted Disability Rights Florida Client Assistance Program (CAP) requesting assistance with the Division of Blind Services (DBS) and accommodations needed to secure employment. The CAP team’s Advocate-Investigator’s (AI) investigation and intervention led to the reestablishment of communication between O.S. and DBS, assistive technology evaluation and agreement to provide AT on the job site, as well as an agreement from DBS to provide potential employers with a customized letter to explain the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. O.S. is currently working and DBS is in agreement to assist with finding a better paying job within the agreed upon goal.

Certification
Approved
Allison Klein
CAP Coordinator
2021-12-15
OMB Notice

OMB Control Number: 1820-0528, approved for use through 07/31/2023

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