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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1188

Michigan
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Michigan
4095 Legacy Pkwy
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Lansing
Michigan
48911
https://www.drmich.org
517-487-1755
800-288-5923
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Elham Jahshan
Elham Jahshan
517-374-4653
ejahshan@drmich.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
54
0
0
35
19
30
138
B. Training Activities
8
1198
During FY2021, CAP staff conducted several training activities. They provided information about DRM services, CAP, PABSS, transition services, systemic collaboration, and case concerns from each district with the goal of improving the services to MRS applicants and customers. CAP staff also conducted training to Disability Network staff and presented at the FY2021 NDRN virtual annual conference.

· MRS Southeastern Division: CAP staff provided three virtual trainings to 115 MRS counselors and managers at the Southeastern Division.

· Macomb Division: CAP staff provided three virtual trainings to 378 MRS counselors and managers at the Macomb Division.

· MRS New Counselor Orientation: Staff provided virtual training to 12 new MRS counselors.

· Disability Network Muskegon: CAP staff provided training to 15 Disability Network Muskegon staff members.

· NDRN virtual Annual Conference 2021: CAPs and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies from Michigan, Minnesota, and Rhode Island presented about CAP and VR collaborations to advance systemic equity in Michigan to 100 attendees. The attendees received information about how CAP can collaborate with VR to enhance equitable services to clients.

C. Agency Outreach
During FY2021, CAP staff presented at the Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) virtual Annual Conference to 653 attendees including students, families, educators, VR counselors and service providers of youth aged 14-26. The presentation included DRM services and CAP services as they relate to transition-age students in Michigan.

The following two outreach events were conducted by DRM staff to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first event was held in Flint on July 13, 2021, and the second event was held on July 26, 2021 in Auburn City Park. DRM staff presented to the attendees about DRM services and hosted a table with DRM brochures and other resources for people with disabilities.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
1
0
0
2890
0
0
N/A
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Overall, DRM Media activities during FY 2021: 31 mentions by external media coverage.

Print-25 times: Gongwer (4); Crain's Detroit Business (4); Lansing State Journal (1); The Oakland Press (1); The Mining Journal (1); Bridge Magazine (4); Associated Press (1); Keweenaw Report (1); USA Today (1); The Hechinger Report (1); Voice of Detroit (1); MLive (1); The Alpena News (1); ThePatch.com (1); WHMI 93.5 FM (1); Denver Gazette (1); Topics included MI mental healthcare system/crisis, direct caregiver wages, Covid-19 vaccine, special education, MDOC lawsuit, DRM board mention, auto no-fault.

TV-6 times: WXYZ Detroit (1); Fox 47 News (5). Topics included vaccine priority, home vaccinations, mental health care for kids and teens, unemployment during the pandemic, psychiatric bed crisis, transition back to in-person learning,

Press Releases-3. Topics included DRM litigation, Amtrak settlement, suit filed against MDOC healthcare contractor.
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
18
44
62
4
24
B. Problem areas
2
22
26
5
0
12
1
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
0
8
24
11
1
0
44
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
41
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
N/A
E. Results achieved for individuals
3
1
0
0
18
12
6
3
1
0
N/A
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
9
18
12
16
7
62
B. Gender
30
32
62
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
2
2
22
0
34
1
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
1
0
1
0
2
12
0
8
0
1
1
5
2
0
0
0
0
1
2
5
0
1
3
1
7
0
0
0
3
2
0
1
1
62
E. Types of Individuals Served
9
0
47
1
5
1
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
10
Throughout FY 2021, CAP staff met quarterly with the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) managers to bring client concerns to BSBP staff and develop strategies to improve relationships and services to their customers. We discussed BSBP college cases, BSBP staff, BSBP’s postsecondary policy, BSBP’s administrative review/hearing policy, BSBP Training Center service updates, and Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) for students who are blind. CAP assisted a client in filing for a hearing after BSBP denied their request to attend law school part-time. On October 12, 2021, we had an Administrative Review meeting with BSBP staff to discuss the client's request to attend law school part-time. During the Administrative Review meeting we learned BSBP had a Post-Secondary Education Policy that did not allow for part-time attendance and it lacked clarity on the circumstances when a part-time course of study could be available to their customers. We suggested that they change their policy to better accommodate students and suggested it also include the duration of time that part-time attendance would be available to consumers, possible justifications for this course of study, a clearer description of the process for making a request for assistance under these circumstances, and the criteria used to evaluate a request for part-time study. BSBP changed their policy to incorporate our suggestions, they updated the format of the policy by removing it as an embedded link, and worked to educate all staff on the application of the updated policy. They also added an explanation of some of the circumstances where the old policy may still be in effect so they could eliminate misinformation from being disseminated to consumers.
CAP staff continue to actively participate in MRS Policy Cadre meetings. This fiscal year we reviewed and assisted in re-writing several MRS policies including physical and mental restoration, financial participation, Policy Directive MRS-PD-21-02 regarding the Client Assistance Program, their current practice with the release of personal information and consent to release personal information, and their small business policy. CAP staff contributed suggestions to help make their policies stronger and more effective, and MRS accepted much of the input and incorporated it into the revised policies and procedures. CAP staff continue to be part of the small business policy committee to assist in re-writing that policy.
DRM staff continues to work with the Employment First work group this year to ensure activities supported by the Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) are moving forward in support of competitive integrated employment services. CAP staff are reviewing the results of targeted visits to Community Rehab Organizations (CROs) we visited in 2014 and 2015 to gather information about whether CROs are still operating as sheltered workshops, which CROs have transitioned to integrated employment and to gather information about employees who have transitioned from segregated to integrated employment. We have seen forward progress as some CROs have transitioned to integrated employment, and some employees with disabilities have transitioned to integrated employment. DRM provided a summary of our findings in Michigan to the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division to share information about the provision of employment support services for people with disabilities in Michigan. DRM staff met with Rep. Kuppa and Ashleigh Schoeninger, legislative director, to discuss pay equity legislation. We provided information about barriers to pay equity including the fact that people with disabilities are left out and not considered a protected class, and if included, "quantity and quality" of work language potentially expands a subminimum wage exclusion to everyone even if not under a certificate. We reviewed the MCL 37.2203 current definition of protected class, noting it has a narrower definition of "sex" and leaves out people with disabilities. Rep. Kuppa agreed we should be inclusive. We send sample language to Rep. Kuppa suggesting the addition of “disability” to the list of characteristics within the definition of protected class and also suggested adding disability to the list of characteristics identified elsewhere in the definition. Finally, we suggested deleting “quantity or quality of production” from the regulation.
CAP staff were involved with the Michigan Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (MI- AHEAD) during FY21. MI-AHEAD is an organization for professionals who work with students with disabilities in higher education. The purpose of MI-AHEAD is to strengthen the professionalism, expertise, competency, and the promotion of equity and opportunities for students with disabilities. MI-AHEAD members were provided with information and resources to provide their students with options for accommodations, disability-related resources, referrals to VR, and information about the PABSS program. The team has developed a perception survey and resource mapping survey to determine the changes that need to be made throughout the state. The surveys have been distributed with an end date of December 17, 2021. The team is scheduled to meet with state leadership on December 20, 2021, to present our findings and make recommendations for statewide changes. The new model will be designed based on these findings and will incorporate interagency collaboration to ensure all students with disabilities in Michigan have access to appropriate transition services.
CAP staff were also involved with the MRS Diversity Advisory Group to enhance the group’s understanding that disability is part of diversity and individuals with disabilities have their own culture, traumas, and experiences that impact how they interact with the world around them. Staff was able to provide feedback and discuss the intersectional ways in which clients experience oppression and systemic injustice. CAP staff met with the Training & Professional Development action team and discussed MRS-awarded diversity grants. The MRS consultant manager is working with CAP staff to hire a diversity consultant and provide trauma-informed training to the MRS staff in January 2022. MRS will also be partnering with Michigan State University (MSU), Louisiana VR, and a Louisiana university to develop a more inclusive approach to employment and education.

B. Litigation
0
0
0
During the fiscal year, CAP staff undertook no systemic litigation activities involving individual representation. Instead, the staff relied on more informal review and mediation procedures, which successfully resolved cases before having to resort to formal administrative or legal remedies.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disabilityb Rights Michigan
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
PI/Outreach 3% 0.08

Support Staff 15% 0.45

Advocate 60% 1.85

Attorney 1% 0.03

Director 21% 0.65

Executive 1% 0.02

Total 100% 3.08

Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Case Example # 1: The client was receiving services from the the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) to become a lawyer. The client had been admitted to law school in Seattle but did not receive acceptance until mid-June. The client had been told by her counselor they would not be able to support her attending law school because the deadline for BSBP to provide support was July 1st. The client gathered all the information that was needed without any support of her counselor and provided all the documentation needed to be considered for support. The client did not have the support of her counselor to attend law school. The client receives social security and cannot be required to use her social security to participate in VR services. The CAP advocate and the supervisor had meetings with the client, the counselor, division director and bureau director several times to negotiate the support BSBP would provide. At the beginning of process BSBP stated they would only provide support for 75% of the client's living expenses. CAP staff challenged BSBP’s decision and were able to negotiate 100% support for the client's living expenses, travel expenses, moving expenses, orientation and mobility training, and assistive technology expenses.

Case example #2: The client called CAP because the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) denied her request for support in her participation in a part-time law school program. The client is a new mother and struggles with severe anxiety apart from her blindness. Following the denial, DRM requested an administrative review of the client’s case. Her employment goal had consistently been to practice as an attorney throughout her time with BSBP. As a general rule, BSBP only supports full-time enrollment for post secondary education. After the administrative review, BSBP agreed to support the reduced course load and update their policy so that it is more clear on how college students can be supported.

Case example # 3: The client is a Native American man who contacted CAP because he was seeking assistance from MRS to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) for his fishing business. At first, his MRS counselor believed the agency could not help with this because she believed the client was prohibited from obtaining a fishing license under tribal law due to his disability. Upon further investigation, DRM learned the tribe refused to pay for the license, but that MRS could do so. MRS purchased the fishing license for the client and included specific accommodations for him to effectively do his job.

Case example # 4: The client contacted CAP to investigate if MRS would provide her with tutoring for college due to her struggling with online learning. This had been approved for a previous trial semester, but there was concern about whether the counselor would agree to this. The CAP advocate attended a meeting with the client and the counselor, where the client’s IPE was revised to include the tutoring along with other college supports.

Case example #5: The client contacted the DRM because he wanted MRS to provide him with a new job developer. His previous job developer was not following up with him. When the CAP advocate first contacted MRS, they did not want to continue to provide job development services. A meeting was held with the MRS site manager and district manager, and MRS agreed to provide the client with a new job developer.

Case example# 6: Client is a medical student and had been working with MRS to get the appropriate AT and OT supports. The assessments conducted were minimal and the recommendations were no more than a Google search. The client asked to meet with the Business Network Division (BND) manager to review the report and discuss the evaluation and recommendations. CAP reached out to BND and scheduled a meeting with the client and the manager. The manager was able to hear the client's concerns and make adjustments to how the client is being served by BND. The client's personal identifying information was not input properly into the MRS AWARE system, and the client's PII was shared on documents where it should not have been. CAP coordinated a meeting with MRS staff that support the AWARE system, and changes were made to ensure that the violation would not occur again.

Case example #7: The client contacted the agency because he was having communication issues with his Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) counselor. The client is deaf and requested MRS provide him an ASL interpreter. At the time, his counselor was signing to him, but the client felt the counselor was not proficient enough in ASL to communicate effectively with him. The CAP Advocate was able to negotiate with MRS to ensure an ASL interpretation was available for all vocational rehabilitation activities. The client also obtained a new counselor in the process.

Certification
Approved
Michelle Roberts
Executive Director
2021-12-16
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