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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1192

New Mexico
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights New Mexico
3916 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE
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Albuquerque
New Mexico
87111
https://www.drnm.org
505-256-3100
1-800-432-4682
1-800-432-4682
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Bernadine Chavez
Bernadine Chavez
505-256-3100
bchavez@drnm.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
30
3
1
4
0
22
60
B. Training Activities
8
125
CAP staff provided two trainings to 28 new staff persons working for the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR) at the Rehabilitation Academy. The training topics included the CAP and other programs at Disability Rights New Mexico. The other topic covered was Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This training also helps to familiarize new VR staff with the requirements of notifying participants about CAP and helps to promote a working relationship in solving issues for participants. DRNM/CAP staff also provided training to Independent Living staff at a Centers for Independent Living. The topics covered were CAP, WIOA and order of selection for DVR. CAP staff presented to a group of Native American parents with transition age children. We trained on Pre-Employment Transition (PRETS) for individuals preparing for transition. This training was sponsored by EPICs (Educating Parents of Indian Children). DRNM staff provided two trainings on “School to Jail” pipeline. The training covered youth with disabilities who are suspended/expelled and make their way into the juvenile justice system instead of completing their education or going through vocational rehabilitation. The group of students targeted are transition age and eligible for PRETs or services for "youth with disabilities". DRNM/CAP staff also provided training to families and youth participating in a virtual transition fair. One of these trainings was conducted in Spanish for monolingual Spanish speaking families. The topic covered were PRETs services under WIOA and IDEA. There were 30 participants at this event targeted to southern New Mexico.
C. Agency Outreach
Typically DRNM/CAP conducts outreach in person to rural and underserved areas. Due to the Pandemic and the cancellation of "in person" events, DRNM/CAP has focused on virtual events. We recognize that this is not as effective but will return to in person outreach as health orders allow. We have maintained contact with the Native American 121 projects and have conducted training for Native American families as well as monolingual Hispanic families.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
100
3
0
We had virtual tables at three transition fairs. Due the Governor's order to shut down and work remotely due to the pandemic, we have not participated at conferences.
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
5
17
22
6
2
B. Problem areas
20
6
7
4
4
4
1
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
1
0
15
2
2
0
20
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
24
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
{Empty}
E. Results achieved for individuals
1
1
0
0
12
6
1
5
0
0
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Part III. Program Data
A. Age
7
3
1
9
2
22
B. Gender
7
15
22
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
6
1
1
0
0
13
0
1
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
3
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
2
0
0
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
2
8
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
22
E. Types of Individuals Served
11
3
5
0
6
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
1
New Mexico DVR(NMDVR) continues to have an interim Director. During the pandemic DRNM/CAP has worked on ensuring that participants have access to VR services. Both NMDVR and the Commission for the Blind were working remotely until the Governor opened the state for in office services. The systemic issues that DRNM/CAP continues to work on with NMDVR include the order of selection and the way that participants are categorized. CAP continues to sees participants being put on the waiting list without being able to provide information regarding all of their disabling conditions. In most cases participants were not categorized correctly. Through our advocacy efforts participants were moved to category 1. As part of our systemic advocacy we advocated for DVR to provide training and guidance to staff about multiple disabilities and eligibility . DVR administration provided training on how to look at all of the participants disabilities not just the primary disability, since the combination of disabling conditions might make the participant eligible for category 1. In changing the practice of only looking a the primary disability DVR staff now get medical documentation for all disabling conditions that are an impediment to employment. The other substantive issues that CAP worked on were 1.) lack of staff to cover vacant caseloads. NMDVR and the New Mexico Commission for the Blind continue to have difficulty filling counselor vacancies, particularly in the rural areas. 2.) post employment services, 3.) reasonable
accommodations policies for participants. The agency has responded favorably by looking at training and policies that make their practices clear and more transparent. Both state vocational programs continue to work on resolving their vacancy rate issues with the State Personnel Office. DRNM management meets with DVR’s management team on a quarterly basis. DRNM/CAP continues to meet with DVR's appointed Interim Director and a number of new management staff. In the coming days it will be a priority for DRNM to meet with the new DVR management to discuss issues such as the challenges clients are experiencing receiving DVR services, now that the agency is working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic; ways to improve the provision of transition services to students in New Mexico; a timeline for the opening of categories under the Order of Selection (OOS); and a number of other issues that impact DVR clients. Our agency will express to DVR management, both in person in upcoming meetings and in writing, the expectation that it will continue to uphold its responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act regardless of changes in management or personnel. DRNM looks forward to continuing participation in regular meetings with DVR in 2022, as these are an effective forum for raising and addressing issues impacting our constituents.
DRNM/CAP staff also continue to work on systemic issues by being appointed to bother SRCs and the the SILC. CAP is very active with these groups and serve as Chair and Executive Committee members. The CAP Director also serves as a member of the National Coalition of SRCs as a Board of Director.
DRNM/CAP also participated on the committee to select Independent Hearing Officers for the agency. This activity was done as the CAP representative and the SRC representative. Both the general agency and the Commission for the Blind share IHOs.



B. Litigation
0
0
0
DRNM did not use CAP funds in litigation in FY2021.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights New Mexico
No
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B. Staff Employed
Advocate positions 0.94 FTE Attorney positions 0.24 FTE Support staff 0.27 FTE Supervisory staff 0.25 FTE TOTAL CAP staff 1.7 FTE
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Case examples
1. A person with autism, whose age qualifies him for transition services, came to DRNM needing assistance getting the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to pay for attendance to the Teaching the Autism Community Trades (TACT) school in Colorado. DRNM/CAP staff worked with the client and family to provide evidence that the TACT program uniquely fits the client’s needs and would lead to a greater level of certification in auto mechanics than can be obtained in New Mexico. The DVR Field Operations Director eventually determined that the client could indeed benefit more from the out-of-state program than he could from any New Mexico program. With DRNM/CAP advocacy, the client’s Individual Plan for Employment was amended to provide for the 18-month certification program plus housing, food, transportation, medical, and other living expenses while he completes the studies in Colorado.
2. The client in this case was an individual seeking assistance in his communications with DVR. His disabilities included orthopedic and respiratory issues. The DRNM/CAP Advocates working on this case provided advocacy for the client and secured a reimbursement for $600 for eyeglasses that the client had purchased. The client was also educated about his rights and responsibilities as a DVR client, and applied for and received Medicaid benefits while working with DRNM. The IEP was revised to honor client's "informed choice".
3.Client is 56 years old and lives in Albuquerque, NM. Her disabilities are Mental Illness, and orthopedic impairments. She contacted DRNM in September 2020, with and concerns that DVR was not implementing her IPE and was experiencing delays in accessing the services on her approved IPE. The record review indicated that:
Client was in the process of requesting to be transferred to a different Medical School/Program. Client needed to resubmit request for services (tuition, books, exam fees, etc) along with written estimates for the costs of and justification for CCU needed to be resubmitted to DVR in order for DVR to consider amending the IPE. The record review showed that the majority of the client's requests (October 2020) were already listed on her approved IPE in October 2020, but since CCU is not a current NMDVR vendor, DVR payment(s) were issued through direct payment ($13,000 each check). DVR Participants generally receive the direct payments within 3 to 5 weeks of approval on the IPE, but this client also reports that there may have been/may be additional delays in the postal system due to COVID-19. DRNM/CAP assisted the client by:
a. Closely monitored the client's VR services and provided client with information regarding DVR services, policies and procedures which has assisted the client in securing the services she requires to obtain employment in the future.
b. Assisted the client in re-establishing communication with DVR staff.
DRNM monitored this to ensure her services and IPE have been implemented and that she understood DVR's polices procedures and next steps. During a follow-up telephone conversation on 3/18/21, client reported that her DVR services were documented on her approved IPE, she reports to receiving starting to received her direct payments from DVR, and that the additional funding she has request from DVR has been approved on her current IPE. Her services are moving forward and agreed to her DRNM case closure. This case is closed successfully. All is resolved in our client's favor.
Certification
Approved
Gary D Housepian
Chief Executive Officer
2021-12-14
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