U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1195

North Dakota
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
ND Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
1000 E Divide Ave
{Empty}
Bismarck
ND
58501
{Empty}
701-328-8955
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
ND Protection & Advocacy Project
400 E Broadway, Ste. 409
{Empty}
Bismarck
58501
NORTH DAKOTA
bawinking@nd.gov
{Empty}
7013283942
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
Additional Information
Cynthia Wagner Goulet
Barb Winking
701-328-3942
bawinking@nd.gov
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
0
0
1
0
0
1
2
B. Training Activities
32
213
Presentation regarding P&A services and P&A's education priority and children's rights to education under 504 and IDEA was presented to undergraduate college students majoring in special education. The purpose of this training was to educate participants on the role that P&A plays with students in special education programs and their responsibilities as a special education staff to ensure the rights of these students are protected. 28 students attended this training.

P&A provided education and training to 2021 North Dakota Association of Community Provider conference participants regarding the adult transition process for students with disabilities. The interface between IDEA transition and the adult employment world was the focus of the training. Attendees were educated on the components of the individual education plan and individual plan for employment to assist individuals with improving post-secondary school outcomes for work, independent living, and achieving lifelong goals. 17 individuals attended.

P&A participated in a training activity for a local university, in which a panel of professionals addressed Ethics & Equality in Education. Panel members consisted of the following representatives: A cultural advocate, social worker, juvenile services representative, the director of Alternative Education, a psychologist from the Morton/Sioux counties Special Education Services, and a ND Protection and Advocacy staff member. The outcome resulted in additional discussion around the needs of students culturally and the embracing of their diversity; 21 individuals attended with 21 CAP brochures distributed.

In November 2020, the Client Assistance Program (CAP) initiated a contract for statewide outreach and awareness of its program and services. Having previously been the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services in ND until his retirement, this individual is uniquely qualified in terms of knowledge of VR (federal and state), the centers for independent living, and CAP. P&A worked with the contractor on the development of a PowerPoint for use in conducting training & outreach activities. With most of the work being done virtually because of the pandemic, support services were provided to send CAP-related materials to the intended audiences in advance of presentations. The contracted professional provided outreach and training across ND with audiences including Tribal VR staff serving Native American reservations, human service centers, centers for independent living, colleges, and universities. A great amount of time was also spent communicating with stakeholders and coordinating training events. P&A’s contracted professional held 29 events, providing training to 147 individuals with 529 CAP brochures and materials distributed.
C. Agency Outreach
• CAP training and materials were provided to underserved rural areas and reservation. In North Dakota, Native Americans continue to be an underserved population, to remedy this outreach was specifically provided to Turtle Mountain VR, Spirit Lake VR, Spirit Lake Tribal VR, Standing Rock VR and Sitting Bull College. P&A strives to enhance work with tribal populations to ensure eligible Native Americans are receiving P&A’s CAP services to which they are entitled. North Dakota is a largely rural state with much of the state being considered “frontier” this means much of the population is geographically distanced from services, to enhance work with these populations CAP worked to provide training and materials in collaboration with various entities.
• Devils Lake is a rural community in northeast North Dakota with close proximity to a Native American Reservation. This community is home to a two-year community college and a tribal community college. With 14.9% of the population having a disability this community was identified as place where the CAP program should be more heavily utilized. To that end, a collaborative relationship was fostered with a newly hired regional Vocational Rehabilitation Administrator in the Devils Lake office, to improve CAP services and inform the community about the CAP program and VR services available.
• The Disability Rights North Dakota YouTube Channel has grown significantly over the year adding the following videos to allow for expansion of our outreach activities:
o ND Client Assistance Program - YouTube. For FY 2021, there were a total of 235 views.
o What are Vocational Rehab Services? - YouTube. For FY 2021, there were a total of 63 views.
o What is the difference between IEPs and 504 plans - YouTube. For FY 2021, there were a total of 120 views.
• A free tool for students to create their individual transition plan continues to be promoted. It can be downloaded as an app or accessed via the Internet atwww.transition-nd.com

Collaborative Activities:

• The federally mandated State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is operated by the ND Dept. of Human Services/Vocational Rehabilitation Division. DHS contracts with P&A to administer the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and a P&A staff member serves on the SRC. The P&A member of the SRC served as the Chair of the Planning and Evaluation Committee. Meetings held in FY 2021 were October 2020, January 2021, April 2021, and July 2021. CAP is an active participant. The State Rehabilitation Council provides an opportunity to inform stakeholders on the CAP program and collaborate on issues relating to employment for persons with disabilities. The number of attendees is typically between 10 and 15.
• Two P&A staff are members of and regularly attend and participate in regional and North Dakota Transition Community of Practice councils and use that opportunity to update attendees on CAP related issues. All these meetings have been virtual, beginning in March 2020 and continuing through September 2021. Number of attendees at these quarterly meetings for regional and state councils range from 10 to 50.
• One P&A staff participates and regularly attends the Grand Forks regional Transition Community of Practice. Participation in this group allows P&A to collaborate on CAP related issues of interest.
• P&A hosted booths at two events; the Embrace Your Disability Conference and the Parkinson’s Seminar, where staff interacted with potential CAP clients and provided informational materials.
• P&A collaborates with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. CAP program leads from both agencies meet monthly to identify VR client issues and identify opportunities to improve services and resolve problems.

D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
2421
2
477
YouTube Video Views.
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
4
11
15
1
11
B. Problem areas
0
3
4
2
0
6
1
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
5
0
0
0
0
0
5
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
3
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
{Empty}
E. Results achieved for individuals
2
0
0
0
0
2
1
0
0
0
{Empty}
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
2
3
5
4
1
15
B. Gender
6
9
15
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
2
0
1
0
12
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
0
0
0
0
2
3
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
4
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
15
E. Types of Individuals Served
8
0
4
1
2
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
0
N/A
B. Litigation
0
0
0
N/A
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
ND Protection & Advocacy Project
No
{Empty}
B. Staff Employed
CAP staff include:
1) Cynthia Wagner Goulet (attorney/Program Coordinator; 40% FTE; Bismarck)
2) Nick Murphy (advocate; 40% FTE; Grand Forks)
3) Barb Winking (dir. of Policy & Operations 5% FTE; Bismarck)
4) Veronica Zietz (P&A exec. dir. and liaison to VR agency; 5% FTE; Bismarck)
*The % equals the allocated time of a full-time position. Administrative and fiscal support are done by staff who charge 100% of their time to State General Funds.
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Example 1
P&A is currently providing CAP services to a 60-year-old male with central cord syndrome. This condition resulted from an injury and a surgery for that injury that was not successful; the client uses a wheelchair but has some limited ability to use a walker for very short distances. He cannot drive a vehicle at present, but with continuing physical therapy, it’s believed he will gain that ability. He has been self-employed as a machinist in small rural community most of his adult life; his wish is to continue this work for the remainder of his working years. As a VR client, he initially encountered communication problems with his VR counselor, followed by disagreements with the type of VR services he was provided and the employment goal. P&A became involved through the CAP program and helped the client to obtain additional assessments of the client and also of the proposed business plan and work, all as part of process of identifying an employment goal. The client wishes to have a significant financial contribution from VR to purchase specialized assistive technology equipment (AT) that he believes will allow him to continue to work as a machinist. The client is in the process of completing a business plan and is now engaged in discussions with local lenders in an ongoing effort to obtain necessary funding for the purchase of the specialized equipment and of a building to house the equipment and machine shop. With assistance from the CAP program the client has gained an understanding of his rights and responsibilities, as well as VR obligations, and in particular, the client gained an understanding of the propriety of a business plan for VR to consider providing AT.

Example 2
P&A is currently providing CAP services to a 22-year-old woman who belongs to a local Native Indian Tribe in her area of residence. This client has anxiety disorder, major depression, ADD/ADHD, and panic disorder. The young woman has been attending a post-secondary college for several semesters and is currently working with her local Tribal VR office to help her pay for tuition and books. She has maintained several part time jobs in the restaurant business while she is attending college classes full time. The client reached out to P&A during the pandemic as she was experiencing issues with the Tribal VR office paying for her tuition. The client stated that her grades slipped during the pandemic as all the students in her college were not allowed to participate in face-to-face classes and that she found it very difficult to complete her classes and assignments online due to the distractions of the homelife at her parents’ house. The client soon realized that full time online classes did not facilitate her learning needs. The client found herself in academic probation just .05 points below a C average which is what her Tribal VR office stated was needed to allow payment for tuition. Communications between the client and the Tribal VR office were often very contentious with the Tribal VR director taking it very personally how she was supposedly addressed by the client. The P&A advocate also found the Tribal director would often ignore communication requests which cause issues discussing the case with the Tribal VR office. The client dropped out of that semester due to being the victim of a very traumatic sexual assault by a classmate. The client again reached out to P&A the following semester asking for help in getting in touch with Tribal VR. The client stated she was in a much better place mentally and was ready to continue taking full time classes at the college. She stated she had reached out to Tribal VR several times with no response. P&A attempted several times with no response. The client was also advised to make contact with the State VR office as they may be able to provide additional services alongside Tribal VR. Eventually, with P&A intervention, the Tribal VR office did return the client’s requests for communication and are continuing to work with the client in making arrangements to pay for her schooling. The client has also established a case with the State VR office. With the assistance of P&A’s CAP program this client was made aware of her rights and responsibilities, the obligations owed to her from Tribal and State VR offices, with potentially the most integral support being the mediation P&A has been able to offer between the client and Tribal VR under CAP funding. Through the CAP program, P&A continue to address the egregious policy failures that Tribal VR has bestowed upon this particular client and are working towards changing that behavior for current and future Tribal VR clients.
Certification
Approved
Veronica Zietz
Executive Director
2021-12-02
OMB Notice

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

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 16 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit (Section 13 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1820-0528. Note: Please do not return the completed form to this address.