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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1200

Pennsylvania
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Center for Disability Law and Policy
101 Greenwood Avenue
Suite 470
Jenkintown
PA
19046
(888) 745-2357
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Stephen S. Pennington
same
(267) 615-6893
steve@equalemployment.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
306
13
0
8
112
36
475
B. Training Activities
47
874
In 2021 CAP spent time training the transition population, programs, projects, facilities, and resources to individuals with disabilities. The following training featured below underscores CAP's commitment to educating the following:
CAP training was provided for school districts, Intermediate Units and Transition Coordinating Councils. CAP participated in the Local Task Force meeting of the Tuscarora IU 11. CAP provided training to 30 educational professionals, OVR staff and providers. The Delaware County IU Transition Coordinating Council, 12 educational staff; the IU 1 in Washington county PA, 25 educational and OVR staff and local providers; and the Huntington County Transition Coordinating Council, 12 educational and OVR professionals. CAP was invited to present at the Huntington Mifflin Juniata Regional Collaborative Employment Committee meeting by the Juniata Valley Behavioral and Developmental Services. This group of 25 included various supported employment providers.
All training included a summary of the OVR process with specific information regarding the importance of students/families requesting Pre employment Transition Services (Pre-E.T.S.) as soon as they apply to OVR for services. CAP discussed Pre-E.T.S. and transition services and the student/client’s rights and responsibilities in receiving these services. CAP can assist by providing clarity on the OVR process and policies and by recommending possible creative solutions to roadblocks in working with the OVR system. CAP’s advocacy, consultation and guidance were discussed and our role during any stage of the client’s transition journey. In addition, CAP relayed to these community providers their obligation to inform their clients about CAP.
CAP participated in training students and youth in transition. A couple of these include: the Youth Transition Group at one of our local Centers for Independent Living in Berks County, where CAP had an opportunity to train 7 students; the Forbes Roads School District parent meeting of Fulton County 7 parents; the Transition Pathways Series; 6 students and the Ideal Program at the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired 7 students.
CAP summarized the OVR process and highlighted transition services, including pre-employment transition services and the need to request these services from the very beginning of the OVR process. CAP made clear the significance of self-advocacy, informed choice, and open, clear, and consistent communication with all the members of their transition team throughout the transition journey. CAP informed these students how our advocacy, advice, consultation, and guidance could benefit them as they journey through their transition from school to OVR to employment.
CAP participated in the PA Autism Projects annual conference which was held via zoom. 168 parents, advocates, and individuals with Autism attended the first panel on employment the project had hosted. CAP spent the training speaking about our services as well as how they relate to employment services available for individuals with Autism.
CAP provided training to the PA OVR state board 102 participants joined the training. The audience for this training consisted of The PA State Board for Vocational Rehabilitation, OVR staff and executive teams, Community Rehab Providers, Customers of OVR and Stakeholders of OVR. CAP discussed its role in the VR process and the legal framework that calls for the services we provide throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
CAP provided a training with Statewide Independent Living Council regarding CAP’s role in the VR process as well as the statutory and regulatory obligations that agencies who provide Independent Living or Vocational Rehabilitation services of their requirement to inform the individuals they serve about CAP and its services. This training had 168 participants who provide Independent Living services throughout Pennsylvania as well as members of the public who attend the council meetings.
C. Agency Outreach
Despite COVID, CAP outreached to hundreds of programs, projects, and facilities and individuals with disabilities to make each aware of CAP's services. Below are highlights of programs, projects and facilities contacted about CAP's purpose, role in the VR process, statutory obligations to inform individuals about CAP, and services available throughout the state.
CAP outreached to community rehabilitation providers to educate them about CAP’s services and their statutory obligation to inform individuals they serve about CAP. CAP attended over 30 Citizen Advisory Committee meetings that meet to discuss the past, present, and the future outlook of services within the district they serve. Citizen Advisory Committee meetings include a combination of past, present, and future OVR customers, community rehabilitation providers, OVR employees and other resources related to independent living and VR services at each district office. CAP attended numerous conferences via zoom to educate people about services available in Pennsylvania from OVR and CAP. Some of the conferences CAP attended include Intermediate Unit 17’s annual Transition conference, and the Autism Project of Philadelphia virtual conference. CAP outreached specifically to rural counties in PA as they are both unserved and underserved. CAP reached out to the following counties in Pennsylvania: Fulton, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Cambria, Indiana, Juniata, Mifflin, Warren, and Venango. CAP outreach focused on contacting schools, ID/BH programs, in addition to the local OVR and Centers for Independent Living in each on of the counties mentioned. Intermediate Units were contacted because they serve youth and students with Pre- Employment transition services. CAP outreached to the following Intermediate Units: Riverview Intermediate Unit 6, Appalachia Intermediate Unit, ARIN Intermediate Unit 28. Some of the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability centers CAP reached out to include Community Behavioral Healthcare Network-Fulton Human Services, Juniata Mifflin Human Services, Achievement Center, and Warren Office of Family Based Mental Health. CAP outreached to programs serving individuals with substance abuse issues and programs for individuals exiting the justice system. Some of CAP’s outreach to these communities include Malvern Institute for Addiction and Treatment, Change on 3rd Street, Center for Alternatives and Community Justice, Keystone Correctional Services Inc, Foundation of Hope, New Community Program Re-entry, Community Treatment Program, Montgomery County Recovery, Dauphin County Work Release Center, and X-Offenders Empowerment. CAP also attended quarterly meetings of the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, State Rehabilitation Council, Statewide Independent Living Council and Employment First Oversight Commission. At these meetings CAP provided an overview of its services and role in the rehabilitation process.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
4
8
6478
4
0
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E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
CAP was featured in several newsletters for specific organizations that serve Pennsylvania. CAP also had several virtual training sessions that were posted on websites regarding the CAP program and the benefits of seeking CAP's services.
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
50
75
125
0
40
B. Problem areas
8
51
56
28
4
2
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
6
22
57
0
0
0
85
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
62
15
0
0
1
5
0
2
15
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
17
5
2
5
42
8
5
1
0
0
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Part III. Program Data
A. Age
8
33
27
48
9
125
B. Gender
60
65
125
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
5
0
1
23
0
90
4
2
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
4
1
1
0
2
2
15
8
5
4
1
2
2
7
1
0
0
0
1
7
24
4
0
2
5
11
3
1
0
7
1
1
3
0
125
E. Types of Individuals Served
24
8
69
2
16
6
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
0
None
B. Litigation
0
0
0
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Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other nonprofit agency
Center for Disability Law and Policy
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
Pa. CAP employees four full time employees and two part time employees for a total of 5 person years. The full time employees include the CAP Director, two individual case advocates and a communication/outreach specialist. The part time employees include an administrative assistant and bookkeeper. The CAP Director is responsible for the administration of the program and oversees the provision of CAP activities. The CAP advocates assist applicants and clients of the VR program, Centers for Independent Living, CRPs and other programs funded under Title I of the Act in accordance with the CAP activities set out in Section 112 of the Act. The communications/outreach specialist provided information to individuals and the community regarding CAP, VR and the ADA.
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
These cases help to reflect CAP’s commitment to advocacy and our role in the vocational rehabilitation process. They also illustrate how CAP’s intervention help to improve communication and collaboration with OVR and clients. The following cases exemplify our ability to provide clarification regarding OVR policy and assist with bringing the client and OVR to a resolution. These interesting cases manifest CAP’s dedication in assisting individuals with disabilities so they can achieve an employment goal.

Case #1: The client contacted CAP because they were being denied financial support to start a small business. The client was very frustrated with the OVR process. CAP opened the case and informed client that we would investigate as to why OVR would not provide funding to start a business. CAP contacted the VR counselor and requested copies of the file. After receiving the files, the file was reviewed, and recommendations were made. CAP discussed and reviewed the Small Business Policy with client. A meeting was set up with the client, VR counselor, supervisor, District Administrator and CAP to address client’s concerns. OVR pointed out in the meeting that the Small Business Policy is for clients who want to start a business and the client already had an established business. OVR further indicated that the guidelines cover expenses for new business start-ups only and that disability related resources would only be used for an existing business. After the meeting, CAP suggested that the client file an appeal for an Informal Administrative Review and sent the appropriate paperwork. CAP reviewed the appeal process with the client and the client filed the appeal. During the appeal process, CAP made recommendations as to why OVR should support funding for starting a small business. OVR conveyed that based on their policy, OVR may assist a client in establishing a small business for the purpose of self-employment so long as it is the most viable opportunity for client to achieve financial independence and will enable the client to meet both ordinary living expenses and ongoing business costs. If the client has the requisite qualifications and experience to succeed in operating a business, OVR may support the establishment of a small business. CAP recommended that OVR provide financial support because client was re-establishing the business due to a disability which occurred after the start of the existing business needing the customer to reevaluate how the business is administered. As a result of CAP intervention, OVR agreed to assist the client with financial support to open a small business. The client now has a fully established business.

Case #2: This case involves a client that requested assistance with home modifications. The client initiated the call to CAP because the initial home modifications that were made were insufficient and created further accessibility issues and OVR was moving too slowly with her home modifications. The client was going round-and-round with OVR for over a year before CAP became involved. CAP gathered information, reviewed several punch lists, assessments, and recommendations submitted by providers. CAP contacted the person responsible for making the decisions immediately to address client’s concerns. CAP set up several meetings with all concerned parties, the client, VR supervisor, District Administrator, and home modification specialist to make sure that all concerned parties were on the same page. CAP explained the client’s circumstances and the hardships that have been placed on the client due to incomplete repairs to her home. CAP held several meetings to discuss all of the client’s concerns regarding home modifications. Both the client and OVR reached an impasse regarding home repairs and CAP advised client of her rights to appeal the decision. Client requested an IAR. With CAP’s intervention, both parties decided to come together and negotiate an agreement without the need for a Informal Administrative Review. Under the terms of the agreement, OVR agreed to make all the necessary repairs to her home.
As illustrated by this case, the client will be able to gain insight regarding challenges that a person with spinal cord injury can face and acquire knowledge about disability rights and strategies for navigating the complex OVR system. These needed home modifications would allow to maintain her employment.

Case #3: This student/individual contacted CAP while an applicant/student and client and mom were having difficulties with applying for services and OVR’s application process. This client is a 10th grader looking for Pre-employment transition services, in addition to wanting to find out about the services they can receive from OVR as a student and as an adult. As part of CAP’s advocacy and guidance, the CAP advocate made this client and the mom aware of the importance of requesting Pre employment transition services. Prior to eligibility in accordance with guidance handed down by OVR regarding the Order of Selection if an individual had not sought Pre-E.T.S. they can be waitlisted.
This client has a neurological disability along with some cognitive and communication issues. As part of CAP’s advocacy, the CAP coordinated a couple meetings with the student and the team to get everyone on the same page and connect support services for this student. CAP explained the various services and options available to the student. Pre employment transition services and OVR’s role in providing these services was also discussed with the student and the mom. In addition, CAP participated in an IEP meeting, which not only helped in detailing possible services the student could receive at school, but the CAP assisted with clarifying the Pre employment transition services they may be able to receive from the school along with the Pre- employment transition services OVR could provide as well, which included group and individual services.
Some of the services CAP provided this student were: information and guidance regarding pre-employment transition services from the school and OVR, options available as a student and as an adult, including choice of providers, and self-advocacy. As a result of CAP’s advocacy, this student had a paid work experience, is more aware of her options and possible transition services and is starting job shadowing soon.

Case#4: The client had questions about OVR services related to continued supported employment services and assistance with needed van modifications so the client can get to work independently. This client has spina bifida and had multiple questions regarding additional job development/job coaching services and OVR’s van modification policy. The client is currently working at a job at which he does not need a standing frame wheelchair and at which he is underemployed based on his abilities and capabilities. However, once his standing frame wheelchair comes in, he will have the capability to perform job tasks of other jobs with the same employer which are more consistent with his skills, abilities, and interests. Although he is currently receiving job coaching services, he has concerns about receiving additional job support services for job development/coaching when he gets his new wheelchair and will then be able to apply for other preferred positions more consistent with his employment goal. The CAP coordinated a conference call with his job coach, his OVR counselor, and her supervisor and the client and his mom and we discussed the client’s concern and went over his interest in other available positions which he would qualify for once he had his standing frame wheelchair. OVR reviewed with us the supported employment policy and the process for receiving additional job development/coaching services. The job coach also had an opportunity to discuss his mastering of his current job and get a better understanding of the supported employment policy and how it pertains to this client.
The client’s other concern was assistance with receiving an explanation of OVR’s van modification policy. Once the client gets his standing frame wheelchair, he will need modifications to the van he is purchasing so he is able to get himself to work independently. However, there was an initial dispute on the type of van modification the client would be provided. As part of CAP’s advocacy, CAP sent a copy of OVR’s van modification policy to the client and his mom, so they were able to get a better understanding of this complicated process and ask more cogent questions about the many steps and specific order of this service. Once again, CAP initiated a conference with the counselor, the van modification supervisor, and the client and his mom so all parties had a chance to ask and answer important questions and the client became more prepared and knowledgeable as he begins this lengthy process and resolved with regards to the needed van modifications.
As a result of CAP advocacy, guidance, and assistance in clarifying related policies, the client and his mom, the job coach and OVR are all working together better. The conference calls and follow-up helped to improve communication and allow everyone to understand the needs of the client so he can be successful in his new position with his new standing frame wheelchair in his new modified van.
Certification
Approved
Stephen Pennington
President and C.E.O.
2021-12-16
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