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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1212

Iowa
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Lisa Schneider
321 East 12th Street
Lucas State Office Building, 2nd Floor
Des Moines
Iowa
50319
515-281-8088
800-652-4298
1-888-221-3724
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Lisa Schneider
Lisa Schneider
515-281-8088
lisa.schneider2@iowa.gov
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
110
27
8
77
544
77
843
B. Training Activities
24
24000
Iowa CAP & the Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office of Persons With Disabilities collaborated with the State Rehabilitation Council Former Chair and Easter Seals Iowa and partnered with United Way of Central Iowa for the 21-Day Equity Challenge; this collaboration formed a work group and created content and presentation materials for Day 10 - Disability Day. Information from the challenge and Day 10's Disability Day can be found by following the link below:
https://www.unitedwaydm.org/equity-challenge-day-10

Day 10 received incredible, positive feedback and was listed as one of the top 3 favorite days and topics.
It was reported by United Way of Central Iowa that over 23,000 individuals attended and participated in the challenge, including Day 10's Disability Day. Of the reported 23,000 plus attendees and participants, over 10,000 provided feedback on the post-challenge survey for Day 10 - Disability Day.
*Materials, content, activities, survey questions, data, and specific responses to the question regarding why Day 10's Disability Day was one of their top 3 favorites can be provided if needed.

Iowa CAP was asked to provide a session and discussion to directors from Easter Seal Iowa and the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and will be partnering and collaborating with them on future projects and trainings.

Iowa CAP partnered with Disability Rights South Carolina to present at the 2021 NDRN Annual Conference. The joint presentation and topics included Continuing Issues in VR and CAP’s Philosophy & Due Process and was entitled: Good Faith, Non-Adversarial, & Impartial Hearings (Oh My!) & Post-Secondary Education (Revisited). NDRN reported that over 1,800 people across the country, including Iowa, and U.S. territories participated.

CAP continued, and continues to, provide trainings and presentations related to COVID-19 and the ADA; persons with disabilities and mask requirements; vaccinations and employer mandates as related to the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, including topics involving the relation of these Acts to the EEOC and OSHA requirements; ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as they relate to COVID long-haulers, COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID"; ongoing topics related to 508 compliance with focusing on the importance of compliance during a pandemic; reasonable accommodations for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. reasonable accommodations for COVID-19 related concerns and vaccination status; comorbid underlying conditions and COVID-19; issues involving state of Iowa residents who are blind, have low vision, vision impairments, or are deaf-blind and lack of receiving services under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and relating to the ADA; Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals and reasonable accommodations, including information about federal law and legislation and recent changes to legislation in the Iowa Code and law; WIOA; Section 511; due process as it relates to CAP and CAP philosophy, and how it relates to, and differs from, other P&As; assistive technology; communicating and working with persons with disabilities including mental health conditions; hoarding as a disability relating to the ADA and reasonable accommodations; and topics and issues related to Centers for Independent Living.

Attendees include individuals and groups from:
The State Rehabilitation Council; the Iowa Commission of Persons with Disabilities; Graduate students in Drake University's Counselor Education Program, which includes Clinical Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and School Counseling; private and public agencies and businesses, including Easter Seals Iowa, United Way of Central Iowa, Iowa Department for the Blind, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services; Iowa's Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman; CILS; CRPs; the Iowa Office of the Governor staff; and the Department of Human Rights Community Advocacy and Services Division which serves specific unserved and underserved populations, and includes the Offices of:
Persons with Disabilities
Native American Affairs
Deaf Services
Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Latino Affairs
Status of Women
Status of African Americans



C. Agency Outreach
Iowa Coalition for Integration & Employment
Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Iowa's Center for Disabilities and Development
Iowa Governor’s Child Care Task Force (for economic recovery and working parents/employment/workforce initiatives)
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Work Group
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services' IMPACT Policy Counsel
Transition Alliance Programs
CAP continues to collaborate with:
• Office of Native American Affairs
• Office of Deaf Services
• Office of Persons with Disabilities
• Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
• Office of Latino Affairs
• Office on the Status of Women
• Office on the Status of African Americans
to educate their diverse populations on the VR system and CAP's role, CAP's role
and advocacy efforts in the disability community, including mental illness, and
employment issues; 14(c) certificates and WIOA Section 511; referral and
resources for these populations; and providing publications and documents in
Spanish, including CAP's new publication, "The Great Debate: The Shift From
Sheltered Workshops to Competitive Integrated Employment".
Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa
Easter Seals of Iowa
United Way of Central Iowa
Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning's Juvenile Re-entry Task Force
State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)
Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB)
Iowa Commission for the Blind Board
IVRS & IDB Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS)
IVRS Policy Coordinating Council
IVRS Individual Placement and Support Pilot Project
Iowa Centers for Independent Living
Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council
Disability Rights Iowa
Olmstead Consumer Task Force
Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Commission
Iowa Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
2
2
4
3500
1
0
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E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
CAP's collaboration, partnership, participation, and content regarding the 21-Day Equity Challenge was featured in a publication and within other resources and documents; CAP's and the Office of Persons with Disabilities' publications: "The Americans with Disabilities Act - Employer/Employee
Rights & Responsibilities: A Guide for Iowans"; "Disability Rights Guide - A Guide
for Iowans"; "The Great Debate: The Shift From Sheltered Workshops to
Competitive Integrated Employment"; brochures and handouts relating to the description, purpose, and history of CAP, P&As, and NDRN; and CAP's list of scholarships and grants for persons with and without disabilities; persons with specific disabilities; and unique grant and scholarship opportunities.
Additionally, these continue to be disseminated:
ADA and Employment Issues Tip Sheet; Masks and Social Distancing Requirements Tip Sheet; Polk County Rent, Utility, Food Assistance Tip Sheet; Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Service Animals Tip Sheet; Resources for Clear Face Coverings; Iowa Exemptions to ADA for Small Businesses Documents; Eviction Prevention and Housing Retention During and After COVID-19 Tip Sheet; Language Matters: How Words Shape Our View brochure; Accommodations in Hiring and Work Tip Sheet; Remote Learning and Returning to School During COVID-19 Pandemic Documents; Video Conferencing Accessibility Tip Sheet; and Zoom Accessibility Instructions Tip Sheet.
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
6
16
22
4
7
B. Problem areas
22
19
22
4
0
27
9
8
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
21
1
3
0
0
0
25
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
22
3
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
10
0
1
1
10
15
0
5
0
0
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Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
3
5
14
0
22
B. Gender
8
14
22
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
0
2
0
19
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
2
4
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
5
0
0
2
3
2
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
22
E. Types of Individuals Served
4
0
20
19
3
22
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
CAP continues to work with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Iowa's SRC on the issues CAP identified regarding the Vocational Rehabilitation Agency’s responsibilities relating to Due Process as Allowed Under Title I and the agency’s responsibilities for maintaining a list of Impartial Hearing Officers (IHOs). CAP continues to provide training to the VR agency and the SRC regarding 34 C.F.R. §361.5(b)(25) and how to strengthen the SRC's role in this process. Due to these efforts, the SRC contributes much more to the process and the VR agency has implemented a new procedure for maintaining a list of 3 or more IHOs by establishing a memorandum of agreement with Iowa's Department of Inspection and Appeals to utilize their administrative law judges. This change further strengthens the VR agency client's right to a fair, unbiased hearing and their right to be an active participant in the due process.

CAP identified issues and concerns with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services' (IVRS) post-secondary education and financial assistance policy, including:
*Conflicting information and inconsistent application of this policy when developing Individual Plans of Employment and implementing employment goals via post-secondary educational pursuits or advanced training
*Consideration of using post-secondary education and advanced training as an option for meeting the employment goals of their clients, potential clients, and high school students transitioning to the workforce via higher education or advanced training
*A lack of VR counselor and staff training regarding the policy as it relates to post-secondary education, specific employment-related certifications, participation in trade programs, or seeking vocational or occupational training while working towards employment goals
*Adhering to policy regarding the client's right to informed choice
*Comparable benefits, including scholarships and grants
*Creating a forced choice regarding student loans and accruing debt
*Clients being required to complete field experience before IVRS would support a post-secondary degree, which was causing significant delays and gaps in advancing towards employment goals; CAP argued that requiring a client to have field experience is strictly prohibited under federal regulations and the WIOA of 2014 and cited:
34 CFR § 361.45, which prohibit the following:
*Requiring that someone try to find a job working in the field first in order to gain necessary skills and experience
*Assumptions about a client's capabilities based on their disability;
*Assumptions about a client's ability to work based on age;
*Denials of employment goal based only on a lack of prior work experience or education;
34 CFR § 361.42, stating:
Decisions must be made without regard to the:
(A) Age, sex, race, color, or national origin;
(B) Type of expected employment outcome;
(C) Source of referral for vocational rehabilitation services;
(D) Particular service needs or anticipated cost of services required, or the income level of a client or client's family;
(E) Clients' employment history or current employment status; and
(F) Clients' educational status or current educational credential.

34 CFR § 361.45 (b)(2)
(2) The individualized plan for employment must be designed to achieve a specific employment outcome, as defined in § 361.5(c)(15), that is selected by the individual consistent with the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. *Therefore, a client is not required to choose entry-level work/field work.

34 CFR § 361.5 stating that employment outcomes no longer include unpaid options. **Sometimes field experiences are unpaid, so any unpaid experiences in the field would be prohibited on those grounds as well.

Other concerns and issues CAP identified:
*Using the policy regarding students loans as a deterrent to pursuing post-secondary education
*Recipients of SSI and SSDI benefits and financial contribution (ongoing issue and concern but progress has been, and is being, made)
*The initial proposition by IVRS to change their post-secondary education financial assistance policy to encompass the tuition assistance in the form of a "grant"
CAP worked with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services to create a new policy and assisted in drafting the new policy for funding post-secondary education, advanced training, and certification by conducting and presenting research; utilizing comparisons to federal regulations; reiterating and discussing CAP client issues and concerns regarding conflicts with IVRS when considering post-secondary education, advanced training, or certification; detailing information based on discussions and consultations CAP had with NDRN and other subject matter experts; analyzing the structure and language of post-secondary education financial assistance and advanced training policies from vocational rehabilitation agencies from other states, territories, and the District of Columbia; and gathering and presenting information from consultations with other Client Assistance Program directors and staff. CAP worked to ensure the new policy would be more aligned with, and better correspond to, federal regulations and the reality of IVRS client needs as identified in their IPEs and through the many IVRS clients who contacted CAP, became clients of CAP, or were already clients of CAP when it was identified as a new issue and concern, regarding the policy and their conflicts with the agency's application of the policy.
Regarding the the initial proposition by IVRS to change their post-secondary education financial assistance policy to encompass the tuition assistance in the form of a "grant", CAP identified concerns with the language as stated in the GAN regarding subgranting and the prohibition against subgranting:

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Rehabilitation Services Administration
PROHIBITION AGAINST SUBGRANTING

Applicable Programs:
• State Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) (CFDA 84.126A)
• Client Assistance Program (CAP) (CFDA 84.161A)
• State Supported Employment Services (SE-A) (CFDA 84.187A)
• State Supported Employment Services (SE-B) (CFDA 84.187B)
• Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) (CFDA 84.240A)
Requirements:
A State agency may NOT subgrant awards made under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as
amended (Rehabilitation Act), for the VR and SE programs. The Education Department General
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR §76.50(b) state:
(b) The authorizing statute determines the extent to which a State may:
(1) Use grant funds directly; and
(2) Make subgrants to eligible applicants.
This means that the authorizing statute must specifically permit subgranting in order for the subgranting of Federal funds to be permissible. Because neither the Rehabilitation Act nor the implementing program regulations for the VR, CAP, SE, and PAIR programs specifically permit subgranting, such subgranting is not allowable. Consequently, when a State contracts with entities to provide services, those entities are considered vendors or contractors – not subgrantees or subrecipients.
The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance), codified at 2 CFR part 200, does not include the term “subgrant.” However, in accordance with 34 CFR § 77.1(b) of EDGAR, the term “subgrant” has the same meaning as “subaward” in 2 CFR § 200.92.

CAP also identified concerns regarding the structure of the grant as it relates to RSA's restrictions on VR agencies utilizing RSA funds as subgrants, as indicated in the GAN, as well as the language used to convey the intent of this new policy and its identification as a "grant".
Upon identifying these concerns, CAP consulted with representatives from NDRN and other subject area experts, as well as legal representatives with knowledge of vocational rehabilitation agency policy and procedures, federal grants, and public agency grantees.

CAP addressed the concerns with the new policy being referenced as a "grant" and the implications, as well as the misperceptions, related to identifying this type of assistance as a type of "grant" with IVRS's policy team and jointly conferred with IVRS's Management Analyst.
As part of CAP's assessment, CAP analyzed the language from the GAN and compared it to the language being used for the new policy and clarified interpretations. One interpretation appeared to be subject to the way "grant" was going to be applied rather than defined relative to subgrants and subawards. Another interpretation related to subrecipients, recipients, and beneficiaries. CAP and IVRS's policy team and worked together with IVRS's Management Analyst and it was determined that because the recipient in this sense is the the IVRS client, as a student, who is the beneficiary of the funds to be used as financial assistance to aid with tuition, rather than the institution receiving the funding to facilitate a VR service, then the the post-secondary education grant wouldn't be subject to the definitions of subawards or subgrants, thus allowing IVRS to designate financial assistance for post-secondary education as a "grant" that incorporates tuition and mandatory fees.

Other changes include:

*Items such as books, program-specific or course-specific supplies, and computers or laptops will no longer be considered as being funded "in lieu of" tuition. The policy now includes a clause allowing for items such as these to be funded under maintenance or other funding. This allows for more latitude to cover costs such as application fees, an issue which was previously identified by CAP as being in conflict with regulations.

*Remedial coursework required to obtain the program of study is now considered part of the grant.

*Development of a financial literacy questionnaire to aid in discussions

*Involving benefits planning specialists
*Development of separate calculation worksheets based on the type of post-secondary credentials being pursued: Public/Accredited Trade Programs and Private/Out-of-State Institutions

*Educating and training VR counselors and staff regarding how the policy relates to federal guidelines as they apply to funding clients who have defaulted on a student loan(s) or are on financial aid suspension so as not to have this create a barrier to obtaining post-secondary education in pursuit of an employment goal

*A new and separate policy created under the category of "Other Training" for clients considering programs that do not qualify for federal financial aid

*Changes included training VR counselors and staff more thoroughly regarding informed choice and the right for their clients active participation based on mutual discussions and steering away from language that could be perceived as persuasive or steering away from employment goals via post-secondary education opportunities (as this has been an issue identified based on CAP client experiences)

*Providing more latitude to pursue programs that don't qualify for federal financial aid yet are appropriate programs to obtain education and certification to further enhance the success of employment goals
B. Litigation
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0
0
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Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other public agency
Iowa Department of Human Rights
No
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B. Staff Employed
1FTE 100% (1) Person-year
.19FTE
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
CAP worked with a post-secondary education student and the student’s family on receiving funding for driver’s education services . The student is a client of Iowa’s general vocational rehabilitation agency. The student is on the autism spectrum and has difficulty with learning how to drive independently and hasn’t been able to receive a driver's license. The student and the student’s parents expressed several times to VR counselors and staff that they have many concerns regarding driving and autism, and the effects on the student’s ability to drive safely. Although the VR agency agreed to fund some hours of driver’s education, the student and the student’s parents didn’t feel that the instructor was considering the effects of autism on driving ability and the student was becoming more concerned with driving, more hesitant to engage in driving or pursue a driver’s license, and more concerned with safety rather than becoming better skilled at driving and driving safely, and more motivated to pursue a driver’s license. They requested funding for more hours and with a different driver’s education instructor but were denied.
CAP intervened and provided research on the need for specialized driver's education, including additional hours, for drivers with autism. Additionally, CAP provided resources, evidence-based research, and information specifically related to driver’s education and individuals, especially youth, with autism or ASD, and information and research on the importance of utilizing Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists and Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, which are unique and not many have these certifications, which corresponds to increased cost for services. CAP provided information, including the evidence-based research, on the benefits and increased safety of utilizing drivers’ education tailored to persons with autism or ASD, especially if provided by instructors with these types of qualifications, thus making it a crucial service that should be explored. CAP provided a list that contained information, including contact information, for Iowa’s only Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists and Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, of which there is only one Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist and five Driver Rehabilitation Specialists.
CAP also provided an extensive list of grants and scholarships for persons with autism or ASD, parents of children with autism or ASD, and general for persons with or without disabilities, all of which can be used for services related to driver’s education, especially as it specifically relates to drivers with autism, ASD, or other disabilities, in an effort to provide resources to offset cost and allow for comparable benefits.
Throughout this process, with CAP’s advocacy, representation, and intervention, CAP provided this student and the student’s family with self-advocacy skills and assisted in strengthening the self-advocacy skills they already have, which together impacted the strength of advocacy, for this particular situation and for other concerns and issues they have or might have with their service provision. CAP’s efforts enhanced intervention and the ability to make a sound case. CAP was able to successfully negotiate the provision of additional hours as well as utilizing Iowa’s Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist, all of which will keep this student on a positive trajectory towards success in attaining his employment goals and the needed independence to further these goals. The student was able to qualify for a scholarship from the Autism Society of Iowa for further assistance with funding.
This student finally received their driver’s license and is progressing towards accomplishing their educational and employment goals, while doing so more independently.


Certification
Approved
Lisa Schneider
Iowa Client Assistance Program Director
2021-12-31
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.