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RSA-227 for FY-2021: Submission #1215

Hawaii
09/30/2021
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Hawaii Disability Rights Center
1132 Bishop Street
Suite 2102
Honolulu
Hawaii
96813
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1-800-882-1057
1-800-882-1057
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Hawaii Disability Rights Center
1132 Bishop Street
Suite 2102
Honolulu
96813
Hawaii
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Additional Information
Louis Erteschik
Michael Rabanal
808-275-4013
mike@hawaiidisabilityrights.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
B. Training Activities
22
579
CAP trained a Kalani High School team of five teachers, one counselor and one administrator on CAP and the transition process via videoconference. The school did not know what they could expect of the VR counselor assigned to their school because he was reluctant to participate in meetings and did not work well with students, parents, and the school. For example, the VR counselor had not worked on a student's Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) even though the student had been determined eligible six months before and was now set to graduate in a few months. The teachers and administrators asked questions about what services and supports could DVR provide to the student, and who is responsible for writing the IPE. The CAP Advocate explained further that the CAP program is available to eligible individuals at any time during the VR process; it was not limited to their time in high school.

L.P., a long-time Counselor at the State of Hawaii Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) contacted CAP to inquire and gain further understanding on the services provided to clients that DVR and HDRC jointly serve. DVR provides and distributes HDRC/CAP brochures to its own clients and includes the brochure in the DVR packet that is distributed to its own applicants. The DVR office was not open to the public due to the COVID pandemic, so this education and training was provided via teleconference with the DVR Counselor. CAP addressed questions regarding the types of CAP assistance sought by applicants/clients and a detailed description of the intake process including the considerations and criteria for opening a CAP case. As a follow-up, CAP mailed brochures to L.P. for distribution to DVR clients and applicants.

A CAP Advocate conducted a training with 11 teachers, counselors and administrators at Roosevelt High School. Training topics included the School to Work transition of students with disabilities, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) supports and services and the DVR eligibility process, job coaching, practicing and implementation of job interviews, job ready programs at the school level, strategies for the school-level transitioning teacher to assist students in securing DVR eligibility, DVR assistance with college tuition (as long as client is able to show progress and it benefits the student’s needs), the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act in relation to an Individualized Plan for Employment, and the use of assistive technology in employment settings. Additional CAP trainings took place with 13 transition teachers and district resource teachers at Ewa Makai Middle School and with 11 SPED teachers and administrators at Mililani High School, with many of the same topics presented.

CAP training via video conference with Waipahu High School involved 13 staff members, including transition staff, a student services coordinator, and SPED teachers. The training covered how CAP can be involved in both IEP and 504 transition planning (Waipahu has 3 blind students -- 2 have IEPs and 1 has a 504 plan). The SPED teaching staff wanted to know what assistance CAP can provide for the post-high school transition from school-to-work. CAP also explained the grievance procedure, including mediation and administrative hearings.

Kahuku High School is situated on the remote North Shore of Oahu. CAP trained 4 members of the transition team and SPED teaching staff about how CAP can get involved in IEPs to plan for transition in this small, rural community. The CAP Advocate expressed a willingness to meet with parents and students to discuss ways that CAP can assist and provide services.

CAP appeared in person before a Micronesian support group at Kuhio Park Towers (KPT) apartments with an estimated 12 participants. KPT is a public housing project in urban Honolulu set in an area of high crime and high poverty. The training involved mostly older adults and two families with children with special needs who are in public school. The CAP advocate, with the assistance of a Chuuk interpreter, explained CAP and how it can assist the adults with the DVR, how to refer to DVR for assistance, and how CAP can participate in their children’s IEPs and 504 plan meetings. The training resulted in referrals to CAP for intake.

A transition teacher at Hakipu’u Charter School on Oahu invited CAP to a training with its special education staff and parents. CAP and the eight participants discussed how CAP can be involved with transition planning by participating in an IEP or 504 plan. The staff inquired about community rehabilitation programs to serve this Hawaiian-immersion charter school. Although SPED students with IEPs can stay in school until age 22, one student planned to graduate at age 18 and his parent wanted to know how CAP can assist. CAP has established a close rapport with this Hawaiian-language charter school.

Before a diverse group of 90 members of the Hawaii Association of the Blind, CAP trainers provided information about CAP assistance, including transition planning, connecting with DVR and community rehabilitation programs, explaining the Randolph Sheppard Act, and legislative advocacy. One significant issue of concern is the state’s Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) wanting to place its clients in merchant sites intended for Randolph Sheppard vendors. Blind vendors are required to be trained and certified by the state’s VR Services for the Blind Division and it is a cumbersome process, whereas AMHD does not require similar training.

The joint Department of Education / Division of Vocational Rehabilitation / Developmental Disabilities Division transition meeting was formerly held on a quarterly basis, but is now an annual event. At this event, CAP presented a training for the 130 participants regarding the role and responsibilities of DOE transition teachers. CAP also explained how it can be involved in transition planning in IEPs, 504 plans, and the eligibility and appeals process.

CAP conducted two trainings at Pearl City High School for 9 SPED and General Education teachers, to create an awareness of student strengths and needs in relation to transition services. DVR participated to provide insight regarding what was available post-high school. Many of these meetings resulted in follow-up meetings to discuss other services for students with disabilities.

CAP attended numerous DVR quarterly meetings via teleconference, with often close to 100 people in attendance. All agencies contributed information and updates regarding services and shared information about the impact of COVID at that particular moment.

CAP conducted a training and follow up with a Kapolei DVR counselor regarding HDRC’s CAP program, services and intake process. The Counselor was unfamiliar with CAP, especially regarding Powers of Attorney, the Professional Recommendation of an Educational Representative (a unique provision in Hawaii state law), and Advance Health Care Directives. The DVR counselor was unaware that CAP offered these services. Also discussed referrals to CAP if and when she ran into difficulties with schools or CRPs.

CAP conducted a site visit and training at Leeward Community College (LCC) for DVR client “K.K.” who encountered inaccessible conditions in her employment. A CAP advocate followed up with and discussed accessibility with employer LCC, and ensured that the issue was addressed through the reasonable accommodation process. CAP later verified that appropriate accommodations were in place for K.K.

CAP conducted five trainings at two high schools on the island of Maui for five different IEP teams. Due to COVID restrictions concerning travel, these trainings were held virtually as part of the Transition Planning section of each IEP. The participants ranged from 8 to 15 adults, including DOE administrators, parents, and direct service personnel such as SPED teachers, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Counselors, General Education teachers, Speech-Language Pathologists, and outside providers such as DD Case Managers. CAP initiated 10-15 minute trainings due to concerns that the schools were not referring potentially eligible students to DVR. These concerns were raised after reviews of IEP documents and discussions with IEP care coordinators and parents showed that IEP team members were consistently confused regarding misinformation about the “order of selection” and/or the withdrawal of DVR funds for the SPED Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the loss of DVR allocation of work stipends. Continuous threads of lack of any information regarding the benefits of DVR and how it furthers employment for their son or daughter came up time and time again with parents. The training agenda included: (1) The referral process and what to expect at each step, age to begin the DVR application, timelines of eligibility and how the “waitlist/Order of Selection” impacts each applicant; (2) Discussion of the “Potentially Eligible Student” and which of the 5 services would be available during DVR intake. IEP teams and parents used this information to help guide the development of a student’s school to work transition plan on the IEP. The outcome is that CAP influenced the re-invitation of DVR counselors to school IEPs to share valuable resources on employment possibilities and clear up any misinformation.
C. Agency Outreach
CAP aims to employ the most culturally and linguistically appropriate methods for outreach by collaborating and co-learning with other community-based organizations and government agencies. It also intends to be consistently proactive in gathering information about disability rights and concerns from CAP’s prioritized populations.
CAP continues to employ community outreach advocates such as Pamela Cabreira, JanisMaria Chang, and Reinalyn Terrado (who left HDRC in July 2021). They are culturally-appropriate for populations with underserved backgrounds like the Filipino community, disadvantaged individuals with limited English proficiency such as Pacific Islanders, and individuals from underserved geographic areas such as military communities or rural parts of the state. Ms. Terrado and Ms. Chang focus on churches and church leaders, because the church serves as a social and cultural center for each underserved population, especially Filipinos, Koreans and Pacific Islanders. People with deafness have also been identified as another un- and underserved segment of our community that will benefit from CAP’s services. Advocate Carol Young is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and uses her professional and personal contacts in the close-knit deaf community to promote CAP services.

Enhanced Outreach to the Un- and Underserved

Regardless of the type of outreach activity, Advocates presented an entire set of HDRC’s basic overview brochure (which includes CAP) translated into various languages (i.e. Tagalog, Ilokano, Chuuk, Marshallese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.) to the person in charge of each outreach location. Each brochure was encased in a plastic sleeve and was intended as a presentation set, where a supervisor, church leader, case worker, doctor, or teacher could show a potential non-English speaking individual what HDRC and the CAP program does, and encourage them to contact us. When COVID-19 restricted in-person outreaches, these brochures were offered during telephone and video conference outreaches, and are also posted on HDRC’s web and facebook pages.

Diversification Highlights

In Hawaii’s multi-ethnic population, every outreach is composed of a diverse audience from one or more of the unserved and underserved populations that CAP has identified. Additionally, CAP advocates and outreach advocates direct their outreach and education activities to events, agencies and locations that are all part of the un-/underserved continuum of services. Some of the broad categories of programs and locations where CAP delivered outreach and education include, but are not limited to:

Advisory Boards – Committee on Accessible Transportation, National Federal of the Blind, State Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board.
Charitable Organizations – Catholic Charities multiple locations, Easter Seals, Goodwill Industries, Hawaii Foodbank, Salvation Army-multiple locations.
Churches and Religious Organizations – New Hope, Our Lady of Peace, Saints Peter & Paul Church.
Conferences & Events –Abled Hawaiian Arts Festival, CSC Deaf Culture training, CSC Homeless Awareness, DDD Virtual Day at State Capitol, DOE/DVR/DDD transition training, Epilepsy conference, Governor's Coordinator on Homeless webinar, HDRC Vaccination Events, Hawaii Association of the Blind, Hawaii Early Intervention Coordinating Council, Hawaii Justice Foundation-Access to Justice, Hawaii Youth Services Network annual meeting, Hearing Loss Sensitivity Training, Learning Disabilities Assn-Annual Conference and Parent Talk Cafe, Mental Health America-Maui, Mental Health Awareness & Awards Celebration National Assn of Mental Illness, PacRim conference, Statewide Homeless Awareness conference, Senator Ed Case-Townhall Meeting, Veterans Benefits-hosted by Catholic Charities, Virtual Advocacy in Epilepsy.
Community Groups – Aloha Foundation, Aloha Independent Living, Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative-Hawaii Circle of Care for Dementia, American Association of University Women, Autism Society, Best Buddies, Comprehensive Service Center-, Domestic Violence Action Center, District Councils, Domestic Violence Action Center, East Hawaii Legislative forum, For Our Keiki, Hawaii Early Intervention Coordinating Council, Hawaii Justice Foundation, Honolulu Community Action Program, KEY Project, Kinai Eha, Kokua Kalihi Valley, Kuhio Park Towers Micronesian support group, Ku Makani Resiliency Project, Language Services Hawaii, Longshoreman's Retirement Union, Neighborhood Boards-multiple locations, Ohana Community Care Services, Olakino Food Distribution, Parents and Children Together, Partners in Care, Special Parents Information Network conference, We Are Oceania, West Hawaii Legislative forum.
Disability Advocates – ALS Foundation, Alzheimer’s Program Initiative, ARC locations on all islands, Goodwill Adult Day Program, Hale Ku’ike, National Assn of Mental Illness, National Federation of the Blind-Oahu, Kauai, & Student Division.
Correctional Facilities – correctional facilities and youth detention centers on all islands, Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility.
Education Advocates – National Center on Afterschool & Summer Enrichment, Special Parents Information Network
Employment Advocates – American Dream Network, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, DOE transition teams (20+ outreaches), Network Enterprises, Puna Kamalii Flowers.
Foster Homes – on all islands (20+ outreaches)
Government Agencies – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, DOH Behavioral Health Director, DOH Clubhouse Adult Day Programs-all islands, DOH Suicide Prevention, DOH Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, EPSDT Staff, Executive Office on Aging, Hawaii Aging and Disability Resource Center, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center, Hawaii Youth Services Network, Hawaii’s Long-Term Care Options and LTC Ombudsman, Oahu Economic Development Board, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, One Stop Center, Social Security – multiple offices,
Group Homes & Nursing Homes – Life Care Center, Mental Health Kokua - all islands, Legacy Hilo Rehab & Nursing Center, Steadfast, Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home
Housing Advocates – Access to Independence, Full Life, HOPE Services, Kokua Kalihi Valley, KHAKO, Legal Aid, McCully-Moilili Homelessness Coalition, Next Step, Punawai Rest Stop
Healthcare Providers and Insurers – BAYADA, Care Hawaii, Hawaii Medical Services Association, Hilo Hospital, Kalihi Palama Health Center, Molokini Behavioral Health, Queen’s Medical Center, Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, St. Francis Hospital, Tripler Army Medical Center, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Waikiki Health Center
Legal Advocates – Access to Justice, ACLU, Legal Aid Community Navigator, Volunteer Legal Services.
Military Advocates - Exceptional Family Member Program, Military and Family Support Centers.
Public Schools & Charter Schools – including Hawaiian-language immersion schools and Hawaiian Arts Academy School (55+ outreaches).
Radio Stations – Filipino, Chuuk, and English broadcasts.
Senior Advocates – AARP, Aging & Disability Resource Center, Ocean Pointe Senior Housing.
Shelters – Catholic Charities, HOPE Services, IHS-men, women & families, Next Step, Safe Haven.
Psychiatric Facilities – Hawaii State Hospital, Maui/Kauai/Hilo psychiatric hospitals, Kalihi Palama Behavioral Health Clinic, North Shore Mental Health, Queen’s Medical Center, Suicide Prevention Hotline, Sutter Kahi Mohala, Tripler Army Medical Center, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Waikiki Health Center, Waimanalo Health Center.
Universities & Medical Schools – Chaminade, Leeward Community College, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Neuroscience Center of the Pacific, UH Center on Disability Studies.
Veterans Centers – on all islands.
Youth Advocates – Hawaii Youth Services Network, RYSE Youth Transition Program, Youth Challenge.

Challenges Presented by the Coronavirus Pandemic

CAP will continue to explore new ways to serve the community, despite a COVID-19 environment that emphasizes social distancing and limited access to facilities. This is especially important for our un- and underserved clients, who typically encounter numerous difficulties in accessing information about advocacy services, such as language barriers, technological limitations, immigration concerns, and fundamental trust issues. HDRC is presently attempting to hire an E-Media Advocate to enable us to communicate our expertise and success stories online. Instructional videos and webinar hosting are also under discussion. We understand that all of these online communications must be made accessible in native languages and ASL. Our commitment to CAP’s mission continues as strong as ever; we are just pivoting to an alternate method of marketing the program and its services.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
3
0
0
700
0
0
NA
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
NA
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
14
20
34
0
22
B. Problem areas
0
5
2
7
2
16
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
8
2
1
0
1
0
12
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
5
1
2
0
0
2
1
0
1
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
4
4
2
2
3
2
1
0
0
0
{Empty}
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
12
6
5
9
2
34
B. Gender
17
17
34
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
12
0
5
15
2
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
0
2
13
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
11
4
0
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
34
E. Types of Individuals Served
3
3
4
0
1
1
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
0
NA
B. Litigation
0
0
0
NA
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Hawaii Disability Rights Center
No
NA
B. Staff Employed
Professional Full-time = 11 1.1
Professional Part-time = 3 .3
Administrative Full-time = 2 .2
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
A.S. is a 15-year old female diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, severe language disorder, Generalize Anxiety Disorder, Intellectual Disability, and memory problems. She and her family moved to the island of Maui from Florida. A.S. had been receiving special education services under the category of Autism with secondary Language Impairment and borderline intellectual disability. She also has a history of Selective Mutism and Anxiety. A.S.’s school history is significant with several school changes and many unexcused absences. She entered Hawaii public high school as a ninth grader and given her language, academic and cognitive skills, was placed in life skills class until more information could be ascertained. A.S.’s ninth grade education was significantly impacted by the COVID pandemic. She attended school the first half of school year via virtual learning. After two quarters of data collection, A.S.’s care coordinator recommended a possible change in LRE to her mother. The IEP team met to discuss the pros/cons of a change in classroom placement. A.S. was able to participate in the classroom for two weeks and expressed her interest in changing to the Work Readiness Program. CAP participated with client's guardian/mother in the IEP revision meeting. In addition to the educational objectives, A.S.’s mother was introduced to the DVR program's case manager, who shared available services and how services would benefit school to work skill development. A.S.’s mother was extremely satisfied with IEP revision meeting and new transitioning goals.



J.O. is a 20-year-old Oahu female with Autism. Her mother contacted CAP regarding concerns with communication and services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). J.O.’s mother also shared that she did not understand her rights and her daughter’s rights, and the services that could/should be provided to them by DVR. CAP assisted with communication and follow-through with J.O.’s DVR counselor, especially when her mother was unable to get in touch with her (counselor) or had not heard from her for significant periods of time. Upon last follow-up the client's mother shared that although she and the client had not heard from the DVR counselor for a long time, they did not want CAP to follow-up at this time. J.O. had recently completed her Associate degree, and was awaiting final confirmation that all credits were completed. She planned to "take a break," and did not wish to move forward with a job search at the present time. J.O. also did not feel safe working just yet because of the COVID pandemic; however, due to social anxiety and personal preference, she would prefer a "work from home" type of job. One particular interest was "YouTube Blogging," but J.O. acknowledged that DVR was unable to support this.




W.T. is a 50-year old Oahu man with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Explosive Disorder and Adjustment Disorder. He has a work history as a licensed CDL driver and drove trucks for different companies in Hawaii and on the mainland. W.T. worked for several years as a truck driver in Afghanistan for an independent contracting company. During this contract job, W.T. encountered some very volatile situations and he witnessed many explosions and loss of life. As a result, he is currently experiencing PTSD along with his other disabilities. W.T. applied for the services of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. He was determined eligible and placed in the Non Significantly Disabled category with the lowest priority. DVR sent a letter to inform him of his status under the Order of Selection. The format of the DVR letter was confusing. It appeared as if he was Non Significantly Disabled and then changed to Most Significantly Disabled. W.T. contacted his DVR counselor to ask for an explanation in writing. She verbally explained his DVR status to him and her meaning was not clear to him. W.T. asked the counselor to send him an email with the explanation in writing so he could better understand it. The DVR counselor did not provide any further information in writing. W.T. then contacted the Oahu Branch Administrator at DVR to complain about the form, the fact that it was not clear and the counselor did not provide an explanation via email as requested. The Oahu Branch Administrator referred W.T. back to his counselor. The counselor suggested that W.T. contact CAP (but still did not provide him an explanation in writing). The counselor also informed him of his Rights and Remedies.

With CAP’s assistance, W.T. completed the Request for Review form and requested mediation. CAP reviewed the eligibility form with W.T. and agreed that it is indeed confusing. CAP contacted the VR counselor to request a copy of his records. After reviewing the records, the CAP advocate determined that W.T. was incorrectly assigned to the Non Significantly Disabled category. His medical and psychological records provided ample evidence that he fit in the Significantly Disabled category. CAP requested a meeting between the Oahu Branch Administrator, the VR counselor and W.T. A meeting was held and advocate and W.T. presented the two issues of complaint. The issue of not explaining the eligibility document clearly in writing was resolved when the counselor agreed to send an email with the explanation within two days. Both the counselor and the administrator also agreed with W.T.'s point that the document itself is extremely difficult to understand. The Oahu Branch Administrator planned to pass this information on to the VR Administrator (the form document was never revised). The advocate then presented the facts regarding why W.T. should be assigned to a different priority category. DVR did not want to change anything in his category until the counselor had the opportunity to review the documents again. It was agreed to reconvene in two weeks. In the meantime, W.T. received a communication that he would need to pick a Fair Hearing Officer due to his Request for Review. W.T. had requested mediation, not a hearing. CAP contacted VR to pursue the mediation services requested by W.T. VR stated that they were denying his mediation request and that it is within the statute. One of the VR staff also stated that VR does not currently have a contract for mediation. CAP explained to the Oahu Branch Administrator that the issue with VR could be resolved without escalation to a hearing level. The Oahu Branch Administrator expressed her hope to resolve it, although the VR Administrator continued to push the issue to an administrative hearing. At the next meeting between VR, W.T. and CAP, the VR counselor explained that she had reviewed the medical reports. She agreed to change W.T.’s priority category as originally requested by CAP. She also agreed to email him the revised documents. W.T. was extremely satisfied with the determination. He understands he is still on the wait list. He also agreed to dismiss the Fair Hearing and contacted DHS to withdraw his Request for Review.
Certification
Approved
Louis Erteschik
Executive Director
2021-12-30
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