RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #890

Louisiana
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Advocacy Center
8325 Oak Street
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New Orleans
LA
70118-2043
http://www.advocacyla.org
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(800) 960-7705
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Advocacy Center
8325 Oak Street
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New Orleans
70118
Louisiana
http://www.advocacyla.org
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(800) 960-7705
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Additional Information
David Gallegos
David Gallegos
(504) 522-2337
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
12
0
0
0
3
8
23
B. Training Activities
7
77
04/20/16 15 attendees<p>a) Topics Covered: WIPA/Ticket To Ride Overview<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness and education of CAP<p>c) Description of Attendees: Advocacy Center staff<p><p><p>04/22/16 10 attendees<p>a) Topics Covered: Basic Work Incentives<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness of basic work incentives and accessing VR services<p>c) Description of Attendees: Families Helping Families advocates and consumers<p><p><p>Note: In order to maximize CAPs outreach efforts, various Veterans offices were visited on 05/04/16.<p><p><p>05/04/16 1 attendee<p>a) Topics Covered: Advocacy Center Overview including CAP and Vocational Rehabilitation Services<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness and educate about rights<p>c) Description of Attendees: Veterans<p><p><p>05/04/16 1 attendee<p>a) Topics Covered: Advocacy Center Overview including CAP and Vocational Rehabilitation Services<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness and educate about rights<p>c) Description of attendees: Veterans<p><p><p>05/04/16 25 attendees<p>a) Topics Covered: Advocacy Center Overview including CAP and Vocational Rehabilitation Services<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness and educate about employment rights<p>c) Description of attendees: Social Security administration field staff<p><p><p>05/04/16 20 attendees<p>a) Topics Covered: Advocacy Center Overview including CAP and Vocational Rehabilitation Services<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness and educate about employment rights<p>c) Description of Attendees: Social Security Administration staff<p><p><p>05/09/16 5 attendees<p>a) Topics Covered: Advocacy Center Overview including CAP and Vocational Rehabilitation Services<p>b) Purpose of Training: To increase awareness and educate about employment rights<p>c) Description of Attendees: McDonough 35 senior high school transition students<p>
C. Agency Outreach
The Advocacy Center of Louisiana places great value on diversity, and works to promote equality throughout the state.<p><p><p>The Advocacy of Louisiana serves Louisianians living with disabilities, including those with language barriers in underserved and un-served communities. AC employs two bilingual Spanish speaking staff members, and has dedicated voicemail options for persons who speak Spanish and Vietnamese. The Queen of Vietnam in New Orleans East provides interpreter services in Vietnamese.<p><p><p>The Advocacy Center of Louisiana reaches out to underserved and minority groups to promote civic engagement, leadership development, Social Security benefits counseling, economic asset building, and awareness of disability rights and issues. This is partially accomplished through participation or membership in the following committees: Latino Forum, Language Access Coalition, Louisiana Rehabilitation Council, Houma Nation Vocational, National Disability Rights Advocacy Committee, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, and Louisiana Association for Persons Seeking Employment First.<p><p><p>The Advocacy Center of Louisiana reaches out to people with disabilities across the state in a variety of ways: website, email, social media, via telephone, and in person at events across the state. AC recognizes the importance of connecting with underserved people with disabilities, and goes to great lengths to give people several options for engaging with the agency, allowing them to choose the option that is the most comfortable and accessible for them.<p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
1
0
0
6530
29
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Note: Advocacy Center was interviewed on WRBH Radio for the Blind. Information on how to access Advocacy Centers programs, including CAP, was provided.<p><p><p>Information about Advocacy Centers programs including CAP was disseminated to 2,271 subscribers via email blasts, Face Book, and Advocacy Centers newsletter.<p><p><p>AC Newsletter Articles: 6<p><p><p> AC Seeks Public Comment on Agency 2015-16 Plan, Pushing the Envelope: AC News in Brief, 10/08/15 (Number of Subscribers: 2,271)<p><p><p> National Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebrates 70 Years, Pushing the Envelope: AC News in Brief, 10/08/15 (Number of Subscribers: 2,271)<p><p><p> AC Wants Your Opinion on 2017 Priorities, Pushing the Envelope: AC News in Brief, 03/11/16 (Number of Subscribers: 2,271)<p><p><p> Louisiana Rehabilitation Services Wait Listing All New Applicants, Pushing the Envelope: AC News in Brief, 04/11/16 (Number of Subscribers: 2,271) <p><p> AC 2017 Plan Released for Public Comment, Pushing the Envelope: AC News in Brief, 06/06/16 (Number of Subscribers: 2,271)<p><p><p> AC Launches 1st Empowerment Academy Class, Pushing the Envelope: AC News in Brief, 07/26/16 (Number of Subscribers: 2,271)<p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
During the FY 16 reporting period, CAP did not have information disseminated by an external source. <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
36
56
92
95
44
B. Problem areas
3
28
42
9
2
4
0
4
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
3
3
23
2
18
2
51
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
27
6
0
3
6
4
1
4
0
0
0
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Note: Explanation of case in which issue was not resolved in clients favor, (D.7.).<p><p><p>Mr. C. is 58-year-old who was diagnosed with quadriplegia in March of 1985. Mr. C. requires services of a personal care aide with personal hygiene, and dressing. Mr. C. also requires assistance with, activities of daily living (ADLs), transportation and documenting messages. Mr. C. is a client of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, (LRS).<p><p><p>Due to Mr. Cs disability, he is unable to perform the duties required to operate his home business independently. To assist Mr. C. achieve his employment goal, LRS agreed to provide Mr. C. with an Environmental Control Unit (ECU) that would have the same functioning as his previous unit also provided by LRS. LRS recommended that Mr. C. receive an ECU that provided him with the ability to control the fan, lights, programs that allow him to write contract bids, and operate other devices that support him in his home office. LRS also recommended that every attempt be made to utilize existing hardware.<p><p><p>In August 2015, Mr. C. requested that thermostat control and multi-speed fan support be added to his ECU. Mr. Cs request was denied and was informed by LRS that his appeal option would move to a fair hearing. At the fair hearing arguments were made on Mr. Cs behalf based on LRS and the code of federal regulation (CFR) policies. At the conclusion the hearing officer ruled in favor of LRS stating that the LRS policy manual Part 412.04(C) exempts LRS from having to explore the best services for Mr. C.<p><p><p>Argument: The Fair Hearing decision is based on an erroneous interpretation of LRS policy manual Part 412.04(C). The decisions interpretation does not accurately represent the directives of the policy. The regulation exempts the state unit from the requirement to perform a comparable services/similar benefit analysis when the service being requested is a rehabilitation technology. 34 C.F.R. 361.53(b)(5). The Fair Hearing decision fundamentally misapplied LRSs policy. The decision misconstrued the requirement that LRS fund services through any comparable benefits available to the client before exhausting its own funding. The decision interpreted this provision as a requirement that LRS treat a service that fails to satisfy an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) as compliant with that same IPE if there are no comparable vendors of that service. The requirement that LRS make use of any comparable benefit to fund services is in no way a limitation on LRSs responsibility to fully comply with the terms of an IPE. The comparable benefit provisions only allow LRS to assure that an IPE is fully implemented by making use of any funding sources or other resources. The decisions reliance on the comparable benefit analysis to release LRS for an obligation in an IPE is in error.<p><p><p>The ECU provided to Mr. C. fails to do so. 34 C.F.R. 361.53(b)(5) and LRS policy manual Part 412.04(C) exempts LRS from having to explore an
E. Results achieved for individuals
12
0
2
1
7
8
1
6
14
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N/A <p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
8
24
58
1
92
B. Gender
44
48
92
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
3
2
1
40
0
43
3
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
3
1
0
0
2
2
2
5
9
0
2
3
3
0
1
3
0
3
9
14
2
0
5
9
9
1
0
0
1
0
3
0
0
92
E. Types of Individuals Served
34
1
48
1
4
4
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
Systems change is addressed through various means of advocacy. This year, CAPs impact on non-litigation systems change resulted in increased employment opportunities for individuals seeking to become competitively employed. As required in the programs terms and agreement, CAP was successful in addressing vocational rehabilitation services complaints at the lowest level. As needed, advocacy is provided at the highest level within the VRs due process. This includes representing clients during Administrative Reviews and Fair Hearings. The following activities are examples of CAPs ongoing work to address barriers to employment.<p><p><p>Fair Hearing Officers<p><p><p>Following training by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) CAP reviewed the state rehabilitation councils (Louisiana Rehabilitation Council, (LRC) minutes and uncovered that the question of approving Fair Hearing Officers had not been considered in the last 20 years. CAP then raised this issue with the LRC to discuss whether the current number of Fair Hearing Officers was appropriate. Although the LRC decided to maintain the current level of Fair Hearing Officers, the council resolved that if the number drops below three then it will reconstitute its judicial committee. CAP considers renewing the LRCs institutional knowledge of its authority to approve Fair Hearing Officers (FHOs) and the creation of a specific plan to address a potential shortfall of FHOs an important measure to systemically preserve our clients access to due process.<p><p><p>Order Of Selection (OOS) Closures and Waitlists<p><p><p>Without notifying CAP in advance, LRS closed all orders of selection and put all applicants without active IPEs on to a waitlist. CAP discovered that LRS had taken this course of action through client contact and subsequent confirmation with regional offices. CAP contacted LRS and brought this event to the attention of the LRC and RSA. LRS eventually re-opened OOS-I when the new state fiscal year began on July 1, 2016 and served some clients waitlisted on OOS-II. Working with LRS and the LRC to advocate for transparency and better planning is critical to the systemic stability of LRS.<p><p><p>LRS has hinted that another closure of OOS-I is likely in this fiscal cycle. CAP continues to advocate for transparency and responsible fiscal management before LRS, the LRC, and other policymakers and stakeholders.<p><p><p>Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Work Based Learning Experiences<p><p><p>Through its partners in the community, the CAP obtained a copy of a flyer circulated by a Pre Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) service provider which targeted students with sports injuries, wearing eye-glasses, or attending counseling. This program provided funding for those students without disabilities eligible under WIOA to receive funding for work based learning experiences. CAP brought the issue that one of the Pre-ETS providers was serving an ineligible population. The program will not
B. Litigation
0
0
0
N/A <p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Advocacy Center of Louisiana
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
The Advocacy Center organizes its professional staff by teams related to each priority and goal in the agency plan. Team members specialize in areas of law across multiple programs and collaboration between teams is encouraged. No staff members are assigned solely to the CAP program. Rather, of the full time professional staff, each person spends a percentage of his or her time serving CAP clients. Each groups individual representation services parallel one of the CAP programs priorities and goals, already described in this report.<p><p><p>The two highest percentages of time charged to CAP in FY2016 were 28% and 24% by an attorney and the Program Director, respectively. Time calculations are based on actual time reported on a bi-weekly basis. When Administrative and Support staff salaries are not charged directly, they are allocated among programs in a pro-rata share of total agency staff hours worked.<p><p><p>Professional staff include the following positions: Intake Coordinator, Intake Specialist, Legislative & Systems Advocacy Specialist, Program Director, Director of External Relations, Director of Policy and Planning, Staff Attorneys, Client Advocate Director of Legal Services, Director of Litigation, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer. Their duties include planning, managing, supervising and performing outreach, training, individual client representation, systems advocacy, and litigation on behalf of CAP clients. Administrative Support or Clerical staff includes the Executive Assistant and Administrative Assistants.<p><p><p>Number of person-years: &quot;Person-years&quot; refer to the actual time that positions (both professional and clerical) were filled during the period covered by this annual report. If a position was filled throughout the year, it counts as one person-year. Positions filled for any fraction of the fiscal year should be expressed in &quot;full-time equivalents. Person-years should be reported for all CAP personnel whose salaries are paid totally or partially by Section 112 funds. Identify the number of person-years staffing CAP this fiscal year. Be sure to include an explanation of the number of full-time, part-time, and vacant positions. Enter the full-time equivalent for all part-time positions. The following chart is recommended:<p><p><p>Type of Position: Professional<p><p><p>FullTime Equivalent: 1.4001<p><p><p>Percent of Year Position Filled: 100%<p><p><p>PersonYears: 11<p><p><p><p><p>Type of Position: Full-Time<p><p><p>FullTime Equivalent: 1.3<p><p><p>Percent of Year Position Filled: 100%<p><p><p>PersonYears: 9<p><p><p><p><p>Type of Position: Part-Time<p><p><p>FullTime Equivalent: 0.1001<p><p><p>Percent of Year Position Filled: 100%<p><p><p>PersonYears: 2<p><p><p><p><p>Type of Position: Vacant<p><p><p>FullTime Equivalent: 0<p><p><p>Percent of Year Position Filled: 0%<p><p><p>PersonYears: 0<p><p><p><p><p>Type of Position: Clerical<p><p><p>FullTime Equivalent: 0.2148<p><p><p>Percent of Year Position Filled: 100%<p><p><p>PersonYears: 4<p><p><p><p><p>Type of Position: Full-Time<p><
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Communication Problem Between Client and LRS Counselor<p><p><p>Ms. LB is a college student who was seeking assistance in getting LRS to refund college funds for the Spring 2015-2016 semester to her based on their delay in submitting the payment for her tuition. After reviewing the applicable LRS policy, contacting the university, and attending a meeting with LBs new counselor, he counselors supervisor, and the regional manager, the issue was resolved to the clients satisfaction and communication between LB and her new counselor has improved. LB has successfully enrolled in school for the Fall 2015-2016 semester and her new counselor assisted her in completing the correct paperwork that allowed her to receive a school refund.<p><p><p>Seeking Assistance with LRS Application Process<p><p><p>Ms. KB was referred through Advocacy Centers Supported Independent Living Program (SILAP) for assistance with LRSs application process. She had contacted LRS and was told that she could not submit an application for services. KB was educated about LRS services and the current developments involving LRS. Subsequently, KB was successfully linked to LRS and qualified for services under Order of Selection 1. KB was very satisfied with the outcome and felt there was no longer a need for services through Advocacy Center.<p><p><p>Seeking Assistance with Appropriate Job Placement<p><p><p>Mr. MK is an individual with Autism in the Aspergers range. Mr. K graduated from high school, attended Junior College and worked intermittently in various jobs. He also volunteered for several months at a non-profit where he gained experience as a clerical assistant. The non-profit recognized Mr. Ks ability to complete work accurately and timely. He was given additional duties until he was hired part-time on contract. Knowing his contract would be over in three months, he asked LRS to help him find permanent employment in a similar job. LRS recommended direct job placement.<p><p><p>Unfortunately and to his disappointment Mr. K. and his family were not pleased with the slow progress and inappropriate jobs being recommended by LRS. CAP eventually got involved and advocated that LRS re-evaluate Mr. K. for supported employment. Mr. K. was determined appropriate for supported employment and was asked to interview employment providers. Mr. K. interviewed three providers and selected one that met his desired qualities.<p><p><p>After nearly three months of job searching without any job leads, CAP met with Mr. K., his family and the employment provider. CAP also requested weekly meetings with Mr. K. and the employment provider to review progress. On Mr. Ks last week at the non-profit, a job opening was found at a local private law firm doing clerical work. Mr. K. interviewed and was immediately hired.<p><p><p>He requested that CAP stay involved for a couple of months to ensure the employment provider followed through with job coaching.<p><p><p>Mr. K. excelled in his job and only required minimal job coachi
Certification
Approved
Kim Y. Jones
Executive Director
2016-12-15
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