RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #903

Pennsylvania
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Center for Disability Law & Policy
1515 Market Street
Suite 1300
Philadelphia
PA
19102
(888) 745-2357
(888) 745-2357
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Stephen S. Pennington
Stephen S. Pennington
(215) 564-2363
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
571
86
0
116
329
112
1214
B. Training Activities
23
1819
In fiscal year 2016, it became very clear how significant our steadfast outreach to the VR offices statewide has become and it became evident how much these offices value our relationship as a partner in the process and not as an adversary. Our meeting and training of new staff in addition to our continued relationship building with some of the &quot;veteran&quot; staff members, has reaped many benefits not only for us as advocates but for our clients this year. Our training to VR staff this year truly highlighted CAPs role in bridging the communication gap between the client and the VR staff. In our trainings, we focused spending time clarifying our role in a clients case. We focused on this to make both parties aware of their rights and responsibilities and well as relevant law & policy. We also stressed that we are here for the VR staff as well as for the clients. Our message this year resonated within all the VR offices that we strongly encourage calls from VR staff whenever they believe they need some guidance or another pair of ears or eyes for a case. We hired a new advocate in December 2015 and we spent a lot of time training her this year. In training her, we had an opportunity to revisit and refresh ourselves on CAPs mission. Although we did not make it to all the district offices in 2016, we did visit most of them as we introduced our newest advocate. The CAP staff made an extra effort to build positive rapport with the VR district offices in FY 16. In December, CAP advocates Margaret McKenna and Julia Blackwell were invited to speak at Philadelphia OVR staff meeting to train their new counselors on cap services and how we can be a resource to them. CAP staff had the opportunity to meet with Harrisburg OVR staff in April. The advocates met with the district administrators and assistant district administrators for both the BVRS and the BBVS offices. CAP had the opportunity to provide training to the BBVS district administrator and assistant district administrator as both were newly appointed and had not worked for BBVS previously. In September, the CAP staff was invited to attended the quarterly district administrator/assistant district administrator meeting in Dubois, PA. Executive Director, Stephen Pennington and advocate, Julia Blackwell attended the meeting to speak about how CAP can assist VR staff. While in Dubois, Stephen and Julia also stopped at the Dubois VR district office. <p><p>As part of our outreach efforts to visit district offices, the CAP staff ventured to the western part of the state. Our first stop was a visit to the Washington OVR district office. While at Washington, we introduced the new CAP staff members and we were introduced to both new and existing OVR staff members. We met with the Assistant District Administrator and 2 supervisors. In addition to management, we also met with their Business Service Representative. We talked to the staff about the upcoming changes to WIOA and how
C. Agency Outreach
As part of our underserved outreach this year, Margaret spent time uncovering and reaching out to Muscular Dystrophy associations and groups. This is a particularly underserved population from CAPs perspective. In FY 2015, we had only 2 active cases with this disabling condition. In FY 2016 some of the outreach contacts we made to reach these individuals include but are not limited to: MDA of Pittsburgh; MDA of Harrisburg; MDA of Allentown; Hershey Medical Center; Good Shepherd Rehabilitation and Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. <p><p>In FY 2017 we will reconnect with these places, hopefully have an opportunity to speak/ participate in a training as to have direct interaction with the individuals affected by this crippling condition. As always, we will look to uncover more groups/rehabs that we can outreach across the state that are committed to making the lives of individuals with MD better! Our wish is to make as many people who are or know someone who is trying to become independent and productive aware of our advocacy services. <p><p>An underserved group CAP focused on was the blind/visually impaired. Some positive contacts have come from Margarets outreaching to all the Pennsylvania Blind Associations (PAB). The PAB was founded in 1910 as the nations only statewide private non-profit organization for individuals who are blind/visually impaired. There are 26 member agencies serving 132,000 Pennsylvanians annually providing various services for people who are blind/visually impaired. <p><p>Thanks to this outreach effort, Margaret was asked to present and provide training to our local blind association, Associated Services for the Blind (ASB). She provided training on topics such as: timeframe for completion of the IPE, choosing a realistic employment goal consistent with the clients unique strengths, abilities, capabilities, interests and available in the labor market, a description of the specific rehabilitation services needed to achieve this goal including assistive technology, and the responsibilities of the client and BBVS regarding costs, comparable benefits, etc. There were 25 blind/visually impaired individuals in attendance for this training. Margaret also shared some tips from her personal experience as a BBVS client and how one can do a few proactive things to make the BBVS process a bit smother. Her outreach to this underserved population has really helped in spreading the word about our services and how we can be a fundamental part of their BBVS experience. Margaret is excited to report that she was also invited to present to 3 other blind associations for training in 2017. It is great to fulfill CAPs mandate to outreach and to enjoy doing it as well. In continuing her efforts to the blind/visually impaired community, Margaret McKenna strategized her outreach to contact all the 27 Blind Associations state-wide. Some of these blind associations are also BBVS providers and in 2017, CAP will be working clos
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
6
0
13415
10
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E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<P><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
70
125
195
1
75
B. Problem areas
16
98
83
32
0
15
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
7
33
75
3
1
1
120
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
86
13
0
0
3
11
0
5
2
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
42
3
3
8
36
24
3
1
0
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<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
10
41
43
92
9
195
B. Gender
72
123
195
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
12
0
1
42
0
132
5
3
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
12
15
2
1
0
0
27
0
10
9
1
2
8
5
1
2
0
2
3
9
45
2
0
5
11
11
0
0
0
6
1
1
3
1
195
E. Types of Individuals Served
56
4
121
0
21
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
15
1.CAP facilitated a meeting between OVR management and VR specialists to discuss and plan for the implementation of the final VR regulations. 2.CAP participated in an OVR Supported Employment workgroup to revise its policy to include, among other things, customized employment. 3.CAP met with OVR to discuss the elimination of its policy regarding the reimbursement of VR service monies from customers who recover economic damages from third parties. This policy is being deleted. 4.CAP participated in an OVR workgroup to revise its College Policy to include, among other things, guidelines regarding the waiver of financial tuition and cost limits. 5.CAP and OVR agreed to a policy input process to ensure that CAP is notified of, and has input into all policy issues involving the provision of VR services and the administration of the VR program. 6.CAP provided comments to RSA regarding the proposed VR regulations. 7.CAP provided comments to RSA senior staff in Washington, D.C. regarding the proposed VR regulations. 8.CAP sought clarification from RSA regarding the disparity between the statistics provided to RSA in OVRs quarterly report and the actual number of applicants and customers closed prior to a successful outcome. CAP met with OVR to discuss the disparity and indicated that it would provide the actual statistics to the SRC and State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist the agency in planning. 9.CAP met with the SRC and OVR to develop a comprehensive accessibility guide for Career Links. 10.CAP met with OVR to address the issue of the Pa. Civil Service Administrations delay in the provision of reasonable accommodations and its decision to deny testing in certain circumstances to applicants for Pa. jobs who are blind and visually impaired. 11.CAP participated in an OVR workgroup to revise its Small Business Policy and streamline the approval process. 12.CAP worked with OVR and the Pa. Department of Human Services to expand the Departments supported employment waiver policies to include pre-employment services. 13.CAP received clarification from RSA regarding OVRs ban on the purchase and repair of motor vehicles. CAP is in the process of assisting OVR update its policies to eliminate any such ban. 14. CAP participated in an OVR workgroup to develop a policy regarding pre-employment transition services. 15.CAP worked with OVR to clarify when emergency job coaches are to be provided to VR customers receiving supported employment services. <p><p>
B. Litigation
0
0
0
none <p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other nonprofit agency
Center for Disability Law & Policy
No
not applicable
B. Staff Employed
4 full-time professionals - 4 person years<p>2 part-time, 1 full-time equivalent<p>1 Director, 3 CAP Advocates, 2 part-time clerical <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Client is a male with a history of mental illness and is eligible for VR services. Client is currently employed as an adjunct professor teaching noncredit classes at a local community college. His goal is to teach credit classes as an adjunct professor. The client reported that his counselor in their communications sounded on board with his goal and that OVR would therefore be able to help fund his training. This client had also been working on his self-advocacy skills with his case manager and thought he was doing a good thing by proactively registering for classes. After he registered, he stated he tried a few times to get back in touch with his counselor to no avail. When the counselor did finally get back to him, the drop add time had passed and the counselor told him OVR had not approved him for training for the Fall 15 semester. Counselor then explained the process for OVR to fund college training. When the client tried to register for the Spring semester, he was told he could not do so for he owed the school for the Fall semester and, therefore, couldnt register for more classes. The client contacted CAP and fortunately the CAP advocates good relationship with the OVR office helped in justifying the clients request and that OVR provide funding for the clients Fall semester. Although CAPs recommendation for funding did not fit within OVRs college policy, CAP was able to show in the counselors case notes along with conversations with the client and his case manager and his counselor that there was verbal agreement as to his goal of adjunct professor. The training he is pursuing is required for him to achieve his goal. CAP also had the Dean of the college write a letter documenting the training was required to teach credit courses. As it is not within OVR guidelines to retroactively pay for tuition, this case is a good example of how CAP was able to make a logical and fair argument that an exception needed to be made in this case based on the overall picture and their agreement on his employment goal. <p><p>Client is a male with a history of mental illness. Client has been a long-standing client of both OVR and CAP. This client has a history of inappropriate behaviors due to his mental illness. These inappropriate behaviors have continued to get in the way of moving forward with his VR services. After many failed attempts by the client to follow through with recommendations for mental health treatment, OVR closed his case for failure to cooperate. The client stayed away from pursuing VR services for a while only calling periodically for support and VR reinforcing that he need to call when he was truly ready. CAP encouraged this client to be consistent with his therapy and try some volunteering, both of which he followed through with. As in this case, after the client removed himself out of the negative cycle that had become routine for him, he was able to calm down and focus on taking care of his mental and physical health. T
Certification
Approved
Stephen S. Pennington
Executive Director
2016-12-28
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