RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #907

Tennessee
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Tennessee
2 International Plaza
Suite 825
Nashville
TN
37217
(800) 342-1660
(800) 342-1660
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights Tennessee
2 International Plaza
Suite 825
Nashville
37217
Tennessee
(800) 342-1660
(800) 342-1660
Additional Information
Lisa Primm
Anna Bass
(615) 298-1080
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
16
1
0
0
1
18
36
B. Training Activities
6
886
During FY2016, the Client Assistance Program (CAP) provided training on four (4) occasions about the CAP program in order to increase the knowledge and understanding of the role of CAP in working with applicants and clients of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The trainings were provided to a total of 71 individuals, including a small group of individuals at the Chattanooga Autism Center, members of the Scenic City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), VR staff who work with deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired individuals in 24 East Tennessee counties, and to a variety of support coordinators, supervisors, employment specialists, and other personnel with BlueCare Tennessee. The topics covered in the CAP training include a historical overview of CAP, the many ways in which CAP can assist, some of the more frequent issues for which CAP assistance is requested, and how someone can contact CAP in Tennessee. In addition to these training efforts, CAP collaborated on two (2) large training initiatives, the 2016 MegaConference and the Disability Roadshow, both of which focused in part on competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities in Tennessee. The MegaConference is a long standing collaborative effort. In attendance this year were 663 individuals with disabilities, service providers, and family members. The Disability Roadshow, which was a new collaborative effort, allowed Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) to provide training to 152 individuals with disabilities across the state, service providers, family members, policymakers, and community members. <p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
In FY2016, DRT continued its outreach and collaborative initiatives to enhance provision of services to unserved and underserved populations, including minority communities. In addition to the ongoing collaborations described below, DRT conducted 16 outreach activities to minority groups and organizations that serve immigrant and refugee populations in Tennessee. Also, DRT conducted 27 outreach activities to expand its presence in rural communities that are generally underserved as evidenced by the disparity in resources in these communities across the state. This year DRT reached 734 people through outreaches targeted specifically to residents in rural counties. DRT continued participation in two collaborations, Encuentro Latino and Camino Seguro, which specifically focus on connecting the growing Latino community in Tennessee to available resources and services. Encuentro Latino is a collaboration among service providers that works to enhance information and referral services for the Latino population in Middle Tennessee. Group members meet on a monthly basis to share information as well as coordinate education and outreach efforts. Camino Seguro, an online bilingual database for disability services across the state, continues to be an important resource for the community. There were approximately 4,000 visits to the database and approximately 350 agencies are represented in the database. In addition to the initiatives above, DRT continues to be an active partner in the Multicultural Alliance on Disability (MAD). This is a group of community agencies serving people with disabilities and/or refugees and immigrants. MAD continues to address the following barriers affecting service delivery to people with disabilities from other cultures: language; different cultural beliefs about disability, understanding of the disability system in a new country; eligibility and access to disability services; and transportation. To address these barriers, MAD regularly communicates with agencies and organizations that interact with immigrant and refugee families to share information; address concerns about service delivery that are brought to MADs attention; organize and train about the topics listed above with an emphasis on increasing culturally responsive service delivery; plan for policy advocacy to increase awareness of the barriers to disability and related services encountered by minority communities; and explore resources and tools needed to build the capacity of member organizations to conduct outreach to and education of refugee and immigrant clients. By continuing to collaborate with community organizations within and outside the disability community, DRT has increased the avenues through which it addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities from diverse ethnic, racial, and geographic communities. These relationships also help DRT better connect callers with community services and supports when they fall outside current priorities and
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
4
5
9
3423
17
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DRT uses the website to share information with the community about how to access CAP services, understand VR services, and learn selfadvocacy strategies when working with Vocational Rehabilitation. DRTs website was visited 39,448 times with over 244,000 hits in FY2016. DRTs blog found on the website is another way that DRT communicates resources and information to potential CAP clients. Complimenting DRTs website activities is the use of social media channels to reach potential CAP clients and others with disabilities. In total, DRT reached 340,621 people through these mediums, which included 1,006 Facebook posts viewed by 261,847 people, and Twitter posts that reached 78,774 people. In FY2016, DRT continued to distribute its electronic newsletter and other email announcements, totaling 40 enewsletters and announcements which reached 2,645 subscribers. Topics covered included state policy initiatives; changes in VR services and procedures; opportunities for CAP clients to present feedback about VR services to both VR and the SRC; information about available resources including Ticket to Work, assistive technology, social security benefits, and disability etiquette; selfadvocacy skills building information; and numerous announcements about opportunities including information on how individuals could provide feedback on CAP/P&A priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and how to participate in the annual Disability Employment Awareness Luncheon. <p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
In FY2016, information about DRT and the services provided was included in 164 external sources that reached approximately 1.5 million people. External sources included key print media outlets in Tennessee, which included The Tennessean, Knoxville News Sentinel, Memphis Commercial Appeal, as well as multiple other sources across the US who picked up press wires from the Associated Press. TV and radio stations in Tennessee also covered information about DRT, including News Channel 5, WRFG Memphis, WJHL, and WMOT Radio. Other external sources disseminated DRT information including community partners and other online publications, such as TennesseeWorks and Tennessee Bar Association. Information covered through these mediums included information about DRT services and programs, including CAP services related to vocational rehabilitation, employment efforts, and coverage of relevant client cases and legal work. <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
24
47
71
4
21
B. Problem areas
0
22
40
5
1
5
2
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
18
10
21
2
1
2
54
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
31
1
3
5
0
9
2
0
3
0
0
{Empty}
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
19
0
3
1
19
2
1
3
0
{Empty}
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
18
19
30
4
71
B. Gender
36
35
71
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
3
0
0
24
0
43
0
1
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
6
0
0
0
2
6
1
2
9
0
5
0
2
1
0
0
0
2
5
13
1
0
2
2
5
0
0
0
5
1
0
0
1
71
E. Types of Individuals Served
5
1
65
0
1
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
28
I. Systemic Work with Vocational Rehabilitation In Fiscal Year 2016, Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) continued the work involved in its ongoing role on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). The position on the SRC allows DRT to participate in each of its quarterly meetings as well as sit on SRC subcommittees both of which advise Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). The SRC met quarterly during the year in locations across the state and also held conference calls as appropriate to conduct committee business. The CAP representative to the SRC served as the secretary of the Council during FY2016 and was highly involved in the recruitment of new SRC members as well as in the preparation of the VR/SRC Annual Report which was submitted to the Governor and to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) led to changes in the process of planning the details of the administration of the VR program. For this reason, the SRC prepared input into the first edition of VRs Portion of the Combined State Plan. The SRC is responsible for partnering with VR to conduct the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) every three years and this assessment was completed in FY2016 and finalized for submission to RSA at the end of the fiscal year. The SRC will soon begin planning to make changes to the process of conducting the CSNA to enable data to be gathered throughout the three year cycle rather than only during the year of the CSNA in an effort to better identify the VR service needs of individuals with disabilities across the state of Tennessee. The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) continued to share client success stories with the SRC at each quarterly meeting and provided information regarding new and ongoing programming being implemented to increase employment opportunities for VR clients. The SRC continued its participation in the National Council of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC) this year and the CAP advocate represented the SRC at the annual spring NCSRC conference. SRC members increased their knowledge of the SRC roles and responsibilities when the President of the NCSRC conducted a general training session prior to the summer SRC meeting. The SRC is committed to continuing its collaborative path with DRS to not only improve the VR program for clients in Tennessee but to give them their voice. During FY16, CAP provided input to VR services through committee participation, face-to-face meetings, submission of comments, and attendance at community provider forums. CAP staff met with Cherrell Campbell-Street, Chief Officer of Rehabilitation and Community and Social Services, to discuss systemic issues observed within the Division of Rehabilitation Services. CAP participated in the VR coordinated RSA Roundtable, as well as other discussions regarding revisions to VR services in response to WIOA. To further provide direct input into VR services, CAP staff provided extensive commen
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Tennessee
No
n/a
B. Staff Employed
Type of Position FTE/ % of year filled/Personyears <p><p>Professional 12/100%/12 Fulltime 11/100%/11 Parttime 1/100%/1 Vacant 0<p>Clerical 6/100%/6 Fulltime 6/100%/6 Parttime 0 Vacant 0<p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1. A 50-year-old Caucasian male who has mental illness contacted Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) and reported that he was experiencing problems communicating with his Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. He also stated that VR was not consistently providing job placement services and had recently delayed providing mileage reimbursement. DRT assisted our client in being assigned a new VR counselor. Following reassignment, CAP staff met with our client and the new VR counselor to initiate the process of amending his Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to receive job placement services through a new service provider. Within a few months of that amended plans development, our client relocated to a different city and DRT contacted the VR Regional Supervisor to assist our client in being assigned to a local VR counselor. Our client states he is able to communicate well with his new counselor. His IPE has now been amended again based on the locality of services. Because of this CAP advocacy, he is scheduled to begin working very soon with the new job placement provider in the city in which he now resides. Additionally, after several months of efforts to obtain the final mileage reimbursement, our client did receive that payment from VR. <p><p>2. A 21-year-old African-American male with cerebral palsy contacted DRT because VR was failing to pay our clients tuition in a timely manner. DRT advocated on our clients behalf with VR to pay his tuition and other school financial obligations on time per his IPE. At the time of opening, the client was at risk of his class schedule being automatically purged from the schools enrollment system because the payment was not received on time by the clients school; additionally, he was not guaranteed a place in the class when the payment was finally received. DRT observed that this VR office had a history of not submitting tuition on time in several instances and requested that VR develop an internal procedure to ensure that a clients tuition and other school obligations are paid in a timely manner so that class schedules are not unnecessarily impacted. VR complied with DRTs request to develop this procedure. DRT monitored and confirmed that our clients recent tuition was paid on time. Because of CAP advocacy, our clients payment issues are resolved and VR developed an internal procedure to ensure timely payment is made to the educational institution in the future, thus avoiding delays in progression toward employment objectives for VR clients.<p>3. A 53-year-old African-American female, who has an auto-immune disorder with subsequent orthopedic limitations, contacted DRT when VR reported to her its intention to end her VR services on the basis of her failure to comply with VR requirements. Our client prepared a draft letter to send to VR stating her disagreement with VRs decision and requested DRTs review of this letter. DRT reviewed the letter with our client as well as provided suggestions and
Certification
Approved
Lisa Primm
Executive Director
2016-12-20
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