RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #908

Texas
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Texas
2222 W Braker Ln
{Empty}
Austin
TX
78758
(800) 252-9108
(866) 362-2851
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights Texas
2222 W Braker Ln
{Empty}
Austin
78758
Texas
kstanfill@drtx.org
(800) 252-9108
(866) 362-2851
Additional Information
Karen Stanfill
Karen Stanfill
(512) 454-4816
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
37
4
0
0
8
59
108
B. Training Activities
105
4590
CAP staff presented at a number of conferences this year to provide information about CAP services, vocational rehabilitation and independent living services. The topics included an overview of services provided by CAP, vocational rehabilitation (VR), independent living centers (ILC), and transition services and changes to sheltered workshop eligibility and referral criteria. <p><p>CAP staff presented at conferences including: The Texas Council for Special Education, Inclusion Works, Texas Transition Conference, Parent to Parent, Living Disability Conference, and the Ft. Worth Disability Conference. <p><p>In addition, CAP conducted presentations to transition age students at Parent to Parent programs, Family to Family events, School District Transition Fairs, Child Advocate programs and Foster care programs, ARC, and the Juvenile Probation Department in Houston. The goal was to increase parent and student awareness of the VR and Independent Living (IL) programs and know how to access these resources for their family members or friends. Additionally, students and parents were informed of their right to apply for services, the time frame for applications, eligibility, and the time frame to compete an Individualized Plan for Employment, or IPE. The various services available were briefly discussed. The attendees also were informed of the CAP Program and role, and how to access CAP services. <p><p>CAP conducted outreach to disability organizations including American Council for the Blind, Houston Area Vision Impaired Network, Low Vision Clubs, ARC, Vet Centers, Vet Coalition, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and County Mental Health programs. Programs that serve the deaf and hard of hearing were also included. Participants included clients/consumers, parents, family members and professionals. The focus of the outreach and trainings was VR and IL services, where to find the VR manual online, pertinent regulations, how to apply for services, eligibility, how to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), and how to access CAP services. <p><p>CAP has seen the benefit in reaching out to Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs). Clients who have different VR counselors but receive services from the same CRPs witness the variety of the ways services may be provided. Some of the CRPs that CAP contacted included Goodwill, Lift Aids Hearing Resource Specialists, Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital, Pate Rehabilitation, and Easter Seals. The presentations to the CRP staff share general information about VR, including where to find the VR policy manual online, and information about the CAP program and services. The general VR agency requires the CRPs inform clients of the CAP program. Therefore, it is a goal for the CAP staff to establish a relationship with the CRPs so they know who they are referring the client to and what services they will receive. <p><p>Lastly, CAP also presents to vocational rehabilitation (VR
C. Agency Outreach
CAP continues to reach out to transition age youth. Despite these efforts, the number of youth served by the CAP program between the ages of 16-24 is still low. Our efforts include attending transition fairs, Transition Conference, organizations that serve parents with children with disabilities, and foster care programs. We will continue to conduct outreach to these types of organizations and look at adding other strategies. <p><p>CAP also attended a meeting with leaders from the Asian Community in Houston along with executive DRTx staff, board members and staff from each team to educate the representatives on DRTx programs and services. Houston has a large Asian community and the goal is to be aware of each other, the programs available, and the services the Asian community needs. <p><p>CAP added an additional advocate position this year which has increased our outreach to rural areas in Texas. CAP is fully staffed with six advocates who cover the State of Texas. This allows us to provide more presence in the more rural areas of the State. CAP is able to respond to requests for presentations and has strategized specific areas to focus on with the staff and resources. <p><p><p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
4
1
6985
20
{Empty}
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
We have recorded 282 different instances in publications, articles, and interviews where DRTx agency staff were quoted, mentioned, or provided information about the agency, programs or issues that were worked by staff. Some examples include: Houston Family Magazine, Austin-Time Warner Cable News and the Katy News. Some of the articles featured DRTx involvement in challenging the Texas Education Agency arbitrary 8.5% cap for students with disabilities enrolled in special education. Additionally, other issues included a report on sheltered workshops researched and written by DRTX, a new law in Texas regarding supported decision-making, and a lawsuit filed by DRTX to allow persons who are blind to access transportation and ride share services in Austin, Texas. <p><p>DRTx Media Outreach FY 2016 <p><p>DRTx reaches people through its social media strategies on Facebook, which grew from 2,002 followers last year to 2,945 a 47 percent increase. On Twitter, we grew from 659 followers to 844 a 28 percent increase. Our followers increased organically with no paid promotion asking people to like our Facebook page or to follow us on Twitter. <p><p>Over the course of the fiscal year we posted 135 times on Facebook, reaching 142,678 people, and 130 times on Twitter, reaching more than 58,000 people. We also reached more than 3,000 people through our e-newsletter and other electronic invitations to special events. <p><p>The DRTx YouTube Channel is growing, with more of our own video content being added. We now have 30 videos produced by DRTx on our channel with a total of more than 6,000 views. <p><p>People accessing our website for self-advocacy resources and other important rights information continues to grow. This past year our website had 80,121 hits, a 9 percent increase over last year, and 60,328 unique visitors, a 12 percent increase over last year. Our page views totaled 207,355, a 7.7 percent increase over the previous year. Though more people still access our website from a desktop or laptop computer, the number of people using mobile devices continues to skyrocket. Mobile phones are beating out any other mobile device when it comes to access our site, with a 30 percent increase over the previous year. <p><p>DRTx continues to be regularly sought out by both local, regional and national reporters to provide expert input and quotes for news stories. We also successfully proactively pitched several stories to reporters, including our report on sheltered workshops in Texas, a lawsuit against ride share companies whose mobile apps were not accessible, the passage of a new state law on supported decision-making, and more. <p><p>Our local coverage, regional and state coverage included placement with the Houston Chronicle, Texas Public Radio, the Texas Observer, the Victoria Advocate, the San Antonio Express News, the Austin American Statesman, KHOU TV Houston, KVUE TV Austin, NBC DFW, and several other large and small media market outlets
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
101
174
275
11
111
B. Problem areas
10
48
128
54
0
39
4
1
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
49
29
90
2
0
4
174
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
78
13
4
2
1
45
0
14
11
5
1
{Empty}
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
69
16
4
0
51
19
9
5
1
{Empty}
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
6
25
70
160
14
275
B. Gender
131
144
275
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
59
3
6
68
0
117
6
16
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
12
9
1
3
3
3
17
2
18
10
1
5
15
10
2
5
0
2
0
12
77
3
2
2
12
39
1
1
1
4
0
0
2
1
275
E. Types of Individuals Served
124
0
135
11
4
5
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
7
There were a number of issues that CAP addressed with the VR and the IL program during the year. During 2015, the State VR agency responded to changes to quality assurance, procedures and oversight resulting from recommendations from the Texas Sunset Review Commission. In addition, legislative changes dissolved the VR program known as the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), and moved DARS to other existing agencies. On September 1, 2016, the Division for Rehabilitation Services (general agency) and the Division for Blind Services were moved to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and have been renamed the Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Service (TWS-VRS). Until September 1, 2017, they will be known as Rehabilitation Services Division (RSD) and Blind Services Division (BSD). During 2016, public input was requested on how to make these changes with as little disruption to clients as possible. CAP provided input and educated the decision makers on how the changes will impact persons with disabilities. On September 1, 2017, BSD will be moved under the general agency and Texas will have one combined agency for general and blind services. <p><p>With the legislative changes, the Independent Living Program as operated under DARS was moved to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Despite proposals to keep all IL services together, HHSC decided to contract IL services to the Independent Living Centers and left the Older Blind IL program with TWC-VRS Blind Services Division. However, all staff handling the Older Blind IL program were moved to HHSC, so the ILCs and TWS-VRS no longer had staff to administer the program. All files for these cases were sent to the ILCs. As a result, the cases had to be sent back to TWS-VRS. TWS-VRS has been posting and hiring staff to administer this program again. BSD has identified primary and secondary contacts until staff are hired and trained. <p><p>As a result of the Independent Living Programs being moved to HHSC and contracted out to the IL Centers, CAP was very active in providing information and analysis to reduce disruption to clients as much as possible. CAP attended the SILC annual conference where the changes to services were discussed in a public hearing, and attended listening sessions for feedback on the IL State plan and provided written public comments to the proposed rules and changes. DARS also held stakeholder meetings on the IL changes that CAP attended, providing input and feedback on the program. CAP provided comments about concerns for training of new staff receiving IL cases at the Centers, and the timing and funding for those activities prior to the transfer of cases and the programs to the ILCs. CAP conducted training for all CAP staff in September that included training from the HHSC program manager on IL services. <p><p>Additionally, systemic issues with each individual agency, RSD and DSB, were identified and disc
B. Litigation
0
1
0
The pending litigation was filed in court last year and noted on the RSA 227 for 2015. The same case is repeated here with updated numbers. <p><p>The Division for Rehabilitation Services does not encourage their counselors to provide support for clients seeking a bachelors or masters degree to obtain employment. CAP has discussed this several times with management. Counselors at the field level inform clients and CAP staff that DRS does not assist a client to complete a bachelor or master level education. It should be noted here that there are some counselors and some employees who are aware that bachelor and master degrees are intended as services to be provided to clients who show the potential and interest in a vocational goal requiring this type of education. However, CAP continues to see a number of these types of cases each year. While CAP has addressed this individually, and with DRS management, the practice has not changed state-wide. Thus, many qualified clients who may have sought to obtain a college degree have not even had the opportunity to receive DRS support. In 2015, one CAP client eligible for VR services wanted to go to law school. DARS did not agree and instead wanted to assist the client in continuing to work as a paralegal. Paralegal certification was not the clients choice and did not meet his interest or abilities. CAP attempted to resolve the issue at the lowest level but was not successful. A formal appeal was filed and with the client was represented by CAP. The client did not prevail in the appeal. CAP and DRTX have filed an appeal in state district court. <p><p>Under this practice, VR clients are restricted from seeking the levels of education and skill that will help them obtain economically viable employment and meet their full potential. It would be very hard to estimate the number of individuals that are affected by this practice. However, the DARS 2015 annual report shows the top three categories of outcomes for DRS successful closures are service occupations (24%), office and administrative support occupations (21%) and transportation and material moving occupations (10%). The number of successful closures in the categories for jobs requiring more education were much lower; such as education and legal (8%), computer related (2%), and management (5%). In reviewing this information as a rough summary, a large number of the clients coming to RSD are students, as well as others who later in life are unable to continue their employment for various reasons. Receiving services from vocational rehabilitation can be an opportunity to develop skills to obtain a livable wage. The statistics show that RSD is not spending a large portion of the budget toward training, and the closures indicate that persons are not obtaining jobs in areas where the majority of the jobs may require a higher education. Thus, CAP has identified the practice of not assisting with obtaining bachelor or master degrees as a
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Texas
No
n/a
B. Staff Employed
Position FTE % of year person-years Professional full-time 8.85 FTE 92.2% 8.14 Professional part-time 0 Professional vacant 1.00 FTE 100% 1.00 <p><p>Clerical full-time 1.34 FTE 92.2% 1.24 Clerical part-time 0 Clerical vacant 0.27 FTE 100% 0.27 <p><p><p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Rehabilitation Services Division examples:<p>Our client is a 37-year-old male who has an Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) and history of depression. The client has an extensive history with TWS-VRS, employment experience in fast food and attempted school three times in the past. Previously, the client had taken classes in culinary arts and computer sciences but was not able to successfully complete the class work. Because the clients GPA was .59, the client could not receive financial aid. Although the client and the TWS-VRS counselor continued to work together, they did not agree on a vocational goal. The client had interest in diesel mechanic work, but TWS-VRS said they would only help him get a job in the food service industry. The counselor denied the clients request for assistance with school because of his GPA. The client reported he enjoys cooking but wanted to obtain vocational training to have a career. Client reported he really wanted to have something more than just any job. Client appealed the loss of his financial aid and was awarded financial aid under the conditions that he maintain a 2.0 GPA and meet regularly with student retention and disability services. To help him in the program for diesel mechanic, client asked VR for assistance with a computer, books & supplies, assistance with accommodations and transportation, but was denied. <p><p>Upon further investigation, CAP was able to determine that when VR did not support client with assistance for school, he had attempted school without VR assistance. CAP met with the TWS-VRS counselor, client and the Colleges Disability Services Representative (DSR) to discuss the clients progress in the Diesel Mechanic program. During the meeting, the DSR shared the client had an overall B in the program. CAP requested assistance with tuition & books, a computer, accommodations and transportation. VR amended clients IPE to include a vocational goal of diesel mechanic and the following services: vocational training, transportation, a computer, counseling and guidance. Client expressed his satisfaction with the agreement, stated he enjoys his training and believes it is a good fit. <p><p>Client is a 25-year-old, male, with spinal muscular atrophy, who contacted CAP because his counselor had informed him that they would no longer provide personal care attendant services while he was in school. Client was attending a university in Texas and had been there for one semester. Counselor was asking him to come to the office so she could amend the IPE and remove the service. CAP investigated the issue and talked with the Counselor. Client receives the CLASS waiver services in Texas that provides a portion of attendant services. The hours provided through that program did not provide enough assistance to help him in school. TWS-VRS was picking up the remaining needed hours. A specialist in the VR agency had told the counselor that VR should not be paying for attendan
Certification
Approved
Mary Faithfull
Executive Director
2016-12-16
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