RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #915

Wyoming
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Protection & Advocacy System, Inc.
7344 Stockman Street
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Cheyenne
WY
82009
http://www.wypanda.com
(800) 821-3091
(800) 821-3091
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
N/A
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wypanda@wypanda.com
http://www.wypanda.com
(800) 821-3091
(800) 821-3091
Additional Information
Lee Beidleman
Lee Beidleman
(307) 638-7668
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
11
1
0
0
2
0
14
B. Training Activities
15
400
In the fiscal year, the Client Assistance Program conducted presentations in all areas of Wyoming. Most of the training were centered in the western and southwestern areas of Wyoming with a couple in the central and southeastern corner. CAP has been a participant for many years in the Mega Conference, which is Wyomings statewide cross-disability conference. The Mega Conference has been held in October each year. This year the conference was moved to June, so as a result, CAP had the opportunity to participate and distribute information at two Mega Conferences this fiscal year, one in October and again in June, which allowed contact with approximately 150 to 200 individuals at each conference. CAP presented information and distributed materials at the following list of sites and specified dates throughout this past fiscal year. Each presentation consisted of an overview of CAP services, vocational rehabilitation services and independent living services. Other topics included transition students, integrated competitive employment, and supported employment, all topics that have been influenced and emphasized with the ratification of WIOA. Besides individuals with disabilities, the audiences at the presentations were very diverse and they included parents, service providers, case managers, officials from Department of Health and other state agencies, various advocacy agency representatives, human resource personnel, native American tribal members, business owners, centers for independent living representatives, personnel from project 121 VR programs, housing authority and real estate representatives, public school personnel, vocational rehabilitation counselors, job developers/coaches, higher education personnel, etc. October 8-9, 2015, Mega Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming November 18, 2015, Disability Resource Expo, Cheyenne, Wyoming December 15, 2015, Goodwill Industries Inc. in Cheyenne, Wyoming January 19, 2016, Frontier Human Resources Association in Cheyenne, Wyoming March 15, 2016, EPIC Grant Consortium in Self-Advocacy in Cheyenne, Wyoming May 11, 2016, Community Entry Services Program in Riverton, Wyoming May 19, 2016, NOWCAP Services in Casper, Wyoming May 25, 2016, Community Entry Services Program in Jackson, Wyoming May 25, 2016, High Country Behavioral Health in Pinedale, Wyoming May 31, 2016, Magic City Enterprises in Cheyenne, Wyoming June 6, 2016, Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston, Wyoming June 7, 2016, NOWCAP Services in Rock Springs, Wyoming June 15-16, 2016, Mega Conference (second conference) in Cheyenne, Wyoming June 23, 2016, Wyoming Independent Living Resource Day in Newcastle, Wyoming August 14, 2016, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities & Accessibility, Laramie, Wyoming CAP also participated in discussions of the previously mentioned topics as a member of the State Rehabilitation Council, SRC; and the State Independent Living Council, SILC; and as an invited guest at DVR Area Manager Meetings. CAP attend
C. Agency Outreach
Wyoming DVR contracted with the University of Wyomings Survey and Analysis Center, WYSAC to conduct the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment of Wyoming Citizens with Disabilities 2015. The final report was submitted to DVR and the State Rehabilitation Council on July 20, 2016. Copies of the report were also provided to the Client Assistance Program, the State Independent Living Council, and the two Independent Living Centers Wyoming Independent Living, WIL; and, Wyoming Services for Independent Living, WSIL. The group of individuals with disabilities most often identified as unserved or under-served in the Needs Assessment is youth in transition who have intellectual and developmental disabilities or mental illness or both. The survey stated; A need for more intensive services for individuals with social and emotional deficits and a need for long term supports in jobs that are carved or created for them as opposed to jobs that exist. This is important to point out, because ironically, this is exactly the population that WIOA has placed an emphasis on for employment. The goal is to get students in transition out of the sheltered workshop pipeline and placed in competitive integrated work environments with supported employment services so they can have successful careers. Of course, the fact that the survey team identified this population as being unserved and under-served, was not a revelation to CAP, Vocational Rehabilitation, or Independent Living. But, it did confirm to these agencies that the people participating in the survey, who werent necessarily mindful of WIOA, unknowingly acknowledged its directive, which provided credibility to WIOAs priorities. The aforementioned agencies, already in-tune with WIOA, had already initiated actions to better serve the identified unserved or under-served population. CAP has vocalized the need for improved student transition, competitive integrated employment opportunities, and support services at every presentation and meeting attended throughout the past year. CAP has disseminated this message to a wide variety of audiences including not only to people with disabilities and parents, but to service providers, case managers, officials from Department of Health and other state agencies, various advocacy agency representatives, human resource personnel, native American tribal members, business owners, centers for independent living representatives, personnel from the project 121 VR programs, housing authority and real estate representatives, public school personnel, vocational rehabilitation counselors, job developers/coaches, higher education personnel, etc. Vocational Rehabilitation has employed two transition consultants, one consultant is responsible for the western half of the state and the other is responsible for the eastern half. Their job is to promote and coordinate collaboration between school personnel, employers, and VR counselors. VR has also created a new position t
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
1
4
1
8520
4
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The P&A/CAP website was an excellent resource for information dissemination. The website had 15,454 absolute unique visitors throughout the reporting period. <p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Information on how to contact the CAP agency is listed in the following: Governors Council on Developmental Disabilities website Wyoming State Bar Directory Goshen County Services Directory Wounded Warriors Website NAMI Website Behavioral Health Division Website Wyoming Real Estate Commission Website Independent Living Center publications Division of Vocational Rehabilitation publications <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
3
15
18
1
12
B. Problem areas
0
1
10
0
0
5
1
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
0
0
7
0
0
0
7
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
{Empty}
Not Applicable <p><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
0
0
0
0
6
1
0
0
0
{Empty}
Not Applicable <p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
3
3
11
1
18
B. Gender
8
10
18
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
0
1
0
0
17
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
0
9
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
18
E. Types of Individuals Served
9
0
9
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
Client Assistance Programs individual advocacy cases involving Wyomings Division of Vocational Rehabilitation clients have more than doubled this past year as compared to previous years. When trying to determine the reasons for this increase in dissatisfied clients, CAP has identified the following irregularities: One, all these cases are occurring in one service area of the State, the southeast quadrant. Two, the problems are not relegated to just one or two individual vocational rehabilitation counselors, but are consistent with all the counselors in this area. Three, the area is supervised by an area manager who reviews every counselor decision that involves any monetary costs. Four, this area has a staff of new counselors who have not been trained by that area manager. Five, there is not a theme to the inconsistencies found in clients cases. They range from applicants being found ineligible for services without appropriate assessments to support those decisions to denying clients informed -choice decisions. There are also many concerns with denying services that are clearly appropriate rehabilitation steps to allow an individual to achieve an employment goal. There have been a couple of cases in which the VR counselor advised their clients to apply for Social Security benefits and then closed their VR case. Because of the factors explained above, CAP has determined that there is a void in quality guidance and counseling taking place in this one area of the State. It appears that training is directed to just say no rather than to actually listen to clients and their individual needs. There is a lack of empathy, imagination, and innovation when trying to find solutions to a clients rehabilitation and employment needs. It appears that there is a commitment to strict enforcement of policies & procedures handbook, which instead should be used as guidelines, without looking for legitimate exceptions or innovations to the policies. Perhaps some of the reasoning for this strict and just say no attitude is a result of the budget shortfalls that the State of Wyoming is currently facing. All of Wyomings government agencies are feeling the pressure to be frugal, but this reasoning is hard to defend when it is known that the Wyoming Division of Vocational Rehabilitation historically has not used its maximum allocation of funding. Also, that this practice is only occurring in one quadrant of the State makes it apparent that it is not a budgeting issue, but instead a flaw in the ability to carry out the VR mission consistently throughout the State. CAP initially tried to work through these individual cases with counselors and clients in hopes that this would eventually evolve into positive changes in attitudes and practices. However, the complaints just continued to increase until it became apparent that something needed to happen systemically. CAPs first attempt to explain the issues was with the Director of DVR. CAP presented the Directo
B. Litigation
0
0
0
None <p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Protection & Advocacy System, Inc.
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
Professional Staff: 1 CAP Director at 1 FTE for the entire funding period; 1 CEO/Administrator at .07 FTE for the entire funding period; 1 Senior Staff Attorney at .05 FTE for the entire funding period; 2 Staff Attorneys at .03 FTE, with one attorney for the entire funding period and one for nine months of the funding period; 1 Advocate at .04 FTE for the entire funding period; and No vacant professional positions. <p><p>Clerical/Support Staff: 2 Support Staff persons at .3 FTE for the entire funding period and No vacant clerical/support staff positions. <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
CAP has had several individual cases this past fiscal year that dealt with a denial of informed choice services. They are being reported as a group because they all had the exact same issues and the resulting solutions were identical. These clients contacted CAP, all at approximately the same time, because the job coach whom they had chosen and were in the process of working with was removed from their cases. Each client was contacted by their DVR counselors and informed that they could no longer work with this job coach. All these clients were in the midst of various activities with this particular job coach. Some were building resumes and applying for jobs. Others were working with the job coach to learn appropriate interviewing skills. And, there were a couple who were in need of customized employment and employer training. All the clients had worked long enough with this job coach that good personal relationships had been established and they were in the midst of making strides toward employment or being monitored on the job to master employment skills. Naturally, they were upset and concerned that they would have to start over with a different job coach. Upon investigation of these complaints, CAP learned that the area supervisor had instructed all counselors to terminate all current services this job coach was providing and to not assign any more job coaching duties to this individual. This action was the result of the concern the area manager had about the large amount of work and money this job coach was receiving. In fact, prior to this action, this particular job coach was heralded by DVR as one of the best job coaches in Wyoming and was probably being assigned about ninety per cent of all job coaching services in this region. Needless to say, the job coach and the clients became very concerned about the discontinued job services, not to mention the livelihood of the job coach. Of course, CAPs major concern was for the welfare of the clients, but it was hard to fathom how an individual job coach could have built such a strong business and a stellar reputation with DVR over a stint of sixteen years and then lose it all within a matter of minutes without any explanation from DVR. CAP argued that DVRs action was an abuse of the clients ability to exercise informed choice in accordance with 34 CFR 361.52. DVR countered that choosing a job coach to perform a service was no different than contracting a welder to build a product or a seamstress to alter a suit. CAP pointed out that a large part of a job coachs responsibility was to build and nurture personal relationships with clients and employers, which this job coach has done. The human interaction is the difference, as opposed to bending and welding steel or cutting and sewing a pair of pants. Although, CAP would also argue that a client would also have a choice as to which vendor they would choose to build a product, if that had been the question. CAPs argument prevailed an
Certification
Approved
Jeanne A. Thobro
Chief Executive Officer
2016-11-28
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