RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #919

New Jersey
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights New Jersey
210 S Broad Street
FL 3
Trenton
NJ
08608
http://www.drnj.org
(800) 922-7233
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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New Jersey
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Additional Information
Lillie Lowe-Reid
Lillie Lowe-Reid
(609) 292-9742
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
13
2
0
0
0
2
17
B. Training Activities
3
240
CAP provided a workshop on the parameters of the VR system, how to access those services, as well as those of CAP and DRNJ, at the Deaf Community Fair in Haddonfield sponsored by South Jersey Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition, the purpose of which was to educate 60 consumers, 10 family members, and 10 professionals. <p><p>CAP participated in a panel discussion regarding transition services and the responsibilities of the VR and educational systems in providing these services at a conference sponsored by SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Military Support 360, and the Department of Education to educate 50 consumers, 70 family members, and 30 professionals. <p><p>CAP provided a lecture on vocational rehabilitation to 10 students at Seton Hall University.<p>
C. Agency Outreach
CAP staff conducted outreach at the Crossing Penrose Housing development in Trenton to Latino families regarding Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), student rights, and transition. Individuals were given information regarding special education, insurance issues, and going back to work through VR. <p><p>Cap staff participated in the New Jersey Statewide Network on Cultural Competency meeting. The discussion was around bringing more organizations and community-based cultural and ethnic groups into the network in order to provide access to training and resources to unserved and underserved populations. <p><p>CAP staff gave a presentation to Latino families at the Family Support Organization in Edison on all DRNJ services with a focus on special education, vocational rehabilitation and return to work services, the<p>obtaining services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Department of Children and Families Division of the Childrens System of Care. Approximately 14 participants attended. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
2565
22
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<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Title: Cross-examination: Raising awareness about disability rights <p><p>Publication: New Jersey Law Journal Reached: 2500 <p><p>Ruth Lowenkron is a senior staff attorney at Disability Rights New Jersey and specializes in special education law. She has been active in the field of disability rights since 1981 and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Associations Blue Ribbon Commission on Unmet Legal Needs, which is examining ways to connect people who need legal representation with attorneys. She spoke recently about the Pledge for Change, which the NJSBA endorsed. <p><p>Q: What is the Pledge for Change? <p><p>A: The Pledge for Change is a tool created by the American Bar Associations Commission on Disability Rights to promote diversity and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the legal profession. It is a short but powerful statement that its signatories are committed to creating a legal profession that is diverse in terms of representation of persons with mental, physical and sensory disabilities, and are committed to ensuring that the signatories own workplaces are similarly diverse. <p><p>Q: Why is it important to include language about disabilities in the discussion about diversity? <p><p>A: As the pledge itself says, including persons with disabilities in the discussion of diversity of the legal profession is critical because &quot;the legal and business interests of our clients and the populations we serve require legal representation that reflects the diversity of our employees, customers and the communities where we operate.&quot; The people who are clients and belong to our communities include a large percentage of persons with disabilities. <p><p>Q: Why is it important for New Jersey and what do you hope it will achieve in the New Jersey legal community? <p><p>A: Whats good for the rest of the country is good for New Jersey. Fifteen percent of the people who live in our state are persons with disabilities. The ABA has recognized the importance of including employees with disabilities in the legal profession, as have numerous legal professionals in New Jersey, including the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Essex County Bar Association, Disability Rights New Jersey, and Wong Flemming, to name but a few who have already signed the pledge. With its three law schools and thousands of legal employers, the legal profession in New Jersey is well positioned to embrace this issue. I hope we can spread the word about this effort. <p><p>Q: How is it catching on? <p><p>A: While I am proud of the number of legal professionals who have signed the pledge; we want to see all of New Jerseys legal professionals sign on. <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
48
53
101
4
61
B. Problem areas
0
3
14
21
0
67
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
3
21
14
4
2
0
44
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
20
5
3
2
0
14
0
0
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
5
1
1
2
19
7
3
2
0
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4 - Individual withdrew <p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
12
34
54
1
101
B. Gender
46
55
101
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
12
0
4
20
0
63
1
1
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
3
0
2
0
5
9
0
5
4
0
2
8
3
0
1
0
0
3
2
22
0
0
0
6
11
0
1
0
8
0
2
0
4
101
E. Types of Individuals Served
25
0
76
1
1
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
DRNJ challenged the policies and practices of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) relative to the financial participation of SSA recipients, financial caps on higher education and training that are so low as to be a barrier to clients in achieving their employment goals. DRNJ also challenged inconsistencies in DVRSs policy manual relative to state and federal regulations. DRNJ met with DVRS administrative staff and called on RSA to intervene, resulting in a commitment from DVRS to modify their caps, review the financial participation of SSA recipients, and edit the DRVS policy manual in keeping with the regulations. DVRS is to provide the SRC and CAP with the revised policy manual for review prior to implementation. <p><p>
B. Litigation
2
0
0
Disability Rights New Jerseys Client Assistance Program (CAP) intervened on behalf of a 29-year-old female who is deaf. The client, who receives SSDI, contacted CAP when the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) denied sponsorship for cosmetology training. The client was informed by DVRS that unless she attended a vocational assessment at Goodwill Industries, a non-integrated facility, DVRS would not consider a training sponsorship. The client, who has an associates degree and who worked as a hair salon assistant for over a year prior to requesting DVRS sponsorship, was very clear about the vocational direction she wanted to pursue. Because DVRS denied services, and prior to contacting CAP, the client enrolled in cosmetology training and had to take out nearly $12,000 in student loans. CAP contacted DVRS and was informed that because the client would not attend an evaluation at Goodwill Industries, she was not complying with DVRSs need to evaluate her. CAP provided DVRS with a reference letter from the clients employer supporting her potential as a hairstylist as well as the Rehabilitation Services Administrations policy regarding the implementation of informed choice. DVRS agreed to develop an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) for cosmetology, but only agreed to provide funding up to their cap of $4,000. Despite federal and DVRSs financial participation rules for Social Security recipients, DVRS continued to deny additional funding above their $4,000 training cap. DRNJ CAP filed for a Fair Hearing with DVRS at which time DVRS requested a settlement conference and agreed to reimburse the cost of the student loans for the cosmetology training, the accrued interest on the clients student loans, and transportation expenses. The client has since graduated from the cosmetology program and is in the process of obtaining her professional license. <p><p>DRNJ CAP is advocating on behalf of a nineteen-year-old who is deaf, seeking to become a English language and literature professor. The client receives SSI in the amount of $500 monthly and Medicaid. The client attends Gallaudet University, a school for students who are deaf. DVRS is providing minimal support to the student, causing him to take out student loans in order to attend. DRNJ CAP filed a due process Fair Hearing complaint with DVRS and is awaiting its transmittal to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law. <p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights New Jersey
No
None
B. Staff Employed
(A) Type of Position; (B) Full-Time equivalent; (C) % of year position filled; (D) Person-years <p><p>(A) Coordinator; (B) 70%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.70 (A) Professional; (B) 50%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.50 (A) Professional; (B) 50%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.50 (A) Professional; (B) 50%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.50 (A) Clerical; (B) 220 (C) 100% (D) 2.20 <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
CAP intervened on behalf of a 20-year-old diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, chronic migraines, and scoliosis. The client, who is attending college in Pennsylvania, contacted CAP when DVRS informed her they would not fund a summer semester tuition bill. The client reported registering for a summer semester class after receiving approval to do so from her Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) counselor and supervisor. The Counselor informed the client that he had submitted an exception/waiver request to DVRS Central Office on her behalf based on the prerequisite nature of the summer class. The client and her college also submitted written justification to DVRS indicating why the client should complete the summer semester class. The client was in the middle of the course when she was informed that DVRS Central Office had denied the exception/waiver request and she must independently fund the tuition bill. CAP reviewed documentation, which indicated without completing the summer class the clients program of study for the fall semester would be negatively affected and her graduation would be delayed. CAP provided the DVRS Central Office with a detailed summary and requested DVRS fund the tuition bill. DVRS agreed and funded the summer course. <p><p>CAP intervened on behalf of a 61-year-old diagnosed with mild cognitive and visual impairment resulting from brain surgery. The client, formerly a teacher with 25 years of teaching experience, contacted CAP when the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) informed him they could not assist him. CAP attended a DVRS meeting with the client and advocated for the provision of appropriate vocational rehabilitation services. The client agreed to attend a 25-day program recommended by DVRS to evaluate his ability to work competitively. CAP reviewed the report from this assessment, which recommended that the client remain in the program an additional 60 days. The client expressed dissatisfaction with this recommendation, citing poorly defined provider program goals unrelated to his vocational goal. Based on the clients concerns, CAP advocated for alternative services. An agreement was reached for the client to attend a short-term cognitive rehabilitation program to address residual memory and organizational deficits. The client completed the program and shortly afterwards secured part-time employment as a tutor in the school district where he was previously employed.<p><p><p>CAP intervened on behalf of a 31-year-old with central auditory processing disorder. The client had worked full time for the past eight years at Home Depot, but was seeking sponsorship from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for training to become a medical assistant to secure a better paying job. He was subsequently let go from Home Depot and contacted DVRS. He was provided vocational assessments, which substantiated the clients request for medical assistant training. DVRS agreed to fund his t
Certification
Approved
Joseph B Young
Executive Director
2016-12-18
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