RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #964

Tennessee
9/30/2017
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
{Empty}
(800) 342-1660
(800) 342-1660
Additional Information
Lisa Primm
Anna Bass
(615) 298-1080
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
17
0
0
0
2
11
30
B. Training Activities
8
291
Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) utilized training to increase awareness of CAP scope of services; address Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) personnel gaps in knowledge of CAP; collaborate with key disability stakeholders in Tennessee's statewide efforts to establish competitive, integrated employment; and provide rights and resource education about employment and careers to students with disabilities and their families. As presenters at the Tennessee Works Think Employment Summit and Employment First Taskforce we reached approximately two-hundred self-advocates, employers, educators, families of individuals with disabilities, agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities, policy makers, and individuals with disabilities. DRT presented about Supported Decision -Making or other alternatives to conservatorship with the goal of increasing awareness regarding individuals with disabilities ability to make informed decisions regarding work. Twenty-one blind and deaf students participated in training focused on using pre-employment transition services to develop self-advocacy skills that will help students secure and maintain employment. These students also received training that shared how Vocational Rehabilitation and CAP can assist while the students are pursing future employment goals. In addition to these efforts with people with disabilities, family members, and community service providers, DRT provided training sessions focused on improving CAP visibility and relationships within VR across the state. Presentations were conducted during new VR counselor training with forty-three new VR counselors receiving this training. Further training was completed across the state with approximately one-hundred and twenty additional VR counselors and administration on the following topics: defining reasonable accommodations in the workplace; teaching self-advocacy skills; asking for accommodations; deadlines for filing complaints; contacting CAP; using pre-employment transition services to create a funnel to VR; and embracing the value of training youth prior to VR application process. DRT is working to implement policy and system changes that make competitive employment the first and desired choice for every Tennessean with disabilities. <p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
DRT remains committed to reaching underserved/unserved populations within Tennessee. During this year, fifty-percent of all employment and CAP focused outreach efforts were targeted toward these populations. These outreach activities primarily focused on rural populations, ethnic and racial minorities, homeless individuals, low socio-economic class communities, and individuals who are deaf. These fifty-two outreach efforts resulted in over thirteen thousand individuals receiving information and has the potential to reach over five thousand individuals with disabilities in these communities. DRT continues to prioritize efforts within the deaf, Hispanic, and Latino communities. Staff are fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language which allows for direct outreach in many situations. Within this fiscal year, significant efforts were made to make agency materials accessible to Tennesseans whose primary language is Spanish. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
3
1
0
4424
28
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Not applicable <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
21
30
51
0
8
B. Problem areas
0
12
34
1
0
5
0
1
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
10
6
25
0
0
0
41
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
26
8
6
2
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
19
0
0
2
20
2
1
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
6
15
27
3
51
B. Gender
28
23
51
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
2
0
0
19
0
28
0
2
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
1
0
0
0
1
2
0
1
5
0
2
1
4
0
0
0
0
2
3
13
0
0
1
1
8
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
1
51
E. Types of Individuals Served
5
0
46
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
29
Systemic Activities with Tennessee Rehabilitation Services:<p>DRT&rsquo;s CAP was once again represented on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), with our representative playing a key role as secretary of the SRC. Our representative was highly involved in preparation of the VR/SRC Annual Report, which was submitted to the governor, and also represented the SRC on the bi-monthly national conference calls of the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils. In January the SRC participated in a roundtable held by VR leadership to generate ideas for potential changes to post-secondary training. During the fiscal year, VR also presented five draft policies related to VR services to the SRC for review and comment. DRT&rsquo;s CAP representative organized the review processes and prepared comments for submission to VR, and it was noted that VR utilized many of the SRC suggestions. The SRC was also involved in RSA&rsquo;s monitoring of Tennessee VR, meeting with RSA to discuss its focus areas. DRT has identified service delivery structure and implementation of Pre-employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) as an important area to focus our systemic efforts. DRT worked collaboratively with the Department of Education to advocate for collaboration of transition services between VR and the Department of Education and data collection. DRT also advocated for more informed choice for Pre-ETS clients. DRT developed a Pre-ETS flyer to distribute to potential clients and an educational letter to send out to the school systems, and the Department of Education helped us distribute both in print and on the web. DRT also provided training on Pre-ETS to VR counselors and outreach and information to potential clients at regional transition fairs. DRT&rsquo;s employment task force provided comments at four public hearings across the state on VR proposed policy changes in the areas of Customized Employment, Supported Employment, Pre-ETS, and Self-Employment. DRT&rsquo;s comments on these topics were also provided in written form to VR leadership and the RSA contact for Tennessee. DRT also attended regional VR Vendor Forums throughout the fiscal year to stay abreast of changes regarding Letters of Agreement and grant processes for Community Rehabilitation Providers. DRT also provided written comments to RSA regarding RSA&rsquo;s monitoring of VR. DRT reached out to the new Commissioner over VR to share concerns and renew collaborative efforts between VR and DRT, including the resumption of quarterly collaborative meetings. One productive collaborative meeting was held in FY 2017. Systemic concerns were discussed, VR provided information regarding new initiatives, and DRT shared information from its survey of VR staff and discussed options for addressing the need for additional CAP information to be provided to VR staff. As a result, VR leadership has agreed to work with DRT to produce a webinar for counselors regarding CAP services and has
B. Litigation
0
0
0
Not Applicable <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 Professional 12/100%/12 Fulltime 11/100%/11 Parttime 1/100%/1 Vacant 0 Clerical 6/100%/6 Fulltime 6/100%/6 Parttime 0 Vacant 0 <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
After receiving DRT&rsquo;s assistance, an individual reported that, for the first time as a VR client, her post-secondary training-related services were paid prior to the beginning of the semester and she did not experience delays in working with VR. She was relieved to begin her final semester of college without concerns about payment for services and was able to focus on her studies to obtain her bachelor's degree in social work. This individual, a 55-year-old African American female from an urban area with orthopedic disabilities, had repeatedly been forced to take out student loans to pay necessary educational fees due to late and inaccurate payment of her tuition and associated post-secondary training-related services by VR. DRT reviewed all documentation and discussed our client's concerns with the VR regional supervisor. The regional supervisor&rsquo;s investigation found that VR had misunderstood part of the information received from the college&rsquo;s financial aid office. VR worked with the client and DRT to amend the client's IPE and correct documents to accurately reimburse the client's university account. VR also addressed issues with delays in processing the purchase orders for providing transportation funds to our client. A follow-up with our client after the beginning of the following semester showed that appropriate tuition, fees, books, etc. were paid by VR in a timely manner. DRT assisted an individual whose hearing aids were no longer functional and was relying on loaner hearing aids intended only for short-term use. She was having difficulty hearing customers and co-workers in her work environment as a pharmacy technician. This individual, a 46-year-old African American female who resides in an urban area and is hard of hearing, had been told by VR that she was not financially eligible to receive new hearing aids from VR. DRT reviewed her financial information with her and determined that it was feasible to request an exception because, although her income was above the eligibility level, her basic living expenses significantly reduced her income and did not allow for her to purchase the needed hearing aids. Subsequently, the client experienced a decrease in her work hours shortly after DRT presented the exception request to the VR regional supervisor. DRT informed VR of the situation, noting that our client had even less funds available to meet necessary living expenses, much less to pay for hearing aids. The VR regional supervisor agreed to complete a new Financial Needs Assessment using our client&rsquo;s current income rather than relying on the prior year&rsquo;s adjusted gross income from the federal tax return. The outcome showed that our client was financially eligible, so our client's IPE was amended to include the provision of new hearing aids. Our client has obtained her new hearing aids and has reported that she is able to hear customers and co-workers much more clearly at work. DRT assisted a
Certification
Approved
Lisa Primm
Executive Director
2017-12-11
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