RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #973

Alaska
9/30/2017
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Karen Tessandore
3330 Arctic Blvd. #103
{Empty}
Anchorage
AK
99503
{Empty}
(907) 565-1002
(907) 565-1002
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Law Center of Alaska
3330 Arctic Blvd. #103
{Empty}
Anchorage
99503
Alaska
akpa@dlcak.org
http://www.dlcak.org
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
Additional Information
David Fleurant
Karen Tessandore
(907) 565-1002
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
10
1
1
0
3
9
24
B. Training Activities
0
0
n/a <p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
The P&A has maintained the visibility of the CAP through the distribution of our uniquely colorful (bright pink!) CAP brochures. Although the information in these brochures is required to be given out by the Alaska Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (TVR) and the Alaska State Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) offices to all seekers of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services, we chose to aid in that effort by providing these brochures in an easily-recognizable and easily-understandable format. In FY17, 3,100 brochures were disseminated. <p><p>In more direct outreach, the Alaska P&A participated in Stand Down, an annual event geared specifically toward providing services and information to homeless veterans in Anchorage. At this event, which staff from the P&A attends each year, we provided information and referral regarding disabilityrelated questions. Booths are staffed with several human services agencies for a day. The veterans can obtain information ranging from housing, Social Security, employment, and having a will written up. Veterans can also obtain clothing, sleeping bags, haircuts, etc. At this outreach event, information was provided to 50 veterans regarding P&A services, including our role in supporting their involvement with VR or the State&rsquo;s Independent Living Centers. <p><p>Similar in description to Stand Down, the Alaska P&A also participated in the annual Project Homeless Connect event. Rather than focusing on homeless veterans, Project Homeless Connect is described as a &ldquo;onestop event to provide housing, services, and hospitality in a convenient onestop model directly to people experiencing homelessness in Anchorage.&rdquo; At this outreach event, information was provided to 28 people. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
5592
0
0
n/a <p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
n/a <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
2
16
18
1
2
B. Problem areas
0
8
8
2
0
1
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
14
0
3
0
0
0
17
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
7
0
2
4
0
0
1
0
3
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
5
0
0
0
3
4
1
1
0
3
Other: 3 clients fell out of contact with the Alaska P&A - no outcome <p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
0
3
15
0
18
B. Gender
8
10
18
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
4
0
1
0
11
0
1
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
4
1
0
1
1
5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18
E. Types of Individuals Served
13
0
3
1
0
1
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
0
The Alaska CAP expressed concerned about the closure of the Eagle River Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) office. As we explained to the Commissioner, closing this office would have a disparate impact on individuals with disabilities in the Eagle River/Chugiak area who need DVR services, and may violate the Equal Opportunity requirements of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The proposal to close the Eagle River DVR office will unnecessarily impede access to services and convert a community of approximately 40,000 residents into an underserved area. <p><p>Alaska CAP noted that, absent a feasible plan to serve the Eagle River/Chugiak area, the state may violate the Equal Opportunity provisions of Section 188 of WIOA. See 29 CFR Part 38. Pursuant to these regulations, the state cannot &ldquo;[o]therwise limit an individual enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving any WIOA Title 1-financially assisted aid, benefit, service, or training.&rdquo; 29 CFR 38.6(b)(8). The Alaska CAP maintained that the closure of the Eagle River DVR office would significantly limit employment-related rehabilitation services to that community. <p><p>The Alaska CAP reminded the state that the Office of Disability Employment Policy developed a Reference Guide to assist states in complying with the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 188. According to that guidance, &ldquo;AJCs are prohibited not only from adopting policies that on their face treat individuals with disabilities differently than those without disability, *but from taking actions that have the effect of limiting access to and opportunity to benefit from AJC programs and activities*.&rdquo; Promising Practices In Achieving Universal Access And Equal Opportunity: A Section 188 Disability Reference Guide, at 27 (emphasis supplied). <p><p>Notwithstanding the Alaska CAP&rsquo;s advocacy, the state did close the Eagle River Office which remained closed at the end of this reporting period. However, 11 days into October, the state noticed that the Eagle River Office would be reopened, a decision attributable in part to the advocacy of many community members, including the Alaska CAP. <p><p>On another front, the Alaska CAP met with the Chief of Rehabilitation Services for DVR. The CAP discussed a concern that the majority of client complaints were coming from one particular office, that there was a disconcerting pattern of communication issues between the client, counselor, & regional manager, and that the manager was asking CAP questions that did not seem appropriate <p><p>The Chief of Rehabilitation Services said she would speak with the manager in that office about these concerns. Since that conversation, the Alaska CAP has received very few complaints from clients of that office. The Alaska CAP meets regularly with the Chief, the benefits of which were demonstrated in the resolution of this systemic problem. <p><p><p><p>
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other public agency
State Department of Education and Early Development
Yes
Disability Law Center of Alaska
B. Staff Employed
The Alaska CAP utilizes several attorney and non-attorney advocates in three offices in the state to achieve statewide coverage. The P&A&rsquo;s staffing arrangement provides for 0.99 full-time equivalent employees, with 8 employees in Anchorage (.90 FTE), 1 employee in Fairbanks (.07 FTE), and 1 employee in Juneau (.02 FTE). The advocates in Juneau and Fairbanks respond to I&R requests, provide individual advocacy assistance, and conduct outreach in their communities. In the Anchorage office, an Intake Specialist takes the initial call, obtains information and/or paperwork, and passes the matter on to the CAP advocates for assessment. Individuals seeking CAP services can do so by contacting any of the three offices or submit an email request. The Anchorage office also maintains a statewide toll free 800 number for individuals outside of these three hub communities. <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
The Alaska P&A was contacted by a man regarding his complaint that the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) was denying him the training he requested to obtain his Commercial Driver&rsquo;s License (CDL). To obtain his CDL, he required training at a school that uses automatic transmission vehicles, since the man only had one functioning arm. No training facilities like this exist in Alaska, so the man asked DVR to financially support him going out of state to obtain his CDL. He had been told by DVR, that because it was near the end of the fiscal year, they may not have the funds to cover the training expenses. When we contacted DVR on the client&rsquo;s behalf, they finally agreed to cover his expenses. He was able to register with the school to begin training in the spring and is working on obtaining a letter from an employer assuring him work as soon as he has his CDL. <p><p>Sometimes cases are resolved with even less direct advocacy, seemingly on the strength of the P&A&rsquo;s reputation. We saw an example of that this year when a client contacted us, believing her case had been closed by her local Independent Living Center (ILC). Prior to contacting the P&A, the ILC had reportedly not been returning our client&rsquo;s calls, nor responding to her emails, which let her to believe they had closed her case and were no longer willing to assist with her independent living goals. Once we contacted the ILC, they assured us her case was still open and she was welcome to contact them. Shortly after that conversation, the client was indeed able to get in touch with her ILC counselor and was happy with the services she received. While we may never know exactly what was happening behind the scenes prior to our involvement, this is one of many examples seeming to show that clients receive a higher level of service when we can reach out on their behalf. <p><p>In other cases, the results of the P&A&rsquo;s efforts can be more definitively seen as the catalyst for positive change on behalf of the client. This is true of a case in which a young man with multiple disabilities contacted us with a complaint that although he had been working with DVR for over a year, he had not yet been placed in employment. In addition to receiving no job placement assistance from DVR, the client provided the Alaska P&A with a copy of a Trial Work Experiences Plan that he found unacceptable due to its negative descriptions of him. We agreed with his assessment of the plan and immediately contacted DVR on his behalf. We learned, among other issues, that our client&rsquo;s DVR counselor had been out for over two months (due to medical issues) yet there had been no hand-off of his case, so it had been sitting dormant the whole time. Because of our involvement, DVR expeditiously wrote an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that was satisfactory to the client. Soon after, the client met with a job placement specialist and was scheduled to begin employm
Certification
Approved
David C. Fleurant
Executive Director
2017-12-20
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