RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #979

Rhode Island
9/30/2017
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
RHODE ISLAND DISABILITY LAW CENTER INC.
275 WESTMINSTER STREET
SUITE 401
PROVIDENCE
RI
02903
http://www.ridlc.org
(800) 733-5332
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Catherine Sansonetti
Catherine Sansonetti
(401) 831-3150
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
B. Training Activities
3
108
<p>RIDLC often uses more than one funding source for a particular training, because our training activities serve multiple audiences and overlapping constituencies. The following are examples of trainings that were conducted using CAP funds as well as other agency funds.</p><p><ul><p><li>On September 20, 2017, we provided an overview of CAP services and types of appealable issues to the staff of Goodwill Industries. There were about 13 participants who provide an array of different services such as travel training, job development, and vocational evaluations. We discussed transition and pre-employment transition services (PRE-ETS). We also provided an overview work incentives available to beneficiaries of social security benefits.</li><p><li>On September 14, 2017, we presented at the Annual State-Wide Independent Living Conference, as part of a panel discussion on the ADA and Fair Housing Laws. We focused on the employment and post-secondary education needs of individuals with behavioral health disabilities. Approximately 60 individuals were in attendance. Co-presenters were from the US Attorney&rsquo;s office and the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.</li><p><li>On June 15, 2017, at our Annual National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) conference, we presented a workshop on the use of interpreters (both sign and foreign language). Between 30 and 40 attendees and a representative from the U. S. Department of Justice were present.</li><p></ul><p><p>RIDLC also disseminates information about CAP services while at training and outreach events. Events where CAP information was disseminated this year included the following.</p><p><ul><p><li>An information table at the 7th Annual Parent Transition Conference on December 2, 2016, sponsored by the Rhode Island Parent Information Network. The conference was attended by about 200 parents and professionals.</li><p><li>A March 2, 2017, training for transition personnel at the Northern Rhode Island Educational Collaborative. About 75 professionals were in attendance.</li><p><li>An information table at the 16<sup>th</sup> Annual State-Wide Brain Injury Conference on March 17, 2017, with about 150 attendees.</li><p><li>An information table and training at the Providence School Department Transition Resource Fair, on May10, 2017 which targeted youth with I/DD, who formerly would have attended the segregated high school with a sheltered workshop.</li><p><li>A September 14, 2017 Rally for Recovery, an annual event to support individuals in recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorder. Approximately 5000 individuals attended this year&rsquo;s really.</li><p><li>A September 19, 2017 Resource Fair for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities sponsored by a Congressional representative&rsquo;s office.</li><p></ul><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p>RIDLC distributes English and Spanish copies of CAP publications at outreach/training events, and also as requested. Publications are also available for download on our website. In 2017, we updated our <i>Consumer's Guide to Rhode Island State Vocational Rehabilitation Services</i> in English and have made plans to update the Spanish version that we have provided since 2006. Over the years, this guide has been widely distributed to Spanish speaking individuals.</p><p><p>RIDLC&rsquo;s intake advocates answer calls in Spanish as well as English. Two attorneys also speak other languages. One attorney, who is bi-lingual, is available to assist Spanish-speaking clients. Another attorney is multi-lingual and is available to assist clients who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, French and Danish.</p><p><p>We continue to advertise in the yellow pages for Spanish Speakers (Directorio Hispano). This telephone directory has a circulation of 40,000. We also use Google Translate on our website, which enables translation into many foreign languages.</p><p><p>We plan to explore new ways to outreach to underserved and unserved populations in FY2018. This includes further outreach to individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues, who have historically been directed to less integrated work environments. As part of our monitoring of a segregated school (as also discussed below in PRE-ETS), we learned that the 50% of the students not only had both behavioral healthcare and developmental disabilities, but also were Spanish speaking. This bilingual and dual-disabled student body did not appear to be receiving services through the VR agency. Similarly, we learned from VR that they had a liaison to outreach VR services to transition-age youth with disabilities and criminal justice. CAP will begin to explore outreach about CAP services to similar populations in 2018.</p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
659
7
1
<p>RIDLC&lsquo;s website provides general information about CAP and our employment-related priority issues. The website was revised in 2016 and allows visitors to download CAP and other publications. The website had 6,620 hits in 2017.</p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>Government and community organizations maintain a RIDLC presence on their websites through links. These links send the visitor to our website directly, or in some cases provide contact information. These organizations include, but are not limited to, the RI.gov government website, the state VR agency, the Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS), the RI Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, the Sherlock Center on Disabilities, and the Rhode Island Parent Information Center (RIPIN).</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
33
16
49
2
29
B. Problem areas
4
9
22
4
0
8
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
20
0
0
0
0
1
21
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
2
6
2
4
0
6
1
0
0
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
9
0
0
2
1
2
0
4
0
3
<p>In two cases, the individuals did not respond to CAP efforts to contact them, so their files were closed. In a third case, a pending criminal matter was going to determine whether the individual could acheive his employment goal, so the individuals employment plans were on hold until resolution of that matter.</p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
2
8
9
26
4
49
B. Gender
13
36
49
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
7
0
1
1
0
37
1
2
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
0
2
1
0
1
7
1
1
0
0
0
2
6
9
0
0
0
2
8
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
2
49
E. Types of Individuals Served
30
1
12
2
2
2
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
<p><b>RIDLC Comments on VR Policies</b></p><p><p>This year, RIDLC provided written comments regarding VR&rsquo;s proposed rule changes. We commented on four proposed policies: (1) Supported Employment, (2) Eligibility, Ineligibility, and Trial Work Periods, (3) Motor Vehicle Modification, and (4) Adaptive Housing. In our written comment to ORS about these rules, we expressed concern about the agency&rsquo;s removal of procedures that affected important client rights information from the promulgated rules. In 2016, we had expressed concern with VR moving its procedures to a separate manual, citing concerns about moving client rights information outside a public document. The VR agency responded by stating it was striving to develop a policy manual that is more understandable for clients. We remain concerned about the removal of certain procedures from the VR rules. In response to our concerns, the VR agency began to insert further language into its VR rules to inform clients about informed choice and CAP services. We remain concerned that the VR agency is removing important provisions of law, including rights information, from its promulgated rules. We plan to watch this issue closely in 2018.</p><p><p><b>State Rehabilitation Council </b></p><p><p>We continued to Chair the SRC Policy and Quality Assurance Subcommittee in 2017. In that role, we educated other members of the council as to the VR requirements and comment on policy changes made by the agency. This year, the VR agency conducted its Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) which is required to conduct under the Rehabilitation Act in order to assess the vocational rehabilitation needs of the disability community. Through our work with the State Rehabilitation Council we were instrumental in the assessment, particularly around the surveying of the vendor community.</p><p><p><b>Pre-Employment Transition</b></p><p><p>In FY2017, RIDLC monitored a segregated special education school as part of a larger multi-grant project. One area that was reviewed was pre-employment transition services. While the particular school we visited was doing some in-house vocational and pre-employment skills training, our preliminary investigation revealed that there was little involvement with the VR agency for the students. In addition, the VR agency is developing tools and fact sheets in 2018 for Pre ETS. We will be contacting their transition liaison for more information about the agency&rsquo;s compliance with WIOA and Pre-ETS.</p><p><p><b>Updated VR Guide</b></p><p><p>During FFY17 we updated our publication titled <i>A Consumer&rsquo;s Guide to Services From the Rhode Island Office of Rehabilitation Services</i>. As reported in past years, this Guide explains the VR process and contains advocacy tips and rights information. In FFY2018, we plan to use the Guide for more outreach and dissemination and speak with interested vendors and individuals who may be able to report the issues they are seeing with VR and
B. Litigation
1
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Rhode Island Disability Law Center, Inc.
No
NA
B. Staff Employed
<p>Because of the relatively small size of our agency, attorneys and other staff are not assigned to one specific grant, but generally work on multiple grants. Attorneys are assigned responsibility for systemic activities, which are funded by specific P&amp;A programs. A RIDLC staff attorney serves as the primary liaison with the state VR agency, and serves as the CAP representative on the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. We also are represented on the Statewide Independent Living Council. RIDLC employs two intake advocates who also work on a cross-program basis. The intake advocates screen callers to determine whether their problems fall within our office-wide priorities, collect demographic and case data, and give referral information. Attorneys track their time spent on serving CAP-eligible clients, and these costs are billed to the CAP program.</p><p><table border=1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><thead><tr><th valign="top">Type of Position</th><th valign="top"></th><th valign="top"></th><th valign="top"></th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td style="text-align:left">FTE</td><td style="text-align:left">% of Year Filled</td><td style="text-align:left">Person-years</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Professional</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Full-time</td><td style="text-align:right">0.92</td><td style="text-align:right">98%</td><td style="text-align:right">0.92</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Part-time</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Vacant</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Clerical</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Full-time</td><td style="text-align:right">0.08</td><td style="text-align:right">100%</td><td style="text-align:right">.08</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Part-time</td></tr><p></tbody></table><p>"
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p>This year, RIDLC&rsquo;s CAP cases concerned the following -</p><p><ul><p><li>RIDLC had a number of individuals contact our office with concerns about postsecondary education issues and VR. RIDLC will be closely watching these issues in FY2018, now that VR is implementing a waiting list for services, due to funding constraints. We anticipate funding constraints to affect all services, but especially may affect postsecondary education and training.</li><p></ul><p><p>For example, we represented a client at an administrative hearing after the VR agency refused to provide full tuition support for a graduate degree. Although the agency agreed to provide some tuition support, it was not providing the full amount the client needed. VR also was not providing room and board support. We negotiated with VR to provide rental assistance but could not agree about tuition. The agency&rsquo;s decision was upheld by a state administrative hearing office and CAP has appealed to state court where the matter is pending.</p><p><p>We also provided advice to a client who had been found eligible for VR services. VR had agreed to provide financial support for college and change their calculation on financial support, effective on the date when client became SSI eligible. However, when client became SSI eligible, VR denied retroactive payment despite their agreement. We reviewed the client&rsquo;s VR record and explained controlling policy to client. We determined that the VR agency was not properly applying its own policy. Ultimately, the matter was resolved by self-advocacy and the client received the college support.</p><p><ul><p><li>Other cases involved providing ADA Title I advice to clients experiencing adverse employment actions. Through CAP as well as other funding sources, we have become concerned about the vulnerabilities of supported employment clients in the workforce, and plan to do outreach in FY2018 to identify barriers faced by this population. For example, we provided Title I advice to a client who had been removed from a position as a cashier at a grocery store after an allegation of a violation of company policy. The client felt that the alleged violation was disability-related. The company had offered a different position to the client. However, client obtained another job at a different employer as a cashier and declined to remain at the grocery store. We have been contacted by other individuals with I/DD who have had similar experiences while employed at grocery chains.</li><p><li>We also continue to represent clients to reconnect with the VR agency. This year, several deaf individuals reported to us that they were experiencing delays with receiving services. We found that indeed some clients were experiencing delays due to a staffing shortage at VR. The agency has struggled to maintain deaf counselor positions. While the agency does routinely provide interpreters, clients prefer working with someone who speaks their primary language. We connec
Certification
Approved
Raymond L. Bandusky
Executive Director
2017-12-21
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