RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #980

District of Columbia
9/30/2017
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
University Legal Services, Inc.
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
N/A
Washington
DC
20002
http://www.uls.dc.org
(877) 221-4638
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
University Legal Services, Inc.
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
N/A
Washington
20002
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sbernstein@uls-dc.org
http://www.uls.dc.org
(877) 221-4638
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Additional Information
Sandy Bernstein
Sandy Bernstein
(202) 547-0198
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
47
1
0
1
4
2
55
B. Training Activities
9
170
University Legal Services (ULS) presented at two of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education&rsquo;s (OSSE) Local Education Agency Institutes regarding D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration&rsquo;s (DCRSA) obligation to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the assistance CAP offers. These presentations also highlighted informed choice and the right to due process. One of the trainings was to teachers and administrators at D.C. public and charter schools. The second training was to public and charter school teachers, administrators, OSSE employees, DCRSA employees and employees from the DCPS' central office.<p>ULS presented to students in three different D.C. public schools regarding the transition services provided by DCRSA and the assistance CAP offers. During these presentations, ULS presented to high school students and DC public school staff in a Self-Advocacy course about what services are available at DCRSA (and other agencies) when they leave high school. <p><p>ULS presented to CAP attorneys and advocates at the National Disability Rights Network&rsquo;s Annual Conference regarding the legal definition of &ldquo;competitive integrated employment&rdquo; and Pre-Employment Transition Services. <p><p>ULS presented at the Washington, D.C. chapter meeting of the National Federation of the Blind to blind individuals regarding both vocational rehabilitation and independent living services available from DCRSA, due process and appeal rights, and the assistance offered by CAP. <p><p>ULS presented to people with disabilities, family members and disability advocates and professionals at the DC Supporting Families Community of Practice regarding DCRSA services and CAP assistance. This Community of Practice includes individuals with disabilities and their family members, as well as employees from the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council and the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities.<p>ULS presented at a Continuing Legal Education training at Georgetown Law School to attorneys providing representation to court-involved youth regarding the services DCRSA provides, with an emphasis on Pre-ETS and transition services, and the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
ULS conducted outreach at three DC Public Schools to students and staff. ULS also attended parents&rsquo; night at Cardozo High School, one of DC&rsquo;s largest public high schools, and provided flyers and information regarding DCRSA and CAP services. Most of the students and parents we spoke to are members of underserved minority communities.<p>ULS also participated in the DC Secondary Transition Community of Practice and presented at the DC Supporting Families Community of Practice where we distributed flyers regarding DCRSA and CAP services. Most of the individuals we presented to or who benefited from this outreach were members of underserved minority populations. <p><p>In addition, ULS attended and tabled at DC&rsquo;s Deaf Awareness Day Celebration where we conducted outreach with deaf consumers and distributed flyers regarding DCRSA and CAP services. Lastly, CAP conducted outreach and provided flyers with information regarding DCRSA and CAP services at the Washington, DC Chapter meeting of the National Federation of the Blind. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
2
4
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
13
23
36
6
12
B. Problem areas
39
34
26
4
0
32
3
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
6
3
12
1
8
1
31
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
18
6
2
2
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
N/A <p><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
6
0
1
1
19
3
1
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
8
9
16
3
36
B. Gender
14
22
36
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
0
32
0
2
1
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
2
0
0
0
0
4
0
4
2
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
10
1
0
1
1
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
36
E. Types of Individuals Served
1
0
39
3
6
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
4
1. ULS served as the Chair of the Policy Committee for the State Rehabilitation Council. ULS reviewed and provided comments on proposed DCRSA policies regarding transportation and case transfers. ULS gave concrete suggestions including the use of Metro Access as an option for transportation and plain language in all policies, instead of internal DCRSA jargon.<p>2. ULS testified at the D.C. City Council Public Oversight Hearing on DCRSA in February 2017. ULS' testimony focused on the need for DCRSA to improve the quality of Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) and advocated for DCRSA to provide copies of IPEs and all other necessary documents to clients. ULS also advocated for DCRSA to review its&rsquo; payment process to determine where delays occur because the delays are impacting DCRSA clients and depriving them of services without due process. In addition, ULS highlighted ongoing problems we see routinely in the client/counselor relationships at DCRSA.<p>3.ULS advocated on behalf of students at two large high schools who were being denied DCRSA services. ULS was contacted after applications for Pre-ETS and/or vocational rehabilitation services for twelve students at KIPP Charter School in D.C. were not timely processed. ULS contacted DCRSA administrative supervisors about DCRSA's failure. ULS was assured by the Special Education Coordinator at KIPP that all the cases moved forward after our advocacy. ULS also successfully advocated for the reversal of three ineligibility decisions for students at KIPP. At the second school, Wilson High School, ULS advocated on behalf of approximately 30 students, whose applications were not being processed. ULS contacted a supervising administrator at DCRSA regarding the issues faced at this D.C. public high school. The Special Education Coordinator at Wilson High School reported that the cases moved forward once ULS contacted DCRSA regarding the delay.<p>4.ULS met with the Deputy Director for DCRSA on a monthly basis to discuss systemic issues which were impacting multiple clients. The topics covered in these discussions included the overly complicated and overly burdensome payment and contracting procedures within DCRSA which delay services to clients, the need for increased services and vendors for assistive technology and independent living services, issues involving Pre-ETS services, and DCRSA&rsquo;s improper requirement on IPEs that clients with mental illness take medication in order to remain eligible for DCRSA services. <p><p>
B. Litigation
2
1
1
We did not engage in systemic litigation under CAP. <p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
University Legal Services
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
ULS has 5 part-time professional positions funded by CAP:<p>Executive Director (professional, partially funded by CAP): Jane Brown is the Executive Director of University Legal Services. She supervises and oversees all employees and grants of the agency. A very small portion of her salary is billed to CAP.<p>Legal Director/CAP Director (professional, partially funded by CAP): Sandy Bernstein supervises all of the legal and policy work at University Legal Services, including the work under CAP. She closely supervises the two attorneys at ULS who handle the individual CAP cases and participates in policy discussions and outreach. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Margaret Cowley is the lead CAP attorney at ULS and handles the majority of CAP cases, trainings, outreach and policy intiatives. She regularly meets with the management at the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration and is a member of the State Rehabilitation Council. She bills seventy percent of her time to CAP. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Jennifer Halper was another staff attorney who represented CAP clients. In addition to individual advocacy, she participated in outreach under the CAP grant. She billed 25 percent of her time to CAP in fiscal year 2017. She ended her employment with ULS on September 30, 2017. <p><p>Accountant/Bookkeeper (professional, partially funded by CAP): Lan Ji is responsible for the billing and accounting for CAP. A very small portion of her salary is billed to CAP.<p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
ULS represented a 64-year-old woman diagnosed with arthritis and a mental illness. The client contacted ULS because, while she had been determined to be eligible for services from the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration (DCRSA) for many months, she had not received an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) or any services from DCRSA. The client wanted to secure employment as a CDL A Licensed Commercial Truck Driver and needed DCRSA's support for training, licensing fees, transportation, and supplies. ULS reviewed her DCRSA file and filed a fair hearing request with the DC Office of Administrative Hearings, seeking reimbursement for costs the client incurred in pursuit of her CDL which should have been paid by DCRSA and for DCRSA to create and implement an IPE with services necessary for her to become a CDL A Licensed driver. ULS was able to successfully settle the case for reimbursement and ensure an IPE was created and implemented for the client to work towards her employment goal.<p>ULS represented a 28-year-old man with autism, whose employment goal is to become a Spanish translator. ULS was initially contacted by the client's grandmother who had concerns that the client , who was a DCRSA client, had not received tuition assistance for his degree at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). The client was unaware of the services he was entitled to from DCRSA. Upon review of his file, ULS discovered that DCRSA had failed to provide payment for his tuition at UDC as agreed upon in his IPE. ULS also discovered that, as a result, the client had incurred student loan debt and interest that he should not have had to incur. ULS successfully advocated at meetings with DCRSA supervisory administrators for DCRSA to pay the amount agreed upon in his IPE plus all interest accrued. This payment reduced the client's student loan debt by half. ULS also explained the job placement services available to the client and ensured that he was able to exercise informed choice when choosing his job placement vendor moving forward. <p><p>ULS represented a 49-year-old man diagnosed with a mental illness and who also has a significant visual impairment. The client contacted ULS because he was seeking independent living services from DCRSA, but had not received a response from his DCRSA counselor or received any services. Upon review of his file, ULS discovered that his Independent Living Older Blind (ILOB) Plan entitled him to a vision evaluation and an assistive technology evaluation. The client was also entitled to the devices and/or training recommended as a result of those evaluations. ULS successfully advocated for the client to receive those evaluations, assistive technology and training, and funding for transportation to the training, as recommended. <p><p>ULS represented a 45-year-old woman diagnosed with a mental illness and diabetes. The client contacted ULS because, although her IPE included her schooling at the University of the Distr
Certification
Approved
Sandy Bernstein
Legal Director
2017-12-17
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