RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #986

Connecticut
9/30/2017
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Connecticut
846 Wethersfield Ave.
{Empty}
Hartford
CT
06114
http://disrightsct.org
{Empty}
(800) 842-7303
(800) 842-7303
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Gretchen Knauff
846 Wethersfield Ave
{Empty}
Hartford
06114
Connecticut
http://www.disrightsct.org
{Empty}
(800) 842-7303
(800) 842-7303
{Empty}
Additional Information
Nancy Alisberg
Gretchen Knauff
(860) 297-4300
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
13
0
0
0
0
2
15
B. Training Activities
2
105
<p><u>Training Type 1</u> - Customized Employment for Transition Coordinators</p><p><p>a. Topic - This was the first training event sponsored by Disability Rights Connecticut. It was designed to provide information about Customized Employment as another option for transition coordinators and focuses on employment possibilities for people with disabilities who others declare unemployable. Disability Rights Connecticut believes that transition coordinators and school systems are critical in getting young people with disabilities the employment opportunities and skills needed for employment success in later life. In addition to an introduction about Customized Employment, the training covered myths about benefits and employment. It also provided an example of an individual who was employed using Customized Employment.</p><p><p>b. Purpose of the Training - The purpose was to educate school transition coordinators about Customized Employment, dispel myths about work for people with disabilities and provide information about benefits and work incentives. This is all part of a systems change initiative to bring Customized Employment to Connecticut.</p><p><p>c. Description of the Attendees - The attendees were school transition coordinators. About 70 attended the session.</p><p><p><u>Training Type 2</u> - Basic Information about CAP and Vocational Rehabilitation including tips for working with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS).</p><p><p>a. Topic - CAP/BRS</p><p><p>b. Purpose of Training - The purpose of the training was to provide information about the vocational rehabilitation (VR) system in Connecticut including the steps in the VR process, what to expect from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), and rights in VR. P&amp;A updated its fact sheet on tips for working with BRS and distributed the fact sheet to all participants. The training also included information about the CAP program and its watchdog responsibilities over the vocational rehabilitation system.</p><p><p>c. Description of the Attendees - The attendees were participating in Partners in Policymaking, an intensive leadership program for people with disabilities and their family members.</p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p>Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) is the new &ldquo;protection and advocacy system&rdquo; for the State of Connecticut. DRCT was designated by Governor Dannel Malloy in late April 2017 and began the process of hiring staff, developing policies and preparing to take over the advocacy responsibilities of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities when it closed on June 30, 2017.</p><p><p>On July 1, 2017, DRCT assumed the advocacy responsibilities and opened for business the next Monday, July 3, 2017 with three (3) staff - an Executive Director, Legal Director and Advocate. The toll-free and local numbers of the previous protection and advocacy were transferred to DRCT and, therefore, the organization began receiving calls for information and assistance the morning it opened. Staff have been responding to a steady stream of daily calls ever since.</p><p><p>In addition to responding to callers and provided limited representation, DRCT developed a monitoring plan as required by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The plan includes hiring, policy development, staff training, and other activities that will benefit all DRCT programs and services. The National Disability Rights Network has provided technical assistance through calls with Nachama Wilker and contact with other staff as needed. The CAP assurances for 2017 and 2018 were submitted and DRCT also completed the closeout report for the previous &ldquo;protection and advocacy&rdquo; system.</p><p><p>During the 3 month fiscal year, the 3 member staff responded to calls, provided limited representation, developed branding materials including a logo, flyers, program descriptions, a CAP brochure, Disability Resource Directory, a website and a Facebook page. DRCT looked for a permanent location and signed a lease for a building that will be ready for occupancy in late December or early January. Staff were also required in late September to vacate a temporary location - at a moment&rsquo;s notice, literally. That required a move and a couple of days finding a new space and moving DRCT equipment. During the time of the move, staff continued to respond to callers and prepare for outreach events.</p><p><p>DRCT also continued its hiring efforts, sending out job announcements for attorney, investigator and advocate positions. In the middle of August, DRCT hired a staff attorney who had been working at another protection and advocacy system. She started in mid- September and began assisting with calls immediately. She also worked on responding to the appeal of an administrative hearing on a CAP case. That response was completed prior to the end of the fiscal year.</p><p><p>During the abbreviated fiscal year, DRCT staff provided outreach at 9 events, reaching more than 1400 people. The events included the annual Veterans Stand Down that attracts veterans from all over Connecticut, an Americans with Disabilities Act celebration, a municipal Town
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
1700
9
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>None.</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
0
8
8
0
6
B. Problem areas
0
1
2
1
0
4
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
0
0
2
0
0
0
2
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
0
2
2
4
8
B. Gender
2
6
8
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
0
0
0
0
8
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
8
E. Types of Individuals Served
1
0
7
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
<p>The Connecticut CAP is aware that this section of the report looks at systemic activities that did not involve individual representation. The issues below, however, became evident because of individual representation and have been addressed by looking at the cases taken and taking action in many different forms.</p><p><p>1. <u>People with Greatest Support Needs are Turned Away/Customized Employment</u> - This is a non-litigation activity continued from the previous &ldquo;protection and advocacy system.&rdquo; It is a three-year initiative that addresses employment of people with the most significant disabilities. As a systems project, it addresses policies and practices of state agencies such as the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and the training and policies and practices of individual Community Rehabilitation providers.</p><p><p>The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) is very quick to dismiss people with intellectual disability, assuming that they cannot be competitively employed. The experience of the previous protection and advocacy system, private providers and Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) is that there is a cursory evaluation of the applicant and then a dismissal citing inability to work competitively. The rejected applicant is then referred to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) for assistance with the recommendation that he or she do volunteer work for a couple of years to develop employment-related skills. During the past year, DRCT also learned that this approach is taken with individuals with significant mental llness. Rejected applicants with mental illness are referred to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.</p><p><p>During the abbreviated fiscal year, DRCT learned that the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), despite the requirements in WIOA, is not including Customized Employment in its provider contracts and, therefore, will not pay for it as a covered service. There have been several conversations among members of the Customized Employment Collaboration and BRS has been approached several times regarding the inclusion of Customized Employment as a service and the training of BRS staff in the requirements. BRS did send staff to the certification training but remains recalcitrant in its refusal to include Customized Employment as a covered service in its contracts.</p><p><p>Most employment approaches for people with intellectual disability or significant mental illness take a very standard approach to finding competitive employment for people with disabilities. This global approach requires that each employee have a number of skills to meet the demands of the job rather than using a customized approach to match skills with particular employer needs. Through a multi-agency initiative, DRCT, along with other disability advocacy groups and state agencies, is addressing the standard approaches by offering a different model of employment, Customized Employment.</p><p><p>During the
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<p>None</p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Connecticut
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
<p>During the three-month fiscal year, the three Disability Rights Connecticut staff were all partially funded with CAP funds. The funding was used for the salary of the Executive Director as part of the administrative costs of setting up and running the agency. The Advocate provided representation for CAP clients and the Legal Director assisted with addressing some calls and answering legal questions. All three staff answered calls for individuals contacting the agency. Toward the end of September 2017, DRCT added an attorney to its staff and her first assignment was responding to an appeal of a BRS hearing that was won by a BRS client and appealed by the agency.</p><p><p>The DRCT is now recording time according to time spent on various activities. The CAP funds are being used for the partial salaries of an Advocate, Attorney and the Executive Director.</p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p><b><u>Interesting Case 1</u></b></p><p><p>Joanne is an individual with Attention Deficit Disorder who struggles with organization and lack of professionalism in her communication style. Although she is trained as an attorney, her disabilities have prevented her from obtaining steady employment. She is also facing the added pressure of foreclosure and often does not have the money to pay utility bills. Joanne called CAP for assistance when the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) was not moving forward with helping her obtain training and employment that would meet her needs. The CAP Advocate worked with Joanne to move to obtaining permeant employment as a Probate Court Attorney. How was this done? Keep reading.</p><p><p>The CAP Advocate reviewed Joanne&rsquo;s file and met with her to receive an update on her case. They determined that a meeting with BRS was needed. At the meeting with the BRS Counselor, the CAP Advocate supported Joanne&rsquo;s request for an assistive technology evaluation empowering her to make the request to determine what AT tools would help her organize the probate court paperwork and her client representation case load. At a subsequent meeting, the CAP advocated for the AT recommended in the evaluation. Joanne received a computer, IPhone, IPod and scanner, all tools to assist with organization. The CAP Advocate also supported her request for Probate Court trainings to make her more marketable. BRS approved her request.</p><p><p>Joanne has a tendency to be very direct creating communication issues with her BRS counselor, the AT trainer and others trying to assist her. The CAP advocate counseled her on several occasions to be more professional in her e-mail correspondence and conversations by providing examples. Joanne now thinks twice before sending her e-mails and communications have improved.</p><p><p>Joanne&rsquo;s learning curve to understand how to use the technology is at a slower rate than the BRS had anticipated and more training is necessary. At the next meeting, the CAP advocate will request additional time and more structure in the training process. In the meantime, Joanne was able to begin limited work as a probate attorney and with the goal of using her new tools to effectively increase her workload and achieve a full time caseload.</p><p><p><b><u>Interesting Case 2</u></b></p><p><p>Joseph is an individual who has been out of the work world for several years. He is an older vocational rehabilitation client who has a wealth of experience and insurance knowledge. Because of his age and hand tremors, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) VR has not been supportive of his employment goals. The CAP advocate became involved with his case, meeting with him to understand his needs and strategize a plan for approaching BRS.</p><p><p>The CAP advocate and Joseph met with the BRS Counselor to request an Assistive Technology (AT) evaluation, and to secure the appropriate training and technology for Joseph to be
Certification
Approved
Gretchen Knauff
Executive Director
2017-12-13
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