RSA-227 for FY-2018: Submission #1023

Texas
9/30/2018
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Texas
2222 W Braker Ln
{Empty}
Austin
TX
78758
(800) 252-9108
(866) 362-2851
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights Texas
2222 W Braker Ln
{Empty}
Austin
78758
{Empty}
mfaithfull@drtx.org
(800) 252-9108
(866) 362-2851
Additional Information
Karen Stanfill
Karen Stanfill
(713) 482-6782
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
99
5
0
1
3
79
187
B. Training Activities
78
5711
The staff at Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) and the advocates for the Client Assistance Program (CAP) provided education and training sessions to several organizations that contacted CAP for presentations and others that CAP sought for outreach. <p><p>Information was provided about the CAP program, the vocational rehabilitation program (VR), the Independent Living Centers (ILC), and the Independent Living Program (IL) in Texas. In addition, CAP presentations included information about transition services, pre-employment transition services, alternatives to sheltered workshops, employment rights, reasonable accommodations, assistive technology, the Ticket to Work Program, and supported decision making. CAP also provided suggestions and sessions on self-advocacy. <p><p>The purpose of the trainings and presentations was to provide information about the services of the CAP program, information to empower individuals with disabilities when seeking of the services of the VR and IL, and ILC programs in Texas, as well as providing information on the services those programs provide. CAP also informed individuals about available resources and how those resources support their goals. Additionally, CAP worked with several individuals who had an interest in understanding their options for going to work when receiving Social Security benefits. <p><p>Training participants included individuals with disabilities who were interested in work, individuals with disabilities who were seeking independent living services, as well as parents, family members, transition age youth, independent school districts staff and students, and IL staff. Additionally, individuals who were working with individuals in Juvenile probation, volunteer lawyers, and students in law school also participated in these training sessions. Lastly, different disability organizations, including ARC, Epilepsy Foundation, Disability in Action, homeless organizations, durable medical goods and assistive technology programs, as well as the State Vocational rehabilitation agency staff benefited from these training activities. <p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
CAP Staff worked closely with DRTx Education advocates and Foster Care attorneys to reach transition-age students to address the lack of transition services for youth in Foster Care. From this team work, several issues were identified for advocacy. A collaboration between CAP, Foster Care Team, Education, TWS-VRS, CASA, DFPS, and TEA (among other organizations involved) is underway to improve services. The results of these efforts will be reported in next year&rsquo;s report. The number of transition students served by CAP continues to grow each year with a 50% increase in cases. Other transition emphasis and outreach included students with mental health issues, parent groups, and youth agencies. Additionally, CAP focused outreach efforts to underserved disability groups. This includes persons who have low vision and organizations serving persons who are blind. CAP also presented to organizations focusing on specific disabilities including the Epilepsy Foundation, and organizations that serve people with Autism. Additionally CAP reached out to the majority of the Independent Living Centers in the State to expand the information about CAP to individuals seeking services from the IL program. This is the second year the IL program services were provided through contracts with the Independent Living Centers. CAP saw a small increase in IL cases this year. <p><p>CAP staff additionally participated in meetings at two sheltered workshops providing information regarding vocational rehabilitation services, employment rights and ILC resources. <p><p>Lastly, CAP reached out to veteran organizations and homeless organizations to inform the individuals of CAP, VR and IL services. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
54
3
20
8330
20
0
n/a <P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Radio / TV Coverage<p>For topics and issues specifically related to the CAP program where DRTx was mentioned or interviewed, there was one news reports covered by The Texas Standard Radio. The article was run in a variety of market sizes and areas in Texas, reaching 20,983 listeners.<p>Newspapers/ Magazines/ Journals<p>DRTx was mentioned or interviewed in 5 articles posted by newspapers, magazines and online media sources or other outside websites on topics related to the CAP program. Those sources included the Austin American-Statesman, Guidry News, RARE-America&rsquo;s News Feed and the Texas Bar. Those news articles had a reach of approximately 1.3 million people throughout Texas and the U.S. DRTx staff continue to be regularly sought out by both local, regional, and national reporters to provide expert input and quotes for news stories.<p>PSA/ VIDEOS<p>We added 20 videos to our YouTube channel. Topics include healthcare accessibility, what a P&A is and does, supported decision making with ASL and Spanish captions, poll worker training, Medicaid Fair Hearings, children in special education impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and more. New videos received 5,230 views.<p>Our Facebook followers grew to 6,918 a 47 percent increase. We posted 280 times on Facebook reaching 623,174 people and conducted 20 Facebook Live Events. Our average engagement rate (people who interact with our posts divided by number of people reached) was 5 percent, exceeding industry standards.<p>Our Twitter followers increased to 1,709 a 102 percent increase. We tweeted 285 times reaching a total of 108,894 people.<p>We also began using Instagram in December 2017 and now have 270 followers, after 33 posts.<p>We reached 13,720 people through our quarterly e-newsletter and other subscriber emails.<p>PUBLICATIONS/BOOKLETS / BROCHURES<p>DRTx developed a &ldquo;second edition&rdquo; supported decision-making toolkit. It is available electronically. Also an updated Spanish version of our IDEA Manual, which has a section on transition planning was released this past fiscal year.<p>Other There were a few issues that were addressed in the media that included the work of employees at DRTx. The Texas Education Agency had implemented an 8.5% cap for identifying students with disabilities and enrolling them in special education services. DRTx had worked with other organizations to bring this practice to the attention of the Department of Education and the media. As a result, many newspapers, magazines, radio programs and news stations reported on the story and the Texas Legislature passed a law prohibiting a cap. Additionally, the CAP program informed the Deputy Director of DRTx that TWS-VRS stopped offering assistance to their clients to register to vote, as required by federal law. The DRTx Voting Rights Team worked with a few other organizations to challenge TWC&rsquo;s decision. After TWC&rsquo;s practice reached the media, TWC reversed their decision and agreed to offer voter registration to applic
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
113
173
286
14
139
B. Problem areas
3
61
140
39
0
45
11
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
27
37
94
1
0
2
161
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
100
14
5
5
0
18
0
7
11
1
0
0
n/a <P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
40
11
0
1
57
27
22
3
0
0
n/a <P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
13
42
66
143
22
286
B. Gender
153
133
286
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
57
2
10
87
0
122
4
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
6
9
0
8
2
5
16
3
32
5
0
9
13
6
6
7
0
1
3
19
63
3
2
6
20
28
0
0
0
9
0
3
2
0
286
E. Types of Individuals Served
59
0
203
12
14
1
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
7
CAP has addressed several issues during the past year with the TWS-VRS agency. CAP addresses systemic activities at the office level, regional level and state level. Some of those activities include: Post-Acute Brain Injury Services (PABI) - TWS-VRS requested feedback from the public to improve PABI services and outcomes. They also announced the contracts with inpatient PABI programs would expire on 8/31/2018. When CAP discovered that TWS-VRS planned to stop providing services, discussions began. TWS-VRS reported that they had looked at the numbers and determined that persons in this program were not obtaining employment as the PABI programs only focused on Independent Living (IL) skills and not vocational skills. Several factors contributed to PABI programs focusing on Independent Living Services. The Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services Program (CRS) was implemented by DARS. As a result, clients with head injuries and spinal cord injuries were served by the CRS program before receiving VR services. Therefore, the PABI programs went from having VR component to IL only. Despite this, PABI programs are beneficial for persons who have a vocational goal and are working to maximize their physical and cognitive abilities as they prepare for employment. CAP reminded TWS-VRS that they could not remove an entire service and had to allow exceptions. Therefore, if all contracts were going to expire and they were not going to renew them until a new and different PABI contract could be established, they needed to provide exceptions and provide services for those who would benefit from inpatient PABI services. TWS-VRS agreed. They hired a contract person to review PABI services in other states, talk to stakeholders and providers about PABI services and staff. A report was written, and the recommendations were just received. They are sending to stakeholders the recommendations from the research conducted regarding what services are being proposed going forward. In addition, CAP had two cases that we had to strongly encourage the agency to pursue the exception process to allow the clients to attend an inpatient and outpatient PABI program. TWS-VRS changed their practice by granting an exception for our two clients and the clients began receiving the services. <p><p>Specialty Counselors: CAP found that there is a shortage of knowledge in specific disability areas. CAP has talked to executive management at TWS-VRS and has recommended they develop specialty counselors in the following areas: spinal cord injury, head injury, epilepsy, mental health, deaf, blind, and workers compensation. TWS-VRS has agreed they need TBI specialty counselors as a result of the additional research conducted on the PABI issue mentioned above. They are identifying one counselor per office to receive training on TBI starting February 2019 on a monthly basis throughout the year. They will also have specialty counselors in deaf-hard of hearing, blind, and autism
B. Litigation
0
0
0
CAP was not involved in any litigation cases or systemic litigation in FY2018. <p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Texas
No
n/a
B. Staff Employed
Position FTE % of year person-years Professional full-time 8.00 FTE 92% 7.36 Professional part-time 0.95 FTE 96% 0.91 Professional vacant 1.00 FTE 100% 1.00 Clerical full-time 1.34 FTE 90% 1.21 Clerical part-time 0 Clerical vacant 0 <P><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
Client is a 51-year-old Caucasian male who needed surgery for bilateral knee replacements. Client was a massage therapist, unable to work due to his orthopedic problems, with medical insurance coverage under Long Term Disability (LTD). Client sought assistance for the surgery co-pay from Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS) because he was unemployed and unable to pay the cost. The TWS-VRS counselor sent the documentation needed for the necessary approvals and the medical department approved the request. However, the manager had questions that did not seem to be related to the issue and refused to approve the development of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) until these questions were answered. While the Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate and the client tried to communicate with the manager to address questions, the manager did not respond timely, and the IPE was not written in time to assist with the surgery co-pay. Unfortunately, the surgery could not be rescheduled because the doctor planned to go out of town. Because the Client&rsquo;s LTD was ending in March 2018, he needed the second knee surgery shortly thereafter. CAP attempted negotiations with TWS-VRS at the manager and regional office levels, unsuccessfully. Therefore, an appeal was filed. Both parties agreed to mediation, however, prior to the mediation date, TWS-VRS agreed to pay the co-pay amount. The issue was resolved in the client&rsquo;s favor. <p><p>Client is a 19-year-old Hispanic female with a disability of diabetes and anxiety. She applied for services with the TWS-VRS and was found ineligible. Client contacted CAP who reviewed the case and noted that the counselor did not ask questions of the client regarding how her disability posed an impediment to employment. The medical records did not provide details of the client&rsquo;s abilities and limitations. Additionally, in talking with the client, CAP determined she was not aware of how to advocate for herself with the TWS-VRS and express how her disability affected her. The client was accepted into a university and requested assistance for college, accommodations, and room/board. She attended the fall semester without TWS-VRS assistance. CAP educated the client regarding the vocational rehabilitation program and process. CAP also educated the client how to advocate for herself and inform the counselor how her disability affected her in daily activities and school. CAP coordinated the appointment for a new application and attended the meeting with the client. The counselor found the client eligible and provided assistance, including tuition, room/board, and counseling. <p><p>Client is a 52-year-old male, with cerebral palsy who is a SSDI recipient. He is able to walk, but was advised to walk only minimally. He owned a scooter, but it was old and no longer working. He had been a client with TWS-VRS and his case was closed in 2016. He contacted TWS-VR
Certification
Approved
Mary Faithfull
Executive Director
2018-12-19
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