RSA-227 for FY-2018: Submission #1044

Connecticut
9/30/2018
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
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights Connecticut
846 Wethersfield Ave.
{Empty}
Hartford
06114
{Empty}
http://disrightsct.org
{Empty}
(800) 842-7303
(800) 842-7303
Additional Information
Linda Mizzi
Gretchen Knauff
(860) 297-4300
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
8
0
0
4
2
2
16
B. Training Activities
11
292
<p><u>Training Type 1</u> - <b>Presentation - Customized Employment</b></p><p><p>a. Topic - The basics of Customized Employment and how it Can Benefit People with Severe Disabilities.</p><p><p>b. Purpose of the Training - The purpose of the session was to educate people with disabilities, family members and advocates about Customized Employment as a new method to find work for people previously thought to be unemployable.</p><p><p>c. Description of the Attendees - The attendees were people with disabilities, advocates, family members and service providers.</p><p><p><u>Training Type 2</u> - <b>Presentation/Discussion - Let&rsquo;s Work!</b></p><p><p>a. <u>Topic</u> - Presentation of employment resources for people with disabilities who are unemployed or under-employed due to disability. This included individuals who will be coming out of sub-minimum wage, group employment locations. We began with a discussion surrounding why, where and what type of work people can do. We also attempted to dispel some of the myths around employment of people with disabilities involving safety, benefits and accommodations. We concluded with information about where individuals can seek assistance with obtaining or maintaining employment. Participants were provided with publications on the CAP program, Self-Advocacy Tips, and tips for working with the Bureau or Rehabilitation Services.</p><p><p>b. <u>Purpose</u> - Educate people with disabilities, families and others about the myths around employment and benefits. The presentation also focused on getting people to think about different types of work and how to get assistance from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) with obtaining employment.</p><p><p>c. <u>Description of the Attendees</u> - People with disabilities, family members and service providers interested in employment and people with disabilities.</p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p>At the end of Fiscal Year 2018, Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) completed its 15th month of service since it was established on July 1, 2017. The general focus of outreach during the 2018 fiscal year, therefore, has been marketing and awareness of DRCT programs and services and ensuring that DRCT developed mechanisms to address the cultural and linguistic needs of underserved populations.</p><p><p>At the beginning of the 2018 fiscal year, DRCT had 4 staff including one staff member hired at the end of September 2017. During the fiscal year, DRCT hired investigators, an office manager and additional advocates to end the year with the equivalent of 9.5 staff members with two additional staff scheduled to begin in two weeks. DRCT was also fortunate to have three volunteers who assisted with investigations, advocacy and general office work. In March 2018, DRCT staff moved into a completely renovated new space complete with a new security and alarms systems. Internet and phone system providers were researched and the systems installed. Management staff continued to be responsive to the Monitoring plan developed under the direction of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Draft employee and fiscal manuals have been written and are in the final phases of development. An employee orientation, based on the Monitoring Plan and leadership staff input, was developed and staff will be trained in various skills and substantive areas including vocational rehabilitation and employment rights.</p><p><p>During the fiscal year, DRCT provided outreach at 16 events, reaching more than 3,500 people with disabilities, family members and others. Almost 6,300 publications were disseminated at the events that included a statewide conference for people with disabilities that addressed topics important to building a great life in the community, the annual Veterans&rsquo; Stand Down that attracted veterans from all over Connecticut, a Municipal Town Clerks conference, and an annual Americans with Disabilities Act celebration. While these events did not focus on people in underserved communities, many of the events were located in urban areas with high minority populations. The events also reached a people with a wide variety of disabilities including, but not limited to, intellectual disability, brain injury, learning disability, developmental disabilities, and physical disabilities.</p><p><p>DRCT staff presented information about DRCT programs and services at the 11 events/workshops that reached 292 people who received more than 800 publications about DRCT programs including the CAP program. Several of the presentations focused on work, the vocational rehabilitation system, myths about work and benefits, or the Client Assistance Program.</p><p><p>DRCT outreach also included improving information on the DRCT website with the ability to translate web content into other languages such as Spanish. During the 2018 fiscal year, there were 1
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
3
0
0
8
16
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>This external coverage was not directly related to CAP but did help get information about DRCT out to the public.</p><p><p>During the 2018 Fiscal Year, DRCT notified the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) about the inaccessibility of the bathrooms on a new train service being launched by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. As a result of DRCT&rsquo;s action, the FRA ordered the Connecticut DOT to close all the bathrooms on the trains until accessible bathrooms were made available to people with disabilities. There were several newspaper articles and the DRCT Executive Director was interviewed by a local TV station and WNPR. She also appeared live on a local morning radio program. Each of these media events gave DRCT an opportunity to talk about the agency and its mandate to protect the civil and human rights of people with disabilities.</p><p><p>DRCT&rsquo;s Executive Director was also interviewed for Comcast Newsmakers, a news program produced by Comcast for broadcast on its networks.</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
6
8
14
1
12
B. Problem areas
0
7
8
0
0
0
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
1
0
0
0
1
1
3
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
1
0
0
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
2
3
4
5
14
B. Gender
5
9
14
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
0
2
0
11
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
1
0
0
0
0
4
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
3
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
14
E. Types of Individuals Served
9
5
0
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
1
<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>Customized Employment</u> - DRCT and its collaborators continue to support a three-year initiative that addresses employment of people with the most significant disabilities. As a systems project, the Customized Employment project addresses policies and practices of state agencies such as the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), the State Department of Education (SDE) and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), all agencies with responsibility for some aspects of employment for people with disabilities. The project also addresses the training needs, policies and practices of individual Community Rehabilitation providers because Customized Employment is new to Connecticut.</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 challenging the standard approaches by offering a different model of employment, Customized Employment.</p><p><p>The Work Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires various agencies to work together to develop employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Customized Employment Project collaborators have been meeting with these agencies privately and as part of working groups such as BRS&rsquo; State Rehabilitation Advisory Council to insist that they address the idea of Customized Employment as a required service under WIOA and as an innovative way to assist people with significant disabilities with finding employment.</p><p><p>During the 2018 fiscal year, DRCT staff individually and as part of the Customized Employment Project, continued to educate staff of BRS, DDS and SDE about Customized Employment. These agencies were asked about how they plan to meet their obligation to provide Customized Employment, an obligation that under WIOA should have been already met. At the end of the fiscal year, DRCT staff and the other Customized Employment Project collaborators were told that an MOU draft between the agencies addresses the provision of Customized Employment and that a pilot program has been developed to test the obligations of agencies as laid out in the MOU. While the MOU details are still unclear, we were also told that this MOU would not exist with the pressure from the Customized Employment project team. DRCT will continue t
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Connecticut, Inc.
No
Not Applicable
B. Staff Employed
<p>During the 2018 fiscal year, CAP funds were used to pay the partial salaries of two CAP Attorneys and two CAP Advocates. The CAP Attorneys assisted DRCT Advocates with assessing cases and developing strategies for clients. The CAP Attorneys also received vocational rehabilitation training through the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). The salaries of the two attorneys together equal .07 FTE. The majority of the CAP work was done by DRCT&rsquo;s Lead Advocate who also supervises another CAP Advocate. Together their CAP salaries equaled .40 FTE. Total professional FTE for the CAP program equals .47 FTE.</p><p><p>In addition to the direct salaries, the Administrative salaries of the Executive Director, Legal Director and Office Manager were paid with CAP funding.</p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p><b><u>Case Example 1</u>:</b></p><p><p>In 2016, Mary requested home modifications from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), Connecticut&rsquo;s vocational rehabilitation system. BRS denied these modifications and Mary requested an administrative hearing to appeal the denial. The previous protection and advocacy system represented Mary at the hearing and Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) took over the case in July 2017.</p><p><p>The hearing decision, issued September 15, 2017, reversed BRS' denial of the modifications on the basis that it had been issued without a proper assessment of Mary&rsquo;s request, and ordered BRS to reimburse Mary for all of the expenses she had incurred in independently arranging for modifications to her home. BRS requested reconsideration of the hearing officer's decision and Mary requested representation from DRCT on the request for reconsideration.</p><p><p>DRCT represented Mary throughout the request for reconsideration, briefing issues for the Commissioner and attending oral argument. The Decision of the Commissioner on Reconsideration was issued in April 2018 and directed BRS to resume processing of Mary&rsquo;s request for home modifications. The decision also required BRS to determine (1) what home modification services, if any, should be provided prospectively under the program based upon current conditions; and to (2) to determine to what extent, if any, that Mary&rsquo;s personal expenditures for home modification services qualified for retroactive reimbursement. The legal issue was resolved, and Mary was notified that she should contact DRCT if she required assistance with BRS services moving forward.</p><p><p><b><u>Case Example 2: </u></b></p><p><p>Shaquan, a person with dyslexia, is enrolled in a community college studying criminal justice. He has been a client of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) for years but has not had success with finding employment. Since returning to college, he wanted BRS to change his employment goal to Public Safety Officer but his BRS counselor refused. His communication with his BRS counselor had broken down. Frustrated, Shaquan contacted CAP to request the assistance of an advocate.</p><p><p>The CAP advocate worked with Shaquan to review his record and help him prepare for a meeting with BRS. The CAP Advocate then attended the meeting with Shaquan to find out why the BRS Counselor would not change Shaquan&rsquo;s employment goal. She also wanted to assist with bridging the communication gap. At the meeting, it became clear that with proper training and assistive technology, Shaquan could handle work in the police department or as a public safety office in a school.</p><p><p>The BRS counselor changed the employment goal from production worker to Police Patrol Officer. The CAP advocate also assisted Shaquan with requesting and obtaining a new Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) to help him with applications and to support him with interviews.</p><p><p>Communic
Certification
Approved
Gretchen Knauff
Execurive Director
2018-12-15
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