RSA-227 for FY-2019: Submission #1067

Minnesota
9/30/2019
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
111 N 5th Street
Suite 100
Minneapolis
MN
55403
http://www.mndlc.org
(800) 292-4150
(800) 292-4150
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
111 N 5th Street
Suite 100
Minneapolis
55403
Minnesota
mndlc@mylegalaid.org
http://www.mndlc.org
(800) 292-4150
(800) 292-4150
Additional Information
Daniel Stewart
Margaret Kienitz
(612) 746-3764
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
15
0
0
0
0
0
15
B. Training Activities
24
848
<p>The Minnesota Disability Law Center&rsquo;s (MDLC) Client Assistance Project (CAP) staff delivered trainings throughout the state providing hundreds of participants from all over the disability community with information about CAP and vocational rehabilitation (VR) issues. This year, most of those presentations were to populations that have been unserved or underserved by Minnesota vocational rehabilitation agencies; such outreach activities are summarized below in Part I, C.</p><p><p>Staff made a presentation about CAP services and MDLC at State Services for the Blind&rsquo;s all-staff training event. Staff also delivered a presentation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness about MDLC and CAP services.</p><p><p>MDLC&rsquo;s Legal Director delivered a training to Minnesota attorneys interested in special education and employment for youth with disabilities at an event sponsored by Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. The presentation was titled, &ldquo;Advising the Disadvantaged - Special Ed, and Sec. 504 Issues for Youth.&rdquo;</p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p>During this report period, CAP staff engaged in many outreach events throughout the state, which provided information about CAP services, VR rights and other disability rights. This outreach included disseminating information at the Minnesota Social Service Association conference in Minneapolis, at the Minnesota Law Schools Public Interest Expo and the University of Minnesota Law School Career Fair for Public Interest Students, to parents at PICA/HeadStart, to local law enforcement at the Hennepin County Juvenile Advisory Group, to families and adults at Urban Ventures, to job seekers at VRS/Minneapolis Basic Education&rsquo;s Resource Fair, and to persons with disabilities at events sponsored by the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.</p><p><p>In addition, CAP staff conducted outreach that was specifically targeted towards reaching historically unserved/underserved populations and minority communities, including outreach to the White Earth Nation.</p><p><p><u>Deaf and Hard of Hearing</u>: CAP staff delivered an hour-long presentation on CAP services, MDLC and Reasonable Accommodation in Employment for persons with disabilities to VRS staff at their main St. Paul office, most of whom serve deaf and hard of hearing consumers.</p><p><p><u>Transition-Aged Students</u>: CAP staff made a presentation to youth with disabilities and their parents at a PACER-sponsored forum entitled &ldquo;Paths to Employment: How Families Can Help.&rdquo; A few months later, they delivered another presentation to parents and youth with vision loss in an event sponsored by PACER on &ldquo;Ins &amp; Outs of SSI - Benefit Planning for Youth with Vision Loss.&rdquo; On three additional occasions in the fiscal year staff made presentations at additional PACER-sponsored events about MDLC and CAP services, and services for transition-aged students. Staff presented to the Minneapolis Community Transition Interagency Council how MDLC can help transition-aged students. MDLC&rsquo;s Legal Director presented on youth law, special education and employment options for youth with disabilities to Hennepin County public defender staff. He made a similar presentation to the University of Minnesota&rsquo;s Education Policy committee about MDLC services, special education and transition services. CAP staff also disseminated information about MDLC and CAP services at Opportunity Services&rsquo; TASTE of Transition event, at Hennepin County&rsquo;s Juvenile Warrant Resolution Day, at Minneapolis Community and Technical College&rsquo;s Student Success Day, and at Minneapolis Public Schools&rsquo; Transition Fair.</p><p><p><u>Somali Communities of Color</u>: Staff delivered a presentation about MDLC/CAP services, special education and community disability services to parents and community members with HAARAN (Helping the Displaced Reach a Better Life), an organization of Somali-speaking parents of children with disabilities, as they had done the previous fiscal year.</p><p><p><u>Nativ
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
619
14
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>MDLC disseminated brochures and factsheets about the CAP program, along with information about services provided by MDLC.</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
29
34
63
10
23
B. Problem areas
13
4
46
2
2
6
0
4
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
14
2
2
14
0
0
33
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
13
10
0
4
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
2
1
3
0
3
11
0
3
1
4
<p>Decision reversed for 4 clients.</p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
12
11
36
4
63
B. Gender
21
42
63
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
0
0
7
0
50
6
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
12
1
0
0
0
4
12
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
18
0
0
4
1
4
0
0
0
2
0
1
0
2
63
E. Types of Individuals Served
9
1
40
12
1
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
0
<p>FY2019 was full of many changes at VRS, SSB and also at MDLC. VRS experienced two changes in its executive leadership, one on the eve of its week long audit by its federal funder, RSA. SSB also experienced change as its director moved to other responsibilities within DEED, overseeing both VRS and SSB programs. MDLC&rsquo;s Legal Director retired during the fiscal year and was replaced by a staff member who had previously supervised the Employment Team, which included staff working on both the CAP and PABSS grants.</p><p><p>All of this change prompted CAP to spend additional time meeting with new leadership at DEED, VRS and SSB to ensure that VR consumers would experience as little disruption to services as possible, under the circumstances. CAP staff continued their twice-yearly meetings with SSB agency officials to update each other on changes in staff and policy. In addition, CAP staff met with VRS agency officials after the RSA audit to understand VRS&rsquo; process in permanently replacing its director and addressing issues raised during the audit; CAP has resolved to continue those meetings in the future on a more regular basis. As a result, although CAP did not have a formal role in any of the leadership changes at DEED, VRS or SSB, CAP staff was able to communicate concerns about the impact of those changes on VR service delivery to new agency directors and assist in minimizing disruption to consumers.</p><p><p>CAP continued its advocacy and monitoring efforts around development of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between VRS, SSB and Minnesota&rsquo;s Department of Human Services (DHS). The MOU concerned eligibility, service delivery and financial responsibilities between the agencies regarding habilitation and rehabilitation of the most severely disabled individuals receiving waivered disability services. The draft MOU developed previously, along with its written interim guidance, had seemed to foreclose efforts to allow flexible and coordinated vocational rehabilitation services, potentially leading to separate service provision structures from which consumers would move back and forth, wasting limited resources and not serving individuals with disabilities as effectively as possible. CAP was pleased when the MOU process was finally completed and signed, on terms much more beneficial to VRS and SSB, resulting in an agreement that more appropriately distributed responsibility for pre-employment, discovery-related VR services between the agencies. VRS and SSB&rsquo;s financial responsibilities in that area were consequently lessened, easing financial pressures, especially on VRS. Both VRS and SSB were therefore put in a much better position to meet their statutory VR responsibilities towards its other consumer disability populations. As in the previous fiscal year, CAP did not have a formal role in the MOU process. CAP&rsquo;s efforts, however, in questioning agency officials about progress made in reaching a better MOU a
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<p>During the fiscal year CAP staff undertook no systemic litigation activities involving individual representation, relying instead on more informal review and mediation procedures which successfully resolved cases before having to resort to formal administrative or legal remedies.</p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid/Minnesota Disability Law Center
No
NA
B. Staff Employed
<p><br><br></p><p><table border=0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="417"><thead><tr height="17"><th height="17" width="190">Personnel Summary</th><th width="64">Full time equivalent</th><th width="93">% of year filled</th><th width="70">Person yrs</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td style="text-align:left">Attorney FT</td><td style="text-align:right">1.059</td><td style="text-align:right">100</td><td style="text-align:right">1.059</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Attorney PT</td><td style="text-align:right">0.700</td><td style="text-align:right">100</td><td style="text-align:right">0.700</td></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">Paraprofessionals FT</td><td style="text-align:right">2.199</td><td style="text-align:right">100</td><td style="text-align:right">2.199</td></tr><p><tr></tr><p><tr><td style="text-align:left">clerical ft</td><td style="text-align:right">0.060</td><td style="text-align:right">100</td><td style="text-align:right">0.060</td></tr><p></tbody></table><p>"
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p>A 20-year-old student attending a transition program located in the Minneapolis suburbs had disabilities including autism, a seizure disorder, and diabetes. The student&rsquo;s parent and guardian contacted MDLC concerned that the transition program was not offering programming on days that other district programs were open to make up for snow days. The school district&rsquo;s position was that they did not need to offer make-up days for transition programs because transition programs were not covered under state law addressing the mandatory number of school days. MDLC/CAP investigated and agreed to represent the student and started negotiations with the school district, arguing that their practice was an ADA violation and threatening to file a complaint with the federal Office of Civil Rights. The school district agreed to change their practice so that in the future all students in district transition programs had make-up programming due to inclement weather, just like students without disabilities had. This policy change helps to ensure that transition students throughout the school district receive the programming they need to prepare for employment after graduation.</p><p><p>A young man with autism spectrum disorder was attending Augsburg College in Minneapolis due to its location and proximity to his family and disability support services. He played baseball for his college and was studying to be a physical education teacher. In his sophomore year, he questioned VRS&rsquo; limited financial support for tuition and fees, being subject to their state rule limiting financial support to cost of public postsecondary schooling located in-state. He and his mother called CAP for help understanding what financial supports would be available for him. CAP staff investigated and gathered information about why he was at a private college and why it was necessary for him to attend Augsburg to be successful in his postsecondary program. This information was forwarded on to VRS and within a few days VRS decided it was appropriate to waive its tuition fee schedule when applied to the student's situation, so that for future semesters VRS could pay all of the tuition and fees incurred at Augsburg not paid through other sources. A few months later, the student was awarded a scholarship from Augsburg, which VRS determined it would apply to lessen their financial responsibility towards the student. CAP advised the student and his mother to gather information about how the student got the scholarship and what school related expenses it was supposed to cover. It turned out that the scholarship was awarded specifically to cover room and board expenses for the student who needed to live on campus. After receiving this information, VRS decided the scholarship was not non-merit scholarship money that could be counted as a comparable benefit for tuition and fees and notified the student the scholarship would not lessen VRS responsibility to cover tuition
Certification
Approved
Drew Schaffer
Executive Director
2019-12-31
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