RSA-227 for FY-2019: Submission #1083

Vermont
9/30/2019
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Vermont Client Assistance Program
57 North Main Street
Suite 2
Rutland
VT
05701
http://vtlegalaid.org
(800) 769-7459
(800) 769-7459
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Vermont Client Assistance Program
57 North Main Street
Suite 2
Rutland
05701
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nbreiden@vtlegalaid.org
http://vtlegalaid.org
(800) 769-7459
(800) 769-7459
Additional Information
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{Empty}
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
129
118
0
125
25
151
548
B. Training Activities
5
133
<h4></h4><p><p>CAP staff participated on a panel on &ldquo;Representing Clients with Disabilities&rdquo; at the annual Vermont Bar Association Pro Bono Conference. Topics covered included: communicating with clients with disabilities; ethical considerations when representing clients with disabilities; self-determination; and guardianship. The purpose of the panel was to inform attorneys from the private bar on how better to represent clients with disabilities. Approximately 50 attorneys were trained.</p><p><p>CAP trained approximately 25 workers at the Newport Regional VR office on CAP services. The purpose of the training was to acquaint local VR workers with the CAP program and what services the CAP program could provide. Topics covered included the scope of CAP advocacy; rights of consumers of VR services, and; examples of when CAP advocacy could help resolve consumer complaints about VR services. Staff trained included VR counselors, case aides, employment consultants and benefits counselors.</p><p><p>CAP trained approximately 20 workers at the Burlington Regional VR office on CAP services. The purpose of the training was to acquaint local VR workers with the CAP program and what services the CAP program could provide. Topics covered included the scope of CAP advocacy; rights of consumers of VR services, including notice, case closures and reasonable accommodations; and, examples of when CAP advocacy could help resolve consumer complaints about VR services. Staff trained included VR counselors, case aides, employment consultants and benefits counselors.</p><p><p>CAP trained approximately 20 workers at the Rutland Regional VR office on CAP services. The purpose of the training was to acquaint local VR workers with the CAP program and what services the CAP program could provide. Topics covered included the scope of CAP advocacy; rights of consumers of VR services, including notice, case closures and reasonable accommodations; and, examples of when CAP advocacy could help resolve consumer complaints about VR services. Staff trained included VR counselors, case aides, employment consultants and benefits counselors.</p><p><p>CAP trained approximately 18 workers at the Bennington Regional VR office on CAP services. The purpose of the training was to acquaint local VR workers with the CAP program and what services the CAP program could provide. Topics covered included the scope of CAP advocacy; rights of consumers of VR services, including notice, case closures and reasonable accommodations; and, examples of when CAP advocacy could help resolve consumer complaints about VR services. Staff trained included VR counselors, case aides, employment consultants and benefits counselors.</p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p>CAP staff met with Rutland Area Core Team at Poultney High School to provide information regarding CAP as it pertains to transition age students. CAP also provided information regarding CAP to administrative staff at Poultney High school.</p><p><p>CAP staff contacted the Brain Injury Association of Vermont (BIA) to discuss ways CAP might conduct outreach to Vermonters with TBI.</p><p><p>CAP staff contacted the Vermont Center for Independent Living office in Rutland, Vermont for assistance developing a plan for conducting outreach to local individuals with TBI.</p><p><p>CAP staff participated in a tabling event at the Vermont Youth Summit which was held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT. CAP provided information on CAP, the Disability Law Project and Vermont Legal Aid to participants, vendors and other community partners. CAP provided hand-outs and information regarding the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) , Vocational Rehabilitation services, Employment Discrimination, Supported Decision Making and other alternatives to guardianship to approximately 20 transition aged consumers and family members.</p><p><p>CAP staff participated in a tabling event at a Transition Fair which was held at Rutland High School in Rutland, VT. CAP provided information on CAP, the Disability Law Project and Vermont Legal Aid to participants, vendors and other community partners. CAP provided hand-outs and information regarding Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) , Vocational Rehabilitation services, Employment Discrimination, Supported Decision Making and other alternatives to guardianship to approximately 25 transition aged consumers and family members.</p><p><p>CAP staff participated in a tabling event at the U-32 Transition Fair which was held at U-32 (high School) in Montpelier, VT. CAP provided information on CAP, the Disability Law Project and Vermont Legal Aid to participants, vendors and other community partners. CAP provided hand-outs and information regarding Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) , Vocational Rehabilitation services, Employment Discrimination, Supported Decision Making and other alternatives to guardianship to approximately 20 transition aged consumers and family members.</p><p><p>CAP staff participated in a tabling event at the Rutland County Transition Fair which was held at Castleton University in Castleton, VT. CAP provided information on CAP, Disability Law Project and Vermont Legal Aid to participants, vendors and other community partners. CAP provided hand-outs and information regarding Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) , Vocational Rehabilitation services, Employment Discrimination, Supported Decision Making and other alternatives to guardianship to approximately 25 transition aged consumers and family members.</p><p><p>CAP staff participated in a tabling event at Vermont Family Network&rsquo;s annual conference in Burlington, VT. CAP provided information on CAP, Disability Law Project and Vermont
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
1
6
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>The state vocational rehabilitation agency regularly informs consumers about CAP services.</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
13
22
35
3
8
B. Problem areas
5
18
22
5
0
3
3
5
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
6
5
15
1
0
0
27
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
10
7
2
2
0
3
0
0
5
0
0
1
<p>Client was ineligible for CAP services.</p><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
4
1
0
0
3
4
3
0
0
11
<p>Decision reversed or compromise reached - 4</p><p><p>Client decided against applying for VR services - 4</p><p><p>Client resolved issue without CAP assistance - 1</p><p><p>Client declined representation - 1</p><p><p>Client behavior made CAP represenation impossible - 1</p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
4
7
18
6
35
B. Gender
18
17
35
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
0
3
4
0
29
0
1
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
0
0
0
0
4
2
0
1
1
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
2
14
0
0
0
1
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
35
E. Types of Individuals Served
4
0
30
4
0
2
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
7
<p>CAP had been expressing concern for years with VR&rsquo;s failure to give adequate notice of reason for case closures and ability to appeal adverse VR agency decisions. In FY2019 CAP worked extensively on policies affecting how VR clients cases are closed by VR. This included work on changes to the &ldquo;Closure&rdquo; chapter of the Vocational Rehabilitation Policy and Procedures Manual, drafting form case closure letters, and revisions to the description of the appeals process. The &ldquo;Closure&rdquo; chapter of the Policies and Procedures Manual covers issues such as case closure without eligibility determination, case closure based on ineligibility for VR services, procedures for determination of ineligibility based on inability to benefit from VR services, closure without achievement of employment goal and closure with achievement of an employment outcome. CAP input and advocacy on the substance of this chapter resulted in better drafted policies and greater protections for VR consumers. In addition, CAP drafted specific case closure letters which were approved and adopted by VR and which will be required in all instances when a client&rsquo;s VR case is closed. Nine different letters were drafted covering closure based on: employment; no contact; declined services; ineligible for services; unable to benefit from VR services; client in an institution; illegal or fraudulent behavior; failure to cooperate - missed or cancelled appointments; failure to cooperate - unwilling to participate in activities or failure to follow through. Finally, CAP worked on revisions to the appeals process document to reflect the changes in case closure policies. This document describes the various appeals processes available to VR consumers upon case closure. To ensure compliance with the new case closure policies, VR provided state-wide staff training on the new policies and procedures. Approximately 8400 people were affected by this policy change.</p><p><p>CAP advocacy resulted in further action by DVR to clarify and improve its case closure policy. VR had determined to change its case closure policy to indicate that a case could be closed for &ldquo;non-engagement&rdquo; as opposed to the previous term &ldquo;non-cooperation&rdquo; on the theory that &ldquo;non-engagement&rdquo; was a &ldquo;softer&rdquo; term. Similarly, VR had determined to use the term &ldquo;case deactivation&rdquo; as opposed to &ldquo;case closure.&rdquo; CAP objected to the change in terms arguing that VR should not be obfuscating its actions and that it was necessary to call a spade a spade. As a result of CAP advocacy, the &ldquo;softer&rdquo; terms were not activated. Approximately 8400 people were affected by this policy change.</p><p><p>With completion of the &ldquo;Closure&rdquo; chapter, the Policy and Procedures sub-committee began work on revisions to the &ldquo;Self-Employment&rdquo; Chapter. The committee is looking at developing a process to review propos
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other nonprofit agency
Vermont Legal Aid, Inc.
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
<p><strong>Type of Position FTE % of position filled Person Years</strong></p><p><p>Professional - FT 0.38 100% 0.38</p><p><p>Professional - PT 0.37 100% 0.37</p><p><p>Professional - Vacant</p><p><p>Clerical FT</p><p><p>Clerical Pt</p><p><p>Clerical - Vacant</p><p><p>Description: Vermont Legal Aid's CAP program had two 0.04 FTE attorneys, two 0.50 FTE paralegals, and one 0.2 FTE project director for the entire fiscal year.</p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p>CAP provided ongoing advocacy for a 42years old client with an intellectual disability who initiallycontacted CAP because her IPE stated that her VR case would be closed in early 2016 if she did not have employment by that date. Client had also been denied transportation assistance previously provided by VR without written notice of the decision, a chronic problem seen by CAP staff. CAP intervened and assisted the client to obtain an IPE tied to client&rsquo;s interest in a job working with children in a school or day-care setting. These efforts were stymied by a child protection agency limitation based on client&rsquo;s loss of parental rights over her own children which automatically precluded client from working with children. As a result of CAP advocacy, the client had a new employment specialist assigned to her case in the first quarter of FY 19. This resulted in a successful trial work experience in an ancillary position within a pre-school setting. <s></s>However, throughout the remainder of FY 19, our client experienced multiple destabilizing events including loss of her new employment specialist and other members of her team. These stressors were exacerbated by a pending loss of housing, banning for a period of time from using the bus system, and media stories about litigation on behalf of parents alleging violation of parental rights by the child protection agency that was instrumental in the termination of client&rsquo;s parental rights more than a decade ago. A team meeting was held in the 4<sup>th</sup> quarter of FY 19. Client had not availed herself of vocational assessments agreed to or work experiences suggested by VR. Client continued to focus on getting an ancillary position working around children, which is not a possibility due to above-noted legal restrictions on her working with children. VR indicated that it would no longer support client&rsquo;s chosen employment goal, but provided no written notice to client. CAP contacted VR and advised that if VR was unwilling to support client&rsquo;s chosen goal or seeking to terminate services altogether written notice of that decision must be provided the client. Following that conversation, VR advised CAP that it was not considering terminating services and acknowledged the multiple stressors for client. VR suggested client consider suspension of services until stressors are reduced. CAP will discuss with client once client is moved to new housing. CAP advocacy for this client will continue into the next fiscal year.</p><p><p>CAP represented a 53 years-old client with a genetic syndrome leading to deafness and blindness. Client was initially served through traditional VR program, but as progressive vision loss ended in blindness, the VR program told client needed to get services from the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI). Client&rsquo;s primary issue is that neither provider is able to meet the unique needs of a person who is both deaf and blind. Client receiv
Certification
Approved
Nancy Breiden
Vermont Legal Aid Disability Law Project Director
2019-12-29
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