RSA-227 for FY-2019: Submission #1095

Rhode Island
9/30/2019
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Rhode Island
33 BROAD STREET
SUITE 601
PROVIDENCE
RI
02903
http://www.drri.org
(800) 733-5332
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights Rhode Island
33 BROAD STREET
SUITE 601
PROVIDENCE
02903
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mmurray@drri.org
http://www.drri.org
(800) 733-5332
{Empty}
Additional Information
CATHERINE SANSONETTI
CATHERINE SANSONETTI
(401) 831-3150
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
1
0
0
0
5
6
12
B. Training Activities
2
58
<p>Disability Rights Rhode Island (DRRI), formerly known as the Rhode Island Disability Law Center, Inc. (RIDLC), often presents training information and materials to many audiences of overlapping constituencies. Our agency training activities are often funded using more than one funding source. Examples of trainings conducted this year using CAP and other funds are below.</p><p><ul type=disc"><p><li>On August 26, 2019, we conducted an in-person training about CAP services and about DRRI services to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal VR staff at its last quarterly meeting. At this training, we piloted the use of an on-demand training module about CAP services in a PowerPoint presentation format, receiving positive feedback from the attendees about the module. Approximately 8 staff attended this training.</li><p><li>On September 26, 2019, we provided an on-demand PowerPoint presentation to the state VR agency staff at their staff meeting. Although we did not attend in person, due to staff resources, training about CAP services were included for distribution. Again, we received positive feedback on this model of presenting training material. About 50 VR leaders, counselors, and staff attended the training via the on-demand module.</li><p><li>On March 13, 2019, we had an in-person meeting with the Rhode Island College Disability Services Coordinator about CAP services and provided him with copies of our CAP materials to be available for college students with disabilities.</li><p><li>On November 30, 2018, we presented a workshop for parents of transition age youth and providers regarding Supported Decision-Making and Other Alternatives to Guardianship at the Rhode Island Parent Information Network as part of their workshop series on preparing youth with disabilities for transition and transition services. Approximately 76 individuals with disabilities, their parents, and some service providers attended.</li><p><li>On March 18, 2019, we provided an in-person training presentation on some alternatives to guardianship at the McKenna Center for Teaching, part of Central Falls High School, to parents and staff who were predominantly Hispanic. There were 11 attendees.</li><p><li>On March 28, 2019, we provided a training to the Education Committee of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf about DRRI services, as well as provided a basic overview of the basic process for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). About 10 members attended.</li><p><li>On June 5, 2019, we trained advocates and attorneys about Obtaining Effective Transition Services - Cross System Collaboration at the National Disability Rights Networks (NDRN) annual conference in Baltimore, MD. There were about 22 attendees.</li><p><li>On June 4, 2019, we provided a training on Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making to families and service provide"
C. Agency Outreach
<p>Every year, we continue to disseminate our <i>Consumer's Guide to Rhode Island State Vocational Rehabilitation. </i>We last updated this guide&rsquo;s content after the passage of WIOA. In 2018, we broadly distributed the update in both English and Spanish to VR counselors and staff, parent information networks, college disability services offices, providers of mental health services, providers of and developmental disabilities services. We specifically outreached to traditionally underserved groups such as transition-aged youth with behavioral healthcare needs and others who might benefit from VR&rsquo;s PRE-ETS services. In FFY2019, we continued outreach using the booklets at events and trainings.</p><p><p>DRRI distributes English and Spanish copies of CAP publications at outreach/training events, and also as requested. Publications are also available for download on our website. We distributed about 180 English copies and about 66 Spanish copies. We also use a CAP flyer (in both English and Spanish)</p><p><p>DRRI&rsquo;s intake advocate answer calls in Spanish as well as English and assists with translations as needed. This telephone directory has a circulation of 40,000. We also use Google Translate on our website, which enables translation into many foreign languages.</p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
1
0
0
3837
6
1
<p>DRRI&lsquo;s website provides general information about CAP and our employment-related priority issues. The website was revised in 2016 and allows visitors to download CAP and other publications. In addition, although there were no articles specifically featuring CAP in newspaper/magazine/journals in D.2 above, there were 13 articles about the agency in general. There also were several press releases by the agency and also by other agencies about us that were published and disseminated.</p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>Government and community organizations maintain a DRRI presence on their websites through links. These links send the visitor to our website directly, or in some cases provide contact information. These organizations include, but are not limited to, the RI.gov government website, the state VR agency, the Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS), the RI Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, the Sherlock Center on Disabilities, and the Rhode Island Parent Information Center (RIPIN). In addition, there were over a dozen news articles in FY2019 quoting agency staff regarding high stakes testing, behavioral issues at a public school, voting, and the school bus strike. This year, we began agency use of social media, and followers of those pages are able to further disseminate agency messaging on these outlets.</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
24
3
27
0
14
B. Problem areas
1
8
10
2
0
4
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
9
0
3
0
0
0
13
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
5
5
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
4
0
0
1
3
3
0
1
0
1
<p>A case from a prior fiscal year was opened as a CAP case because the client's family member reported that there was a communication problem between the client and the VR agency. The client was a transition aged student who was also facing criminal charges and discipline issues at school that were potentially impacting a work program the student was engaged in. However, the resolution of the criminal charges and his return to school took precedence for the client and family. Once he returned to school, the client did not follow up with CAP, making the outcome regarding his communication with the VR agency unknown.</p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
4
7
12
4
27
B. Gender
9
18
27
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
3
0
1
0
0
24
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
1
1
0
0
4
2
1
0
0
0
2
3
2
0
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
2
27
E. Types of Individuals Served
5
1
9
1
1
10
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
1
<p><b>i. CAP Participation in an Ad Hoc committee of the SRC to revise the VR Customer Satisfaction Survey</b></p><p><p>This year, CAP (in conjunction with the SRC) worked with the VR agency to produce a Monthly survey to send consumers. This survey replaces an earlier survey and creates a new method of quality assurance to assess service delivery to customers. It is estimated that the surveys will reach between 1600 and 1800 individuals. Although the agency had been using surveys for quite some time, they had not been updated in many years. We suggested breaking down the survey to be conducted to two groups. The first group of consumers that the survey would be sent to are those in Status 18 (a person who has an IPE in place) and the other group of consumers that the survey would be sent to are those in Status 22 (a person who has successfully completed VR services and is employed). The surveys began to be disseminated to consumers in April 2019. We made several suggestions about the process of survey dissemination, format, questions, and follow up intervals. The VR agency agreed to send out the survey monthly to consumers whose last names begin with certain letters. This is so that each consumer does not receive a survey more than once a year. We worked with VR to develop surveys that were not asking for multiple responses in order to streamline collection of the data, and CAP (as a member of the SRC) will receive quarterly updates on the survey responses. The survey was developed in Spanish in addition to English to ensure the participation of underserved and unserved consumers.</p><p><p><b>ii. VR Policies and Order of Selection/Wait List</b></p><p><p>In FFY2019, CAP did not provide any comments on VR policies, as the agency did not propose to change any policies in FFY2019.</p><p><p>In prior years, we have commented on the effect of the implementation of the Order of Selection and the agency&rsquo;s waitlist. We advocated in early FFY2018 that the agency implement a transparent process regarding the waiting list and be transparent in how individuals would learn about their status. We have continued to follow up with the agency at joint VR and CAP meetings that occur during the year. In July&cedil;2019, we met with the VR administrator to review the updates on waiting list. The agency continued to move 25 people off the waiting list each month, and indicated that it would continue to do so in the coming year. We continued to advocate for the use of PRE-ETS services for those who would be entitled to PRE-ETS services as a way to avoid lengthy wait times for services as eligible clients.</p><p><p><b>iii. State Rehabilitation Council </b></p><p><p>We reported last year that we would possibly resume the Co-Chair position of the SRC Policy and Quality Assurance Subcommittee. We did so for FY2019 and will remain in the position for FY2020. In that role, we educate other members of the council
B. Litigation
0
0
1
<p>We reported last year that we had represented a client at an administrative hearing after the VR agency refused to provide full tuition support for a graduate degree. The agency&rsquo;s decision was upheld by a state administrative hearing office and CAP appealed to state court where the matter was pending assignment to a Superior Court Judge for decision. Since that time, we received a court decision which upheld the state&rsquo;s determination that it could cap tuition amounts. Although we did not prevail on the client&rsquo;s ultimate issue, we did represent her throughout and negotiated some aspects of her case successfully outside the litigation, such as VR agreeing to provide rental support of over $600/month while she was attending school.</p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Rhode Island
No
n/a
B. Staff Employed
<p>Due to the relatively small size of our P&amp;A staff DRRI attorneys are not assigned to one specific grant, but generally represent individuals on several grants. Attorneys are also assigned responsibility for systemic activities, which are funded by specific P&amp;A programs. A staff attorney serves as the primary liaison with the state VR agency, and serves as the CAP representative on the Statewide Rehabilitation Council. DRRI employs intake advocates, who also work on a cross-program basis. The intake advocates screen callers to determine whether their problems fall within our office-wide priorities, collect demographic and case data, and give referral information. Under the current system, attorneys track their time spent on serving CAP eligible clients, and these costs are billed to the CAP program.</p><p><p>Type Of Position / FTE / % of Year Filled / Person Years</p><p><p>Professional</p><p><p>Full-Time / 0.90 / 99% / 0.89</p><p><p>Clerical</p><p><p>Full-Time / 0.09 / 100% / 0.09</p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p>This year, CAP cases concerned the following -</p><p><ul><p><li>We continued to have individuals contact our office with concerns about postsecondary education issues and VR. Last year, we reported that we anticipated funding constraints to affect all services, but were particularly concerned about postsecondary education and training services. As we feared, the issues continued and we are still being contacted about these issues. Last year, we were contacted by two other individuals who are experiencing the same refusal by VR to provide full tuition support for graduate degrees. The clients both appealed the decision and went to mediation as a preliminary means to try to resolve the matter short of litigation. Unfortunately, mediation did not resolve the issues, and the clients requested administrative hearings. At the end of FY2019, one client&rsquo;s hearing decision was still pending. In the second case, the administrative hearing officer upheld the VR agency&rsquo;s decision to once again limit funding for graduate training. The client filed an appeal to the state Superior Court under the Administrative Procedures Act to appeal the decision.</li><p><li>We continue to represent clients who need assistance to understand a VR controlling policy. For example, we assisted a client to understand VR&rsquo;s controlling policy about graduate training. In this case, the client wanted to attend a particular program at a private school despite the availability of the same program at a public institution. We did not offer to represent this client because of evidentiary issues but provided information about the appeals process to the client. In another case, we investigated whether the client was positioned to receive transition services, including VR services, and we explained VR policy and appeal timelines to the client including information about supported employment services.</li><p><li>We continue to represent clients to reconnect with VR or who may need help to access VR services.</li><p></ul><p>
Certification
Approved
Morna A. Murray
Executive Director
2019-12-20
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