RSA-227 for FY-2019: Submission #1096

District of Columbia
9/30/2019
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
University Legal Services, Inc.
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
N/A
Washington
DC
20002
http://www.uls.dc.org
(877) 221-4638
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
University Legal Services, Inc.
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
N/A
Washington
20002
District of Columbia
sbernstein@uls-dc.org
http://www.uls.dc.org
(877) 221-4638
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Additional Information
Sandy Bernstein
Sandy Bernstein
(202) 547-0198
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
25
0
0
0
0
1
26
B. Training Activities
10
315
ULS presented to social workers and case managers at Miriam&rsquo;s Kitchen, a program for homeless and vulnerable populations about how to access services from the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration and the range of services available. <p><p>ULS presented to transition coordinators at non-public schools for students with disabilities regarding the changes under the Work Innovation and Opportunity Act, Pre-Employment Transition Services, the services available from the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration and advocacy strategies when a student runs into roadblocks at the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration. <p><p>ULS presented to high school students with disabilities and teachers at Ballou High School and EL Haynes Public Charter School about Pre-Employment Transition Services available to transition-age youth, the services available from the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration and the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>ULS, along with Advocates for Justice and Education, were trainers in a webinar regarding how parents can successfully navigate the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration for their transition-age children. <p><p>ULS presented at four different day programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities regarding the services available at the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration, how they can access these services for assistance finding employment and the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>ULS presented at the D.C. Public Library to individuals with disabilities about the services available from the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration. <p><p>ULS presented to Project Action, a self-advocacy group comprised of people with intellectual disabilities regarding how to advocate for improved services from the D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration and the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
ULS conducted outreach to parents of students with disabilities at the Ward 5 and Ward 7/8 Special Education Workshop. ULS spoke to parents of students in public and public charter schools about Pre-Employment Transition Services and how to access D.C. Rehabilitation Services Administration (DCRSA) services. <p><p>ULS tabled at the Voices of Change Conference, a conference that SchoolTalk hosts with the goal of providing transition-age youth with disabilities with the knowledge and skills to lead self-determined lives. DCRSA funded this conference.<p>ULS conducted outreach at the Ballou High School Transition Fair. ULS spoke to students with disabilities regarding the supports available to them after they leave high school, including services from DCRSA. ULS informed the students of how CAP can assist them if they have difficulty with DCRSA or are denied a service. Many of the students were completely unaware of the support DCRSA can provide for postsecondary education and job placement. This school serves minority populations who are extremely low income. <p><p>ULS conducted outreach at the Disability Awareness Day event, co-sponsored with the D.C. Department on Disability Services, the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council, the D.C. University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Project Action and the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities. At this event, ULS spoke to individuals with disabilities and family members about their right to quality supports and services, including services from DCRSA and the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>ULS conducted outreach at the DC Latino Conference on Disabilities. ULS spoke, with the assistance of an interpreter, to many Latino DC residents with disabilities about issues they were experiencing with DCRSA, advocacy strategies and the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>ULS conducted outreach at the Project Action (DC self-advocacy group) and People on the Go (Maryland self-advocacy group) conference to DC residents with developmental disabilities, regarding the assistance CAP can provide. <p><p>At all of our outreach events, the majority of individuals present were members of minority and underserved populations. All of ULS' brochures and fact sheets are translated to Spanish so they are readily accessible to the Spanish-speaking population in D.C. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
400
7
0
N/A <P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A <P><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
8
24
32
2
12
B. Problem areas
33
15
18
3
0
22
1
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
1
2
12
0
7
1
23
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
20
2
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
N/A <P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
3
0
0
0
17
2
1
0
0
0
N/A <P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
8
7
13
3
32
B. Gender
18
14
32
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
2
0
0
23
0
6
1
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
2
0
1
0
0
3
0
1
1
0
2
2
1
0
0
0
1
0
1
9
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0
32
E. Types of Individuals Served
4
0
32
0
5
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
1. ULS was representing a client who needed DCRSA to pay for his books, supplies and assistive technology from the Montgomery County Bookstore. Through that advocacy, ULS learned that, not only had DCRSA not paid the Montgomery County bookstore for months for any of the individuals there supported by DCRSA, but they had not paid any of the Barnes and Noble bookstores on college campuses for months. Some students were not able to get their books as a result. ULS reached out to management at DCRSA and asked them to address this systemic issue. The management confirmed that the stores were owed a substantial amount of money and send payment so that DCRSA clients' education was not further affected. <p><p>2. ULS drafted suggested questions for the D.C. City Council's oversight hearing for DCRSA. The purpose of the hearing is for the Council to hear from the public and DCRSA's director about DCRSA's services. ULS' suggested questions spanned a number of topics including the vocational counselors' caseloads, the languages spoken by counselors, how many complaints were filed, how often they met their eligibility determination and IPE development deadlines, any plans to improve the responsiveness of counselors, their efforts to ensure payment to colleges and training programs are made timely and details of their services to transition-age youth. City Council asked DCRSA many of ULS' suggested question, especially the questions pertaining to meeting timelnes, complaints filed and the breadth of services provided to transition-age youth.ULS uses the information DCRSA provides in response to these oversight questions to advocate for our clients. Through drafting these questions, ULS also educated the City Council regarding what changes should be made to improve the vocational services at DCRSA. The questions and responses are publicly available so they educate the public about the services available and what their expectations can be for the quality and timeliness of those services. ULS also testified at the February 2019 City Council oversight hearing for DCRSA. In our testimony, ULS discussed DCRSA's failure to timely implement clients' IPEs and timely pay tuition bills throughout the year especially at the start of each fiscal year and asked City Council to work with DCRSA to address these issues.<p>3. ULS continues to attend State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meetings. ULS' primary CAP attorney, Abraham Hiatt, completed paperwork to become a member of the SRC but was not appointed until the beginning of fiscal year 2020. Recently, the SRC has undertaken steps to alter its operating structure in order to increase its effectiveness. In accordance with this action, DCRSA has undertaken a re-write of its bylaws and ULS will work on that project. In past years, ULS has taken an active role in commenting on proposed policies from DCRSA but this year, DCRSA has not presented policies for input.<p>
B. Litigation
0
1
1
ULS did not engage in systemic litigation under CAP. <P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
University Legal Services
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
Executive Director (professional, partially funded by CAP): Jane Brown is the Executive Director of University Legal Services. She supervises and oversees all employees and grants of the agency. A very small portion on her salary is billed to CAP. <p><p>Legal Director/CAP Director (professional, partially funded by CAP): Sandy Bernstein supervises all of the legal and policy work at University Legal Services, including the CAP work. She closely supervises the staff attorneys who handle the CAP cases and participates in policy discussions, training and outreach. She also represents a small number of CAP clients herself. She bills 10% of her time to CAP. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Abraham Hiatt is the lead CAP attorney at ULS. He started his employment at ULS in January 2019. He handles the majority of the CAP cases and policy initiatives. He is a member of the State Rehabilitation Council. He bills approximately 55% of his time to CAP. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Peter Stephan also represents CAP clients and engages in outreach under the CAP grant. He bills 30% of his time to CAP. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Margaret Hart was employed at ULS until early January 2019 as the primary CAP attorney. She billed 65% of her time to CAP. She left ULS for other employment. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Francis Nugent was a Staff Attorney at ULS until September 2019. He represented CAP clients until November 2018, when he switched to other grant work at ULS. When he was assigned to the CAP grant, he billed approximately 25% of his time to CAP. Mr. Nugent left ULS for other employment in September 2019. <p><p>Accountant/Bookeeper Lan Ji (professional, partially funded by CAP): Lan Ji is responsible for the billing and accounting for the CAP grant. A very small portion of her salary is billed to CAP. <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1. ULS represented a 47-year old woman with a mental illness who was homeless and sought assistance from the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration (DCRSA) to become a cosmetologist. DCRSA was improperly requiring her to provide proof of residency and conditioned her services on the receipt of mental health treatment, including medication (without any evidence that mental health issues were impacting her employment goal). ULS represented the client at an administrative review and successfully advocated for her chosen employment goal and for her DCRSA counselor to receive training on the agency's eligibility standards, requiring only that a person be present in the state. ULS also successfully advocated against her DCRSA services being conditioned upon a 90 day compliance with her medication regime. As a result, DCRSA developed and implemented an appropriate IPE and the client enrolled in cosmetology school with support from DCRSA for tuition, books, supplies, a uniform and travel expenses. <p><p>2. ULS represented at 58-year-old man who had his leg amputated. He worked as an audio engineer in a local church that was preparing to upgrade its audio equipment to a new, all-digital system. The client&rsquo;s employer requested that the client, who had experience only with analog systems, obtain training on the use of digital systems. The client approached DCRSA approximately 5 years ago to request funding for education so that he could maintain his position at the church. DCRSA requested and received a letter from the church that explained the need for the training. DCRSA initially argued that it could not locate a program that would satisfy his needs, asserting that he was required to obtain a GED first. The client did not want to obtain one, and thus several years passed with this impasse. The client found a local program that he felt would satisfy his employer&rsquo;s requirements, but DCRSA demurred without providing any specific reason and threatened to close the case when some time passed. Thus, the client contacted ULS in March 2019. ULS argued to the DCRSA counselor that the agency is required to fund education to help an individual maintain his or her job and argued that the letter from the church regarding the need for training was sufficient to justify the provision thereof. After ULS began advocating for the client, DCRSA agreed to fund individualized training for the client in the program he chose.<p>3. ULS represented a 27-year old man with cerebral palsy who was denied funding by DCRSA to take summer classes at the undergraduate institution where he attends. DCRSA is currently funding his education but denied funding for the summer classes, stating that their policy only would permit such funding when the classes are not available during the Fall or Spring semester, would enable a student to graduate early, are part of a year-round school or are needed to accommodate an individual's disability. DCRSA stated that th
Certification
Approved
Sandy Bernstein
Legal Director
2019-11-22
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