RSA-227 for FY-2019: Submission #1101

Connecticut
9/30/2019
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
{Empty}
Gretchen Knauff
(860) 469-4463
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
10
1
0
3
1
4
19
B. Training Activities
7
284
<p><u>Training Type 1</u> - <b>Presentation - Advocacy in Counseling</b></p><p><p>a. Topic - Advocating for Your Clients as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor</p><p><p>b. Purpose of the Training - The purpose of the session was to educate students who are studying to receive Master&rsquo;s Degrees in Vocational Counseling. The training focuses on advocacy in working with vocational rehabilitation clients.</p><p><p>c. Description of the Attendees - Master&rsquo;s Level Candidates for Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling.</p><p><p>The CAP at Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) was invited to speak at a vocational rehabilitation counseling class of 25 students. The instructor asked the CAP advocate to discuss with the class how they can be better advocates for their clients. The training included information about DRCT and CAP and a discussion of advocacy tips to remember when working with a client. The last session was interactive and included various scenarios that counselors may encounter and what how the situations might be addressed. DRCT presenters disseminated information about DRCT and CAP, Tips for working with the vocational rehabilitation system, DRCT&rsquo;s Disability Resources Directory and copies of the PowerPoint used for the presentation. The instructor let us know that the class enjoyed the presentation and learned a lot from the session.</p><p><p><u>Training Type 2</u> - <b>Presentation/Discussion - Higher Education Professionals</b></p><p><p>a. <u>Topic</u> - Rights of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education and the role of Disability Rights Connecticut in Advocating for Those Students</p><p><p>b. <u>Purpose</u> - Educate Disability Coordinators at Connecticut colleges and universities about the rights of students with disabilities matriculating at their institutions.</p><p><p>c. <u>Description of the Attendees</u> - Higher Education Professionals who work as Disability Coordinators. The group also included a vocational rehabilitation counselor.</p><p><p>CAP attended a meeting of Connecticut AHEAD (Association of Higher Education and Disability). The presentation covered two topics. The first was Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) and what we do as an organization including CAP. All DRCT outreach and presentation activities include information about DRCT in an effort to continue to increase awareness about DRCT and its programs. The second topic was the rights of students with disabilities in higher education and the role that DRCT plays in assisting students with understanding and asserting their rights. The presentation also included an extensive question and answer period that encompassed questions about transition from high school to a higher education setting and the role of the vocational rehabilitation system.</p><p><p>At the end of FY 2019, DRCT was developing a publication that addresses the rights of students with disabilities in higher education. This publication will be disseminated to the
C. Agency Outreach
<p>At the end of Fiscal Year 2019, Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) was just over 2 years old. During the fiscal year, DRCT worked to hire more staff and continued to set up its infrastructure while serving people with disabilities in Connecticut. Outreach continued to focus on increasing awareness about DRCT and its programs and services including the Client Assistance Program. Staff also began a mapping project focused on determining where callers and clients live in Connecticut and conversely, places DRCT needs to target for outreach. As part of the project, the mapping will also look at ethnicity/race and activities will be developed to reach underserved populations.</p><p><p>During the fiscal year, DRCT provided outreach at 20 events, reaching more than 3,100 people with disabilities, family members and others. Almost 3,800 publications were disseminated at the events that included an annual Veterans&rsquo; Stand Down that attracted veterans from all over Connecticut, a Town Clerks conference, an annual Americans with Disabilities Act celebration, an employment focused disability resource fair, a transportation conference, a town resource fair, and a resource event at the Connecticut Capitol. DRCT also attended smaller events such as the local Farmers&rsquo; Market to reach underserved populations. While most of 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, customized employment and the vocational rehabilitation system at the 7 events/workshops that reached 284 people who received almost 1000 publications about DRCT programs including the CAP program, customized employment and their rights in the vocational rehabilitation system.</p><p><p>DRCT outreach also included improving information on the DRCT website. During the year, the number of resources and information on the website increased exponentially. During the 2019 fiscal year, there were 42,300 visitors to the DRCT website, almost 3 times the number visiting in FY 2018! The DRCT Facebook page continued to inform followers with disabilities and the public about DRCT, DRCT events and DRCT participation in various resource events. The CAP program was featured in 2 posts while employment was featured in 16 posts. During FY 2019, the DRCT Facebook page gained more followers. At the end of the fiscal year, the Facebook page had 569 followers and our posts have been seen, clicked, commented on or shared 32,571 times! Some DRCT publications have been developed and others reviewed and updated. Most publications are being translated into Spanish as they are developed.</p><p><p>At the end of the 2019 fiscal
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
1
0
0
8
20
0
<p>Since the organization is still fairly new, Disability Rights Connecticut concentrated on outreach and dissemination information about its programs and services. Eight different publications were disseminated about CAP and vocational rehabilitation rights. In addition, DRCT was in the process of developing new publications which will be available to the public through various methods of distribution.</p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>DRCT&rsquo;s Executive Director was interviewed for a cable news program. Information provided revolve d around the work of the organization.</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
12
11
23
0
5
B. Problem areas
0
8
11
1
0
3
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
7
0
8
3
0
0
18
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
12
1
1
1
0
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
<p>Not Applicable.</p><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
1
1
0
0
0
9
0
4
3
0
<p>Not Applicable</p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
3
7
6
6
23
B. Gender
13
10
23
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
2
0
0
5
0
16
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
1
0
0
0
0
7
0
2
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
1
1
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
23
E. Types of Individuals Served
15
0
8
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
<p>The Connecticut Client Assistance Program continued to address issues learned through participation on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and the Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind Advisory Council. CAP also learned about issues facing vocational rehabilitation applicants and clients through acceptance of CAP cases and discussions with colleagues in Connecticut.</p><p><p>At the end of FY 2019, the retiring CAP Advocate was invited to meet with the Commissioner of the Department of Rehabilitation Services to discuss her concerns about a number of issues experienced by both applicants and clients of BRS and BESB. Seeing it as at least an opportunity to make her aware of issues, CAP staff also made suggestions for improvement in the areas of discussion. Many of the issues below were discussed during that meeting.</p><p><p>1. <u>Customized Employment</u> - Historically, individuals with the most significant disabilities have been prematurely denied services by the vocational rehabilitation system, citing lack of ability to do competitive work. Many of these denials are not based on &ldquo;clear and convincing evidence&rdquo; relegating many possible employees to day programs, sheltered employment or artificial employment experiences with groups of individuals with disabilities.</p><p><p>In Connecticut, service providers receive funds to provide &ldquo;employment&rdquo; for people with intellectual disabilities. Rather than a system that supports these individuals as employees for a business, the providers contract with local businesses and supply people with disabilities to do certain tasks or jobs. The provider is the employer. Often the provider brings everyone in a van to a job site, the work is done as a group, there is little interaction with other employees and the employer does not develop a relationship with the individuals with disabilities. In addition, many of these groups are paid subminimum wage and wages can change depending on a loss of income. Either wages go down or the individuals&rsquo; hours are cut. Nobody works a full-time job.</p><p><p>During FY 2019, DRCT and its collaborators finished the third year of a three year initiative to address the issue of employment for people with the most significant disabilities. The initiative to bring Customized Employment to Connecticut took a two prong approach to the issue. The first prong was training of Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) through Marc Gold &amp; Associates, one of two national certification programs in Customized Employment. The second prong 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.</p><p><p>The training of CRPs is complete and a copy of a summary of the outcomes of the training is attached to this repo
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<p>Not Applicable.</p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Connecticut
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
<p>During the 2019 fiscal year, CAP funds were primarily 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. DRCT&rsquo;s Legal Director received vocational rehabilitation training through the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). The salaries of the two attorneys together equal .01 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 .33 FTE. CAP funds were also used for partial salaries of additional advocates who handled Information and Referral and projects. The FTE for these Advocates totals .11FTE Total professional FTE for the CAP program equals .45 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>Paul, a high school student, was receiving pre-employment transition services through Connecticut&rsquo;s vocational rehabilitation system, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). The services, however, were insufficient to address his employment preparation needs as an individual with Autism, Bi-polar Disorder and Depression. Paul and his mother wanted more intensive services and sought to apply for the full array of vocational rehabilitation services rather than be limited by the BRS vocational services offered high school transition students. Despite phone calls, emails, and inquiries from a Disability Rights Connecticut advocate who was addressing his educational transition services at the time, the requests were largely ignored. Eventually, Paul was able to secure an intake appointment with BRS but when they arrived, the BRS counselor blocked them from completing an application, citing BRS&rsquo;s internal policy to have student&rsquo;s wait until January of a student&rsquo;s senior year before beginning the application process for full BRS services.</p><p><p>The DRCT educational advocate assisted Paul and his mother with requesting assistance from DRCT&rsquo;s Client Assistance Program (CAP). The CAP Advocate reviewed Paul&rsquo;s record, met with Paul and his mother, and developed a strategy to address the denial of BRS services. The CAP Advocate argued that the denial of services violated the Rehabilitation Act and was able to schedule a new intake appointment with the BRS counselor and supervisor. Paul applied for the full array of services and was found eligible shortly thereafter. Paul is now receiving more intensive services needed to address his employment needs. He completed a job training experience at a location of his choice during the summer of 2019 and services are continuing. Go Paul!</p><p><p><b><u>Case Example 2</u></b></p><p><p><br>Regina endured a physical assault in 2014 that was the result of a hate crime. It was not until June of 2018 that she received a diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and immediately began working with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) to develop and attain an employment goal. Since the assault, Regina has used physical fitness to help manage some of the symptoms of her TBI, practicing yoga 5-7 times a week. She is interested in becoming a yoga instructor and requested training from BRS as part of an employment goal to become a certified yoga instructor. Her counselor and employment consultant form the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) informed her that it would not be a good return on investment for BRS and instead gave her an employment goal of administrative assistant because she has many transferrable administrative skills. They refused her request to switch employment goals. Frustrated, Regina requested a change in BRS counselor and contacted CAP for assistance with obtaining her preferred employment goal and developing an appropri
Certification
Approved
Gretchen Knauff
Executive Director
2019-12-17
OMB Notice

OMB Control Number: 1820-0528, approved for use through 07/31/2023

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 16 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit (Section 13 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1820-0528. Note: Please do not return the completed form to this address.