RSA-227 for FY-2020: Submission #1115

Colorado
09/30/2020
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Center for Legal Advocacy d/b/a Disability Law Colorado
455 Sherman St, Ste 130
{Empty}
Denver
CO
80203
303-722-0300
800-288-1376
800-288-1376
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
{Empty}
Additional Information
Jennifer Purrington - Kelly McCullough beginning 1/1/21
Jennifer Purrington
303-722-0300
jpurrington@disabilitylawco.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
1
0
0
0
2
2
5
B. Training Activities
9
466
October 2, 2019 – Presentation at New DVR Counselor Orientation about CAP/PABSS services. There were 6 new counselors present.
October 11, 2019 – Presentation at Parents Encouraging Parents in Fort Collins, CO on Special Education Law and transition services. There were 150 parents and educators present.
January 22, 2020 – Presentation at New DVR Counselor Orientation about CAP/PABSS services. There were 8 new counselors present.
January 24, 2020 – Presentation at Parents Encouraging Parents in Colorado Springs, CO on Special Education Law and transition services. There were 170 parents and educators present.
January 27, 2020 – Outreach to develop relationship with Native American P&A, Tribal Education, and DVR staff in the Southern Ute region. We attended an event and met with P&A staff. There were 10 people present.
January 31, 2020 – Presentation at Courage to Risk Conference about Special Education Law and transition services. There were 80 educators present.
April 2, 2020 – Online Presentation to College Living Experience on disability law and resources for people with disabilities, including an explanation of our services and programs. There were 25 college age students and staff present.
April 8, 2020 – Online presentation for New DVR Counselor Orientation about CAP/PABSS services. There were 7 new counselors present.
September 24, 2020 – Presentation to DVR Counselors in Grand Junction, CO on the ADA and CAP/PABSS services for clients. There were 10 counselors present.
*Some trainings that would have normally occurred were delayed or cancelled due to COVID.

We have created a fact sheet on DVR services and a fact sheet on Transition services. These fact sheets are available to the public on our website. We also bring this information to any resource fairs and events we attend on behalf of Disability Law Colorado.
C. Agency Outreach
We collaborate with and reach out to the following entities and request referrals of individuals who are unserved/underserved/minorities: the Colorado Department of Education, the Arc of Colorado and the local Arcs throughout the state, the PEAK Parent Training Center, Parent to Parent Colorado, the Colorado Autism Society, the International Dyslexia Association, the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council and the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service, the Colorado Assistive Technology Project, the Denver Metro Parent Center, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and the Office of Employment First.

Our primary means for reaching minority communities has been through our training sessions across the state. This is especially true with our participation with Parents Encouraging Parents and the trainings they have all across Colorado. These sessions attract hundreds of parents from varying ethnic and racial communities from across Colorado. We have also increased our presence at tabling events and resources fairs over the last year. During these events we provide information and fact sheets about our services and encourage people to contact us with issues. We also provide a large majority of our resource information in English as well as Spanish so consumers in the Hispanic community have access to the same information. We have also increased the number of Spanish materials on our website to make those materials more accessible to people as well.

In 2008 we published “Guía de la Ley de Educación Especial,” the Spanish/English version of the award-winning publication, “The Everyday Guide to Special Education Law – Third Edition.” This guide also includes information on transition services. The Spanish and English text appear side-by-side so that people can literally be on the same page. One of our goals in publishing Guía de la Ley de Educación Especial was to eliminate the language barrier for Spanish-speaking parents in learning about their child’s educational rights. Efforts are underway to produce the 2nd edition of Guía de la Ley de Educación Especial in FY21.

Our website, which was redesigned in 2015, has a Spanish section and we regularly update resources. In FY19 we were intentional in bringing focus to this effort by recruiting a volunteer, who is a professional Spanish translator, to audit the Spanish version of our website, and to bring available content in Spanish current and equitable. We routinely make surveys, fact sheets and educational materials available in both Spanish and English. We have begun a strategic Latino Community Engagement initiative to intentionally focus our quest to provide additional Spanish resources and identify Latino community groups and organizations throughout the state with whom we want to partner. Recently, we sent two representatives (1 volunteer and 1 staff person) to the Latino Leadership Symposium with the goal of building relationships with Latino community leaders and to strengthen our Latino Community Engagement efforts.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
1
0
400
3
3660
DLC actively engages people through social media channels.
Twitter: 782 Following | 1,071 Followers | Avg Reach: 3.6K
Facebook: 1,730 Likes/Followers | Avg Post Reach: 936
Instagram: 199 Following | 698 Followers
LinkedIn: 161 Followers | Avg Impressions: 256
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
15
19
34
1
4
B. Problem areas
0
14
17
2
0
1
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
20
0
9
1
0
1
31
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
0
10
0
13
0
4
1
0
3
0
0
0
{Empty}
E. Results achieved for individuals
11
0
0
0
7
5
3
1
0
4
1. DVR case closed. Client had to reapply. Nothing for CAP to help.
2. Client didn’t respond to CAP
3. Answered client’s questions about formal appeal process.
4. Client didn’t respond to CAP
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
1
11
16
5
34
B. Gender
18
16
34
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
2
1
1
2
0
22
0
6
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
3
1
0
0
0
1
3
0
1
0
0
1
3
2
0
0
0
0
0
1
9
1
0
0
1
3
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
2
34
E. Types of Individuals Served
20
1
13
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
1) Last year we noticed some issues regarding lack of knowledge from the Office of Administrative Court judges about the DVR formal appeal process and statutes and regulations governing that process. After resolving a representation issue, discussed in the previous PPR, we have more recently reached out to the Chief Judge of the Office of Administrative Courts to offer training and/or written guidance to the judges about federal laws and regulations governing DVR services and the formal appeals process. Although we have not received a confirmation from the Judge requesting our assistance, we plan to continue to follow up and offer information and training, as we see a large need for this assistance.

2) Over the past year we have implemented quarterly meetings with DVR administration to discuss systemic issues the CAP has identified. We have addressed issues regarding lack of the knowledge in the Office of Administrative Courts, issues with the language in certain sections of the DVR policy manual and have arranged training collaboratives to discuss the current issues with DVR transition services for youth. These meetings have proven to be a way for us to consistently connect with DVR and resolve systemic issues in a timely manner. During one of these meetings, we identified some issues with a worksheet used by counselors related to competitive integrative employment. Based on our expressed concerns, the worksheet was changed to benefit DVR clients and follow the regulations.
B. Litigation
0
0
0
During the past year, we have been developing self-help materials for DVR clients who are participating in the formal appeal process. The formal appeal process is very onerous on self-represented participants. Although we have not completed the materials at this time, we hope to be able to complete them in the coming year and hope they will provide guidance to DVR clients in the future.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Center for Legal Advocacy d/b/a Disability Law Colorado
No
{Empty}
B. Staff Employed
Total FTE = 2.07
Program Coordinator 19.7%
Advocate 74.2%
Grand Junction Attorney 8.0%
Grand Junction Advocate 8.7%
Attorney 14.3%
Senior Intake Specialist 8.7%
Director of Legal Services 10.6%
Executive Director 6.2%
Director of Administrative Services 7.0%
Office Manager 6.02%
Accounting Manager 7.7%
Administrative Assistant 8.0%
Administrative Assistant 7.9%
Administrative Assistant 6.2%
Administrative Assistant - Grand Junction 11.0%
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1. Client is a 34-year-old male with paraplegia from a spinal injury. He uses a wheelchair and is dependent, for medical reasons, to transporting in a modified van. When working with VR, the client was unemployed and had been working to find employment in his degree area of security management. His primary complaint was that VR had denied his request for a safety-related repair to his modified van. The mechanism that secured his wheelchair in place while he was behind the wheel of the van was broken, which resulted in his wheelchair being unsecured as he drove, which was very unsafe. The cost of the repair had been estimated to be approximately $1,000. The VR counselor had decided that the client could take the bus, para transit or a cab, instead of making the necessary repair to his modified van. Unfortunately, none of the options presented by VR could accommodate the client’s medically documented need to have quick, as-needed access to necessary medical equipment housed in his van. Conversely, the VR counselor stated that the van could be repaired, but only after the client was employed. The current situation, however, prevented client from even interviewing for work. Thus, VR was effectively using the client’s disability to create an even greater barrier to employment.

As soon as CAP was contacted, the Advocate worked with the client to strengthen his documentation indicating medical necessity. The CAP Advocate also negotiated with the VR counselor and supervisor to educate them of the letter and spirit of federal regulation. After providing additional evidence and advocating for the client, VR finally agreed to the repair. Unfortunately, after VR’s agreement for the service, the VR staff then became nonresponsive to client or CAP’s attempt to communicate, which further prolonged getting the repair completed. This situation was resolved when CAP made it known that it was prepared to bring the situation to the Regional Manager’s attention, after which the IPE was amended to include the repair, and the repair proceeded. Due to CAP’s advocacy, the client was then able to look for work and once receiving a job, get to work safely, while meeting his medical needs.

2. The Client is an 18-year-old male with Autism. The Client initially came to CAP with two issues: one simply required a referral, while the other required direct advocacy from the CAP Advocate. His first issue was a misunderstanding about the differences between the VR process when it involves a person who receives Social Security disability benefits (the sibling) and a person who does not receive those benefits (the client). There was also a dispute about the client’s tax status as head-of-household, although the client was living in the family home. The Advocate directed the client to the appropriate entities to obtain clarification on these issues, which were successfully accomplished.

The second issue presented by the client was that VR would not support the client’s desire for a PhD in Geology in order to work as a Paleontologist. The client had worked successfully for ten years as a volunteer at a local natural history museum and was clear about his vocational goals. The client had also worked at Safeway for the past 18 months, throughout COVID-19; thus, he was able to demonstrate his ability to work under direction with good review and persistence in employment. He had also passed two college level classes with an A and a B. Additionally, he was paying rent to his parents, which he was proud to be able to do with some of his earnings. This was a young man with a great deal of personal drive, promise and potential. Although the client currently needed supports to achieve his employment goals, his overall goal was to work without supports in the future.

When the CAP Advocate became involved, she helped the client and his parents understand and plan for the client’s needs as he moved toward a vocation. Educational paths were explored. Then the client and his parents needed to understand how to approach and negotiate successfully with VR so when CAP stepped away in the future, the client would be able to advocate for himself. One large challenge was to craft an educational path that would work for the client and that VR would support. After a lengthy period of meetings between the client (and parents), the CAP Advocate and DVR, a plan was completed that included numerous supports for the client. Although the plan did not include the client’s desire for a PhD, it did commit to an associate’ degree with a statement in the plan that with successful completion of the degree, VR would support a bachelor’s degree at a specific state university that has an inclusion program. The plan also recognized that at least a master’s degree in geology would be necessary for the client, which could be obtained at the same university. VR also agreed that a doctorate would be considered upon successful completion of all prior education. The plan also included full provision for supports, including assistive technology.

Through CAP’s advocacy, the client was able to move forward with a plan, honoring his employment goal and skills, but taking smaller, meaningful steps towards his overall career ambitions.

3. The client is a 32-year-old woman with ADD/ADHD. She came to CAP when the state VR agency would not support her employment goal and choice of training. The client had primarily worked for years in her family’s business, which VR did not value as “real employment experience,” because it was a family business. The client had a few experiences with non-family employers, but the majority of her experience was with her family. The client’s choice for training was an out-of-state accredited school that provided an online program, which the client believed was formatted in a way that would work best in terms of her disabilities and her specific vocational direction. After researching in-state training opportunities, she determined that that was no comparable program within the state.

When the client approached CAP, she expressed that she wanted to learn self-advocacy skills to work with VR. The CAP Advocate worked with the client, reviewing documentation, discussing what would be required to provide to VR, and how to effectively advocate when talking with the VR supervisor. The client met with the VR supervisor alone several times and would then report back to the CAP Advocate. After each meeting, the Advocate and client would discuss what happened in the meeting with DVR and how to improve the client’s self-advocacy. The Advocate recommended that the client present her portfolio, that she had worked on for years, to the DVR supervisor, along with earlier records of her academic experience. CAP also recommended that the client develop a narrative of her multitude of duties in the family business, which was a very stable, long-term enterprise. Armed with this information, the client approached VR and invited them to do their own research to find an in-state institutions that had a comparable program to her desired out-of-state program, that would suffice for the client’s specific vocational and disability-related needs. After challenging VR to find a comparable program, the VR supervisor finally agreed to support the client’s employment goal and choice of out-of-state training. Through CAP’s assistance, the client was able to successfully self-advocate for her desired career goal and necessary training.
Certification
Approved
Mary Anne Harvey
Executive Director
2020-12-19
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.