RSA-227 for FY-2020: Submission #1117

Florida
09/30/2020
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Florida
2473 Care Drive, Ste 200
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Tallahassee
FL
32308
8502644760
8003420823
8003464127
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Ann Siegel, CAP Director
Ann Robinson, CAP Grant Coordinator
8504889071 ext. 9723
annr@disabilityrightsflorida.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
96
17
0
25
1
65
204
B. Training Activities
7
831
CAP presentation to the Tallahassee Council of the Blind: Provided overview of CAP services to consumer organization to promote a better understanding of how to utilize CAP as a resource. Techniques for self-advocacy were also reviewed. Audience was individuals who were blind or had visual impairments.
Family Café 2020 Adulting 101: WIOA, Transition and Finances for Students with Disabilities- Topics included transition services through the school system and vocational rehabilitation programs as well as benefits of the Social Security program. An emphasis was the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and how post-secondary options can be facilitated with appropriate and timely transition services. Attendees of this virtual event were students with disabilities, family members and other organizations working with youth and adults with disabilities.
Family Café 2020 - Your Winning Ticket: Making Work Pay - Topics included Vocational Rehabilitation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Ticket to Work. Parents, students and other advocacy organizations attended this virtual event. The purpose was to provide an overview of resources to assist transition students and individuals with disabilities accessing programs related to future employment supports. This event was virtual.
Family Café 2020 -Teaching Our Children to Become Self Advocates – Presentation topics included advocacy techniques to use with the school system and vocational rehabilitation including use of CAP services. Parents and students attended this virtual event.
Independence for the Blind: Presentation on the CAP program and Disability Rights Florida to a support group via phone as the pandemic prevented in-person training. General questions on CAP and agency services were answered.
Seeing the Future Without Limits: Successful Transition to Adulthood and Employment- Topics at this virtual conference centered on the transition process through the collaboration of the school districts and vocational rehabilitation programs. Post-secondary options and employment were discussed in detail along with CAP and Disability Rights Florida services in the event of transition disputes. Attendees were through virtual conference and power point presentation.
Youth Transition Group Presentation – Lighthouse of the Big Bend was provided a transition training on self-advocacy, the Division of Blind Services and the services of CAP related to their rights in the program and how CAP may be of assistance. Attendees were students as well as professionals.

C. Agency Outreach
The COVID pandemic impacted CAP outreach activities by March 2020 and there were delays and then cancellation of planned events as the virus impacted Florida. The Intake Outreach Coordinator early in the fiscal year, attended many outreach events, along with the agency External Affairs Coordinator and they are both representatives of minority groups. The Intake Manager is also the CAP Grant Coordinator so the entire intake unit staff is trained to be well aware of Vocational Rehabilitation, Centers for Independent Living and ADA Title I information for individuals with disabilities. Disability Rights Florida had three bilingual specialists in the intake department for most of this fiscal year and we utilize Certified Language Interpreters when other languages are necessary. Disability Rights Florida also has a Spanish and English 24-7 online portal for client concerns for intake. This service is also available during weekends.



The following outreach events were conducted. The Family Café event, which is the largest disability related conference each year in Florida, was entirely virtual in June 2020.


12th Annual YES! Family Abilities Information Rally (F.A.I.R.)
Centers for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) Autism Conference 2020
70th Annual Florida Bar Convention
Abilities Workshop Blueprint Ministry Workshop
Disability Resource Expo 2020, Alachua County
ARC of Florida Convention 2019
Association of Vision Rehabilitation Therapists Conference
Autism Speaks Pathways to Adult Services Event
Broward Exceptional Student Education Advisory Council's 5th Annual Resource Fair
Central Florida Autism Speaks Walk
Daniel Memorial Annual National Foster Care Conference
Florida Department of Children and Families 2019 Child Protection Summit
Disability Employment Awareness Exceptional Employers Awards Program 2019
Evening with The Agencies 2020 (Osceola County)
Family Café 2020 Governor's Summit
Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) Employment Webinar Series Presentation
Florida Behavioral Health Conference 2020
Florida Council for the Blind Annual Virtual Conference
Florida Parent Teacher Association Virtual Convention
Florida PTA Virtual Leadership Convention
From Planning to Wrap Up: Ensuring Your Event is ADA Compliant
Indian River State College Disability Awareness Day Rights Exhibit
National Alliance of Individuals with Mental Illness, Martin County Mental Health Summit
North Florida Adult Training Center Civil Rights & Responsibilities event
Polk Symposium on Special Education
Spirit of the ADA

D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
1
0
75084
26
838
Podcasts are on the Disability Rights Florida website Related to CAP and ADA (Title I included). There were 393 individuals who reviewed the material either audio or captioned for Episode 9- What is the Client Assistance Program and there were 445 individuals who reviewed the ADA Anniversary segment.
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
NA
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
24
127
151
5
16
B. Problem areas
3
25
85
34
0
5
2
2
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
80
6
52
0
2
2
142
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
69
22
0
16
1
32
1
0
1
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
83
23
0
0
1
21
5
4
0
0
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Part III. Program Data
A. Age
32
28
26
60
5
151
B. Gender
62
89
151
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
37
0
2
28
0
75
6
3
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
7
0
2
1
3
35
3
10
8
1
3
6
3
2
2
1
0
2
6
17
1
0
2
15
9
0
0
0
10
1
0
0
0
151
E. Types of Individuals Served
15
1
80
4
58
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
Due Process:
CAP Director and Senior CAP advocate met with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Director and legal counsel to discuss improved informal conflict resolution. CAP reached an agreement for a new practice between the programs so that when cases are worked up through the advocacy process but cannot be resolved at the administrative review process, the CAP Director and advocate will reach out to DVR and their legal department to meet for an informal conflict resolution meeting. The goal is to ensure that we are working on behalf of the consumer to exhaust all possible avenues of resolution prior to filing for an administrative hearing. We have participated in one meeting with the DVR Director and legal counsel and have seen an increase in a path to open communication with CAP to resolve client issues whenever possible. This has also fostered invitations by the DVR local offices to have the CAP Director present at area supervisor meetings.
The CAP Director met with the Director of the Division of Blind Services (DBS) to discuss opening the lines of communication to ensure quality of service by the DBS to their consumers and to foster a better working relationship between DBS and CAP. We have agreed to communicate regarding any concerns we see with any of the counselors, supervisors or area offices. DBS has also agreed to contact the CAP Director if there are any issues with the CAP.

Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC):
The CAP grant coordinator served as the 1st Vice Chair and Evaluation and Planning Chair until her final term ended on the FRC on June 30, 2020. The CAP grant coordinator participated in a leadership role in the FRC Development of Unified State Plan Comments for 2020-2024. Although the recommendation for a Bureau of Deaf and Hard of Hearing was not agreed to by the agency, additional contracts for interpreters were approved to address the shortage of interpreters to improve services for deaf and hard of hearing clients. Additionally, the DVR Director began a practice of including Deaf and Hard of Hearing information in each Director's meeting given the interest of CAP and the FRC on services to this population.

CAP and FRC advocated for a poster to be placed in every DVR office that includes the DVR supervisor’s name, the DVR Ombudsman and a description of CAP. The results of the FRC Client Satisfaction Survey were consistently showing that clients of the agency were unclear on their rights and the chain of command and given DVR counselor turnover, this was seen as being important at the office level. This agreement was reached with the DVR Director at the February 2020 FRC meeting which was the last in-person meeting before the pandemic. However, this will not be counted this year as the Pandemic resulted in closing of DVR offices and attention to multiple other operational issues and will be revisited next reporting cycle.

Division of Blind Services:
CAP advocated for all DBS policies that mention Disability Rights Florida to describe instead the Client Assistance Program at Disability Rights Florida. CAP is noted in the applicable Federal regulations. The DBS Director agreed to make this adjustment. DBS Division Policy #2.5 related to Informal/Formal Review Process and Mediation was changed to reflect this agreed upon language which describes CAP in greater detail as well as Disability Rights Florida.


B. Litigation
1
0
0
JW is an individual who identifies as blind. JW is a consumer of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Division of Blind Services (DBS). JW has been a consumer for over 9 years. He graduated around 2013 from Janitorial and Cleaning classes. He was working with DVR and DBS with the goal of self-employment. Around 2016 with the intervention from the Client Assistance Program (CAP), we negotiated a settlement agreement resulting in JW, with DVR and DBS support, to start JW’s Janitorial and Cleaning Company. They agreed to purchase the equipment, including two floor scrubbers and supplies, business license, and to pay the rent for an office and warehouse space. When JW’s case was closed DBS and DVR were proceeding with the plan. Around 2018, JW reached out to the CAP due to DVR and DBS refusal to secure the equipment and supplies, and lack of implementation of the business plan. CAP investigated the issue and uncovered that DBS had purchased the equipment and supplies but had failed to work with JW, therefore the equipment remained at the vendor’s business and the vendor was now refusing to provide JW the equipment and supplies unless a substantial storage fee was paid. There was no formal agreement with DBS and the vendor for storage and DBS had stopped working in good faith to secure a warehouse and office for JW. The CAP reached out to DVR and DBS and requested they reach out to their vendor to secure the equipment and supplies and honor the 2016 settlement agreement. DVR moved to close JW’s case and the CAP represented JW at an administrative hearing and the decision was overturned and DVR agreed to provide services and committed DBS’ participation. The CAP proceeded to advocate for implementation of the plan and DBS moved to close JW’s case. The CAP reached out to DBS’ attorney but the attorney refused to address the enforcement of the settlement agreement. There was a disconnect between DVR and DBS working collaboratively on behalf of a shared consumer. The CAP filed for enforcement with the Department of Administrative Hearings(DOAH) but DOAH lacked the authority to enforce the settlement agreement. The CAP filed a complaint against DVR and DBS in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit of Leon County seeking enforcement of the settlement agreement. The parties were ordered to mediation where the matter was settled. JW will receive everything that was agreed upon in the first settlement with additional supports and services. This matter resulted in DVR and DBS working together on behalf of JW. The DVR and DBS meet with JW and the CAP every two weeks to ensure they are making progress on the plan and working collaboratively on behalf of JW. In 2020, the CAP resolved the dispute between DVR and DBS on behalf of JW.
This successful CAP litigation may benefit 900 -1,000 clients served by DVR and DBS as well as clients of both agencies involved in the small business and rehabilitation engineering process. This estimate is based on information from both agencies for 2019/2020 that together they served 45,342 clients. A small subset of clients served by both agencies or individuals involved in small business or rehabilitation engineering services is estimated at 2% of total DVR/DBS clients which would be 900 - 1,000 individuals. The litigation in this case positively impacted overall communication and coordination of effort of both agencies.


Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Florida
No
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B. Staff Employed
Position Position Type % of Year filled % of position funded by CAP Person Years
Accounting Manager Professional 100.00% 6.8% 1
Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Advocacy Specialist Professional 100.00% 28.6% 1
Advocacy Specialist Bilingual Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Advocacy Specialist Bilingual Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 0.58% 8.9% 0.5
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 95.1% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.1% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.1% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 12.3% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.1% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 75.00% 0.7% 0.75
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.1% 1
Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 70.2% 1
Dir. Of Education, Advocacy & Outreach Professional 100.00% 29.3% 1
Director of Communications Professional 83.33% 6.7% 0.75
Director of Investigations Professional 100.00% 2.9% 1
Director of Investigations Professional 83.33% 0.3% 0.75
Director of Operations Professional 100.00% 6.8% 1
Director of Public Policy Professional 100.00% 9.8% 1
Director of Systems Reform Professional 100.00% 1.2% 1
Equal Justice Fellow Professional 100.00% 0.2% 1
Executive Director Professional 25.00% 7.0% 0.25
Information Technology Coordinator Professional 25.00% 6.9% 0.25
Intake Coordinator Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Intake Manager Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Intake Outreach Coordinator Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Outreach Coordinator Professional 100.00% 10.0% 1
Part-time I.T. Support Associate (half time) Professional 66.67% 6.9% 0.25
Personnel & Benefits Coordinator Professional 100.00% 6.8% 1
Project Manager Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Public Policy Analyst Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 2.5% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 9.9% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.1% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.2% 1
Sr. Advocate Investigator Professional 100.00% 1.8% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 1.3% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.8% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Sr. Advocate/Investigator Professional 100.00% 3.0% 1
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 50.00% 1.6% 0.5
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 41.67% 40.9% 0.5
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.2% 1
Sr. Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.4% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 3.5% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 22.6% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.8% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.4% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 0.3% 1
Staff Attorney Professional 100.00% 4.1% 1
Technology & Communications Manager Professional 100.00% 6.9% 1
Accounting Associate Clerical 100.00% 6.8% 1
Administrative Assistant Clerical 50.00% 9.8% 0.5
Advocacy Specialist Clerical 16.67% 10.3% 0.25
Advocacy Specialist Clerical 100.00% 2.0% 1
Communications Intern (quarter time) Clerical 25.00% 6.6% 0.25
Executive Assistant Clerical 100.00% 6.8% 1
Paralegal Clerical 100.00% 6.8% 1
Public Policy Intern (quarter time) Clerical 100.00% 8.6% 0.25
Receptionist Clerical 100.00% 9.9% 1
Senior Paralegal Clerical 100.00% 9.9% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 6.8% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 8.1% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 9.9% 1
Staff Assistant Clerical 100.00% 6.9% 1


Total Professional 49.5
Total Clerical 11.25

Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
JP is a person with Autism and Intellectual Disability. JP's legal guardian contacted Disability Rights Florida seeking assistance in obtaining appropriate services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). JP had been working with DVR for about a year and a half, however, had yet to receive any On-the-Job training (OJT) or Pre-employment transition services. JP had been referred to three different vendors at the point of contact with CAP and was having difficulty with the current vendor not maintaining contact and not following through on promises to set up an OJT. CAP investigation confirmed that the problem was a lack of vendor follow through as well as frequent changes of vendor. CAP advocacy resulted in a meeting between the DVR counselor, the vendor, JP and the guardian as well as improved communication biweekly between DVR and the vendor.
LH is an individual with Sjogren’s Syndrome, chronic kidney disease, hypothyroid, high cholesterol, bone loss, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteopenia and depression. LH contacted Disability Rights Florida regarding services and supports in order to become employed. CAP investigation led to an understanding of the cause for delays in the case, which were not the fault of DVR. CAP staff explained rights, options and policies. CAP intervention led to a change of job coach, an amended Individual Plan for Employment, and an agreement for training, clothing, mileage reimbursement and mental restoration services.
AC, an individual who is deaf, contacted CAP with questions about employment discrimination and post-secondary training services from DVR. CAP assisted AC by explaining the role of the federal and state complaint processes for employment discrimination options. CAP provided additional assistance by reviewing relevant DVR records and negotiating a resolution wherein DVR agreed to provide post-secondary and other support services including amending the plan for employment in accordance with informed choice.
DZ, an individual with mental illness, contacted CAP regarding self-employment services from DVR. DZ claimed that DVR and the VR business consultant were ignoring DZ, slow in delivering services and were not properly attending to DZ’s case. CAP investigated DZ’s concerns by contacting the vocational counselor, business consultant and through follow-up observation. Subsequently, the business consultant called DZ more often and was more responsive to DZ’s messages. The business consultant helped DZ register the business on the appropriate state website as well as obtain proper city/county business licenses. DVR proceeded with purchasing tools as noted in the business plan.
WP, an individual with Retinitis Pigmentosa, contacted CAP concerned about services from the Division of Blind Services (DBS). WP claimed that as a result of poor customer service by DBS and their job placement vendor, WP was still unemployed. CAP investigation revealed that transportation and communication were issues as well. CAP facilitated a conference meeting that resulted in WP agreeing to computer assessment and training and participation in a job club. The job placement vendor continued to provide job placement services. All parties agreed to make a better effort to communicate.
TP is a transition age student who is a customer of DVR who identifies as hard of hearing and has a mental health disability. TP contacted CAP regarding post-secondary education services. DVR declined TP’s request to pay for tuition for training, books, supplies and training materials for an out-of-state university, based on recent changes to the Financial Participation policy. CAP provided education/information regarding the DVR policy on out-of-state training and TP was successful at the Administrative Review in having the decision reversed. DVR agreed to provide TP tuition for training, books, supplies and training materials for the out-of-state university.
RS, a transition age individual on the Autism Spectrum contacted CAP regarding post-secondary services after DVR denial of private rate tuition and book support to obtain a bachelor’s degree in anthrozoology from a private college that provides specially designed instruction for students with disabilities. The DVR Area Supervisor reversed the counselor’s decision during an administrative review and agreed to private rate funding so RS could attend the private college.
BE, an individual with autism and a learning disability, contacted CAP requesting assistance with an Administrative Review of DVR denial to sponsor law school. After CAP investigation and advocacy, DVR agreed to sponsor the state rate for tuition and books to support BE’s vocational goal of attorney.
MME, an individual with heart failure and former drug addiction, contacted CAP requesting assistance with an administrative review of the DVR denial to sponsor a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) at a state university. CAP advocacy prior to the Administrative Review led to the overturning of DVR's decision not to provide tuition for MME's MSW. DVR agreed to sponsor the master’s program and licensure expenses for MME to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
MH, an individual with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, chronic migraines and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, contacted CAP requesting DVR assistance paying for outstanding bills for a new wheelchair. CAP intervention led to DVR agreeing to sponsor the wheelchair.
BD, an individual with blindness in both eyes, contacted CAP requesting assistance with opening a case with the Division of Blind Services (DBS) in order to receive a referral to the local Lighthouse. CAP advocacy expedited DBS case opening, assignment and contact by the new DBS counselor and a referral to the Lighthouse for independent living skills classes, including cooking, cleaning, and technology.
DA, an individual with absence of extremities, contacted CAP requesting assistance having the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) sponsor a new prosthesis in order to maintain employment. CAP intervention led to DVR amending the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to include the new prosthesis through a chosen vendor.
Certification
Approved
Ann Siegel
CAP Director
2020-12-17
OMB Notice

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