RSA-227 for FY-2020: Submission #1126

Louisiana
09/30/2020
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Advocacy Center of Louisiana, doing business as Disability Rights Louisiana
8325 Oak St
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New Orleans
LA
70118-2043
504-522-2337
N/A
800-960-7705
N/A
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Glyn Butler
Glyn Butler
225-925-8884 ext. 221
gbutler@disabilityrightsla.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
9
0
0
0
4
0
13
B. Training Activities
5
165
During FY 2020, CAP staff completed five (5) separate trainings, reaching a total of one hundred and sixty-five (165) individuals. Two (2) separate trainings were provided to Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS). The purpose of the training was to educate LRS about P&A services as well as services provided by CAP, WIPA, and Financial Access Inclusion Resources (FAIR). Each training covered information related to P&A services, including CAP services, transition services, Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) services, and benefits planning. These two (2) trainings were attended by forty (40) LRS staff and supported employment providers. CAP staff also provided a webinar training hosted by Families Helping Families (FHF). The purpose of the training was to educate individuals about P&A services, transition services and the role of LRS in the provision of those services. Twenty-five (25) individuals including consumers, counselors, teachers, special education directors were in attendance. At this training, CAP staff covered information regarding P&A services, CAP and PABSS services, benefits planning, and LRS services. Additionally, CAP staff presented to the State's Independent Living Council (SILC) on two (2) separate occasions and reached one hundred (100) individuals including parents/guardians, high school students, college students, consumers, teachers, social workers, provider agencies, lawyers and members from various community groups. CAP staff covered topics related to CAP services, LRS services, PABSS services, P&A services, benefits planning, legal status, self-determination, transition services, services for persons released from prison, and supported independent living services. The purpose of the training was to educate individuals about employment services and programs available in the community.
C. Agency Outreach
Advocacy Center of Louisiana, doing business as Disability Rights Louisiana (DRLA) and CAP strives to serve previously un-served or underserved communities, including minority groups. DRLA reaches out to people with disabilities via its website, email blasts, social media, mail, and in-person at outreach and training events throughout Louisiana. DRLA distributes information about its programs and services in rural areas and areas with high concentrations of racial and ethnic minority populations. However, Covid-19 pandemic has made it very difficult to conduct in-person outreaches since March 2020. Due to the pandemic, all previously scheduled outreaches were conducted virtually, cancelled or postponed till 2021. DRLA provides a variety of informational flyers and publications at a grade level that all persons can read and understand. The informational flyers and publications are available in alternative formats, including Spanish, Vietnamese, large-print, braille, etc.

Outreach to minority groups is accomplished through participation or membership on the following committees: Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC), LSU Human Development Center Consumer Advisory Committee, Louisiana Association of People Supporting Employment First Committee, and the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs (GODA). Further, DRLA collaborates with the following organizations: Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Families Helping Families. DRLA continues to make a concerted effort to conduct outreaches to address employment needs of formerly incarcerated persons with disabilities and collaborates often with the agency’s Financial Access Inclusion Resources (FAIR) Program, the WIPA Program, and is working on a collaboration with Crescent Care. To that end, DRLA continues to be actively involved with the Behavioral Health Council Criminal Justice Work Group, the Louisiana APSE Board, the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, the Step Up Louisiana’s Fair Chance Employment Committee, the National Association of Benefits and Work Incentives Counselors, and the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition. DRLA also provided outreach and obtained direct clients through its direct client participation on the Probation and Parole Triage Team and the New Orleans Reentry Task Force.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
12
0
4608
5
16750
Other is the number of hits of DRLA's FaceBook page.
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
A member of DRLA’s Board requested copies of the CAP brochure to disseminate to co-workers and the community.
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
32
43
75
1
50
B. Problem areas
3
3
2
5
0
9
0
1
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
17
0
7
0
1
0
25
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
7
6
0
3
0
5
0
0
3
1
0
0
N/A
E. Results achieved for individuals
10
1
3
0
3
1
0
6
1
0
N/A
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
2
8
18
43
4
75
B. Gender
28
47
75
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
0
37
0
30
3
4
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
3
4
1
3
0
1
2
0
7
8
1
0
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
6
9
1
0
5
2
10
0
0
0
3
0
0
1
0
75
E. Types of Individuals Served
9
1
57
0
4
4
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
1. As part of the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LRC), CAP provided information to the Committee and the LRS Director regarding the possibility that Ticket-to-Work may be transferred from SSA to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). This resulted in a conversation regarding how this would impact LRS clients. As a result, the Committee and the LRS Director will be monitoring the matter.

2. CAP met with the Director of LRS and the two Rehabilitation Program Coordinators to discuss the provision of transition services as required under WIOA. There are many issues surrounding the provision of transition services by LRS in the school districts. Many school districts are not allowing LRS to provide transition services to students with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 22. There are many parents, guardians, and students who have reached the age of majority who do not know about transition services or what the services encompass. There is a need to clear the myth that LRS will not attend an IEP meeting unless a student is exiting high school. The LRS Director and the two Rehabilitation Coordinators will provide CAP with the names of school districts that are not allowing LRS to provide transition services to the eligible students, will work with CAP regarding coming up with alternative ways to educate parents, guardians, students, and school personnel about LRS and transition services. LRS and CAP will collaborate with other agencies to conduct a training regarding transition services and LRS.
B. Litigation
1
1
1
CAP was contacted by a client regarding LRS denying him access to a new referral for services in the region he was currently residing. Prior to relocating to the new region, he received services through LRS, but his case had been closed. The new LRS Regional Office refused to accept a new referral for services and he was not provided proper written notice regarding his appeal rights. CAP provided representation at the Administrative Review and the Mediation. As a result of CAP's involvement, LRS's State Office is providing training to each Regional Office regarding the importance of providing proper written notice to clients regarding their due process rights regardless of the issue(s) merit. CAP is continuing to monitor this process and tracking the Regional Offices as they are trained.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Advocacy Center of Louisiana, doing business as Disability Rights Louisiana
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
Advocacy Center of Louisiana, doing business as Disability Rights Louisiana (DRLA) organizes its professional staff by teams related to each priority and goal within the agency's annual plan. Collaboration between teams is encouraged, and team members specialize in areas of law and advocacy across multiple programs. With the exception of the CAP Client Advocate, no staff members are assigned solely to the CAP Program. Instead, of the full time professional staff, each person spends a percentage of his/her time serving CAP clients. Each group's individual representation services parallel one of the CAP program's priorities and goals, already described in this report.

Time calculations are based on actual time reported on a bi-weekly basis. Administrative and support staff's time are allocated across all programs in a pro-rata share of total agency staff hours worked. DRLA’s CAP Program falls within the agency's Community Advocacy Team. This team includes the former Director of Community Advocacy at 14.58% or 0.15 FTE, and the current Director of Community Advocacy at 7.25% or 0.07 FTE. It also includes the CAP Program Director at 87.26% or 0.87 FTE and a Part-Time CAP Client Advocate that charges CAP at 100%. In addition, it includes an Intake Specialist handling calls related to the CAP Program at 3.58% or 0.04 FTE, and a Staff Attorney who is consulted regarding legal-related issues within the CAP Program at 1.01% or 0.01 FTE. Between October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2020, the total FTE equals 2.14.

The remaining percentages, which equal less than 5%, stem from administration and support, including the agency's Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, HR Generalist, Grant Accounting Coordinator, Administrative Assistant and Receptionist.

Following is a chart of CAP staff divided by position, FTE, percentage of the year the position was filled and person-years:

Type of Position Full-Time Equivalent % of Year Position Filled Person-Years
Professional Full-Time 1.1010 78.42% 4
Professional Part-Time 1.0000 71.23% 1
Professional Vacant 0.0000 0.00% 0
Administrative Full-Time 0.0358 100.00% 1
Administrative Part-Time 0.0000 0.00% 0
Administrative Vacant 0.0000 0.00% 0
Grand Total 2.1368 - 6
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1. An individual residing in a transitional sober living house contacted DRLA's CAP program for assistance in resolving his issues with LRS. He requested assistance in getting LRS to have a new Louisiana Rehabilitation Counselor (LRS) assigned to his case, to replace his tools that were stolen out of his vehicle, and to get a new individual plan for employment (IPE) developed to include the field of construction industry as his employment goal. During the course of CAP providing assistance, LRS sent him a letter stating his case was being closed due to his failure to maintain contact, his failure to provide additional documentation regarding the replacement of the stolen tools, and his failure to submit responses to written questions asked by LRS of the potential employer. At an administrative review, the CAP Advocate proved that LRS wrongfully closed his case and that he had hand-delivered the documents LRS requested on the last day of the deadline.

As a result of the Advocate's assistance, LRS immediately reopened his case, a new IPE containing the employment goal of working in the construction industry was added as his goal and the IPE was approved, and implemented. LRS replaced the client's stolen tools were replaced and he is now successfully employed in the construction field and is doing very well.

2. Through his supported independent living services provider assisted the 22-year old high school student with intellectual and mental health disabilities in contacting the CAP program for assistance in getting his high school to develop and implement an appropriate transition plan. The CAP Advocate immediately reached out to LRS and the appropriate school personnel and advocated for all of the necessary agencies to be invited to the IEP meeting. The Advocate educated the special education teacher and school personnel about the importance of providing transition services and WIOA. The client graduated in May. As a result of actions taken by the Advocate, the high school is currently allowing LRS to provide transition services to students with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 22.

3. A 21-year old college student who utilizes a wheelchair and has a diagnosis of anxiety, contacted the CAP program for assistance in getting LRS to provide maintenance support for the Spring semester. LRS was only willing to provide half of the maintenance cost for his housing and meals due to his not being enrolled in 12 hours that semester. The CAP Advocate assisted client in obtaining a letter from his doctor stating why he could only take 6 hours per a semester as well as a letter from his academic counselor outlining why they suggested that he only take 6 hours of required courses each semester. Both letters were submitted to the LRS counselor and the Regional Manager agreed to writing the IPE for the Spring semester to include 6 semester hours and full coverage for costs related to housing and meals. Client successfully completed the semester.


Certification
Approved
Christopher Rodriguez
Executive Director
2020-12-23
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