RSA-227 for FY-2020: Submission #1130

Arkansas
09/30/2020
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc.
400 West Capitol Avenue
Suite 1200
Little Rock
AR
72201
501-296-1775
800-482-1774
800-482-1174
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc.
400 West Capitol Avenue
Suite 1200
Little Rock
72201
Arkansas
info@disabilityrights.org
501-296-1775
800-482-1774
800-482-1174
Additional Information
Thomas Nichols
Susan Pierce
501-296-1775
spierce@disabilityrightsar.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
13
5
0
0
0
13
31
B. Training Activities
2
60
DRA's Executive Director presented to the Arkansas National Federation of the Blind chapter members during their annual convention in Hot Springs. This was the first time this group had requested DRA provide an educational training for them, so Mr. Masseau provided them with the history and the purpose of the Client Assistance Program (CAP), including information about the various ways the CAP can assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Attendees also learned about the Protection and Advocacy system and DRA, so they would be knowledgeable about other P&A programs that can assist individuals with disabilities. Individuals trained: 30

DRA’s Director of Legal and Advocacy Services provided training at the annual Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) conference to inform and educate DSB rehabilitation counselors about the CAP and DRA and how both entities can assist their clients. While Mr. Nichols’ presentation was primarily focused on the CAP, which directly impacts rehabilitation services, he wanted to ensure DSB counselors were also aware of the other P&A programs and the ways in which these programs can benefit their clientele, both within and beyond the scope of rehabilitation services. We have found that discussing P&A programs in CAP trainings not only educates attendees about the CAP, it can help diffuse tension with attendees who focus on the adversarial relationship that often exists between the CAP and rehabilitation services agencies by demonstrating ways in which DRA can assist their clients with issues outside CAP parameters. Upon taking this approach, we have occasionally received calls requesting assistance from the CAP program in which the client indicates it was their rehabilitation counselor who suggested they contact the CAP. Individuals trained: 30
C. Agency Outreach
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the CAP's ability to conduct outreach events in FY20, particularly since any type of group gatherings were essentially halted by mid-March. Prior to this, DRA did participate in a high school transition fair at one of the public high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. This high school, which serves a little over 1,000 students in grades 9-12, has a minority enrollment of 94%, a graduation rate of 65%, a math proficiency rate of 4% and a reading proficiency rate of 11%. Their diversity score is 0.54. DRA deems it critical to participate in transition fairs at high schools to ensure students with disabilities are aware of rehabilitation services and the CAP, particularly schools such as this one, where the need is high and resources are stretched thin.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
2
2
3
11
5
5899
DRA has 4,812 followers on Facebook and 1,087 followers on Twitter. These are not website hits, but followers on social media platforms.

E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
DRA occasionally receives calls from Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) field offices, requesting CAP brochures, although those requests are less frequent since the pandemic began. DRA was also mentioned in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper articles and by local television stations in FY2020; however, this was primarily related to DRA's work on juvenile justice issues and our lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Correction, rather than CAP issues specifically.

Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
11
10
21
0
3
B. Problem areas
0
6
10
4
0
0
1
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
9
0
2
2
5
0
18
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
10
1
2
0
0
1
2
0
2
0
0
0
N/A
E. Results achieved for individuals
2
1
0
0
5
4
3
1
0
2
In one case, the CAP lost contact with the client prior to any type of resolution to the case. In the other case, the client received an unfavorable decision in an administrative review hearing.
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
2
0
6
12
1
21
B. Gender
15
6
21
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
0
0
8
0
13
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
3
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
1
0
1
0
2
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
21
E. Types of Individuals Served
12
0
9
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
0
This systemic activity was ongoing as of 9/30/20, so there is no final outcome to report yet:

In FY2020, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) informed the Arkansas Rehabilitation Council (ARC) about a proposed merger between ARS and the Division of Services for the Blind (DSB). A meeting was held between the ARC and representatives from ARS to discuss the details of the potential merger. ARS explained that combining the two state agencies would result in a savings that could then be used to increase services to its clients. During the discussion, however, no details were provided as to when services would be consolidated, what the potential savings would be, how that savings would be created, and how funding would be directed towards client services after Year 2. ARS representatives admitted they had not conducted any fiscal impact studies, but still urged the ARC to vote in support of the merger. An ARC member developed a white paper, endorsed by ARS, that provided some insight into a potential merger while still leaving many unanswered questions regarding the impact on client services. During a subsequent ARC meeting, ARS again urged the Council to support the integrated program, even as the DSB Board was submitting a letter to the Governor in opposition to the merger. In response, the ARC formed a subcommittee and developed a series of questions for the Commissioner to respond to prior to the Council taking any position on the merger. As FY2020 came to a close, the Council was still trying to obtain additional information from ARS and the Governor’s office related to any cost savings and the impact a merger would have on client services.
B. Litigation
0
0
0
N/A- CAP did not engage in systemic litigation in FY2020.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc.
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
A total of 18 staff are charged to the CAP. Attorneys and advocates:12 Administrative: 4 Clerical: 2. All staff are full-time. No staff were allocated to the CAP 100%. Percentage of staff hours allocated to the CAP: Professional (program and administrative staff): 85.00%, Clerical: 15.00%. Staff hours allocated to the CAP as a percentage of all staff hours worked across all grants — 5.11%
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
A man with low vision as a result of diabetic retinopathy requested assistance from the CAP regarding the Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) not providing the specialized glasses and sunglasses that were written into his Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). The client had waited several months for this custom eyewear and still had not received it, so he requested the CAP assist him in working with DSB in hopes of accelerating the procurement of the glasses. The CAP advocate worked with the client and DSB to facilitate communication between the parties, and the client received the specialized glasses.
The parents of a 17-year-old whose dominant arm was amputated in an accident requested assistance from the CAP when they encountered issues with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) funding his rehabilitation services. Upon completing his high school education early via homeschooling, the client intended to enroll in the welding program at the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI). ACTI was a large residential rehabilitation program managed by ARS and shuttered by the governor about the same time the client was making his post-graduation plans, leaving the client and his parents scrambling to find a welding program and living arrangements elsewhere. ARS offered only minimal tuition assistance and no financial support for living expenses while he attended another welding program. The CAP represented the client in an administrative review, which resulted in ARS providing the client with funding for housing and other needs in addition to his tuition.
A college student receiving rehabilitation services requested the CAP’s assistance when she encountered an issue with a professor not releasing her grade due to a mix-up with one of her approved accommodations in a class. This led to ARS not releasing her tuition funding for the subsequent semester, which could have resulted in her not being able to complete her final semester of school. A CAP attorney contacted the school to investigate the situation regarding the client’s grade not being released. The client did receive her grade but there remained a mix up with the ARS funding for the next semester. The CAP attorney spoke with counselors at ARS and the financial department at the school and was ultimately able to secure a release of the funds so that the student could complete her final semester of college.
An individual who uses a power wheelchair for mobility and works full-time in a clerical position at a factory requested the CAP’s assistance when she was denied full funding for a vehicle modification that would allow her to travel independently to and from work. The CAP represented the client in an administrative review; upon receipt of the administrator’s decision, a request was filed for an impartial hearing. CAP attorneys negotiated with the ARS attorney and were able to achieve a resolution prior to the hearing date. The client was subsequently able to purchase a partially modified van, reducing the overall modification cost, and ARS agreed to pay all additional expenses to modify the vehicle to fit her needs.
A woman whose blindness was caused by retinitis pigmentosa sought services from the DSB. She contacted the CAP requesting advocacy assistance during the development of her IPE due to her feeling that her right to informed choice was not being considered as her plan for services was being developed. A CAP advocate assisted by facilitating communication between the client and her rehabilitation services counselor while the IPE was being developed, resulting in a plan that was satisfactory to the client.
Certification
Approved
Tom Masseau
Executive Director
2020-12-16
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