RSA-227 for FY-2020: Submission #1132

New Mexico
09/30/2020
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights New Mexico
3916 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE
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Albuquerque
New Mexico
87111
http://www.drnm.org/
505-256-3100
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1-800-432-4682
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Bernadine Chavez
Bernadine Chavez
505-256-3100
bchavez@drnm.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
16
2
2
2
0
6
28
B. Training Activities
8
180
CAP staff provided two trainings to 32 new staff persons working for the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR) at the Rehabilitation Academy. The training topics included the CAP and other programs at Disability Rights New Mexico. The other topic covered was Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This training also helps to familiarize new VR staff with the requirements of notifying participants about CAP and helps to promote a working relationship in solving issues for participants. DRNM/CAP staff also provided training to Independent Living staff at two Centers for Independent Living. The topics covered were CAP, WIOA and order of selection for DVR. CAP staff presented to a support group of Native American parents with transition age children. We trained on Pre-Employment Transition (PRETS) for individuals preparing for transition. DRNM staff provided two trainings on “School to Jail” pipeline. The training covered youth with disabilities who are suspended/expelled and make their way into the juvenile justice system instead of completing their education or going through vocational rehabilitation. The group of students targeted are transition age and eligible for PRETs. The trainings covered WIOA and the transition services through the state vocational rehabilitation programs. CAP staff also provided training to a group of self-advocates that have a women’s group and men’s group for Native Americans with disabilities. CAP staff talked about CAP services, independent living services and 121 programs. There were 12 participants at this training, The participants were primarily from the Navaho Nation, however there were some Pueblo members from the Pueblo of Zuni and three individuals from the Pueblo of Jemez. The training focused on "informed choice”, self-determination and self-advocacy and the right to have competitive, integrated employment. This training has become an annual event for CAP. DRNM provided training to parents and students at a transition conference targeted to Native American families. We conducted two sessions at the event and had a total of 60 teachers, families and students. CAP staff provided training to the Department Workforce Solutions (Labor) staff on the Rehabilitation Act, VR services, “Disability Awareness”, and also training on ADA and Title I. There were a total of 24 participants. In summary, CAP staff at DRNM conducted a total of 8 trainings with a total of 180 participants. DRNM/CAP also participated in 8 informational fairs in which we distributed CAP brochures and provided information to participants. Of the 8 fairs, 3 were targeted outreach to minorities and underserved populations. Due to COVID-19 all scheduled fairs for spring and summer were canceled. All training is now done virtually by zoom or other platforms.
C. Agency Outreach
This year the Client Assistance Program staff continued to focus on outreach to rural areas. CAP staff participated in four transition fairs in rural underserved areas and one in the metro area targeted to Native American families. These rural underserved areas have few resources for employment. Most of the information provided at these fairs was information on transition services both through the local school district and the vocational rehabilitation programs. CAP staff was able to provide referrals to the state VR programs for students and families who were concerned that upon graduation the exiting students would be left without any resources or direction towards meaningful employment. DRNM/CAP continues to have a goal of informing rural and underserved communities regarding state vocational rehabilitation services and the possibility of individualized vocational rehabilitation services. We provided training in southern New Mexico to monolingual Spanish speaking VR participants. CAP conducted considerable outreach to persons in rural areas and on Native American reservations. However, due to the pandemic our outreach efforts have slowed down significantly. Due to the Governor's health order all training and outreach is conducted visually. New Mexico is fortunate to have three 121 programs which we work very closely with. CAP staff focused on minority communities and areas that have few resources, such as public transportation. CAP staff have mailed our CAP brochures to all partner agencies, including the 121 projects. We have distributed CAP brochures in English and Spanish. Of the 8 fairs, 4 were targeted outreach to minorities and underserved populations outside the state’s major urban areas. DRNM provided training to Native American families at the EPICS (Educating Parents of Indian Children) conference in Albuquerque. The topics covered were the VR services through the state VR programs as well as the Native American 121 programs, and transition services under the Section 121 programs and state vocational programs including DVR and the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. We also talked about transition services under WIOA. There were 42 participants in the session.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
250
8
0
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E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
6
14
20
2
6
B. Problem areas
0
4
6
4
3
0
2
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
3
0
7
0
3
0
13
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
7
3
0
1
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
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E. Results achieved for individuals
1
0
0
0
4
1
2
3
0
0
N/A
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
3
3
11
2
20
B. Gender
10
10
20
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
7
2
1
1
1
8
0
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
2
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
7
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
20
E. Types of Individuals Served
15
6
2
2
2
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
New Mexico DVR had not had a fully appointed Executive Director in over 10 years. The Governor appointed a new Director that has been and continues to be very responsive to CAP concerns. The administration from NMDVR meets with CAP staff on a quarterly basis to discuss issues and to keep each agency informed. The systemic issues that CAP has worked on with NMDVR included the order of selection and the way that participants are categorized. CAP continues to sees participants being put on the waiting list without being able to provide information regarding all of their disabling conditions. In most cases it made a difference and participants were moved to category 1. The other substantive issues that CAP worked on were 1.) lack of staff to cover vacant caseloads, NMDVR and the New Mexico Commission for the Blind continue to have difficulty filling counselor vacancies, particularly in the rural areas. 2.) post employment services, 3.) reasonable accommodations policies for participants. The agency has responded favorably by looking at training and policies that make their practices clear and more transparent. Both state vocational programs continue to work on resolving thier vacancy rate issues with the State Personnel Office. The other systemic issue that CAP continues working on is with an independent living center. We continue to receive multiple complaints from a group of Native American participants that were receiving independent living services. They continue to feel that the independent living services available to other community members are not the same services that are offered to the Native American community. We also included the Native American Disability Law Center. We are still working on this systemic issue as a carryover from last fiscal year. 4.) For several years CAP has complained to NMDVR regarding the application process. If a client was seeking services but did not sign an application, it would be filed away and the 60 day time frame would not be triggered. The new administration is fixing this practice, and now allows "set-referral without a signature. If the participant states they want services it is an application and the 60 day time frame starts.
B. Litigation
0
0
0
DRNM/CAP did not have any fair hearing this year. New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR) has hired a new supervising attorney, along with another staff attorney. CAP staff also sat on a panel to select mediators and impartial hearing officers. CAP will be assisting with the training program for the hearing officers this next fiscal year. Neither NMDVR or the CFB had a fair hearing this federal fiscal year.
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights New Mexico
No
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B. Staff Employed
Advocate positions 0.94 FTE Attorney positions 0.24 FTE Support staff 0.27 FTE Supervisory staff 0.25 FTE TOTAL CAP staff 1.7 FTE
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1. The client is a 43-year old female who lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Her disabilities are
diabetes and PTSD.
The client called the Client Assistance Program (CAP) in March 2020, because NMDVR denied her request for a replacement of her heater in her home. She is currently employed as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) who was relocated to working remotely amid the Coronavirus-19 outbreak. During CAP’s evaluation and assessment of the situation, it was discovered that she is required to contribute towards the cost of her services because she did not receive Social Security benefits. At the time, she had provided NMDVR with her annual income and not itemized her disability-related out-of-pocket expenses. NMDVR calculated her financial contribution as $1600, which she could not afford.
CAP provided the client with information regarding NMDVR's financial contribution policies and the appeals process and suggested that she itemize her out-of-pocket disability-related expenses and provide NMDVR with supporting documentation needed to support her itemized list. The CAP advocate negotiated a reconsideration of the requested item. After reviewing policies and procedures with the VRC and the itemized expenses, the VRC agreed to provide the heater. The client was able to maintain her employment as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) at NMDVR.

2. The client is a 25-year old female who lives in Albuquerque, NM. Her disability is Dyslexia.
Client called CAP for assistance in re-establishing communication with NMDVR staff, mentioning that she had been assigned to multiple Vocational Counselors (VRC) in a short period of time, negotiating tuition for the 2020/2021 school year, and assistive technology devices required to complete her education at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM).
CAP staff, the client and the Program Manager of the Gibson NMDVR office were able to successfully negotiate, develop and implement an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that included a direct check for a Mac Book, tuition for the 2020/2021 school year. CAP was also able to assist in re-establishing communication between the client and NMDVR so they can work together to resolve problems as they occur.

3. Client is 23 years old and lives in Las Cruces, NM. Her disabilities are Epilepsy and a Developmental Delay. She is also a social security (SSI) beneficiary.
Client and mother contacted CAP in March 2020 for help in obtaining the VR services need to find employment. She claimed that she had been a client of DVR since 2015 but they have not helped her find employment. She was ready to find a job.
Through CAP's evaluation and assessment process, it was discovered that she does qualify for NMDVR's Job Development services. DRNM assisted the client in re-establishing communication with DVR staff and helped to negotiate job development on her current IPE. CAP also provided her with information about her VR services as well as VR's policies and procedures. The client was in the process of job placement at case closure.


Certification
Approved
Gary D Housepian
Chief Executive Officer
2020-12-14
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