During this report period, CAP staff engaged in 11 outreach events throughout the state, which provided information about CAP services, VR rights and other disability rights. This outreach included disseminating information about CAP and MDLC services at the Minnesota Social Service Association conference in Minneapolis, at Disability Day at the Minnesota State Capitol, to disability service providers like case managers and staff from provider agencies sponsored by St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services in Northeastern Minnesota, at an event regarding Transition and Reentry sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Corrections in Washington County, a Twin Cities metro area suburb, and at the Minneapolis Community Connections Conference sponsored by the City of Minneapolis. We estimate over 5000 people attended these events.
CAP staff also began the first phases of “Into Adulthood,” a project designed to reach youth with disabilities aged 14-24. Into Adulthood is a multi-media project that includes information for youth about their rights with vocational rehabilitation, high school, post-secondary education, work, transportation, health insurance, and other benefits needed to work. After talking with youth and their families during outreach across Minnesota, we discovered that many youth and families do not know about their rights and the services that are available to them. The goal of the Into Adulthood project is to provide information about rights and services that youth need to transition to competitive, integrated employment and more independence.
CAP staff hope the Into Adulthood project will reach youth in a medium where they seek information, specifically on social media. During this fiscal year, CAP staff released a 41-page guide for transition youth, a video, and a podcast. We created a short video for transition youth that featured self-advocates and informed youth of their legal rights. The video was very well received. It was viewed 1,800 times on Facebook and 762 times on YouTube.
We also partnered with Jeff Thompson, the creator of the Blind Abilities podcast and the Chair of Minnesota’s State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, to record a podcast for transition youth. The podcast featured interviews with transition youth and CAP staff about legal rights. The podcast had 1,130 downloads and additional views on other platforms, such as YouTube. We hope to partner with Blind Abilities in the future, as well as create more videos and conduct outreach to share the Into Adulthood project with transition youth.
CAP staff also reviewed and updated all of their factsheets, available to the general public at LawHelpMN.org. These factsheets cover CAP services, eligibility for VRS and SSB services, scope of VR services, developing an Individualized Employment Plan, VR services for self-employment/small businesses, and appealing a VRS or SSB decision. These factsheets were then translated into several languages commonly used in Minnesota, including Somali, Hmong and Spanish.
CAP staff were also involved in MDLC monitoring of congregate care facilities in Minnesota undertaken during FY2020, to assess how persons with the most severe disabilities were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, what health protections were in place or being developed, and how employment services were being delivered during the pandemic. This monitoring was done virtually and included a remote-video tour of each facility and interviews of facility supervisors, staff, and residents/program participants. These facilities included group homes such as MSOCS 19th Avenue in Minneapolis, and MSOCS Anoka Burns and MSOCS Ableman, both in the suburban metro area. It also included other congregate care facilities such as the juvenile detention center Prairie Lakes Youth Programs – Secure and the residential care facility Southwestern Youth Services, both in Southwestern Minnesota. Further included were the adult day program Proworks, Inc., in western Minnesota, the Arrowhead Juvenile Center in Northeastern Minnesota, the children’s residential center Heartland Girls Ranch in Southwestern Minnesota, and mental health residential care facilities like Gull Harbor Apartments in Northwestern Minnesota, Guild South in the Twin Cities eastern metro area, and Family and Children’s Center Hiawatha Hall in Southeastern Minnesota.
In addition, CAP staff conducted outreach that was specifically targeted towards reaching historically unserved/underserved populations and minority communities.
Persons of Color:
CAP staff made a presentation to staff at the Legal Rights Center, including Native American, Latino and African American advocates, about CAP services, MDLC areas of practice and client intake processes. CAP staff also provided information about MDLC and CAP services at Martin Luther King, Jr., events sponsored by Minneapolis Community Technical College,
Native American Communities: CAP staff disseminated information about CAP and MDLC services to social workers, community members, medical providers and families at an event sponsored by the PROOF Alliance and Mystic Lake Casino, geared towards persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and social services staff serving that disability group.
CAP staff made a presentation at NDRN’s national conference about educating students in a time of fear. CAP staff also delivered training at an event sponsored by State and National Student Equity about return to school issues for students with disabilities. CAP staff provided trainings to The Arc of Minnesota about special education during the COVID-19 pandemic, to PACER about working with VRS while on SSI and reasonable accommodations in employment, to staff from VRS and Minneapolis Public Schools about legal rights in special education and vocational rehabilitation, to parents and community members about classroom dismissals at an event sponsored by Solutions Not Suspensions and Educational Allies, and to social workers in Hennepin County about homeless youth and school discipline.
CAP staff also disseminated information about MDLC and CAP services at Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Student Resource Fair, to homeless youth and inner-city students at Minneapolis South High School, and at a Town Hall Pandemic Planning event for students with disabilities and distance learning issues sponsored by The Arc of Minnesota.