Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor State of California
*Data acquired from October 1, 2013 Extract
Standards and Indicators
The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) requires states to track and report on a series of performance benchmarks, commonly referred to as Standards and Indicators. Within that six-part Indicator, RSA requires each State to pass a minimum of two out of the three primary indicators and four out of the six indicators.
Based on preliminary raw data, and subject to validation by RSA, California met the performance requirements by passing two of the three primary Indicators (1.3 and 1.4) and four of the six Indicators (1.1, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.6). These Indicators are used by DOR and RSA to determine program performance.
Highlights in 2013
2013-2018 DOR Strategic Plan
Adopted in 2013, through a collaborative process with stakeholders, DOR developed their 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, detailing efforts to modernize its services and continue advocacy for independence, access and community living. The 2013-2018 Strategic Plan provides a roadmap for DOR to achieve its goals to provide improved services to individuals with disabilities and vision of employment, independence and equality for all Californians with disabilities.
Vocational Rehabilitation Modernization (VR Mod)
Continuing the statewide efforts for system improvements, the Vocational Rehabilitation Modernization (VR Mod) Project is designed to improve the quality of the program and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of services for consumers. The VR Mod project includes three Department-wide initiatives: Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery (VRSD), Vendor Utilization Management (VUM), and Accessible Web-based Activity Reporting Environment (AWARE) system.
Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery (VRSD)
DOR continues to implement the consumer-centric team approach to the delivery of services to consumers. During the FFY, DOR began roll out of the team approach within the District Offices, and provided training and guidance to make teams successful.
As of October 31, 2013, six of the 14 Districts had fully implemented the new VRSD model or about 88 percent of teams were formed.
During FFY 2013, DOR provided training to 215 VRSD team members participated in the Field Training Series, which included relevant curriculum from the New Counselor Academy, Soft Skills trainings and the Office Technician-General Mentoring Guide. In September 2013, a two-day training was provided to 54 Team Managers and Rehabilitation Supervisors representing 13 districts covering a variety of operations, personnel, labor relations, reasonable accommodation and other supervisory issues.
In August 2013, there was a two-day event that brought all District Operations Support staff to Sacramento to receive training on key accounting, procurement and personnel tasks performed by these teams in the Districts.
Vendor Utilization Management (VUM)
In early 2012, DOR began discussions regarding vendors concerns with DOR's defined employment services and associated rate structure, as well as with DOR's internal processes for authorization and timely payments. In August 2012, DOR conducted listening sessions to better understand vendor concerns, and in response, DOR initiated project planning activities. The Vendor Utilization Management (VUM) project was formally chartered in May, 2013 with DOR Directorate support and approval to improve the 1) authorization, invoicing, and payments processes; and 2) quality, timeliness, and accountability of VR services. A Placement Plus Proof of Concept was added with the goal of increasing employment outcomes and Social Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) reimbursements. And, a Work Incentives Planning (WIP) Pilot was added to evaluate the effectiveness of work incentive planning to consumers receiving SSI/SSDI, with a focus on those who are job ready. As part of the WIP Pilot, DOR hired nine Work Incentive Planners in the Greater East Bay District, San Diego, and Northern Sierra Districts. The planners are currently completing intensive training and credentialing through Cornell University’s benefits on-line certification program.
Accessible Web-based Activity Reporting Environment (AWARE) System
During the FFY, DOR successfully implemented two new releases of the AWARE system and initiated enhancements to fully integrate the existing financial systems into AWARE. DOR reviewed, tested, and implemented new versions of AWARE to within the expected release schedule. Training was conducted in advance of each new release to allow for timely introduction of new features.
In FFY 2013, the DOR conducted extensive planning sessions, to identify the requirements needed for financial and case service interfaces in order to plan for full decommissioning of the Field Computer System. Beginning in 2014, major revisions of the financial and case service interfaces from Alliance Enterprises will be reviewed, tested and presented to appropriate field staff.
Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Grant
The DOR was awarded the Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant of $50 million in total ($10 million per year for five years) on October 1, 2013. The PROMISE grant will fund enhanced services to 3,078 participants, between the ages of 14 and 16 that are on supplemental security income. The PROMISE grant is a joint venture led by DOR in collaboration with five other state Departments, San Diego State University, and 21 local education agencies.
Client Assistance Program (CAP) Redesignation
The Governor proposed the redesignation of Client Assistance Program (CAP) from DOR to Disability Rights California in July 2013. On July 23, 2013, the administration held a public hearing and opened a 30-day public comment period. Beginning on October 1, 2013, The Governor redesignated CAP to Disability Rights California, the designated protection and advocacy program in California.
Collaboration between DOR and SRC
In partnership with the SRC, DOR works in unison with the SRC to develop the annual State Plan, Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA), and Consumer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). The CSNA is conducted annually over a three year period, which determines the vocational service needs of Californians with disabilities. The CSS is conducted jointly by the SRC and DOR, to evaluate the consumers’ satisfaction of the services provided by DOR and the vendors. The State Plan describes key components and processes of the Rehabilitation Act which will be implemented and administered and, ultimately, how individuals with disabilities will be provided services leading to employment. The results from the CSNA and the CSS are valuable evaluative tools in assessing DOR’s programs and services and serve as building blocks for the annual State Plan.
The SRC provides ongoing input to the State Plan, CSS, and CSNA through its recommendations to the Goals and Priorities established in the State Plan by the Department. The recommendations result from a collaboration between DOR staff and SRC at the quarterly meetings through sessions and committee meetings. In April 2013, the SRC and DOR held public meetings jointly on the State Plan throughout California.
The SRC recommended that DOR adopt the following three revised 2014 State Plan Goals, as presented to the SRC on March 25, 2013.
Goal 1: Increase the quality and quantity of Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment (SE) employment outcomes for DOR consumers, including unserved and underserved individuals with disabilities.
Goal 2: Advance accessibility and equality to improve opportunities for individuals with disabilities to achieve their employment goals and independence.
Goal 3: Continuously improve the service delivery system and administrative operations to better serve consumers.
On November 16, 2012, the SRC recommended the three following priorities:
On May 23, 2013, the SRC requested that DOR review and report to the SRC a comparison of the number and median wages of successful DOR case closures by occupational group compared to California’s general population. DOR agreed to work with the SRC to identify and provide available data to SRC as a way to evaluate the quality of VR and SE employment outcomes.
In the last quarter of the FFY 2013, the SRC has been working on its priorities for the 2015 State Plan. This ongoing partnership will continue into the coming year.
Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA)
As required by federal regulations (34 CFR 361.29), the SRC and DOR worked collaboratively to review the surveys and preliminary results in the final year of triennial cycle. The preliminary results assist the SRC in determining any programmatic needs of vocational services for various populations. The end of one triennial cycle allows for SRC and DOR to review methodology and strengthen the CSNA for the next triennial.
The targeted populations were previously identified as underserved and included, African Americans with disabilities, American Indians with disabilities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities, Hispanic/Latinos with disabilities, individuals with traumatic brain injuries and individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The CSNA also surveyed America’s Job Centers of California and Community Rehabilitation Programs. In FFY 2013, employer feedback was used from the Business Partner Forums instead of a separate survey to employers.
Highlights of the Preliminary CSNA Results
Consumer Satisfaction Survey (CSS)
Beginning in 2013, the CSS survey instrument was changed from four surveys to one survey, measuring consumer satisfaction of DOR’s services. Improvements to the survey allow DOR to distinguish the consumer’s disability, through a self-identification question on the survey, and specific questions geared towards those that achieved an employment outcome and those that did not.
On November 16, 2012, the SRC recommended some specific survey questions, which addressed the satisfaction received from the vocational rehabilitation team model, the information of disability benefits counseling information or referrals received from DOR, the disability type, and whether the consumer would recommend DOR to a friend or family member. DOR included survey questions requested, added the disability type and improved the survey design for those with visual impairments. Other recommendations dealt with the design of the instrument for those with visual impairments and the dissemination of the survey in different modalities (electronic, paper and website).
To increase the response rate and ensure the survey is accessible and widely disseminated, the SRC recommended that the CSS be distributed at community rehabilitation program sites and rural areas and distributed through the DOR’s District Offices. DOR increased the number of surveys distributed by 24 percent, however, due to time and resource constraints, DOR was unable to fully implement the distribution additions requested by the SRC or promote the CSS through DOR’s District Offices. Currently, DOR is working on strategies to better market the survey and also make the survey available year round to increase the response rate. DOR estimates that these changes will be in effect for the 2015 survey.
Highlights from the 2013 Consumer Satisfaction Survey
Satisfaction with Services from External Service Providers
Provision of Benefits Counseling
Satisfaction with Counseling Services Provided
For Consumers Who Were Employed
For Consumers Who Were Not Employed
During the November 2013 quarterly meeting, the SRC recommended that the results of the 2013 CSS be shared with field staff to discuss results and make improvements with management on how to better serve consumers in their districts. The SRC continues to supports DOR’s efforts in improving the response rate and the methodology of the CSS by instituting prior recommendations.
Other State Rehabilitation Council Responsibilities
Adopt a District Program
During the August 2013 quarterly meeting, the SRC adopted guidelines for visiting with District Administrators. At each quarterly meeting, SRC members are assigned a district and District Administrator to communicate with. The purpose of this program is to help members understand the challenges field staff face.
The interaction informs the SRC of any trends or issues with DOR’s services that may be addressed by the Council.
Appeals Hearing Decisions
In accordance with the federal mandate, SRC reviewed the appeals hearing decisions. DOR had 98 requests for an impartial hearing during the FFY 2013. Of those requests, there were 25 fair hearings. The majority of the hearings were due to disagreements between the consumer and the Department regarding case closures and the Individualized Plans for Employment. The SRC reviews the appeals hearing decisions for new or ongoing trends that may need to be addressed.
State Independent Living Council Collaboration
The SRC and State Independent Living Council Collaboration (SILC)
Chairpersons and staff held a joint meeting of both councils on February 27, 2013, which assisted with a better understanding of the issues that both Councils are involved in. Staff from the SRC and SILC meet and communicate on a regular basis, which continues the dialogue between the Councils.
The Members of California’s State Rehabilitation Council
Milt Wright, Chair – representing Business and Industry
David DeLeonardis, Vice-Chair — representing Community Rehabilitation Program service providers
LeNae Liebetrau, Treasurer – representing qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (Non-Voting member)
Danielle Anderson, Planning and Policy Development Committee Chair—representing the former applicant or consumer of vocational rehabilitation services
Andrew Mudryk, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee Chair—representing the Client Assistance Program
Deanna Graziano – representing Disability Advocacy Group
Jill Larson— representing Department of Education
Dr. Robert Metts—representing Business, industry and labor
Trilby Kerrigan—representing the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation programs
Anthony "Tony" P. Sauer – DOR Director
Update on Membership Vacancies
In 2013, two appointments and one reappointment were made. On May 2, 2013, Dr. Robert Metts was appointed to the Council as a representative of the business, industry and labor category. On September 27, 2013, Trilby Kerrigan, a representative of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation programs was appointed to the Council, and David DeLeornardis, a representative of Community Rehabilitation Program service providers, was reappointed to the Council.
Consumer Success Stories
Sharif Parvanta was without income and staying with cousins when he applied for services with the Department of Rehabilitation in August 2011. At 33, he had some restaurant and entry-level office experience, taking college classes as finances permitted. The DOR vocational psychologist diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Disorder and other learning disorders.
Sharif found a job at Papa John’s Pizza where his enthusiasm instantly impressed the manager. He was offered a promotion but was not sure it was the right fit. His counselor suggested he try a culinary arts program to gauge his interest in cooking; he was hooked. Though it was difficult for him without any income for 24 weeks, he successfully completed the program.
Struggling to find work in California, he decided to relocate to Indianapolis and live with family. In July 2012, he was hired by Gate Gourmet preparing meals for first class airline passengers. A few weeks later, he was cooking for the NFL and the NBA flights.
Sharif caught the attention of Gate Gourmet’s CEO after performing CPR on a fellow employee in the break room, saving her life. In January 2013, he contacted DOR to announce he would be the Executive Chef for the 49ers Super Bowl airline charter.
Colleen Collins has been in the business of caring for people throughout her career. She worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care at Kaiser for 14 years; she loved the work, and became adept at both assessing and providing medical care for her patients.
Colleen started having trouble with her vision; she began knocking things over, experiencing night blindness and was subsequently diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. After working at a plastic surgeon’s office briefly, she decided to stop working directly with patients because of her decreasing vision Colleen’s career path took a turn when she became a successful mortgage broker. As the real estate market went from boom to bust, Colleen’s vision got dramatically worse. This made the driving and sales work required for the job difficult. A friend told her about Department of Rehabilitation; she signed up for services through DOR and went back to school.
In 2012 Colleen got her degree as a Nurse Administrator. The eight-year gap since medical related employment made it hard for her to compete against other nurses, but her perseverance paid off. She was hired as an Intake and Scheduling Manager for the home health agency American Care Quest in San Francisco where she is now working full time again and couldn’t be happier.
Acronyms and Abbreviations used in this Report
2013 Unless otherwise noted, references to Federal Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012 - September 30, 2013)
Act The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998
AWARE Accessible Web-based Activity Reporting Environment System
BEP Business Enterprise Program
CAP Client Assistance Program
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CSNA Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment
CSS Consumer Satisfaction Survey
DOR Department of Rehabilitation
FFY Federal Fiscal Year
IPE Individualized Plan for Employment
PROMISE Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant
RSA Rehabilitation Services Administration
SE Supported Employment
SGA Substantial Gainful Activity
SILC State Independent Living Council
SRC State Rehabilitation Council
SSI Social Security Income
SSDI Social Security Disability Income
VR Vocational Rehabilitation
VRSD Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery
VUM Vendor Utilization Management
WIP Work Incentive Planning Pilot
Consistent with Section 105(c)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), the SRC prepares and submits an annual report to the Governor of California and Commissioner of the RSA on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within California. This document fulfills that mandate and is available to the public in a variety of formats. For additional information, please visit the SRC's webpage at: http://www.dor.ca.gov/SRC/index.html
The SRC welcomes visitors. SRC meetings are open to the public and include time on the agenda for public comment. For additional information, please contact the State Rehabilitation Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 558-5868.
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