VR State Plan Summary
Posted by: Lou Diehl
Date Mailed: Monday, July 19th 1999 03:50 PM
Date Mailed: Monday, July 19th 1999 03:50 PM
PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation 2000--2004 STATE PLAN SUMMARY OF DRAFT COMBINED PLAN July 15, 1999 BACKGROUND As a result of the transfer of the Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services (BBVS) from the Dept. of Public Welfare to the Dept. of Labor & Industry on 7/1/99, OVR is required by law to amend the two State Plans to a Combined State Plan. This is a Summary of the PA OVR 2000--2004 Draft Combined State Plan. A period of public comment is open from 7/8/99 through 8/4/99 to obtain input on the Draft Plan from interested parties. Throughout the Plan, duplicative language is removed. In the State Plan Attachments where there are different program policies and guidelines between OVR and BBVS, both are stated (e.g. Order of Selection). Efforts are well under way to develop more con sistent program guidelines, as required by law. OVR, including BBVS, will involve Stakeholders in these important program development activities. This will ensure that individualized, quality services are provided to all customers. What follows is a summary of the major components of the Draft Combined State Plan. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Executive Summary is maintained from the OVR State Plan, with updated language reflecting the modifications listed in this Summary. OVR WHITE PAPER PA 2005: STRATEGIC BUILDING BLOCKS FOR WORKFORCE INVESTMENT OVR, including BBVS, is an active partner of TEAM Pennsylvania CareerLink, and is committed to promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Commonwealth. The language is maintained from the OVR State Plan, changing "OVR" to "OVR , including BBVS." SUMMARY OF PUBLIC COMMENT Spring & Summer, 1999 Several periods of public comment were held throughout the planning process. Prior to the transfer of BBVS to the Dept. of Labor and Industry, both OVR and BBVS solicited public comments on their separate State Plans and held a series of Public Forums an d Stakeholder meetings. Following the transfer on 7/1/99, OVR, including BBVS, held another period of public comment along with a Town meeting and a Stakeholder meeting. These three periods of public comment are described below. OVR Summary of Public Comment -- Spring, 1999 The language is maintained from the OVR State Plan. BBVS Public Comment & Stakeholder Meeting -- Spring, 1999 BBVS Public Forums were held in each of the six District Offices in 3/99. These Forums were advertised in the local newspaper in each District and in the PA Bulletin. In addition, 680 letters were mailed to interested parties to announce the time, date, location and purpose of the Public Forums. Input was collected from interested parties either in writing or through direct participation in the Public Forums. District representatives answered questions and concerns during the Public Forums. BBVS Central Office staff sent notification to interested parties and organizations of a State Plan Stakeholder meeting on 6/4/99. Public comments received during this process were displayed on flip charts and distributed in appropriate formats to intere sted parties attending the Stakeholder Meeting. The public comments and Draft Plan were review and discussed in depth among participants and a consensus was reached on the direction BBVS would take regarding these issues. Stakeholders attending the meeting included representatives from: Client Assistance Program, Pa. Association for the Blind, Pa. Consumer Provider Council on Blindness, Pa. Council of the Blind, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, AFSCME Council 13, O VR Rehab Council, PSSU, Pa. Association of Rehab Facilities, Overbrook School for the Blind, Citizens Advisory Council, BBVS Rehab Council, National Federation of the Blind, Delco Blind/Sight Center, Elected Committee of Blind Operators, and Associated Se rvices for the Blind. A summary of the BBVS public comments is included in the State Plan, categorized by State Plan Attachments as well as the topic of the BBVS transfer. OVR, Including BBVS Public Comment & Stakeholder Meeting Combined State Plan -- Summer, 1999 Prior to 7/1/99, the two State Plans were submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). However, as a result of the transfer of the BBVS from the Dept. of Public Welfare to the Dept. of Labor and Industry on 7/1/99, OVR is required by la w to amend the State Plan. Therefore, a period of public comment is open from 7/8/99 through 8/4/99. An Invitation for Public Comment was sent to approximately 350 OVR and BBVS Stakeholders, and was also posted on the OVR web site. The Rehabilitation C ouncils also utilized their communication networks to spread the word. A Summary of the Draft Combined State Plan was also sent to Stakeholders and posted on OVR's web site. A Town Meeting is being held on 8/4/99 in the Harrisburg Area, with -- participants. The major topics presented by the attendees include --- . Concurrently, a Stakeholder meeting is being held, including --- participants. The Public Comments and Dra ft Plan will be discussed and the Final Draft Combined State Plan for the Combined Agency will be developed. This Plan will be presented to the Rehabilitation Councils in 8/99 and to the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation on 9/22/99 for considerati on and action. The Final Draft of the Combined State Plan will then be submitted to the RSA with an anticipated effective date of 10/1/99. PRE-PRINT The following is a Summary of Revisions: Agency Office of Vocational Rehabilitation "Combined" Agency 1.1 Pg 1 Designated State Unit: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation 1.2 Pg 1 Designated State Agency: State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation 1.8 Pg 2 State Officer with Signatory Authority: Susan L. Aldrete, OVR Executive Director 5.5 Pg 27-29 Scope of VR services to groups of individuals with disabilities, includes check off's of both State Plans (a)(1, 2, 3, 4, 5i, 6, 7) (e.g. Randolf-Sheppard Vending Facility Program) 6.4 Pg 30 Order of Selection: No (unable to serve all eligible individuals) Special notation: See Attachment 4.12(c)(2) for further Clarification re Combined Plan; OVR on Order, BBVS not on Order -- need to obtain Stakeholder input ATTACHMENTS 4.2 Summary of Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council The language of both State Plans is included. OVR, Including BBVS -- Summer, 1999 Additional comments have been requested from the Rehabilitation Councils in response to the Draft Combined State Plan. 4.9(c)(1) Cooperation with Agencies that are not in the Statewide Workforce Investment System OVR, including BBVS, works cooperatively with other agencies in the provision of vocational rehabilitation to Pennsylvanians with disabilities. The two State Plans are very similar, therefore, duplicative language is eliminated. However, unique informat ion about specific activities of OVR and BBVS is included. 4.9(c)(2) Coordination with Education Officials OVR, including BBVS, coordinate transition services with education officials for students with disabilities. The two State Plans are very similar, therefore, duplicative language is eliminated. However, unique information about specific activities of OVR and BBVS is included. The agency will consider the ongoing need to develop new, customized services for transition-age students, in collaboration with Dept. of Education and the network of community-based providers. 4.9(c)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit VR Service Providers Since OVR and BBVS existed in two Departments and functioned as separate agencies, two systems of cooperative agreements with private non-profit VR service providers exist. The language of both State Plans is maintained. As a result of the transfer of BB VS, the system of cooperative agreements with service providers will be evaluated to provide efficient, quality services to customers. Stakeholders will be involved in this process of evaluation and development. 4.9(c)(4) Evidence of Collaboration re Supported Employment & Extended Services Since OVR and BBVS existed in two Departments and functioned as separate agencies, two approaches to collaborative efforts regarding supported employment services and extended services exist. The language of both State Plans is maintained. As a result of the transfer of BBVS, best practices will be utilized to create a greater opportunities for both OVR and BBVS customers, through collaborative efforts. 4.11(b) Comprehensive System of Personnel Development OVR, including BBVS, jointly participate in the plan for a Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), as reflected in the language of the OVR State Plan. Therefore, this language is maintained, and the BBVS State Plan language is removed. Additional information is included. The CSPD Advisory Group has reviewed the feasibility plan for new staff, has presented this information to the Rehabilitation Councils and the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Board supports the philosop hical base of the recommendations and directed that detailed work plans be developed. 4.12(a) Results of Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Collaborative efforts between OVR, including BBVS, and the Rehabilitation Councils will determine the feasibility of an approach to a comprehensive statewide assessment. Unique information from the OVR and BBVS State Plans is included, with duplicative l anguage removed. 4.12(b) Annual Estimates Estimates are provided for OVR and BBVS separately, maintaining the specific data for each program. This data will be prepared in one chart in the future. 4.12(c)(1) States Goals & Priorities (Strategic Plan) Both OVR and BBVS have unique Goals and Priorities. The current Goals and Priorities listed in both State Plans is maintained. Stakeholder input will be used in future program development. 4.12(c)(2)(A) Order of Selection OVR is on an Order of Selection. However, BBVS is not on an Order of Selection. As required by law, one Order of Selection will be developed which will be suitable for the Combined Agency. Because of the need to consult with Stakeholders and the Rehabi litation Councils, the existing Order of Selections are presented during this period of transition. 4.12(c)(3) Goals & Plans for Distribution of Title VI, B Funds The OVR and BBVS processes for distribution of Supported Employment funds provide services to individuals with significant disabilities to obtain or retain employment. In the future, Stakeholders will be involved in developing a more consistent system to provide quality, timely services to customers of the Combined Agency. 4.12(d) State's Strategies and use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities There are two Strategies for use of Title I, Innovation and Expansion activities. In the future, Stakeholders will be involved in developing a consistent Strategy, incorporating the specific needs of customers. 4.12(d)(1) To Address Needs Identified in Comprehensive Assessment & Achieve Identified Goals and Priorities OVR, including BBVS, will work in partnership with the Rehabilitation Councils to determine the feasibility of a statewide needs assessment, and utilize these strategies to identify future Innovation and Expansion goals and priorities. Duplicative langua ge has been removed. 4.12(d)(2) Outreach Activities to Serve Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities who are Minorities The State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation has adopted a policy establishing outreach to individuals with the most significant disabilities who are minorities, as a priority of the Agency. OVR, including BBVS, is committed to these efforts as can been seen in its activities. In the future a more concerted effort will further this priority. 4.12(d)(3) Overcome Identified Barriers to Equitable Access In addition to discussion in this and other Attachments in the State Plan, OVR, including BBVS, will continue to seek out and act on opportunities to overcome barriers relating to equitable access. The language of the two State Plans was very similar, therefore, duplicative language was removed. 4.12(e) Evaluation of Innovation & Expansion Activities Evaluation of both the OVR and the BBVS Innovation and Expansion activities is described. 4.16(b)(2) Mediation and Impartial Due Process Hearing Procedures OVR and BBVS have Mediation and Impartial Due Process Hearing Procedures. The current language of both Plans is maintained. As a result of existing in two Departments, they operate differently. Because of the need to consult with Stakeholders and the Re habilitation Councils, the existing procedures are presented during this period of transition. The need to change Due Process for OVR, including BBVS, as a result of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, is described. 6.9(c)(2) Services Subject to Financial Needs Test Both OVR and BBVS have Services Subject to a Financial Needs Test (FNT). However, as a result of previously being separate agencies under two Departments, these Financial Needs Tests are different. Because of the need to consult with Stakeholders and th e Rehabilitation Councils, the existing procedures are presented during this period of transition. 7.3 Quality, Scope and Extent of Job Coaching Services OVR, including BBVS, provides Job Coaching services to Pennsylvanians with disabilities through a network of providers. Language of the two State Plans is included, with duplicative language removed. CONCLUSION The Draft Combined State Plan (7/15/99) is being presented for public comment. Input will be used by OVR, as now a Combined Agency, in partnership with Stakeholders to further define the Plan. The Draft will be presented to the Rehabilitation Councils i n August and to the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation in September for consideration and action. The Combined State Plan will be submitted to the RSA, with a projected effective date of 10/1/99.