2008 PROGRAM REVIEW AND EVALUATION

SERVICE DESCRIPTIONS

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) operates 45 offices in communities throughout the state, as well as three residential schools serving students with disabilities, and a residential training facility for adults who are blind or visually impaired. The major programs offered through DRS are the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program, and the Home Services program (HSP). DRS also administers  the Disability Determination Services program on behalf of the federal Social Security Administration. While DDS staff are considered DRS employees, a special agreement with SSA governs the management of that program. DDS is operationally independent from the rest of the division.

Field operations are supervised by two bureaus within the agency - The Bureau of Field Services (BFS) and the Bureau of Blind Services (BBS). The Bureau of Home Services is a separate administrative unit, but the local office staff providing Home Services is supervised through the Bureau of Field Services. Bureau of Blind  Services staff are located in several of the same field offices as BFS and HSP staff, but are supervised by BBS. The Bureau of Educational Services has supervisory responsibility for staff in the three residential schools for children.

Vocational Rehabilitation

The VR program is operated from 44 offices across the state. DRS employs approximately 230 VR counselors, who assist persons with disabilities in becoming employed. Staff provide vocational guidance and counseling, assist customers in developing an individualized plan for employment, and arrange for provision of training, restorative services and job placement to help customers achieve their employment goals. A total of 45,595 individuals with disabilities received services in the VR program in SFY 08.

It is important to note that staff employed by the Bureau of Blind Services provide VR services to assist persons who are blind or visually impaired obtain or maintain employment. Approximately six percent of VR program customers are blind or visually impaired.

Home Services

The DRS Home Services Program is designed to prevent the unnecessary placement of persons with disabilities into nursing facilities. In SFY 08 38,093 individuals were served through HSP. HSP services are provided through Medicaid waivers from the federal government. This makes it possible for Illinois to receive Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to people with disabilities by HSP. Illinois has a general Medicaid waiver, as well as separate waivers to serve individuals with AIDS and individuals with disabilities resulting from brain injuries. Key services provided by HSP include personal assistant services, such as help with bathing, dressing, cooking and other daily tasks, as well as home modification and nursing care. HSP employs counselors who help customers develop a service plan based on an individualized assessment of their needs. HSP also relies on contractual staff to manage caseloads and monitor services to customers.

Blind Services

In addition to vocational rehabilitation services, BBS provides services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired to enable them to live more independently and function in the community on their own. BBS employs rehabilitation instructors and orientation and mobility instructors to teach independent living skills to blind adults. The Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education at Wood Street (ICRE-W) is a residential facility where blind adults learn independent living skills and mobility skills as well as Braille and the use of special technology equipment.

Independent Living

DRS facilitates a network of 23 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) through its Independent Living Program. CILs are nonprofit, community-based organizations operated by and for individuals with disabilities. CIL services, designed to help people with significant disabilities live more independently, include four core services: advocacy, peer counseling, skills training, and informational and referral. In SFY 08 8,188 individuals received direct services from independent living centers, while nearly 95,000 received information and referral services. DRS staff is responsible for monitoring the operations of the CIL agencies.

Educational Services

DRS provides a wide range of educational services to children and youth with disabilities as well as their parents and caregivers. DRS operates three fully-accredited, residential schools for students with disabilities: the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI), both located in Jacksonville, and the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Roosevelt (ICRE-R) located in Chicago. ISD and ISVI serve children from birth to age 21 while ICRE-R serves students between the ages of 5 and 21. Each year, an estimated 500 students with significant disabilities receive services through these schools. According to ISBE data, approximately 9,000 students in Illinois have physical, hearing or visual impairments, the three types of  disabilities served by DRS schools. DRS serves about five percent of all students with these disabilities. DRS also operates a parent training program - the Next Steps program - which helps parents of children with disabilities throughout the state become more effective advocates for their children.

Disability Determination Services

The Bureau of Disability Determination Services (BDDS) determines the eligibility of Illinois residents with disabilities to receive federal Social Security disability benefits. This program is mandated and funded by the federal Social Security Administration. BDDS staff evaluates each individual's application, along with supplemental medical and psychological evidence, to determine the individual's eligibility for benefits. In SFY 08, BDDS staff evaluated applications from a total of 142,094 individuals with disabilities seeking Social Security benefits.

FAMILY IMPACT

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) serves people with disabilities in partnership with their families to help them make informed choices and achieve full community participation through employment, education, and independent living opportunities. All DRS services emphasize a holistic approach to meeting the needs of people with disabilities and their families. DRS services that are tailored  to help families include:

The Vocational Rehabilitation program that encourages active involvement and support of family members throughout the rehabilitation process. A primary goal is to help people with disabilities obtain jobs that pay a living wage and offer opportunities for advancement - thereby enabling them and their families to become self-sufficient or as independent as possible.

The Home Services Program, dedicated to promoting independence, promotes an individualized, family-centered plan for individuals with disabilities. In-home services to people with severe disabilities allow them to remain at their residences and live a more satisfying, self-directed life.

DRS operates three residential schools, the Illinois School for the Deaf, the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, and the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation Education-Roosevelt, where faculty and staff work with parents to ensure close, continuous involvement in the student's development and growth. Parents are encouraged to arrange home visits for their child frequently as possible during the school year to give them the opportunity to improve their independent living skills in the home environment.

Social Security disability programs that award income and medical insurance benefits to people with disabilities. These benefits enable families to better meet the needs of the family member with a disability.

Independent living services which help disabled people learn new skills aimed at acquiring greater independence, like providing better care for their children and becoming positive role models.

Services for people who are blind or visually impaired teach independent living skills, strengthening their independence and reducing their dependence on family members.

NEED AND POPULATIONS SERVED

DRS programs are designed to serve individuals who have disabilities that have a significant impact on their ability to work and to live independently in the community. The primary source of information used to estimate the size of the target population is the data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The last two national census efforts have included a long-form questionnaire that included items on disability.

In addition, the Census Bureau conducts annual surveys of random samples of the population in each state, known as the American Community Survey as well as the Current Population Survey, each of which provides data on the number of persons with disabilities in Illinois.

The best current estimate of persons with significant disabilities who may be in need of services from the DRS Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program is approximately 360,000 adults who indicated that they had a sensory, physical, or mental disability that interferes with their ability to work. In addition, approximately 33,000 young people age 14-17 were found to have disabilities that may require assistance from the VR program as they make the transition to adult life. This gives an estimate of 393,000 persons with significant disabilities who may require VR services.

The Census surveys also asked questions about the need for assistance with self-care, that is, help with such activities as bathing, dressing and eating, which is the type of assistance provided through the DRS Home Services program (HSP). In Census surveys, 1.7 percent of adults indicated a need for assistance with self-care. In addition, an additional 1.9 percent of adults indicated the presence of multiple sensory, physical or mental disabilities. DRS believes that this combined 3.6 percent of adults, or about 291,000 persons, represents a valid estimate of the potential size of the population in need of HSP services. In addition, Census data indicates that about 71,000 children have significant disabilities, which may quality them for HSP services. This gives a total estimated population potentially in need of services from HSP of about 362,000 persons. This estimate does not take into account the financial eligibility for services.

REHABILITATION SERVICES SERVICE DATA

?Program SFY08 Actual SFY09 Estimated SFY10 Projected
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION PROGRAM
Persons Served 45,595 46,500 46,750
Persons Achieving Competitive Employment Outcomes 4,978 5,276 5,592
Minority Persons Achieving Competitive Employment Outcomes 1,504 1,590 1,685
Rehabilitation Rate 58.5% 60% 61%
Minority Service Rate Ratio 87% 87.5% 88%
Persons Receiving On-the-Job Supports 2,476 2,535 2,595
HOME SERVICES PROGRAM Persons Receiving Needed In-Home Service
General Program 29,205 29,400 29,500
Brain Injury Program 7,065 7,100 7,125
Persons Moved Out of Nursing Home 107 175 200
INDEPENDENT LIVING
Number of Persons Receiving Core Services 8,188 8,680 9,201
Number of On-Site Compliance Reviews of IL Centers 4 5 5
DISABILITY DETERMINATION SERVICES
Total Cases Adjudicated 142,094 144,571 153,650
Accuracy Rate 94.7 93.2 97.0

PERFORMANCE MEASURES

?Performance Measures Description SFY08
Actual
SFY09
Estimated
SFY10
Projected
Number of competitive employment outcomes in the VR program. 4,978 5,276 5,592
Annual percent increase in competitive employment outcomes in the VR program. -4.8% 6% 6%
Persons receiving VR services as a percent of the estimated number of persons with a significant work disability. 18.7% 19% 19.5%
Number of persons with disabilities receiving in-home services. 38,093 38,300 38,600
Number of new service plans developed. 9,377 9,950 10,250

STRATEGIC GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS SFY 08

Priority II - Independence

Collaborate with human service agencies to effectively help individuals with disabilities to maximize independence.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 26

Provide services that will enable DRS customers to achieve the highest level of independence.

Objective(s)

By June 20, 2008, Centers for Independent Living will receive funding to support a 3 percent COLA.

Accomplishment(s)

An effort by disability advocacy groups to pass legislation enacting a cost-of-living increase in the base level of funding for independent living centers was not successful. DRS continues to support such an increase for the centers, which have not received a significant funding increase in many years.

Priority VI - Integration

Implement cross-cutting processes that enhance achievement of the agency's core mission and provide seamless integrated services for individuals, families and communities.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 68

Implement system wide improvements in Platinum Customer Service by creating a work environment that results in a positive experience for customers and staff.

Objective(s)
  • By June 30, 2008, achieve a satisfaction survey of community providers base rate of 80 percent.
  • By June 30, 2008, achieve a satisfaction survey of employers hiring DRS customers base rate of 80 percent.
  • By June 30, 2008, achieve a statewide staff morale base rate of 80 percent.
  • By June 30, 2008, achieve an overall customer satisfaction base rate of 80 percent.
Accomplishment(s)

An initial survey of community providers had a 77 percent positive score on several items including general satisfaction, communication and DRS responsiveness. A follow-up survey is planned for 2009 as well as a survey of DRS staff regarding their interactions with community providers.

A 2008 survey of employers who hired individuals placed through the DRS vocational rehabilitation program found that 79 percent were satisfied with the work done by those employees. In addition, 45 percent of the employers said that the quality of work provided by DRS customers was very good or excellent, and 40 percent said that the performance of those workers was better than that of other workers in the same position.

The 2009 statewide survey of 545 VR program customers demonstrated achievement of the target of 80 percent customer satisfaction. Overall 83 percent of customer said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the services they received from DRS. In addition 56 percent rated the quality of services as very good or excellent, and 85 percent said that they would recommend DRS services to a friend. 

DRS conducted an extensive survey of its staff in 2008, which dealt with a variety of issues including staff morale, internal communications and accountability. The survey was qualitative and therefore no specific numbers can be assigned to the staff morale target measure.

However, DRS management believes that the survey was a valuable tool to improve communication between central office and field offices across the state.

STRATEGIC DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES SFY 09 - SFY 11

Priority II - Independence

Collaborate with human service agencies to effectively help individuals with disabilities to maximize independence.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 23

Achieve a high level of productivity by efficiently serving eligible Vocational Rehabilitation customers and helping them attain successful outcomes.

Objective(s)
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 6 percent annually the index of pre-employment Vocational Rehabilitation measures from 72,640 in FY 08 to 76,998 in FY 09, 81,617 in FY 10 and 86,514 in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 6 percent annually the number of competitive employment outcomes in the VR program, from 4,978 in FY 08 to 5,276 in FY 09, 5,592 in FY 10 and 5,927 in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 6 percent annually the number of high school students employed within 6 months of leaving school. Note this measure is under development and projected numbers are not available at this time. Baseline data will be established in FY 09 to FY 10.
  • Through June 30, 2011, achieve and maintain the percentage of VR program participants who become successfully employed from 58.0 percent in FY 08, to 60.0 percent in FY 09, 61.0 percent in FY 10 and 62.0 percent in FY 11.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 24

Continually improve the quality of services provided by DRS in all program areas.

Objective(s)
  • By January 1, 2009, increase hourly wage for personal attendants employed through the HSP by 1 dollar.
  • By June 30, 2009, DRS will obtain state-of-the art textbooks for students at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired and School for the Deaf at the level of 50 percent.
  • By June 30, 2011, DRS will obtain state-of-the art textbooks for students at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired and School for the Deaf at the level of 80 percent.
  • Through June 30, 2011, achieve and maintain 90 percent compliance with RSA timeliness requirements for eligibility and plan development.
  • Through June 30, 2011, achieve and maintain 100 percent completion of Home Services Program redetermination assessments in a timely fashion.
  • Through June 30, 2011, achieve and maintain a 90 percent positive rating on the Index of Key Quality Assurance indicators.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 25

Increase the quality of jobs obtained by VR program customers.

Objective(s)
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 3.5 percent annually the average hourly wage earned by VR program customers, from $9.73 in FY 08 to $10.08 in FY 09, $10.43 in FY 10 and $10.78 in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 3.5 percent annually the average hours worked per week by VR program customers, from 29.0 hours in FY 08 to 30.0 hours in FY 09 to 31.7 hours in FY 10 and 32.2 hours in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 5 percent annually the percentage of VR program customers who obtain jobs with employerprovided health insurance.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 26

Provide services that will enable DRS customers to achieve the highest level of independence.

Objective(s)
  • Through June 30, 2011, the Home Services Program (HSP) will be fully funded to serve at least 33,700 customers in FY 09, 34,400 customers in FY 10 and 35,100 customers in FY 11.
  • By June 30, 2011, the Centers for Independent Living will receive an increase of $2 million to support formula funding.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 6 percent annually the number of BBS customers closed as non-competitive rehabilitated cases, from 275 successful cases in FY 09 to 291 in FY 10 and 308 in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 6 percent annually the number of DRS customers moved from nursing homes into community residences through the reintegration program, from 133 in FY 09 to 150 in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, implement a peermentoring project for individuals moving out of nursing homes as part of the DRS reintegration program.
  • Through June 30, 2011, increase by 6 percent annually the number of persons receiving core services from independent living centers, from 8,188 in FY 08 to 8,680 in FY 09, 9,201 in FY 10 and 9,753 in FY 11.
  • Through June 30, 2011, the Home Services Program will serve from 33,747 in FY 08 to 34,447 in FY 09, 35,147 in FY 10 and 35,847 in  FY 11 new customers.

Priority VI - Integration

Implement cross-cutting processes that enhance achievement of the agency's core mission and provide seamless integrated services for individuals, families and communities.

Strategic Goal/Initiative 68

Implement system-wide improvements in Platinum Customer Service by creating a work environment that results in a positive experience for customers and staff.

Objective(s)
  • By June 30, 2009, achieve an overall customer satisfaction base rate of 85 percent.