In this webinar, registrants will be introduced to the various school and agency based services available to help students aged 14+ transition from high school to adulthood. We will talk about the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) offered by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), additional transition related services from other agencies, and how these various agencies can work together to provide holistic services. In addition, attendees will learn about the college tuition sponsorship that the DVRS offers, how to apply, and more!
Melissa Zeidler is the Managing Attorney of the Community Inclusion Team at Disability Rights NJ.
Janna Sheiman is the Managing Attorney of the Employment Team at Disability Rights NJ.
0:04 Good evening. and welcome. 0:06 And thank you so much for joining us tonight for the webinar, Introduction to Transition Services, presented by Melissa … and Jana, Shaman of Disability Rights New Jersey. My name is Katie Delaney. I’m the Family and Medical Outreach co-ordinator at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders. 0:27 I will be your facilitator for this evening. 0:30 Before I introduce Miss sidebar and Ms. Shuman, we have a couple of housekeeping notes. All participants are muted. If you have a question, please type it in the bottom of your question box and click Send. 0:42 If you have questions after tonight’s session, you can post your questions on the Wednesday Webinar blog, which can be accessed from our Home screen page at WWW dot NJ CTS dot org. 0:56 Under the heading programs, this blog will be monitored for the next seven days. 1:02 The, and the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, its directors, and employees, assume no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, objectivity, or usefulness of information presented on our site. 1:18 We do not endorse any recommendation, or opinion made, by any member, or physician, nor do we advocate any treatment. 1:25 You are responsible for your own medical decisions. 1:29 Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce our speakers for this evening, Melissa Zeidler and Jana Shuman, Miss Zeidler as the managing attorney of the Communication of the Community Inclusion Team at Disability Rights, New Jersey. 1:44 She started off her career as a staff attorney, representing clients with the with cancer at the Nassau cell phone laws service in Long Island New York. She then moved to the Urban Justice Centers mental health project in New York City to represent clients seeking federal disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. 2:08 Her most recent position before Disability Rights New Jersey was I was as a supervisor of the Disability Advocacy Project at Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Legal Services, Ms. 2:21 Shuman, as the managing attorney of the employment team at Disability Rights, New Jersey. Her legal experience has been developed through her work at Disability Rights New Jersey in addition to various other roles. 2:37 Some of which include working at a personal injury defense firm, as well as representing blunt vulnerable students with developmental disabilities. For a decade on protecting their civil rights and the right to an equal education, Ms. Zeidler and Ms. Shuman, we are so happy to have you here tonight. The floor is all yours. 3:01 Thank you so much, Katie, and welcome to everybody. Thank you for joining us, tonight, for Introduction to the Transition Services. I’m Melissa, and I’ll be starting off the presentation. 3:12 Like Katie said, I’m the managing attorney of the Community Inclusion team. 3:17 And I’m Janice Iman. I am the managing attorney of the employment unit. 3:23 About Disability Rights New Jersey, where we work. We are a private non-profit agency funded with private donations and grants from the federal and state government. 3:33 We are New Jersey’s protection and advocacy agency, and there is one in every state. 3:37 And our mission is to preserve the human civil and legal rights of people with disabilities. 3:42 We do this by providing legal assistance, an issue areas of abuse, neglect, discrimination, voting rights, employment. And, in addition to individual representation, we are able to go into investee and monitor our facilities for abuse and neglect, where people with disabilities get services. 4:02 Tonight we’re going to be talking about our Trailblazers Project, which is Transition Readiness for Adult and Independent Living. 4:08 This project spans both my team, the Community Inclusion Team, and Janet’s team, the employment team. 4:14 Transition Services are for students and youth with disabilities age 14 to 21 and these services are meant to help prepare them for adult life after high school. 4:23 So services can be provided by the students high school and at times other agencies like the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, DDD and Centers for Independent Living. 4:36 Our project assists youth and their families with understanding, pursuing, and enforcing these rights, because in our work, it has become clear to us that families don’t know, this is something they are entitled to. 4:47 So we’re trying to get the word out. Next slide. 4:52 So, our first learning objective that I’ll be talking about today is an introduction to the school based transition services. 5:00 We’re gonna go a little into the legal definition, what that all means, and have some examples for you all. 5:08 So just bear with me here, because the legal definition of transition services is quite long, and it’s quite involved, as you can see, but this is a legal, right. 5:17 And this is really what we want to get across and end is these are services that people are legally entitled to. 5:23 So transition services is within the IDA, the individuals’ Disabilities Education Act, and it is a co-ordinated set of activities for a child with a disability. 5:33 It’s supposed to be a results oriented process. 5:37 It’s supposed to be about improving academic and functional achievement to facilitate that child’s movement from school to post school activities. 5:48 And it goes on from there. It’s supposed to be based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account that child’s strengths, preferences, and interests. 5:55 And it can include things like instruction, community experiences, related services, development of goals and objectives, and even independent living skills. 6:07 So where is this point, actually documented? That is in the IEP, Individualized Education Plan. 6:15 There are many components to a IEP, I’m sure many of you are familiar with this already. But the Statement of Transition Planning and the Statement of Transition Services are two major parts of this IEP for students aged 14 and older. 6:29 So we’re gonna continue with this legal definition. And here we have on the next few slides. some excerpts of the model IEP form that New Jersey issued last year. 6:40 So, as I mentioned before, the IE, the transition plan is supposed to be on strengths, interests, and preferences, and that is now an explicit section on the IEP. 6:51 It’s supposed to identify a course of study or related services and activities that are consistent with those strengths and help the student develop the goals that they want. And those are also explicit sections on the IEP. 7:05 And the IEP finally should also include linkages with other agencies who might provide transition services, and that is also explicitly on the IEP. 7:18 So, results oriented process, what does that really mean? That these goals are supposed to be smart, that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound? They are supposed to be specific to that student And the goals that the student has are supposed to be based on age appropriate transition assessments. Assessments can be formal and informal, but, again, it’s all based on what the student wants to do, what their strengths, preferences, and interests are, and how they can get there. 7:47 So, based on the individual, student’s needs, this should be specific to the student, sometimes, using a one size fits all transition plan. It’s kind of the same in every IEP. That should not be, it should be specific to that student. 7:59 It’s also an academic and functional achievement, so, that is more than just grades, Right? We don’t need to hear that. Oh, the student is fine. 8:06 They’ve gotten a B, they got an A There. OK, now, they are still entitled to Transition Services. 8:12 And, finally, the inter-agency linkages and responsibilities representatives from other agencies like DVRs, CBI, which General will talk about later, should be invited to the IEP meeting, and they can attend. 8:26 So this is an excerpt from a real IEP. This is how they end up looking in the real world. 8:31 And you can see that this student, I’m sorry, it’s hard to see a little bit, but this is just the best quality we could get it. This student was supposed to enroll in a career awareness course by September 2021. 8:43 And you can see that the person responsible agency is the students, the parents, the guidance counselors, the case manager, the school. 8:49 So there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and we all know what happens there. Sometimes nothing gets done because everyone thinks someone else will do it. 8:55 The interesting about this plan, is that the student was also supposed to obtain a part-time job and a career from interest through structured learning experienced by June 2021, The person responsible for that was just the student and the parent, no one from the school. 9:10 The issue there was, they were also supposed to obtain this part-time job in A by June, but they didn’t have to enroll in a career awareness course until September. 9:20 So this plan is not really working very well together. 9:26 This is another plan. This is a different student. It could be better, but this is better than the one before it. 9:31 And it has what this student is interested in, which is design and visual communications, photography, digital media, and you can see near the bottom, the courses of study include: design and visual communications. 9:45 Next slide. 9:48 This is a continuation of that same IEP and a has a lot more about goals. 9:52 There are smaller, but they’re more specific learning about getting a driver’s license, learn about getting all this stuff and it has the inter-agency linkages, so it has DDS, the division of the Disability Services It has DVRs as Center for Independent Living and his Social Security. This is all on the IEP, so this one is much better. 10:13 So, what does it really look like? 10:15 Right? Instead of having a goal, John Smith will attend a four year college after high school. That can be broken down into a series of smaller goals. 10:22 Something like John Smith will identify three colleges he’s interested in who can review their websites to learn more about the application process, the office with disabilities, the academic programming. You will work with the guidance counselor to complete three applications by the end of the year. 10:37 You know, something really, much more, Hopefully doable, and if you start to bold goals to get it, to be doable. 10:45 So the same thing, John, will secure transportation to a summer internship? 10:50 Maybe there needs to be other goals before we can get there. Does he know the bus or train route? 10:54 Does he know, Uber, does he have a way to even figure out how to secure transportation? You know, maybe he can work with DVR asked to provide route training during the semester. 11:06 And finally, you will move into his own apartment after graduation, so what could this be, Does he know how to manage money? Does he have a way to pay rent? Does he know how to travel independently? So all of these things can be part of a transition plan in the IEP. 11:21 And now we’re going to talk about pre-employment Transition Services that students are eligible to receive from the vocational rehabilitation agencies in the state of New Jersey. And there are two agencies, Melissa Touch on them briefly briefly. But we’re going to go into a little bit more detail about them. We have in New Jersey, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Commission for the Blind and visually Impaired, you’ll hear those referred to as DVRs and CBPR through the rest of the presentation. 11:50 So, what are Transition Services, and how does it break down between what the school can provide, what the pre-employment Transition Services can provide, and what the VR Agencies can provide as transition services in a separate way? So, the idea, this is where you have vocational education, a structured learning experience, where it can be an internship that the student is receiving high school credit for. Continuing an adult education, independent living, and community part participation. There are five elements. There are five things that the VR agencies can provide for the pre-employment Transition Services. 12:27 They’re able to help the students with job exploration counseling, work based learning experiences. If a student really wants to become a physician assistant that the VR agency and their representative can work to get the student placed, and the evenings or in the afternoons, working at a medical facility or a doctor’s office, to be able to get some of that training. They can also provide counseling on post-secondary opportunities. Is this a student who’s looking to go to college? They can provide workplace readiness training. 12:58 They can provide instruction on self advocacy. So, the student is able to really advocate for themselves. We’re going to leave the VR Transition Services to the side for just a little bit, because we’re going to be touching on those, and in a few minutes. So, the legal definition of access to pre-employment Transition Services, they must be made available statewide to all students with a disability, regardless of whether the student has applied to, or been determined, eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The general rule of thumb here is if you’re a student with a disability, you have an IEP, or you have a 504 Plan. You qualify for pre-employment Transition Services from your State VR Agency. They don’t have to do a financial needs assessment. 13:41 They don’t have to look to see whether you need assistance in receiving the services, or whether the VR services are needed to help reduce a barrier to employment. Are you a student with a disability? Are you enrolled in a school? You have access to the pre-employment Transition Services. 13:59 So, as we were talking about before, these are activities that are designed to help prepare a student with a disability for the world of work. 14:06 And, again, those are the five areas of job exploration: counseling, worst work based learning experiences, counseling on post-secondary opportunities, workplace readiness training, and instruction on self advocacy. 14:20 And, with the new Model IEP, these are supposed to be specifically considered and included on that document, A school district must consider whether the student would benefit from the pre ETS services and note whether they are recommending that this student received them or not receive them in the IEP. And this is part of that transition plan. And it has its own specific section where, at the IEP meeting, the student and the eye and the transition team and the IEP team will discuss, does the student need job exploration? Is a school providing it or is he going to be getting that from DVRs work, based learning experience? Is a school providing that, or she getting it, from TV RS, and that will all be put into the IEP. 15:07 To be able to get services for the IEP, it’s not automatic. You get you’re eligible for them automatically, but you have to be referred to the VR Agency. 15:17 The referral can come from multiple places. It can come from the school. It could come from the parents. It can come from a provider or a doctor. And there’s an online referral form for the DVR S that is filled out and sent into the central office that information is on their website. And for CBI, parents of the students who are blind, deaf, blind, or student who’s visually impaired may contact their child, see PVI teacher at the School for Referral, or contact one of … regional offices to be able to receive these pre-employment Transition Services. 15:55 And so, now, we’re going to talk a little bit about the full transition services that are available from the state VR agencies, in addition to the pre-employment Transition Services that we just talked about. 16:09 If a student needs services that go beyond those five elements of the pre-employment Transition Services, they can apply for full DR services. 16:19 And these come from two places. There is the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which created programs funded by the federal government to help individuals with disabilities to reduce barriers to employment. So this can be, they’re looking for a job application. They’re looking for help with the job application. 16:42 They’re looking to understand what type of job they’d be suited for, or what type of job they may be able to work in. They need help with placement. They need help with when they’re at the job, somebody to come and work with them. Those are all services available from the VR Agency. 16:58 Then this was modified in 20 14 by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. And here, this is where you expand the opportunities available from the State VR Agency. And one of the things that I do want to highlight, because this is a big thing, that we’ve worked on at Disability Rights, Is the VR Agency, is to encourage eligible individuals to pursue advanced training, in the fields of Science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, including computer science, law, medicine, or business. So, this opens up the door to be able to get not just tuition sponsorship, which we will talk about later in the presentation, but potentially graduate school sponsorship from the VR agency, if it meets your academic and occupational meets. 17:49 So, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services is, a, created by the Rehab Act, as amended by WIOA And the VR services are really intended to help students with disabilities to prepare for, or obtain employment. That’s based off of their own abilities, their interests, and personal choice. And this is where, like those smart goals came into play, that Melissa was talking about. All of these are supposed to be based off of the student’s abilities, their interests, and what they say that they would like to do. 18:22 Some of the specific language is informing each applicant and eligible individuals through appropriate modes of communication, about the availability of an opportunities to exercise informed choice, including the availability of support services for individuals with cognitive or other disabilities who require assistance and exercising informed choice throughout the vocational rehabilitation process. You’re going to hear me talk about informed choice a lot during this presentation, and we will get into the definition of that, But essentially, that informed choice. The VR Agency is supposed to take into account what the individual’s stated goal is. If you have somebody who wants to go into sports. 19:03 The VR agency can’t come back and say, well, we’re going to make, give you an IEP, an individualized plan of employment, that says you’re going to be a construction worker. The informed choice is the individual’s right, to be active and part of the presentation of this process, and to have their desires listened to and recorded on the IEP. 19:23 The eligibility criteria for de VRS is an individual must have a physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability that acts as a barrier to them either getting or keeping their job, and that they need those VR services to be able to prepare for the employment. And cut the services available for the … that go above and beyond the pre-employment Transition Services, our job coaching. 19:49 Job accommodations, transportation, helping you get back and forth from the workplace, big and provide college and vocational training. Do you want to become a carpenter or they can help sponsor your carpentry program? 20:00 Physical and mental mental restoration services. 20:02 If your insurance won’t be able to provide access to a therapist, you can get them some of those services from the VR Agency, as long as that will help you to be able to, to maintain and keep your job. They are also able to provide assistive technology that will help you in the workplace, and other goods and services that are determined necessary for the individual to help them achieve their employment outcomes. 20:26 A Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is created through state statute, And it’s designed to help those who are visually impaired or legally blind. A visual impairment means with the best correction, like I’m wearing glasses right now with my best correction. If my vision was 20 70 or last saying, I can see at 20 feet what people could see at 70 feet, then your qualifies visually impaired. 20:50 If you have a best correction of 2200, you see at 20 feet what people see at 200 feet. You are deemed legally blind and that these are the individuals that the Commission for the Blind and visually impaired is specifically designed to work with. 21:05 CPV. I will work with the school districts to help transition visually impaired, and legally blind, school, age children, age 14 to 21. 21:15 So, what are the steps for getting these VR transition services? First, you have to fill out the application for VR services, You can apply as early as age 14 to be able to receive full VR services. There will be a determination of eligibility, the development of the individualized plan of employment, and then the provision of the VR services by the agency. 21:36 To be eligible for the individualized VR transition services, the student must have. And, again, this is going back to that criteria from D BRS as physical or mental impairment that constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment, and must require the VR services to prepare for secure, retain, advance in, or regain employment. 21:58 If you meet those criteria, you can be eligible for services from the VR Agency, specifically also Transition services, which we’re talking about here. 22:07 So, how do you apply for the individualized VR services There? Again, there is a referral process with DVRs, and I have the link on the website and on the PowerPoint that was sent out to you guys, or you have access to, to be able to go to that. 22:21 Referral Form. You fill out the form. It goes to the Central Office, they send it to the local Office, and you’re contacted by a VR Agency or CV, CBI. You can request an application from your CPI transition counselor at the school to begin the application process. 22:42 Again, just to summarize, side-by-side, DVRs, individuals’, physical, mental, cognitive, or other forms of a disability, the X This is substantial impediment to employment, is maybe eligible for DVR services. 22:54 CVI if you are blind, visually impaired, or deaf blind, individual who has a visual impairment and need services to be able to work. You may qualify for the CBI, VR Services. 23:06 I do want to note that there is a presumption of eligibility if you’re a student who receives SSI or SSDI. So, these are students who may be in that 18 to 21 age group, who haven’t yet graduated, who are still going through transition services, or getting education from their school district. 23:24 Once you are deemed to have the SSI or SSDI, you are presumed to have the mental or physical impairment that does act as a barrier to employment, and there’s a presumption that you would need the VR services to be able to help you get and access a job. So anybody who is receives SSI, or SSDI, is considered to have a significant disability by the federal regulations that is eligible for services by the state VR agencies. 23:53 So, two big things I do want to talk about with the VR services, they must be individualized. They must be based off of your unique strengths, resources, priorities, abilities, interests, and your informed choice. And, as I was talking about before, and informed choice, you must be able to exercise informed choice throughout the VR process. 24:16 This means, you must have the opportunity to be spoken about the options. 24:21 If there, you go and say, I want to be a doctor, but there’s some barrier to it. The VR Agency is supposed to talk to you about what other options there could be to explore what it would take to become a doctor. What would it take to become a nurse, what would it take to become a medical assistant? To be able to help you make your informed choice about what career path you would like to take. 24:42 This is not a situation where the VR agency can inform you of what your choices, which they do tend to do, but where you are able to stand your ground and say, I want to become an artist, I want help to become an artist. 24:57 So that is the informed choice. You are supposed to be able to have the say in what your career goal is going to be. 25:03 The individualized plan for employment, the IP, not to be confused with an IEP, I do that all the time. The IPA is the important document, because that is essentially the contract between you and the VR agency, of what services the VR agency will be providing to you. The … must be reviewed at least annually, or more frequently, if required. 25:26 If there are significant changes to your employment goal, or your employment services, or a service provider, Changes to the IEP eat. This is something different than the IEP changes to the …. 25:39 Do not take effect until both the individual and the VR counselor has signed onto the document. I know what the I EP if it’s not signed onto within 15 days, it can go into effect. That does not hold true for the individualized plan for employment with the VR Agency. 25:56 So the basic components of the IEP, You have the employment goal. 26:00 You have the list of the services to be provided by the VR Agency, which will include any assistive technology or personal assistant services that you’re receiving from the VR Agency. If, for transition students with disabilities, it’s, they’ll have a list of what transition services. are you looking for transportation? Are you looking for an internship timeline for when the services will be starting, and when they will be deemed to be completed? The entity providing the VR services chosen by you. 26:29 This is not one where the VR Agency can come to you, and say, we’ll provide you driving lessons at this one provider, and that is all you can go to. 26:38 They have to give you a range of options, that are available to them, and discuss all of them, with you, to let you choose which one is appropriate. And the cost that the individuals responsible to contribute to receiving these VR services. 26:51 So why is the employment goal important? That has to be, again, chosen by you, and that’s consistent with your strengths, resources, priorities, and abilities, and interests. 27:01 The VR Agency will not fund higher education or a vocation program unless it was acquired to achieve your employment goal. So, say, you want to become a doctor. You need to get a Bachelor’s Degree, you need to get your graduate degree. 27:17 That is something that the VR Agency would be able to sponsor. But if you come to them, and, say, I want to be a YouTube stream, or They’re not going to pay to send you to medical school, Because that’s not going to meet your career objective. So, an individual who wants to become, what’s the ability, and has wants to become a teacher of the VR Agency, would be able to provide sponsorship for that Bachelor’s degree program. And for somebody who wants to become a pharmacist, they’re able to get sponsorship or the graduate program as well. 27:44 And again, here’s the referral process. This is the link or the … website. It’s in the PowerPoint presentation that you’re going to be given. There’s also the direct link or the referral form and the two phone numbers that you can call to begin the process at CPI to start going through the application. 28:03 Now, I want to talk about a brief case example about how the school district, the pre-employment Transition Services, and the VR services can all work together for a student who’s still school in school. 28:17 Here, we have Jane who was 17 and was diagnosed with specific Learning Ability. She is receiving pre-employment Transition Services from DVRs, since she turned 14, including Job Exploration, Counseling, Introduction to self efficacy, and Workplace Readiness Training. 28:35 She wants to be a medical assistant when she graduates from high school. 28:39 So, her school has put onto her IEP that she’ll participate in a structured learning experience and her senior year and receive credit for it. And the school has told them, hold her parents and told gene that they can provide for the structured learning experience and the physician’s office. But they can’t arrange or pay for the transportation because she’s the only search student traveling to that site. 29:02 So genes at parents have applied for VR transition services, and Jane has been determined eligible for those VR services. So, remember that little chart we saw at the beginning, where it talks about what the three types of transition services are, what you can get from the school district, what you can get with the pre-employment Transition Services, and what you can get from the VR transition, when you’re going for a full VR Sponsorship. So, you’ll see that transportation is a service that the VR Agency can provide, or student who has found eligible for full VR services. 29:36 So, with this case scenario, what does the school’s responsibility to pay for transportation? Unfortunately, under the State regulations and other State statutes, the school does not have responsibility to pay for transportation services to and from a structured learning experience or an internship through the school. So, can janes parents ask DVRs to arrange and pay for the transportation? Yes, they absolutely can. 30:01 That is a full VR transition service available from the VR agency for the student should apply for the full VR sponsorship, and would be able to receive the transportation services. 30:13 So now the question becomes, how does the EP and the IEP process work to get Jane, the services she needs? The school district personnel should be inviting TV IRS to attend Jane’s I E P. 30:26 meetings to be able to discuss the services that would be provided by the school to Jane and what would be provided by … when they have the final meetings, whether it’s both the IEP and the IP. Both should be outlining the services being provided by each entity, so, for the school, they would have on her transition plan that she is receiving the structured learning experience. And, that transportation is being provided by deed VRS on her DVRs IP. It would have a notation that Jane is receiving a structured learning experience from her school, and that … is paying for the transportation to and from the location, how many days at what rate? So, that way it sets forth the responsibilities of both of the agencies. 31:14 And now, we’re going to talk a little bit about transition related services, and our other over for transition related services from other agencies. 31:25 Can you hear me? 31:30 You hear me talking? 31:33 Melissa, if you’re speaking, I cannot hear. 31:39 Microphone is on, OK, nope, it was my think. I’m bad, OK. So, Introduction to Transition related Services from other agencies. 31:51 So, that was a lot about school, DVR SNC BVI, but there are other agencies that can provide transition related services also. So, there’s the Division of Developmental, Really, Developmental Disabilities, and these services are for people who are age 18, if they no longer have an educational entitlement under the idea, or 21 if they’re still in school, until 21. 32:13 They have to be enrolled or eligible for Medicaid, a citizen of the US and a resident of New Jersey, and meet the functional criteria of a developmental disability as they define it. 32:25 So, some of the services DDD can provide and generally our transportation like … can community based supports, day habilitation, Occupational therapy, individualized supports, they can provide a lot of services. 32:42 So for a person who either is not eligible for …, or for some reason those services are not available, DDD can also provide some of these transition type related services and career planning, pre vocational training, and supported employment. 33:02 DDD can also provide some housing assistance and they have a timeline, which is a checklist for students who are exiting school and turning 21. 33:14 Are there other agencies? There are Centers for Independent Living. And while an up the transition based fully, they do offer peer counseling, skills, training, and advocacy based on individual needs. And there’s also this New Jersey travel independence program, which is for people with disabilities and elderly people learning how to use transportation more generally. But it does have a classroom curriculum for high school students in transition programs. 33:40 So, Jenny mentioned this little earlier. How do all of these agencies work together? What is this like? 33:46 DVRs is supposed to have a liaison for every School District, and the schools was, invite representatives from other agencies who may be responsible for paying for a transition service to the IEP meeting. 33:57 We saw that on that model IEP itself, or it has the inter-agency linkages, and who’s responsible. Janet talked about it with the I P from D VRS and School. So, does this always happen? 34:11 Sometimes, the school does not invite representatives. Sometimes they do, and they don’t show up. 34:16 There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Sometimes CBRS, as things, they don’t have to be involved as a particular person until they already graduated until they turn 18. 34:25 And everything John had mentioned earlier is that that age requirement is not there. They can be involved much earlier than that. 34:31 They can go to the school and in fact they should. 34:33 Right, you can’t say that DVR’s will provide transportation for someone a DVR us is not there to agree to that and has not conducted their own eligibility determinations. 34:45 So now we’re going to go back to the PR agency and what happens when the student is about to graduate, and they’re looking to go on to college, and they’ve got their career objective, and it’s going to require a Bachelor’s Degree, How do you get the college tuition sponsorship from the state VR agencies? 35:05 So, once the client has been found eligible for services, what they need to do is they’ll be assigned a counselor. 35:12 And they can request from that counselor usually either by phone or in writing. We would recommend in writing by e-mail, request an IEP meeting to discuss your occupational goals. And once a student has been found or anybody has been found eligible for VR services DVRs or CBP, I have 90 days to develop an IP for the client. Now, that period can be extended, but they have to do that with the permission. 35:41 The written permission of the individuals seeking, the VR sponsorship, or the VR services, to be able to go past that 90 days. 35:49 So to be able to get that IEP, you’re going to either need to know what you want to do for, for career. Do you wanna go into acting to, you want to become a sports coach, Do you want to become a teacher? Or you can go and say, I’m not sure what I wanted to do. Can I get an assessment to be able to help me? And similar to how an IEP and the school district, they have vocation assessments, DVR, SRC. PBI are also able to provide vocational assessments as well to individuals to help determine what career objectives could be. 36:24 Would they have an interest in or what career objectives would be good for them to pursue? So you would need, if you want to seek for the college sponsorship, though, your employment goal must require that additional training, whether that’s an undergraduate degree, A certificate of training, a graduate degree, or completion of an apprenticeship program. 36:45 So there’s a component of the VR services once you are eligible for that vocation rehabilitation services that’s not taken into account by either the school district or the pre-employment transition services. And that’s the financial needs test. The VR Agencies generally are not required by federal law to have a financial needs test, however many of them do. 37:08 And what this essentially is, is a test that will help determine how much you, the individual may need to contribute towards their VR services. And this is referred to as the cost of VR services. 37:21 So this is where, on the I P, when you have a breakdown, say that you’re going to be receiving tuition services from Mercer County Community College and it says, from the VR Agency that they will provide up to $6000 a semester and the individual will provide $2000 a semester. 37:43 That is based off of this financial needs test. Does your family have the income to be able to help contribute to the services or is it purely through the VR agency that you’re looking for any support? 37:57 Both DVRs, NCBI in New Jersey, do use a financial need test to determine if the individual must contribute to the cost of the VR services. 38:07 And there’s one important thing that I do want to note for this because there is a difference between a student who was graduated age 18 and a student who’s graduating at age 21 when it comes to the VR agency. DVRs will consider parental income in the Financial Needs test for any individual who is under the age of 22. Whether you are living at University, whether you are living at home, whether you have moved out and you’re living on your own in an apartment. 38:36 Here, under the age of 20 20 of age of 20 22, sorry, age of 22 DVRs will still consider the family income. 38:44 They will not consider the parental income for the Financial Needs Test, The year that the student turns 22, 4 in the next. 38:53 So, the next year, say you turn 22 October first, then they will have counted your year parental income for that entire year up until December 31st when you were 21 turning 20 22. 39:07 But in the January first of the year that you are already 22, they will no longer be able to consider the, the parental income. They will consider only the individuals’ income or if they’re married, any spousal income. 39:22 So, when you’re looking at the financial needs test, the financial needs test, for the VR agency, that it’s adopted, has to be reasonable. They can’t sit there and say, if you’re making more than $500, we’re not contributing to anything, because that’s extremely unreasonable. And would effectively deny individuals who are seeking sponsorship from actually receiving any sponsorship from the VR agency. 39:45 And when they’re looking at the financial needs or how much somebody is going to be paying for it, it has to be taken. The person’s financial need really does need to be taken into account. So it’s not just looking at the income levels. It is taking into account any disability related expense that is being paid for by the individual or the individual’s family. So what this means is, while Your family baby making $8000 a month, are you paying $4000 a month in disability related transportation? Do you have medications that the co-pays are 200 to $500 per medication and you have six of those medications? Those are all things that the VR Agency is supposed to take into account when they’re doing this financial needs calculation. 40:34 And, this is from D VRS, and so that’s where we’re going to be focusing on. really, this is the financial participation for when you apply for VR services. Or when you’re seeking to amend your I, E, I P E, or get sponsorship to college. You will be sent this from the VR Agency, and this is what they will use to be able to determine what the financial need is, and what the financial participation of your family will be. So, they ask you to go through weekly, like, how much are you making per week? Do you receive any Social Security benefit? Do you have any services through TANF or general assistance? What do you pay? Do you have any properties that you rent out? Are you a landlord? Do you receive any child support payments to this? you receive any alimony payments, and they’ve all taken that into account. 41:27 The next portion down, you will discuss with the VR counselor at your intake meeting or at any meeting that you have with a VR agency, to be able to say, what are your weekly disability expenses? Again, this can be, do you have disability related transportation cost? Do you have that out of pocket co-pay for medication? Do you have nutrition costs that are not being covered by your insurance, such as internal nutrition? 41:55 Do you require a nursing assistants that you’re not receiving through Medicare or Medicaid, or you don’t receive Medicare and Medicaid does your insurance not pay for it, that you now pay out of pocket for? So you can have those services that all then gets taken into account when they are determining your financial participation. 42:16 So, with the one, I do think a key thing I do want to speak about is with SSI and SSDI recipients, just as with the eligibility, that there is a presumption of need, SSI and SSDI clients are exempt from, and are not able, or not required to go through the financial needs assessment. SSI and SSDI clients are not required to contribute financially to their VR services, And that is a very big thing that I do want to note. Because there will be a lot of times, especially when you have a student who was aged 18 to 22. 42:54 As we talked about before, the financial needs test will take into account parental income for a student who is below the age of 20 22 of the age of 22. 43:05 But what happens if that student receives SSI or SSDI, when they turn 18? 43:11 The VR Agency may try to include the parental income, and say they make too much money. We don’t have to provide the services. 43:20 But because that student is receiving SSI or SSDI, once they turn 18, the VR agency can not require the financial needs test. The student is exempt from it, and DVR cannot use the parental income to determine how much that student would need to contribute to any of their services. 43:42 When you’re looking to pay for higher education, there are one other thing that the VR Agency will take into account, and that is, the comparable benefits. This is services, or benefits that are being paid for in whole, or in part, by, a different agency, by your health insurance, by Medicare, by Medicaid, as a student receiving a Pell grant. And the VR agencies will require that, the student check, to see what other potential funding sources are available. This will be, will the parent, will the student qualify for Pell Grant? Are there any grants that are available from the school, if they’re looking to go to a four year university, are there any need based scholarships that the student would qualify for? Are there any specific programs based off of what type of career they’re going for, that? They can get the comparable benefit? Must be something that is presently available to the VR clients. 44:41 So, what this means is, if you’re going to the VR Agency, and you’re saying, I want college tuition. Here’s the financial aid offer that I have received from my school. I would like to talk to you about getting services. 44:54 The VR Agency can’t look at a, I, a Financial Aid Letter, in July or August that, shows that a financial aid will be available in the Spring semester, But not the All semester. And take that into account why. Because, that benefit is not presently available to the VR client. 45:13 They can take it into account for the spring semester, but they would not be able to say, well, we’re going to exclude that, or, say that, you’re getting that sponsorship. Because it’s available six months from now. It has to be something that is presently available. 45:30 So, what are two things that cannot be included in the comparable benefits? 45:37 They cannot include any award or scholarship that is based on merit. 45:43 If you receive a scholarship because you received a high sat or an act score if you received a scholarship because you were valedictorian or salutatorian of your class, the VR agency is not able to include that scholarship as part of its comparable benefits. 46:01 And another big thing that I do want to emphasize and stress, because it’s something that we have fought for with the VR agency to get them to understand, student loans are not a comparable benefit. A agency cannot look at a student, or look at somebody who is seeking VR services, and say, but you have student loans that you can get. So you need to apply for those, and get those to pay for your school before you come to us. The federal government has made it very clear, that they do not see student loans as a comparable benefit, or the VR Agencies, when they are dealing with, and looking at the financial contribution, to paying for a higher education program, for a student. 46:44 So, if you go to the VR Agency, and if they say, oh, well, you can get the Stafford loan to be able to help pay for that. So, we’re not going to provide this 6000. We’re only going to provide 2000. 46:57 They cannot include that Stafford Loan as a comparable benefit Y because you will have to pay that back. 47:04 So that is not something that they’re able to include. 47:07 With that, I believe we’re at the point of asking for any questions. 47:16 Thank you so much, Jana and Melissa. 47:20 So, yes, for the question portion. We do have a couple of questions that were submitted. 47:25 So, the first question being, what services are available for young adults? 47:32 Post high school graduation with difficulty accessing college or career due to various psychiatric disorders, services for developmental disorders, seem to be much more defined than other disabilities. 47:49 Oh, I’m so sorry that did that make sense to you guys that didn’t make sense to me? 47:53 So they’re essentially asking for what services are available for students who have already graduated from high school, from the VR agencies to be able to get a higher education services for for psychiatric? 48:05 Because yes there are a lot of services that are specific like DDD or is specific for Developmental Disabilities. 48:12 There’s off the top of my head you know, there’s nothing I can think of That’s specific for mental health conditions like DDD. 48:21 But I think what Janet was just about to get to that DVRs is available regardless of the disability right, And they can provide their college sponsorship if necessary they can provide any of their services. 48:36 And one of the services that they can provide is, if the student, or, if the individual at that point, is having difficulty finding a therapist, or getting a therapist covered through their insurance, that is a potential service that GPRS can provide on the IEP that they will provide ongoing counseling or training. They may have somebody who goes with the student, or it goes with the individual, to the workplace to help transition them into the workplace unit. There is also, if a student is graduating, and they do have like, an intellectual and developmental disability, if they don’t feel they’re quite ready for college, yet, There is. 49:13 There are three programs in the State of New Jersey that are comprehensive transition programs, that are ones that George and Court University wants at TCNJ, the College of New Jersey, and what does that Camden College that are specifically designed transition programs for students with IDD that? we have fought to be able to get some of the VR sponsorship for those programs. They’re not covering the entire program is yet, but that is a potential option to be able to get some sponsorship from the VR Agency to help the student who needs a little bit more transition services. 49:49 Does that answer the question, I’m hoping leaves? And if this person, if they have any more questions, I can always posted on the webinar blog too, which will be monitored for the next seven days, OK? So another question that we have is, what is the child is being homeschooled and does not have a current IEP? 50:16 Are they receiving the home-school services from like, does the parent pull them completely out of the education system? Or are they receiving any services from their educational agency to be able to help the parent? 50:30 I think that’s a big, important distinction there because I know there’s both ways of doing the homeschooling. 50:36 Yeah. 50:37 And I think we’re out of this Oops, sorry. 50:40 No, I’m sorry, go ahead, Melissa. 50:43 I think they’re out of the school system altogether. 50:47 There is no obligation on the school to provide transition services. 50:52 The individual just said that New Jersey does not provide any home-school assistance. 51:02 So. 51:04 Yeah, if they are not, if the student is not involved with the school system at all, there would be no obligation on the school to provide transition services, I believe. 51:14 OK, and then, another question that the same individual has: They said, So the state will not provide any services, either. 51:23 The state agency goes through the these. 51:26 My understanding of it was, and this also, I used to work in New York City, as well as a special education attorney. If the student’s not part of the school district, and not part of the school system, because the parents have chosen to home-school. 51:40 I know there have been situations where the school district will support home-school, but usually it’s for very specific, like medical needs or behavioral needs for the student. 51:51 But, if they’re not registered with the school, if they’re not on the school’s books, then then there’s no obligation from the state or the local education authority to be able to provide those services. From that agency. They may still be able to receive services from the VR agencies whether that CBI, or DRS. 52:13 And, depending on the age of a child, there’s actually no minimum age to to provide services to a individual from the GPRS. So, they could get the services as early as 5 or 6 if they needed. But they wouldn’t have access to the pre-employment Transition Services until they were age 14. So, that is another potential avenue for those five areas. Or, if they need additional support, going for the full VR Sponsorship, if they are not able to get services from the Local Education Authority, or school district? 52:47 She also said, a parent can contact these groups on their own without a current IEP. 52:54 Without a current IEP, then? 52:57 Yes. They’re able to, and that’s why, in the, in the Sheets that will be provided, in the handouts, we have the link to the referral form. For the VR Agencies, the parents are able to contact the VR Agency directly themselves. They’re not required to go through the school district to go through another provider. They can be their parent, their child’s advocate, and reach out to them, and start the process. 53:19 Yeah, I think though the title referral feels like a bit of a misnomer, because you don’t have to rely on another agency or another person to do that. You can actually do it yourself. 53:31 Well, she says, thank you very much, And, for those thought, or here, we have, I posted the handouts for this webinar, in addition, when it is, when this webinar is posted to our archived webinars. You will also be able to access the handouts and download them on our websites. You can see those as well. 53:55 Another question that we have is: Does every state offer a pre-employment Transition Agency? 54:04 Yes, Every state is required to have free or pre-employment Transition Services through the VR Agency that’s actually required through the WIOA, the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act. 54:16 Um, the each State VR Agency must put aside 15% of their federal budget to provide these services. So, they may contract with contract with different agencies throughout the state that they will work with, who will provide the services, But there must be at least one in every single state that will provide the pre-employment Transition Services. 54:41 So, that is all the questions that I’m seeing. as anybody else in our audience have any other questions that they want to ask Joanna and Melissa in regards to the transition services, IEPs, DVRs, anything of that sort? 55:10 We know it was a lot of information we threw at you. and this are, but it’s a very, there’s a lot of information about it. 55:17 Lot of very good information. Well, with that being said, if anybody does have any questions within the next week or so, on our website at WWW dot NJ CTS dot org, under programs, you’ll be able to access this archived Webinar. And underneath the webinar will be a webinar blog. Or you can post any questions that you have for Melissa and Jana and they will, it will be active. And they will be able to answer it within the next seven days if anything pops up. 55:52 With that being said, let me see. 55:58 OK, so, I just wanted to thank everybody, so so much for joining our webinar tonight on Introduction to Transition Services, There’s an exit survey, which we need everyone attending to fill out. Like I said, like I said, the webinar blog will be open and available for the next seven days, on the … website, for any additional questions that were not covered tonight. 56:27 That were not covered in tonight’s presentation, The website is: WWW dot … dot org. Also, an archived recording of tonight’s webinar will be posted to that site within the next 24 hours. Our next presentation will be staying connected as a couple while raising a neuro divergent child by doctor Laura Marsha on Wednesday, May, 31st at 7 30 PM Eastern Standard Time, This end, tonight’s webinar. 56:56 Thank you so much, Melissa and Jana, for taking the time to be able to present this extremely, extremely informative presentation on transition services for us and for our audience, And thank you to everybody attending, or coming and watching, I hope you all have a wonderful night, for having us! Thank you, everyone!