Outreach Newsletter: December 2010

See the pdf version here.

Spotlight: Bay Area Staff Attorney, Stephen Rosenbaum Honored at Fiesta Educativa in Sacramento

On October 9, 2010, Angie Rivera, board member of Fiesta Educativa, presented an award to Stephen Rosenbaum, Disability Rights California staff attorney, for his dedication and commitment in working with the Latino communities. Each year Stephen has educated, informed and empowered many parents about their rights to services. Families came from northern California and the surrounding Sacramento area to hear him present on Special Education.

The 9th Annual Fiesta Educativa has grown from 50-60 to well over 200 Spanish-speaking parents. It works to improve advocacy skills of parents of special education students. The conference, featured presentations on various topics such as IEPs, autism, social security, medications, early intervention, mobility, immigration, the Lanterman Act, transitioning to or from high school how to obtain assistive devices for children in need. Disability Rights California is proud to be part of this significant event that occurs each year.

Bay Area Regional Office: “World Cup of Health”

On July 17, La Clinica De La Raza of the East Bay along with other Oakland community organizations, hosted the “World Cup of Health.” Participants in the event had the opportunity to meet with local health care professionals to ask questions and get individualized health information and to become familiar with services offered by community organizations including Disability Rights California.

This year’s event included screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, vision, dentistry, blood pressure, and immunizations, as well as education on nutrition, asthma prevention, domestic violence and more. The event introduced many East Bay residents to the wide array of services available year-round at La Clínica and at other agencies in the area.

Some of the participating community organizations were: Latino Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse of Alameda County, Bay Area Legal Aid, Oakland Housing Authority, Medical Board of California, Census Department, Women’s Cancer Resource Center, Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters, Public Authority Advisory Board, Women Organized to respond to Life Threatening Diseases, Disability Rights California, and others.

The event took place at the César Chavez Education Center in Oakland, an accessible location just a few blocks from La Clínica De la Raza’s East Bay location.

This event was a rare opportunity to display and share information about our services with the Latino community.

Native American: Disability Rights California Forms New Partnership with the California Tribal TANF Program in Butte County

The California Tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program utilizes federal and state funds to support a variety of services to Indian families. These services include educational activities designed to increase family self-sufficiency, welfare diversion assistance, and supportive services. On September 10, 2010, Phyllis Preston, Native American Advocate, provided a training on advocacy skills and overview of Disability Rights California to six California Tribal TANF Program (CTTP) staff at the Chico CTTP office.

California Tribal TANF Program (CTTP), Site Manager, Secunda Conway, welcomed the disability rights information and expressed the importance of CTTP program participants receiving special education and benefits training. Ms. Conway and CTTP plan to initiate a countywide disability rights workshop in the future for various tribal and community service agencies in partnership with Disability Rights California.

Fresno Satellite Office: Reaching Out to Native American Parents in Kings County

The Owens Valley Career Development Center (OVCDC) held its first Parent Summit at the Santa Rosa Rancheria in Lemoore, California. OVCDC is a tribal organization that provides career education, family literacy, language and temporary assistance services in the following five California counties: Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, and Tulare. Julian Garza, Site Manager, brought together Native Americans in the county to help organize this event.

A Native Parent Summit was organized to train parents about the history, culture, language, health, education and available resources. The organizers of the Summit asked Disability Rights California staff attorney, Agnes Williams and Multicultural Affairs Advocate, Lisa Navarro, to conduct a training on special education rights for parents who resided in Kings County.

The audience asked how to obtain assessments for special education, what is the process, and when it is appropriate to request another assessment. Participants departed with a folder of information about the rights of students with disabilities under IDEA. Two of the parents who participated at the training were referred to the Fresno Satellite Office for additional advocacy assistance for their children.

As part of its on going relationship with the OVCDC, Disability Rights California staff established new relationships with other county agencies such as: Kings County Behavior Health, Lemoore Union High School District, Central Valley Indian Health, Resources for Independence Central Valley, and Kings County Office of Education.

Los Angeles Regional Office: “Giving a Voice and a Face to Asians and Pacific Islander with Disabilities in California”

Asian Pacific Islander with Disabilities in California (APIDC) held its 4th conference in Long Beach, on October 29 - 30, 2010. APIDC is a statewide non-profit organization. The conference participants discussed “Giving a Voice and a Face to Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities in California.” Approximately 250-300 participants attended this year’s conference, which Disability Rights California helped to organize.

The City of Long Beach’s First Lady, Nancy Foster, addressed the families and participants at the opening ceremony. Mrs. Foster identified as having a disability and described her experiences to the audience.

Disability Rights California, along with 30 other sponsoring organizations, provided workshops, special education, healthcare, and transition planning, physical access, benefits and more, to inform individuals with disabilities of their rights.

Disability Rights California staff, Connie Huang and Jackie Chiang from the Office of Clients Rights Advocacy, presented on Early Start and special education. Mary Rios, Multicultural Affairs Advocate moderated the training. Parents of children with disabilities actively participated and Disability Rights California staff were able to provide answers to their questions. Jean Lin, a former Outreach Coordinator for the Bay Office, worked on the conference program.

The conference gave participants a rare opportunity to meet and voice their concerns to elected officials and policy makers. Some of the distinguished guests were: the Honorable Chai Feldblum, Commissioner with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Joseph Pak, board member of Acacia Adult Day Health Care Services, and Sefa Aina, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander.

Disability Rights California staff networked with other organizations at the event and started a dialog about ways to reach out to the API Community. Our agency strives on building relationships with groups from various language and ethnic groups. The conference brought parents, service providers, educators, policy makers, advocates, agencies, and others together who share a common vision for self-determination.

Sacramento Regional Office: Take Action 4 Accommodation

Yo! Disabled & Proud, a project of the California Foundation for Independent Living Center and Disability Rights California, joined forces in developing a higher education accommodation training on October 15. The training was presented throughout California using our video-conferencing systems in the regional offices. Approximately 100 students attended this training, which used captioning, American Sign Language (ASL), plain text, and CDs to ensure accessibility of the information presented.

The first speaker, Paul Grossman, Chief Regional Civil Rights Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in San Francisco, riveted student’s attention by sharing his personal experience with a disability. Mr. Grossman spoke about the importance of access to college education for veterans with disabilities returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second speaker was Ralph Black, who is the Assistant Director for Legislation with the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). He played a significant role in developing and interpreting the law which governs the California Community College system.

Speakers presented on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They discussed the process for obtaining accommodations, access to auxiliary aids and services, and the process of filing a complaint with the university or local city colleges.

Disability Rights California was pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate with community leaders on this exciting project. Bay Area Managing Attorney Kim Swain commented that “the students were highly interested in the topics.”

San Diego Regional Office: Parent Advocate Ensures Latino Families Know their Rights

Evangelina Enwright of Santa Ana runs the Fiesta Familiar support group for Spanish-speaking families. Her monthly meeting focuses on their children’s rights to services. Ms. Enwright invited San Diego Regional Office, Griselda Delgadillo and Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy staff, Cynthia Salomon, to provide a training to the group on Positive Behavior Support Plans.

Eight Spanish-speaking parents attended the training in July. The parents at the training were vocal and shared their frustrations about school districts removing children with behavioral issues from the schools.

The parents felt this training provided them important information on how to address these concerns with the school district. Testimonies from other parents were presented and discussed during the training. The parents thanked Disability Rights California for our continued effort in educating and advocating for the families needing disability services.

Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy: Consumers Learn to Prepare for an Emergency

On July 15 and 16, 2010, Valerie Geary and Ana Pelayo from the Kern Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy and Scott Barron, DDPSA Coordinator from Los Angeles, collaborated to present four emergency preparedness trainings to about 150 consumers from Bakersfield ARC.

The trainers listed items to include in an emergency preparedness kit: dehydrated packaged food, an emergency blanket made of aluminized polyethylene, a flashlight that included a radio and television, and water.

The consumers were enthusiastic and offered ideas regarding additional items that should be placed into their emergency kits. The training materials also included a Department of Developmental Service (DDS) DVD on emergency preparedness that was well received.

Bakersfield ARC appreciated the training and agreed to offer additional emergency preparedness classes and to request additional emergency preparedness backpacks from DDS for its consumers. As a result of this training, Bakersfield ARC clients are more emergency ready.

Hands Off My Money!

Two of our staff, Matthew Pope and Lucy Garcia, presented a training on financial safety to the consumers of Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center. The training focused on preventing financial abuse. Financial abuse is a rising concern with regional center clients as incidents of identity theft and other problems increase. The group discussed loans, fraud, identity theft, and did role playing and interactive games to truly understand the issues.

The participants in the training spoke about their experiences, asked many questions, and took part in skits. The training explained the difference between appropriate and inappropriate financial transactions. Pope and Garcia gave tips on how to identify fraud. They also listed helpful contact when fraud is suspected. The group also practiced setting up a loan agreement and keeping a log of payments that were made.

Many consumers volunteered strategies they use when people want to borrow money from them. Some consumers also explained how they budget their money, and ways to keep their private information safe.

Throughout the trainings, attendees were given “bucks” for participating. At the end of the meeting, the consumers counted their “bucks” to redeem them for prizes. It was a close call to see who would win the grand prize, which was a gift card to local restaurant. The winner was a young man who lives independently in his own apartment, and has a firm understanding on how to make sure that people keep their “hands off his money”!

Fairview Host its Annual Self-Advocacy Fair

Fairview Developmental Center hosted its annual Self-Advocacy Information Fair on September 16. This event helps consumers who reside within Fairview to obtain information from all participating vendors and agencies that attend.

Consumers, family members, and staff attended the fair. Participants could obtain information from a variety of agencies. Cynthia Salomon from the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) of Regional Center of Orange County was present to answer consumer’s questions.

Consumers, caregivers, and agencies came by our booth to inquire how OCRA assists consumers. Many of the participants expressed an interest in receiving OCRA’s services and other participating agencies expressed interest in having OCRA provide trainings for them.

Developmental Disabilities Peer/Self Advocacy Unit: Overcoming Stigma

On August 24, Scott Barron from the Developmental Disability Peer/Self Advocacy Unit (DDPSAU) presented a pilot training with Garnet Magnus from the Peer/Self Advocacy Unit (PSAU) on “Stigma,” at Sierra Vista. Twelve consumers with developmental and mental health disabilities attended the training, held at Sierra Vista, an inpatient facility in San Bernardino County.

The training covered issues relating to stigma and a discussion of consumers’ legal rights. It included audience participation and interactive exercises.

One participant discussed how appearance plays a significant role in how society interacts with people with disabilities. Participants also discussed how to deal with these feelings that accompany being stigmatized.

The training provided examples of some of the preconceived notions that some people may have when interacting with individuals with disabilities. Barron emphasized skills to help tackle stigma and discrimination in the everyday lives of people with disabilities.