Outreach Newsletter: May 2012

See the pdf version here.

DISABILITY RIGHTS CALIFORNIA SO. CAL LATINO CONFERENCE ATTRACTS MAJOR SPONSOR

Disability Rights California is excited to host the Southern California Latino Disability Conference from 9:00 to 4:00 on June 23, 2012 at San Bernardino ValleyCollege. Advocates, consumers and their family members are invited to spend the day learning about a variety of topics including: special education, public benefits and voting rights and more. Participants can also enjoy visiting local vendors.

Many thanks to our major sponsors for supporting this event including San Bernardino Valley College, State Independent Living Council of California, Inland Empire Health Plan, Molina Health Care, California Mentor, Southern California Edison, and Cardenas Mexican Restaurant.

Bay Area

PARENTS HELPING PARENTS TRANSITION
& SERVICES FAIR HELD IN SAN JOSE

On March 15, 2012, Multicultural Affairs Advocate Yesenia Roman and Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate Denise Hunter participated in the 10th Annual Parents Helping Parents Transition & Service Fair in San Jose. The event, which took place at the Sobrato Center for Non-Profits, brought together over 75 service agencies, organizations and employment programs that work with youth with disabilities who are transitioning from high school to employment or higher education.

Well over 300 families attended the fair to gather information, ask questions and watch videos about programs that can help these youth reach their goals. Many youth came to the fair with questions about their employment and career goals. Disability Rights California staff provided them with information about Special Education transition plans and disability rights in higher education and employment. They also explained services available from the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the Department of Rehabilitation. The CAP program provides information, advice and advocacy to help people with disabilities get rehabilitation services, training and education.

The fair provided an excellent setting for Disability Rights California staff to connect with youth and their families who need information about rights, resources and supports as they transition to adulthood and plan for a successful future.

Native American

DISABILITY RIGHTS CALIFORNIA TRIBAL WORKSHOP
DRAWS ADVOCATE FROM EIGHT COUNTIES

On February 8, 2012, Disability Rights California conducted a workshop in Sacramento on disability rights and disability-related resources for Tribal Advocates who were attending the training by the Family Violence Prevention Program. The training, which was sponsored and hosted by the Sacramento Native American Health Clinic and Kene Me-Wu Family Healing Center of Sonora, drew advocates from El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Amador, San Joaquin and Mariposa counties. The workshop focused on enhancing the disability-advocacy skills of Tribal Advocates, explaining the services our agency offers and how to refer individuals for assistance. At the end of the presentation, several advocates came forward to request assistance.

The mission of Kene Me-Wu Center is to provide emergency shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, referrals and prevention services to families experiencing physical, emotional or financial abuse. In collaborating with Kene Me-Wu, Disability Rights California hopes to promote disability-awareness and provide services to these families, including those residing in remote areas. Future joint trainings have been scheduled in San Joaquin County.

Fresno

STUDENTS CELEBRATE “ANNUAL DISABILITY AWARENESS DAY”
AT FRESNO CITY COLLEGE

March 29, 2012 was the Annual Disability Awareness Day at Fresno City College, and students celebrated by holding a “campus showcase of flowers, food and performers.”

Each department within the college showcased delicious food booths with authentic ethnic cuisine. The Horticulture department, for instance, brought out its famous tomato plants to sell. About 1500 high school students, which included special education and general education students from different school districts, were transported to the event to participate. “Breaking Barriers,” a group comprised of persons with disabilities, performed during the event.

Forty-three vendors presented vital information about their agencies and their services. Disability Rights California also provided a table with information about services and our staff were able to speak with individuals regarding returning to work and contacting the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) for assistance. Among those who DRC staff spoke with was a DOR client who needed more information regarding Client Assistance Program (CAP) services and how to get in touch with a CAP advocate.

San Diego

HOMELESS WOMEN BRAVE THE RAIN TO OBTAIN NEEDED SERVICES

Almost 500 homeless women and children stood in the rain waiting to attend the 23rd Annual Women’s Resource Fair at the San Diego Civic Center on March 17, 2012. The event was hosted by the San Diego Volunteers Lawyer program. Participants came from all over the county to obtain free medical, dental, counseling and legal services. Disability Rights California and several other non-profit and government providers participated in the event.

Many of the women at the Fair had questions about employment and Department of Rehabilitation services, housing and public benefits. Multicultural Affairs Advocate Griselda Delgadillo, Associate Managing Attorney Debra Marley and Senior Advocate Aleyda Toruno of the San Diego Regional Office spent the day answering questions about our services, including help they can receive from Client Assistance Program (CAP). Griselda, Debra and Aleyda provided several referrals and eight women will receive further legal assistance from DRC.

Office of Clients' Rights Advocacy

BINGO - POPULAR TRAINING TOOL
AT OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDEPENDENCE

On February 9, 2012, 25 consumers from Opportunities for Independence (OFI) in San Rafael took part in a spirited game of “Clients’ Rights Bingo.” OFI provides vocational and residential programs for client with developmental disabilities. Those services include independent living skills, community outings and vocational skills.

Clients’ Right Advocate Katy Lusson led the bingo game which teaches rights and self-advocacy; she encouraged participants not only to identify rights, but also talk about what each right meant to them. Many people shared personal stories that illustrated the rights and enriched the training.

Three staff members from OFI assisted with the bingo game and consumers helped one another so that everyone could fully participate in, and learn from, the activities. Hands shot up as people shouted “Bingo!” and won prizes. When the game was over, many participants wanted to play again and the Katy promised future trainings for consumers at OFI.

PARENTS LEARN IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUAL PROGRAM PLAN MEETING

Veronica Cervantes, Clients’ Rights Advocate for Consumers of Inland Regional Center, presented a training on March 28 to a Spanish-speaking parent support group whose children attend the University Center for Developmental Disabilities at the Cal State San Bernardino campus. The training presented information about the Individual Program Plan (IPP) and appeals process and included tips on preparation for an IPP meeting. The IPP is a written plan that says what services and supports a consumer will receive.

The parents learned the importance of their role in developing a person-centered IPP and how to best prepare for an IPP meeting. Disability Rights California provided every parent with IPP related materials.

The parents had lots of questions and were interested in learning how to become better advocates for their children. They were looking forward to using this information at their children’s next IPP meetings. The participants are looking forward to future trainings from the Office of Clients’ Right Advocacy.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY TRANSITION FAIR FOR STUDENTS

The Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) serving Tri-Counties Regional Center consumers recently staffed a booth at the Santa Barbara County Transition Fair, hosted by Santa Barbara County Education Office. The fair provided information to transition aged students, family members, teachers and providers. Clients’ Rights Advocate Kendra McWright and Assistant Clients’ Rights Advocate Gina Gheno explained the legal services available from OCRA such as information about their rights and trainings.

More than 30 participants approached the OCRA booth and asked questions on topics ranging from Social Security to Special Education. Providers participating in the Santa Barbara Transition Fair included Area Board IX, Social Security Administration, local transition programs, and day and work programs. It was a great evening with lots of materials provided to the Santa Barbara community.

DDPSA

CAPITOL PEOPLE FIRST MEMBERS LEARN THE RIGHTS TO APPEAL REGIONAL CENTER DECISIONS

Capitol People First (CPF) is a peer-to-peer organization that encourages and supports people with developmental disabilities to speak up for themselves, know their rights and responsibilities, and make decisions and solve problems. To further these goals, CPF invited Disability Rights California to provide training on the Regional Center appeals process on January 7, 2012.

At the training, Sacramento Office Manager Cara Armstrong explained the services Disability Rights California provides, and Clients’ Rights Advocate Jackie Coleman and Developmental Disabilities Peer/Self Advocacy staff Daniel Meadows discussed the Regional Center appeals process. The 15 CPF members were active participants in the training, asking questions such as, “What are my rights in the appeals process?” and “What is mediation and how does it work?” Disability Rights California staff led the discussion and answered questions with the goal of providing participants the knowledge and encouragement to speak up and self-advocate.

Los Angeles

THIRTY COMMUNITY LEADERS COME TOGETHER TO EXCHANGE INFORMATION IN SAN BERNARDINO

Mulitcultural Affairs Advocates Mary Rios and Griselda Delgadillo and Associate Clients’ Rights Advocate Beatriz Reyes worked together to host the Community Forum in San Bernardino on January 6, 2012.

At the forum, the 30 participating service agencies and organizations and community leaders from the San Bernardino and Riverside area networked about the services they offer. The forum was a great success; discussion identified strategies on how to effectively reach out to Latino communities with disabilities.

It provided Disability Rights California staff the opportunity to announce the Southern California Latino Disability Conference our agency will be hosting this June. Agencies present were San Bernardino Valley College, Molina Health Care, Inland Empire Health Plan and others at the forum expressed an interest in collaborating with Disability Rights California on the Latino Disability Conference, offering sponsorships, in-kind support and advertisement.

Sacramento

TRAINING ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION PROVIDED IN SONOMA COUNTY

Senior Advocate Michael Thomas and Multicultural Affairs Coordinator Leilani Pfeifer of the Sacramento Regional office conducted a five-part training series for advocates in the greater Sonoma area from January through March 2012. Twenty advocates from Goodwill Industries, Face to Face, Sonoma County Mental Health and the Wellness Advocacy Center came to get an in-depth understanding of the Social Security System and Department of Rehabilitation Services. Topics covered at the training were Social Security eligibility, the application process, overpayments, work incentive programs and appeals process, and the Department of Rehabilitation services and appeals process. The training provided participants not only the opportunity to learn relevant law, but also to connect with other agencies and organizations that serve individuals with disabilities in the Sonoma area.