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f. Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services

Describe the designated State agency’s efforts to identify and make arrangements, including entering into cooperative agreements, with other State agencies and other appropriate entities in order to provide supported employment services and extended employment services, as applicable, to individuals with the most significant disabilities, including youth with the most significant disabilities.

Current Narrative:

Indiana receives approximately $350,000/year of Title VI B funds to provide supported employment (SE) services. VR has made a commitment to serve people with the most significant disabilities and also utilizes Title I dollars to serve this population. VR spent approximately $2.3M million on hourly SE services and $4.5M on ‘4 week support’ and ‘retention’ milestone payments for individuals with a most significant disability in FFY19, for a total of $6.8M on supported employment services in FFY19. Approximately 1500 participants received supported employment services in FFY19.   

As mentioned above, supported employment services are carried out in accordance with written agreements with accredited employment services providers and as outlined the VR employment services manual.

For participants with intellectual/developmental disabilities eligible for services under the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS), VR works collaboratively with BDDS to provide SE services and seamless transition to extended services.  The initial job placement, training and supports needed for stabilization are typically provided through VR. Extended Services through BDDS or sometimes through natural supports or Medicaid Rehabilitation Option funding, provide additional work related supports needed by the individual to continue to be as independent as possible in competitive, integrated employment. For BDDS participants, ongoing employment support services are identified in the participants’ Individualized Support Plan and must be related to the participants’ limitations in functional areas (i.e. self-care, understanding and use of language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency), as are necessary to maintain employment. As an individual reaches stabilization on the job, VR initiates documentation to BDDS to facilitate transfer to extended services, ensuring this documentation is provided at least 60 days prior to planned VR case closure, helping prevent any gap in receipt of needed supports as an individual transitions into extended services.  Extended Services are provided in competitive, integrated settings where persons without disabilities are also employed.  Extended Services do not include sheltered facility work or other similar types of vocational services furnished in specialized facilities or volunteer endeavors. 

In July 2015, VR implemented a new employment service structure and expectations that increased access to VR-funded supported employment services to ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities who require these services receive the supports they need to achieve stabilization on the job prior to transferring to extended services as appropriate. This procedural change was designed to ensure more accountability from both VR and employment service providers in determining that individuals are stable in their jobs prior to VR closure and transfer to extended services.  Subsequent training has been provided since implementation of these changes throughout 2016-2019 through face-to-face and web-based modalities, as well as delivery of technical assistance to providers.  

VR provides funding for extended services for youth with a most significant disability, for up to 4 years, for individuals who are not BDDS eligible or do not have another means of obtaining necessary extended services. Joint training was provided in early 2019 to both VR and employment service provider staff on VR-funded extended services, including the process for requesting services, documentation requirements, and criteria for receipt of services. Additional refresher training is planned for FY20-FY21.