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e. Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

Describe the manner in which the designated State agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit VR service providers.

Current Narrative:

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) maintains a viable working partnership with 28 Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) statewide.  The CRP Administrator and Specialists are responsible for initiating agreements with private non-profit organizations from which ADRS consumers receive services. CRP section staff review the qualifications of community rehabilitation programs to discuss fees and payment rates, and monitor service delivery through management/data reports and field visits. 

Alabama’s CRPs play a vital role in assisting the department with meeting its mission of providing quality employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.  Beginning March, 1 2017, ADRS requires that all new community providers meet the accreditation requirements of Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).  Requiring CARF accreditation provides assurance that CRPs strive to improve efficiency, fiscal health and service delivery, creating a foundation for consumer satisfaction.  The department continues to work cooperatively with CRPs statewide to improve services at the local level.  The development and establishment of new services and programs will continue based on the assessments of consumer needs. 

Based on an assessment of the capacity and effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services currently provided by CRPs statewide, several trends appear to be taking place:
• Increased emphasis on serving individuals that are considered underserved, individuals with the most significant disabilities, and individuals residing in rural areas of the state.  
•    Increased emphasis on collaboration with our WIOA partners particularly in the area of serving out of school youth. 
•    Continued emphasis on serving high school students with disabilities through Pre-Employment Transition Services.
•    Increased emphasis on job development for in demand jobs.
•    Increased emphasis on employment offering health insurance and paying a livable wage.    
•    Increased emphasis on community-based services such as Work Based Learning opportunities.
•    Increased emphasis on specialized community-based services, through our CRP and Supported Employment network, for consumers with visual and hearing disabilities.   
• Continued emphasis on consumer choice.
• Continued emphasis on serving ADRS consumers in their home communities.
• Continued emphasis on competitive integrated employment outcomes.

Annual meetings and trainings are organized to provide the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern, improve communication, and focus on the continuous improvement of the partnership to improve service provision for Alabamians with disabilities. 

Supported employment is available in Alabama to individuals who require intensive support and extended support services for an appropriate and successful employment outcome. Supported employment services are available through 39 community-based providers in the state. These services are currently provided in all regions of the state through cooperative agreements with community based organizations and agencies. 

Services provided by the CRPs are monitored in a variety of ways.  The CRP dashboard enables ADRS to monitor number of individuals successfully employed, cost per successful closure, various time lines of service provision, and average wage.  
Monthly reports of employment services are required.  Liaisons are assigned to monitor CRP referrals, and receive updates on progress. Additionally, they assist with authorization reviews and individual concerns that may arise.  State office staff are available to assist with any area of need and questions arising from CRP service delivery.