RD31 - 2008 Annual Report of the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy

    Executive Summary:
    Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) was created by statute effective July 2002, by §51.5-39.2 of the Code of Virginia. VOPA is now in its seventh year as an independent agency with a Governing Board.

    The Board of VOPA, consisting of eleven members, is appointed according to §51.5-39.2 of the Code of Virginia. The Board also has two ex-officio members, the Chairs of VOPA’s two advisory councils. The Board, as required by statute, met quarterly.

    During FY 2008, the Governing Board carried out its duties as established in §51.5-39.5, including evaluating the Executive Director and refining the procedures for that annual evaluation. The Board received regular financial reports and developed an annual budget for the operation of the office. The Board continued its review and revision of operating procedures and developed and published “public participation guidelines” for use in the event of any future regulatory development. The Board received regular information on the activities of the Office in order to monitor and evaluate the operations of the Office. The Board also held a planning retreat to discuss ways to strengthen working relationships among the Board, its advisory councils, and staff. Members of the Governing Board receive continuing education throughout the year to enable them to perform their statutory duties, including new member orientation and legal rights training.

    Additionally, one of the major activities for the Board each year is the development of goals and priorities. As part of its two year planning cycle, for federal fiscal year 2009, the Board continued the following goals and focus areas:

    Goals and Focus Areas
    October 1, 2008 – September 30, 2009

    People with Disabilities are Free from Abuse and Neglect

    1. Deaths where there is probable cause to believe abuse or neglect occurred.
    2. Abuse or Neglect in community settings
    3. Abuse or Neglect in institutional settings
    4. Physical abuse in juvenile facilities.

    Children with Disabilities Receive an Appropriate Education.

    1. Denial of eligibility due to lack of or inappropriate evaluations and assessments.
    2. Children who have been (or are at risk of being) suspended due to inadequate behavioral intervention plans or functional behavioral assessments.
    3. Assistive Technology in schools.
    4. Children with TBI.
    5. Transition from school to work.

    People with Disabilities have equal access to Government Services.

    1. Services and Supports to Enable individuals to move into the community.
    2. Appropriate TBI supports in Government Services and Employment.
    3. Services and Supports to Enable individuals to remain in the community.
    4. Access to state and local government buildings.
    5. Access to Vote for Persons with Disabilities.

    People with Disabilities Live in the Most Appropriate Integrated Environment.

    1. Appropriate and Timely discharge plans at state mental health and mental retardation facilities.
    2. Consumer Driven Alternatives to Guardianship.
    3. Off-campus activities for training center residents.
    4. Inaccessibility of retail settings.

    People with Disabilities Are Employed to their Maximum Potential.

    1. Vocational training for training center residents.
    2. Barriers to work for social security beneficiaries.
    3. Maximized employment for vocational rehabilitation clients.
    4. Employment Self-Advocacy Clinic.

    People with Disabilities Have Equal Access to Appropriate and Necessary Health Care.

    1. Assistive technology through insurance.
    2. Retention of benefits through 1619(b) and Medicaid Buy-In.
    3. Medical Care of Residents of ICF/MRs and Waiver Homes.
    4. Medicaid Appeals for EPSDT issues.
    5. Medicaid Waiver.