RD6 - Annual Report for the Board of Protection and Advocacy - FY 2012
The 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 eleventh year serving Virginians as an independent agency.
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. Board Committees met as necessary.
During FY 2012, the Governing Board carried out its duties as established in § 51.5-39.5, including evaluating the Executive Director and monitoring and evaluating the operations of VOPA. VOPA’s funding is derived from federal grants. The Board received regular financial reports and developed an annual budget for the operation of the office. During the 2012 legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, House Bill 1230, directing VOPA to transition to a private non-profit by 2014. (In many states, the protection and advocacy system is not a governmental body.) As Chair of the Governing Board, I appointed an ad hoc Nonprofit Transition Committee and charged the members with developing a Study and Report (timeline) for the transition. The Committee recommended, and the Governing Board approved, creation of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia as the new nonprofit entity providing protection and advocacy services. The State Corporation Commission approved the entity and we are in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. We are excited about this transition and look forward to serving Virginians with disabilities as a fully independent organization.
The Board continued its review and revision of operating procedures and policies for VOPA. The Board received regular and detailed information on the agency’s activities. The Board received public input throughout the year and through an online survey tool. 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. For fiscal year 2013, the Board continued the following goals and revised focus areas:
Goals and Focus Areas
October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013
Goal 1: People with Disabilities are Free from Abuse and Neglect
Focus Area 1: Adequate System for Protection from Harm in Institutions
Focus Area 2: Adequate System for Protection from Harm in Community Settings
Focus Area 3: Adequate System for Protection from Harm in Community or Institutional Settings Serving Children and Adolescents
Focus Area 4: Timely and Appropriate Mental Health Services in Local and Regional Jails and Juvenile Correctional Facilities
Goal 2: Children with Disabilities Receive an Appropriate Education
Focus Area 1: Appropriate Therapy and Services for Children with Disabilities with IEPs or 504 Plans
Focus Area 2: Children who are Suspended or who are at Risk of Long-Term Suspension
Focus Area 3: Children with Traumatic Brain Injuries
Focus Area 4: Transition from School to Work
Goal 3: People with Disabilities Have Equal Access to Government Services
Focus Area 1: Access to Vote for Persons with Disabilities
Focus Area 2: Access to State and Federal Government Services
Focus Area 3: Access to Appropriate Services and Supports for Veterans with TBI
Goal 4: People with Disabilities Live in the Most Appropriate Integrated Environment
Focus Area 1: Implementation of Settlement Agreement in U.S. vs. Commonwealth of Virginia.
Focus Area 2: Maximize Individual Choice and Self Direction
Focus Area 3: Right to Timely Discharge from State Facilities
Focus Area 4: Due Process Protections for Individuals in the DBHDS Forensic Mental Health System
Focus Area 5: Equal Access to Public Accommodations under the ADA
Goal 5: People with Disabilities are Employed to their Maximum Potential
Focus Area 1: Barriers to Work for Social Security Beneficiaries
Focus Area 2: Maximized Employment for Vocational Rehabilitation Clients
Focus Area 3: Employment Rights under the ADA
Goal 6: People with Disabilities have Equal Access to Appropriate and Necessary Healthcare
Focus Area 1: Assistive Technology (AT) through Insurance
Focus Area 2: Denial of Needed and Appropriate Medicaid Services
Focus Area 3: Access under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act to Healthcare Facilities and Services