BESB: Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee Members

 
Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee


BESB Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee Meeting Dates for 2017 are: January 17, 2017;
February 15, 2017; (March 28, 2017- RESCHEDULED TO APRIL 18, 2017); June 6, 2017; September 26, 2017; December 5, 2017. All meetings at BESB at 10:00 a.m. unless otherwise noted.

BESB Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee Meeting Dates for 2018 are: January 30, 2018; April 24, 2018; July 24, 2018;  October 30, 2018.  All meetings at BESB at 10:00 a.m.


Committee Members

 

        Non-Voting Members:

      State Director - Brian Sigman

      Adult Services Supervisor - Christopher Lassen

      Vocational Rehabilitation designate - Mark Ward

      Children’s Services designate - Mary Quinn

      Bureau of Rehabilitation Services – Heidi Henaire

 

Voting Members:

 

        Oak Hill School – Still Fowler

        Department of Developmental Services (DDS) – Robert Smith

        DDS – Southbury Training School (STS) - Sandi Miles

        National or Regional Organization - Tracy Luiselli

        Parents or Guardians – Barbara Cloonan                       

     Kathy Morgan,  Emily Morgante

        Member of BESB Advisory Board –  Alan Sylvestre

        Department of Aging – Patricia Richardson

        Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services -  Eric Krengel

     Consumer - Hana Tyler (Chairperson)

     Deafblind Association of CT- Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn 

     Helen Keller National Center - Charlotte “Dee” Spinkson


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Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)


Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)


Deafblind Advisory Committee Meeting


Draft Minutes


September 26, 2017


Voting Members Present


Barbara Cloonan, Parent/Guardian; Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn,  Deafblind Association of CT; Sandra Miles, Department of Developmental Services - Southbury Training School; Karen Olson (representing Tracy Evans-Luiselli), New England Consortium of Deafblind Technical Assistance and Training; Hana Tyler, Consumer Representative. 


Non-Voting Members Present

Marsha Brown, BESB; Chris Lassen, BESB; Mary Quinn, BESB; Brian Sigman, BESB.


Voting Members Absent


Still Fowler, Oak Hill; Erich Krengel, Capitol Region Mental Health Clinic; Kathy Morgan, Conservator; Emily Morgante, Parent/Guardian; Al Sylvestre, BESB Advisory Board Representative; Robert C. Smith, Department of Developmental Services; Patricia Richardson, Department on Aging; Charlotte Spinkston, Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) 


Non-Voting Members Absent


Heidi Henaire, BRS; Mark Ward, BESB


Others Present: 


Muriel Aparo, DORS-CT Tech Act Project

Michelle Clark, Guest

Old Business


Approval of Minutes


Voting on the minutes from the June 6, 2017 meeting was deferred to the December 5, 2017 meeting since there was not a quorum. It was noted that a correction should be made to the second paragraph under the Report from the BESB Director to read, “Order of Selection” rather than Order of “Section”.  A motion to approve this correction has been deferred to the December 5, 2017 meeting since there was not a quorum.


Update on Deafblind Awareness Activities


Ms. Brown reported that the two new posters for the Deafblind Awareness campaign have been designed by Hana Tyler (featuring Ms. Tyler on one and Michelle Clark on the other).  The next seminars in the “Losing Sight and Sound without Losing Confidence” series are scheduled for October 16 in Manchester and in Windsor for November 6, 2017. 


Update on Deafblind Technology Program


Ms. Aparo distributed a report on the federal Access Through Technology Grant (NDBEDP).   The total allocation for Year 4 is $125,685.  The total expenditures for the first three quarters of the current year is $23,766.  Ten consumers have been served through this grant. 


New Business:


Michelle Clark – Success Story


In June of 2017, the Deafblind Advisory Committee voted to honor Michelle Clark in conjunction with the Helen Keller National Center’s campaign to recognize the achievements and contributions of people who are deafblind.  Ms. Clark was selected for her mastery of braille, braille technology and for her work in providing braille instruction to two other clients of DORS who are deafblind.  Ms. Brown shared the success story poster featuring Ms. Clark that will be distributed to various organizations such as the Hadley School and the Helen Keller National Center.  Mr. Sigman recognized Ms. Clark for her accomplishments and presented her with a written and brailled Certificate of Appreciation. 


Year End Outcome for fiscal 2017 services


Ms. Brown provided an update on expenditures.  A total of $2,293.00 in invoices for services provided in FY 17 was paid in FY18 based on when the invoices arrived. 


Plans for allocating remaining 2018 funding


Mr. Sigman reported that there was an additional $4,108 authorized through the Executive Order for the Deafblind Program. In the absence of a quorum at this meeting, and factoring in the possibility of a state budget being passed that could have a different funding level in it, Mr. Sigman indicated that a special meeting of the Committee to discuss how to allocate any remaining funds may become necessary. 


Meeting Dates for 2018


The proposed meeting dates for 2018 are January 30, April 24, July 24, and October 30.  Approval of these meetings dates was deferred to the December 5, 2017 meeting. 


Report from the BESB Director


Mr. Sigman reported that the Bureau anticipates learning very soon about the federal re-allotment funding award. While the Vocational Rehabilitation Program has sufficient funding to meet expenses in Federal FY 18, without additional funding through the re-allotment process, the Vocational Rehabilitation Program will be on the brink of needing to implement an Order of Selection in FY 19.  


Report from the Chair


Chairperson Tyler distributed several links of interest to the committee members which provided a variety of information on technology devices available to assist individuals with visual impairments with activities of daily activities.


Announcements


Ms. Cloonan announced that the Jewish Community Center has an exhibit featuring the work of the Hartford Artisan Weaving Center, whose artisans are individuals with visual impairments or blindness.


Ms. Olson announced that the New England Consortium (NEC) was involved with their second summer program in coordination with the Helen Keller National Center and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.  This weeklong camp program focused on independent living skills. 


The meeting adjourned at 11:53 a.m.


Next Meeting:  December 5, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at BESB

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Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)

Deafblind Advisory Committee Meeting

Draft Minutes

June 6, 2017

 

Voting Members Present

Barbara Cloonan, Parent/Guardian; Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn, President, Deafblind Association of CT; Sandra Miles, Department of Developmental Services - Southbury Training School; Kathy Morgan, Conservator; Emily Morgante, Parent/Guardian; Karen Olson (representing Tracy Evans-Luiselli), New England Consortium of Deafblind Technical Assistance and Training; Al Sylvestre, BESB Advisory Board Representative; Robert C. Smith, Department of Developmental Services; Hana Tyler, Consumer Representative; Dee White, Department on Aging; Charlotte Spinkston, Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) 

 

Non-Voting Members Present

Marsha Brown, BESB; Heidi Henaire, BRS; Chris Lassen, BESB; Andrew Norton, DORS; Mary Quinn, BESB; Brian Sigman, BESB; Mark Ward, BESB

 

Voting Members Absent

Still Fowler, Oak Hill; Erich Krengel, Capitol Region Mental Health Clinic; Cindy Paluch, American School for the Deaf


Old Business

Approval of Minutes

On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. Cloonan, the minutes from the April 18, 2017 meeting was unanimously adopted.


Update on Deafblind Awareness Activities

Ms. Brown reported on activities that are being planned for June. Communication Advocacy Network will be holding a walkathon on June 20th and 21st, culminating in a march through an arch of balloons in honor of Julia Brace, the first deafblind student to enroll at the American School for the Deaf in 1825.  In addition the CT Tech Act Project is sponsoring a demonstration of deafblind technology by their technology trainers.  Ms. Brown is working on a proposed press release to focus on these activities as well as the successes of individuals who are deafblind. 

 

Update on Deafblind Technology Program

Ms. Brown distributed a report on the federal Access Through Technology Grant (NDBEDP) administered by Arlene Lugo, BRS.  Seven consumers have been served so far. The Access Through Technology Grant has recently received permanent program status by the Federal Communications Commission. Ongoing efforts are being made to work in conjunction with the Lions Clubs to help promote awareness of the Access Through Technology Grant. The next seminar in the “Losing Sight and Sound without Losing Confidence” series is scheduled for October 15th at the Manchester Senior Center. Funding will be provided through the grant for outreach efforts to promote this event.

       

Membership Update on Vacancies

Mr. Sigman was pleased to report that the Deafblind Committee has achieved its full membership with the Helen Keller National Center filling their vacant spot on the committee with Ms. Spinkston. 

 

New Business

Mr. Sigman reported that the deafblind grant received a rescission of $5,000 for FY 17. There are differing proposed versions of the FY 18 state budget which are awaiting action by the Legislature.  It is unknown at present what the level of funding for the Deafblind line item will be for FY 18. Mr. Sigman recommended that the committee members consider a more fluid approach toward reallocating funding between clients to be sure that allocated funds are being fully utilized.

 

Ms. Brown provided an update on the Deafblind budget for FY 17.  To date, of the $82,185 allocated for client services, $58,944 has been expended, with a remaining balance of $23,241.  It is anticipated that DORS will be able to pay invoices submitted by June 25, 2017.

 

Plans for Allocating 2018 Funding

Ms. Brown reported that the contracts have been sent to the vendors for signature. 

 

Report from the BESB Director

Mr. Sigman requested that Mr. Norton provide an update on the state budget and legislation. Mr. Norton provided an overview of each of the proposed budgets from the Governor, the House and Senate Democrats and the House and Senate Republicans.  He described the effects of each proposal on the funding for the deafblind grant. The legislative session ends on June 7th but if nothing passes by that date, the legislature would call for a special session in order to complete a budget.  Mr. Norton also gave an overview of some proposed bills.  He discussed House Bill 7237 which will restructure the Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and also change its name to the Advisory Board for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  The new Advisory Board would no longer only advise DORS but would advise all of state government about issues concerning persons who are deaf.  The new Board would have 15-16 members including people who are deaf, parents and representatives from organizations for the deaf.  Another bill, Senate Bill 796, would re-write many Connecticut statutes to adopt person-first language. Under that bill the Board of Education and Services for the Blind would become the Advisory Board for Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

 

Mr. Sigman reported that BESB will not know until September, 2017 if any federal re-allotment funds are awarded to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  While the program has sufficient funds to meet expenses in Federal FY 18, additional funding through the re-allotment process is essential for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program to avoid an Order of Selection in FY 19.  BESB’s model has shifted for delivering summer camps for Children’s Services clients.  BESB will no longer be directly staffing the two summer camps.  Channel 3 Kids Camp and Oak Hill will be running the camps with their trained staff.

 

Policy manual changes for Vocational Rehabilitation and Children’s Services were approved at a special meeting in May of the Advisory Board and State Rehabilitation Council.  A few discussion items remain and should be completed at the June meetings of the Advisory Board and the State Rehabilitation Council.  The plan is to have these policy manuals on the DORS website as final policies with an effective date of July 1, 2017. 


Report from the Chair

Chairperson Tyler shared a copy of her artwork of a mural she drew on the wall of an elementary school in Southbury demonstrating that as a person with deafblindness, she can still continue her work. The committee members complimented her on the scope and high quality of her artwork.

 

MOTION:  On a motion made Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. Miles, the meeting adjourned at 11:46 a.m.   


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Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)

Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

April 18, 2017

 

Voting Members Present

Barbara Cloonan, Parent/Guardian; Erich Krengel, Capitol  Region Mental Health Clinic; Sandra Miles, Department of Developmental Services- Southbury; Kathy Morgan, Conservator;  Karen Olson (representing Tracy Evans-Luiselli), New England Consortium of Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance and Training;  Al Sylvestre, BESB Advisory Board Representative; Robert C. Smith, Department of Developmental Services; Hana Tyler, Consumer Representative; Dee White, Department on Aging

 

Non-Voting Members Present

Marsha Brown, BESB; Chris Lassen, BESB; Andrew Norton, DORS; Brian Sigman, BESB; Mark Ward, BESB

 

Voting Members Absent

Still Fowler; Oak Hill; Cindy Paluch, American School for the Deaf; Emily Morgante, Parent/Guardian

 

Non-Voting Members Absent

Heidi Henaire, BRS; Mary Quinn, BESB

 

Others Present

Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn, President, Deafblind Association of CT; Eric Leckfor, CAN-SSP, Muriel Aparo, CT Tech Act

 

Old Business

Approval of Minutes

On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded Ms. Cloonan the minutes from the October 18, 2016, January 17 and February 15, 2017 meetings were adopted with a correction to each, noting that the correct name of the agency that Erich Krengel represents is the Capital Region Mental Health Clinic.

 

Update on Deafblind Awareness Activities

 

Ms. Brown indicated that plans would resume in the Fall for developing additional locations to provide the “Losing Sight and Sound Without Losing Confidence” seminars. These seminars are targeted to seniors who are hard of hearing and have vision loss.  Randy Kirsch, from the Eastern Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the featured speaker for these presentations. 

 

June is the month designated by the Helen Keller National Center to promote public awareness of deaf-blindness. The committee members discussed some options for activities and decided upon promoting success stories of consumers who are deaf-blind, focusing on their accomplishments. Ms. Brown will discuss this with the Communications Director of DORS to assess if a press release featuring these successes could be developed. 

 

MOTION:  On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Mr. Krengel, it was unanimously passed that a BESB Staff member contact the DORS Communications Director to seek approval for this project to include a proposed press release and photograph of consumer successes.

 

Update on Deaf-blind Technology Program

Ms. Aparo, from the CT Tech Act Program, presented a report on the federal Access Through Technology Grant that she oversees for DORS. The grant is in its fifth year.  Seven consumers have been served with three pending and one found ineligible. Two of BESB’s clients who are deaf-blind were recently found eligible for the grant and will be receiving braille communication devices.    

 

Membership Update on Vacancies

 

MOTION:  On a motion by Mr. Krengel, seconded by Ms. Morgan, it was moved that a representative from the Deaf Blind Association of CT should be a member of DORS-BESB’s Deaf-blind Advisory Committee.

 

After some discussion, and guidance from Attorney Norton affirming that the State Regulations did not preclude such representation, Mr. Krengel called for the question to end discussion which was seconded by Ms. Morgan and passed by the Committee.   

 

The Chair then called for a final vote on the original motion which also passed. 


MOTION:  On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Mr. Smith, all the additional items on the agenda were waived until the June 6 meeting to make more time available for discussion and approval of deaf-blind community inclusion funding for FY 18.  This motion passed unanimously.   


Recommendations for Allocating 2018 Funding

Mr. Sigman reported that the Governor’s budget for FY 2018 proposes level funding for the Deaf-blind Community Inclusion grant equal to current year funding of $104,584.  The recommendations of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee are anticipated soon. 

 

Ms. Brown reported on the Client Services Plan Review Committee’s recommendation for FY 2018 that includes $88,035.46 for existing vendors in state funding and an additional $33,940.00 in federal SSBG funding, leaving an unallocated amount of $16,548.54 that could be allocated at a later date, if available after the budget for FY 2018 is passed into law. 

 

MOTION: On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. Miles, the Client Services Plan Review Committee’s recommendations were unanimously passed.

 

Announcments

Ms. Cloonan announced that ASD is celebrating their 200th anniversary.  Ms. Mary Quinn and Ms. Nancy Mothersele, both from BESB’s Children’s Services Program helped prepare materials for ASD’s celebration event.

 

Ms. Tyler announced that a specific type of sunglasses made by a company called Enchroma allows people who are color blind to enhance the full intensity of all colors when they wear these special sunglasses.

 

Ms. Flaherty-Vaughn announced that CAN is hosting a walkathon on June 19th and 20th.  Information can be obtained at www.depdata.ct.gov/maps/ctrail-trail/index.html#.  This is CAN’s contribution towards ASD celebrating their 200th year and honoring students who are deaf and blind at ASD.

 

MOTION: On a motion made by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. Miles, the meeting adjourned at 11:58 a.m.

 

Next meeting: June 6, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. at BESB.


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Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)

Deafblind Advisory Committee (DBAC)

Special Meeting Minutes


February 15, 2017



Voting Members Present


Barbara Cloonan, Parent/Guardian; Still Fowler, Oak Hill; Sandra Miles, Department of Developmental Services- Southbury; Kathy Morgan, Conservator;  Al Sylvestre, BESB Advisory Board Representative; Robert C. Smith, Department of Developmental Services; Hana Tyler, Consumer Representative  


Non-Voting Members Present


Marsha Brown, BESB; Chris Lassen, BESB; Brian Sigman, BESB; Mark Ward, BESB 


Voting Members Absent


Erich Krengel, Capitol Region Mental Health Clinic; Tracy Evans-Luiselli, New England Consortium of Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance and Training; Emily Morgante, Parent/Guardian; Dee White, Department on Aging; Cindy Paluch, American School for the Deaf 


Non-Voting Members Absent


Heidi Henaire, BRS; Mary Quinn, BESB


Chairperson Tyler called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. 


Proposed Reallocation of Service Hours


Mr. Sigman announced that the purpose of this special meeting was to make recommendations for the reallocation of funds that had been allocated earlier this year to clients served by Marrakech and Southbury Training School.  Subsequent to the January meeting of the Deafblind Advisory Committee it was learned that Southbury was utilizing other funds for the delivery of community inclusion services this year and that the Marrakech contract was being terminated, with the conservator of the client to take over the coordination of the remainder of the previously approved community inclusion hours for the current year through a new contract. The new vendor would need $3920.00 for the remainder of the year from the prior funds that were approved for Marrakech, plus $749.00 related to new battery for the client’s deafblind communicator device, leaving a balance of $1424.75 that would be available for reallocation to other vendors. Ms. Brown reviewed the client situations where additional funding would be beneficial to increase community inclusion services.  


MOTION: Mr. Sylvestre motioned, seconded by Mr. Smith, recommending that the $15,606.62 now available be reallocated in the following amounts to these vendors:  $1,760 to I.J., $6,720.00 to CAN, and $7,126.62 to Oakhill. Motion passed unanimously. 


MOTION:  Mr. Sylvestre motioned, seconded by Mr. Smith, that in the event additional funds become available, if the amount is less than $5,000, those funds would be allocated at the discretion of BESB, and if the amount was $5,000 or more, a sub-committee would convene to make a recommendation to the full DBAC. Motion passed unanimously.  


MOTION:  On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Mr. Smith, the meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.


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Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)

Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee

Special Meeting  Minutes

January 17, 2017

  

Voting Members Present

Barbara Cloonan, Parent/Guardian; Still Fowler; Oak Hill; Erich Krengel, Capitol Region Mental Health Center; Tracy Evans-Luiselli, New England Consortium of Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance and Training; Sandra Miles, Department of Developmental Services- Southbury; Kathy Morgan, Conservator; Cindy Paluch, American School for the Deaf;  Al Sylvestre, BESB Advisory Board Representative; Robert C. Smith, Department of Developmental Services; Hana Tyler, Consumer Representative

 

Non-Voting Members Present

Marsha Brown, BESB; Heidi Henaire, BRS; Chris Lassen, BESB; Andrew Norton, DORS; Mary Quinn, BESB; Brian Sigman, BESB

 

Voting Members Absent

Emily Morgante, Parent/Guardian; Dee White, Department on Aging

 

Non-Voting Members Absent

Catherine Summ, BESB; Mark Ward, BESB


General Public

Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn, President, Deafblind Association of CT

 

Chairperson Tyler called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.


New Business

Review Year-to-Date Expenditures

Ms. Brown identified that the contract with United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern CT (UCP) has $5,212.50 in state funding that can be freed up to use in the remaining part of this fiscal year for other clients.  The reason that this funding is available is that the agency was notified of a new grant award for Social Services Block Grant funding that can cover the cost of the client being served by UCP, effective January 1, 2017. Southbury-DDS has expended $6,025.63 leaving a balance of $10,714.38 to serve 9 remaining clients.  Oak Hill has a remaining balance of $8313.00 which does not include the camp funds.  Three other state funded vendors had remaining balances which are expected to be used by the end of the fiscal year.

Ms. Brown also reported that Marrakech’s contract will need to be reviewed by the end of January.  The balance is currently $6831.25.

Community Advocacy Network has 10 state funded clients; only four clients are in need of additional funding.  Ms. Brown will be holding a discussion with CAN regarding utilization of their allocated funds based on invoices submitted to date.

 

MOTION:  Motion by Ms. Morgan, seconded by Mr. Sylvestre, to allow the Committee to make recommendations to a vendor, that BESB may potentially reallocate their funds if the vendor agrees to release those funds due to underutilization of remaining funds.  Motion unanimously passed.

 

Ms. Brown will be meeting with members of the deafblind support group who receive SSP services through Communication Advocacy Network to discuss their utilization of services in a timely manner.  She will also clarify with Marrakesh regarding their utilization of funding to assess if any funds can be freed up and reallocated to another client.

 

MOTION:  On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Mr. Smith, the reallocation of $5,200 in state funding would be designated for CAN clients in the amount of $3,200 and $2,000 to Oakhill.  Motioned carried with nine in favor and one opposition.

 

MOTION   On a motion by Mr. Krengel, seconded by Mr. Sylvestre, the Committee requested that Ms. Brown contact Marrakesh for additional information by January 31, 2017.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Announcements

Ms. Paluch announced that the Colin McEnroe show will be holding a live streaming on facebook regarding accessibility topics for the deaf and hard of hearing.  You can access this live streaming by going to the following link: https://www.facebook.com/ColinMcShow/

 

Ms. Paluch announced that American School for the Deaf is celebrating their 200th year and will be holding an exhibit which opens on April 27th at the CT Historical Society.  She acknowledged Ms. Quinn who was consulted on how to make the exhibits accessible for attendees with deafblindness as well as acknowledging Ms. Mothersele, BESB’s Braille Coordinator, for translating the documents into braille.

 

Chairperson Tyler reported that two Washington state college students were awarded $10,000 after winning a science competition for developing a set of gloves that translate sign language into text and speech.   A video of this can be viewed on YouTube at:  https://youtu.be/l01sdzJHCCM

 

MOTION:  On a motion made by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. Paluch, the meeting unanimously adjourned at 11:40.

 

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Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)

Deaf-Blind Advisory Committee Meeting  Minutes

October 18, 2016

  

Voting Members Present

Barbara Cloonan, Parent/Guardian; Still Fowler; Oak Hill; Erich Krengel, Capitol Region Mental Health Center; Sandra Miles, Department of Developmental Services- Southbury; Al Sylvestre, BESB Advisory Board Representative; Robert C. Smith, Department of Developmental Services; Dee White, Department on Aging. 

 

Non-Voting Members Present

Marsha Brown, BESB; Heidi Henaire, BRS; Chris Lassen, BESB; Andrew Norton, DORS; Mary Quinn, BESB; Brian Sigman, BESB; Mark Ward, BESB.

 

Voting Members Absent

Tracy Evans-Luiselli, New England Consortium of Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance and Training; Kathy Morgan, Conservator; Emily Morgante, Parent/Guardian; Cindy Paluch, American School for the Deaf;  Hana Tyler, Consumer Representative.

 

Non-Voting Members Absent

Catherine Summ, BESB

 

General Public

Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn, President, Deafblind Association of CT; Eric Leckfor, CAN-SSP; Susan Shatney, DORS Deaf Counseling Unit

 

 

 

Former Chairperson Barbara Cloonan called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. in the absence of Chairperson Hana Tyler.


Old Business

Approval of Minutes

On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. Miles, the minutes from the June 21, 2016 meeting were adopted.

 

On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre,  seconded by Ms. Miles, the minutes from the July 12, 2016 meeting were adopted as corrected on page 2 reflecting the initials of “LVF” to read “LFV”.

 

On a motion by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Ms. White, the minutes from the July 19, 2016 meeting were adopted as corrected on page 2 reflecting the initials of “LVF” to read “LFV”. 

 

Update on Deafblind Awareness Activities

Ms. Brown reported that one of the “Losing Sight and Sound without Losing Confidence” seminars was held in Danbury in September and the others will be on hold until after the first of the year until Ms. Brown can determine future dates and locations.

 

Update on Deafblind Technology Program

No representative from the Technology Program was available to provide a report. 

 

Membership Update on Vacancies

Mr. Sigman stated he has not received any information from HKNC as to who will be representing HKNC due to a vacancy created by Mr. Perrault’s retirement.  The New England Consortium has not sent any representative to the last few Deafblind Advisory meetings.  Ms. Quinn clarified that Ms. Luiselli was given new responsibilities and that there is a possibility that attending these meetings may not be part of her new role to represent the New England Center which may explain no representation at these meetings.  Mr. Sigman indicated that he would seek clarification from her.

 

Mr. Sylvestre asked for volunteers to serve on a work group to review the composition of the voting membership and to determine if any recommendations need to be made and incorporated into the policy manual for Adult Services, where the composition of the membership is stated. Any updates to the policy manual must go through a public comment and hearing process.  Ms. Cloonan recommended using language in a broader sense to reflect the number of organizations rather than a specific organization. This topic will be placed on the agenda at the March meeting.  A report from the work group will be submitted at the next meeting. 

 

New Business

Ms. Brown requested that deafblind awareness topic be placed on the next agenda.


Reports

Year End Summary of Fiscal 2016 Services

It was noted that for FY 16 funding after all rescissions, the grant award was $277,984 and expenditures were $257,889 (not counting bills for June paid in July).

 

Update on Services for Fiscal Year 2017

Ms. Brown distributed an expenditure report for FY 17.  Because the contracting process was not initiated until early August, client expenditures were lower than what would have been anticipated for the first quarter.  Lapsing SSBG for Federal Fiscal Year 2015 which funded 5 clients, one from UCP and four from CAN was not entirely utilized due to the late start.  It is anticipated that vendors will catch up as time goes on. 

 

 Mr. Sigman recommended that the Committee meet in January, 2017 to review the expenditures so that there would be time to amend purchase orders and reallocate funds if necessary.  

 

MOTION:  On a motion by Mr. Krengel, seconded by Mr. Sylvestre, it was unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting on January 17, 2017 in order to review current expenditures and assess if underutilized funds could be reallocated to clients who could benefit from services.

 

Report from the BESB Director

Mr. Sigman announced that the City of Stamford and DORS partnered together on October 14th to offer an orientation on how to safely navigate the new HAWK signals and Z-shaped crosswalks in Stamford along Washington Boulevard.  This was offered by the City in collaboration with the Mayor’s Stamford Street Smart Initiative, the Mayor’s Access4All Committee, and the Transportation Department, as well as DORS.  This event was an educational orientation that included a mobility instructor from DORS for residents of Stamford with disabilities.

 

The Secretary of the State’s office announced that there are new voting machines which have tablets and tactile keypads making them more accessible for people with disabilities.  Those not able to use a tablet can utilize the machine with a tactile push button system. 

 

The policy manual for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is being updated to reflect the changes brought about by the Workforce  Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  There are also updates to the Children’s Services policy manual being undertaken to align those policies with recent changes in state statutes. Both policy manual drafts will be distributed for public comment in the Spring.

 

BESB received an interpretation from RSA in regards to Pre-Employment Transition Services.  BESB has served students as young as age 14 through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program for decades, and when WOIA passed, BESB set aside the required 15% of the federal funds to serve the transition-age population of 14 through 21.  The recent RSA guidance that was issued subsequent to the publishing of the federal regulations for Vocational Rehabilitation indicated that if a state has two Vocational Rehabilitation Programs, such as Connecticut, then both programs must agree to the age at which Pre-Employment Transition funds can be accessed. That age became 16 as of October 1st. BESB will continue to provide services to students age 14 and 15 with basic case service funds, and then shift over to Pre-Employment Transition Services for the scope of those services once the student turns age 16.


Report from Chair

In the absence of Chairperson Tyler, acting Chairperson Cloonan expressed her concern for future funding for the Deafblind grant participants and was concerned about future recommendations for agency cuts and stressed that voices should be heard in regards to the impact of additional cuts to the grant. 

 

Announcements

Ms. White announced that the State Department on Aging has emergency preparedness materials available in braille and large print. 

 

Ms. Miles announced that her position at Southbury is being eliminated due to budget reductions and that she will be retiring in three months.  The Committee acknowledged her efforts, dedication and advocacy for the clients. 

 

Ms. Cloonan expressed that she felt clients who have developmental disabilities should be allowed to work for sub-minimum wage if they choose to allow them the opportunity to be productive.

 

Mr. Sylvestre announced that if anyone wants to join the effort in rewriting the policy regarding the membership composition of the committee that they should advise Mr. Sigman.  Ms. Cloonan offered her assistance. 

 

Ms. Flaherty- Vaughn stated that due to cutbacks in SSP hours from CAN this year, that she would not be able to participate on the DBAC committee meetings unless she has some additional assistance with transportation. 

 

MOTION: On a motion made by Mr. Sylvestre, seconded by Mr. Smith, the meeting unanimously adjourned at 11:52 a.m.

 

Next meeting: January 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. at BESB.



 





Content Last Modified on 10/12/2017 10:26:33 AM