Frequently Asked Questions

An application may be denied because the applicant:

  • Failed to provide all required information or documents.
  • Had an outstanding “want” or warrant.
  • Provided false information.
  • Has been convicted of a felony.
  • Is a former resident of the Special Commitment Center (SCC).
  • Is a current or former employee of the SCC.
  • Has a restraining order which, if the visitor were approved, might cause violation of the order.
  • Is a minor and not an immediate family member, adopted child or ward of the resident.
  • Is listed as a visitor for another resident.
  • Has a communicable disease or other health risk.
  • Has been determined to be a risk to the resident’s effective treatment.
  • Was a victim of the resident.
  • Other reasons which represent a risk to the SCC, its residents and staff.
  • Providing complete, correct information.
  • Requesting a waiver. The request should be addressed to the Superintendent, Special Commitment Center. Exceptions may only be granted by the Superintendent or designee. Waivers to allow a person to switch from visiting one resident to another are not routinely approved.

Residents may not have money in their possession.

  • Each resident has a personal account. You may give money to the resident for his or her personal use by sending a money order or check (personal, cashier’s, or travel check) through the U.S. mail to:

    Business Office
    Special Commitment Center

    PO Box 88450
    Steilacoom, WA 98399

Any student or youth with a disability may be eligible. Transition services, as defined under the Rehabilitation Act, are provided to all eligible students and youth with disabilities.

This includes students within the special education system, as well as youth within the general education system. Students and youth with disabilities who are transitioning from state and local juvenile rehabilitation institutions and community programs also may be eligible for DVR transition services.

Secondary students who receive DVR transition services also usually have either Individualized Education Programs (IEP) or 504 Plans. Others with medical or emotional conditions  who don’t    have IEP or 504 Plans may also qualify for DVR services.

Examples of the range of possibilities include:

  • conditions such as hearing loss, difficult speech, asthma/allergies, physical limitations that preclude them from some activities, emotional, or mental health conditions

  • impairments in social interactions

  • learning disabilities

  • cognitive limitations

  • intellectual disabilities

  • students who need reasonable accommodations to participate in classroom and learning activities    

  • a mental health diagnosis

  • Youth that schools identify as high risk who may have disabilities not yet identified
     

There is a presumption of eligibility for DVR services, if the student or youth is currently receiving and/or is entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for disability or blindness, and intends to become employed. DVR is required to    verify disability status and identify functional limitations.

In other words, a person must have a disability that interferes with the ability to work and must need vocational rehabilitation services to obtain or maintain employment. A person is presumed to be able to become employed unless DVR has clear and convincing evidence that the person cannot become employed.

Both DVR and schools provide postsecondary transition services to students with disabilities. When students or youth becomes eligible for DVR services, they work with their DVR counselors to develop an individualized plan for employment after graduation.
 

Vocational rehabilitation transition services help students and youth with disabilities prepare for and obtain competitive integrated employment. These may include vocational counseling and guidance, pre-employment transition services, independent living and self-advocacy instruction, benefits planning related to employment, assistive technology, post-secondary education or training, job placement, and other services leading to competitive employment.

DVR has vocational rehabilitation counselors assigned to each high school in the state. You can find the counselor assigned to your child’s school Find a School Transition Counselor

Pre-employment transition services can be provided in a variety of ways:

  1. Group activities: The first step for students interested in pre-employment transition services is to participate in general pre-employment transition services group activities. These activities will be provided by DVR staff and other partners.

    Group services are still in development. Stay tuned for updates on group pre-employment transition services available in your area beginning in Summer and Fall 2016.

  2. Individual activities: If, after participating in group services, students and their families feel the student needs additional and individualized services, they would talk with the DVR counselor assigned to their school for more information about individualized services.

DVR can provide these individual services to DVR-eligible students in collaboration with the school and the student’s transition program. These are individualized based on student goals and what services are available from the student’s school. 

Significant changes in the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 2014 now provide vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies across the nation with the opportunity to provide expanded services in five specific focus areas to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEP) or 504 plans, whether or not they have applied or been found eligible for DVR services.

These services can be provided to groups of students who are eligible or potentially eligible for DVR services, and also to students with higher needs who have open cases with DVR. Individualized services are carefully planned in coordination with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The services can be provided to students starting around age 16, if they have school-based IEP or 504 plans.

Pre-employment transition services focus areas include:

  1. Job exploration

  2. Work-based learning experiences

  3. Exploring opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive or post-secondary educational programs

  4. Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living

  5. Instruction in self-advocacy, which may include peer mentoring.

Comparable benefits available under another program (such as Student Financial Aid, medical benefits, etc.) must be used to pay for certain DVR services, unless the benefits will interfere with or delay services such as: when an individual is at extreme medical risk; for an immediate job placement; or in progressing toward a student’s employment goal.    

Some DVR services consider the economic need of the person with a disability and their family unit. Parents are considered part of a young adult’s family unit until the young adult reaches age 24, if they are claiming the young adult as a dependent for income tax purposes. Post-secondary schools consider this regardless of dependent status on federal taxes and until the student reaches age 24.    

Based on a determination of economic need, the available monthly resources of the family unit must be applied to a student or youth’s vocational rehabilitation program (for some services). The exception to this requirement occurs if a young adult is receiving disability-related benefits through the Social Security Administration, Medicaid, or public assistance, SSI, or SSDI. In these cases, DVR does not require students or their parents to contribute to the cost of DVR services.

The primary role of DVR is to provide vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance that helps students and youth with disabilities gain an early start at job exploration and job readiness, and to make informed choices about their employment goals and career paths to adulthood. DVR also provides consultation and technical assistance to schools to plan for transition of students and youth with disabilities from school to post-school activities, including vocational rehabilitation.

To help students and youth with disabilities gain an early start at job exploration, DVR services ideally begin before a student or youth graduates from school, and continue until competitive employment is obtained after graduation.

Typically, DVR counselors begin to work with secondary students and youth who are between the ages of 16-21, although students as young as age 14 can begin work with DVR if they have a school plan that focuses on post-secondary transition, and they need individualized services as a result of their barriers to employment. Students and youth must be ready and available to actively engage in DVR services.

DVR has vocational rehabilitation counselors assigned to each high school in the state. You can find the counselor assigned to your child’s school at the Find a School Transition Counselor  

If you are a DVR-qualified IL or CRP services provider, the best route to providing pre-employment transition services to students is by contacting supervisors and vocational rehabilitation counselors in your local area to discuss what individual services may be needed, and how you and your agency might be able to provide the service.

IL and CRP staff who are able to provide pre-employment transition services will be interviewed and selected by an individual student if:
 

  1. The student is found eligible for DVR services;

  2. An Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed with the student in coordination with

  3. the student’s school transition planning, and specific pre-employment transition activities are identified in the IPE;

  4. The student and their family interview IL/CRP providers, and choose an organization to work with;

  5. The student and their family, DVR counselor, and IL/CRP provider meet to determine what services will be contracted with the provider.

IL and CRP staff should refer schools, students, and their families to the DVR counselor liaison who works with that particular school, who can provide detailed information regarding pre-employment services available in the area.

Pre-employment transition services are pre-vocational services. They are not intended for job placement. They are intended to prepare students for competitive, integrated employment in the community after they leave high school.

DVR is still focused on post-secondary (i.e. after school district services) employment outcomes. DVR’s expectation is that students receiving individual DVR services with pre-employment transition activities will continue to work with their DVR counselors to develop specific employment goals for post-high school life.

To emphasize: Students who have open cases with DVR who are receiving pre-employment transition services as part of their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) should move to a more-focused employment goal after they leave high school.

Yes. A student must be enrolled in school district services to be engaged in pre-employment transition services

There is no additional funding provided to DVR for pre-employment transition services. Funding for pre-employment transition services comes from 15% of DVR’s annual federal budget. While the law does now expect VR agencies nationwide to spend 15% of their existing resources on pre-employment transition services students with disabilities -  these changes did not come with additional funding.

Schools are responsible to provide secondary transition services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Pre-employment transition services are not intended to replace school educational or fiscal responsibilities under IDEA or 504. They are intended to be coordinated with educational services. Schools and DVR are both required to contribute time, funding, and expertise to students with disabilities for secondary transition services.

First, it is important to understand why there have been changes. Public Vocational Rehabilitation  programs nationally are funded federally through the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. VR programs also receive about  one state dollar for every four federal dollars. Every so often that law is changed/improved or amended.

About a decade ago the Rehabilitation Act was rolled into the larger Workforce Act, then referred to as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). As of the recent 2014 amendments, the law is now referred to as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Rehabilitation Act was reauthorized with WIOA as Title IV of WIOA.

Students who experience a range of disabilities may receive pre-employment transition services. They must have an IEP or 504 plan and be attending secondary school.

Pre-employment transition services can be provided in a variety of ways:

  1. Group activities: The first step for students interested in pre-employment transition services is to participate in general pre-employment transition services group activities. These activities will be provided by DVR staff and other partners.
    Group services are still in development. Stay tuned for updates on group pre-employment transition services available in your area beginning in Summer and Fall 2016.
  2. Individual activities: If, after participating in group services, students and their families feel the student needs additional and individualized services, they would talk with the DVR counselor assigned to their school for more information about individualized services.

 

DVR can provide these individual services to DVR-eligible students in collaboration with the school and the student’s transition program. These are individualized based on student goals and what services are available from the student’s school.