Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | A-Z Site Map | Get Updates | Divisions | About Us | Contacts | En Español

NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind
 
 

Annual Report 2002

Message from the Chairman

It is with great pride that the North Carolina Commission for the Blind, serving as the State Rehabilitation Council, presents this, its 2002 Annual Report of the Council and the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind. This report, developed by Council members and Division staff, highlights but a few of the many accomplishments of the Division and Council in providing quality independent living and employment services targeting the unique needs of persons with blindness and visual impairment.

This year, we chose the theme, "At Work; At Play." In our society, whether we are doctors, lawyers, clerks, or farmers our employment helps define what we are. But our avocational interests and activities further define who we are in our interaction with our families and friends and in our communities. In this report, you will meet some of our fellow citizens "at work" and from snow skiing to bowling to competitive wrestling, you will meet some of our fellow citizens "at play.".

We greatly appreciate the continued support of the North Carolina Lions Foundation, Inc. and the local Lions Clubs throughout the state. We are also appreciative of the continued support of so many North Carolinians and for the excellent work of the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind.

John T. Miller, III
Chairman


Division of Services for the Blind
Rehabilitation Council
2001-2002

John T. Miller, III, Chairman, Dare County

Norma F. Krajczar, Carteret County

Ronald L. Huber, Guilford County

George G. Murphy, Catawba County

Catherleen Thomas, Wake County

Terry Wethington, Craven County

Kathy Brack, Director, Client Assistance Program

S. Annette Clinard, Guilford County

Allen G. Moore, Mecklenburg County

Mary Le O'Daniel, Mecklenburg County

Anita Wayne, Craven County

Tom Winton, NC Dept. of Public Instruction

Ex-Officio Members:

John B. Deluca, Director, NC Division of Services for the Blind

Sandy Foster, DSB Rehabilitation Counselor-In-Charge, Winston-Salem


Message from the Director

"Work" can go a long way toward defining the direction of a person's life, but "play" can exert a powerful influence on the quality of that life. In this Annual Report, we will highlight but a few of the many examples of how people with blindness or visual impairment work and play. The fact that there are so many examples from which to choose offers eloquent testimony to the number of opportunities that exist in our society for people who are blind or visually impaired. With appropriate training and support, these possibilities can be transformed into pictures of success.

I would like to acknowledge and express my appreciation to the North Carolina Lions Foundation for providing funding for this Annual Report. This assistance has been invaluable in helping tell these stories of achievement.

John DeLuca, Director
North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind


Vocational Rehabilitation Services

People with blindness or substantial visual impairment who want to work are eligible for our Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Professionals such as Rehabilitation Counselors, Job Placement Specialists, Assistive Technology Specialists, Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors and Orientation and Mobility Specialists work as a team in providing services to consumers that result in their employment in quality occupations.

Our Results

Last year we served 3,377 consumers, 88% with substantial disability; 1,881 of these continued their vocational rehabilitation programs into this year. Also, 679 individuals successfully completed their vocational rehabilitation programs and more than 90% had substantial disability. The average wage of consumers completing programs was $309.42 per week - an increase of 242% over the average wage before entering the program.

The average cost of services provided per rehabilitated consumers was $3,662.30


Job Development and Placement Services

DSB Employment Services

In August, 2000, the Division started its new initiative to increase the number of wage earning outcomes of consumers with legal blindness. The focus of the initiative was to train all Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, Job Placement Specialists and Managers in building long term, trust relationship with North Carolina employers. We named our effort DSB Employment Services to focus on the needs of employers in our communities.

Our Results

Since beginning our initiative in 2000, we have recorded a 28% increase in consumers with blindness entering competitive, self-employment, Business Enterprises and Supported Employment.


Supported Employment Services

Through its Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the Division provides intensive and ongoing services to people with the most significant disabilities. Often, these people have multiple disabilities and need more intensive, on the job services in order to retain employment. Services include direct job placement, on-site job training and coaching, and extended follow-up on the job site with the consumers and the employer to ensure a good job match. The Division contracts many of these services with various community rehabilitation programs throughout the state.

Our Results

Last year, 13 people achieved and retained successful employment through our Supported Employment Services.


Business Enterprises (BEP)

For people with blindness and an interest in the food service or food vending industry, the Division offers training, job placement, long term business counseling and follow-up through its Business Enterprises Services.

Last year, there were 88 operators served through the program. BEP facilities had combined sales of $11,967,238. Average facility operator income was $36,043 (an increase of more than 10% from the previous year).

Full service and vending facilities are located throughout the state.


Transition Services

The Division offers transition services to help prepare students with visual impairments to move from school to vocational or continued academic training or directly into work. Our rehabilitation professionals work in cooperation with schools, family members and community and business leaders. Services are available in all 117 public school systems in the State. Services are planned based on the student's interests, abilities and needs and often begin as early as age 14. Most young people in transition benefit from On-the-job-Training, Job Shadowing, Internships and other work experiences sponsored by the Division.

Last year, approximately 194 consumers ages 14 to 19 were served. This includes services to students in specialized transition programs in Cumberland, Wake, Guilford and Forsyth Counties and the Governor Morehead School.


Deaf-Blind Services

In cooperation with the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH), we provide specialized services to people with both vision and hearing loss. These services augment other services the consumer receives through Vocational Rehabilitation or Independent Living Rehabilitation Services or Independent Living Skills Services provided by our Social Work Program. Services may include advocacy, sign language interpreters, needs assessment and purchase of assistive equipment, communication skills training, job placement and follow up services.

Last year, 140 consumers with a combined visual and hearing loss were served in our Program.


Independent Living Services

The Division offers comprehensive Independent Living Services through its Social Workers for the Blind and Independent Living Rehabilitation (ILR) Counselors. The Social Workers are associated with all county Departments of Social Services and focus on consumer and family counseling, coordination of various services available from their respective communities, and basic adjustment to vision loss skills training. The ILR Counselors are associated with our 7 district offices and provide counseling and extensive independent living skills instruction either in the home or in classes in one of our 12-week, community based "Mini-Centers". They promote self-advocacy skills so consumers can expand their access to public services in their communities.

Last year, 5,818 people were served by our Social Workers. Safe travel skills training was provided to 1,120 people. In addition, 1,049 people received services from our ILR Counselors; 410 were served in one of our 40 Mini-Centers.


Medical Eye Care Services

Prevention of Blindness, Restoration of Sight...

Our Medical Eye Care Services offer people with visual problems a safety net to help ensure they receive the eye care they need. When North Carolina citizens need eye care, are low income and do not qualify for other government health programs, we can often help. In addition, we provide glaucoma screenings and low vision examinations to many people regardless of economic situation.

Our Results

Last year, Medical Eye Care Services provided or secured eye care for 21,879 people. This included 4,925 eye examinations and 7,954 glaucoma screenings. Also, 384 adults and 528 children were referred to eye doctors for follow-up. In addition, our services purchased 1,331 pairs of glasses and secured 2,735 eye treatments and surgeries. Low vision assessments were provided to 2,664 people.


Rehabilitation Center for the Blind & DSB Evaluation Unit

Our Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and the Evaluation Unit are located on the campus of the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh. Services focus on in-depth, comprehensive rehabilitation needs and identification of services required. Consumers are eligible to take advantage of specialized vocational assessments and training, work readiness skills, low vision testing, assistive technology assessment and equipment training, psychological testing and safe travel skills training, among others. Also, the Center provides transitional services each summer for students ready for post secondary training or employment.

Our Results

Last year, the Center and Unit provided 104 vocational assessments and provided adjustment to blindness training to 90 consumers. Specialized training was provided to 71 consumers. The Center and Unit provided transitional services to 36 students. Technology Support Services at the Center processed 1,832 calls for technical support and information and provided 199 tours/demonstrations for visitors to the Technology Center.


The Lions Clubs of North Carolina

For more than 65 years, the Divison and Lions Clubs of North Carolina have worked cooperatively in serving the interests of citizens with blindness and visual impairment. The North Carolina Lions Foundation provides mobility and support canes to service consumers of the Division as well as helps support educational grants, hearing aid assistance, and eye research both locally and nationally. Local Lions Clubs help support Independent Living Rehabilitation Mini-Centers throughout the State, sponsor the Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Fishing Tournament annually on the Outer Banks, and support Radio Reading Services among other projects.

Each year, the Lions Foundation sponsors 13, six-day camping sessions for people with blindness and visual impairment at Camp Dogwood, the Foundation's 48 acre camping resort on Lake Norman in Catawba County. In addition, each September, the Foundation supports special camping sessions for people with both blindness and impaired hearing.


Consumer Satisfaction

Each year,the Division in cooperation with the Rehabilitation Council, conducts a Consumer Satisfaction Survey of people who completed rehabilitation programs the previous fiscal year. We sent 729 surveys and 224 were returned completed. Here is what our consumers had to say:

DSB staff were polite all the time - 95%

Telephone calls were returned the same or next day - 96%

Appointments scheduled as soon as consumers thought they should be, all or most of the time - 98%

Decisions about rehabilitation goals were made jointly by consumer and counselor - 94%

Decisions about planned services were jointly made - 81%

Consumer always understood each step in rehabilitation program - 86%

Consumers satisfied with job obtained as a result of, or with the assistance of Division staff - 97%

Overall rating of experience with the Division as good, most or all of the time - 99%


Where Our People Work

In the fiscal year, DSB consumers chose work in the following occupations:

Services Occupations, 177 people, 26%;

Professional, Technical, Managerial Occupations, 129 people, 19%;

Clerical/Sales, 107 people, 16%;

Structural Work, 76 people, 11%;

Homemakers/Family Workers, 55 people, 8%;

Miscellaneous, 50 people, 7%;

Machine Trades, 33 people, 5%;

Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry, 26 people, 4%;

Benchwork Occupations, 21 people, 3%;

Processing, 5 people, 1%.

 

top