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

Annual Report 2003

North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind 2002-2003 Annual Report

"Working Together for a Better Tomorrow"

Consumer Satisfaction

Each year, the Division in cooperation with the Rehabilitation Council, conducts a Consumer Satisfaction Survey of people who completed rehabilitation programs for the fiscal year. We sent 673 surveys and 243 were returned completed. Here is what our consumers had to say:

  • DSB staff treated you with courtesy and respect all the time-93%
  • Telephone calls were returned the same or next day-93%
  • Appointments scheduled as soon as consumer thought they should be, most or all of the time-96%
  • Decisions about planned services were jointly made-82%
  • Consumers report they received the services needed to go to work-89%
  • 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-90%
  • Overall rating of experience with the Division as good, most or all the time-95%

Where Our People Work

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

Services Occupations, 204 people, 30%;

Professional, Technical, Managerial Occupations, 122 people, 18%;

Clerical/Sales, 106 people, 16%;

Structural Work, 70 people, 10%;

Homemakers/Family Workers, 31 people, 5%;

Miscellaneous, 52 people, 8%;

Machine Trades, 32 people, 5%;

Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry, 27 people, 4%;

Benchwork Occupations, 22 people, 3%;

Processing, 7 people, 1%.

Message from the Director

Both individuals and organizations spend a great deal of time contemplating "tomorrow," otherwise known as "the future." "Tomorrow" is the focal point for hopes and dreams. However, as the title of this Annual Report suggests, achievement of those future hopes and dreams requires a collective effort in the present. Beyond that, we cheat ourselves if we are so focused on that future destination that we miss the joys of the journey. This Annual Report provides some glimpses of a portion of that journey.

Thus, I commend it to your attention. In doing so, I want to thank the outstanding professionals of the Division of Services for the Blind, as well as each consumer who received services from these professionals. All have played key roles in this segment of the journey.

In closing, I want to thank the North Carolina Lions Foundation for its continuing support of the blindness community, the Division of Services for the Blind, and this Annual Report. The partnership between NCLF and DSB immeasurably enhances the efforts of both organizations to serve people who are blind or visually impaired. I count it a great personal privilege to be both a participant in this partnership and a recipient of some of the fruits of the partnership.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Persons with blindness or visual impairments who want to go to work may be eligible for our Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR). The VR professionals- Rehab. Counselors, Job Placement Specialists, Rehabilitation Engineer, Assistive Technology Consultants, Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors, Specialists for persons who are both Deaf and Blind, and the staff at the NC Rehabilitation Center for the Blind- team with consumers to provide the services required for them to become successfully employed in a job of their choice. The Division's Social Workers, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and the Nurse Eye Care Specialists are valuable resources to help solidify a consumer's success in employment.

Our Results

In 2002-2003, the VR Program served 3,451 individuals, 90% were considered to have significant disabilities. 673 consumers reached their goal of successful employment; 92% were considered to have significant disabilities. The average wage of consumers completing programs was $302.83 per week-an increase of 192% over the average wage before entering the program. The average cost of services provided to individuals who reached their goal of successful employment was $3,979.40.

Job Development and Placement Services

DSB Employment Services

In August 2000, the Division started a new initiative to increase the number of wage earning consumers who are legally blind. We named our new initiative DSB Employment Services. This program has a primary emphasis on the human resource needs of employers in our communities throughout the state.

Our Results

Since beginning our initiative in 2000, we have recorded a 32.5% increase in consumers with blindness entering competitive, self-employment, Business Enterprises or Supported Employment. Also, we have recorded a 37.4% increase in the number of wage earning consumers with substantial disabilities (including but not limited to blindness) earning at least minimum wage during the period. (Consumers, i.e., persons who are blind but have additional significant disabilities.) Using Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) criteria, we have recorded an average 6% increase in wages paid to our consumers since September 2000.

Supported Employment Services

Through its Vocational Rehabilitation Program, the Division provides intensive and on-going 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, 183 people were served, 29 placed in employment and 24 retained successful employment through our Supported Employment Services. The average hours worked weekly was 20 at an average hourly wage of $6.36.

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 90 operators served through the program. Eight Operators entered the program and ten Operators left. BEP facilities had combined sales of $11,525,430. Net proceeds paid to operators totaled $ 2,907,543. Average facility operator income was $35,681.59. Vending machine repairs totaled $56,259. There were a total of 84 facilities in operation at the end of fiscal year 2003.

Ten facilities were renovated to various degrees and one new facility opened. Permits were expanded to include all vending to two facilities. Two facilities were combined into one. Full service and vending facilities are located through- out 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 system 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 193 consumers ages 14 to 19 were served. This includes services to students in specialized transition programs in Cumberland, Wake, Guilford and Forsyth Counties as well as the Governor Morehead School.

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 the community, and basic adjustment to vision loss. The ILR Counselors are associated with our 7 district offices to provide counseling and extensive independent living skills instruction either in the home or in classes at one of the 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, 5,916 people were served by DSB Social Workers. Safe travel skills training were provided to 1,120 people. 1045 people received services from ILR Counselors; 394 were served in one of our 33 Mini-Centers.

The Lions Clubs of North Carolina

For more than 66 years, the Division 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 12, 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.

Deaf-Blind Services

In 1976, the Division established the Deaf-Blind Program to meet the needs of persons who are deaf-blind. One specialist in Raleigh covered the entire state until 1994 when the program expanded to four specialists. The positions from 1994 are located in Winston -Salem, Wilmington, Raleigh & Asheville. In 2003, the program expanded again when a 5th specialist was added to the Greenville District Office. The Division remains committed to providing quality services to consumers in all agency programs. Last year the Deaf-Blind Program served 305 individuals. All services provided by the specialists are designed to allow recipients to achieve their maximum potential whether through finding suitable employment or maintaining independence at home. The specialist provide advocacy, consultation, assessment, technical support, service coordination, training and more. The Deaf-Blind Program collaborates with the North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates (NCDBA) and other agencies to provide and support activities for individuals who are deaf-blind. Some of these activities include Camp Dogwood for the Deaf-Blind, NCDBA Convention as well as annual holiday parties.

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 evaluation of 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 Evaluation Unit provided 133 vocational assessments and provided adjustment to blindness training to 90 consumers. Specialized training was provided to 115 consumers. The Center provided transitional services to 27 students. Technology Support Services at the Center processed 2,465 calls for technical support and information and provided 149 tours/demonstrations for visitors to the Technology Center.

Medical Eye Care Services

Prevention of Blindness, Restoration of Sight...

Our Medical Eye Care Services offer people with vision 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 22,302 people. This included 3,638 eye examinations and 8,469 glaucoma screenings. Also, 408 adults and 890 children were referred to eye doctors for follow-up. In addition, our services purchased 1,794 pairs of glasses and secured 3,125 eye treatments and surgeries. Low vision assessments were provided to 2,721 people.

How to Reach Us

Please contact us for additional information on services we provide to North Carolina citizens. You might wish to contact our office nearest you, below, or visit us on the web at:

Asheville (800) 422-1881

Charlotte (800) 422-1895

Fayetteville (800) 422-1897

Greenville (800) 422-1877

Raleigh (800) 422-1871

Wilmington (800) 422-1884

Winston-Salem (800) 422-0373

DSB State Office (919) 733-9822
Or Toll Free (866) 222-1546

Message from the Chairman

The North Carolina Commission for the Blind serving as the State Rehabilitation Council is honored to present its 2003 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 just a few of the many accomplishments of the Division and the Council in providing quality employment and independent living services to meet the needs of persons with blindness and visual impairments.

The theme for this year's report is "Working Together for a Better Tomorrow". We wanted to emphasize the importance of the consumer and all involved programs in the Division working together as a team to assist the consumer to reach their goal of more independence in their lives. It requires all members of the team to assist the consumer to reach their goal of more independence in their lives. It requires all members of the team to provide a component of the Rehabilitation process to make it complete for the consumer to achieve that goal. In this report yo will see individuals involved at different levels of this process, from starting to explore the possibilities to having reached their goal.

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

John T. Miller, III

Division of Services for the Blind
Rehabilitation Council

John T. Miller, III, Chairman, Dare County

Norma Krajczar, Carteret County

Ronald L. Huber, Guilford County

George 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:

Debbie Jackson, Director, NC Division of Services for the Blind

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


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