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

Annual Report 2004

Division of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council

The 2004 Annual Report

"Branching Out For Success"

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. In Fiscal Year 2004 we sent 700 surveys and 237 were returned completed. Here is what our consumers had to say:

  • DSB staff treated you with courtesy and respect all the time - 95%
  • 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 - 97%
  • Decisions about planned services were jointly made - 80%
  • Consumers report they received the services needed to go to work - 91%
  • 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 - 94%
  • Overall rating of experience with the Division as good, most or all the time - 96%

Where Our People Work

In the fiscal year 2004, DSB consumers chose to work in the following occupations:

Services Occupations, 194 people, 27%;

Professional, Technical, Managerial Occupations, 104 people, 15%;

Clerical/Sales, 134 people, 19%;

Structural Work, 71 people, 10%;

Homemakers/Family Workers, 34 people, 5%;

Miscellaneous, 58 people, 8%;

Machine Trades, 33 people, 5%;

Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry, 29 people, 4%;

Benchwork Occupations, 33 people, 5%;

Processing, 11 people, 2%.

Message from the Director

The theme for this year's Annual Report, "Branching out for Success" speaks to a concept that applies to individuals and organizations. Skills definitely help an individual achieve his goals, and resources help an organization achieve theirs, in that they are viewed as "successful." However, rarely do those skills or resources alone guarantee success. Words like "communication", "collaboration" and "cooperation" are used so routinely that they almost lose their meaning, but the underlying principle should never be forgotten.

The more we as individuals and as an organization reach out to others, work with others and help others reach their goals, the more likely we are to reach and even exceed our goals. Shared ideas, resources, experiences and knowledge are key to growth and success.

As a Division we succeed in many areas because of our relationships with others and we trust that the assets that we bring to these relationships contributes to the success of others. Among those with whom we have a longstanding and mutually rewarding relationship are the Lions Foundation of NC and the local Lions Clubs throughout the State. They provide us with financial resources that support community-based classes for children who are blind; opportunities for independence and recreation through programs at Camp Dogwood and the VIP Fishing Tournament each year; funding that helps to provide canes, glasses and other needed items on a case-by-case basis; support for the production of this Report and advocacy for the ongoing services of the Division whenever and wherever needed.

This is only one example of the type of relationship that contributes to the success of DSB and more important to the success of the individual consumers whom we serve. We look forward to nurturing this relationship over the coming year and to branching out to develop new relationships that will grow into shared successes.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Persons with blindness or visual impairments who want to go to work may be eligible for DSB Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Services are provided to enable persons to become successfully employed in the job of their choice. Rehabilitation Counselors, Employment Consultants, the Rehabilitation Engineer, Assistive Technology Specialists, Transition Counselors, Vocational Evaluation staff and Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, and Specialists for persons who are both blind and have hearing loss are among the VR professionals who work hand-in-hand with them.

Our Results

During state fiscal year 2004, the VR Program served 3,561 consumers, 93% of whom were considered to have significant disabilities. Of these consumers, 701 reached their goal of successful employment, with 97% considered to have significant disabilities. The average wage of the successfully employed consumer was $329.79 a week, a 106% increase over their income at application. The average cost of services provided to successfully employed consumers was $4,031.72.

Job Development and Placement Services

DSB Employment Services

In 2000, the Division started a new initiative - DSB Employment Services, to increase the number of wage earning consumers who are legally blind. By 2003, consumers with blindness entering occupations in competitive employment, Business Enterprises, supported employment or self-employment had increased by 32.5%. In 2004, 666 consumers entered these wage-earning occupations -- 97% of whom were reported to have severe disability including but not limited to blindness. The average per-hour-wage in 2004 was $9.41 -- a 6% increase over 2000 and 2% over the previous year. More than 106 individuals were placed due to direct staff involvement with employers throughout the state.

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, 122 people were served, 44 placed in employment and 25 retained successful employment through our Supported Employment Services. The average hours worked weekly was 28 at an average hourly wage of $6.82.

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.

Gross sales from all food service facilities amounted to $11,976,571 during fiscal year 2004. The gross profit percentage was 50.7%. Net proceeds paid to operators totaled $2,977,693 during this year and average operator income for FY 04 was $36,529. Five operators entered the program and four operators left the program during the year. Vending machine repairs totaled $63,613.

New locations were opened at the Mount Mitchell State Park restaurant, the Nash/Fountain Correctional Institutions and the DART - Cherry facility in Goldsboro. Major renovations were completed at IFB Winston-Salem and the New Hanover County Courthouse. The DOT Equipment Depot was switched to all vending. The Forsyth County Courthouse facility was relocated to a more accessible location and the facilities located at the State Controller's office and the VA-Outpatient clinic were combined with other locations. There were 84 facilities operating at the end of the fiscal 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 115 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 210 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, DSB Social Workers served 6,195 people. Safe travel skills training were provided to 1,341 people. Chore services were provided for 501 people and enabled them to continue living in their homes and/or communities. Special Assistance was provided each month for an average off 111 people who reside in domiciliary care facilities. ILR Counselors served 1,412 people, 480 of whom were served in one of our 38 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.

The Lions Foundation sponsors 12 six-day camping sessions every year for people with blindness and visual impairment at Camp Dogwood. The Camp is 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

For over 25 years, the Division of Services for the Blind has had a formal commitment to effectively serve individuals with hearing and vision loss through the Deaf-Blind Program. The program goals include improving vocational outcomes and quality of life for persons with hearing and vision loss. Five Deaf-Blind Specialists provide services to consumers across all 100 counties. During Fiscal Year 2003-2004, the program served a total of 588 referrals. Of these, 289 referrals were served through the Independent Living Services Program, 188 through the Independent Living Rehabilitation Program and 111 through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

All services provided by the Specialists are designed to allow recipients to achieve their maximum potential through finding suitable employment or maintaining independence in the home. The role of the Specialist involves 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 within the Department of Health and Human Services to provide activities for individuals with hearing and vision loss. Some of these activities include Camp Dogwood for the Deaf-Blind, the NCDBA Convention and annual holiday parties.

For more information, please contact your local DSB!

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 113 vocational assessments and the Rehab Center provided adjustment to blindness training to 93 consumers. Specialized training was provided to 61 consumers. The Center provided transitional services to 18 students and performed 57 specialized evaluations. Technology Support Services at the Center provides technical support and information and provided 112 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 16,681 people. This included 4,718 eye examinations, 5,583 people screened for glaucoma, and 6,380 children screened for amblyopia and other vision defects. These screenings resulted in 329 adults being referred to eye doctors as glaucoma suspects and 235 children referred to eye doctors for follow-up. In addition, our services purchased 1,804 pairs of eyeglasses and secured 3,480 eye treatments and surgeries. Low vision assessments were provided to 3,272 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 2004 Annual Report of the Council and the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind.

This year's theme is "Branching out for Success." From the original seed planted by Helen Keller's challenge to Legislators and Lions to create the Commission for the Blind, to the present Division of Services to the Blind, the roots of service to the Blind and Visually Impaired citizens of North Carolina continues to grow.

The dedication and nurturing that have transpired for nearly 70 years has created much change and growth in the services provided to our consumers. Through the Division of Services for the Blind and its myriad of programs and services; similar to branches on a tree; and through partnerships with Lions, Legislators, Corporate and Private Sectors, better opportunities exist today for our Blind and Visually Impaired citizens to live a more independent and productive lives.

The dedicated work of the staff of the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind has assured this "tree of Success" will continue to produce new "Branches" of opportunity.

We greatly appreciate the continued support of the North Carolina Lions Foundation in the production of this report and the work of the thousands of Lions throughout North Carolina.

John T. Miller, III

Division of Services for the Blind
Rehabilitation Council

John T. Miller, III, Chairman, North Carolina Lions Foundation, Dare County

Kathy Brack, Director, Client Assistance Program

S. Annette Clinard, Industries of the Blind, Guilford County

Anita Heath-Cunningham, Guilford County

Ronald L. Huber, NC Lions Foundation

Angela McCants, Exceptional Children Assistance Center

Allen G. Moore, Statewide Independent Living Council

Russ Stinehour, CEO, Cross Logic Dev. Corp.

Catherleen Thomas, Wake County

Graham Watt, Workforce Development Comm.

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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