In King County, Washington State and across the nation service and employment options for people with significant disabilities are being taken away. Washington State decided to begin the phase out of pre-vocational services and transition participants into employment or community inclusion services in 2015. The process was completed by January 2019 in King County.
Important Definition to understand and remember when reading any data regarding “EMPLOYMENT” in Washington State when connected to people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities;
EMPLOYMENT – gross wages are anything greater than ZERO during the previous 3 month time period.
We ask that the JLARC report be addressed and an evaluation of the damage done be completed prior to any more transitions and forced choices be made for this population.
Despite it being an objective of Developmental Disability Administration that DDA services provide quality of life benefits for clients, such as choice, relationships, integration in the community, and competence, there is no tool to measure this and so, unfortunately, we are unaware if the person’s choice was honored or if the changes have affected their quality of life.
This is what has happened in King County – there were 143 people in pre-vocational services prior to denial of services. These people were employed and working an average of 14.6 hours a week – some of this time was paid and some was not paid since other activities also took place on site.
AS of May 2019, here is the breakdown of what these 143 people are doing and what services they are provided:
37 – people do not have any services or open contracts – this could be for a variety of reasons – at any rate, they are not receiving employment or community inclusion supports
62 people are authorized for employment support – only 24 of these people are actually employed though
Employment rate of 39% – working an average of 6 hours a week
44 people are authorized for community inclusion
Community Inclusion – 4 hours a week of community activities
Due to the forced choice and transition, people in this population went from an employment rate of 99% to about 17% employment. This is how Employment First works in Washington State.
2015 – 143 people employed in PVS with 99% employment rate
2019 – of those 143 people in 2015 only 24 are “Employed” – this is an employment rate of 17%
- Authorized does not mean the person is actually receiving any services or supports. It just means that they are authorized to receive those services/supports if they are available.
- Employment First in WA means that one MUST utilize employment services for at least 9 months prior to Community Access services – these cannot be provided concurrently. There is a special waiver for a select few who may not need to “participate” in employment services for 9 months prior to Community Access services but this is very rare.
- For Individual Employment, support hours up to 26/month are paid at $73.00/hour, above 26/month are paid at $30/hour and the total fee is adjusted up to a maximum payment of $2,700/month – this cap will be increasing though.
Information provided by King County Developmental Disabilities Administration and State Data