VR Services Expanded for Vermont’s Youth

Nine East Network is applauding the recent announcement from VocRehab Vermont, declaring that it will be expanding its services for high school-age Vermonters with disabilities in 2015.  On January 9, 2015, Diane Delmasse, the Director of VocRehab services for the State of Vermont, issued a memo to educators throughout the state to explain what changes to expect this year.  Due to improvements in federal law, Delmasse’s agency is now required to spend at least 15% of its entire budget on providing pre-employment transition services to high school youths with disabilities.  This means that “VR transition counselors will be shifting their focus to serving in-school students,” aged 14 to 22 who are on IEP’s or 504 plans.  These students will now have increased access to five different areas of services – job exploration counseling, work-based learning, counseling on training and educational opportunities, workplace readiness, and self-advocacy training.  State VR counselors will also now be in a position to provide greater support to IEP and 504 teams.  Although Delmasse’s announcement is a welcomed improvement to services for Vermont’s youth, the law still leaves out many of Vermont’s deaf and hard of hearing children who are in need of transitional services.  Nine East Network consultants look forward to working more with VR counselors on behalf of Vermont’s deaf and hard of hearing students.   We will forward along more information about VocRehab’s efforts in the coming months.  The full text of Delmasse’s memo of January 9, 2015 is available here.