FSP FY2003 MCDHH

Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Annual Family Support Plan – FY 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

II. OVERVIEW OF THE MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION
FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING

A. Background
B. Definition of Family Support
C. Current Family Support Initiatives

1. Case Management and Social Services
2. Interpreter/CART Referral Services
3. Communications Access, Training, and Technology Services
4. Independent Living Programs

III. FAMILY EMPOWERMENT

A. MCDHH current initiatives to promote family input

1. Town Meetings 7
2. Annual Survey on Services to Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Children
3. www.state.ma.us/mcdhh: The Internet Portal of the Deaf Community
4. Advisory Councils

B. Providing a more family friendly atmosphere for input and influence

IV. FAMILY LEADERSHIP

A. MCDHH training program for family members

B. Giving families and individuals more opportunities to exercise their
leadership skills

V. FAMILY RESOURCES AND FUNDING

A. Current resource allocation for family support

B. Providing flexible funding to families to customize their services

C. New initiatives for individualized service and support

VI. ACCESSING SERVICES AND SUPPORTS

A. Educating families on how to access MCDHH services

B. MCDHH services that promote access to information and referral

C. New initiatives to increase access to services and referrals

VII. CULTURALLY COMPETENT OUTREACH AND SUPPORT

A. How MCDHH provides culturally appropriate access and support to an
ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse population

B. New initiatives for providing outreach that respects cultural diversity
of families and individuals

VIII. INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION

A. Current collaborative efforts with other EOHHS agencies

B. Proposed new initiatives for interagency collaboration

IX. APPENDIX – MCDHH SURVEY ON SERVICES TO FAMILIES WITH DEAF
OR HARD OF HEARING CHILDREN

TABLE OF EXHIBITS

EXHIBIT 1: INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAMS ASSISTING FAMILIES

EXHIBIT 2: FAMILY SUPPORT ACT INPUT

EXHIBIT 3: SUMMARY OF INTERAGENCY COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS

As Required by Chapter 171 of the Acts of 2002, An Act Providing Support
to Individuals with Disabilities and Their Families

I. INTRODUCTION

The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (hereinafter
“MCDHH” or “the Commission”) is pleased to submit the following report
on its compliance with the Family Support Act (Chapter 171 of the Acts
of 2002, An Act Providing Support to Individuals with Disabilities and
Their Families). This report is being submitted to fulfill the requirements
of the Act.

Through its 17-year history, the Commission has worked closely with
families to meet the needs of deaf, late deafened, deaf-blind, and hard
of hearing residents of the Commonwealth.

MCDHH currently has a number of initiatives underway for providing family
support. These are detailed below. These initiatives involve working with
other agencies, providing case management, training, and information.
Much of the work of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard
of Hearing is community based;

therefore, the Commission also has a history of working with community
groups, non-profits, and other agencies to support and empower families
of the deaf community.

The Commission takes pride in its willingness to seek input from the
public in a variety of forums, and for provided various forums and vehicles
for families and the public to have input into the formulation of Commission
policy.

This report discusses those efforts in greater detail.

II. OVERVIEW OF THE MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION FOR THE DEAF AND HARD
OF HEARING

The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has statutory
responsibility in the Commonwealth for people of all ages who are deaf
and hard of hearing. The Legislature established the Commission in 1986
(Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6 §191-197).

The objectives of the Commission are the following:

 

• To promulgate and coordinate public policy that affects the deaf
community in Massachusetts

• To deliver technical assistance and resources to other state agencies
to help them fulfill their missions to deaf and hard of hearing people

To advocate on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing residents
of the Commonwealth and their families

• To provide direct and special services to the deaf community as described
below

• To provide public education on issues affecting the deaf community

• To ensure the accessibility and quality of existing services and
recommend new services as needed

• To provide the Governor’s office, through the Executive Office of
Health and Human Services, with recommendations on how the Commonwealth
can best serve the needs of deaf and hard of hearing residents and their
families

 

The Commission carries out its responsibilities so that deaf and hard
of hearing people have access to information, services, education, and
opportunities which will be equal to those of people who hear, which will
enable each deaf and hard of hearing person to live productively and independently,
and which will enable him or her to assume full responsibilities as a
citizen and resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

A. Background

The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a commission
under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and serves as
the principal agency representing the Commonwealth’s 560,000 Deaf, late
deafened, and hard of hearing people within state government.

The Commission is also the lead agency for the federal, cross-disability,
cross-agency grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the National
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. This grant funds
the Massachusetts Assistive Technology Partnership (MATP), to develop
a coordinated, statewide system to enable access to assistive technology
and assistive technology related services by people with disabilities
in Massachusetts.

The MCDHH is mandated to improve communication accessibility and quality
of existing services, to deliver certain specialized services, to promote
or deliver necessary new services, and to assist other state agencies
in delivery of services to deaf, late deafened, deaf-blind, and hard of
hearing people.

The Commission is mandated to increase public awareness, determine the
extent and availability of services, determine the need for further services,
and make recommendations to the Governor.

B. Definition of Family Support

MCDHH defines “family support” as those services offered by the Commission
within its statutory mandate and subject to legislative appropriation
that provide assistance, education, training, and planning to the families
of deaf and hard of hearing residents of the Commonwealth, as the term
“families” is defined in Chapter 171 of the Acts of 2002.

C. Current Family Support Initiatives

  • The Commission currently provides a number of family support services.
    These include, without limitation:
  • Cross coordination with other agencies of referrals for deaf and
    hard of hearing people
  • Counseling and information
  • Assistive technology devices and service
  • Caregiver Assistance

Current family support services are provided through the Commission’s
existing departments as described in the following sections.

1. Case Management and Social Services

The Department for Case Management and Social Services provides referral
services;

cross-agency case coordination; technical assistance to state and community
agencies around cases and in policy and procedures development; assistance
to deaf, late deafened and hard of hearing individuals with complex life
situations; and Chapter 688 Transitional Case Management services in special
situations; bilingual (American Sign Language/English) case management
services; and training to hard of hearing individuals regarding factors
related to hearing loss.

MCDHH provides a range of family support services through its Case Management
Department, including:

  • Personal counseling (bilingual staff)
  • Cross-agency case coordination
  • Development of resources and natural
  • Crisis intervention (including assistance support systems on the
    protection phase of abuse cases)
  • Outreach/case finding
  • Specialized information and referrals
  • Individual consumer education regarding communication access and
  • Certification services (re telephone services available to deaf,
    late-deafened discount, use of interpreters in tests, and hard of hearing
    people and families etc.)
  • Client needs assessment by specialized,
  • Case management for ‘gap’ populations, bilingual staff such as visually
    disabled deaf/hard of hearing
  • Client plan development (cross-agency) hearing persons, less-than-severely
  • Individual case work (intensive, mentally ill deaf/hard of hearing
    complex cases) persons, uneducated deaf/hard of hearing
  • Ch. 688 transitional case management hearing persons, or immigrants

The Commission has also taken the following family support steps.

Children’s Specialists

The MCDHH Case Management Department has established three specialized
regional positions in Boston, Plymouth and Springfield. These provide
unique support services to families of deaf and hard of hearing children.

Children’s specialists in these areas help families identify needs and
assist them in working with other agencies for the betterment of their
children. For example, our Children’s Specialists connect families with
early intervention and language acquisition resources once their children
have been identified as deaf or hard of hearing through the Department
of Public Health’s Universal Newbom Hearing Screening Program. The MCD
Children’s Specialists also consult with, or provide training to, other
agencies about the special needs of children who are deaf or have hearing
loss.

Elder Care

The Commission is continuing its Deaf Eldercare Training program, run
in conjunction with the Executive Officer of Elder Affairs. This unique,
model program trains caregivers on how to work with deaf and hard of hearing
elderly people. It also provides respite for families of deaf elders who
can use the program to provide quality care for their loved ones. As the
program continues to develop and more caregivers are trained, it will
become easier for families to find quality care for their deaf elders
in the Commonwealth.

2. Interpreter/CART Referral Services

The Commission also administers the Interpreter and CART (Communication
Access Real Time)’ Referral services. These services are vital to deaf
and hard of hearing families because they provide communication access
for deaf and hard of hearing children and adults in a variety of public
settings.

3. Communications Access, Training, and Technology Services

The Department of Communication Access, Training and Technology Services
provides public education on all issues related to hearing loss. It also
provides free communication accessibility training and technical assistance
to state agencies as well as public and private entities and organizations
seeking to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of the Americans
with Disabilities Act.

CART employs a technology similar to television closed captioning.
This provides for a screen display of a stenographic transcription in
virtual real time with a speaker’s words.

The CATTS Department produces the Commission’s informational materials,
manages the agency’s website and provides general information related
to deaf, late deafened and hard of hearing people, their needs and services
via telephone, TTY, e-mail and the Commission’s Web site, www. state
.ma. us/mcdhh.
2

To assist families in obtaining a thorough and efficient education for
their deaf children, MCDHH has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with
the Massachusetts Department of Education. This three-track agreement
involves consumers and parents in planning three activities key to the
education of deaf children:

  • An assessment of sign language proficiency by both public and private
    elementary and secondary school teachers
  • An assessment of the proficiency of interpreters in public and private
    elementary and secondary schools
  • An update of educational guidelines related to deaf and hard of hearing
    children, and training stakeholders in use of these guidelines

Activities such as these are critical to the families of deaf children.
They provide families with the assurance that their deaf children will
receive the constitutionally mandated education to which all children
the Commonwealth are entitled.

4. Independent Living Programs

Independent Living Programs and Services for Deaf and Severely Hard
of Hearing People provide a broad range of services including skill training,
self-advocacy training, peer mentoring, alternative support and recreational
services, topical workshops for consumer education and advocacy. The following
table depicts the reach of these programs.

Exhibit 1: Independent Living Programs Assisting Families

Community Program
Hyannis Cape Organization for the Rights
of the Disabled
Worcester
Framingham
Center for Living and Working
Allston
Danvers
Middleboro
D.E.A.F. Inc.

2 It is also noted here that the Commission administers the
Massachusetts Assistive Technology Program (MATP) described in greater
depth above in Sec. II.A.

Community

Program

New Bedford
Lawrence Northeast Independent Living Program
Springfield Stavros Center for Independent Living

Deaf and hard of hearing people benefit from these programs and their
ability to provide such activities as skills development, training and
recreational activities. The availability of these programs and activities
helps not only deaf people, but their families as well by providing valuable
support services on a community level.

III. Family Empowerment

MCDHH employs a number of activities that provide an opportunity for
families of deaf and hard of hearing people to have input into the Commission’s
policies and practices.

A. MCDHH current initiatives to promote family input

MCDHH currently has four initiatives that give families an opportunity
to provide input into the Commission’s decision-making process.

1. Town Meetings

First, the Commission hosts an annual Statewide Advisory Council Meeting
and Town Hall meeting. This year’s meeting was held in September in Worcester.
The meeting is an opportunity for the general public to comment on the
Commission’s programs and to voice its opinion on how MCDHH can better
serve the deaf community and their families.

The issues raised in the Town Meeting include:

  • The effectiveness of the Children’s Specialist program
  • Budget and funding
  • The effectiveness of case management
  • Whether MCDHH is meeting the basic needs of deaf people and their
    families
  • How MCDHH can better meet the needs of its diverse constituency
  • The best ways to support families of the deaf community

2. Annual Survey on Services to Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Children

The second way that MCDHH reaches out to its families is through its
annual Survey on Services to Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Children.
This survey asks respondents:

• How MCDHH can become more family friendly

• What new family supports should be developed by MCDHH

• Whether MCDHH should seek funds for more family support services

• Whether the Commission has provided training on how to quickly access
its services

• Whether the Commission’s services meet the family’s ethnic, cultural
and communications needs

• To suggest new approaches to accommodate diversity in the deaf community

• The best way to identify issues of importance to families in the
deaf community

• Whether the Commission’s performance is responsive to the needs of
families

Respondents are also invited to provide any additional information or
input on how the Commission can better support families.

A summary of this year’s survey finds that respondents generally believe
that the survey and the Town Meeting are adequate for providing a forum
for family input into the Commission’s work. Respondents, however, felt
that the Commission could do a better job of helping them develop the
necessary leadership skills within their families by providing more regional
training and by involving the Children’s Specialists more in training.

Respondents also felt that after-school or summer programs for children
would benefit both deaf children and their families. Respondents also
felt overwhelmingly that the Commission does a good job of meeting their
individual ethnic, cultural or linguistic needs. Almost to a person they
also believe thai the Commission should obtain additional funding to provide
more family services—from hiring more Children’s Specialists to producing
regular publications on deaf issues and the Commission’s services.

A copy of this year’s survey is appended to this report.

3. www.state.ma.us/mcdhh: The Internet Portal of the Deaf Community

Third, the Commission operates a Web site through the Commonwealth’s
Internet portal that is aimed at providing news and program information
of interest to deaf and hard of hearing people and their families. The
Web site, www.state.ma.us/mcdhh, is enormously popular within the
deaf community because of the general lack of information elsewhere on
deaf issues. This popularity is exemplified by the number of consumers
and their families who use the site, which receives approximately 10,000
“hits” per month.

Through the MCDHH Web site, family members can:

 

• Receive a Guide for People Who Become Deaf or Hard of Hearing,
one of the Commission’s most requested publications

• Quickly download forms for requesting necessary services, thus reducing
the time between request and fulfillment for information

• Receive training on communications access

• Get tips on how to select an American Sign Language (ASL) or signed
English class

• Find information on assistive devices for the home

• Obtain a copy of the Commission’s newsletter, which contains timely
information on assistive technology, obtaining MCDHH services and legislation
of interest to the deaf community

 

4. Advisory Councils

Finally, MCDHH is statutorily mandated to involve the community in its
planning through its Statewide Advisory Council (SAC). The Council meets
eight times each year and includes a broad cross-section of the community.
This includes deaf, hard of hearing, and late deafened people.

It is important to note that the Commission is required by law to have
at least one parent of a deaf child on the SAC to ensure that the families
of deaf children are represented on this policy board.

In addition, there is a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) that meets in
Springfield for the explicit purpose of making sure that MCDHH receives
input from the deaf community and its families in the western part of
the Commonwealth.

B. Providing a more family friendly atmosphere for input and influence

MCDHH has a long history, predating the Family Support Act, of working
with families to make its services more relevant to the people it serves
and its families. This input influences the Commission’s work in a number
of ways. It helps guide the Commission’s policy and practices on an annual
basis. It can influence how the Commission devotes its resources in a
given year. And it can affect the budget that the Commission requests
from the Legislature.

This year the Commission has solicited input on seven critical issues.
These issues include:

 

• How the Commission can better empower families

• How the Commission can help families develop necessary leadership
skills

• How the Commission can more effectively deliver its services

• New initiatives that the Commission can offer to better support
families

• Ways that MCDHH can work to better meet the needs of the diverse
population it serves

 

This effort produced a range of positive suggestions, which are summarized
in the following table.

Exhibit 2: Family Support Act Input

1. Do you have comments on ways MCDHH could better empower families?
Do you feel you have any input on the direction of agency policies, programs,
or services? What steps would you like to see MCDHH take to enhance consumer
input and make our services more family friendly?

The phone system is hard to navigate if you do not know where to direct
your inquiry. The website can be a little tricky too. It can be hard to
find information. Is there a way to add key words?

Contact the AMA about listing MCDHH as a resource for their members

MCDHH provide pamphlets to doctor offices for display in the lobby

Provide information to other organization newsletters

Email/electronic newsletter to families, including different events

2. Did you receive training or education from your children’s specialist
to help you become a more effective advocate? Do you have any additional
ideas or recommendations to help MCDHH implement ways to improve their
leadership skills within the family?

Exposure is the most important – getting the information

A program that families can go to help them understand their rights

Links to other advocacy groups, parents groups on the website

Advocate training: train parents, families, and children about their
rights and how to advocate for themselves

Use MCDHH website as a resource to link to other parent groups

A volunteer group of people who work as advocates for families. This
group can also do advocate training.

Advisory council members to meet with the families and/or caseworkers
as a way of publicizing MCDHH services and providing – Involve people
who can become advocates working with families.

Host events such the Walk for Deaf and Hard of Hearing for exposure in
an environment that is “non-threatening” and social.

Language development should be supported, such as children with physical
disabilities get wheelchairs.

Need for more information and advocacy toward legislators.

Work with TV shows such as “Chronicle” to produce a brief educational
show about “A Day in the Life” of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and
their communication needs, equipment, etc. Dr. Tim Johnson could talk
about hearing loss and how it affects you, issues, etc.

Send informational video tapes or reference papers and brochures to various
newsletters and make them available for public viewing

3. Any suggestions regarding changes to:the way we provide services?
How we fund those services?

More opportunities for more partnering with some of the other agencies
to share’grants or share funding. Currently MCDHH has agreements; with
the Department of Education and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

4. Have you received any training or support dealing with becoming more
of an effective advocate? What services and resources do you think work
well for helping families get information and referral? What new initiatives
do you feel that MCDHH should do to support families?

There could be more information available in local libraries, audiologist
offices, primary care doctor offices, and hospitals.

Advertising on the MBTA

Evening community meetings with notices in the newspaper

Services provided in a timely manner

5. Your suggestions for the larger spring forum with other agencies

Regional meetings

Publicize-the meeting in advance using advocacy groups, advisory council,
multi-cultural groups, etc.

6. How well does MCDHH work with people who come from different communities
and cultures? Are we friendly and welcoming to multi cultural people?
What new initiatives or different approaches would you suggest MCDHH propose
to meet the needs of ethnically or different groups?

Promotional tapes to run on the radios, family members may hear them

Billboards

Some ethnic groups do not seek services from MCDHH due to fear of discrimination.
It would improve if MCDHH has a representative at the various ethnic and
cultural events.

Host a cultural event at MCDHH incorporating a tour of MCDHH.

MCDHH sponsor multicultural events by advertising in program book, etc.

7. The Commission is collaborating with a number of other agencies
under EOHHS. From your experience and your perspective, what other agencies
should MCDHH collaborate?

MRC in relation to follow up on job accommodations and ways in which
employers can better understand the needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing
people. Explain grievance procedures if not satisfied with services.

IV. Family Leadership

MCDHH provides multiple opportunities for its deaf community families
to receive leadership training.

A. MCDHH training program for family members

A key area of training offered by MCDHH is children’s services. Children’s
Specialists work with families of deaf children to train them in effectively
helping manage their children’s case. The outcome of this effort is that
these families can assume a position of leadership and advocacy in such
areas as education and assistive technology, providing their children
the tools to help them succeed.

Another area of training offered by the Commission is its Deaf Elder
Caregiver Training Center, a collaborative with the Executive Office of
Elder Affairs. This landmark effort provides training in the specialized
area of providing for the needs of deaf elders.

In addition, the Commission’s web portal is the’most widely source of
information for deaf community families in the Commonwealth (Please refer
to Sec. III.A.3 above). It directs users to a variety of information on
training programs of interest to families.

B. Giving families and individuals more opportunities to exercise their
leadership skills

MCDHH frequently provides families with an opportunity to exercise leadership.
Its town meetings, SAC, RAC and annual surveys provide opportunities for
families to become involved in the policy of the Commission.

In addition, the Commission often turns to the community for guidance
and assistance of issues facing deaf people. For example, MCDHH is currently
involved in a collaborative effort with a dozen community groups to combat
the rising tide of physical assault and sexual abuse against deaf children
and teenagers. The management of the Colic borative includes a number
of parents of deaf children. These family members have been instrumental
in defining the mission of the Collaborative, its objectives and its activities.

Through the leadership of these families, the Collaborative, in a short
time, has put together two public activities, bringing families together
with educators, law enforcement officials and deaf children and teens
iu addicas the problem. The activities of the Collaborative are a mix
of education, training, counseling and advocacy, all of which involve
the leadership of the families involved.

V. Family Resources and Funding

A. Current resource allocation for family support

The Case Management and Social Services Department is the branch of
MCDHH most closely responsible for providing family-support resources.
In addition, operating on limited resources, the Commission has established
three specialized regional position—in Boston, Plymouth and Springfield—to
provide unique support to families and their deaf and hard of hearing
children.

These Children’s Specialists are a valuable family resource for information
on hearing loss and referrals to other agencies. The specialists also
consult with othe:’ service providers, like the Department of Health,
and educate them about the very special needs of children who are deaf
or who have suffered a hearing loss.

B. Providing flexible funding to families to customize their
services

Perhaps the greatest funding flexibility that MCDHH offers to families
is the abiiity to offer its services free of charge. The Commission does
provide direct funding in the case of its Assistive Technology Program;
however, this program is aimed at elders who are hard of hearing.

To the extent that staff is available, families working with MCDHH do
have the ability to customize their service program.

C. New initiatives for individualized service and
support

MCDHH has a long history of broadening the scope of its mission by taking
on new initiatives that are important to the deaf community. However,
the Commission is in its third consecutive year of service cutbacks due
to budgetary constraints. These constraints have had a materially adverse
effect on the Commission’s ability to take on new initiatives.

The Commission will pursue new initiatives in FY 2004 to the extent
that it can establish partnerships to help offset the loss of 15 staff
positions over the past three years.

These partnerships will include other agencies as explained in Section
VIII below, as well as with non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

In addition, the Commission will continue its practice of seeking out
grant opportunities to fund new initiatives. This is something it has
done in the past with its Deaf Elder Caregiver Training Center, and is
currently doing with its Abuse Prevention Hec.lth Collaborative for Deaf
Children initiative.

VI. Accessing Services and Supports

A. Educating families on how to access MCDHH services

MCDHH uses a variety of methods to educate families on how to access
its services. First, the MCDHH web portal, described above in Sec. III.A.3,
is an information portal about the Commission and its services. Through
this portal, families can receive information and link to other sources
of information.

Second, the Commission produces an online informational newsletter that
provides timely information on the Commission’s services. (
Formerly published in hard copy quarterly and mailed to readers, the
newsletter is now published electronically twice a year as a result of
cost saving mandates.)

Third, MCDHH hosts town meetings or forums around the state at which
Commission staff meet families, providing information on services and
discussing problems.

Fourth, the Commission’s Communications Access, Training and Technology
Services Department provides public education on all issues related to
hearing loss. It also runs a public outreach program whereby it will provide
free communications accessibility training. The CATTS Department is responsible
for producing the Commission’s informational materials, providing general
information related to deaf and hard of hearing people, and managing the
Commission’s web site.

In addition, when resources and budget permit, the Commission will utilize
advertising an outreach to the public. The advertising is aimed at creating
awareness of the Commission’s services and providing a way for the public
to access that information—by phone, Internet or response card. (Note
4: In 2000 MCDHH conducted a public transportation advertising
campaign, placing ads in MBTA trains. These ads described the Commission
and its services and featured a mail-in tear-off to request further information.
This campaign resulted in tremendous demand for information on the Commission’s
services, and brought thousands of people into MCDHH’s service community.
Budgetary reductions forced an end to this public service campaign.)

Finally, the Commission works closely with its sister disabilities agencies
on cross-referrals for families who receive support from one agency, but
could use the services of the other.

B. MCDHH services that promote access to information and referral

MCDHH promotes access to information in a variety of ways. They include:

 

Case Management. The Commission’s case managers will make
referrals for clients in need of certain services. Case managers will
also help their clients find the information that will be of most help
to them and their families.

The Fund for the Purchase of Interpreter Services and the Fund
for the Purchase of CART Services.
These funds pay for the services
of interpreters and CART providers to enable communications access for
deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened people at many types of events
in which other agencies are not legally responsible to pay.

Independent Living Program and Services for Deaf and Severely
Hard of Hearing People.
MCDHH works closely with organizations such
as those listed in Exhibit 1 of this report to promote access to information
important to deaf people and their families.

 

C. New initiatives to increase access to services and referrals

MCDHH regularly conducts needs assessments, establishes work groups,
promotes development of needed special services, and develops and pursues
action plans that enhance already existing specialized services for dear,
late deafened and hard of hearing individuals.

VII. Culturally Competent Outreach and Support

MCDHH has several ways in which it meets the needs of its multi-culturally
community and provides appropriate support.

A. How MCDHH provides culturally appropriate access and support to an
ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse population

First, the Commission routinely hires translators of different spoken
languages along with ASL interpreters. These multi-lingual translators
are used when people who do not speak English seek case management services.

Second, MCDHH hosts the Multi-Cultural Workgroup, multicultural gathering
for the purpose of increasing the Commission’s knowledge of diverse cultures,
and to find out how it can better serve its constituents within those
cultures. This Workgroup includes representatives of the following groups:


• Asian Deaf Association of New England

• Boston Black Deaf Advocates

• Boston Latino Deaf Association

 

 

  • New initiatives for providing outreach that respects cultural diversity
    of families and individuals

 


In addition to the steps outlined above in Section VII.
A, MCDHH has taken the following new initiatives in the area of cultural
diversity:

• Provided MCDHH staff development training, led my a trainer from
the Multicultural Workgroup, that focuses on recognizing and supporting
diversity

• Nominated members of the Asian Deaf Association of New England,
Boston Black Deaf Advocates, and the Boston Latino Deaf Association
for seats on the Statewide Advisory Council (See Section III.A.4 above)

 

Our recently hired Director of Case Management and Social Services holds
an MSW degree from Gallaudet University, which opens the door for potential
collaboration as an intemship/practicum site with the Gallaudet University
Dept of Social Work.

The Commission welcomes diversity in its staff and strives to be proactive
in promoting diversity in its hiring practices, as budgetary constraints
allow for new staff.

VIII. Interagency Collaboration

The Commission has a history of working closely with a variety of Massachusetts
agencies. The following table summarizes these collaborative efforts.
While the projects cited are not meant to be an exhaustive listing, they
do provide guidance on how MCDHH works with other agencies on behalf of
families to support our mission to the deaf community. These projects
are described in more depth following the table and elsewhere in this
Report.

Exhibit 3: Summary of Interagency Collaborative Efforts

Collaborative Project Description Citation within this Report
EOHHS Collaborations
Cross referrals MCDHH uses a system of cross referrals for cases that involve
other agencies, such as its sister disabilities agencies.
VIII.A
MATP MCDHH is the administrative agencies for the Massachusetts Assistive
Technology Program, funded under a federal grant.
ii.a
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening MCDHH Children’s Specialists work with DPH in screening newboms
for hearing loss. The Specialists also work with other agencies
to address the special needs of children who are deaf or have hearing
loss.
II.A.l
Other Non-EOHHS Agencies
Deaf Elder Caregiver Training Center MCDHH has partnered with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs
to launch a first-in-the-nation center to train caregivers in the
specialized work of providing care to deaf elders.
II.A.l
Education of Deaf Children MCDHH has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department
of Education to improve the quality of education for deaf children
in Massachusetts schools
II.A.3
New Collaborative Initiatives
Abuse Prevention Health Collaborative for Deaf Teenagers MCDHH, in collaboration with a dozen other groups, including
schools, parents, justice agencies and non-profits, has launched
a program to educate, counsel, and assist deaf children and teenagers
with the problems of physical assault and sexual abuse.
IV.B

A. Current collaborative efforts with other EOHHS agencies

MCDHH is engaged in a number of collaborative efforts with other agencies
within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. These efforts
include cross-referrals with its sister disabilities agencies in the Office,
such as the Commission for the Blind and the Rehabilitation Commission.
This type of effective case management provides effective cross-agency
case coordination assists families by reducing the time spent seeking
services.

MCDHH is the administering agency for the Massachusetts Assistive Technology
Partnership (MATP). This is a cross-disability federal grant that under
the Commission’s management helps ensure cross-disability assistance to
clients by making all types of disability-related technology available.

In addition, MCDHH case managers work closely with the Department of
Public Health on a case-by-case basis. Case managers will refer families
of newborns to DPH for the Universal Newbom Hearing Screening Program,
and DPH will refer parents to MCDHH and its Children’s Specialists.

B. Proposed new initiatives for interagency collaboration

MCDHH recently launched the Abuse Prevention Health Collaborative for
Deaf Teenagers in conjunction with several other agencies, schools and
non-profit, community-based organizations. Efforts such as these allow
the Commission to further its mission to advocate on behalf of the deaf
community by combining resources with other groups.

IX. Appendix—MCDHH Survey on Services to Families with Deaf or
Hard of Hearing Children

MCDHH Survey on Services to Families -with Deaf or Hard
of Hearing Children

Please take a few minutes to let us know how we could
better serve you and your family.

Question 1: What would you like to see MCDHH do to increase family input
and make services more family-friendly?

 

0 I think MCDHH Services are family – friendly as is

0 Annual surveys to collect family input

0 Town Hall meetings to collect family input

 

Question 2: Did you receive training from your Children’s Specialist
to help you to become a stronger advocate and achieve the results you
want?

 

0 Yes 0 No

 

a) What new supports would you like to see MCDHH provide to help
you develop or practice leadership skills?

 

0 1 think MCDHH services are already geared toward helping family members
develop


their advocacy and leadership skills

0 Regional, recurrent advocacy/leadership group training sessions

 

0 More focus on advocacy/leadership training by MCDHH’s Children’s Specialists

Question 3: Should MCDHH seek funds for more/new family support services?

  1. No, I think there is enough support now.

 

0 Yes, find funding for more Children’s Specialist positions

 

0 Yes, find funding to provide more intensive training to the Children’s
Specialists onurgent issues so they can become beltci auvoi-a’icy and
trainers 0 Yes, find funding for a regular flyer or publication to increase
awareness of issues about families with children who are Deaf or Hard
of Hearing, and about MCDHH services.

  1. Have you received services from MCDHH’s Assistive Technology program?

0 Yes 0 No

b) What new activities would help families improve children’s’ individualized
services and supports?

0 None, services and supports already in place.

0 MCDHH should encourage after-school programs for children who are Deaf
or Hard of Hearing.

0 MCDHH should encourage summer programs for children who are Deaf or
Hard of

Hearing

Question 4: Did you receive education on how to access services quickly
and effective manner from your MCDHH Case Manager?

0 Yes 0 No

a) What services best help you get the information you need?

    1. Direct telephone and e-mail access to my MCDHH Children’s Specialist



0 Special page on MCDHH website with information and updates about
concerns of families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

0 MCDHH Case Management arranging meetings between schools and
families

 

Question 5: Do you think MCDHH services are provided to you in a manner
that meets your ethnical, cultural and communication needs?


0 Yes 0 No

 

a) What new approaches would you suggest MCDHH use to meet the needs
of ethnically, culturally or linguistically diverse families?


0 Information and educational materials printed in different languages

0 Town Meetings with foreign language interpreters to gather input
from culturally

and ethnically diverse families

0 Cultural sensitivity training for MCDHH Children’s Specialists

 

Question 6: Which would be most helpful to you and your family?

0 Interagency, regional Town Hall meetings to identify “common issues”
for families and to increase problem-solving through agencies working
together 0 “Team Advocacy” approach with different agency representatives
working with families and schools so that everyone is “on the same page
” a) Which of the following best describes your experience with MCDHH?

A. 0 My family’s needs were addressed in a more timely manner

0 There was less paperwork and fewer phone calls to deal with

0 All caseworkers involved with my child knew what the others were doing