Who does VRU serve?
Persons with disabilities who are served by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. We can also serve Worker’s Compensation clients and Veterans Administration. Our primary source of referrals is GVRA.
How does someone get into the program?
Most applicants are referred through a Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Counselor from the client’s home area.
The VR Counselor must first take an application; determine that the person is eligible and qualified for agency services; complete a needs assessment; and then determine what service providers would be most appropriate to assist the person to move toward successful employment. If the counselor and client agree that RWS is the most appropriate option for training, the counselor will make the referral. The VR Counselors submit a packet of documentation as the referral, based on the VRU Admissions Supporting Documentation Checklist form which they have in their office.
An application must meet the VRU Admission Criteria to be approved for admission. The Admission Criteria has been developed through years of experience working with residential students and with input of a number of professionals in a variety of disciplines, to assure health and safety of students and to determine if the program can meet the applicant’s individual needs.
How much does it cost?
If the person is referred by GVRA, state and federal funds are used to pay for the services. There are no direct out-of-pocket costs charged to the GVRA client for services and room & board. A student would need some incidental spending money while here to cover the needs such as transportation costs for visits home (i.e., bus tickets, etc.), personal hygiene products, clothing, and/or cleaning products needed during their stay.
If the Financial Needs assessment by the GVRA Counselor has determined that the client does not meet the criteria for agency paid services, and there is a miscellaneous expense incurred, the client and/or family would be expected to cover that cost.
How old does a person have to be to attend the program?
Clients should be at least age 18 at the time of admission. We will accept their referral six months prior to their 18th birthday. There is no maximum age. Although our average students tend to be those transitioning from high school to work, we do offer services to any age client being served through GVRA. If a high school student wishes to attend RWS after completing high school, he/she should request that their VR Counselor refer and referral be submitted no later than February to assure that the student has a response prior to graduation so they can make alternate plans if not approved by RWS.
What types of disabilities do you accept into the program?
RWS Vocational Rehabilitation Unit serves GVRA clients, not certain disabilities.
Is there an IQ requirement?
No, we look at functional limitations and whether the person meets admission criteria. In terms of persons with intellectual or cognitive deficits, please keep in mind that students must be able to follow a daily routine with flexibility, manage their self-care, get themselves up for their day independently, navigate the campus independently after being oriented, ask for help when needed, not be easily influenced or vulnerable to being taken advantage of, manage their unstructured time, and have the ability to make decisions with regards to personal safety and health. Students must be able to make decisions in regards to health and safety without close supervision.
What level of supervision is provided to the students?
The level of supervision provided here is minimal supervision. Staff members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but do not accompany students to where they need to go on campus after they have been oriented to the campus. This setting is much like a college setting in that the students are allowed to make decisions about their activities outside of class and work and have a high level of independence and freedom.
If someone required a paraprofessional to be with them full-time in the school setting or parents are not comfortable leaving them without supervision, the client most likely would not be able to manage this level of independence.
What precautions are used to assure students’ safety on campus?
First, each applicant is screened using the Admission Criteria. Documentation is provided as part of the referral packet that assists the Admissions review committee to determine if the person meets criteria, including, #7. Person must be able to self monitor, make safe decisions for personal safety, and self-structure during times when there are no scheduled activities. (Note: Supervision provided is considered minimal level of supervision.)
Campus Police are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached by radio at all times. They also patrol the campus regularly.
Students are given a key to their room and are held responsible for their property and privacy. They are instructed to keep their rooms locked to limit access by others and to not give their key to anyone else.
Rules are in place to address health and safety issues such as no threatening, harassing, or aggressive behaviors, no sexual activities on campus, etc.
Students are told about unauthorized areas, encouraged to remain in public areas with good visibility, and to not leave campus alone.
A curfew is in place to require that students return to the campus and sign in at specific times of the night and students are required to account for their whereabouts.
Some class content addresses health and personal safety issues.
How are rooms assigned and roommates determined?
Rooms are assigned based on availability. If a student later requests to room with another student, that request is considered by the student’s team. If a parent is concerned about their adult child’s room assignment, they may discuss their concerns with their student’s counselor. New students are placed in a double occupancy room with a same sex student. As the student progresses in their program and demonstrates they are independent, reliable, and responsible and have no disciplinary or clinical issues that would not allow them to move, they may be moved to an apartment with one, two, or three other (same sex) students. It should not be expected that a student will move to an apartment since this is a decision made based on availability and the student’s particular needs.
Will parents have input into the services and programs the student participates in?
Services provided are determined by the Work Plan developed by the GVRA Counselor or requests for services at the time of the referral, along with requests made by the student with agreement from his or her VR Counselor.
Although parents are respected as an important contributor to the student’s success in the program, the student’s rights as an adult are considered in decision making. The student is encouraged to keep his family informed of what is going on in his or her program. Parents should address any concerns directly to the counselor assigned to their adult child so that their concerns can be addressed in a manner that fosters the student’s independence.
How is a determination made as to whether an applicant can enter the program?
The Admissions Counselor reviews the referral packet and determines what other reviewers need to assist in the decision making process. The referral is routed for review by all departments whose input is needed. If it is determined that the applicant meets Admission Criteria, the person is approved. If it is clear that the person does not meet criteria, the referring counselor is sent a denial letter with recommendations. All denials are reviewed by a RWS manager and a member of the RWS administration staff. If it is unclear whether the applicant does meet the criteria or not, the applicant may be asked to come in for an application interview in order to make a decision.
How long does it take to get someone into the program?
Once it is determined that the applicant meets admission criteria, the admission date is determined by the availability of services needed, bed availability and a slot on a counselor’s caseload.
How long is the program?
Length of stay is determined by the purpose of admission, goals addressed, the client’s individual needs, if the client is benefiting and meeting program expectations, and if he/she wishes to continue in the program.