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RSA priorities: toward meaningful services to disabled people.

RSA Priorities toward meaningful services to disabled people

As I begin my tenure in the office I am honored to serve, let me share with you my aspirations and goals for the Rehabilitation Services Administration. These are set forth in our four major priorities for the year, which follow:

* Responsible Administration of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended;

* Policy Reform;

* Strong Internal Management; and

* Build a Strong RSA Constituency.

Priority One:

Responsible Administration of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended.

The responsible administration of the Rehabilitation Act must necessarily focus on the provision of services to disabled Americans. If we abide by the law (which, of course, we will) we must allow state agencies and private non-profit organizations to develop service delivery systems which focus on the realistic issues of concern to disabled Americans--the need for real jobs, the opportunity for true social integration, the power to make choices and control our own destiny, and the right to be independent of, rather than to be dependent upon, service providers. Such service delivery programs will include program initiatives which are responsive to the actual needs of the total population we serve.

Priority Two:

Policy Reform

Priority Number Two is dictated by Priority One. Responsible administration of the Rehabilitation Act includes an assurance that policies which have been and will be developed by RSA staff adhere strictly to the provisions of the Act. Outdated, inadequate and inaccurate policies must be retired and replaced with accurate, concise policies which can assist state agencies and rehabilitation facilities in carrying out the true purposes of RSA -- meaningful services to disabled individuals. Steps have already been taken to implement Priority Two. The work group on policy reform has been reactivated and charged with reviewing existing policy for the purpose of making recommendations for retirement, revision or retention. When this task is complete, the work group will make recommendations for additional policies and a policy issuance process. The third step will be the development of an RSA Policy Manual including all RSA policy and a "Best Practices" section.

Priority Three:

Strong Internal Management

Priority Number Three is required to fully implement Priorities One and Two. The responsible administration of the Rehabilitation Act, including policy reform, cannot be achieved without long-range, goal-oriented planning. RSA must have a comprehensive mission statement which is consistent with the Rehabilitation Act and which focuses on substantive services to disabled Americans. The mission of RSA will provide the direction for long-range goals and objectives and implementing strategies which will serve as the blueprint for the management of the organization for the next several years. To address our acute management needs, I have directed staff to develop a 1990 work plan to be used as a management tool while a long-range strategic management plan is being developed. To address immediate needs, I am recruiting to fill key vacant positions with highly qualified individuals. I have appointed a permanent Regional Commissioner in Region II, and we are very close to an announcement for the Regional Commissioner in Region VIII. The paperwork is in process to hire two Special Assistants to the Commissioner -- one to coordinate Regional Office activities, and the other to assure responsible and accurate administration of the Rehabilitation Act and to follow congressional activities which may have an impact on the administration of the Rehabilitation Act.

Priority Four:

Build a Strong RSA Constituency

Priorities One, Two and Three will be virtually meaningless if we do not find a way to restore the trust and confidence of the disabled population in our ability to responsibly administer the laws which were written for their benefit. Priorities One, Two and Three will have no useful purpose if we fail to work with and support state agencies, rehabilitation facilities and training programs. Without the good will and support of the states, facilities, education community, medical community, professional organizations, and consumer organizations RSA cannot be effective in setting national policy, maintaining a working relationship with the Congress, and, most important of all, assuring the rehabilitation needs of the disabled population are met. There is indeed a great deal of work to be done to restore trust and confidence in RSA and our ability to respond to the genuine needs of the population we exist to serve. Let the work begin today, and let it begin with me and my pledge to each of you -- consumer, service provider, advocate, and bureaucrat alike. I am not your adversary. I am your partner. I am your advocate. I have been appointed by President George Bush, the only President of the United States ever to make disability issues a major initiative of his Administration, to responsibly administer the Rehabilitation Act and restore the confidence of the people we serve in our ability to carry out the mandates of the national Congress. I herewith commit all of my time, energy, and any skills and abilities I may possess to this task, and I ask for your help and your support in keeping my commitment.

In many ways this commitment is an opportunity for me to personally give something back to the system which has given so much to me. I am today the result of a good vocational rehabilitation program which was responsive to my needs, trained me, placed me, hired me, taught me real commitment, gave me self-esteem and confidence, enhanced my career, and gave me an opportunity to provide leadership for the system which I deem so valuable and necessary for present and future generations of Americans with disabilities.
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Title Annotation:Rehabilitation Services Administration
Author:Carney, Nell C.
Publication:American Rehabilitation
Date:Jun 22, 1989
Previous Article:Results of the VENUS Project: increasing program utilization of vocational services.
Next Article:The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988.

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