To Whom It May Concern,
Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) is Indiana's Protection and Advocacy system (P&A). Each state’s P&A is part of a federally mandated system with the authority and obligation to protect and advocate for the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness and/or other disabilities. Since 1974, we have visited and surveyed a multitude of facilities across the state to monitor the rights and safety of individuals with disabilities and to provide information to those individuals about our organization.
In December, 2013, IPAS launched a project to survey fifteen facility-based work centers here in Indiana. We have now concluded these surveys that allowed our agency to assure that employees with disabilities working in sheltered workshop settings in Indiana under Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, had access to assistive technology, reasonable accommodations, a safe work environment, choice in work that they performed and the opportunity to move in to community-based employment, if they so desired. We are now expanding our review to the remaining work centers. Please complete the following survey. Depending on the survey responses, we may also be in contact with you at a later date to discuss in more detail, your rehabilitation program and its goals.
Per statute, IPAS is entitled to have access at reasonable times to any individual with a disability in a location in which services, supports, and other assistance are provided to such an individual. This authority extends to all settings that provide services and habilitation (including employment-related habilitation) to such individuals, including but not limited to schools and day programs. As part of our authority, IPAS is entitled to access individuals with disabilities, as well as all areas of a facility used by or accessible to those individuals. We are permitted “unaccompanied access” to such individuals at reasonable times, which includes at minimum normal working hours and visiting hours, where applicable. This access includes “the opportunity to meet and communicate privately with such individuals regularly, both formally and informally, by telephone, mail and in person.” IPAS is permitted to meet with individuals with disabilities to provide information and training on, and referral to, programs that address the needs of individuals with disabilities, including the P&A system. We are also permitted to access the facility for the purpose of monitoring compliance with respect to the rights and safety of facility clients.
It is IPAS’s belief that people with differing abilities can be productive, valuable citizens. It is our goal to ensure that these individuals are given an opportunity to reach their full potential and have a choice in how to get there.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 1-812-343-4765 or toll free at 1-800-622-4845, ext. 469 or by email. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.
Catharine M. Wingard
Assistant Director of Client Services
Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services