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- People with disabilities -- Rehabilitation -- Virginia
- Older people -- Abuse of | Prevention
- Disability evaluation -- Virginia
- Physically handicapped -- Services for -- Virginia
- Aging. -- Virginia
- State government records -- Virginia
- People with disabilities. -- Services for -- Virginia
- Aged. -- Services for -- Virginia
- Vocational rehabilitation -- Virginia
- Older people -- Services for -- Virginia
- Biographical or historical data
- The Department of Rehabilitative Services had its beginnings in 1956 (Acts of Assembly, chap. 696, p. 1050) when the General Assembly gave the State Board of Education authorization to establish a department of vocational rehabilitation for the state that would study the problems of vocation rehabilitation, systemize work for the entire state, and train and place disabled persons in suitable employment opportunities. Program growth was small until the mid 1960s, when federal legislation enabled states to apply for federal grants to conduct comprehensive studies of rehabilitation needs in each of the states.
- In 1964 (Acts of Assembly, chap. 276, p. 483) the General Assembly created a separate Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, to which all powers, duties, functions, funds, records and property relating to the former Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center were transferred. The Board established a Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation to continue the study of the problems associated with vocational rehabilitation; to organize, supervise and provide the necessary services and facilities required to prepare disabled persons for employment; and assure cooperation with the federal government and compliance with federal guidelines and requirements.
- The name of the department was changed to the Department of Rehabilitative Services, along with the Board of Rehabilitative Services, by an act of the General Assembly in 1978 (chap. 635, p. 1025). A Director was designated to manage the agency including applying for and accepting grants; analyzing information on the needs of the state's handicapped citizens; developing plans, policies and programs for the delivery of services; organizing, supervising and providing necessary services and facilities to prepare disabled persons for useful and productive lives, including finding suitable employment and becoming self-sufficient; developing criteria for evaluation plans and programs; coordinating efforts with other state agencies; compiling and providing information; and preventing environmental barriers to disabled persons. The Department of Rehabilitative Services, in partnership with people with disabilities and their families, collaborates with the public and private sectors to provide and advocate for the highest quality of services that empower individuals with disabilities to maximize thier employment, independence and full inclusion in society. The department provides assistance with employment, community living, technological devices and equipment, and disability determination.
- The Dept. for the Aging had its beginnings in 1958 as the Commonwealth's Commission to Study Facilities and Services available for the Elderly. By 1970, responsibility for developing and coordinating programs for the elderly was housed in what was then called the Division for State Planning and Community Affairs. In 1973, the General Assembly appointed a Commission on Aging and in 1974 they established the Virginia Office on Aging as an independent agency reporting to the Governor. This same year saw the creation of the Governor's Advisory Board on Aging. In 1979, the Director of the Office on Aging reported to the newly established Secretary of Health and Human Resources. In 1982, the General Assembly recognized the significance of programs for older Virginians by upgrading the Office on Aging to full departmental status.
- The Dept. for the Aging was designated at the state's unit on aging as required by the Older Americans Act and the federal Administration on Aging. The Dept. was responsible for planning, coordinating, funding, and evaluating programs for older Virginian's which were made possible through funding from both the Older Americans Act and from the Virginia General Assembly. The programs included a full range of nutrition, transportation, health, education, and social services to improve the quality of life for older Virginians. The Dept. also worked with local agencies established under the auspices of the Older Americans Act called Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). The AAAs were designated by the Dept. for the Aging, with the sanction of local governments, to plan, coordinate, and administer aging services at the community level.
- The Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) was created in 2012 by merging the former Dept. of Rehabilitative Services and the Dept. for the Aging. In 2013, the adult services units from Virginia's Dept. of Social Services became part of the agency. DARS provides and advocates for the highest quality of services to help older Virginians and those with disabilities to maximize and secure their employment, independence and full inclusion into society and guides the Commonwealth in preparing for an aging population. At the state level, this agency works with its community partners to be more effective in strategic planning, budgeting, program monitoring and evaluation and training and technical support.
- Within Aging Services, the Virginia Division for the Aging (VDA) works with local Area Agencies on Aging and various other public and private organizations to help older Virginians and their families fidn the services and information that they need to lead healthy and independent lives as they grow older. VDA oversees all funds provided by the federal Older Americans Act and the Virginia General Assembly. Aging Services also incudes the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman,which advocates for older persons receiving long term care services, and the Adult Protective Care Division, which investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults 60 years of age or older and incapacitated adults age 18 or older.
- Services for People with Disabilities includes Employment Services which helps people with disabilities get ready for, find, and keep jobs. This includes the Wilson Workforce Rehabilitation Center which assists with residential training and medical rehabilitation, and partnerships with a network of community rehabilitation providers known as Employment Services Organizations. DARS Community Based Services Division administers several programs that support individuals with significant disabilities, including Brain Injury Services Coordination, Community Rehabilitation Case Management Services, Independent Living Services and Personal Care Services. Other services include Assistive Technology Services to help individuals with disabilities in the selection, acquisition, or use of assistive devices, and Disability Determination Services, which processes disability claims for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Disability Programs.
- Associated boards and councils include the following: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Commission; Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority (ATLFA); Commonwealth Council on Aging; Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI); Community Integration Advisory Commission; State Rehabilitation Council (CILC); Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC); Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC); and the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board.
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