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Next Review Date: None
Last Review Cycle: 2014-2015 Review Cycle - 84th Legislative Session
Final Results of Last Sunset Review
The following material summarizes results of the Sunset review of DARS, including management actions directed to DARS that do not require statutory changes. For additional information see the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Staff Report with Final Results.
Abolish and Transfer
- Abolishes DARS and transfers its functions to the Health and Human Services Commission on September 1, 2016. (S.B. 200)
- Transfers Vocational Rehabilitation and other related programs to the Texas Workforce Commission on September 1, 2016. (S.B. 208)
Independent Living Services
- Requires DARS to integrate its Independent Living Program for people with visual impairments with its Independent Living Program for people with other disabilities into a single program.
- DARS should develop a transition plan for the integration of the administration, management, and oversight of its separate Independent Living programs no later than March 1, 2016. (management action – nonstatutory)
- Redirects independent living funding to the network of centers for independent living and focuses DARS on monitoring the services provided by the centers rather than providing services directly with its own case workers.
- DARS should evaluate independent living services available in communities throughout the state. (management action – nonstatutory)
Case Worker Oversight
- Requires DARS to create clear, validated guidelines for case workers to ensure better decision making.
- Directs DARS to immediately start the process of creating guidelines for case workers. (management action – nonstatutory)
- Requires DARS to create a robust and consistent case review system for all direct services programs.
- Requires DARS to designate staff to monitor performance across programs and regions.
- Directs DARS to consolidate its employer relations staff and give them responsibility over workforce system coordination and employer initiatives. (management action – nonstatutory)
- Directs DARS to develop a strategy for assisting federal contractors to hire individuals with disabilities, and to task its employer relations staff with researching and anticipating similar federal or state initiatives in the future. (management action – nonstatutory)
Structure for Existing Programs
- Establishes two existing DARS programs — the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services and Children’s Autism programs — in statute by defining their basic duties and authorizing HHSC to adopt rules for services.
More Effective Management
- Directs DARS to develop mechanisms to more effectively plan for, track, and evaluate the performance of its programs and staff. (management action – nonstatutory)
- Directs DARS to report on its progress in implementing the recommendation above to legislative leadership every six months, with the first report due in June 2015 and the last report due in December 2016. (management action – nonstatutory)
- DARS should determine whether the services it currently provides through the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services could be better provided through the centers for independent living. (management action – nonstatutory)
- DARS should take immediate steps to ensure access to services for people with multiple disabilities. (management action – nonstatutory)
Durable Medical Equipment
- Directs HHSC and DARS to report on their inability to meet statutory requirements to establish programs for the reuse of durable medical equipment. (management action – nonstatutory)