A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

[Federal Register: May 18, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 97)]
[Notices]               
[Page 31751-31757]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr18my00-147]                         


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Part V

Department of Education
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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Office of 
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Final Funding Priorities 
for Research and Training Centers and Inviting Applications; Notices


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of Final Funding Priorities for Fiscal Years 2000-2001 
for Research and Training Centers.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education 
and Rehabilitative Services announces final funding priorities for 
three Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) under the 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) 
for fiscal years 2000-2001. The Assistant Secretary takes this action 
to focus research attention on areas of national need. These priorities 
are intended to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These priorities take effect on June 19, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 205-
5880. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the TDD number at (202) 205-9136. Internet: 
Donna_Nangle@ed.gov
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the preceding 
paragraph.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice contains final priorities for 
one RRTC related to Rehabilitation for Persons with Long-Term Mental 
Illness and two RRTCs related to Independent Living. The final 
priorities refer to NIDRR's Long Range Plan (the Plan). The Plan can be 
accessed on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ed.gov/legislation/
FedRegister/other/1999-12/68576.html.
    These final priorities support the National Education Goal that 
calls for every adult American to possess the skills necessary to 
compete in a global economy.
    The authority for the Secretary to establish research priorities by 
reserving funds to support particular research activities is contained 
in sections 202(g) and 204 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended (29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764).

    Note: This notice of final priorities does not solicit 
applications. A notice inviting applications is published in this 
issue of the Federal Register.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    On February 23, 2000 the Assistant Secretary published a notice of 
proposed priorities in the Federal Register (64 FR 9182). The 
Department of Education received 13 letters commenting on the notice of 
proposed priority by the deadline date. Technical and other minor 
changes--and suggested changes the Assistant Secretary is not legally 
authorized to make under statutory authority--are not addressed.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

Rehabilitation of Persons with Long-term Mental Illness

    Comment: Eleven commenters suggested that the RRTC should add a 
priority addressing the role of technology in self-determination.
    Discussion: The RRTC is established for the purpose of conducting 
research that can facilitate improving services and supports for 
individuals with Long-Term Mental Illness (LTMI). NIDRR recognizes the 
need for better understanding of the role of technology in 
rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, including applications 
of information technologies in the delivery of supports and services to 
individuals with LTMI.
    Changes: The priority has been revised to require that applicants 
conduct research on technology in self-determination.
    Comment: The request for application should specifically ask for 
research and development issues related to societal barriers that 
result from the problems related to the stigma and discrimination 
experienced by persons with mental illness.
    Discussion: Applicants have the discretion to propose to address 
stigmas, discrimination, and barriers as they relate to self-
determination. However, after consulting with officials at the National 
Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), NIDRR has determined that research 
on these topics duplicate NIMH research. NIDRR declines to add a 
requirement that applicants specifically address research and 
development issues related to societal barriers that result from the 
problems related to the stigma and discrimination experienced by 
persons with mental illness.
    Change: None.
    Comment: NIDRR is encouraged to examine opportunities to enhance 
self-determination efforts, particularly opportunities to expand 
consumer and family member initiated acts of self-determination in 
delivery of patient care and rehabilitative services and other self-
determination efforts that are succeeding.
    Discussion: The priority provides a discussion on the issue of 
enhancing opportunities to expand consumer and family member initiated 
acts of self-determination in delivery of patient care and 
rehabilitative services. The applicant has the discretion to pursue 
research related to all aspects of improving self-determination 
services and supports for individuals with LTMI in the proposal. The 
peer review process will evaluate the merits of the proposals.
    Change: None.
    Comment: NIDRR is encouraged to use resources to increase 
availability of evidence-based service delivery programs such as the 
Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT).
    Discussion: The priority provides a discussion on the issue of 
community-based and evidence-based service delivery. Applicants could 
propose to address examples of evidence-based service delivery in 
fulfilling the requirements of the priority. However, NIDRR has no 
basis to determine that all applicants should be required to address 
this issue or to utilize a specific theory, model, or approach.
    Change: None.
    The Department of Education received two letters commenting upon 
the two proposed priorities on independent living.

Improved Management of CIL Programs and Services

    Comment: One commenter suggested that NIDRR require the RRTC to 
address successful management practices applied by organizations in the 
for-profit sector that could be utilized by CILs.
    Discussion: In the background statement, NIDRR notes that CILs 
operate in an environment of public and private and nonprofit and 
business entities. We agree that the for-profit sector may offer CILs 
models of successful management practices. In addressing the required 
research activities, applicants have the discretion to propose specific 
research approaches and theoretical perspectives. The peer review 
process will evaluate the merits of the proposals.
    Changes: We have revised the fourth activity to reflect that 
business organizations are potential models of successful management 
for CILs.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the training to improve 
core competency skills be extended to all staff members, including

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those facing barriers related to cultural and linguistic diversity. The 
same commenter recommended that the statement regarding evaluation of 
strategies for improved recruitment and retention of staff be worded so 
that it includes all center staff, with an emphasis on people from 
diverse backgrounds.
    Discussion: In the background statement, NIDRR notes that staffing 
problems in general are an issue for CILs that must be addressed. 
Similarly, NIDRR recognizes that improvement of core competencies is an 
issue for all CIL staff. The language of the proposed activities needs 
to be changed to fully address the concerns of NIDRR.
    Changes: NIDRR has revised the activities to clarify that the 
training needs and the recruitment and retention of all staff, 
including those who are geographically dispersed or cultural and 
linguistic minorities, must be addressed.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the focus be broadened to 
include examination of CIL partnerships with public and private 
agencies that may have newly acquired authority and resources aimed at 
the mission of employment of people with disabilities.
    Discussion: In the priority, NIDRR notes that CILs operate in an 
environment of public and private and nonprofit and business entities. 
NIDRR notes that the ability to form effective working relationships 
with a range of organizations is essential for successful CIL 
operation. As noted in the background statement, recent developments in 
employment services and entitlement benefits for individuals pose 
additional challenges. NIDRR prefers to allow the applicant to develop 
and propose plans that draw upon the range of actors that may 
facilitate employment. The peer review process will evaluate the merits 
of the proposals.
    Changes: None.

Il and the New Paradigm of Disability

    Comment: One commenter indicated that the priority was not clearly 
worded when presenting the activity that references ``generic community 
services''.
    Discussion: The background statement indicates that a challenge to 
facilitating independent living and community integration is the 
changing universe of disability. NIDRR encourages applicants to address 
a range of strategies that could facilitate advocacy and community 
services for persons with significant disabilities, including persons 
from a changing universe population. An applicant might propose to 
focus upon a range of appropriate populations with different degrees of 
need for services. The peer review process will evaluate the merits of 
the proposals.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked for clarification so that the priority 
explicitly includes ``the policy environment as part of the social 
environment'' cited in the opening paragraph.
    Discussion: NIDRR has long supported policy research on disability 
and independent living. Inclusion of a policy focus is in line with 
positions established in the Plan.
    Changes: The priority has been revised to explicitly include ``the 
policy environment''.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    The authority for the RRTC program is contained in section 
204(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 
764(b)(2)). Under this program the Secretary makes awards to public and 
private organizations, including institutions of higher education and 
Indian tribes or tribal organizations for coordinated research and 
training activities. These entities must be of sufficient size, scope, 
and quality to effectively carry out the activities of the Center in an 
efficient manner consistent with appropriate State and Federal laws. 
They must demonstrate the ability to carry out the training activities 
either directly or through another entity that can provide that 
training. The Assistant Secretary may make awards for up to 60 months 
through grants or cooperative agreements. The purpose of the awards is 
for planning and conducting research, training, demonstrations, and 
related activities leading to the development of methods, procedures, 
and devices that will benefit individuals with disabilities, especially 
those with the most severe disabilities.

Description of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    RRTCs are operated in collaboration with institutions of higher 
education or providers of rehabilitation services or other appropriate 
services. RRTCs serve as centers of national excellence and national or 
regional resources for providers and individuals with disabilities and 
the parents, family members, guardians, advocates or authorized 
representatives of the individuals.
    RRTCs conduct coordinated, integrated, and advanced programs of 
research in rehabilitation targeted toward the production of new 
knowledge to improve rehabilitation methodology and service delivery 
systems, to alleviate or stabilize disabling conditions, and to promote 
maximum social and economic independence of individuals with 
disabilities.
    RRTCs provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to assist individuals to more effectively provide 
rehabilitation services. They also provide training including graduate, 
pre-service, and in-service training, for rehabilitation research 
personnel and other rehabilitation personnel.
    RRTCs serve as informational and technical assistance resources to 
providers, individuals with disabilities, and the parents, family 
members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of these 
individuals through conferences, workshops, public education programs, 
in-service training programs and similar activities.
    RRTCs disseminate materials in alternate formats to ensure that 
they are accessible to individuals with a range of disabling 
conditions.
    NIDRR encourages all Centers to involve individuals with 
disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds as recipients of 
research training, as well as clinical training.
    The Department is particularly interested in ensuring that the 
expenditure of public funds is justified by the execution of intended 
activities and the advancement of knowledge and, thus, has built this 
accountability into the selection criteria. Not later than three years 
after the establishment of any RRTC, NIDRR will conduct one or more 
reviews of the activities and achievements of the Center. In accordance 
with the provisions of 34 CFR 75.253(a), continued funding depends at 
all times on satisfactory performance and accomplishment.

Priority 1: Long-Term Mental Illness

Background

    The Surgeon General estimates that approximately 20 percent of the 
U.S. population experience a mental disorder in any given year, that 9 
percent of the adult population have a diagnosable major mental 
illness, and that a subpopulation of 5.4 percent of the population is 
considered to have a significant mental illness (Kessler, R.C., 
McGonagle, K.A., Zhoa, S., Nelson, C.B., Hughes, M., Eshlemon, S., 
Wittchen, H.U., Kendler, K.S. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence 
of DSM-IIIR psychiatric disorders in the United States. Results from 
the National

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Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51-8-19). The costs 
to society of mental illness are substantial. The indirect costs of 
mental illness in 1990, stemming from lost productivity at work, 
school, or home, were estimated at $78.6 billion (Rice and Miller, 
1996). As the population grows, the needs of a growing number of 
individuals with a significant mental illness are not being met. Only 
one in four adults with a diagnosable mental disorder receives 
treatment and one third of children and adolescents needing mental 
health services are treated (Manderscheid and Henderson, 1998), this 
can be attributed to many factors. Inadequate community resources, 
including lack of access to new medications and psychosocial 
treatments, unemployment, and lack of options for long-term care 
complicate the lives of individuals with long-term mental illness. Many 
individuals also experience homelessness, family disruptions, chronic 
medical conditions, alcohol and substance abuse, incarceration, and 
social isolation, as well as the potential for periodic exacerbation.
    Quality is an important factor in the delivery of effective mental 
health services. Defining quality services is not an easy task, nor is 
there ready consensus on all components of the concept. The Institute 
of Medicine states that quality of services is ``the degree to which 
health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood 
of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional 
knowledge'' (Marder, 1999). However, measuring the quality of services 
provided to individuals with significant mental illness, as well as 
measuring outcomes, present numerous challenges because of the periodic 
and chronic nature of the illness, and the ongoing need for intensive 
therapeutic services and long-term support. Practitioners, policy 
makers, and consumers continue to ask questions about how to adequately 
meet the multifaceted needs of individuals with significant mental 
illness.
    Generally, family members and consumers want community-based 
support services and treatment programs that are accessible and 
designed to meet long-term needs. The potential for individuals with 
serious mental illness to be maintained in the community rather than in 
institutions, work productively, live independently, and participate in 
rehabilitation planning is increased when a comprehensive support 
system is available in community settings. Research on consumer 
participation and community-based programs has provided evidence that 
there is a positive relationship between the level of consumer 
participation and therapeutic outcomes (Kent & Read, 1998).
    Proponents of community-based service programs and support systems 
long have advocated that consumers be empowered to participate in the 
decisionmaking process. However, one reason individuals with 
disabilities have limited opportunities to participate in decisions 
about their services is related to the lack of consensus on a 
definition for self-determination. Self-determination is defined and 
implemented differently (Ward, 1999) depending on the program, 
philosophy, and purposes for implementing a self-determination model. 
However, there are some common concepts in the definitions for self-
determination, in particular, consumer control, choice, self-direction, 
empowerment, leadership, and self-advocacy (Ward & Roger, 1999) as 
potential elements of self-direction. While most mental health 
professionals support the concept of self-determination, not all agree 
that individuals with psychiatric disabilities should have control over 
or participate in planning and decisionmaking activities (Kent & Read, 
1998).
    Individuals with psychiatric disabilities are not yet full 
participants in the disability self-determination movement. It is 
widely alleged that professionals in the psychiatric disabilities 
community continue to use medical compliance as a control mechanism and 
as a determining factor for awarding patients certain privileges. The 
right to choose among treatment options is often regarded as a 
privilege that is earned through medical compliance (Chamberlain &
Powers, 1999).
    Obstacles to the development and implementation of self-
determination efforts include controversy over whether severe mental 
illness is a lifelong process or whether recovery is possible. Some 
discussions of this issue suggest that the need for extensive, lifelong 
support and the severity of the illness preclude using a self-
determination approach. In addition, the impact of self-determination 
approaches on quality of services is unknown. Methodologies, 
indicators, and standards for measuring quality of care within self-
determination models would facilitate understanding the impact of this 
approach on rehabilitation outcomes. In particular, research that 
addresses questions about the ability of individuals with serious 
mental illnesses to make decisions about treatment and medication 
management is lacking.
    Traditionally, program planning and treatment decisions in the 
mental health field have been made by clinicians, and often involve 
maintaining patients on medication without consumer input or choice. 
Policies and service systems tend to be based on a paternalistic model 
that restricts consumer control and input. However, there is evidence 
that consumer and family involvement in decisionmaking and program 
planning have the potential to foster higher quality services and 
responsiveness from providers.
    The quality of services can potentially be improved by using 
information technology to involve consumers and families in 
decisionmaking. Efforts to support individual choice can be enhanced by 
using emerging technologies to improve access to services, particularly 
for individuals in remote areas, reduce information dissemination 
barriers, improve employment training and job opportunities, and 
enhance training options for service providers. Although recent studies 
have discussed the digital divide for individuals with disabilities 
(New York Times, 2000; Disability Statistics Center, 2000) there is a 
paucity of research on the benefits of using technology to support 
self-determination. Research addressing consumer benefits and 
satisfaction with uses of technology for activities associated with 
improving their independence, barriers that prevent access and expanded 
use of technology, service provider knowledge and experience using 
technology to support self-determination, and the effectiveness of 
technology to improve or enhance self-determination is limited.
    Similarly, the effectiveness service models incorporating self-
determination and their relationship to rehabilitation outcomes have 
not been evaluated. In addition, there has not been adequate study of 
the impact of the various components of self-determination models on 
the rehabilitation process.
    Better understanding of the implications of self-determination for 
rehabilitation outcomes potentially will answer questions related to 
competency, patient rights, recovery, outcomes, and policies. Research 
addressing these issues, describing standards for quality, and 
establishing outcome measures for consumer driven decisions is lacking 
in the research literature. Studies evaluating self-determination will 
potentially further the understanding of the rehabilitation process for 
individuals with significant mental illness, and identify strengths,

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weaknesses, and needed improvements in the existing models.
    The Plan emphasizes the importance of independent living and 
community integration. Central to independent living is the recognition 
that each individual has a right to independence that comes from 
exercising maximal control over his or her life. These activities 
include making decisions involved in managing one's own life, 
sustaining the ability and opportunity to make choices in performing 
everyday activities, and minimizing physical and psychological 
dependence on others. Independent living is a concept that also 
emphasizes participation and equity in the right to share in the 
opportunities, risks, and rewards available to all citizens.

Priority: Improving Services and Supports for Individuals With 
Long-Term Mental Illness

    The Assistant Secretary, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse 
and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Mental 
Health Services, will establish an RRTC for the purpose of improving 
services and supports for individuals with long-term mental illness. In 
carrying out these purposes, the Center must:
    (1) Develop measures that can be applied to evaluate self-
determination activities in terms of rehabilitation outcomes, quality 
of services, and availability of community resources;
    (2) Identify and assess self-determination direction theories, 
models, and activities, as well as the barriers to participation in 
self-determination activities for individuals with disabilities;
    (3) Develop and evaluate management tools to enable service 
providers to support self-determination;
    (4) With significant and persistent mental illness and publish a 
comprehensive report in the fourth year of the grant; and
    (5) Address in its research the specific needs of minority 
populations with LTMI.

Two Priorities on Independent Living

Background

    The mission of NIDRR emphasizes developing knowledge that will 
``improve substantially the options for disabled individuals to perform 
regular activities in the community, and the capacity of society to 
provide full opportunities and appropriate supports for its disabled'' 
as stated in the Plan. Much of NIDRR's work reflects the components of 
the Independent Living (IL) philosophy: consumer control, self-help, 
advocacy, peer relationships and peer role models, and equal access to 
society, programs, and activities. NIDRR has funded subject-specific 
RRTCs in IL since 1980 and supports other projects that incorporate 
principles of IL.
    Most recently, NIDRR has funded one RRTC on Centers for Independent 
Living (CIL) management and services and a second on IL and disability 
policy. The last year of the five-year project period for the awards 
was 1999. In light of the research agenda established in the Plan, and 
input obtained from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) 
and other Federal agencies and constituents, in various meetings that 
addressed related themes, NIDRR has identified critical issues in 
independent living to be addressed at this time. There is a continuing 
need to fund two Centers that study independent living and community 
integration.
    Independent living and achieving community integration to the 
maximum extent possible are issues at the crux of NIDRR's mission. 
NIDRR is committed to the creation of a theoretical framework with 
measurable outcomes that is based upon the experiences of individuals 
with disabilities. The new paradigm of disability embodied in the Plan 
requires analysis of the extent to which socioenvironmental factors 
help or hinder individuals with disabilities in attaining full 
participation in society. Questions as basic as defining independent 
living in the context of diverse socioeconomic factors must be 
addressed. Current challenges to independent living derive from the 
changing characteristics of both the IL service system and the 
disability population.
    Substantial administrative, advocacy, strategic and service-
delivery issues affect the daily activities of Centers for Independent 
Living (CILs). Critical issues include funding and resource management, 
quality staffing, and relationships with other agencies key to the 
success of CILs. The issue of financial management of CILs calls for a 
balanced approach to identify existing policies, regulations, models, 
and programs that serve to hinder or help in establishing sound fiscal 
operation. Financial management requires expertise in fiscal analysis, 
budgeting, understanding grant requirements and program rules, 
accounting, auditing, and fundraising.
    CILs, which spend substantial amounts of money on personnel, are 
subject to staffing problems typical of human service organizations and 
small businesses, including recruitment problems, training and 
competency development, and retention problems. Staffing problems may 
impede the ability of CILs to deliver individualized information and 
support services. An essential step in strengthening continuity in 
services is to recruit, train, and retain first line managers.
    CILs lack documentation of the competencies required for IL 
management. Awareness of competency needs is key to developing 
successful recruitment strategies and staff development programs. For 
example, innovative recruitment strategies are needed to attract youth 
with disabilities that are transitioning from school to independent 
living to obtain employment expeiences in CIL service programs. 
Creative efforts to attract young persons entering the job market as 
employees could assist the CILs in understanding the needs of youth 
with disabilities as consumers as well, including work experience 
opportunities while still in school, upon graduation and after college. 
Career development, with pathways to more responsible positions in 
CILs, can be a key to the retention of competent staff.
    CILs exist in a framework of public agencies, nonprofit 
organizations, and the local business sectors. The ability to form 
effective partnerships and cooperative working relationships with 
appropriate entities is essential to successful CIL operation. 
Historically, relationships with State governments, including 
Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, Statewide Independent Living 
Councils, State Consumer Advocacy Organizations and County and City 
governments have been at the heart of CIL operations and 
responsibilities. Recent developments in the area of employment 
services and entitlement benefits for individuals with disabilities 
pose additional opportunities and challenges for CILs by introducing 
new actors, new clients, and new rules. Passage of the Workforce 
Investment Act of 1998 and the Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 
might provide new opportunities for CILs to play a role in the process 
of vocational rehabilitation and employment.
    A challenge to facilitating independent living and community 
integration is the changing universe of disability. Demographic, social 
and environmental trends affect the prevalence and distribution of 
various types of disability as well as the demands of those 
disabilities on social policy and service systems. Within the universe 
of disabilities are: (1) Changing etiologies for existing disabilities; 
(2) growth in segments of the population with higher prevalence rates 
for certain

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disabilities; (3) the consequences of changes in public policy and in 
health care services and technologies; and (4) the appearance of new 
disabilities. Some of the RRTCs sponsored by NIDRR that address these 
issues including the following: Aging with a Disability, Measuring 
Rehabilitative Outcomes, and Economic Research on Employment Policy for 
Persons with Disabilities.
    The CILs and consumer organizations can prepare to address changing 
needs of diverse populations with attention to the infrastructure of 
resource availability and management strategy. At the same time, there 
is a need to frame the history and role of the independent living 
movement within the context of theories of society and social movements 
and organizational and group structure. Such a framework could identify 
ways to: (1) Reach out to underserved populations, (2) collaborate with 
key organizations that might not be perceived as traditional disability 
advocates, and (3) recognize the role of environmental factors on 
successfully independent living and achieving community integration. A 
sound theoretical base can be drawn upon to develop policy and service-
delivery models that can help maximize social participation for 
individuals with disabilities.
    Researchers have identified an association between disabilities and 
poverty, especially among youth (Fujiura G et al., ``Disability Among 
Ethnic and Racial Minorities in the United States,'' Journal of 
Disability Policy Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, pgs. 112-130, 1998). The 
growing number of individuals aging with long-standing disabilities, as 
well as the increase in the population of older persons who acquire 
disabilities as they age, is another aspect of a changing disability 
population. Newer etiologies of disability, such as HIV/AIDS, multiple 
chemical sensitivity and environmental illness, challenge IL concepts, 
services, and research. CILs and other organizations can serve as a 
resource to teach youth, aging persons, and underserved populations, 
including those from cultural and linguistic diversity about 
independent living. There may be an opportunity for CILs to develop 
strong alliances with parent information training centers and schools 
(from pre-school through postsecondary programs) and with the aging and 
underserved populations through appropriate partnerships.
    As an example of the role of demographic factors, disability has a 
disproportionate impact upon African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and 
American Indians. An array of culturally-sensitive service-delivery 
models, community organizations, and other resources is necessary to 
provide services to individuals from minority backgrounds. 
Organizations with grassroots orientations, including CILs, are in a 
unique position to help identify the specific needs of individuals from 
those affected populations. Model strategies in other countries might 
be adapted to reach unserved and underserved populations in the United 
States.
    Physical environment, including the built environment, can pose 
numerous obstacles that confound living independently. Individuals with 
disabilities living in rural communities may be isolated from CILs and 
vocational rehabilitation services. Isolation resulting from distance, 
lack of available transportation, lack of monetary resources to support 
social services, limited job opportunities, lack of a health care 
delivery system, the digital divide due to a lack of technology, and 
unavailability of accessible and affordable housing can be problems for 
rural Americans. Similar problems may confront persons from minority 
backgrounds in inner cities and remote areas, persons who are homeless, 
and migrants. For all populations, and for all salient issues that 
affect independent living and community integration, the social and 
economic costs and benefits of various strategies must be evaluated.
    The Plan discusses research on physical inclusion, including the 
identification and evaluation of models that facilitate housing that 
are consistent with consumer choice. In addition to physical and 
economic accessibility, model housing approaches must maximize 
community integration and ability to participate in a range of 
normative activities.

Priority 1: Improved Management of CIL Programs and Services

    The Assistant Secretary will establish an RRTC on IL management, 
services and strategies that will conduct research and training 
activities and develop and evaluate model approaches to enhance the 
capacity of CILs to operate and manage effective advocacy, service 
programs and businesses, and develop and maintain effective external 
partnerships. In carrying out this purpose, the Center must:
    (1) Develop a database of existing CIL funding and economic 
resources, and identify innovative and best practices in creating 
secure economic foundations for CILs;
    (2) Working in collaboration with appropriate entities, design and 
test several options for generating funding from alternative sources, 
including business development strategies and analyze policy-related 
and programmatic consequences of various funding options, especially 
those independent of public financing;
    (3) Identify best practices and develop and test programs for CILs 
in expanding services to youth with disabilities and their families, 
including those from diverse cultural backgrounds, and in interfacing 
with education and transition programs to prepare children and youth 
for independent living, including life long learning;
    (4) Develop and test strategies to enable CILs to benefit from 
management models of other successful community-based organizations or 
business organizations. Develop and test innovative models of cost-
effective training to improve core competency skills of CIL staff, 
including geographically dispersed and culturally and linguistically 
diverse CIL staff, including but not limited to those from Indian 
tribes and tribal organizations, and evaluate strategies for improved 
recruitment and retention of CIL staff, including those from diverse 
backgrounds;
    (5) Review CIL and vocational rehabilitation agency policies 
related to collaborations, and design strategies for innovative 
partnerships to promote employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities;
    (6) Coordinate activities with and provide instruments, curricula, 
methodologies, and resource guides, as well as research findings, 
including but not necessarily limited to distance learning and web-
based technologies, to the RSA training and technical assistance 
provider under Part C of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act; and
    (7) Provide training and information for CILs, policy makers, 
including business leaders and educators, administrators, and advocates 
on research findings and identified strategies.
    In carrying out these purposes, the Center must coordinate with 
other NIDRR, including Section 21 Leadership Training and the RRTCs on 
Disability Statistics and Persons with Disabilities from Minority 
Backgrounds, and OSERS grantees and community-based organizations that 
focus upon independent living and with the National Center for the 
Dissemination of Disability Research. The RRTC on improved management 
of CIL programs and services will be funded jointly by NIDRR and RSA 
and will be required to work closely with the RSA grantee providing 
training, technical assistance,

[[Page 31757]]

and transition assistance to CILs and Statewide Independent Living 
Councils under Part C of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act.

Priority 2: IL and the New Paradigm of Disability

    The Assistant Secretary will establish an RRTC on IL and the New 
Paradigm of Disability that will facilitate the development of 
innovative independent living strategies to meet the challenges of the 
21st century. This Center will promote an understanding of independent 
living concepts and practices in the context of the physical and social 
environments noted in the new paradigm of disability, including 
assessment of the application of independent living to the changing 
universe of disability. In carrying out these purposes, the Center 
must:
    (1) Develop an analytical framework for research on living 
independently that incorporates the definition of IL, the contextual 
framework of disability and an accessible community, and the changing 
universe of disability as articulated in the Plan, and is grounded in 
social science theory and methods;
    (2) Identify and evaluate strategies to promote accessible cost-
effective advocacy and generic community services for individuals with 
significant disabilities, and address specifically at least one 
changing universe population;
    (3) Evaluate the use of peer networks and communication channels to 
assist individuals with disabilities to maintain wellness, access 
community services, and participate in community life, including 
education and employment;
    (4) Assess the concept and application of independent living for 
diverse populations of cultural and linguistic minorities, including 
but not limited to those from Indian tribes and tribal organizations, 
Latinos and Asians and identify and evaluate culturally appropriate 
independent living approaches and strategies to assist individuals 
within these groups to attain self-determined independent living goals; 
and
    (5) Provide training and information for CILs, policy makers, 
including business leaders and educators, administrators, and advocates 
on research findings and identified strategies.
    In carrying out these purposes, the project must coordinate with 
other NIDRR, including Section 21 Leadership Training and the RRTCs on 
Disability Statistics and Persons with Disabilities from Minority 
Backgrounds, and OSERS grantees and community-based organizations that 
focus on independent living, the Center on Emergent Disability, the 
National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research, and the 
RSA training and technical assistance provider under Part C of Title 
VII of the Rehabilitation Act.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at either of the 
following sites:

http://ocfo.ed.gov/fedreg.htm
http://www.ed.gov/news.html

To use the PDF you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is 
available free at either of the preceding sites. If you have questions 
about using the PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), 
toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, D.C. area at (202) 
512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://
www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html.

Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR Part 350

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 760-762.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 84.133B, 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers)


    Dated: May 11, 2000.
Judith E. Heumann,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 00-12502 Filed 5-17-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-U