FR Doc 2011-7357[Federal Register: March 29, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 60)]
[Notices]               
[Page 17400-17403]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr29mr11-39]                      
 


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[CFDA: 84.133B-1]

 
Proposed Priorities: Interventions To Promote Community Living 
Among Individuals With Disabilities

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a funding priority for the Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered 
by NIDRR. Specifically, this notice proposes a priority for an RRTC on 
Interventions to Promote Community Living Among Individuals with 
Disabilities. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend 
this priority to improve participation and community living outcomes 
for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 28, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Marlene Spencer, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5133, 
Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: marlene.spencer@ed.gov. You must include the term ``Proposed 
Priority--RRTC on Promoting Community Living'' in the subject line of 
your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlene Spencer. Telephone: (202) 245-
7532 or by e-mail: marlene.spencer@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of proposed priority is in 
concert with NIDRR's currently approved Long-Range Plan (Plan). The 
Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 
(71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve 
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) 
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and

[[Page 17401]]

training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding 
of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) 
determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation 
outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) 
identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) 
disseminate findings.
    This notice proposes a priority that NIDRR intends to use for RRTC 
competitions in FY 2011 and possibly later years. However, nothing 
precludes NIDRR from publishing additional priorities, if needed. 
Furthermore, NIDRR is under no obligation to make an award for this 
priority. The decision to make an award will be based on the quality of 
applications received and available funding.
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priority, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific topic that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from this notice. Please 
let us know of any further ways we could reduce potential costs or 
increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and 
efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in Room 5133, 550 12th Street, SW., PCP, 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 
Washington, DC, time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation 
technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into 
society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic 
and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, 
especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to 
improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act) (29 U.S.C. 
701 et seq.).
    RRTC Program: The purpose of the RRTC program is to improve the 
effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act, 
through advanced research, training, technical assistance, and 
dissemination activities in general problem areas, as specified by 
NIDRR. Such activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service 
providers, individuals with disabilities, and the family members or 
other authorized representatives of individuals with disabilities. In 
addition, NIDRR intends to require all RRTC applicants to meet the 
requirements of the General Rehabilitation Research and Training 
Centers (RRTC) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of 
final priorities in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 
6132). Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#RRTC.

Statutory and Regulatory Requirements of RRTCs

    RRTCs must--
     Carry out coordinated advanced programs of rehabilitation 
research;
     Provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to help rehabilitation personnel more effectively 
provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
     Provide technical assistance to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties;
     Disseminate informational materials to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties; and
     Serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation 
research for individuals with disabilities, their representatives, 
providers, and other interested parties.
    Applicants for RRTC grants must also demonstrate in their 
applications how they will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Proposed Priority

    This notice contains one proposed priority.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Interventions To 
Promote Community Living Among Individuals With Disabilities

    Background: Laws and policies protecting the civil rights of 
individuals with disabilities have helped to promote the inclusion of 
and participation by individuals with disabilities in the home, 
community, and workplace. Nonetheless, an individual's functional 
abilities, demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, access to 
personal and other supports, and a variety of environmental barriers 
appear to interact and result in low levels of community participation 
among individuals with disabilities (LaPlante and Kaye, 2010; Parish et 
al., 2009; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010a; White 
et al., 2010).
    Barriers to independent living and community participation among 
individuals with disabilities include fragmented service delivery 
systems, lack of affordable, accessible housing and reliable, 
accessible transportation, and difficulty obtaining well-qualified 
personal attendants (National Council on Disability, 2006; Kessler 
Foundation & National Organization on Disability, 2010). Geographic 
location also affects the level of community participation experienced 
by individuals with disabilities. For example, individuals with 
disabilities living in rural America generally lack accessible public 
transportation and experience shortages of public health and other 
providers, thereby limiting their access to community-based programs 
and services (National Council on Disability, 2007). For individuals 
with disabilities living in institutional settings, these housing, 
transportation, health care, and long-term care barriers also limit 
opportunities to move out of institutions and into the community.
    In 2009, the President launched ``The Year of Community Living.'' 
This initiative recognized that for many individuals with disabilities 
there are limited choices, options, and opportunities to receive long-
term services and supports in the community. Past research supported by 
NIDRR and others has advanced our understanding of factors that impede 
community living for individuals with disabilities (D'Souza et al., 
2009; White et al., 2010), yielded valid and reliable measures of 
participation in important life activities (Magasi & Post, 2010), 
identified the effects of the built and

[[Page 17402]]

social environments on community participation (LaPlante & Kaye, 2010; 
Mojtahedi et al., 2008), and developed potential environmental 
accommodations for individuals with disabilities (Jaeger & Xie, 2009). 
Building on the knowledge gained through this research, new knowledge 
is needed about how barriers to and experience of community 
participation differ across sociodemographic and geographic groups of 
individuals within the diverse population of individuals with 
disabilities. This knowledge can help policymakers and service 
providers target interventions more effectively.
    Rigorous evaluation of interventions is also needed to identify 
strategies for eliminating barriers to community living. In particular, 
more testing of policies and programs is needed to create an evidence 
base for strategies that facilitate (1) participation in a wide range 
of community activities including but not necessarily limited to civic, 
cultural, social, and recreational activities, and (2) access to timely 
services that support continuity of community living (i.e., community 
living without interruption due to hospitalization or 
institutionalization) (National Council on Disability, 2006; U.S. 
Department of Health & Human Services, 2010b).
    Through this priority, NIDRR seeks to place particular emphasis on 
research on the services and supports that will enable individuals with 
disabilities to successfully transition from institutional settings 
into the community, where they will have increased options for 
community participation and can engage in activities of their choice in 
their home environments. Interventions, policies, or programs that 
address consumers' needs for a coordinated service delivery system will 
be especially useful for those at greatest risk of institutionalization 
(National Council on Disability, 2006). Research partnerships with 
consumer-operated organizations, such as centers for independent 
living, may facilitate new findings that can be used to work with those 
in transition from nursing homes or institutional settings into the 
community.

References

D'Souza, J, James, J, Szafar K, & Fries, B. (2009). Hard times: The 
effects of financial strain on home care services use and 
participant outcomes in Michigan. Gerontologist. 49: 154-165.
Jaeger, P, & Xie, B. (2009). Developing online community 
accessibility guidelines for persons with disabilities and older 
adults. Journal of Disability Policy Studies. 20(1): 55-63.
Kessler Foundation & National Organization on Disability (2010). The 
ADA, 20 Years Later: The Kessler Foundation/NOD 2010 Survey of 
Americans with Disabilities. See: 
http://www.2010disabilitysurveys.org/pdfs/surveyresults.pdf.
LaPlante, M. & Kaye, H. (2010). Demographics and trends in wheeled 
mobility equipment use and accessibility in the community. Assistive 
Technology. 22(1): 3-17.
Magasi, S, & Post, M. (2010). A comparative review of contemporary 
participation measures' psychometric properties and content 
coverage. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 91(9, 
Supplement 1): S17-S28.
Mojtahedi, M, Boblick, P, Rimmer, J, Rowland, J, Jones, R, & 
Braunschweig, C. (2008). Environmental barriers to and availability 
of healthy foods for people with mobility disabilities living in 
urban and suburban neighborhoods. Archives of Physical Medicine and 
Rehabilitation. 89(11): 2174-2179.
National Council on Disability (2006). Creating Livable Communities. 
See: 
http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2006/pdf/livable_communities.pdf.
National Council on Disability (2007). The Impact of the Americans 
with Disabilities Act: Assessing the Progress Toward Achieving the 
Goals of the ADA. Washington, DC: National Council on Disability. 
http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2007/ada_impact_07-26-
07.htm.
Parish, S, Rose, R, & Andrews, M. (2009). Income Poverty and 
Material Hardship among US Women with Disabilities. Social Service 
Review. 83 (1): 33-52.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2010a). Healthy People 
2020: An Opportunity to Address Societal Determinants of Health in 
the United States. See: 
http://www.healthypeople.gov/hp2020/advisory/SocietalDeterminantsHealth.htm.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2010b). Healthy People 
2020: Disability and Health. See: 
http://healthypeople.odphp.iqsolutions.com/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=9.
White, G, Simpson, J, Gonda, C, Coble, Z, & Ravesloot, C. (2010) 
Moving from independence to interdependence: A conceptual model for 
better understanding community participation of centers for 
independent living. Journal of Disability Policy Studies. 20: 223-
240.

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training 
Center (RRTC) on Interventions to Promote Community Living Among 
Individuals with Disabilities. The RRTC must conduct rigorous research, 
training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities that 
contribute to improved community participation and community living 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities, including individuals 
transitioning into the community from nursing homes and other health 
and community institutions. Under this priority, the RRTC must 
contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) Increased knowledge about how the barriers to and experience of 
community living may differ across sociodemographic and geographic 
groups within the diverse population of individuals with disabilities. 
The RRTC must contribute to the outcome by conducting research on the 
extent to which access to community services and supports and community 
participation outcomes are related to sociodemographic factors (e.g., 
race, ethnicity, income level, education level), the geographic area in 
which the individuals reside (e.g., rural or urban areas), or 
disability characteristics (e.g., disability severity or type of 
disabling condition).
    (b) Improved services and supports that provide opportunities for 
the population of individuals with disabilities to participate fully in 
the community, including the services and supports needed to transition 
from institutions, nursing homes, and other health and community 
institutions, to the community and to maintain continuity of community 
living. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or 
developing and then testing policies, programs, or strategies that 
improve community living services and supports for individuals with 
disabilities. In this regard, the RRTC must focus its efforts on at 
least two of the following areas: housing; transportation; 
recreational, community, and civic activities. In carrying out this 
requirement, the RRTC must also take into account the findings from 
paragraph (a) of this priority. The policies, programs, or strategies 
to be tested under this paragraph (b) may include strategies that 
integrate or coordinate services from different areas.
    (c) Increased incorporation of research findings into practice or 
policy. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by coordinating with 
appropriate NIDRR-funded knowledge translation grantees to advance or 
add to their work by--
    (1) Conducting systematic reviews and developing research syntheses 
consistent with standards, guidelines, and procedures established by 
the knowledge translation grantees;
    (2) Using knowledge translation strategies identified as promising 
by the

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knowledge translation grantees to increase the use of research 
findings;
    (3) Collaborating with centers for independent living and other 
stakeholder groups to develop, implement, or evaluate strategies to 
increase utilization of the research findings; and
    (4) Conducting training and dissemination activities to facilitate 
the utilization of the research findings by community-based 
organizations and other service providers, policymakers, and 
individuals with disabilities.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    Final Priority: We will announce the final priority in a notice in 
the Federal Register. We will determine the final priority after 
considering responses to this notice and other information available to 
the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing 
additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection 
criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this proposed regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the costs.

Discussion of Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. This proposed 
priority will generate new knowledge through research and development.
    Another benefit of this proposed priority is that the establishment 
of a new RRTC will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. 
The new RRTC will generate, disseminate and promote the use of new 
information that will improve the options for individuals with 
disabilities to live in and participate in their communities.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site.

    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.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


    Dated: March 24, 2011.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2011-7357 Filed 3-28-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P