Client Assistance Programs (CAPs) are housed in a variety of agencies all over the country. As a result the philosophies and approaches to service delivery reflect, to some extent, the various orientations of the program settings. Some CAPs, for example, are administered by protection and advocacy offices and the CAP Staff are Attorneys or Paralegal Professionals. Other programs hire Master's Degree level professionals, while others employ CAP Advocates who have rehabilitation, social science or other undergraduate degrees with varying background experience in disability related fields.
While educational requirements vary greatly, most CAP professionals need strong verbal and written communications skills, problem solving abilities, public speaking skills, and an understanding of general disability issues.
There are no formal certification requirements for CAP.
CAP Rehabilitation Advocates/Specialists provide individual client services including information/referral, counseling and advice regarding rights and responsibilities relative to the projects and programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act; mediation and negotiation to resolve problems/concerns; assistance with (administrative) appeals to resolve grievances including representation at impartial hearings; and access to legal services as needed. CAP responsibilities also include providing encouragement and support to make informed life choices, advising state agencies on policy development, identifying systemic problems and recommending solutions, and advocating for change in the service delivery systems. CAP personnel may also conduct outreach and training activities, prepare position papers, review state plans, and comment on proposed rules, legislation and regulations.
CAP Administrators perform a variety of management duties including financial oversight and are often responsible to consumer advisory boards. In some states, due to the limited size of their allotment, there may be only one professional CAP staff member who is responsible for both client services and administrative responsibilities.
Each state has a Client Assistance Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. Nationwide, these programs offer a variety of positions such as those outlined above.
Typically, starting salaries for CAP Advocates and Paralegal Professionals range from $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Salaries for CAP Administrators and Attorneys range from $25,000 to $50,000 per year depending on background and work experience.
Additional Information Source
National Association of Protection
and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS)
900 Second Street, NE, Suite 211
Washington, DC 20002