Powers, functions, and duties of commission
- community access program
(1)The powers, functions, and duties of the commission include:
(a)Serving as a liaison between deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind and the general assembly, governor, and Colorado departments and agencies;
(b)Serving as an informational resource to state and local governments, deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, private agencies, and other entities;
(c)Serving as a referral agency for deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind to state agencies and institutions, local government agencies, private agencies, and other entities;
(d)Assessing how communications technology has affected the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind. The commission shall assess the type and amount of equipment needed by deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind persons who qualify under the federal poverty guidelines established in accordance with the “Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981”, 42 U.S.C. 9902 (2).
(e)Assessing the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind and reporting annually to the governor and the general assembly any recommendations for legislation or administrative changes that may facilitate or streamline the provision of general government services to deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind. Notwithstanding section 24-1-136 (11)(a)(I), on or before September 1 of each year, the commission must file the report required by this subsection (1)(e). In preparing the annual report and recommendations, the commission shall consider the following:
(I)Whether any existing statutory or administrative provisions impede the ability of the commission to act as a statewide coordinating agency advocating for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind individuals in Colorado;
(II)Any methods, programs, or policies that may improve communication accessibility and quality of existing services, promote or deliver necessary new services, and assist state agencies in the delivery of services to deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind;
(III)Any methods, programs, or policies that may make providing access to government services more efficient; and
(IV)Any methods, programs, or policies that may improve implementation of state policies affecting deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind and their relationship with the general public, industry, health care, and educational institutions.
(f)Approving an entity’s certification of sign language interpreters in accordance with section 6-1-707 (1)(e)(I)(B).
(2)The commission shall consider the findings of any study authorized under this section and may approve, disapprove, or amend the findings. After consideration of the findings, the commission shall submit a report with recommendations including proposed legislation, if necessary, to the governor and to the general assembly. The commission shall submit the report annually notwithstanding section 24-1-136 (11)(a)(I), and may combine the report with, or include the report as a part of, the annual report prepared under subsection (1)(e) of this section.
(3)The commission shall establish and coordinate a communications technology program that is consistent with the findings of subsection (1) of this section to obtain and distribute interactive telecommunications and other communications technology equipment needed by deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind persons.
(4)The commission, in collaboration with the judicial department, shall arrange for auxiliary services for the state court system. Arranging auxiliary services for the state court system includes:
(a)Coordinating statewide and day-to-day scheduling of auxiliary services;
(b)Creating and managing a process by which requests for auxiliary services may be filled;
(c)Identifying, coordinating, and placing the appropriate auxiliary services with all concerned parties;
(d)Coordinating the purchase, shipment, and receipt of assistive listening devices and systems pursuant to applicable state rules;
(e)Creating and managing efficient and consistent processes through which auxiliary services providers may submit required documentation and receive payment for services;
(f)Communicating with auxiliary services users, providers, and state court system agencies to resolve issues between those parties; and
(g)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(I)Establishing, monitoring, and publishing a list of available qualified interpreters and CART providers for deaf, hard-of-hearing, or deafblind persons.
(II)For the purposes of this subsection (4)(g):
(A)“CART provider” means a person providing a word-for-word speech-to-text translation service for deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind.
(B)“Qualified interpreter” means a person who has a valid certification of competency accepted by the commission and includes, but is not limited to, oral interpreters, sign language interpreters, and intermediary interpreters.
(5)On or before January 1, 2019, the commission shall establish a one-year pilot program to provide auxiliary services to state departments and agencies. The commission may continue the pilot program in subsequent years if the commission has adequate funding to provide auxiliary services through the pilot program. The commission shall:
(a)Identify at least two state departments or agencies to participate in the pilot program during calendar year 2019;
(b)Create a process for participating state departments or agencies to request auxiliary services from the commission;
(c)Collect data on the utilization of auxiliary services through the pilot program; and
(d)Hire an independent contractor to evaluate the pilot program and make recommendations regarding whether to expand the program to additional state departments and agencies. The evaluation must be based on utilization data from the first year of the program. The evaluation must be included in the September 1, 2020, annual report required by section 26-21-106 (1)(e).
(6)The commission shall establish and maintain outreach and consulting services to improve and ensure effective access to auxiliary services by critical state and local government agencies, private agencies, and other entities. The commission shall also use these services to increase awareness of the programs funded by the Colorado telephone users with disabilities fund established pursuant to section 40-17-104.
(7)The commission’s outreach and consulting services include the following duties:
(a)Provide resources to individuals who have encountered barriers to obtaining necessary services;
(b)Assist individuals in understanding and accessing services that may be available to them;
(c)Consult with state and local government agencies and private entities so that they are equipped to provide direct services or services with accommodations to deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind individuals;
(d)Increase public awareness of the needs and issues facing deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind individuals; and
(e)Develop and maintain a comprehensive resource directory of services and other programs that may be of use to deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind individuals and to agencies that serve them.
(8)The commission shall maintain a community access program for one-on-one system navigating services to ensure resources are available to individuals and to protect each person’s right to effective communication and access to environmental information. The community access program must include the following:
(a)Support service providers for deafblind individuals;
(b)Orientation and mobility specialists for deafblind individuals; and
(c)Peer system navigation for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind individuals who encounter barriers accessing programs, activities, or services.
(8.5)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)On or before October 1, 2023, the commission shall establish a family and community intervener program. The family and community intervener program shall work with children who are deafblind to facilitate critical connections between the child and the child’s family, community, and environment. The family and community intervener program must include, but need not be limited to, access to a family and community intervener with specific training in deafblindness, strategies to build language and communication skills, and intervention strategies. The intervener shall:
(I)Work one-on-one with a child who is deafblind in order to facilitate critical connections between the child and the child’s community, family, and environment;
(II)Open channels of communication between the child and others;
(III)Facilitate the development or use of receptive and expressive communication skills by the child;
(IV)Develop and maintain a trusting, interactive relationship with the child that promotes social and emotional well-being; and
(V)Provide the child with opportunities for learning and development in the community and at home.
(b)The commission shall hire an intervener program manager to direct services for children who are deafblind and ensure that an intervener:
(I)Works with no more than one child at a time;
(II)Instructs and supports the child in skills related to community involvement;
(III)Transports the child to gain access to community services and resources;
(IV)Provides communication and information to the child concerning the child’s environment that otherwise would be available through vision and hearing;
(V)Uses interpersonal communication, including sign language, speech, tangible communication symbols, gestures, calendars, and augmentative communication devices;
(VI)Makes sights, sounds, and activities accessible to the child by learning the child’s specific communication system; and
(VII)Forms a working alliance with the deafblind child’s family members, neighbors, community organizations, and professionals with whom the child has contact.
(c)The intervener program manager shall document the following outcomes for intervener services in the child’s record:
(I)Whether the child is effectively communicating wants and needs to the child’s intervener; and
(II)Whether the child is actively participating in community activities and activities of daily living to the extent of the child’s ability.
(d)The intervener program manager and intervener shall collaborate with other state agencies as appropriate that provide direct or indirect services to children who are deafblind and their families to identify potential additional services or opportunities for children who are deafblind.
(9)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)The commission shall arrange for the provision of auxiliary services in rural areas of the state by performing the following functions:
(I)Coordinating on a statewide basis the day-to-day scheduling for auxiliary services to be provided in rural areas;
(II)Creating and managing a process for the intake and fulfillment of requests for auxiliary services in rural areas, including the identification, coordination, and appointment of auxiliary services providers to meet the needs of all parties involved in the proceeding, event, or circumstance for which a request is made;
(III)Creating and managing efficient and consistent processes through which an auxiliary services provider may submit required documentation and receive payment for auxiliary services provided;
(IV)To resolve any issues that arise with regard to auxiliary services, communicating with auxiliary services users, auxiliary services providers, and appointing authorities, as defined in section 13-90-202 (1), in the rural areas in which auxiliary services are requested or are being provided pursuant to this subsection (9);
(V)Providing training opportunities for potential auxiliary services providers who are willing to accept assignments in rural areas;
(VI)Awarding scholarships for potential auxiliary services providers’ education, internships, and certification testing for qualified programs;
(VII)Conducting outreach to rural users in need of auxiliary services and auxiliary services providers;
(VIII)Establishing, monitoring, and publishing on the commission’s public website a list of available CART providers and qualified interpreters, as defined in subsections (4)(g)(II)(A) and (4)(g)(II)(B) of this section, respectively, who are willing to work in rural areas for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind;
(IX)Creating an advisory council to make recommendations to the commission about the provision of auxiliary services in rural areas; and
(X)Developing and implementing other strategies to increase capacity for auxiliary services in rural areas.
(b)The executive director shall promulgate rules in consultation with, or as proposed by, the commission and the deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind community, regarding implementation of this subsection (9). The rules must define the term “rural area”.
(c)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(I)On or before November 1, 2022, and on or before November 1 of each year thereafter, the commission shall submit a report to the joint budget committee summarizing the commission’s implementation of the program described in this subsection (9) over the previous twelve months.
(II)Notwithstanding section 24-1-136 (11)(a)(I), the reporting requirement set forth in subsection (9)(c)(I) of this section continues indefinitely.
Section 26-21-106 — Powers, functions, and duties of commission - community access program - report - rules - definitions,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-26.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).