Health Services Agency
May 21, 2003
BOARD MEETING DATE:
June 10, 2003
Honorable Board of Supervisors
Margaret Taylor, Director of Health Services
Charlene Silva, Director of Aging and Adult Services
Approval of the San Mateo County Americans With Disabilities Act, Title II Policies and Procedures and the Policies and Procedures Training Manual.
Adopt a resolution:
Approving the San Mateo County Americans With Disabilities Act, Title II Policies and Procedures and the Policies and Procedures Training Manual; and
Authorizing the County Manager to approve future changes to these documents.
On July 26, 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This federal law recognized the right of all Americans with disabilities to fully participate in all educational and social programs, activities, and events, in addition to being accorded an equal opportunity to compete for, obtain, and retain appropriate employment.
The San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities formed the ADA Compliance Committee in order to address issues related to the implementation of ADA. Title II of ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all services, programs, and activities provided or made available by state or local government. Programmatic access requires that each program, when viewed in its entirety, be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
The ADA Compliance Committee is comprised of Commission on Disabilities members, Aging and Adult Services (AAS) staff, representatives of disability-related community organizations, and other County staff, as appropriate. One of the responsibilities of the ADA Compliance Committee is to develop policies and procedures for implementing ADA Title II into all San Mateo County programs and services. The goal is to assist all County departments to develop an understanding of and responsibility for the implementation of ADA Title II.
In addition to reviewing all County owned or leased sites for physical and/or programmatic access by people with disabilities, the ADA Compliance Committee has developed ten (10) Policies and Procedures in order to provide guidance to County employees on serving people with disabilities. The Policies and Procedures include: Reasonable Accommodation; Grievance Procedures; Accessibility of County Buildings and Facilities; Accessibility of Audio Access of County Buildings and Facilities Compliance; Telephone Access; Eligibility Criteria and Tests; Information About Disabilities; Nondiscrimination-Contract Language; Sensitivity to Disabilities; and Web Page Accessibility. Each policy identifies the designated responsible parties as well as the specific procedure to follow in order to ensure ADA compliance.
The ADA Compliance Committee has developed a training manual that provides guidelines for implementing these policies, identifying the individual policy as well as steps to follow to assist individuals with disabilities to access programs and services. The training manual will be used to instruct designated County personnel who will be responsible for ensuring that County employees, directly serving the public, are familiar with ADA Policies and Procedures and the available resources.
To accommodate the visually impaired when accessing the County web site, the Information Services Department is working with vendors to determine the cost of software that converts Adobe PDF documents into HTML (text) documents, which can be read by audible text readers from remote locations (e.g., home computers). The total cost of the software is not expected to exceed $50,000. Funding will be provided by existing appropriations for countywide automation projects.
The ADA Policies and Procedures have been reviewed and approved as to form and content by County Counsel, County Executive Committee and the Commission on Disabilities. Future changes to either the ADA Policies and Procedures or the training manual will be reviewed by the Commission on Disabilities, the ADA Compliance Committee and County Counsel. It is recommended that the County Manager be authorized to approve any future changes in these documents.
These policies and procedures allow the opportunity to realize the potential of our diverse population through Goal 1: Diverse population works well together to build strong communities, effective government, and a prosperous community and Goal 2: Civic engagement--including voting, public service, charitable giving, volunteerism, and participation in public discussions of important issues--is uniformly high among the diverse population. They also ensure basic health and safety for all through Goal 8: Help vulnerable people--the aged, disabled, mentally ill, at-risk youth, and others--achieve a better quality of life. The policies and procedures contribute to these commitments and goals by assisting departments in providing access to all County programs and services for individuals with disabilities.
There is sufficient funding appropriated in the FY 2002-03 Non-Departmental Services budget to purchase the Adobe PDF to HTML (text) conversion software. Other costs such as those related to the accessibility of buildings and facilities, telephone access, web page accessibility, and staff training, would be borne by departments that require and use particular services. The cost of future training programs will be determined once the design and scope of training has been developed.
In addition, the County continues to appropriate funds in the annual Capital Improvement Budget for structural changes to existing facilities. These funds are allocated to specific projects by the ADA Compliance Committee based on a facility prioritization system.