RSA provides formula grants to State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies to administer the State VR Services, State Supported Employment Services, and Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the associated Territories and Commonwealths. Specifically, 34 of these States, Territories and Commonwealths have one VR agency that serves individuals with all types of disabilities; these are referred to as Combined VR agencies. In addition, 22 States have established two VR agencies: one VR agency that serves individuals who are blind or have visual impairments, referred to as Blind VR agencies, and a separate VR agency that serves individuals with all other types of disabilities, referred to as General VR agencies. This results in a total of 78 VR agencies: 34 Combined VR agencies, 22 General VR agencies, and 22 Blind VR agencies.
Here is a link to the list of State VR agencies. Additionally, the NCSAB Website has the 22 separate Blind VR agencies listed in one document under their “Resources” tab.
The National Research & Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC) at Mississippi State University performed a review in 2018 of the research on outcomes for blind and vision-impaired participants in vocational rehabilitation programs served in Blind VR agencies vs. Combined VR agencies. They found across multiple research studies that separate agencies for the blind were found to serve a higher proportion of socially disadvantaged individuals but performed as well as, if not better than, combined agencies on key outcome measures including rates of competitive employment. Follow this link to access the full document on this review.
There are a variety of partners and resources that can be of benefit to Blind VR agencies. These include, but are not limited to:
- American Council for the Blind (ACB)
- American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
- AFB State-Specific Statistical Information
- American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
- Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually (AER)
- Hadley School
- Helen Keller National Center for Deaf Blind Youth & Adults (HKNC)
- Learning Ally
- National Council of State Agencies for the Blind
- National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
- National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Library of Congress
- National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision
- National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment
- Older Individuals who are Blind TA Center
- Perkins School for the Blind - eLearning