Vocational Rehabilitation: Evidence for Federal Program's Effectiveness is Mixed : Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives

A study gathered information on the estimated population eligible to be served by the federal-state vocational rehabilitation (VR) program. It contrasted those accepted and those not, described services clients received, and evaluated the program's outcomes. The study found that, in national surveys in the 1980s, 14-18 million people reported work limitations that made them potentially eligible for VR, but a much smaller group was actually served by the state-federal VR program: in any one year, 5-7 percent of those potentially eligible. Those accepted were generally similar to those who applied, except that those accepted were much more likely to be classified as having a severe disability. Most VR clients received only modest services. Less than half received any type of education or training services, the total value of purchased services averaged only $1,573 per client, and just under half received purchased services costing less than $500. States purchased more services for clients with physical than with mental disabilities, more for clients with severe than with nonsevere disabilities, and more for White clients than for Black, Hispanic, or American Indian clients. Evaluation of long-term outcomes found that rehabilitants' gains in employment and earnings faded after about 2 years. (Appendixes include a list of major disabling conditions of VR clients, racial differences on variables, regression analyses for long-term outcomes, 19 references, and a glossary.) (YLB)

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