communication Support specialists
The Vermont Communication Support Project (VCSP) recruits, trains and certifies Communication Support Specialists (CSS) who can assist people with disabilities in Court, administrative hearings and related meetings. CSS's are independently contracted with VCSP coordinating assignments and providing administrative support.
what do services look like?
Every assignment starts with a 30 minute pre-meeting. It is during this time that a communication plan is developed with the client. If the meeting or hearing is remote the CSS will take the time to make sure that all technology is charged and the client is ready to connect. The CSS will then attend the meeting / hearing with the client providing support as needed. Every assignment then ends with a 30 minute post meeting.
As with many organizations, the pandemic brought with it some challenges in how we were able to deliver services. We were able to adapt and offer valuable CSS support remotely and for most clients this continues to be the option they prefer. For others in person services are a necessary accommodation. We offer 3 different models of CSS support:
- In Person
services for hearings
VCSP assigns Communication Support Specialists (CSS) who offer services to qualified individuals in all Courts in Vermont, except VCSP services are not available to criminal defendants in criminal proceedings. This is a VCSP operational policy.
In order to be provided services in Court, a qualified individual must have a motion approved by the Court. The VCSP does not serve as an advocate and therefore does not submit motions for potential clients. It is usually the potential client, their lawyer, or a service provider who files a motion. A sample motion is available from the VCSP.
services for state meetings
A CSS may be authorized to assist a qualified individual at any interactive DCF, or other State administrative meeting/hearing or judicial proceeding. The individual must request the use of a CSS through the VCSP as an accommodation. Approval from a DCF District Director, appropriate State Director/Manager or Vermont’s Chief Superior Judge is required and this task is completed by the VCSP
The entity that is providing the accommodation is responsible for requesting VCSP services. 10 day notice is requested but VCSP will make a best effort to accommodate all requests. To schedule services just email VCSP with the name of the client, the type of meeting, date / time & length and whether remote or in person.