As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 11: Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center

(Revised 08/13)

11.1 Overview

The Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) is a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation training facility operated by the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Division for Blind Services. It is located in Austin, Texas, at 4800 N. Lamar Blvd.

11.1.1 Mission

The mission of the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center is to work in partnership with consumers and staff toward the accomplishment of employment and independent living goals. CCRC provides non-visual evaluation, and training services in a residential/community setting.

11.1.2 How to Use This Information

(Revised 02/13)

The information provided is organized in four sections:

Pre-Application Considerations

Use this information to assist the consumer to make an informed choice about how CCRC services can be useful in reaching the consumer's work and living goals. This section includes:

Admissions Process

When the consumer has made a decision to seek admission to CCRC for General Program or Specific Services, use this information to complete the referral and to coordinate services with Admissions from consumer acceptance to arrival.

Center Program Descriptions

This section outlines information for the General Program and Specific Services from arrival through completion of training.

Post-Center Plans

Documentation of services provided and recommendations at the Center will be posted in the consumers case folder in ReHabWorks.

11.2 Preapplication Considerations

Use this information to help consumers make informed choices about participating in CCRC services. This information applies to all consumers applying for services at CCRC.

11.2.1 Who Can Be Referred?

Eligible consumers include those who

11.3 Center Programs

CCRC programs are designed to address each consumer's specific needs.

11.3.1 Training Programs Offered

CCRC offers training in one or more of the following programs:

For more information on training programs offered at CCRC, see 11.11 Training Services Available at CCRC.

11.3.2 Specific Services

(Revised 12/11)

CCRC provides the following services to allow consumers to make informed choices about how CCRC may serve their rehabilitation, training, and educational needs:

11.3.3 CCRC Resource Information

The following resources are available to consumers to help them make informed choices about participating in CCRC services.

11.4 Admissions Process for All CCRC Programs

The CCRC admissions process begins when the consumer decides to apply for CCRC services. The following information outlines the steps from the consumer's initial referral to his or her arrival for CCRC programs. For deadlines related to the admissions process, see the current CCRC Calendar. Contact the CCRC Admissions coordinator for assistance or to review individual consumer circumstances.

11.4.1 Steps

(Revised 02/13)

The referring staff person completes the ReHabWorks Service Record, which automatically delegates the action to CCRC Admissions.

Admissions acknowledges the referral request in ReHabWorks by entering a completion or cancel date in the service record service, thus reflecting

11.4.2 Referrals for the Training Program

(Revised 10/13)

Certain information is required for all consumers. Additional information is required for consumers with special circumstances. For questions regarding documentation requirements, contact the CCRC Admissions coordinator.

Send the information indicated below to the CCRC Admissions Office by email to, by fax at (512) 377-0317, or by mail to

CCRC Admissions Office
4800 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78756

Referral Packet Required Information

All consumers must provide

Special Circumstances Information

If a consumer meets one or more of the following criteria, he or she must also submit the information indicated below.

If the consumer is under age 18, submit

If the consumer has a guardian assigned by the court, submit

If the consumer is on parole or probation, submit

If the consumer has had a substance or alcohol issue at any time in the past, submit the Substance Abuse/Alcohol Abuse Contract.

If the consumer has an HIV or AIDS diagnosis, contact the CCRC Admissions coordinator before submitting any referral information to ensure protection of confidential information as mandated by federal law.

For additional information on protection of HIV information, see Chapter 1: Protection of Legal Rights, 1.4.1 Confidentiality of HIV Status.

If the consumer has a mental health diagnosis, submit a mental health stability statement from the consumer's mental health provider stating that the consumer

If the consumer does not have a permanent residence, submit written documentation from the residential provider or family member that includes

The following information is optional:

11.4.3 Criminal Background Checks

(Added 06/14)

The CCRC requires that a CBC be completed on all referrals. Once a consumer, regardless of VR status, is referred to the center, designated Admissions staff will complete a CBC.

Designated Admissions staff will obtain the necessary information to complete the DARS1510 from the referring field counselor prior to running the CBC.

Evaluating and Documenting CBC Results

CBC reports contain criminal action occurring in the State of Texas. CBC reports will either show no criminal action or criminal action matching the name and date of birth submitted. CBC reports are often incomplete and difficult to interpret. CCRC Admissions staff members should consult with their supervisory chain and Legal Services if they need help to interpret the results. They can send questions regarding CBC reports to

Staff members should document results in the consumer's electronic record in ReHabWorks. Staff members should not document any details of the CBC report in the case note; they should just list the date the CBC was requested, the date the CBC was run, and the impact of the results on the consumer's acceptance into CCRC. Staff members should indicate on the case note if the consumer is not accepted or if there is some restriction on the consumer's acceptance based on the CBC (for example, the consumer can attend CCRC during the day but is not permitted to stay in the CCRC residential section).

Maintaining the CBC Results

If maintained, the CBC must be placed in a sealed envelope and stored in a locked file cabinet as part of the paper case record. A note on the envelope must identify it as a CBC and indicate the date of the seal and that the CBC should not be released. If the CBC needs to be reviewed, staff members are required to sign and date when the envelope is opened and again when it is resealed. In order to maintain confidentiality, immediately upon receipt, the CBC should be printed and all electronic copies should be deleted from electronic files in a secure manner.

Releasing the CBC Results

The designated Admissions staff can release a copy of the CBC report to the consumer in accordance with the Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 20: Confidentiality and Use of Consumer Records and Information, 20.10.4 Release of Information Contained in Criminal History Records and 20.8.3 Release of Consumer Criminal History Records Obtained from the Department of Public Safety.

11.5 Center Program Descriptions

This section provides information about General Program and Specific Services.

11.5.1 Case Transfers to the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center

(Revised 10/07, 01/08, 07/09, 02/13)

To transfer a case to the CCRC, use the following procedure.

Field VR Coordinator, VRC, or Transition Counselor

  1. completes a partial case review noting that an IPE has been developed, which adequately provides for CCRC training, including transportation and maintenance;
  2. electronically mails the review to the center VRC before the admission date;
  3. with agreement of the designated center VRC, transfers the consumer's electronic case file within two days of the admission date to the center VRC; and
  4. reviews and prepares the paper case file and mails it to the center VRC within 15 days of the admission date.

Center VRC

  1. updates the IPE and/or IPE amendment to
    • add services that were not anticipated, and
    • issue service authorizations for the services that are added; and
  2. notifies the field VRC or transition counselor (TC) when the IPE is changed.

If extenuating circumstances could adversely affect the transfer of a case, the center VR coordinator and field VRC determine how to proceed.

If a consumer moves to another region before completing his or her CCRC program, the case is transferred back to the referring field VRC or TC and VR or program coordinator before any decision is made about case transfer.

For guidelines on transferring cases, see Chapter 40, Case Management, 40.4.3 Procedure before Transfer.

Referral from IL to VR While the Consumer Is Attending CCRC

(Added 01/08, revised 02/13)

If a consumer attending CCRC decides to pursue employment, you may refer the consumer to the VR program while he or she is attending CCRC.

  1. The center VRC coordinates a joint staffing with the
    • ILW,
    • field VR coordinator,
    • center VR coordinator, and
    • field VRC who receives the case upon completion of CCRC services.
    The center VRC documents the results of the joint meeting in a case note in the IL case.
  2. If a VR case is opened, the center VR coordinator contacts the ReHabWorks system administrator allowing the referral to be made to VR.
  3. The center VRC proceeds with an application and preliminary assessment to determine eligibility in VR. If the consumer is eligible for VR services, the center VRC completes a comprehensive assessment to determine the scope of services and develop the IPE.
  4. Upon signing the IPE, the center VRC notifies the ILW so the IL case can be closed.

11.5.2 General Program

The following outlines the sequence of services provided to consumers from arrival through completion of training:


The purpose of the orientation program is to familiarize consumers with the philosophy, guidelines and procedures of CCRC. Discussions provide opportunities for consumers to gain information that encourages them to build confidence and become self-advocates.


The purpose of the initial assessment is to provide the consumer an opportunity to demonstrate the skills they already possess and identify additional/new skills that will assist them to reach their rehabilitation goals.

Program Planning

Program planning occurs following assessment. Center staff complete recommendations which are shared with the consumer and referring staff in order to determine the most appropriate next step for the consumer. Referring staff are encouraged to participate in the program planning process and are provided with follow-up documentation. The recommended next step may include:


Consumers participate in training in one or more of the following categories. (see 11.11 Training Services Available at CCRC for detailed information)

Upon completion, the consumer is recognized for his/her accomplishments during a graduation ceremony. Family, friends and DBS staff are invited to attend.

11.5.3 Specific Services


Tours are highly individualized to provide consumers and their families with general information about CCRC and the programs provided at the Center. Consumers who tour have an opportunity to:

Food, lodging and transportation are available upon request.

Short Term Training

Referrals may be made for:

Food and lodging are available upon request.

Note: Transportation not provided by CCRC.

11.6 Post-Center Plans

(Revised 02/13)

Throughout the consumer's training program, he or she is encouraged to make the connection between what is being learned and how to apply new skills in the home, community, and work environments. Documentation of the consumers Center Training services and next step plans will be provided in ReHabWorks.

Case transfer from CCRC to the field is via ReHabWorks.

11.7 Resource Information Guide

The following information resources are available from the DBS Intranet site or TWC Internet:

11.8 Expectations of CCRC Consumers

Counselors are encouraged to share the following information with consumers when discussing a referral to CCRC:

For additional information regarding CCRC expectations, contact the CCRC Admissions coordinator or CCRC director.

11.9 CCRC Program Guidelines

To participate in CCRC programs and services, consumers must

For additional information regarding CCRC expectations and program guidelines, contact the Admissions coordinator or CCRC director.

11.10 Commonly Asked Questions

The following are answers to questions commonly asked by consumers about CCRC services:

  1. How much does it cost to go to CCRC?
    • Room and board are furnished. Consumers will need spending money for outings, personal need items, and some training and medical needs.
  2. How will the consumer get to CCRC and home again?
    • The referring staff will assist the consumer in arranging transportation to Austin. The consumer arranges for transportation home after completing CCRC services as coordinated with the Center VRC.
  3. What if the consumer wants to go home to visit?
    • Consumers are responsible for the cost and arrangements for these trips. Consumers are encouraged to coordinate visits home with their CCRC counselor.
  4. Can family and friends visit the consumer at CCRC?
    • Yes. Family and friends are encouraged to visit in the evening and on weekends. Families may visit during class time to observe skills learned as coordinated with the Center VRC.
  5. How long will the consumer be at CCRC?
    • The length of time in evaluation/training at CCRC is based on each consumer's Individualized Center Services Plan. The average length of training is 6 to 9 months.
  6. What will the consumer do while at CCRC?
    • The consumer will participate in evaluations and attend recommended classes for training. Some classes are required such as basic blindness skills and others are elective and/or based on individual need. During the evenings and on weekends, the consumer may attend scheduled classes, planned activities or engage in activities of their choice.
  7. Does CCRC find jobs for consumers?
    • Although some consumers are employed during or immediately after CCRC training, CCRC services do not include job placement. CCRC staff will assist consumers with self-assessment, occupational exploration, and job seeking skills/post secondary education guidance. A Work Experience Program (WEP) is also available toward the end of the training program.
  8. What's the living situation like?
    • CCRC has a residential area, much like a dormitory setting, with large rooms that accommodate two people. ( CCRC Consumer Handbook)
  9. Will the consumer have a roommate?
    • Most people have a roommate.
  10. Can consumers come and go as they please?
    • Consumers are expected to attend classes. Consumers are free to come and go as they like when their class schedule allows. All consumers are required to sign out when leaving the facility for safety and security purposes.
  11. What if consumers get there and they don't like it?
    • Staff will encourage consumers to complete the evaluation/training planned, though they are free to leave CCRC at any time. Consumers are encouraged to contact their CCRC counselor if this is a concern.
  12. What kind of people go to CCRC?
    • People who are blind from all over Texas come to CCRC. They include people from all adult age groups who have a variety of work and educational backgrounds.
  13. What expectation does the Center have of consumers?
    • Work in partnership with Center Counselor
    • Participate in Initial Assessment/Evaluation
    • Take part in developing the Individual Center Services Plan
    • Attend and actively participate in scheduled classes
    • Apply basic blindness skills as they are learned
    • Follow Center standards of conduct
    • Complete recommended program
  14. What opportunities do consumers have regarding blindfold training?
    • The training focus at CCRC is basic blindness skills. Using sleep shades as a strategy encourages consumers to minimize their dependence on vision and overcome the fear of blindness. Following the completion of the Basic Blindness Skills program, and the development of increased confidence; consumers receive additional training on the use of vision, if needed, to optimize the tools available.
  15. Will the referring staff be involved with the consumer's program while they are at CCRC?
    • Absolutely. The consumer and the Center Counselor will maintain close contact with the field staff throughout the consumer's stay at CCRC.

11.11 Training Services Available at CCRC

Consumers participate in training in one or more of the following programs:

The Confidence Building Training Program is a seven-week nonvisual training program where a consumer builds a knowledge and experience base to support the vocational goal of being independent and successful as a person who is blind.

The Proficiency Training Program is individualized training that builds skills based on the consumer's current capabilities and vocational goals. The consumer can choose from a variety of classes; the length of training is based on the consumer's needs.

The Career Focus Training Program is individualized training that prepares the consumer for employment by developing, implementing, and applying employment readiness skills and capabilities based on the consumer's personal career goals.

For additional information, see the

Residential Services

CCRC serves meals cafeteria-style to consumers at no cost. Special dietary arrangements can be made upon request. Consumers live in the residential hall of CCRC. All rooms accommodate two residents. Preference for residential services is given to consumers living outside the Austin area.


When consumers arrive for the CCRC Training Program, their transportation is coordinated by the referring field counselor through the Counseling Department. Consumers are expected to apply skills to travel independently if they take trips home during training.

Personal attendant services required by consumers must be arranged in advance of the consumer's admission date and coordinated with the CCRC Admissions coordinator.