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The Establishment of State Rehabilitation Councils

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The State Rehabilitation Advisory Council (SRAC) was established with identified functions with the passage of the 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act and the appointment of Oregon's Council by Governor Barbara Roberts on September 1, 1993.

The 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act changed the name of the SRAC and removed "advisory" and empowered the Council to be active policy partners with the VR Program.  The name was officially changed in 1998 to the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC).

State Rehabilitation Councils (SRC) were originally formed by the effective advocacy of people with disabilities committed to the success of the publicly funded Vocational Rehabilitation program.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first disability civil rights law to be enacted in the United States.  During the reauthorization process of the Rehabilitation Act of 1993, disability advocates persuaded Congress to create State Rehabilitation Councils (under Title 1, Section 105) as a mechanism to support people with disabilities receiving vocational rehabilitation services to take an active role in shaping the services they receive.  The majority of council members must be persons with disabilities, thus providing a powerful venue for the consumer voice in the public vocational rehabilitation program.

Originally the SRCs were established to “advise” the designated state agency regarding its performance in providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities. The passage of the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act shifted the focus from a State Rehabilitation Advisory Council, to its’ current role of policy partner. This significantly changed the role of the State Rehabilitation Council, giving the council independence, autonomy and a stronger advocacy role.  SRCs now work in partnership with the public vocational rehabilitation program on the effectiveness of its policies, programs and services in meeting the needs of persons with disabilities