|Volume 18, No. 2 - Spring 2010||
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Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired
Jack Holloway Communication/Outreach Coordinator Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired
The mission of the Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI) is “Working in partnership with Delawareans who are blind or visually impaired empowering them to be self-sufficient.”
DVI provides a holistic, integrated service approach—serving over 1,000 individuals annually. Services are available to blind and visually impaired consumers from birth to death through a variety of programs. The agency works in partnership with the consumer and the community to improve the safety, education, and employment of blind and visually impaired Delawareans. One important responsibility of the agency is maintaining the Registry of the Blind.
Title 31, Section 2108, of the Delaware Code mandates that physicians report legally blind persons to DVI for inclusion on the Registry. The agency utilizes the Registry to provide important information and services to blind and visually impaired citizens. The information is confidential and being included on the Registry does not mean that the consumer must utilize any of the available services. However, being listed on the Registry ensures more timely access to services when requested.
Persons on the Registry may be kept abreast of the latest in programs and services available through mailings such as the DVI Views newsletter available in a multitude of formats—large print, CD, Braille and audio. Maintaining an accurate, up-to-date Registry is an important tool to track trends in visual impairments and demographic data, and to target services in areas of highest need. Finally, maintaining a current Registry is critical to support requests for monies from state and federal funding sources for new or existing programs.
National data indicates that with a population of nearly 900,000, Delaware should have in excess of 8,000 citizens who meet agency eligibility criteria. However, in 2010, we have identified only 3,000 on the Registry. Accordingly, the agency is conducting an outreach to 175 ophthalmologists and optometrists statewide reminding them of the Registry law by supplying them with Eye Report forms and the latest in resource guides. Plans are underway to print new agency brochures and posters, and to develop outreach opportunities so that, in addition to service providers, the broader community becomes more aware of the agency and the services available.
For more information, please call 302-255-9800 or go online: www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dvi. ■