Specialized Services, Blind and Visually Impaired and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Structure

The stated purposes of this Division are to:

  • Assist persons who are blind and visually impaired and deaf and hard of hearing in gaining competitive employment.
  • Enlarge economic opportunities for persons who are blind or visually impaired and deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Enhance the independence and self-sufficiency of blind and visually impaired and deaf and hard-of-hearing persons.

Blind Field Services

Blind Field Services is a statewide network of Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind and Counselor Teachers of the Blind. This network was established and became operational on July 1, 2003. The primary purpose in designing and implementing this statewide network was to bring all of the primary counselors serving the blind and visually impaired under a team of Rehabilitation Supervisors and an Administrator who understand the issues facing blind and visually impaired consumers in the areas of employment and independent living. The goal of Blind Field Services is to increase employment outcomes for consumers in California who are blind and visually impaired by utilizing a team approach and by maintaining a core group of counselors and Supervisors who understand the barriers our consumers face in achieving meaningful employment and independent living.

The Administrator of Blind Field Services provides guidance in interpretation of State and Federal regulations and policies. All Departmental staff in Blind Field Services have had training on the unique needs of this disability population and have specialized knowledge on issues relating to achieving employment and empowering consumers to become as independent as possible. Consumers served under the Blind Field Services network can access the full range of services available under California's vocational rehabilitation program.

More information is available on our web site under Blind Field Services.

To contact this section, e-mail them at blindinfo@dor.ca.gov, or telephone them at (916) 558-5480 (Voice) or (916) 558-5482 (TTY).

Orientation Center for the Blind (OCB)

OCB is a residential program where DOR consumers receive intensive training to offset or overcome the disabling effects of blindness or severe visual impairment. The mission of OCB is to provide comprehensive training to enable students to effectively prepare themselves for independent living and employment. Training includes orientation and mobility, activities of daily living and communication skills such as Braille and the use of computers and other assistive technology.

More information is available on our web site under Orientation Center for the Blind.

To contact this section, e-mail them at ocbinfo@dor.ca.gov, or telephone them at (510) 559-1208 (Voice).

Business Enterprises Program

The Business Enterprises Program (BEP) provides training and employment for persons who are legally blind in the management of food service and vending facilities on public and private properties throughout the State. The BEP promotes and develops new locations in public and private buildings for vending and food service operations. Other services include the design and installation of new facilities, remodeling of older facilities, training of new vendors, consultation to all vendors to improve profitability of their businesses and general program oversight.

More information on BEP is available on our web site under Business Enterprises Program.

To contact this section, e-mail them at bepinfo@dor.ca.gov, or telephone them at (916) 558-5345 (Voice).

California Vendors Policy Committee

The California Vendors Policy Committee or "CVPC" is the biennially elected committee of blind vendors fully representative of all blind vendors in the Business Enterprises Program. Some of the Committee's responsibilities are to participate in major administrative decisions, and policy and program development; receive and transmit grievances of vendors and assist such vendors at their request; participate in the development and administration of a transfer and promotion system for vendors; participate in developing training and retraining programs and sponsor meetings and instructional conferences for vendors.

To contact this section, telephone them at (916) 558-5380 (Voice) or (916) 558-5382 (TTY).

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

This Section provides additional expertise and support to consumers and rehabilitation counselors in the field. Section staff develops, implements and coordinates specialized rehabilitation programs designed to serve the unique needs of consumers with a wide range of hearing impairments. The staff participate in district services evaluations through its review of consumer cases; assist individual counselors, as requested, in effective case management; and train the staff of the Department in improving the delivery of services to this population.

More information is available on our web site under Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.

To contact this section, e-mail them at dhhs@dor.ca.gov, or telephone them at (916) 558-5670 (Voice) or (916) 558-5673 (TTY).