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DARS - Division for Blind Services . Program Information . Who are We?. State rehabilitation agency under the Department of Assistive and rehabilitative Services (DARS). We are 1 of 12 regions throughout the State of Texas.

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who are we
Who are We?

State rehabilitation agency under the Department of Assistive and rehabilitative Services (DARS).

We are 1 of 12 regions throughout the State of Texas.

The Harlingen Region is comprised of 3 offices located in Harlingen, McAllen and Laredo (all the way up to Eagle Pass).


Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

DARS - Division for Blind Services (DBS)

work in partnership with all Texans regardless of age who are blind or visually impaired to:

  • help our consumers receive the training needed to be successful in school, college and beyond.
  • get high quality jobs
  • live independently
  • Visually impaired – 20/70 or worse with best correction or 30 degrees or less in both eyes
  • Legally blind – 20/200 or worse with best correction or 20 degrees or less in both eyes
  • Totally Blind – no vision at all in both eyes



DBS envisions a Texas where people who are blind or visually impaired enjoy the same opportunities as other Texans to pursue independence and employment.

Our mission is to work in partnership with Texans who are blind or visually impaired to reach their goals.


Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery and Development Program (BCVDDP)

  • Transition Services
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Criss Cole Rehabiliation Center
  • Independent Living

Independent Living Services

Eligibility: adults with a visual impairment that is a substantial impediment to independent living

  • Most services are geared toward adults with severe vision loss who are no longer able to work
  • Provide specialized services to help consumers avoid institutionalization
  • Services also include: information and referral, adjustment to blindness, special resources related to vision loss, referral to community resources, small group training, one-on-one training in the home and peer support development.

Blind Children’s Vocational Discovery

& Development Program (BCVDD)

  • Children between the ages of birth and 24 years who live in Texas and have vision impairment are eligible for services
  • Emphasis on serving children who are permanently and severely visually impaired
  • Services include (1) counseling for children and their parents, (2) educational support, (3) information and referral, (4)independent living training, (5) developmental equipment.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Programs

Eligibility: Adults who have a visual impairment that is a barrier to employment; who can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome; and who require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, get, or retain gainful employment.

There are a variety of services available, including:

  • Assessments
  • Rehabilitation Teaching
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Counseling, Guidance, Referral
  • Physical and Mental Restoration
  • Reader Services
  • Transportation
  • Technological Aids and Devices
  • Vocational Training
  • Employment Assistance



CCRC's mission is to work in partnership with consumers and staff toward the accomplishment of employment and independent living goals.  CCRC provides evaluation, training and related services in residential and community settings.


Persons who are blind have the right to actively participate in employment, community and society.  We are committed to providing assessment and training services for each individual in a manner that promotes the integration of basic blindness skills into everyday life.  We will actively support and encourage consumers as they strive to achieve competence and confidence in reaching their work and independent living goals.


Transition Services

As part of the VR program, the Transition Program assists young people who are blind or visually impaired and at least 10 years old and under the age of 24 to make an effective transition from secondary school to adult life and the world of work.

  • The program prepares these young consumers who may have

multiple disabilities to make informed decisions about their future goals.

    • Typically, services include vocational awareness, career planning, and

coordination with academic counselors. Services are tailored to individual

needs, interests, and preferences of the student.


Business Enterprises of Texas (BET)

  • Eligibility: Adult, U.S. Citizen, Texas resident who is legally blind

and a participant in the vocational rehabilitation program

  • BET develops and maintains business-management opportunities for

legally blind persons to operate food service, cafeteria, snack bar, and

vending facilities located on state, federal, and private properties.

      • provides food service /vending management training
      • Provide ongoing assistance to managers
      • Benefits to managers includes annual payments for purchase of

health insurance, retirement and vacation pay


Blindness Education, Screening and Treatment (BEST)

The BEST Program assists uninsured adult Texas residents with payment for urgently needed eye medical treatment.

  • The intent of the BEST Program is to prevent blindness and the

program serves qualified individuals with:

diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, detached retina, or any other eye disease determined to be an urgent medical necessity by both the applicant's eye doctor and the DBS ophthalmologic consultant or designee.

  • The BEST Program is funded with voluntary donations when Texans renew

their driver's licenses or DPS-issued identification cards.


How to contact DBS

For information on any Division for Blind Services program

or to apply for services, contact any DBS office located throughout Texas.

For a list of offices use this link http://www.dars.state.tx.us/dbs/DBSoffices.asp

or call 1-800-628-5115

or write 4800 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 340

Austin, Texas 78756-3178

or e-mail DBSinfo@dars.state.tx.us

To contact the Deafblind Services Unit directly email deafblindservices@dars.state.tx.us or call (512) 377-0566.


Myths – Truth or Fiction

  • The cost of an accommodation for someone who is blind or visually impaired is less than $500.00?
    • 46% of employers report that accommodations needed by employees cost absolutely nothing.
    • If there is a cost, it’s usually a one-time expenditure of $500.00
  • Is there a significant cost to my organization’s Worker’s Compensation and health care increase?
    • Most large and medium sized businesses report no significant increase in costs.
  • Is there a tax incentive for hiring a person who is blind or visually impaired?
    • Yes – WOTC (Work Opportunity Tax Credit) and more information can be obtained directly through the Texas Workforce Centers.