Exceptional Times is a monthly electronic newsletter produced by
 Families Helping Families of Jefferson and 
Louisiana Parent Training & Information Center
a project of FHF of Jefferson.

Exceptional Times 
October 2017
Medicaid Block Grants:  
Why YOU Should Care?

By:  Randall Webster Brown
Disability Self-Advocate

It's one of those rare occasions I step aside and give my pen to someone else.  Meet Randall Brown, self-advocate and guest writer for Exceptional Times.  Randall does an excellent job, maybe the best ever, in describing Medicaid and why we should be very worried about block grants. 
Ok, you all have endured my rants about Medicaid for a while now, and I appreciate that. I realize healthcare has become the most polarizing issue in this country and honestly most of us are confused and tuned out, at least on a Macro level (overall sense) of it.   It has occurred to me that I haven't done enough to explain what the program is and how it affects all of YOU!  So I'm gonna try my best to do that now. The fact is no one learns about it until they need it, or work with it, so don't feel bad... Just please hear me out. (Its gonna be long, but please read it).

Medicaid in its current structure was created in 1965, on the same day as the more popularly known, and widely liked Medicare program. (People OFTEN confuse the two). They are run by the same agency on the federal level but are two starkly different programs.

So in 1965, a socialized medicine system was born in our country (not in 2009), and although it was signed into law by a Democratic president (L. B. J.) it was generally supported and sustained by both parties, until 2009, with nobody having much issue with it (at least not politically). I mean who doesn't want to take care of their grandmother's and grandfather's, medical needs, right?

Fast forward to around 1971, and two things begin to happen in America.

Event 1:
Hospitals are allowed (by law) to turn from the nonprofit model, belonging (basically) to the local communities they served -  into the for-profit model that mainly moved ownership and management of these institutions to the ever larger, corporate conglomerate model headquartered in bigger cities and further removed from the original mission of medicine in America. That's what gives us all these nice, shiny hospital/medical buildings with pretty fountains in the lobby and the 200 dollar, a tablet, aspirin we generally see around America today.

I mean no offense to the current institutions, they do great work, and they are doing exactly as they are allowed to do (as does every other business) make money for their investors. Their mission simply has become more of a two-fold one today (insurance companies play a big role too) and who doesn't like a sunlit atrium as they wait for their test results or for their loved one to come back from that bunion surgery? Then there's...

Event 2:
Also around 1971 a guy you've never heard of (unless you are in the disability community, maybe), Named Ed Roberts  forms a group called ADAPT after they break themselves out of institutions in California. They all had significant disabilities and society, at the time, thought they couldn't handle life out here in the community with you "regular" folks. That's just the reality of it.  People (generally) were just not cool with disability then much at all.

Well, thanks to Ed, his friends, and many others, like Justin Dart, the local, state, and federal laws begin to change and because of their work the Independent Living Movement was born and begins to SLOWLY change people's minds about people with disabilities in America.  It should also be noted that all but one of our major national laws (regarding disability) were signed into law by Republican presidents (Nixon, Ford, and George H. W. Bush).  J. F. K. signed the DD Act in 1963, paving the way for every other major law to even happen, regarding disability in America. Obviously, they weren't completely heartless people.

Anyway, as the prison, um I mean institutional model begins to be seen as too restrictive and too costly a way for government to maintain and care for those of us with significant disabilities (not to mention inhumane) if you don't want to live in one... and who does? (A Christmas in Purgatory) Disability advocates begin to convince government to use a fraction of that money they had been using to run these massive state-run facilities, across the country, to instead use a small portion of those already existing Medicaid program dollars (insurance for the poor and those with disabilities, most whom are also poor because few have good job opportunities available to them, even today) to help create this cool set of programs called Home and Community Based Services.  This will allow for those with disabilities to be able to live at home, with their families, independently, or in a home setting in the community with YOU and still get the medical care and supports they need (like public ramps, wheelchairs, service dogs, automatic doors, and elevators). Stuff we all think just appears out of nowhere today, basically, because it should right,  who has time for stairs these days? So these new programs as they grew in popularity and scope have saved states tons of money and led to better social and life outcomes for us. I work and pay taxes today, for instance.

So all that money the states have saved because of these programs went completely into these new programs, right?   NOPE, a great majority of those dollars we saved our states through our advocacy, went back into the general fund of every state. They use that money for basic government stuff like roads, bridges, schools, big picture stuff we expect from our state government.  I'm not against that except that it does limit the size and availability of funds for our services going forward.  Meaning, we have to ask for them to be funded it's not automatic, or a given, that the state will or can fund them every year. Now and since it began the federal government gives a state roughly a ratio of 2 bucks for every 1 buck the state puts into its Medicaid program.  This is called a matching of funds system, and the states benefit greatly from this long-standing partnership. The Feds, in turn, get to set the basic standards for what each state must do to receive this money from them. It provides stability, for every party involved, and ensures that vital programs get, and can get more, needed funds when they decide they need them.  

Block grants will eliminate this partnership and give each state a large one time, payment (annually) and say ok, state X, do your thing. See you next year. Now, what do you suppose just using history as our guide, these state governments will do with these huge lumps of federal money, all at once, given to them with no stipulations or restrictions on how to use it?  Just a suggestion for its intended use. Keep in mind every state must balance their budgets, every year, and all of them, but one, struggle to get that done.

Every state is different, but majority rules (it's human nature) and the disability community is anything but a majority, of our society, so our issues aren't always easily or necessarily considered or even completely understood. Not out of malice, generally, but if you haven't lived or directly dealt with something, how can you naturally understand it? Even if you can understand, an issue or problem, if you don't have enough funds to help us how does that understanding or compassion really matter?   Also, what happens if a natural disaster or disease epidemic nobody could foresee happens that year? Not to mention, what will be the formula or criteria for deciding, exactly, how much a state's grant amount will be every year and how do we account for inflation in those formulas?

These are just some of the things that concern disability advocates across our nation right now as Congress decides, without any robust public debate, the future of our system. If you've read all this, and you are saying All well and good, but my premiums are through the roof and besides none of this stuff impacts me and mine, Thank God! Fine, but most nursing homes and long care term or rehabilitation programs are paid for not by Medicare, but with Medicaid dollars in every state, so you get paralyzed tomorrow it's Medicaid that will keep you alive and on the path to a sustained recovery. Is your grandmother in a nursing home? Chances are Medicaid is making her care there possible. Retiring soon? If you didn't save enough no matter how hard you worked, you will need Medicaid in your future.  Under a block grant system I sincerely hope it will be there for you, in your state, but as a person with a lifetime disability and 39 years experience with the system and human behavior  within it, I'm not willing to take that bet. If a state happens to run out of money before they run out of year the costs of any long-term care they need to provide those with serious medical conditions will be passed on to taxpayers.  Now imagine if we have to multiply those costs by as much as 50!  Translation, Higher not lower premium costs and higher taxes. I don't want these things to happen, and I hope they don't, but I don't want to gamble with your healthcare or mine.

Thanks for reading and before you return to your news source of choice, please consider some of these things I've said here as you watch events unfold. I love both of you who read it all. I sincerely respect everyone's perspective, but this is mine that I thoughtfully attempted to present to you as succinctly as a subject this complex and broad could be. I hope it helped you better understand the perspective of a person with a disability today.    
Join Us For a Great Day of FREE Family Fun!

Welcome FHF's newly elected members of our 
Board of Directors:

Ashley Bourg
Ashley is the mom of a child with a disability and very passionate about assisting individuals with disabilites and wants to bring her parenting aspect to the table to help support the organization.  Ashley is also the force behind the 22Q11 Support Group.

Debra Dixon
Debra recently retired from the LA Department of Education and will bring her knowledge and years of experience in special education to FHF.  She comes with a long history of working in policy, program development, and compliance.

Jedidiah Jackson
Jedidiah is the Director of Jefferson Community Action Programs and will bring his eight years of experience working in public service and government at both federal and local level to FHF.  His department is also over Head Start in Jefferson Parish and looks forward to expanding our relationship in new ways to reach families in the parish Head Start programs. 

Lisa Ledet
Lisa is the mom of a teenager with a disability, former teacher, and extremely passionate and enthusiastic about FHF and disability services. She looks forward to bringing a unique perspective to the board.

We Are Searching For a Few New Team Members!  

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is excited to announce we have a few openings for positions on newly acquired contracts.  If you are looking for an exciting and very rewarding career in the field of Parent to Parent Support - you might be the perfect person for one of these new positions at Families Helping Families.  

Do you:
  • Believe in inclusion and that individuals with disabilities are valued members of society and has every right to attend school, work, live, and play in their communities with typical peers?
  • Have an unwavering belief that individuals with disabilities should live in their own home, with their family, or in the community and not in institutions? 
If you can answer yes to both questions above, then you just might be the perfect candidate for FHF.

We are  looking for dynamic individuals that want to join our team. The perfect candidates will have a good base of knowledge of special education laws and bulletins, belief in inclusion, home and community-based services and ideally a parent of a child receiving special education services.  Minimum requirements include Excellent Microsoft Office skills; great written and verbal communication skills, highly organized, reliable transportation with minimum state insurance requirements, pass a drug test, and ability to work some nights and weekends, as needed.   

Our team is very hard working but finds time to have some occasional fun. If you are interested in these new opportunities, email your resume and cover letter to Laura S. Nata at lsnata@fhfjefferson.org.  Tell her why you are the perfect person to join our team. 

Check out these other great articles we've provided for you this month: 
Upcoming Trainings 

Facebook Live Mini-Trainings for October 

FHF Facebook Live Mini Trainings are short interactive trainings to give you the information you need to know now. Topics will be on hot subjects at the moment, interactive, and maybe even with a little added fun thrown in there occasionally. No registration is required.  You just need to sign onto Facebook and go to our Facebook Page .  So like us on Facebook and we'll share our LIVE sessions with you!

Bullying:  The Tools You Need to Stop It - Thursday, October 12, 2017, 12:00 pm:  October is Bullying Prevention Month and we want to make sure everyone is aware of the support and guidance provided by the state and US Department of Education.  Join us for this very informative training on what you can do if your child has a disability and being bullied at school.  

Surviving Halloween - Monday, October 16, 2017, 7:00 pm:  Halloween is an exciting time for children, but often can cause lots of stress for children with disabilities and parents.  Costumes, masks, candy-overload and allergies can cause major sensory issues, sugar highs, and serious health issues.  Join us in  talking about how to survive Halloween.

Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences at Your Child's School - Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 11:00 am: During the academic year parents are invited to come in for regular parent-teacher conferences. If you have received a note advising you that your child's teacher wants to schedule a meeting with you, don't panic. This is the first step to build a strong partnership between parents and teachers, whether your child is having a positive or negative experience in school.  
You may wonder what to expect, and what is expected of you. We have some tips for you to prepare:
  1.  Tips about how you can prepare for the conference
  2.  Suggested questions and topics to discuss
  3.  Tips about how to make the most of the conference
This information can be applied to students in elementary, middle, and high schools. 

 In-Person Trainings in October by FHF 

FHF offers monthly in-person trainings on hot topics that can be best addressed in person.  These are topics that require more time and allows for more participant interactions.  Let us know if there is an in-person training you'd like to have us do.

Louisiana D epartment of Education's Options for Resolution of Special Education Disputes - Friday, October 27, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001:  This presentation will examine the dispute resolution options for children with exceptionalities, and identify some of the most common/frequent dispute issues.

Presenter:  Parris Taylor, Attorney, Louisiana Department of Education, Legal Department

Participants should be able to navigate through the dispute process better, specifically by using some of the less adversarial dispute resolution options.  These options generally lead to better outcomes and relationships between parents and educators, save time, are more cost effective, and require fewer human resources than a due process hearing and/or litigation. Click here for more information!

To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

 Webinars in October by FHF 

FHF and LaPTIC webinars are designed for busy people that doesn't have the time to attend an in-person training.  Webinars are just 60 minutes long and offers time for questions and answers.  In additional to our staff, webinars frequently have knowledgable professionals presenting on topics they are considered specialist in.  Don't  see what you need?  Let us know and we'll do our best to bring you what you need. 

Related Services - Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: Children with disabilities are entitled to special education and related services. The IEP must contain a statement of the special education, related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child. Participants will learn several critical elements used to determine what related services a student needs.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

IEP vs Section 504 Plans: Which Is Right for My Child? - Thursday, October 5, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Children with disabilities who qualify for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) receive services under an IEP plan. However, some children with disabilities do not receive services under an IEP but are instead served under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Participants will learn the similarities as well as differences between the IDEA and Section 504.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Understanding the Evaluation Process in Special Education - Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: You've noticed your child is not keeping up with the rest of the class and you suspect your child may have a learning disability. If you feel your child's needs aren't being met in the general education setting, he or she may be eligible to receive special education services. In this presentation, you will learn about the evaluation process in special education.
Questions like, when can I ask for an evaluation, what is the process and what are my child's rights. Join us and learn all you need to know about getting the evaluation process started for your child.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Know Your Rights: Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools - This presentation outlines guidance issued by ED on December 28, 2016, to help parents, students, local educational agencies (LEA), state educational agencies (SEA), charter schools, and others better understand the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools under Federal laws.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: After High School - Thursday, October 12, 2017, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm On today's topic Section 504 and Transition we will Bridge from High School to Postsecondary Services. In this webinar we will help you to understand the ITP process as it pertains to postsecondary education and other related services. We will also provide an overview of programs and resources available to your child entering postsecondary education or employment.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Back to School Basics: The IEP - Friday, October 13, 2017, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Being a parent is the most wonderful and hardest job in the world. If you have a child with special needs, your job is no less wonderful, but it can be very challenging. Your child's specialized education is probably an area of great interest to you.
As a child with a disability, he or she may be eligible for special education services in school. If so, then it will be important for you to learn:
· More about special education;
· How special education services can support your child; and
· What is your roll in the special education process?
Join us so we can bring clarity to the education maze.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Procedural Safeguards - Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: Since the first federal law dealing with the education of students with disabilities in public schools was passed, legal rights for parents has been an important part of the law. These legal rights for parents are generally referred to as "procedural safeguards."
The purpose of this webinar is to let parents know that they have legal rights and to help them understand what these rights are.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Autism 101:  From Diagnosis to Treatment - Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 am: This course will provide participants with an overview of the diagnostic criteria for autism, common behavioral challenges, and evidence-based interventions.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Section 504 and Transition: The Bridge from High School to Postsecondary Services - Thursday, October 19, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:00 am:  In this webinar, we will assist you to understand the ITP process as it pertains to postsecondary education and other related services. We will also provide an overview of programs and resources available to your child entering postsecondary education or employment.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Anatomy of an IEP - Thursday, October 26, 2017, 10:30 am - 11:30 am: Like a biology student, this presentation will dissect the parts of the IEP document and examine their functions individually, learning their meanings and application. It will provide constructive and practical tips to help create an IEP that supports all of the student's needs. We will explore the parent's role in the IEP process and learn the basics of their child's right to special education services, the process of developing special education plans, and the parent's role.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

View our full calendar of events here. 

 E-Learning Mini Modules by FHF 

e-Learning Mini Modules are formatted for all devices so even if you are at a ball game, dance practice or waiting for your dinner to arrive in a restaurant, you can log onto our website and watch one of our e-Learning Mini Modules in approximately 10 minutes. That's right - you only need about 10 minutes!  The following e-Learning Mini Modules are currently available:

  • What do you do when the school calls to pick up your child?  
  • What transportation services are available to my child with a disability?
  • How can I prepare for my child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting?Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Basics
  • What is Least Restricted Environment (LRE)?
We hope these are useful to you and happy to be able to add additional ways for families to learn relevant information they need in to get their child the most appropriate education they deserve.     Click here  to go to our website and learn more about the e-Learning  Modules!

Trainings & Webinars by Others

Our School is a Sandbox:  Let's Collaborate and Work Together, Thursday, October 5, 2017, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Presented by Louisiana Austism Spectrum and Related Disabilities (LASARD):  We all work with talented and diverse groups of people.  When we work together as a team and true collaboration occurs our solutions are of  high quality.  This webinar will focus on the foundations of collaboration such as communication skills, structure of teams, and problem solving within a team.  Participants will leave with tools such as checklists for effective team work and efficient meetings in addition to coach cards for team roles and responsibilities.  This webinar is geared toward educators and family members seeking more information on the foundations of school collaboration.  Come learn how to play well with others through collaboration of schools. Register here.

La.  Developmental Disabilities Council 2017 Conference - Raising Expectations:  Employment for All!  Thursday, November 9, 2017, 8 am - 3:30 pm:
National experts, Allan I. Bergman and Dr. Steven  Hunt, will be sharing information on supporting individuals with severe disabilities in competitive employment.  More information about the conference speakers, registration costs and hotel reservations can be found on the Council's website

Do you have an idea for a training?  Is there something you need that isn't being offered?  Share your suggestions and ideas for training topics with us.  

Teens & Young Adults  with Disabilities:
This section will feature our trainings and resources specific to individuals between the ages of 16 - 26 years old.  Of course, others are welcome to check them out too!

- FHF October Webinars for Teens & Young Adults - 

Job Hunting:  Step 2 - How to Find a Job - Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm:  Most people get their first jobs through their parents or someone else they know. This shouldn't be any different for you. Your parents, brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends all either work somewhere or know people working. This webinar will give you tips on how to find jobs and getting help from your family and friends.

-  Resources for Teens & Young Adults -

A great article on dealing with low self-esteem and self-sabotaging behaviors in the workplace.  What is your role in the workplace and how does self-esteem effect it. Read this article to get a better understanding. It is short and to the point. 

Self-Esteem Journal
Positive journaling has been found to help improve feelings of well-being and self-esteem. With this self-esteem worksheet,  you will be asked to record three daily questions related to your successes, good qualities, and positive experiences. This worksheet is great for those who have difficulty generating ideas for positive experiences to journal about.

Short Term Goal Setting for Children
An easy chart and narrative on how to set up a short term goal setting chart. Self-esteem comes with accomplishments, completing the items in the short term goal chart can hep increase your self-esteem. 
People often use the phrase "self-esteem." But what exactly is it? When you value yourself, you're more likely to stand up for yourself and ask for the help you deserve. When you're confident and secure about who you are, you're able to face and manage your learning challenges. This is a great article on how to improve self-esteem when you have learning and attention issues

Hot  off the Press

The Louisiana Department of Education is partnering with the national, non-profit organization America Achieves to launch the Louisiana Educator Voice Fellowship for 21st Century Learning. The Fellowship is an opportunity for the State's most forward-thinking educators to learn about the rapidly changing economy and implications for students, and to pair this learning with their educational expertise to create a new career readiness course for Louisiana public schools.

A new school year means a new grade level, new teachers, and new learning goals for your child. This guide provides you, as a parent, with a quick overview of what you can expect to see in your child's classroom this year, how you can engage with his or her teacher(s) to ensure your child is on track throughout the school year, and what resources are available to support learning at home.

Strategies to build a strong foundation in early grades for long time success.  

The new Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law Dec. 10, 2015, rolls back much of the federal government's big footprint in education policy, on everything from testing and teacher quality to low-performing schools. And it gives new leeway to states in calling the shots.  That's a big change from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which ESSA replaced and updated.   The  Every Student Succeeds Act  takes full effect in the 2017-18 school year.

CDC's new resource, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices, highlights seven science-based strategies that states and communities can use to prevent suicide 
Links You Want To Check Out

If you've ever done an internet search on a topic, you know first-hand how difficult it is to sort through the thousands of links that come up with the search. Below is a list of some of our favorite links for the month that others have shared with us. We hope you find them as informative as we did.

Bullying Prevention -  October is Bullying Prevention month.  Below are links to some of our favorite websites that provide great informatio on bullying prevention: 

Teal Pumpkin Project -   Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. Many traditional Halloween treats aren't safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!

Transition Guide to Post-Secondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities  - The purpose of this document is to assist students and youth with disabilities to achieve their post-school and career goals. 

My Advice On Job Hunting For People With Disabilities - Employment for those with disabilities  - Here are 6 pieces of  advice for  locating & applying for your dream  job .

Halloween Challenges for Kids with Sensory Processing Issues and How to Help - Halloween can be tough for kids with  sensory processing issues . From uncomfortable costumes to sudden noises and spooky music, triggers may be hiding in unexpected places! But with a little planning and creativity, you can sidestep Halloween's potential problems and make it a fun experience for your child.

Medication SafetyGiving kids medicine safely can be complicated. And many parents feel the pressure when a young child needs certain medications, knowing that giving too much or too little could cause serious side effects.

Report: Less Than 1 in 5 with Disabilities Employed -  An annual government snapshot of employment among Americans with disabilities finds some signs of improvement even as this population continues to struggle finding work. The U.S. Department of Labor said that 17.9 percent of Americans with disabilities were employed in 2016. 

Why your business should employ individuals with autism -  Diversity-focused hiring programs are increasingly helping companies to widen their search when hiring new talent. This includes hiring individuals with autism.

Extensive Lending Library

Families Helping Families has an extensive lending library. Books, dvds and more are here, free of charge, for families and professionals to check out. You are welcome to come and browse our library during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you cannot make it into our office, you can see a complete list of our inventory and any item can be mailed to you. Just  click here to see a complete list of items in our lending library. 

Before you buy it - check to see if we have it!
Success Story of the Month

Every day we hear wonderful things about the work we do for individuals in the community. One of the things that keep us going daily are the success stories we hear.

The De Leon family recently received an autism  diagnosis for their 5-year-old son, Mike. The  family was having a hard time navigating the  system and finding services, so they hired  someone to help them with this task, but it soon became  too expensive for the family.   Edilma, Mike's mother, came to us after Mike's  pediatrician referred her to FHF. 

Meetings You 
Can Attend:

The following meetings are open to the public.  Before attending, we suggest you confirm the meeting has not been cancelled or resheduled.

Coordinated System of Care - State Governance Board
Monday, October 2, 2017 - 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Iberville Building - Room 127
627 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, LA  70802

Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority (JPHSA) Board Meeting
Monday, October 2, 2017 - 6 pm
JPHSA Office
3616 S. I-10 Service Road W., Suite 200, Metairie, LA

JPHSA Community Dialogues on Addictive Disorders
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Westbank  Regional Library - Conference Room
2751 Manhattan  Blvd., Harvey, LA  70058
The Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority Board of Directors invite you to their Addictive Disorder Community Dialogue.  All individuals and families in Jefferson Parish impacted by addictive disorders are encouraged to attend.

Task Force on Coordination of Medicaid Fraud Detection & Prevention Initiatives
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 10:00 am
State Capitol - House Committee Meeting Room 5
If you need further information, please contact Task Force Staff: Liz Martin, Executive Assistant to Legislative Auditor Phone: (225) 339-3839 / Fax: (225) 339-3870

Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 1:00 pm
Claiborne Building - Thomas Jefferson Room - 1-136 
1201 N. 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA  
This meeting can be live streamed. Please click here    for directions on accessing live streamed meetings. 

State Independent Living Council
Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Friday, October 6, 2017 - 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
American Red Cross,  4655 Sherwood Common Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70816.

Advisory Council on Student Behavior and Discipline
Friday, October 6, 2017 - 10:00 am
Claiborne Building - Thomas Jefferson Room - 1-136
1201 N. 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA

JPHSA Community Dialogues on Developmental Disabilities
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Eastbank  Regional Library - Conference Room
4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA  70001
The Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority Board of Directors invite you to their Developmental Disabilities Community Dialogue.  All individuals and families in Jefferson Parish impacted by developmental disabilities are encouraged to attend. 

BESE Committee Meetings
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - Time to be Determined
Claiborne Building, 1201 N. 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana Purchase Room 1-100
On the morning of the first day of scheduled BESE meetings each month, a direct link to live streaming of the BESE meetings will be available. 

BESE Meeting
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - Time to be Determined
Claiborne Building, 1201 N. 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana Purchase Room 1-100
On the morning of the first day of scheduled BESE meetings each month, a direct link to live streaming of the BESE meetings will be available. 

Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council Committee Meetings
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Embassy Suites Baton Rouge, 4914 Constitution Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council Meeting
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Embassy Suites Baton Rouge, 4914 Constitution Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC)
Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Embassy Suites Baton Rouge, 4914 Constitution Ave., Baton Rouge, LA  70808
For more information, contact  Kandy Baker (225) 219-2933 or toll free at 1-800-737-2958. E-mail:  kbaker@lwc.la.gov .

Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD) Board Meeting
Friday, October 27, 2017 - 12:30 pm
Algiers Behavioral Health Clinic - Board Meeting Room 
3100 General DeGaulle Drive, New Orleans, LA  70114

Jefferson Parish Development Disabilities Regional Advisory Committee Meeting
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority (JPHSA)
5001 Westbank Expressway, Marrero, LA  70072

This section will give you information on events FHF of Jefferson will be attending, waiver waiting list info, other community events you might be interested in attending and anything else that doesn't fit in one of the above sections.

Jefferson Parish Recreation Department & Special Olympics Basketball - Ree Alario Center, 6900 Saints Drive, Metairie, LA  70003.  League starts October 1, 2017. Contact Lesley Dunn for schedule and costs at 504.736.6999 or email ldunn@jeffparish.net.

Gold Awards Nominations Open -  Nominations are being accepted for the Governor's Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities (GOLD) Awards. Submissions for nominations are due by Monday, October 2, 2017. The Governor's Office of Disability Affairs will host the GOLD Award ceremony on November 15, 2017, at the Old State Capital in Baton Rouge. More information can be found here.

Jefferson Parish Recreation Department & Special Olympics Bocce - Ree Alario Center, 6900 Saints Drive, Metairie, LA  70003.  League starts October 6, 2017. Contact Lesley Dunn for schedule and costs at 504.736.6999 or email ldunn@jeffparish.net.

Dance for Children with Special Needs - New dance classes session starts October 7th to December 16th, Loyola Communications/Music Building, Room 106, Saturdays from 12 to 1 pm.  Studies have shown that dance class help develop motor skills, body awareness, creative thinking, social skills, and confidence.  It's also a fun activity that lets kids showcase their creativity and individuality.  Open to children 5 to 13 years old.  Please call 504.865.2637 or email prep@loyno.edu to learn more information and cost of the program. 

11th Annual Bowl-a-Thon by Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans - Sunday, October 8, 2017, 1 to 4 pm, Rock n Bowl, 3016 S. Carrolton Ave., New Orleans, LA  70118.  Come join our friends in raising money for a great cause, while enjoying an afternoon of bowling.  For additional information, please click here

Customer Appreciation Tailgate Event - Thursday, October 12, 2017, 10 am to 4 pm, Superior Van & Mobility, 1901 Westbank Expressway, Harvey, LA  70058.  Join FHF at Superior for their 1st Annual event where you'll enjoy great food, drinks, giveaways, incredible deals, and the latest wheelchair accessible vehicles, lifts, & driving aids.  You might even win $1,000!  To RSVP call 1.877.374.6306.

Tulane-Special Olympics Co-Ed Unified Flag Football League - Brown Field at Tulane Uptown Campus, 31 McAlister Dr., New Orleans, LA  70118.  Join Tulane and Special Olympics for this half-field co-ed flag football league.  Teams will be made up of a mix of Tulane students and Special Olympic athletes.  Players of all skills levels are welcome. Free uniforms will be provided.  If you have any questions, please either specialolympicsnola@gmail.com or call Gabe Feldman at 202.441.6280.   Spots are limited so click here to register now!

Tips and Tools for Parenting Toddlers - Friday, October 20, 2017, 10 am to 1 pm, Clearview Room at the Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA.  Come by and visit FHF at this event and learn about your toddlers growth, eating, health & more.  A light lunch will be served.  Reservations are required.  There will be fun activities, community resources, door prizes, diaper giveaways and special guests.  This event is being put on by Crescent City WIC Services, Inc. and Healthy Blue.  

FHF Family Fun Day at We Rock the Spectrum - Saturday, October 21, 2017, 10 am to 1 pm, The Esplanade Mall, 1401 West Esplanade Ave., Kenner, LA .  Join us at the newest indoor playground in the Greater New Orleans area.  We Rock the Spectrum was created with children on the autism spectrum in mind.  It's a sensory friendly play area that welcomes kids up to 12 years old to have fun.  FHF is renting the place for 3 hours and invites everyone to come try it out.  You can do rock climbing, zip-lining, dress-up, arts & crafts and more.  Click here to learn more.  Healthy Blue is sponsoring this event. 

Audubon Zoo - Sensory Sunday - Sunday, October 22, 2017, 9:30 - 10:30 am,  Come on down to the Audubon Zoo's Fall Sensory Sunday in the education building at the zoo! It is free to any family with a  child with a disability.  Come on out for animal encounters, tons of sensory activities, crafts, and more. The theme this month is fall camping. Participants are also welcome to enter the zoo at 10:00 with free admission.

Buddy Walk by Down Syndrome Association of Greater New Orleans - Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9 am to 3 pm, The Shrine on Airline, Baby Cakes Field, 6100 Airline Highway, Metairie, LA.  Stop by the FHF booth and say hi to our staff.  The Buddy Walk is a family fun event and fundraiser designed to celebrate individuals with Down syndrome.  Join them for a jambalaya cook-off, live music, dozens of games, crafts, snacks, and so much more.  To register or donate, click here

Special Needs Day at Audubon Zoo - Saturday, November 4, 2017, 10 am to 2 pm, Come out an visit us at this fun annual event.  Individuals with disabilities and  up to 3 guest can get in zoo for only $3.00 each.  

Home Modification Expo - November 6, 2017, 9:30 am to 12:00 noon , Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie, LA  70001.  Quality Support Coordination is holding a Home Modification Expo where participants, families, and providers can get information from the many contractors that are approved for the Children's Choice and New Opportunities Waivers.   Allied Health Professionals will be there to evaluate the difference between Durable Medical Equipment and Home Modifications and which would work best for you.  You can register by calling 504.247.0592, extension 2 or click here to register. 

iCan Bike - Bike Camp for Individuals with Disabilities is coming to LaPlace the week of November 18th.  The YMCA is bringing this popular program that  uses a fleet of adapted bicycles, a specialized instructional program, and a trained staff to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a bike.  To learn more about how to participate as a rider or volunteer e-mail: amys@ymcaneworleans.org.

The Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities provides supports and services through a variety of locations throughout the state to support the dignity, quality of life and security in the everyday lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, acting as the Single Point of Entry.

Waiver Registry Dates - As of September 30, 2017, the following dates have been reached on the waiver registry, a.k.a. The waiting list. 
New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) - 8/18/2004
Children's Choice Waiver - 6/20/2006
Supports Waiver - 02/19/2015
Not sure where you are on the registry? Call 1.800.364.7828

LaCAN (Louisiana Council's Advocacy Network) -  LaCAN advocates for service systems that support children and adults with disabilities to live in their own homes and be fully-included and participating members of their local schools and communities.
Click here to join!  

#ThinkABILITY 2018 is right around the corner.  #ThinkABILITY  is a month-long social media campaign to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities.   Check out our #ThinkABILITY 2017 stories.  Who do you know that we could feature next?  Is it you?  Is it your child?  Contact Bebe Bode at bbode@fhfjefferson.org to share your story. 

FHF Team

Click here for a list of  Staff  or  Board Members

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is your one stop shop for disability information. We are the only family resource center for individuals with all disabilities, all ages and their families in Jefferson Parish. We offer services across the lifespan.

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is proud to celebrate our 25th year providing support to families throughout the State of Louisiana!  
 Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center (LaPTIC) is a program  of Families Helping Families of Jefferson and a grant from the US Department of Education; Office of Special Education (OSEP) as Louisiana's official and only statewide federally funded Parent Training   and Information Center. 
The Mission of Families Helping Families is to educate and 
connect children and adults with disabilities and their families to resources, services & supports to attend school, work and thrive 
in their communities

FHF of Jefferson 
201 Evans Road, Bldg. 1, Suite 100
Harahan, LA  70123
800.766.7736 (toll free)