It's Who We Are...It's What We Do!!
 We are a family directed resource center for all individuals with disabilities and their families.  
Providing information, referral, and support through a network of services and assistance throughout Region 7.

Serving: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, Webster Parishes
LDH Issues Emergency Rules Regarding OCDD Waiver Rate Increase and Direct Support Worker Wage Floor
Article retrieved from: LaDDC News


On September 20, 2021, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), including the Bureau of Healthcare Financing (Medicaid) and the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD), promulgated emergency rules related to the implementation of a rate increase for OCDD Home and Community Based Waiver services provided by a direct support worker (DSW) and a wage floor requirement for DSWs. Effective October 1, 2021:

• Rates for all service units provided by a DSW in the Children’s Choice, New Opportunities, Residential Options and Supports Waivers will be increased by $2.50, and
• The minimum hourly wage floor paid to DSWs shall be $9.00 per hour. The emergency rules also include information about the department’s plan to audit for compliance and possible sanctions or penalties for providers who do not comply with the new rules.

To view the emergency rules, please click here. Persons interested in submitting written public comment or have other inquiries regarding the emergency rules may contact:

Bureau of Health Services Financing C/O Patrick Gillies
P.O. Box 91030
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-9030






State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC)

Parent invitation

What is the SICC? The State Interagency Coordinating Council is a federally and state mandated independent board that functions under the Governor’s Office of Community Programs in an advisory capacity to EarlySteps: Louisiana’s Early Intervention System.

Federal legislation for infants and toddlers with special needs and their families, Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), calls for a comprehensive system of coordinated early intervention services. In Louisiana, this system is called EarlySteps: Louisiana’s Early Intervention System. EarlySteps is an interagency system administered through the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities. The Governor designated DHH as the Lead Agency in 2004.

Membership: The Governor appoints members of the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) to represent designated agencies and stakeholders. Our membership is as follows:

All council members are appointed by the governor and represent the population of Louisiana. 

The SICC membership is composed of : (1) at least 20% parents of children with disabilities; (2) at least 20% public or private providers of early intervention services; (3) at least one member from the state legislature; (4) at least one member representing personnel preparation; (5) at least one representative from each of the state agencies involved in the provision of, or payment for, early intervention services; (6) at least one member from the state education agency responsible for preschool services; (7) at least one member from the agency responsible for the state governance of health insurance; (8) at least one member representing a Head Start agency or program in the state; (9) at least one member representing the agency responsible for child care; (10) other members selected by the Governor. 

Why Do We Need Parent Representatives? Your valuable input preserves the integrity of our Early Intervention system. The SICC would like to invite parents across Louisiana to apply for the position of parent representatives on the SICC. We will be accepting applications from all parents who meet the following parent representative requirements as per our statute:

·        You are a parent of an infant(s) or toddler(s) with special needs or children with special needs age twelve or younger
·        You are a parent with knowledge of or experience with programs for infants and toddlers with special needs. 
·        You parent of an infant or toddler with special needs or a child with special needs age six or younger

To learn more about the role of the SICC, please visit our website (click on the Resources tab) for orientation materials: http://gov.state.la.us/SICC

To apply, visit the Boards and Commission website and click on State Interagency Coordinating Council. https://wwwprd.doa.louisiana.gov/boardsandcommissions/home.cfm

For more information, contact Monica Stampley, EarlySteps Community Outreach Specialist, at monica.stampley@la.gov

 
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Strategies When You Disagree with the IEP Team: How to Document Concerns, Record Meetings, and Use Letters and Emails to Clarify Your Position
By Pete Wright and Pam Wright
Article retrieved from: Wright’s Law

"Our daughter made little progress after years of special education. Her IEPs contain vague subjective goals. How can we get the IEP team to address our concerns and provide her with a free appropriate public education that meets her needs? "

The school is responsible for providing your child with a free appropriate education, defined as an education from which your child receives meaningful educational benefit.
In due process cases, schools try to defend IEPs with vague goals by claiming that the parent "fully participated" in the IEP process and agreed to these vague goals and objectives.
The bottom line is that the school - not the parent - is responsible for providing the child with an appropriate education. When a school doesn't accept their responsibility in a due process hearing, they try to shift the responsibility onto others. The easiest person to blame is the parent.

If the school offers an IEP with goals that cannot be measured objectively and says you have to "take it or leave it," and if from your perspective as a parent, something is better than nothing, here are some strategies you can use.

Strategies: When You Disagree with the IEP Team
Document Your Disagreement on the IEP
If your child's team presents you with an IEP that is not appropriate for your child, you should say that you don’t think the IEP provides your child with enough help or the right kind of help - that your child has not made progress. Be polite but firm.

Tip: Think about how Miss Manners would handle a difficult situation and use her advice to guide you.
Assume the team asks you to sign consent to the IEP. Using your ballpoint pen, on the hard table, write the following statement ON THE IEP "I consent to the school implementing this IEP because something is better than nothing but I object to the IEP for the reasons I stated during the meeting."
Sign your name.

Don't be surprised if someone on the team gets upset and says you aren't allowed to write on your child's IEP - that it is a legal document. This is not true. Parents can write on their child's IEP. (But the person who objects may not know this.)
You are a member of your child's IEP team and a participant in the process. The law requires you to make your objections clear. The IEP is the best document to use when you need to make your objections clear.

If someone tries to stop you, continue to write. If someone tries to pull the IEP out of your hands, continue to write while pressing down very hard with your ballpoint pen. If they yank the document away, continue to write as the IEP tears.
Stay calm and cool. Take your copy of the IEP (whatever is left), stand up. Say, "Thank you, I guess the meeting is over." Extend your hand to shake theirs. Gather your notes and recorder and leave.

For more information about IEP's call Comeaka King at Families Helping Families Region 7 at (318)226-4541/877-226-4541 or email her at cjames@fhfregion7.com.


What is the Northwest Louisiana Human Services District
Developmental Disabilities Division?

The Northwest Louisiana Human Services District provides Mental Health, Addictive Disorder and Developmental Disability Services to the residents of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Webster Parishes.

For Developmental Disability Services the disability must:
 - Be present before the age of 22
 - Likely continue indefinitely

- Cause substantial limitations in three or more of the following seven areas:
* Self-Care              
* Mobility
* Language             
* Self-Direction
* Learning               * Capacity for Independent Living
* Economic Self Sufficiency (for persons 18 and older)

Some of the conditions that may result in a developmental disability are:
*Intellectual Disabilities                  
* Spina Bifida
* Cerebral Palsy                              
*Down Syndrome
*Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder            
*Prader-Willi
 *Autism                                               
*Traumatic Brain Injury

NLHSD-DD OFFERS:
Flexible Family Fund
Individual and Family Support
Residential Placement
Supports Waiver (SW)
New Opportunities Waiver (NOW)
Residential Options Waiver (ROW)
Children’s Choice Waiver (CC)

 
Referral and Intake
Anyone in the community can make a referral to the regional Human Services District office. For example, a parent, teacher, doctor or other professionals can call the local office at 318-741-7455, or stop by in person to 3018 Old Minden Rd., Ste. 1211, Bossier City, LA 71111.

For more information about NWLAHSD call Comeaka King at Families Helping Families Region 7 at (318)226-4541/877-226-4541 or email her at cjames@fhfregion7.com.
Hanging with Friends aka HWF is Families Helping Families support group for self-advocates over the age of 18. Hanging with Friends was birthed out of the idea that all people should have friends as well as being active and included in their community.

HWF meets monthly to have fun, meet new people, and participant in community activities. Some activities include bowling night, movie night, eating out at local restaurants, community festivals, and holiday celebrations plus much more.

As a group we are serious about self-advocacy issues, but we also want to make you laugh and feel good about life. Join us to celebrate the strengths of self-advocates.

Most of all, let’s work together to help people live the life they want with the support they need.

All HWF activities can be found on our Facebook page or you can contact Comeaka King at 318-226-4541/877-226-4541 for location and time. 
Families Helping Families Region 7 Parent Support Group

Raising a special needs child can be stressful at times. Having others around to talk to and share your experience with can be a great way to reduce stress. Parents and family members of children with disabilities or special needs are encouraged to come, share, and learn with other parents. Our parent support group meets once a month at different locations around the city.
 
Please contact Monica Stampley at (318)226-4541/877-226-4541 or email her at monica.stampley@la.gov to find out more information about meeting location and time.

Shop at AmazonSmiles and giveback to Families Helping Families Region 7

Support Families Helping Families Region 7 by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know and love. Same products, same prices, and same services.
 
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Families Helping Families Region7 whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, while you are there check out some of our previous webinars.
LA Disability Resources Website Now Available
Article retrieved from: LaDDC News

The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to announce the launch of ladisabilityresources.com.

The Council collaborated with Trach Mommas of LA (TMOL) to sponsor the creation of this accessible website to serve as an information resource for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to access during times of both personal emergencies and/or natural disasters.

The Council and TMOL want to ensure this newly created website meets your needs. Please click here to participate in a user survey and share your feedback. You can also send your feedback and content suggestions directly to TMOL via their contact information below.

The Council has also made funding available to assist TMOL in their ongoing work to coordinate and support rapid disaster response for Louisianans with developmental disabilities and their families. If you have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or one of the numerous natural disasters our state has faced, contact TMOL to see if they can help!

Trach Mommas of Louisiana
Phone: (225) 200-5178
Website: trachmommas.org
Krogers Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program

Families Helping Families Region 7 is proud to announce their participation in the Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program. If you shop at Kroger and use a KrogerPlus Card this is an easy and fast way to donate money to Families Helping Families Region 7 without coming out of your pocket. Kroger will donate money Families Helping Families Region 7 every time you use your card.

Families Helping Families Region 7 is so simple just register your Kroger online www.krogercommunityrewards.com.

You must have a registered KrogerPlus card account to link to FHF Region 7. If you do not have a KrogerPlus Card, cards are available at the customer service desk at any Kroger. If you are a new online customers, you must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.

You can sign up for a Kroger Community Rewards Account by entering your zip code, clicking on favorite store, enter your email address, create a password, and agree to the terms and conditions.
 
·You will get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email.
 
·You will click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.
 
·You will click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
 
·You will update or confirm your information.
 
· You will enter our NPO number AW522 or our name Families Helping Families Region 7, or select Families Helping Families Region 7 from list and click on confirm.
 
 
To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see Families Helping Families Region 7 name on the right side of your information page.
 
REMEMBER, purchases will not count for Families Helping Families Region 7 until after member(s) register
their card(s).

LET THE DONATING BEGIN!!

A Message From Your LaCAN Leader Mimi Rankin Webb
215 Bobbie St. Ste. 100
Bossier City, La. 71112
FOLLOW US
Board of Directors:
Shawanda Lee - Chair, Michael Gould - Treasurer/Parent, Tara Jefferson-Robinson - Secretary/Parent, Marilyn Barlett - Jackson, Meredith Terry - Parent, Tammy Frazier - Parent, and Shalanda Hopkins

Board Meeting are held the last Monday of the month from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at our center or via ZOOM. Dates are subject to change. Please call our office to confirm meeting dates and location prior to attending.
To contact the FHF Region 7 Board of Directors, send an email to fhfboardofdirectors@fhfregion7.com.