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
We are excited to have two organizations assist us with our goal.

Taimed Society is a local business in the Shreveport/Bossier area. They have a small batch, cruelty free, natural handmade bath, body and spiritual products, safe for all skin types.
Link to Taimed Society Fundraiser:

Flower Power is a Growing Green Fundraising company that assists organizations with raising money for the local communities. They provide an array of different flower bulbs for you to choose from at a fraction of the cost you would in your local grocery store.

PLEASE NOTE: All of the flower bulbs offered in this current brochure are for
planting this fall season for next spring blooms. They cannot be stored and
planted in Spring.
Link to Flower Power Fundraiser:

Thank you for supporting Families Helping Families Region 7!

What is EarlySteps?

EarlySteps is Louisiana’s Early Intervention System under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part C. The system provides services to families with infants and toddlers from ages 0 to 36 months who have developmental delays or who have a medical condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Physicians and other healthcare professionals are mandated by the federal Part C law to refer children between the ages of birth to three with a suspected developmental delay to EarlySteps.
What services does EarlySteps provide?
EarlySteps services are designed to improve the family’s capacity to enhance their child’s development. These services are provided in the child’s natural environment, such as the home, daycare, or any other community setting typical for children ages birth to 36 months of age. EarlySteps offers the following services:
*Assistive technology devices and services
*Family Training, counseling, home visits
*Health Services (family education and to assist with other EarlySteps services only)
*Medical Services (for evaluation only)
*Nutrition Services
*Occupational Therapy Services
*Physical Therapy Services
*Psychological Services
*Service Coordination
*Social Work Services
*Special Instruction
*Speech Language Pathology
*Transportation (to and from an EarlySteps service only)
*Translation/Interpreter Services (Foreign Language and Sign Language)
*Vision Services
What services does EarlySteps not provide?
EarlySteps does not provide services that are:
a) surgical in nature (such as cleft palate surgery, surgery for club feet, or the shunting of hydrocephalus)
b) purely medical in nature (such as hospitalization for management of congenital heart ailments, nursing care for ongoing medical conditions, or the prescribing of drugs for any purpose)
c) devices necessary to control or treat a medical condition (such as catheters, syringes, feeding tubes, or apnea monitors)
d) medical-health related services (such as immunizations and regular “well-baby” care) that are routinely recommended for all children
Who should be referred to EarlySteps?
Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Section 303.16, the federal law upon which EarlySteps is based, states that infants and toddlers who have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay are eligible for services. Children with delays in cognitive, motor, vision, hearing, communication, social-emotional or adaptive development may also be eligible for services. If you know a child who fits any of these criteria you should refer them to your local System Point of Entry (SPOE).
How do I make a referral?
You should refer a child by contacting the SPOE in your area. The toll-free number is 1-866-494-8900. You can also fill out the referral form and fax or mail it to the SPOE.
What happens after I make a referral?
Once the SPOE receives the completed referral form, the family will be contacted within four days to begin the eligibility determination process. The child will first be screened for any possible developmental delays. If areas of concern appear, then the child will then, with parental consent, have a more comprehensive developmental assessment. If the child meets EarlySteps eligibility criteria, then the family will select a Family Service Coordinator and a meeting will be held to develop the child’s IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan). The IFSP identifies the outcomes, strategies and activities that comprise the early intervention plan for the child. Services listed on the IFSP are authorized for payment through the Central Finance Office (CFO), and any changes to the IFSP require a meeting of the whole IFSP team. All service providers chosen to carry out the activities of the IFSP must meet EarlySteps certification requirements and must be listed on the Service matrix. 
Who pays for EarlySteps services?
EarlySteps services are provided through the support of several funds:
    *Federal Part C funds
    *Federal Medicaid funds
    *State Part C funds
    *State Medicaid Matching funds
    *Private Health Insurance
    *Family Cost Participation
How can I find out more about EarlySteps?
If you would like to obtain more information about EarlySteps, please visit our website
Region 7:
Community Outreach Specialist- Monica Stampley 318.226.4541
The Law Gives Parents Power -- Use Your Power Wisely

As a parent, you need to understand that the law gives you power to use in educational decisions for your children. You should not be afraid to use your power. True advocacy is about improving the lives of children, and ensuring that they become independent, productive, taxpaying citizens who belong to the community in which they live.

"I'm tired of being jerked around at IEP meetings so I said I was bringing an attorney to the next meeting, But I don't have legal representation. Their response surprised me.”

Pat Answers: It's dangerous to make threats. What if you can't find an attorney to represent you? It sounds like the school suspects you don't have an attorney and views you as a parent who makes empty threats. In the future, you may find yourself backed into a corner because you "trained" the school to not believe you.

"I hate going to IEP meetings. The team interrupts me and talks over me. They are not willing to respond to my questions and comments."

Pat Answers: This happens because parents don't know how to take control of the situation. You need to learn to use subtle psychological strategies. Here are a few strategies that will help.

First, when you go to a team meeting, get there early. Sit on the right side of the person with the most power. This is often the person with the pen (but not always). An added advantage to this is that you can often read notes as they are being written.
You are an equal team member. Stand straight and act like an equal team member! Don't fall for the old divide-and-conquer game of "us v. them." If the pace is too fast, tell the chairperson that you can't keep up. Ask them to slow down so that you can take notes. Make this request as many times as is necessary until they comply with your request to slow down. (Most people will give in to a request after is repeated about three times.) Read How to Hone Your Advocacy Skills and Help Others. Be persistent. With some school people, you have to repeat your request several times. It helps to pretend that they are your children. You know how many times you have to tell your children to do something, or stop doing something, before they comply! If the team refuses to slow down in response to your requests, you should document this in your written follow-up letter.

The Power of Your Written Follow-up Letter
Your follow-up letter is more important than the notes you keep. Your follow-up letter documents what you experienced during the meeting and includes answers to your questions and requests, disagreements, procedural errors, untruths, misstatements -- all the things that never make it into the school's meeting notes.

A Written Opinion is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic because school staff are making things up as they go along. Some of these things -- like requiring a parent to sign a consent form before agreeing to provide an eligible child with a FAPE -- are not consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Do not attack people.

Keep your follow-up letter factual, not emotional. Assume you request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) of your child. The head of the team says, "We won't pay for an independent educational evaluation. If you don't like our decision, you can request a due process hearing."
After the meeting, you might write something like this:
Written Opinion
Team Meeting
Child's Name
I requested an independent educational evaluation. 
I was told this would not be provided and that I could request a due process hearing if I did not agree.
Sign it.
Keep a copy for your records.

You'll find that your written report is very powerful. It will become part of your child's permanent educational record. The school can never say this did not happen because you documented it. The written opinion is just one example of how you can document what happened, or did not happen, at an IEP meeting.

Find out how to create a complete record in Written Opinions: A How-To Manual by Pat Howey.

For more information assistance contact Comeaka King-Education Specialist at 318-226-4541/877-226-4541.

Retrieved from: Wright’s Law

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            
*Traumatic Brain Injury

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
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 to find out more information about meeting location and time.

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Support Families Helping Families Region 7 by starting your shopping at

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.
Feds Launch Hotline To Help People With Disabilities Access COVID-19 Vaccines

A new push is underway to help more people with disabilities get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is unveiling what it’s calling a first-of-its-kind national hotline offering information and services directly aimed at boosting access to the shots for people with disabilities.
Officials said the Disability Information and Access Line can help people find nearby vaccine sites, make appointments and link people with local services like accessible transportation.
“The hotline also can provide information and resources to answer questions and address concerns about the vaccines and can connect callers to information and services that promote independent living and address fundamental needs, such as food, housing and transportation,” the federal health agency said.

The resource is being offered through a partnership of the Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Disabilities Rights Network and other organizations.

The Disability Information and Access Line can be reached between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET at 888-677-1199 or by emailing

Retrieved from: Disability Scoop

Caddo Parish Magnet High School Student Vivienne Webb honored with national award for leadership and volunteerism 

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has named local student Vivienne Webb of Caddo Parish Magnet High School as a 2021 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award recipient. 

The national honor is awarded annually to one student in every state who has maintained a strong record of volunteerism, demonstrates school and community activism, and helps implement creative solutions to recognized problems. 

Vivienne Webb is 15yr old, attends Caddo Magnet High in Shreveport, LA and is in the TAPS/Visual Arts program in school. 

She is active with LaCAN(Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council’s Advocacy Network) as a disabilities rights advocate, the Be Strong representative for her region & has Autism, Anxiety & Epilepsy, none of which slow her down. 

Through her compelling testimony at the Louisiana Capital, Vivienne advocated & helped obtain $2 million in funding for the 2 lowest funded Human Service Districts in the state so they could better serve their communities during the 2019 legislative session. 
She continues to advocate as a member of the developmental disabilities community and hopes to one day serve as a self-advocate on the council herself. 

In spite of her diagnosis, Vivienne always remains focused on bettering the world for everybody in every way that she possibly can.

Congratulations Vivienne!!!

Article reprinted from
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

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).


A Message From Your LaCAN Leader Mimi Rankin Webb
Thank you for all of your actions this session, LaCAN members! Our success is all thanks to YOU, our members who called, wrote and took action to participate and help us achieve success!

This session, the Council advocated for the following 3 agenda items (click each item to read the Fact Sheet):
I’m happy to report that the budget that passed this session includes funding increases for both our Families Helping Families centers as well as some increase in funding for our Direct Service Workers.
Senator Foil’s bill SB86 which requires the governing authority of each public school to develop and adopt policies for the installation and operation of video cameras in certain classrooms also passed and is expected to be signed by the Governor.
This session we also advocated for Representative Butler’s HB172 provides for Medicaid coverage of dental care for certain adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I’m happy to report that this bill also passed and has been sent to the Governor for executive approval.
HB204 by Representative Turner which would allow for certain emergency COVID-19 exceptions to continue was voluntarily deferred and LDH is working to begin the process of the rulemaking, waiver amendments, and policy manual changes that would allow for some of the requested exceptions to continue on a permanent basis. You can read more about their approach HERE.
To see all of the bills that the Council tracked this session as well as their current status, CLICK HERE.

Watch your emails for future LaCAN updates as we begin planning our member meeting for either late July or early August to begin working on the issues for next session.

Our meetings will most likely be via ZOOM still, being that in-person activities are still currently suspended due to the pandemic. I hope all of you are doing well and staying cool this summer!

You can also stay updated on advocacy issues by following my Facebook page Artist & Advocate OR by joining our LaCAN Region 7 Facebook group HERE.
Remember, if you are not yet a LaCAN member you can always CLICK HERE to join so you can stay updated on ALL the issues and goings on!

I hope to see you at our meetings, soon! And remember, you can always reach me at any time via email if you need to talk:
215 Bobbie St. Ste. 100
Bossier City, La. 71112
Board of Directors:
Kimberly Graham - Chair, Shawanda Lee - Secretary, Michael Gould - Treasurer/Parent, Tara Jefferson-Robinson - Parent, Marilyn Barlett - Jackson, Meredith Terry - Parent, Mariam Harley - Self-Advocate, 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