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
What should families of children with disabilities know about the COVID vaccine?

Hey families, the COVID vaccine is on everyone’s mind. Those of us who have children or teens with disabilities have lots of questions. What could this mean for our families?

Here’s a quick list of what we know already and what we are still learning.

Here’s what we know
  • Only people who are 16 or older will be able to get the COVID vaccine. They need to do more testing to make sure it’s safe for children. Testing has already started, so look for more news on this over the next few months. (Schools will still be safer because teachers and staff in most K-12 schools will be able to get the vaccine in early spring).
  • Most people with disabilities who live in group homes will be able to get the vaccine in the first few months. This also applies to people who live in nursing homes. The timing will be a little different in every state, so check your state’s health department website for details.
  • People who have an illness that makes it harder to fight COVID will probably be able to get the vaccine in early spring. This includes many people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Advocates are pushing to include people on the autism spectrum and anyone with learning disabilities in this early group too.
  • The vaccine will be free, even if you do not have health insurance. This is part of an effort to make sure everyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it.
  • There is NO link between vaccines and autism. Not one study has shown any connection between the two. Social media is full of misinformation. If you’re worried, talk to your child’s doctor.

Here’s what we don’t know yet
  • Do you still need a vaccine if you have already had COVID-19? Most people can’t get a virus again once they have had it, but Coronavirus is so new that we just don’t know yet how long you are immune. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has not yet made a recommendation about the vaccine for people who have already had COVID. Stay tuned over the next few months.

Here’s what you can do right now
  • Get a flu shot. This will help protect you, your family, and your community - especially when hospitals are overcrowded because of COVID. Some states and many universities now require students to get the flu shot. 
  • Wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. These are the best ways to keep yourself and the people around you healthy. 
  • Know your sources. There is a lot of false information floating around out there, so make sure you are using reliable sources. For example, if you read something on Facebook or Twitter, look up where the information came from. You should be able to confirm it on a government or non-profit organization’s website. Here’s a resource we love: COVID-19 Vaccine Information in Plain Language. It was created by and for people with intellectual disabilities.

At-home strategies to help your child with ADHD

Managing ADHD can feel difficult at times. But little strategies at home may make a big difference. If your child is struggling with ADHD at home, you might want to try one or more of the following strategies.

  • Set predictable, daily times for meals, homework, bedtime, and play to help your child meet expectations
  • Some children with ADHD also benefit from the use of clocks or cellphone timers to help transition from one activity to the next

Managing Distractions
  • Try to avoid stimulating environments (TVs or computers, high-traffic areas of the home) where your child sleeps, eats, or does homework
  • Children with ADHD may also benefit from having a quiet space of their own to go to when feeling overstimulated

The behavioral expectations you have for your child should be clearly spelled out in advance—as should your system for rewards and consequences.

  • Be consistent with this system; always implementing praise where possible
  • Positive interactions or rewards can actually help improve attention, concentration, and impulse control in children with ADHD

Lead by example! You are the primary influencer on your child’s behavior.

  • Set up your home in a neat and organized way so that your child knows that everything has its place
  • Do not use electronics during meal or family times
  • Get rid of the junk food in your home, and model healthy meal preparation and eating habits
  • Take walks or play games together as a family
Face Mask Available

Families Helping Families Region 7 has FREE face mask available. If you have a disability, caregiver of an individual with a disability, elderly, or have a preexisting health condition and in need of face masks please give us a call at 318-226-4541 during business hours to schedule a pick-up time. Let’s stay safe and fight the spread of COVID together.
What is Monitored In – Home Caregiving?

Monitored In-Home Caregiving (MIHC) services are provided by a principal caregiver to a participant who lives in a private unlicensed residence to achieve and/or maintain personal preferences, wellbeing, and goals in a supportive home environment. Providers must be licensed by the Louisiana Department of Health as a home and community-based services provider and meet the module-specific requirements for Monitored In-Home Caregiving. LAC 48:1. Chapter 50 who contract with principal caregivers and employ professional staff including a registered nurse and a care manager, to support principal caregivers. Agency makes monthly visits.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Monitored In - Home Caregiving (MIHC)

1.      What is the role of the Local Governing Entities (LGEs) with Monitored In-Home Caregiving (MIHC)? The role of the LGE office will not change.

2.      What is the role of the Support Coordinating Agencies (SCAs)? Will the SCAs still conduct monthly and quarterly visits? Support Coordinators (SCs) will continue to be involved at the outset of services and will remain involved throughout the delivery of services. · Yes, SCs will still be responsible for their monthly and quarterly visits.

3.      Will the SCA still be responsible for reviewing and providing follow-ups to the Critical Incident Report (CIR) entered by the Care Team? SCs will still be responsible for reviewing the CIRI, and providing follow up on the CIR.

4.      Why are some of the services not allowed such as Day Habilitation, Prevocational Services, and ADHC? MIHC is paid on a daily per diem rate, so the caregiver is responsible for all services. They are not billed separately.

5.      For the ROW, professional services are allowed. Would it be a duplication of services if the recipient receives social work through professional services, and MIHC which also provides routine social work services? No, that is not considered a duplication of services.

6.      “Professional services” is not listed as allowed or not allowed under the NOW, is that an error? No, professional services are not considered a duplication of services. The social workers would be providing completely different services.

7.      Can the SC use the current ICAP/SIS, or will a new assessment be needed? The current assessments will be used unless there has been a significant change that warrants a new assessment.

8.      If there is an alternate caregiver and only one stipend is provided, how does the alternate caregiver get paid? Caregiver homes can certify more than one caregiver. · The caregivers can split the stipend.

9.      Adult Companion Care is a service currently under the ROW and the NOW. Is this replacing Adult Companion Care Services? No, there is a different criterion for Companion Care. · We are in the process of completing a comparison chart of the services.
Article retrieved from:

For more information about Monitored In-Home Caregiving contact Comeaka King at 318-226-4541/

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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Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, while you are there check out some of our previous webinars.
Every once in a while, we like to collect success stories from our EarlySteps families. We asked parent Catie Plaxco if she would share with us her family’s journey with EarlySteps. Here is what she said:
My 2-and-a-half-year-old son Max was born with Congenital Cytomegalovirus and in turn also has Cerebral Palsy, Microcephaly & Epilepsy. Max is a walking and talking miracle and a huge amount of his progress is thanks to his Early Steps therapists.

Max receives Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy & Physical Therapy at his preschool-The Goldman School-weekly from his Early Steps therapists and to be honest, I’m not sure where we would be without them! Throughout Max’s first few months of life his dad and I knew something wasn’t right. He cried constantly and was always incredibly stiff, his arms would shake when he moved them and his hands were ALWAYS fisted. His pediatrician chalked it up to severe silent reflux as his father and brother have a history of reflux as well. Specialized formulas and high doses of reflux medications didn’t help Max at all. Then around 5 months old he started refusing to eat. Nothing we did seemed to help him. At the time my oldest son, Knox was about to be discharged from Early Steps for a mild speech delay. I showed Knox’s Speech Therapist, Megan Lerchie a video of Max that concerned me and she showed the video to LuAnn Pearson who had also helped us with Knox for a short time. 

Max was evaluated by Early Steps and he qualified for services. LuAnn came out for her first session and  she ended up typing a report to send to his pediatrician stating why he needed to be evaluated by a neurologist. Our pediatrician finally referred Max to a neurologist after reading LuAnn’s report. After a CT scan, MRI, EEG, & bloodwork we found out that Max had been born with congenital Cytomegalovirus, which in turn caused brain damage to Max while I was pregnant with him. If it weren’t for LuAnn, I’m not sure we would have ever found out what was wrong with Max and if we did-too much precious time would’ve passed.

As the months passed, Max’s feeding aversion continued to get worse. There were days we were lucky if we got 12oz. a day in him. We were on a direct path to a g-tube, which is very common with CMV kiddos. LuAnn helped us tirelessly. She went to Max’s school weekly, she even came to our house on the weekends when we couldn’t get him to eat AT ALL. Max trusted LuAnn and she was almost always able to get him back on the right path with eating. After months and months with most of his therapy focused on eating, Max out of the blue decided to eat Chick fil a chicken one day while we were at Texas Children’s. I’ll never forget that day. I cried and immediately texted LuAnn and Megan that my baby had actually eaten solid food at 15 months old! A year and a half later Max now eats everything we do and its all thanks to LuAnn and Megan for helping us teach Max how to eat and for helping his teachers at school with Max. Once the focus shifted from getting Max to eat, we started focusing more on language development and walking. We added Leslie Armstrong to our team to add an extra day of Physical Therapy to his weekly therapy schedule so we could get our baby walking! Leslie helped us walk the orthopedic world with her past background at Shriner’s and got Max moving. After Botox injections and serial casting and lots of therapy, Max officially started walking a couple days before his second birthday!

Megan Lerchie has been with us from day 1 as well. She helped us to get Max enrolled into Early Steps quickly and helped his teachers get Max to eat for them. Now at 2.5 years old she is finally able to turn her focus to expressive and receptive language and appropriate play. Max is now able to communicate his wants and needs to us which was always our top goal for speech and language. Max can also verbally speak in 2-3 word phrases and his receptive language is amazing.

Max will age out of Early Steps at the end of March of 2021. Its definitely going to be a hard transition for me and for Max. His therapists have become like family for us. They’re the first ones I tell when Max does something new and the first ones I go to for advice. Max loves and trusts these 3 women more than anyone. I can’t imagine where we would be in Max’s journey without these women helping to guide us along the way.

 Max at work.   
EarlySteps provides services to families with infants and toddlers aged birth to three years (36 months) who have a medical condition likely to result in a developmental delay, or who have developmental delays. Questions about EarlySteps. Contact Monica Stampley, EarlySteps Community Outreach Specialist, at
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
A Note from your LaCAN Leader

Merry days after Christmas & Happy New Year to all! The 2021 legislative season is upon us and it's time to hit the ground running and get to work on making sure our voices are heard! As an advocate for my children and for others with disabilities I encourage everybody to speak up and speak out and let's make some serious change together!

It's time for our Policymakers and Leaders to hear from parents/family members of those with disabilities and of course from people with disabilities themselves! They don’t know how possible laws or policies may affect our lives until WE tell them by sharing our stories on how the issues affect us. LaCAN offers you an outlet to express yourself, be heard and is a GREAT way to make some serious change and make a difference. Always be respectful of course, but DO take time to speak up.

If you haven’t had time to join LaCAN officially, CLICK HERE and we will get you signed up and on our mailing list where you will receive great info about systems change, be kept updated on ALL our informational and Action Alerts that keep you in the know on opportunities to write, call and visit with your Representatives about issues important to YOU!

Follow the LaDDC HYPERLINK Facebook page HERE as well as your local Families Helping Families Center page HERE where the most current info about upcoming opportunities, workshops, meetings and other useful links that will help you be a better advocate can be found. Our LaCAN Region 7 Facebook Group can be found HERE where I will also share information about LaCAN Member Meetings and advocacy opportunities, Action Alert reminders and more in-depth information on everything from our Advocacy Agenda items to how you can help and when to write, call or contact your legislative representatives at the times when it matters the most to make sure they remember us in ALL of their policymaking decisions.
2021 Legislative Agenda – LaCAN Fact Sheets
The following three items are included on the Council’s 2021 Legislative Advocacy Agenda (click each item to read the Fact Sheet):

TESTIMONY NEEDED: Families with individuals who have been helped by FHF Centers. Has your child recently received a new diagnosis and you needed help navigating the system & knowing what comes next or where to turn and given your Families Helping Families Center a call? Did you need us to help guide you through the sometimes confusing IEP process or need help with an IEP? Let me help you share your story!

TESTIMONY NEEDED: Individuals struggling to find Direct Support Professionals willing to provide the services they need due to these low rates who may or may not have had bad experiences with less than qualified workers or poor workers, or unable to find any worker at all and risk not being able to live in their homes because of this.

TESTIMONY NEEDED: Individuals enrolled in a traditional/public or charter school who receive their special education minutes in self-contained classrooms at least part of their school day. Has your child exhibited challenging behaviors in the classroom and you needed the ability to show the IEP team what the behavior looks like overall so that much needed training or tools could be suggested and implemented to try and help the child better access their education? Let’s share your story with our representatives about how having cameras could help.

Because all Council in-person activities have been placed on hold due to the Pandemic, all of our activities will be taking place virtually from member meetings and legislative visits to our Legislative Roundtable. These will all be taking place via Zoom.

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media accounts for upcoming dates and opportunities to provide testimony. We will also be doing Yellow Shirt Days virtually for the same reasons. This means that we will be changing our approach and pivoting our focus towards social media posts & tagging our Policymakers actively during key committee meetings to convey our needs and thoughts on these issues. In order to coordinate this, you will want to be prepared with your testimony & posts as well as ready to watch the committee meetings via the live-feed from the Capitol website HERE. Our Alerts will give you an idea of what to expect.

We will be using specific #hashtags along with our social media blasts to communicate our advocacy agenda to Policymakers during session.

You will want to make sure to play close attention to every Action Alert the Council sends out via email to be sure you don't miss an opportunity to submit your testimony via email. The window for these is very small and must be done typically by a very specific deadline set by the Committees. It happens FAST, so be ready & speedy!

I will be happy to help you with your testimonies. They will still need to be very concise, to the point and if you practice reading them, under 3 minutes typically allocated by the Committee Chairs. You can always message me your stories and we can work together to get it ready to use for session!

Currently, we have opportunities available for January and February Legislative Visits that will be in the form of Zoom meetings. They will be virtual, so I hope that allows for more of you to participate far easier than in the past!

If you would like to participate, send me your testimony/stories on the Agenda Issues & availability via email to and I will be happy to help you get signed up and ready for a visit with your policymakers!

I look forward to helping everybody make some serious change this session and can't wait to hear from you

215 Bobbie St. Ste. 100
Bossier City, La. 71112
Board of Directors:
Kimberly Graham - Chair, Shawanda Lee - Secretary, Michael Gould - Treasurer/Parent

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