Legislative Regular Session begins where Special Session Ends
By: Mary Jacob
After a 25 day special legislative session that lasted to the very last legal tick of the clock on the 25th day, our state was still looking at a deficit. Revenue was raised, cuts were made, yet we still had a deficit. Budget deficits are always huge in Louisiana among individuals with disabilities and disability advocates because our constitution only allows cuts in two areas - higher education and health & hospitals. Could this be the reason Louisiana seems to always fall last in education and health care? Those in the disability field has years of first hand experience and knowledge on the never ending need for advocacy to not only expand services to more people with disabilities - but often it's just to preserve what already exists. It requires parents, professionals and department heads to testify about the quality of life or lack thereof, if services are cut to families. Over the years we've heard everything from parents divorcing to qualify for more services to families being forced to make heart wrenching decisions like placing their loved ones in institutions to get needed services. No family should ever have to make these decisions based solely on the need for quality of life services like waivers and other health care options. What type of state are we living in that doesn't protect and provide for our absolute most vulnerable citizens? To me, this isn't a democrat or republican issue. This is a human rights issues. Every human should have the right to basic necessities that allow them to develop and flourish into the most productive human being they can be.
Unfortunately, year after year, we see pet projects get renewed, but we never witness any real substantial change to eliminate the waiver waiting list or at a minimum - reduce the wait. It's exhausting and exasperating. However, we must pull ourselves up, put on our armor and prepare for the next round of legislative wrangling. After all, we can't afford the lobbyist like the alcohol, tobacco, and nursing home industry affords. This is a battle that truly is grassroots and starts at home with you. No matter how tired you get, no matter what you think won't happen - you must persevere as someone that cares about people with disabilities.
The regular 2016 Legislative session convened on March 14, 2016 in Baton Rouge. The disability community as usual is hopeful that legislators will recognize the urgency of finding funding to secure life altering services to our states most vulnerable population. However, we can't just sit back and wait for it to happen. On March 29th, the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) presented a revised budget to the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Health and Human Services that included the revenue raised during the Special Session.
DHH included in their budget continuing funding all current waiver recipients; Long-Term Personal Care Services, OCDD Resource Centers and Early Steps Direct Services. However, proposed cuts include the elimination of State Personal Assistance Services in the Office of Aging and Adult Services. This could result in many adults losing their personal care assistants in their home which could result to many being forced into nursing home care.
A 10% reduction to Human Services Districts/Authorities. Many families on the waiver waiting list ONLY has access to support through the Human Services Districts/Authorities. Cutting these services could result in many families losing all support they currently receive.
A 40% cut to FHF Centers - FHF of Jefferson is very fortunate that this does not apply to us. However, our 9 sister agencies cannot afford to lose 40% of funding and survive. If you value the services you receive from your FHF Centers, this should be a huge concern for you.
Currently we have over 440 vacant waiver slots for people with developmental disabilities. DHH's proposed budget includes cutting the funding to fill these 440 slots.
As you may or may not know, the Department of Labor has ruled that Direct Support Personnel are eligible for overtime pay. Because of specific needs, staff shortage and other issues, many families have DSP's that work in excess of 40 hours a week with their loved ones. Unfortunately, the agencies reimbursement rates are not high enough to pay overtime. Extra funding to help offset these increased expenses has also been cut.
The time has come to step up and let your legislator know what is important to you. It's time to write your story and let them know how these cuts will impact your family. If you do not know your state representative, click here
to find out who you should contact.
Also, join hundreds of other disability advocates on the steps of the capitol on Disability Rights Day, Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at noontime. Everyone is encouraged to arrive for 11 am to have time to park and get to the Capitol. Remember, a waiting list is not a service!
Check out these other great articles we've provided for you this month:
Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training
- April Workshops -
Bayou Health 101! - Friday, April 8, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: Learn how to Navigate your Bayou Health Services. Karen Scallan will discuss which groups are optional participants in Bayou Health, how to navigate the Bayou Health system to get the services you need and what your rights are as well as provide an update on recurring issues and how to solve them. Click here for more information!
What's the Law Require of Schools? School Discipline and Expulsion - Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center, 4300 S. Broad, New Orleans, LA: This training will educate parents about their rights and responsibilities to be experts in advocating for their child. Through this training parents will understand their power and responsibility to make educational decisions for their child according to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
To register, call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 Click here to register online!
Employment and Your Social Security Disability Benefits - Friday, April 22, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: The Advocacy Center's South Louisiana Benefits Planning Program will explain to you the importance and the process of understanding how going to work could affect your Social Security Disability benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, or any other benefits you may be receiving. Click here for more information!
To register, call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 Click here to register online!
ABA for Teachers & Other Professionals - Saturday, April 30, 2016, 9:30 am - 1:30 pm - East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, La 70001: During the workshop participants will learn about the principles of ABA and how to implement these interventions in their classrooms and their sessions. This workshop is specifically designed for teachers and other professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists. Click here for more information!
To register, call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 Click here to register online!
Federal Rule Changes & Waiver Services - Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, La 70058:
Why does the New Rule Matter to YOU? These rules will be applied to EVERYONE receiving Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) funded by Medicaid. Click here for more information!
- April Webinars -
Using Visual Supports to Enhance Learning for Students - Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: This training will provide participants with visual support strategies to address the unique learning needs and challenging behaviors of some students with disabilities. It will also focus on visual supports in daily curriculum activities. Students with special need benefit from making language and literacy activities visible and easier to comprehend. Participants will take away ideas and materials that can be used immediately in their classrooms.
Extended School Year: Who, What, and Why - Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Participants will learn what makes children eligible for ESYP IEP services in summer whom have unmet IEP goals. All categories and criteria of ESYP eligibility will be discussed. Many students could benefit form ESYP although they are denied services due to insufficient data or tracking. Join us and learn what the regulations for IDEA say about Extended School Year services; all the ways a student might be eligible and what your child's IEP goals have to do with it.
Ask Karen: Louisiana's Health Care Future, A 2016 Regular Session Update - Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Join Karen Scallan for a run down on bills filed in this Regular Legislative Session that could affect health care services in Louisiana! Find out what will this mean to you and your family.
Basic Rights in Special Education - Thursday, April 14, 2016, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Whether you're new to special education or have been involved for a while, this workshop is for you. This presentation provides families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities as parents of children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Parents begin to identify dreams and goals for their children, understand laws and learn advocacy strategies that will help them help their children reach those goals. Parents of classified children and children who are having difficulty in school, but may not be classified, will benefit from this training.
Accommodations for Students who are Deaf, Deafblind, & Hard of Hearing while in High School - Thursday, April 14, 2016, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Parents should be aware about the effectiveness of the accommodation in an educational setting since is not a "One Size Fits All" mode of communication. Students should be empowered during the IEP process and be able to communicate any issues regarding their accommodations.
Section 504, The OTHER Service Option - Friday, April 15, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: What do parents need to know about Section 504? It is important for parents of students with disabilities and special needs to have information and an understanding of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Understanding the provisions of this important law can help parents be effective partners in working with schools to meet the educational needs of their student with disabilities.
Progress Monitoring: What Does it Mean and What Do Parents Need to Know? - Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Progress monitoring is the process of evaluating student performance using assessments on a repeated basis to determine how well a student is responding to instruction. Information gained from progress monitoring is essential to developing quality IEP goals, and planning and delivering effective intervention. Specific examples of progress monitoring will be shared.
Extended School Year: Who, What, and Why - Thursday, April 21, 2016, 10:30 am - 11:30 am: Participants will learn what makes children eligible for ESYP IEP services in summer whom have unmet IEP goals. All categories and criteria of ESYP eligibility will be discussed. Many students could benefit form ESYP although they are denied services due to insufficient data or tracking. Join us and learn what the regulations for IDEA say about Extended School Year services; all the ways a student might be eligible and what your child's IEP goals have to do with it.
Transition and Employment: Working with State and Local Entities to Become Employed and Receive Supports - Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: This third session in a series of three on transition services and becoming employed will focus on finding a community rehabilitation program and/or the necessary supports to Find, Keep and Maintain quality employment services and supports. Training participants will have an opportunity to see "success stories" and will be provided with information to help them negotiate the state and local agencies that will provide these services.
Kurzweil 3000-firefly: Comprehensive Literacy Support Anytime, Anywhere - Thursday, April 28, 2016, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: This webinar will provide participants with an overview of Kurzweil 3000-firefly, which is an integrated literacy, text to speech software solution that supports reading, writing, study skills, test taking, and more. Kurzweil 3000-firefly includes Kurzweil 3000 software (for Mac and Windows), firefly (web-based companion to Kurzweil), a firefly iPad app, and a Web Universal Library (cloud). We will focus on support tools that can be beneficial for students with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other learning differences.
Learning Opportunities Provided by Others
Education and Training
FHF thinks it is important for individuals to be armed with enough information to either assist or make decisions around disability issues that impact your life or that of a family member.
Therefore, we are happy to share the following training opportunities others are doing around the state. Please note we do not handle registration for these opportunities.
AT and Accommodations in Post-Secondary Education, Supporting Successful Transition (4/20/16, 5-6:30 EDT)
- Transition from high school to college is a significant and critical time in a student's life and educational career. This webinar will inform participants of strategies and resources to help ensure that the transition is a successful one! Learn about the different assistive technology options for students in high school and college. Free and low-cost AT options, self-advocacy and awareness skills, and IEPs vs 504 will be discussed.
Selecting Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Preference, Science, and the Realities of Life - Join AAIDD-LA for a one-day educational workshop based on one of our most popular sessions from the 2015 AAIDD-LA State Conference. We are offering this workshop in Baton Rouge and in Alexandria so choose the location that is most convenient for you. Click here for more information! Click here for Registration Form!
NAMI Smarts Advocacy Workshop - Friday, April 15, 2016, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm, Rosa F. Keller Library, 4300 S. Broad Ave., New Orleans, La 70125: NAMI Smarts For Advocacy builds your knowledge and confidence to: Write and deliver short and compelling personal stories that have an "ask"; Write focused emails and make effective phone calls that have an impact; Advocate effectively at Behavioral Health Day at the State Capitol on May 3rd. Click here for more information!
Creating a Valued Future: Organizing for Change - Saturday, April 16, 2016 8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Trinity Church, 19380 North 10th Steet, Covington, La 70433: Dr. Guy Caruso will share his 45 years of human service experience and knowledge in this interactive presentation. The workshop is open to anyone in the state who are family members of individuals with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, neighbors, friends, aunts, uncles, professionals. Mr. Caruso will share the vision of a valued future for individuals with disabilities. He will provide the history of the disability movement as well as the self- advocacy movement and will guide the vision for the future. This interactive presentation will guide people as to how to be a part of moving forward for individuals with disabilities. Stipends are being offered by the DD Council. Lunch will be served. Click here for more information and to register!
2016 NAMI Annual State Conference - April 22 & 23, 2016, First United Methodist Church, 930 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA: Know More Facts, No More Stigma.
Education and Training
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.
There are lots of things to consider upon graduation. Where will you work? Where will you live? Who will help you? This web site can help you and your family plan for these and more questions about your live.
Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability. With a commitment to equity and excellence, Think College supports evidence-based and student centered research and practice by generating and sharing knowledge, guiding institutional change, informing public policy, and engaging with students, professionals and families.
Congressman Initiates ADA Reform
- The legislative battle against some predatory lawsuits - a nearly impossible task at the state level - is jumping from California to Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney said this week. (Via Disability Scoop)
Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities:
What To Do When Funding is Limited? Assistive technology (AT) comes in many shapes and sizes, and for students with disabilities, it has the capacity to open many doors. However, with tight budgets and limited funds many districts are challenged to find the funding to provide AT to qualifying students.
Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center - Assessment Practice Guides for Families:The building blocks of child learning are child strengths. Strengths include behavior a child uses to interact with people and objects and personal interests that motivate a child to do things that are fun and enjoyable. Children's behavior include the skills, abilities, and things that they are good at doing. Children's personal interests include the things they like to do, prefer or choose to do, things that make them smile and laugh, things that excite them, and things that keep them engrossed in play. Strengths-based practices shift the focus of learning from what a child cannot do to what a child can do.
10 Steps to Independence:
Promoting Self-Determination in the Home. Here are 10 ways that families can play a critical role in teaching their son or daughter to be self-determined. From the The National Gateway to Self-Determination.
Transition to Adult Health Care: Tips for Families. From Parent to Parent of Georgia comes this handy 2-page brief for families on ways to support their youth's moving from pediatric health care to adult health care. A companion brief called Embedding Health Goals into the IEP is especially helpful when the young person has special health care needs.
And while we're on the subject...Sexuality Education for Students with Disabilities is an extensive resource page in the Hub, and we've just updated its links, where you'll find lots of information about sexuality education you can share with families, schools, and children and youth themselves.
Rally begins at 12 noon.
Participants are encouraged to arrive at 11 am.
you won't want
GiveNOLA Day is the community's one-day, online giving event to inspire people to give generously to the nonprofit organizations that are making our region stronger, creating a thriving community for all.
It's our day to come together as one! Every dollar donated from midnight to midnight on May 3rd will be increased with additional "lagniappe" dollars provided by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and our generous GiveNOLA Day sponsors.
Built on successful models from other cities, GiveNOLA Day raises money for the community, brings new donors and awareness to local nonprofits, and helps make our region a more vibrant place to live. GiveNOLA Day is tied to a national event called Give Local America where community foundations across America are asking their communities to give back on May 3, 2016.
Families Helping Families of Jefferson is thrilled to participate in this event again this year. We would greatly appreciate your vote of confidence in us by donating on May 3, 2016!
We will once again host an Open House event in conjunction with GiveNOLA Day. We are hoping you can join us for one of the 2 time slots.
11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Stop by and join the FHF staff for lunch, while it lasts and hear what's going on in the disability community. Donations are greatly appreciated.
5:00 to 6:30 pm
Drop in after a long day to wet your whistle with free beer and snacks, while they last. Donations are greatly appreciated.
5k and Fun Run Against Bullying
Time to dust off those superhero capes and save Saturday, October 1, 2016 for the 2nd Annul 5k and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk Against Bullying.
Save the date and don't miss out on this day of fun!
Live Music Great Food Beer Kid Activities Awards
Prizes for Fundraising Teams
Prizes for Fundraising Individuals
Prizes for Schools with 50 or More Participants
Be a Superhero Against Bullying!
Brave Sponsorship Level
Sponsorship opportunities are now available.
Registration Information Coming Soon!
Saturday, June 25, 2016
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sears Rear Parking Lot
4436 Veterans Blvd, Metairie, LA
Bring your kids out for a fun time. Lots of different vehicles on wheels will be on display for kids to explore, pretend drive, pretend ride and discover. Fun for the whole family.
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 our 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!
Changing Lives. Every Day.
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.
One Woman Army: Being the parent of a child with Asperger's, I've always been an advocate for him. Although he is very intelligent, because of his disability he does struggle with certain aspects of socialization and needs the support of an IEP.
Developmental Disabilities Services Directory
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.
OCDD Central Office
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
628 North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
PO Box 3117, Bin #21
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3117
Waiver Registry Dates
As of March 30, 2016 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 - 12/31/2014
Not sure where you are on the registry? Call 1.800.364.7828.
OTHER places to find us:
Visit the Families Helping Familes Booth at the following events:
12th Annual Autism Awareness Festival,
Saturday, April 2, 2016, 9:30 am - 1:00 pm First Baptist New Orleans, 5290 Canal Blvd., New Orleans, La.
Crescent City WIC Services, Inc. & Crescent City PIC Healthy Start 8th Annual Shower of Knowledge Community Partners Baby Shower, Thursday, April 14, 2016, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm , La Masion Creole, 1605 - 8th Street, Harvey, La.
Jefferson Parish Head Start Health and Job Fair - Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9:00 am - 1:30 pm, Mike Miley Playground, 6716 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, La. and Friday, April 8, 2016, 9:00 am - 1:30 pm, Johnny Jacobs Playground, 5851 - 5th Street, Marrero, La.
A Little Lagniappe:
A little of this and a little of that - more stuff that might interest you.
The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council was established in compliance with federal regulations governing the Rehabilitation Act (P.L. 102-569). The LRC works with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) to ensure the involvement of individuals with disabilities in the development and delivery of vocational rehabilitation services to Louisianans with disabilities. The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council Meetings are held quarterly in different areas of the State. Please take note all meetings are open public forum. The 2016 meetings scheduled are:
April 28-29, 2016 - Baton Rouge
July 28-29, 2016 - Baton Rouge
October 27-28, 2016 - Baton Rouge
If you would like to be considered for membership on the Council or would like more information about the LRC, you can contact Paige Kelly (225) 219-2947 or toll free at 1-800-737-2958. E-mail:[email protected]
Why is Midline Crossing Important?
When Occupational Therapists and other professionals talk about "midline crossing", the midline they are referring to is an imaginary line drawn from the head to the feet that separates the left and the right halves of the body.
SPD Infographic: What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) occurs when the nervous system has difficulty regulating, processing, and interpreting information from one or more of the senses. This may affect one's ability to function optimally in all environments, and these difficulties can adversely affect a child's social skills, academic performance, and motor development.
2016 Inclusive Art Show Contest
- To increase awareness of the importance of inclusion in today's society, the Governor's Office Of Disability Affairs (GODA) encourages citizens of Louisiana to participate in the Inclusive Art Show Competition. GODA will accept entries that illustrate or describe impression related to this year's contest theme: "Inclusion Matters: A Better World For All." Award Medals and special recognition from Governor John Bel Edwards will be presented to the winners. All entries must be received by May 17, 2016. Please contact Jamar Ennis at (225) 219-9866 or email [email protected]
for more information.
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.
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.
Two Groups You Want to JOIN!
LaCAN is a statewide grassroots network of individuals, families and advocates who have worked together since 1988 advocating for a service system that supports individuals with disabilities to live in their own homes rather than having to be segregated from their communities in a facility to receive support. Specifically, they have advocated for implementation of Louisiana's Community and Family Support System Plan. To join or learn more about LaCAN,
LaTEACH (Louisiana Together Educating ALL Children) is a statewide grassroots advocacy network created for the purpose of effecting systems change. LaTEACH promotes appropriate, inclusive education for all students. LaTEACH works to make parents, educators, the general public, and state leadership informed and supportive of research-based and effective practices used appropriately for each student. To join or learn more about LaTEACH,