LaCAN (Louisiana Council’s Advocacy Network) is a statewide grassroots network of individuals and families who have worked together since 1988 advocating for a system that supports individuals to live in their own homes rather than having to move to a facility to receive needed services. Specifically, they have advocated for the implementation of Louisianaís Community and Family Support System Plan.

LaCAN provides information and support to individuals wishing to effectively advocate for the expansion and improvement of community and family support services for people with disabilities and their families through email updates, regional workshops, regional team leaders, and personal contact.

LaCAN furthers the Council’s mission by advocating for policies and systems that support inclusion everywhere people learn, work, live, and play.

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.

LaCAN provides information and support to individuals wishing to effectively advocate for systems change in the areas of home and community-based services, education, and employment. Regional LaCAN teams include individuals with disabilities, their family members, and professionals. These members are notified by email or phone when communication with state agency officials, legislators or the Governor is necessary.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Children, regardless of the severity of their disability, need families and enduring relationships with adults in a nurturing home environment to develop to their fullest potential.

Adults with developmental disabilities should be afforded the opportunity to make decisions for themselves, live in typical homes and communities, and exercise their full rights and responsibilities as citizens.

People with developmental disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, should have the opportunity and support needed to gain and maintain competitive, integrated, individualized employment.

All students, with or without disabilities, should be provided the same opportunities to be educated in neighborhood schools as their sisters, brothers, friends, and neighbors.

All students, with or without disabilities, should be provided with the support to learn together effectively, involving family, school, and community.

Benefits to Membership

CONNECTION: become a part of a regional team of advocates

INFORMATION: receive current information on proposed policy changes and how those changes may affect you and others

TRAINING: learn skills to effectively advocate for systems change

SUPPORT: receive assistance from a regional LaCAN Leader who will link you with your policymakers and support your advocacy efforts

Major Accomplishments:

  • Passage of Act 378 of 1989 that establishes Louisianaís Community and Family Support System.
  • Passage of Act 481 of 2007 which provides a recurring source of funding for New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) slots.
  • Appropriation of hundreds of millions of dollars for Waiver Services and State Funded Individual and Family Support Services.
  • Funded Individual and Family Support Services.

Summary of Accomplishments:

  • 8,682 NOW slots are currently funded.
  • Almost 2,000 families receive a monthly cash subsidy to assist with the extraordinary costs they incur to care for their children with severe disabilities.
  • Individuals with adult-onset disabilities and mental health needs across the state are living successfully in their own homes with state-funded individualized supports.
  • Approximately 2,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities are receiving state-funded supports in their own homes regardless of their Medicaid eligibility.
  • These accomplishments will move Louisiana forward in reducing its reliance on an outdated system of institutional care to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Accomplishments in 2010

  • 150 additional New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) Slots
  • The closure of Northeast Supports and Services (Developmental) Center
  • The downsizing of the remaining developmental centers by 20%
  • 425 Childrenís Choice Waiver Slots
  • $4.2 Million to be used to speed up the processing of waiver slots and for one-time expenses for individuals with DD and their families (These funds were deposited into the Community and Family Support Fund from the sale of Metropolitan Developmental Center)

Accomplishments in 2011

In spite of the stateís budget shortfall, LaCAN members successfully advocated for the restoration of drastic cuts to the Department of Health and Hospitalís (DHH) budget. DHH indicated these cuts would slash or eliminate home and community-based services such as the Cash Subsidy program and Individual and Family Support services, and result in another 7.5 percent rate cut to providers.

Contact the LaCAN Region 9 Team Leader

Region 9 Leader of Education and Home & Community Based Services:

Karen Artus

Phone: (985) 264-1186
Office: (985) 875-0511
Email: kartus@lacanadvocates.org

www.lacanadvocates.org