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What is a Developmental Disability? 

A developmental disability means either:

  • A severe, chronic disability of a person that:​​

    • Is attributable to an intellectual or physical impairment or combination of intellectual and physical impairments

    • Is manifested before the person reaches the age of twenty-two

    • Is likely to continue indefinitely

    • Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self- direction, capacity for independent liv-ing, economic self–sufficiency

    • Is not attributed solely to mental illness

    • Reflects the person’s need for combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services of lifelong or extended duration, and are individually planned and coordinated.

  • A substantial development delay or specific congenital or acquired condition in a person from birth through age nine who, without support and services, has a high probability of resulting in those criteria (listed above) later in life that may be considered to be a developmental disability.


Developmental Disabilities  Services

The South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority Developmental Disabilities Office serves as the single Point of Entry into the developmental disabilities services system and oversees public and private residential services and other services for people with developmental disabilities. 

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Supports and Services

Early Steps

Louisiana’s early intervention system for children with disabilities and developmental delay ages 0-3. This service provides speech-language, occupational, and physical therapies, special instruction, assistive
technology, service coordination, medical, health and nursing services, psychology services, family training, nutritional services and transportation. Services and supports provided are designed to assist families in
meeting the developmental needs of their child. For eligibility determination in Early Steps, call 1-866-EarlySteps(327-5978).

Flexible Family Funds

Provides monthly stipends to families of eligible children with severe or profound de-velopmental disabilities from 0-18 to help families meet extraordinary costs.

Individual and Family Support

Individual and Family Support provides assistance not available from any other resource. These services include respite care, personal assistance services, specialized clothing, dental and medical services, equipment and supplies, communication services, crisis intervention, specialized utility costs, specialized nutrition and family education. Services are provided through contractual agreements by private provider agencies or through individualized agreements with individuals and families.

Intermediate Care Facilities for People with

Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD).

An ICF/DD is a facility offering services for persons with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the ICF/DD is that of diagnosis, treatment, or habilitation. The ICF/DD provides a protected residential setting, ongoing
evaluation, planning, 24 hour supervision, coordination, and integration of health and habilitative services that are individualized per participant needs. Participants receive dental, medical and nursing services. ICF/DD services are provided in a broad range of residential service settings, such as community homes (up to 8 people), group homes (9-15 people), small (16-32 people) or large (33+) institution.

Waiver Services

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waiver

This program allows people greater flexibility to choose where they want to live and use services and supports that best suit their needs. Services are provided in the home and in the community. All waiver recipients’ health and welfare must be assured via the Individual Supports Plan. Waiver services must represent a least restrictive treatment alterna-tive.

New Opportunities Waiver

This waiver service offers people age 3 and older specific activities and focused support that include: individual and family supports (day and night), community integration and development environmental accessibility adaptions, specialized medical equipment and supplies, support living, substitute family care, day habilitation or supported employment with
transportation, employment related training, professional services, personal emergency response systems, skilled nursing services, center-based respite, and one-time transitional services.

Residential Options Waiver

This waiver offers person of all range of services within an overall budget. ROW is designed to support persons to move from ICFs/DD and nursing facilities in community based settings and to serve as an alternative to institutionalization. ROW provides individual and family supports options, employment/habilitation options skilled nursing, etc.

Supports Waiver

This waiver offers people age 18 and older specific, activity focused services that include: supported employment, day habilitation, prevocational
services, respite, habilitation and personal emergency response systems.

Children’s Choice Waiver

This waiver service offers supplemental support to children through age 18 who currently live at home with their families or with a foster family. Waiver participants are eligible for all medically necessary Medicaid services and will also receive the waiver services funding for: support coordination, family supports, center based respite, environmental accessibility adaptions (including vehicles), and family training. Children who age out of the waiver are offered an appropriate waiver for adults.

Act 421 Children’s Medicaid Option

(Act 421-CMO/TEFRA)

This waiver allows eligible children under the age of 19 with long-term disabilities or special health care needs to obtain coverage under Louisiana’s Medicaid Program, regardless of parental income and resources. The Medicaid services a child receives through the

Act 421-CMO program are the same services available from most other Medicaid programs, including requiring the use of a Healthy Louisiana plan.

Where do I begin?

If you believe that you or a family member has a developmental disability, call SCLHSA Developmental Disabilities Office at 985-876-8805 to determine eligibility and begin receiving support and services. 

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