Developmental Disabilities

MHSD is here to help people with developmental disabilities live healthy, productive lives.

Getting started

In order to receive supports and services, you must first call our Care Center at 504-568-3130 to assess eligibility, identify current needs and receive initial referrals. Please note that the State of Louisiana has strict requirements regarding eligibility for developmental disabilities supports and services. Click here for a full list of eligibility requirements related to diagnosis and place of residence.

  • Developing a plan: Once eligibility is determined, all individuals and designated family members meet with a team member to work together in developing a Plan of Support that is uniquely designed to provide the supports and services best suited to meet individual needs. Once created, MHSD’s team provides on-going assistance to ensure the Plan of Support is successfully implemented.

Receiving support and services

In putting together a Plan of Support that is right for you or your family member, MHSD’s team can connect you with a full-range of supports and services.

Direct service. MHSD funds a range of direct supports and services that meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their family members. These include the following:

  • Individual and family support that enable a person with developmental disabilities to remain in his or her own home or family’s home.
  • Respite services offer both planned and emergency “breaks” for family members who provide direct and on-going assistance to their loved one with developmental disabilities.
  • Cash subsidies of $258/mo. support the needs of families of children with developmental disabilities (0-18 years of age). Please note this program requires a separate application and there generally is a waiting list.
  • Supported living services are designed to provide an adult 18 or older with the necessary skills and assistance to live independently in a private home.
  • Personal care assistance helps helps take care of daily tasks they may not be able to complete on their own.
  • Vocational/Habilitative services increase opportunities for individuals to participate in supported employment activities.
  • Psychological services are available for all ages to help identify and provide positive alternatives to challenging behaviors that can present difficulties in home and community life.
  • Crisis subsidies provide funding to meet short-term developmental disabilities needs until the individual has full access to the regular system of services.

Ancillary service. MHSD’s team also can help individuals and family’s access other supports and services that are available in the community, including the following:

  • Court assistance involves working with court officers, family members and people with developmental disabilities to determine eligibility, request services and coordinate activities with all entities involved in the court system (e.g. Office of Youth Development, Department of Juvenile Services).
  • Interagency service coordination involves MHSD’s team working with other child and family service agencies to help stabilize situations where children are at risk of being removed from their homes or expelled from school.
  • Intermediate Residential Care Facilities (group home) provide around-the-clock support and services when an individual’s needs can no longer be met in a family or independent home.
  • Nursing Home (PASSAR) Assessments are for individuals needing skilled nursing care services who are seeking admission into a nursing home (rather than an intermediate care facility).

Medicaid Waiver Program. Home and Community Based Waiver Programs allow individuals with disabilities greater flexibility to choose where they want to live and to use services and supports that best meet their needs, all while still receiving Medicaid benefits. Louisiana currently offers the following Home and Community Based Waiver Programs:

  • New Opportunities Waiver – Commonly known as the NOW
  • Children’s Choice Waiver – For children through 18 years of age
  • Supports Waiver – Vocational/Supported Employment Services
  • Residential Options Waiver – An alternative to institutionalization

Your MHSD team member can help you determine waiver eligibility and guide you through the process of submitting a waiver request to the state’s Request for Services Registry. Please note that submitting a request does not automatically mean a waiver opportunity is granted. Typically, requests are placed on a waiting list (based on both the date the request is received and funding availability). For more information, please visit the State of Louisiana’s DHH/OCDD site on waiver services.

In crisis?

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis please call 504-568-3130 24 hours a day/7 days a week. More.