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.
What We Do
LaCAN members participate in various advocacy activities throughout the year. Their efforts have resulted in major accomplishments that have improved the lives of individuals with disabilities. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Your level of activity is totally up to you.
- Meet with legislators in your area
- Get current information on state issues
- Increase your ability to be an effective advocate
- Learn techniques for sharing your personal story to encourage positive changes
Legislators are elected to represent us. Legislators typically want to hear the views and issues faced by their constituents. One of the most powerful ways to convince a legislator of the need for change is to put a face on the situation. LaCAN Leaders support their regional members in making personal visits with their legislators by providing speaking points and helping members with their personal story and message. Leaders schedule legislative visits throughout the year. Please contact your Leader if you are interested in participating in an upcoming visit.
Yellow Shirt Days
During the legislative session, LaCAN members show up at key legislative committee meetings when critical decisions are being made. Every bill must pass through committee in the process of becoming a law, so it is important to let legislators on these committees know the possible effects of these bills on individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Yellow Shirt Days are also held throughout the year to advocate for education issues being addressed at BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education), SEAP (Special Education Advisory Panel), and other key education meetings. LaCAN Leaders coordinate members in their region to make a presence at these meetings. Regional members are also called upon to share their personal stories during times of public testimony.
Information & Action Alerts
Alerts inform LaCAN members of proposed changes to policy that may affect individuals with developmental disabilities and the services they receive. Action Alerts also inform members of what specific action they can take to advocate regarding these changes. Alerts are most frequent during the legislative session but can occur anytime during the year if an issue of significance is identified. Actions typically involve sending e-mails or letters with a specific message to your legislators or other policymakers. It only takes a couple of minutes to respond to Action Alerts and legislators indicate these contacts provide insight into how the laws they create impact people with developmental disabilities and their families. LaCAN Leaders are available to assist you in understanding the content of these alerts and taking action as needed.
- 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
You can help improve the systems that serve individuals with developmental disabilities by joining the LaCAN and participating in its advocacy efforts. There are no dues or fees to join and your activity level is up to you. Here are just a few of the benefits to joining LaCAN:
- 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
Linking lawmakers, individuals with disabilities, and family members to make positive change in systems serving people with disabilities.