- Lois Simpson - Executive Director
- Lois Simpson - Executive Director
Geographic Service Area
The Advocacy Center is a non-profit corporation that serves people with disabilities in every parish of Louisiana. With four offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Lafayette, the Advocacy Center provides information, and referral, and possibly legal repesentation, on legal issues relation to disability, including: special education, legal status, public, community integration, institutional rights, employment and rehabilitation, and abuse/neglect. Advocacy Center also provides ombudsman and advocacy services for people living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, group home psychiatric hospitals, and child residential facilities.
The work of the Advocacy Center is guided by the following priority statements. All our activities -- representing and assisting individuals and groups, working to change systems of services and regulation, outreach and training -- are in furtherance of one or more of the priorities. 1. Children with disabilities should be educated in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. 2. People who are elderly or who have disabilities should have access to all financial and other public benefits, to which they are entitled by law. 3. People with disabilities and seniors should be enabled and empowered to exercise their right to self-determination to the fullest extent of the law. 4. People with disabilities should have full programmatic and physical access to programs and services of local and state government, to housing, and to places of public accommodation as provided by state and federal law. 5. People with disabilities should be protected from abuse, neglect and the unnecessary use of restraint and seclusion and should receive quality support services, rights protection, and be empowered to make choices. 6. People with disabilities should be fully informed about their vocational rehabilitation, employment and other rights that impact employment and they should have access to quality employment and related services and supports. 7. Services and supports for people with disabilities should be integrated within the community to the maximum extent possible, as required by state and federal law. 8. People with disabilities and seniors, their families, support network, providers, and the community at large should be informed about relevant rights and about the services of the Advocacy Center. 9. Louisiana legislators, congressmen, and policy-makers should be advised, informed and educated about issues of importance to the populations served by the Advocacy Center. 10. All programs and services of the Advocacy Center should be administered in accordance with the mandates of its funding sources and should: be client centered; promote AC’s priorities and objectives; maximize the use of its resources, and ensure that its staff has the resources with which to do the job.
The Advocacy Center will generally provide individual representation in furtherance of its priorities if: 1. the individual meets the eligibility criteria for services as defined by federal or state law and contracts 2. the individual’s age or disability is central rather than incidental to the legal issue involved; 3. the issue is not one which is commonly addressed by the private bar or other legal services agencies; 4. the issue is not one for which the individual has a statutory right to appointed counsel; 5. there is a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits if representation is provided; 6. it is unlikely that the individual will be able to resolve the issue through self-advocacy; AND 7. the Advocacy Center has adequate staff and other resources to provide representation. Advocacy Center staff, under the direction of the Director of Legal Services, may make exceptions to these criteria in situations involving compelling circumstances where failure to provide representation would result in a miscarriage of justice.