Louisiana Association of Child Care Agencies
Louisiana Department of Social Services
Baton Rouge, LA Post-Katrina Update: DSS workers are manning emergency shelters and working overtime supporting evacuees and reuniting children with parents and caregivers. They have reunited more than 50 children and families who had been separated during the evacuation. As September 13, they have only had to place two children in foster care. Sadly, they are aware a number of children are in shelters in other states, separated from their families. They are working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to reunite them as quickly as possible. Communications are still minimal, and there are many DSS staff and some foster parents whose whereabouts are unknown.
Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Family Services
Jackson, MS Post-Katrina Update: Contacting staff and foster parents remains a primary focus. Cell phone service in some parts of the coast has come back, but one area still has no form of communication. The department has heard from its foster parents and most of their staff, and all are safe. They have only placed one child in foster care. To their credit, when staff in one of the hardest-hit counties reported for work, only to find their building being used by one of the federal relief agencies, the staff called in to the state office and ended up going to work in shelters.
Southern Christian Services for Children and Families
Jackson, MS Post-Katrina Update: All of their staff and children are safe. Two staff members have lost their homes and belongings. The therapeutic group home for girls in Columbia was without power, water, and phone services for five days, but the main office was able to shuttle supplies to them once the roads were passable. A facility in Jacskson was without power for four days. Children slept on the floor of the facilities' offices to get some relief from the heat. Minimal damage to other facilities was incurred, but they are still trying to locate a number of their older teens in foster care who were living independently on the Gulf Coast. Staff have already driven to different towns to pick up teens in need of shelter. They are expecting a dramatic increase in the number of children and families needing their assistance, as thousands of people who were evacuated from the coast have arrived and are still arriving in Jackson--many of them have lost their homes, their jobs, and their possessions.
CWLA Members Responding to the Needs of Other CWLA Member Agencies
Acadiana Youth Inc.
Lafayette, LA Post-Katrina Update: They are located outside of the affected region and are offering support and assistance to other member agencies that did not fare as well.
Our members in Texas are working in partnership with the public agency and the state association to respond to the needs of children coming into the state. There are growing concerns about children who are arriving unaccompanied by adults. Fortunately, some 2,400 available beds have been identified, but the challenges to reconnect these children to family and to address their emotional and health needs are significant.
Lena Pope Home
Ft. Worth, TX Post-Katrina Update: Prepared to set up mobile homes and has freed several cottages on its campus to accommodate foster and adoptive families and their children. Coordinating a list of available resources and working with a number of other agencies to make resources available. Offering crisis intervention services to the Red Cross by providing mental health services to the evacuees. One half of its workforce has been devoted to reuniting families and providing evacuees who have lost everything with access to computers so they may update their resumes and begin seeking employment.
One heart-warming story from this agency is that of a Louisiana resident who was separated from her family during the evacuation. Some of her family is in Ft. Worth, and the rest are in Houston. The agency flew the woman's entire family to Ft. Worth so they could be reunited. They have also found a car for her to use so she can pursue employment opportunities.
All Church Home for Children
Ft. Worth, TX Post-Katrina Update: They have opened their auditorium as a shelter for evacuees, providing them with food, clothing, and other necessary items. Their Families Together Program has four available spots for children and their parents, 12 beds for 4- to 12-year olds, and 2 beds for teen boys.
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