Louisiana foster parents can find support thanks to a new website launched by First Lady Donna Edwards. LouisianaFosters.La.Gov connects parents with businesses, church groups and nonprofits to help meet the child’s needs.
Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says these groups can provide parents with assistance that DCFS can’t offer.
“The foster care system lost over a thousand workers, and so we no longer have the capacity to support foster parents the way they need to be supported,” Walters said.
At any given time, there are about 4,300 children in foster care in Louisiana. DCFS served over 7,800 children during the 2017 fiscal year. Walters says it takes more than government to raise a child. That’s why this program gets the community involved to help.
“Maybe it’s a business that wants to pay for a camp for foster kids in their community for the summer so the foster parents can have a little bit of respite,” Walters said.
First Lady Edwards says the program is all about meeting the immediate needs of these families and providing support services. Louisiana Fosters seeks to start new partnerships between community organizations and foster families.
“What we all know is that not one person and not one agency and not one organization and not one family can make a difference. It’s when we all come together,” Edwards said.
Edwards says they’re looking for mentors who want to be involved in a foster child’s life, as well as organizations who can provide much needed supplies. She says 4-H is one organization that’s stepped up to the plate providing bags for when foster children are moved, and they’re asking more groups to make that commitment.
“Children need everything from school supplies and bags to personal hygiene items. We need diapers for these families who have taken the step to be foster parents,” Edwards said.