POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 6:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 6:04am
LAFAYETTE, LA (NBC33) — Currently there are 511 children in foster care in the Acadiana-area. The Faith in Families initiative seeks to reduce that number, decrease the amount of time children spend in the system, and ensure each child has a permanent connection when they leave foster care.
“We want to reduce the number of kids in care by a thousand. We want to reduce the time children spend in foster care, and we want to make sure that no child ever exits the foster care system without a connection to family,” says Suzy Sonnier, Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services.
“It’s just very important for families to get the services they need and get back together and move on with their lives. Foster care is not a long term solution to that, it’s only supposed to be temporary and it’s just not fair for children to grow up in the system and not have any place to go when they reach eighteen,” says Courtney Lanclos, Executive Director of CASA.
Research indicates children who age out of foster care without a permanent connection face significant challenges including homelessness, unemployment, mental health, and substance abuse issues. The faith in families initiative includes increasing adoption placements by expediting identified placements for foster children, identifying and encouraging potential foster and adoptive families and safely reducing the number of children who enter foster care.