POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 2:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 2:34pm
New Orleans, La — The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today announced a new child welfare initiative that focuses on creating lasting connections for children who spend time in protective care.
DCFS's Faith in Families initiative seeks to reduce the number of children in foster care, decrease the amount of time children spend in the system and ensure that each child has a permanent connection when they leave foster care.
"Children deserve strong and loving families," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "This initiative will bring positive and life-changing impacts to children in our foster care system."
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.
Additionally, DCFS will work aggressively to improve permanent connections for youth on the verge of aging out of foster care. DCFS will work to identify family or other community members who can provide lasting relationships for young people ensuring that no children exit the foster care system without someone to call family.
"Research indicates that children who age out of foster care without a permanent connection face significant challenges, including homelessness, unemployment, mental health and substance abuse issues and involvement with the criminal justice system," said Sonnier. "Life-long connections are key to ensuring that these children have a place to live, stay in school and make positive decisions about their lives going forward."