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louisiana child distress news

With our 32-year average rank of 49th among the states for Child well-being, we in Louisiana can no longer think of our Children in terms of “well-being”. It is more accurate to use “distress”.

No one calls a hospital’s trauma center a “wellness center”. Similarly, with Louisiana anchored so tenaciously at the bottom among the states when ranked for “Child well-being”, one can more easily evaluate the condition of Louisiana’s Children in terms of Child distress.

datenews article
08/21/2022"How alarming is Louisiana's child welfare crisis? 3 numbers that show how kids are suffering." - Andrea Gallo, The Times-Picayune | The Advocate
08/21/2022"These children died after unheeded warnings. Is Louisiana failing its most vulnerable? The Department of Child and Family Services is in crisis. The consequences are deadly." - Andrea Gallo, The Times-Picayune | The Advocate
08/20/2022"Louisiana lawmakers call for changes to family services agency after toddler's overdose death." - Victor Skinner, The Ouachita Citizen
08/09/2022"Louisiana youth prison job applicants who fail abuse screening get second chance: The state struggles to attract employees to work in its juvenile justice facilities." - Julie O'Donoghue, Louisiana Illuminator
08/09/2022"Youth justice advocates worry about sending juveniles to Angola" - Jessica Knox,
08/09/2022"Juvenile justice official suggests Louisiana prosecutors should charge more minors as adults: The Office of Juvenile Justice will be meeting with district attorneys to discuss options" - Julie O'Donoghue, Lousiana Illuminator
08/08/2022"Louisiana Supreme Court could decide legality of kids being held in out-of-state juvenile detention facilities" - Nick Chrastil, The Lens NOLA

"The Louisiana Supreme Court could soon weigh in on whether it is legal for cities and parishes throughout the state to send incarcerated juvenile defendants to detention facilities across state lines — a practice that has been going on for years, but one that some attorneys and youth advocates say violates state law and goes against best practices."
08/08/2022"Louisiana school district bans corporal punishment" -
08/08/2022"Dept. of Children and Family Services facing tough questions after child’s death" - Ariel Salk,

"The Senate Select Committee on Women and Children grilled the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after several children fell between the cracks of the system."
08/08/2022"State to require immediate visits to kids under 3 hospitalized with abuse, neglect concerns: After toddler's overdose death, DCFS will check in on hospitalized children" - Andrea Gallo, The Advocate

"Days after a Baton Rouge mother was arrested in a case involving her toddler overdosing on fentanyl and dying, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services announced Monday that its caseworkers will immediately visit young children who are hospitalized under suspicion of abuse or neglect."
05/11/2022"Why Louisiana counseling centers are seeing a rise in kids with grief" - Roby Chavez, NPR News Hour

"Dr. Denese Shervington, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Tulane University’s School of Medicine, said her fear “is that children’s sadness will look like badness,” and they won’t get the kind of support they need, Shervington said. “Unfortunately, for Black and brown children, that puts them at higher risk for being in the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, we misdiagnose those kids and mislabel these grieving kids as having a conduct disorder."
04/11/2022"Frequent escapes from youth center cause state senator to call for its closure" - Sarah Lawrence,

"A state senator is calling for the closure of the Bridge City Center for Youth after the number of escapes from the facility rose to 15 this year."
04/06/2022"Lessons on suicide prevention could be in store for Louisiana students" - JC Canicosa, Louisiana Illuminator

"House Bill 495, authored by. Rep. Laurie Schlegel, R-Metairie, would require Louisiana public schools teach sixth- through 12th-graders about suicide prevention, student safety, violence prevention and social inclusion. The bill would also give schools the chance to create student-led clubs based around suicide prevention."
03/17/2022"Louisiana's child welfare agency struggles under 'crippling' caseloads, turnovers: 'We're drowning'" - Blake Paterson, The Advocate

"Faced with skyrocketing caseloads and meager salaries, almost half of the frontline, entry-level social service workers at DCFS quit last year, hampering Louisiana’s ability to care for its most vulnerable residents at a time of unprecedented need."
03/10/2022""No Light. No Nothing.” Inside Louisiana’s Harshest Juvenile Lockup" - Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project; Erin Einhorn and Annie Waldman; NBC News and ProPublica

"Louisiana holds about 350 youths, more than 80% of whom are Black, in secure facilities; it has promised for decades to move its lockups toward a more therapeutic model. But like many states, it has failed to fully fund or commit to the new approach. That, combined with a debilitating staff turnover caused by low pay and dangerous conditions, has meant staff members haven’t been properly trained to prevent the violence and chaos that has erupted."
03/10/2022"'No light. No nothing.' Inside Louisiana's harshest juvenile lockup, quietly opened last year" - Beth Schwartzapfel, Erin Einhorn and Annie Waldman | The Marshall Project; NBC News and ProPublica, The Advocate

"While the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services inspects and licenses juvenile group homes and detention facilities where youths are held when they’re first accused of crimes, only the Office of Juvenile Justice has authority over secure care facilities like St. Martinville where teens are placed after they’ve been sentenced. A legislative task force described this “glaring gap in oversight” in 2019, recommending that an outside agency inspect the facilities. But nothing has changed."
02/17/2022"$1.2 billion needed over next decade to improve child care in Louisiana, state panel says" - Will Sentell, The Advocate

"Commission members also complained that the Legislature is not standing by its commitment to offer matching funds for local communities that raise dollars for child care."
12/22/2021"One in five children hungry in Louisiana" - Brooke Thorington,

"A recent study shows Louisiana continues to have one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the country. Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America says more than half a million Louisianans, including one in five children, struggle with hunger."
09/09/2021"Louisiana public defenders don’t know where youths evacuated from detention centers were taken" - Rachel Mipro, Louisiana Illuminator

"Public defenders are still scrambling to locate children who were being held at Louisiana detention centers when Hurricane Ida hit last month. Many of these youths were evacuated with no information given to their local defenders, who are now uncertain as to where they are being held."
07/06/2021"Inspired by 'youth stories,' a bill of rights for foster kids is now Louisiana law." - Blake Paterson, The Advocate

07/01/2021"Lifting Louisiana’s economy starts with helping children | Neva Butkus - Neva Butkus, Louisiana Illuminator

"Putting the interests of wealthy people and corporations ahead of low-income families is what’s landed our children in 48th place. If our elected officials want to get serious about improving Louisiana’s economy, they should focus on making strategic investments in our future through investing in our children."
06/29/2021"Our Views: Louisiana not quite dead last on rankings, but we must do better for our children - Staff Editorial, The Advocate

"Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota topped the state results at the first-, second- and third-ranked states. It’s no secret why they’re doing so much better than us. These states invest more in their children, and they’ve done so for many years."
06/23/2021"Louisiana ranks 48th in overall child well-being, a report finds - JC Canicosa, Louisiana Illuminator

"Thirty-six of every 100,000 Louisiana children died in 2019 compared to 25 of 100,000 nationwide. The Kids Count report says the child death rate “reflects a broad array of factors: physical and mental health; access to health care; community issues; use of safety practices; and, especially for younger children, the level of adult supervision.”"
06/21/2021"Report: Louisiana among worst for child well-being even before COVID; what does future hold? - Charles Lussier, The Advocate

"In the decade leading up to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the well-being of Louisiana’s children remained near the bottom of the nation, showing limited improvement even as the nation as a whole improved by almost every measure, including a 5 percentage point decline in the number of children living in poverty."
01/21/2021"Louisiana schools leader decries plunge in reading scores: 'I am alarmed'" - Will Sentell, The Advocate
10/14/2020"LA ACT scores fall for third consecutive year" - Matt Doyle, Louisiana Radio Network
09/06/2020"Louisiana has 8th most underprivileged children" - Bernadette Lee,
06/26/2020"Why is Louisiana the worst place in US for children? This report breaks it down" - Leigh Guidry, Shreveport Times
05/10/2020Sen. Bill Cassidy On Reopening Schools: Children Are Paying A High Price At Home - James Doubek, NPR
02/14/2020"Report: Louisiana ranks 50th for economic well-being of its children" - David Jacobs, The Center Square
11/09/2019"Mentally ill children in Louisiana do not receive adequate services through Medicaid, lawsuit says" - Emily Woodruff, Times Picayune
11/04/2019"Louisiana ranked second highest in the nation for rates of early births in 2018, a ten-year high" - Kaylee Poche, Gambit
10/31/2019"New survey shows vaping is increasing in Louisiana’s students, names JUUL as brand of choice" - Emily Woodruff, Times Picayune
08/12/2019"Church offers prayers for all Calcasieu school employees" - American Press Lindsay Halpin
08/12/2019"New Louisiana law aims to prevent suicide in schools across state" - Drew Marine
07/05/2019"In La., new youth prisons to replace outdated ones" - Daily Comet Grace Toohey
06/27/2019"New Orleans schools seek better discipline process as expulsions drop but suspensions rise" -|Times Picayune Wilborn P. Nobles, III
06/26/2019"Schools chief John White: Early education funding boost still not enough for Louisiana's children" - The Advocate Della Hasselle
06/19/2019"Families of 1,400 Louisiana children will soon be added to child care assistance program" -|Times Picayune Wilborn P. Nobles, III
06/17/2019"Louisiana’s child population drops by 100k over last 3 decades" -|Times Picayune Wilborn P. Nobles, III
05/30/2018"Former foster kids make impassioned pleas for legislative support for improvements in state system" - The Advocate, Elizabeth Crisp
03/01/2018"Louisiana sees 77 percent rise in juvenile human trafficking" -, Amber Smith
01/21/2018"Mentoring LC youths: City's juvenile crime rate has risen by 25 percent" - The American Press, John Guidroz
10/23/2017"Report: Louisiana too quick to toss troubled, especially black students; alternative schools not helping" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
10/17/2017"New Safe Haven Set to Reduce Newborn Abandonment" - KEDM

The state Department of Children and Family Services has posted an online mapping tool called Safe Haven Facility Locator in an effort to prevent newborn abandonment. Child Protective Services Program Manager Mona Michelli says a mother can visit to find a place where they can give up a child less than 60 days old.
08/24/2017"Beauregard Parish Needs More Foster Homes" - Beauregard Daily News, Chris Schoonover
08/23/2017"North Shore woman 'stores' hope for foster children" -, Karen Baker
06/09/2017"Without fanfare, governor's ban on paddling disabled students expanded" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
06/05/2017"Louisiana is the worst state in the U.S. for children, report says" - | The Times Picayune
05/30/2017"Foster children need special help at 18" - The American Press
05/18/2017"Study shows alarming impact of opioid epidemic on babies born into addiction" - WAFB, Elizabeth Vowell
05/16/2017"Deep-seated student poverty cited as root of Louisiana's education problems" - The Advocate, Charles Lussier
05/03/2017"Reduced funding, low salaries put state’s most vulnerable children at risk" - Louisiana Budget Project
05/03/2017"Louisiana's learning-disabled students graduate at low rates, report says" - | The Times Picayune, Danielle Dreilinger
05/02/2017"Shortage of foster homes" -, Britney Glaser, Anchor
05/01/2017"New study shows just how much Louisiana parents struggle to balance children, careers" - The Advocate, Andrea Gallo
04/14/2017"Paddling Louisiana students with disabilities? Governor says make it illegal" - The Advocate, Will Sentel
04/12/2017"Former Orleans judge: Time to stop sentencing children to death by prison" - Times Picayune, Judge Miriam Waltzer (retired), letter to the editor
04/12/2017"Take the time to help protect a child" - The Shreveport Times, James E. Stewart Sr., letter to the editor
04/12/2017"Lack of early education severely limits a child's future: A letter to the editor" - The Times Picayune, Major Gen. (Ret.) Maynard "Sandy" Sanders, letter to the editor
04/06/2017"State education officials are investigating an incident in which a 9-year-old was handcuffed at school" - The LENS, Marta Jewson
04/04/2017"Organization raises money for child abuse prevention" - Daily Comet, Jordan Legendre
03/21/2017"Plan to End Children's Mental Health Program Faces Pushback" - U.S. News and World Reports, Melinda Deslatte
02/14/2017"Offering a Valentine for Louisiana Children Facing the System Alone" - Ebony, Gina Womack
12/13/2016"Corporal punishment causes controversy among Louisiana parents" - The Town Talk, Miranda Klein and Lex Talamo
12/12/2016"Family services agency looking for help at the local level" - The Town Talk, Miranda Klein
12/11/2016"Analysis: Social services agency struggles under budget cuts" - Melinda Deslatte - Associated Press
11/30/2016"Feds ask Louisiana to ban paddling in school" - Danielle Dreilinger,, The Times-Picayune
11/28/2016"DCFS: Rate of drug addicted newborns tripled since 2008" - Louisiana Radio Network
11/23/2016"Kids in Crisis: Human trafficking victims ending up in state's care" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curth
11/21/2016"Kids in Crisis: Number of babies born to mothers on drugs skyrockets in Louisiana" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curth
11/21/2016"Louisiana ranks #1 for best anti-trafficking laws" - The TownTalk, Lex Talamo
11/16/2016"Corporal punishment causes controversy among local parents" - ShreveportTimes, Lex Talamo
11/16/2016"Kids in Crisis: What happens after foster care?" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curthr
11/11/2016"Kids in Crisis: Budget cuts leave DCFS scrambling to protect the most vulnerable" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curth
10/18/2016"45 arrested, 3 rescued in Louisiana as part of FBI-led child sex trafficking crackdown" - WDSU, Juan Sanchez
10/03/2016"Floods threaten the mental health of children" - National Resources Defense Council, Juanita Constible
10/01/2016"Mental Health Transition Update" - ShreveportTimes, Lex Talamo
10/01/2016"WATCHDOG: Louisiana children sent out of state for psychiatric care" - ShreveportTimes, Lex Talamo
09/30/2016"Louisiana once spent little to help care for the youngest children; now it’s spending less" - The Advocate
09/29/2016"Struggling for Childcare in Louisiana" - Louisiana Budget Project
09/07/2016"Judge's Football Team Loses, Juvenile Sentences Go Up" - The Atlantic
08/19/2016"NEW LBP REPORT: Fund diversions erode Louisiana’s safety net, leave needy children vulnerable" - Louisiana Budget Project
08/11/2016"Louisiana among the worst states for underprivileged children" -
08/08/2016Louisiana is Putting Children Behind Other Goals” – The Advocate, Editorial
07/12/2016"Louisiana churches work to get children out of poverty" - Houma Today, Kevinisha Walker
07/05/2016"How caring adults save teens in foster care" - [225] Magazine, Jennifer Tormo
07/02/2016"The Jindal effect takes a huge toll at DCFS" - FOX8, WVUE, Lee Zurik
05/10/2016"The foster care system is pushing college students into homelessness: When your 18th birthday is like walking the plank" - The Hechinger Report, Andre Perry
12/10/2015Edwards announces Children and Family Services Committee” –
12/10/2015Edwards: ‘Children must be No. 1 priority’” – TheNewsStar, Greg Hilburn
11/13/2015"Thousands of Louisiana children in desperate need of foster parents, state says" - The Times-Picayunne, Michelle Hunter
11/05/2015Louisiana Graded F for Number of Premature Births in 2015” –, Tyana Daquano
08/17/2015"Other States Significantly Improve Child Well Being" - The Lafourche Gazette, Rick Wheat
07/03/2014"In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children" - The Hechinger Report, Sarah Carr
03/14/2011"Louisiana Children, Poverty, and the Faith Community" - Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ. Presented to the for Louisiana Interchurch Conference, 41st Annual Assembly on March 14, 2011, in Lafayette, Louisiana.
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