Louisiana family services agency takes first steps to expanding foster care eligibility to age 21Acadiana Advocate - August 22, 2018

Department of Children and Family Services officials got what they wanted this summer when Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, passed a bill setting up a panel to study raising the age of foster care eligibility from 18 to 21. They were floored when Sen. Ryan Gatti, R-Bossier City, then successfully pushed a law mandating the change immediately, before the panel was even formed. Gatti's bill came "out of nowhere," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Walters, speaking Wednesday in an interview during breakout sessions at a community meeting in Lafayette.  Additional Resources: Information Gateway resource: Support Services for Youth in Transition: Life Skills. Read Article.  

Published in Home Page

This guidebook was created through a partnership with Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and Louisiana Department of Health. The State of Louisiana has participated in several policy academies, consortia and innovative projects to help guide the integration of behavioral health services into physical health in order to enhance services and improve patient care. Louisiana's participation in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovations Accelerator Program for Substance Use Disorders (IAP/SUD) is just one example of a collaborative effort for stakeholders to come together to address substance use disorders (SUD) and related conditions.

This Toolkit has been approved the the Louisiana Perinatal Commission, which will serve as a partner for statewide dissemination and integration into future projects and initiatives. 

This guide is intended for use in medical settings, but may have a broader use as a reference guide.

Link to Toolkit: http://ldh.la.gov/assets/docs/BehavioralHealth/NASBooklet.pdf 

Published in Children's Justice Act

This report shares the findings of an audit of the Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) oversight of Louisiana’s Foster Care Program. The evaluation generally included fiscal years 2012 through 2016 and identified the following issues: DCFS faces significant challenges in performing its required duties, including low staffing levels, high caseloads, frequent turnover of staff, retention of foster parents, and ineffective data systems; DCFS did not always ensure that non-certified foster care providers received required criminal background checks; DCFS allowed nine certified providers with prior valid cases of abuse or neglect to care for foster children during fiscal years 2012 to 2016 without obtaining the required waivers; DCFS management does not have a formal process to ensure that caseworkers assessed the safety of children placed with 68 non-certified providers, as required by policy; State regulations require DCFS to expunge certain valid cases of abuse or neglect from the State Central Registry, which means the cases are not available for caseworkers to consider prior to placing children with providers; DCFS did not always ensure that children in foster care received services to address their physical and behavioral health needs; during fiscal year 2016, 17.9% of foster children in care for less than 12 months had three or more placements, compared to the national median of 14.4%; and DCFS’s performance declined or the percentages of areas needing improvement increased statewide from fiscal years 2014 to 2016 in 7 out of 18 areas evaluated on the Continuous Quality Improvement that related to foster care. Recommendations for improving services are made and the response of DCFS is provided. 

Link to Report

Title: Oversight of the Foster Care Program, Department of Children and Family Services [Louisiana]. Performance Audit. 2017. 
Published: 2017 
Available from: Louisiana Legislative Auditor 
https://www.lla.la.gov/ 
1600 North Third Street 
Post Office Box 94397 
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9397 

Published in Children's Justice Act