5th Louisiana Fosters
On October 28, 2021, Louisiana Superintendents, teachers, school counselors, the Department of Children and Family services, Louisiana Fosters, and partners participated in the 5th Louisiana Fosters Summit. The summit was able to reach all corners of the state through our virtual platform. This year covered all the aspects of trauma in our state and how it affects our children. Below is a recap of what each speaker had to say.
First Lady Donna Edwards opened up the 2021 Summit with gracious words of thanks to all who gave their time to attend the summing and listen to information that can change the lives of children in Louisiana.
Secretary Marketa Garner Walters talked about Louisiana fosters and the partnership the Department of children and family services has. She emphasized the importance of growing and supporting partnerships That support and bring hope to foster children in Louisiana.
Shelby Baird of Crossroads Nola did an exceptional job presenting how trauma impacts the brain and body of children who experience it. She elaborated and educated the audience on the way a brain with trauma is changed. She then talked about Trust-Based Relation Intervention (TBRI). Created by Dr. Karyn Purvis in the 1990s, TBRI was developed to facilitate healing and support for those children who need it most.
To further these examples, a video called “Children of Central City” was shown.
You can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f149rnRMc4o.
Dr. Denise Shervington emphasized the need for understanding and compassion when working with children who have experienced trauma. She went over how children who experience trauma suffer biological changes. She reiterates that trauma is the underbelly of violence. She explained that trauma doesn’t just express itself in behavior problems but can manifest in truancy, low attention, and other problems that can be evident in schools. She talked of ways that systems can be more sensitive to the needs of children who have been through trauma.
Dr. Rhenda Hodnett, Assistant Secretary of Child Welfare, addressed partnerships with DCFS and teachers regarding the ins and outs of child abuse reporting. She noted that teachers are first-line and usually the earliest detectors of child abuse. Often these reports are unsubstantiated because interventions happen so early. She explains that DCFS is working tirelessly to offer support to families and makes a note that DCFS should be the last resort when working with families and communities.
The Special Projects Coordinator for the Pelican Center for Children and Families and the Program Improvement Plan Coordinator for the Louisiana Court Improvement Program, Michelle Gros, then introduced the My Community Cares. My Community Care is a program designed to connect the community to support high needs or high-risk families. The idea behind My Community Cares is to get the community and parents working together to benefit their children. Michelle introduced Andrea Fontenot, the co-founder of Fostering Communities, Erin Stokes, the principal at Pineville Elementary School, and Judge John Davidson of the 9th Judicial District of Louisiana. The four panelists began a dialogue about My Community Cares and the benefit it has made in their community.
You can find a link to that conversation here:
To learn more about My Community Cares, click here: https://louisianafirstfoundation.com/louisiana-fosters-october2021/.
Caitlin LaVine is the Ace Educator Program coordinator from the Louisiana Office of Public Health. She gave valuable information on where the state of Louisiana is moving in the context of trauma. She explained that an effort to create a state-wide initiative that addresses aces, trauma and toxic stress in the workplace is underway in Louisiana, headed by her department. This state plan will put into place a model for Louisiana to address these things on every level.
With deep gratitude, we are thankful for the participants and the panelist who gave their time to learn more about how to help the children of Louisiana. To watch the entire summit, you can click the link below. If you have any questions feel free to email Katie@louisianafirstfoundation.com