Effective June 4, 2022, one of Houma’s longest standing and most honored programs for abused and neglected children will close its doors due to policy changes and funding deficiencies at the State level.
Louis Children’s Crisis Center, founded in 1979 by Sister Rosario O’Connell, has begun the process of helping the children in residence with us transition to new placements. All of the children are in the custody of the State of Louisiana. LCCC operated three residential group homes for children for over 40 years. These homes were donated by private local benefactors for use by the children at no cost to the state or federal government.
Two years ago, we warned the State Department of Children and Family Services in a letter that funding deficiencies and policy changes were responsible for increasing numbers of traumatized children ages 12 – 17 whose behaviors are so extreme that it has become nearly impossible to find and maintain foster homes for them or to return them to parents or relatives, the vast majority of whom are not trained or experienced in dealing with trauma-based behaviors. A disturbing number of our children were abused in foster and adoptive placements. Costs to care for these children increase on a yearly basis, yet the per diem paid to group homes for residential services does not. This is directly under the control of the Louisiana Legislature.
Louis Children’s Crisis Center has a combined experience of 165+ years caring for and healing children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse and neglect. In the past, our Program had tremendous success in habilitating, rehabilitating and socializing child victims who exhibit extreme trauma-based behaviors such that their chance of success at transitioning to foster/adoptive families is significantly increased. We also established a track record of helping DCFS find loving foster and adoptive families for the children in our care because of our connections across South Louisiana.
Over and over again, we have proven Sister Rosario’s theory that early intervention principles cost far less money in the long run than allowing these children’s lives to deteriorate until they enter the criminal justice system. It is far too late for the vast majority of them at that point.
Thank you to all of wonderful people, companies and organizations who have supported our children over the years. Your donations funded so many experiences and activities for the children who have passed through these doors. Because of you, we were able to give them experiences that build character, strength and a sense of community to make up for the absence of parents in their lives. So many, many children arrived here battered and broken in body and spirit who have left and become happy, adjusted and successful adults.
We are proud of the good work we have done these past forty plus years saving children. The reality, however, is that we cannot continue to operate at a loss. Louisiana has forfeited a valuable resource when the last child leaves and our doors close.