Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Children's Defense Fund-Louisiana

The Children's Defense Fund has had a long standing relationship with child advocates in Louisiana through the work of CDF-Southern Regional Office located in Jackson, Mississippi. This relationship has seen cooperative endeavors on child health, child welfare, youth development and juvenile justice. Child advocates in Louisiana were among those who attended the CDF Stand for Children Rally in 1996 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., in support of the State Child Health Insurance Program. They have been partners on calls to action at the state level on child care, education reform, the closing of juvenile facilities that more enslaved than rehabilitated the young people they housed. It is with this history of ongoing commitment to Louisiana that CDF within hours after Hurricane Katrina hit contacted its network of advocates and pressed them into action to assist those in need, particularly the children.

One of the first tasks after the storm undertaken by CDF-SRO was to help reunite children and their families. With the assistance of the Red Cross and other agencies CDF reunited families and quickly learned the gravity of the storm required more. With assistance of a grant from the W.J. Kellogg Foundation, CDF-SRO opened a Katrina Resource and Referral office in New Orleans with staff housed in Houston, and Jackson, Mississippi. The purpose of this office was to not only connect families who had lost contact with one another but to connect the families to resources that could aid in their recovery. Several thousand families were served through this office. The success of this effort has led to the establishment of CDF-Louisiana that offers a full complement of field services on behalf of children and families including the operation of a CDF Freedom Schools site.

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