OpenTable is a mentoring program that will be brought to the Florida Parishes by James Samaritan. The objective of the OpenTable Mentoring Program is to provide a support group for youths that age out of foster care. these youths seldom have a support system to help them transition to life on their own. Without this type of support, Too many end up homeless, unemployed, undereducated, in trouble with the law, pregnant or easy targets for prostitution and trafficking. The OpenTable’s success rate around the country is outstanding with 95% of the youths indicating that they are or will be self supporting. OpenTable trains people to form communities that transforms and mentors the aged out youth. There are 6-8 members that walk along side this individual to help teach, support and fulfill there dreams and goals.
Louisiana Fosters is a state-wide campaign focused on Louisiana’s children – our children – sponsored by First Lady Donna Edwards to link government, faith, non-profit, business and community to create united support for our state’s foster care system. Foster care is a noble service, and those called to foster offer love and non-judgmental care to children who desperately need our support.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has embarked on a system change for foster care called Quality Parenting Louisiana. Quality Parenting requires foster parents, birth parents, and the state’s child welfare workers to partner in improving the quality of parenting each child gets – every day, all day – regardless of who is doing the parenting. For DCFS, that means recruiting, training and supporting foster parents, and giving the caregiver a voice in the everyday decisions of the child. While we define the expectations of foster parents, we also define the expectations of the case worker, to better partner, share information, and build relationships to enhance the quality of care a child receives.
Quality Parenting acknowledges that all partners possess unique values and have roles and responsibilities in reducing trauma and its effect on children who come through the system. Children deserve foster or kinship caregivers who convey love and acceptance. In Quality Parenting, foster parents will strive to co-parent with the birth parents to ensure the best outcomes for children and youth. Case workers must work closely with all parties to ensure the safety of those in our care, because they are Louisiana’s children – our children.
As a member of your community, you have opportunities to help. You can make a difference in the life of a foster child or teen by offering your support in a variety of different ways. Whether becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or supporting those who are, it is a moral imperative and a fiscal responsibility. As a society, we must do better by our children.
- Improving the quality of foster care by redefining the role of the caregiver
- Giving the caregiver a voice in the everyday life decisions of the child
- Emphasizes a team approach: caregiver, agency and birth parents working together to achieve the best outcomes for the child.
- Defining expectations of the foster parents
- Offering foster parents support and training
- Work to reduce the number of placements for every child
- Work to keep siblings together
- More successful family reunifications