Help us protect Louisiana's children. Report Child Abuse & Neglect: 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
BATON ROUGE - Today, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Louisiana Institute for Children in Families and the Pelican Center for Children and Families, introduced the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI), a movement aimed at improving foster care in Louisiana by redefining the role of caregivers.
QPI gives caregivers a more active role in the everyday lives of the children in their care. It also emphasizes the importance of the team approach -- foster parents, agency staff and birth parents, working together to achieve the best outcomes for the child.
"We want to empower foster parents by giving them a voice in the day-to-day decision making for the children in their care," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "By doing so, we are ensuring foster children receive the love and support they need to thrive, and in turn, progress toward a permanent solution for a happy, fulfilling life."
While in some cases, adoption becomes the goal, through QPI, DCFS will actively recruit foster parents committed to working with biological families to create a safe, nurturing home environment for children to be reunified. This community-based approach helps attract and retain quality foster parents by defining expectations and giving caregivers the support and training they need to succeed with foster children, as well as their biological families.
"Children deserve to be raised in loving, caring families. That is true for my children, and it's true for those children who come into the care of the state through no fault of their own. We are honored to work with Governor John Bel Edwards, Secretary Walters and our legislative caucus to bring QPI to Louisiana," said Judge Madeleine Landrieu of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the board of Louisiana Institute for Children in Families.
QPI is currently underway in Florida and Connecticut, and in select counties in California, Nevada and Texas. The major success of QPI around the nation has involved systems change and improved relationships among child welfare staff, stakeholders and caregivers. Other states who have adopted QPI reported improvements in outcomes such as:
- Fewer unplanned placement changes;
- Less use of group care;
- Less sibling separation; and
- More successful family reunifications.
"Children and families are our state's most valuable asset. QPI offers a new lens through which we as a state view the very valuable role of foster parents and relative caregivers in the foster care system," said Mark Harris, executive director, Pelican Center for Children and Families. "The Pelican Center is committed to provided education and QPI training to the legal community and other key child welfare and community partners."
Each month, Louisiana serves more than 4,700 foster children. More than 50 percent of these children are under the age of five. Learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/foster.