Although we primarily serve children in Foster Care, our Safe Sleep project aims to provide a safe place to sleep for at-risk infants living with their birth families. In 2017, The Family Services Division of DCFS provided services to 3,907 families within our state. The Family Services Division of the Alexandria DCFS (Rapides and Grant parish) office serves around 200 families annually. Most of them do not have an adequate place for their infant to sleep. Our Safe Sleep project provides a pack n’ play for these children and educational materials for their birth parents.
Many children in foster care have never had a birthday cake or birthday party. We provide kits that contain everything needed for a small birthday celebration. 1 Birthday book as a “gift” for example: “Happy Birthday to You” by Dr. Suess, 1 box of cake mix, 1 container of icing, candles, 4 balloons, 1 pack of plates, 1 pack of napkins, various decor: party hat, birthday banner, noisemakers. The Birthday in a Box kits, are distributed to children in foster care by their CASA Advocates. The kits were assembled by The Beta Club at Rosenthal Montessori and Just Dance for a cause. Our 2018 Sponsor was The Junior Leauge of Alexandria and our 2019 sponsor is The Central Louisiana Community Foundation.
Thanks to generous seamstresses, we are now providing weighted blankets for children in foster care who have autism or special needs. Weighted Blankets provide pressure and sensory input and are used as a calming tool or for sleep. The pressure of the blanket provides proprioceptive input to the brain and releases a hormone called serotonin which is a calming chemical in the body. These blankets make a huge difference for our special needs children in foster care and we are so thankful to our seamstress, Mrs. Rebeeca, who donates her time & talent.
If you want to request a weighted blanket for a child in foster care, Please follow this link https://goo.gl/forms/Qm0HRQJVctfZTeTs1
We have many requests for cribs ($150), twin beds ($150), and bunk beds ($350). Often, a foster home is willing to accept a sibling group, but does not have the beds needed for them. Let us know if you’d like to make a donation towards a bed for a child in care.
Our 2018 School Supply Grants from The Rotary Club of Alexandria & The United Way of Central Louisiana supplied backpacks, school uniforms, and school supplies for children in foster care in our region. Thank you to The Rotary Club of Alexandria & The United Way! We appreciate your dedication to our community!
In the spring of 2017, we created a “Hygiene Closet” at Department of Child and Family Services. We purchased two organizational shelving units and stocked the closet with everything a child would need for their first night in care. The Hygiene Closet is stocked with pacifiers, blankets, diapers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, bathing wipes, shampoo, hair brushes, toys, Bibles, underwear, t-shirts, socks from newborn to adult, and so much more. This gives caseworkers the tools that they need to clean and dress children before they bring them to a foster placement. It also gives children coming into foster care something to bring with them into their foster home. We also sent over 250 bags that were packed with everything a child would need for their first night in care to the other parish offices within our region.
In addition to these projects, we are blessed to continuously receive and give out Bibles, we send Christmas gifts to children in foster care, we match private donors with school-based extracurricular activity needs for children in care, we host a yearly back to school drive and supply kids with uniforms, school supplies, and backpacks, and we have provided over 200 copies of the book “The Connected Child” By Dr. Karyn Purvis to educate and equip foster parents with Trust-Based Relational Intervention. (TBRI) is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children.
We believe that the entire community benefits when you improve the well-being of children in foster care which results in better outcomes for these children.