Louisiana’s Children in the News

Louisiana holds a 32-year average rank of 49th among the states for child well-being. Ranked among the nations, Louisiana is 81st for infant mortality.

Current news about children provides a crystal ball. Louisiana’s future is determined by how well we care for our children today. We cannot anticipate a bright future for Louisiana if we fail our kids today.

DateNews about Louisiana ChildrenKey Quotes
2021-01-31"COVID’s effect on early childhood education" - Marlisa Harding, American PressThere are many unknowns concerning how the state and globe will navigate the future in light of COVID-19, Libbie Sonnier, LPIC executive director, said. However, it is certain that “without increased investments, parents and caregivers will not be able to return to work to provide for their families and keep the economy going forward.”
2021-01-28"Louisiana needs to invest more in early childhood education, state superintendent says: 60 percent of the state’s kindergarteners start enter unprepared" - JC Canicosa, Louisiana Illuminator“When you’re talking about kindergarten readiness, there are things that matter,” the superintendent said. “Like, having conversations with children, using words, having access to books and experiences.”
2021-01-21"Louisiana schools leader decries plunge in reading scores: I am alarmed" - Will Sentell, The Advocate"More than half of students in all four grades are performing below grade level, a potential harbinger of major learning problems."
2020-10-14"LA ACT scores fall for third consecutive year" - Matt Doyle, Louisiana Radio Network"Louisiana’s high school class of 2020 scored an average ACT composite score of only 18.7, the third year in a row the state has seen a drop in scores."
2020-09-06"Louisiana has 8th most underprivileged children" - Bernadette Lee, KPEL965.com"Out of all fifty states and the District of Columbia, Louisiana comes in first when it comes to how many children are facing food-insecurity. At least one in five children face food-insecurity on a daily basis."
2020-06-26"Why is Louisiana the worst place in US for children? This report breaks it down" - Leigh Guidry, Shreveport Times"Humanitarian aid organization Save the Children ranked Louisiana as the worst state for children to live in America based on four factors: hunger, dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy and early death due to poor health, accident, murder or suicide."
2020-04-09"One third of Louisiana child care centers could close after coronavirus leads to $1.7M loss" - Will Sentell and Charles Lussier, The Advocate"Child care providers have lost at least $1.7 million because of closings sparked by the coronavirus and sites that care for about 12,500 children are in danger of staying shut permanently, according to a statewide survey released Thursday."
2019-11-09"Mentally ill children in Louisiana do not receive adequate services through Medicaid, lawsuit says" - Emily Woodruff, Times Picayune"The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, argues that the state has violated federal laws by failing to offer children intensive mental health services, instead relying on psychiatric institutions and the juvenile justice system to stabilize children in crisis."
2019-10-31"New survey shows vaping is increasing in Louisiana’s students, names JUUL as brand of choice" - Emily Woodruff, Times Picayune"The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living found that the number of students reporting using vape products has doubled since 2017 in the state. In 2019, about 32% of high school students and 15% of middle school students in Louisiana reported vaping more than once, according to the survey, which was conducted this year. About one in four middle school students and half of high school students have tried vaping."
2019-11-04"Louisiana ranked second highest in the nation for rates of early births in 2018, a ten-year high" - Kaylee Poche, Gambit"Last year, 13% of Louisiana women who gave birth had their child at least three weeks early, the second highest rate in the nation, according to a March of Dimes report released today. That premature birth rate, the fraction of births that occurred before the 37th week of pregnancy, is a 10-year high for the state and earned it a failing grade in the report."
2019-08-12"Church offers prayers for all Calcasieu school employees" - American Press Lindsay Halpin"For the past decade, the First United Methodist Church on Kirkman street has held it's annual Back to School Blessing to honor and pray for all of the 4,900 Calcasieu Parish School board employees as they embark upon the new school year ..."
2019-08-12"New Louisiana law aims to prevent suicide in schools across state" - KPLCTV.com Drew Marine"A new law is aiming to help middle and high school students across the state who may be suicidal. It’s a move supported by students in the Lake Area and one mom who lost her son to suicide just a few years ago."
"School districts across the state have until the 2020-2021 school year to print these numbers on IDs."
2019-07-05"In La., new youth prisons to replace outdated ones" - Daily Comet Grace Toohey“We agree that Bridge City and Swanson need to be closed; they’re too large, outdated and dangerous,” said Rachel Gassert, the policy director for the children’s rights center. But she also notes there is “no evidence that a youth prison model really works that well to rehabilitate children.”
2019-06-27"New Orleans schools seek better discipline process as expulsions drop but suspensions rise" - NOLA.com|Times Picayune Wilborn P. Nobles, III"The most recent available state data shows New Orleans reported approximately 67 expulsions during the 2017-2018 school year. The suspension rate was significantly higher, with 7,445 suspensions reported that year. While expulsions fell by 55% from 2007 to 2017, suspensions nearly quadrupled in that period."
2019-06-26"Schools chief John White: Early education funding boost still not enough for Louisiana's children" - The Advocate Della Hasselle"An estimated 173,000 low-income children, birth through age 3, across Louisiana cannot access affordable, high-quality care and education," said Melanie Bronfin, director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. "Currently, only 22,000 children in that age range are being served in publicly funded seats. This is unacceptable."
2019-06-19"Families of 1,400 Louisiana children will soon be added to child care assistance program" - NOLA.com|Times Picayune Wilborn P. Nobles, III"Funding cuts have decreased CCAP enrollment from almost 40,000 children in 2007 to 14,600 in 2018. Additionally, approximately 3,000 children will remain on the waiting list after the new seats are filled, said Melanie Bronfin, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children’s policy director, in a statement Wednesday."
2019-06-17"Louisiana’s child population drops by 100k over last 3 decades" - NOLA.com|Times Picayune Wilborn P. Nobles, III
2019-05-30"New juvenile court policy could mean more children held on minor charges" - The Times-Picayune, Kevin Litten
2019-03-26"Acadiana Center for Youth opens in Bunkie, first juvenile lockup built to state's therapeutic model" - The Advocate, Grace Toohey
2019-03-26"Study: La. receives F for efforts to remove lead from school water" - Fox8Live
2019-02-24"Eighth graders held back are more likely to commit violent crimes later, Louisiana study shows" - The Advocate, Della Hasselle
2019-01-30"Louisiana educators say it loud and clear: Student discipline isn't working" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
2019-01-29"State panel seeks $86 million to address early child care waitlist" - NOLA.com, Wilborn P. Nobles, III
2019-01-29"$86M could help tackle child care assistance waitlist in Louisiana as part of broader initiative" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
2019-01-23"BESE approves $700K to improve early childhood education; here's how that money could be used" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
2019-01-12"Raise the Age worries local jurisdictions as 17 year olds move to juvenile court" - Monroe News Star, Ashley Mott
11/08/2018"Louisiana once again breaks adoption record; more than 900 foster children now with permanent homes" - The Advocate, Grace Toohey
10/15/2018"Louisiana Department of Education plagued by issues concerning child care, report finds" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
10/04/2018"Amoebas, poisonous air, child poverty — odds are stacked against Louisiana brains" - The Advocate, James Gill
05/30/2018"Former foster kids make impassioned pleas for legislative support for improvements in state system" - The Advocate, Elizabeth Crisp
03/01/2018"Louisiana sees 77 percent rise in juvenile human trafficking" - BRProud.com, Amber Smith
01/21/2018"Mentoring LC youths: City's juvenile crime rate has risen by 25 percent" - The American Press, John Guidroz
10/23/2017"Report: Louisiana too quick to toss troubled, especially black students; alternative schools not helping" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
10/17/2017"New Safe Haven Set to Reduce Newborn Abandonment" - KEDM

The state Department of Children and Family Services has posted an online mapping tool called Safe Haven Facility Locator in an effort to prevent newborn abandonment. Child Protective Services Program Manager Mona Michelli says a mother can visit LouisianaSafeHaven.com to find a place where they can give up a child less than 60 days old.
08/24/2017"Beauregard Parish Needs More Foster Homes" - Beauregard Daily News, Chris Schoonover
2017-08-23"North Shore woman 'stores' hope for foster children" - Nola.com, Karen Baker
2017-07-03"Louisiana has one of the highest rates of child gun deaths" - The Louisiana Weekly, Della Hasselle"Unintentional firearm deaths usually happened because children were playing with guns, the report found. That was the case with 60 percent of firearm-related deaths among younger children and 49 percent among older kids.

Older children more often died because they were showing a gun to others and/or mistakenly thought the gun was unloaded or the safety was engaged, the authors found.

A gun was mistaken for a toy in 16 percent of younger children’s deaths. The majority of both younger and older children were fatally injured in a home."
06/09/2017"Without fanfare, governor's ban on paddling disabled students expanded" - The Advocate, Will Sentell
06/05/2017"Louisiana is the worst state in the U.S. for children, report says" - NOLA.com | The Times Picayune
05/30/2017"Foster children need special help at 18" - The American Press
05/18/2017"Study shows alarming impact of opioid epidemic on babies born into addiction" - WAFB, Elizabeth Vowell
05/16/2017"Deep-seated student poverty cited as root of Louisiana's education problems" - The Advocate, Charles Lussier
05/03/2017"Reduced funding, low salaries put state’s most vulnerable children at risk" - Louisiana Budget Project
05/03/2017"Louisiana's learning-disabled students graduate at low rates, report says" - NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, Danielle Dreilinger
05/02/2017"Shortage of foster homes" - KPLCTV.com, Britney Glaser, Anchor
05/01/2017"New study shows just how much Louisiana parents struggle to balance children, careers" - The Advocate, Andrea Gallo
04/14/2017"Paddling Louisiana students with disabilities? Governor says make it illegal" - The Advocate, Will Sentel
04/12/2017"Former Orleans judge: Time to stop sentencing children to death by prison" - Times Picayune, Judge Miriam Waltzer (retired), letter to the editor
04/12/2017"Take the time to help protect a child" - The Shreveport Times, James E. Stewart Sr., letter to the editor
04/12/2017"Lack of early education severely limits a child's future: A letter to the editor" - The Times Picayune, Major Gen. (Ret.) Maynard "Sandy" Sanders, letter to the editor
04/06/2017"State education officials are investigating an incident in which a 9-year-old was handcuffed at school" - The LENS, Marta Jewson
04/04/2017"Organization raises money for child abuse prevention" - Daily Comet, Jordan Legendre
03/21/2017"Plan to End Children's Mental Health Program Faces Pushback" - U.S. News and World Reports, Melinda Deslatte
02/14/2017"Offering a Valentine for Louisiana Children Facing the System Alone" - Ebony, Gina Womack
12/13/2016"Corporal punishment causes controversy among Louisiana parents" - The Town Talk, Miranda Klein and Lex Talamo
12/12/2016"Family services agency looking for help at the local level" - The Town Talk, Miranda Klein
12/11/2016"Analysis: Social services agency struggles under budget cuts" - Melinda Deslatte - Associated Press
11/30/2016"Feds ask Louisiana to ban paddling in school" - Danielle Dreilinger, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune
11/28/2016"DCFS: Rate of drug addicted newborns tripled since 2008" - Louisiana Radio Network
11/23/2016"Kids in Crisis: Human trafficking victims ending up in state's care" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curth
11/21/2016"Kids in Crisis: Number of babies born to mothers on drugs skyrockets in Louisiana" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curth
11/21/2016"Louisiana ranks #1 for best anti-trafficking laws" - The TownTalk, Lex Talamo
11/16/2016"Corporal punishment causes controversy among local parents" - ShreveportTimes, Lex Talamo
11/16/2016"Kids in Crisis: What happens after foster care?" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curthr
11/11/2016"Kids in Crisis: Budget cuts leave DCFS scrambling to protect the most vulnerable" - FOX8 WVUE, Kimberly Curth
10/18/2016"45 arrested, 3 rescued in Louisiana as part of FBI-led child sex trafficking crackdown" - WDSU, Juan Sanchez
10/03/2016"Floods threaten the mental health of children" - National Resources Defense Council, Juanita Constible
10/01/2016"Mental Health Transition Update" - ShreveportTimes, Lex Talamo
10/01/2016"Children Sent Out of State" - ShreveportTimes, Lex Talamo
09/30/2016"Louisiana once spent little to help care for the youngest children; now it’s spending less" - The Advocate
09/29/2016"Struggling for Childcare in Louisiana" - Louisiana Budget Project
09/07/2016"Judge's Football Team Loses, Juvenile Sentences Go Up" - The Atlantic
08/19/2016"NEW LBP REPORT: Fund diversions erode Louisiana’s safety net, leave needy children vulnerable" - Louisiana Budget Project
08/11/2016"Louisiana among the worst states for underprivileged children" - WWLTV.com
08/08/2016Louisiana is Putting Children Behind Other Goals” – The Advocate, Editorial
07/12/2016"Louisiana churches work to get children out of poverty" - Houma Today, Kevinisha Walker
07/05/2016"How caring adults save teens in foster care" - [225] Magazine, Jennifer Tormo
07/02/2016"The Jindal effect takes a huge toll at DCFS" - FOX8, WVUE, Lee Zurik
05/10/2016"The foster care system is pushing college students into homelessness: When your 18th birthday is like walking the plank" - The Hechinger Report, Andre Perry
12/10/2015Edwards announces Children and Family Services Committee” – KNOE.com
12/10/2015Edwards: ‘Children must be No. 1 priority’” – TheNewsStar, Greg Hilburn
11/13/2015"Thousands of Louisiana children in desperate need of foster parents, state says" - The Times-Picayunne, Michelle Hunter
11/05/2015Louisiana Graded F for Number of Premature Births in 2015” – WAFB.com, Tyana Daquano
08/17/2015"Other States Significantly Improve Child Well Being" - The Lafourche Gazette, Rick Wheat
07/03/2014"In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children" - The Hechinger Report, Sarah Carr