I am beginning to feel hope for Louisiana’s children and I hope it is not false. Perhaps, as a state, we are beginning to look at the data and are becoming concerned. I say this because of an editorial I’ve just read in The Advocate, “Our Views: Louisiana is putting children behind other goals“.

I say I am beginning to feel hope because smallest breeze of awareness seems to be blowing through Baton Rouge, our state’s seat of influential decisions. At the top, I do believe our new Governor, John Bel Edwards, understands the immediate and critical needs of Louisiana’s children. I also believe he understands the long term consequences of failing our children.

This year Louisiana’s legislature has passed legislation that will improve the lives of children and families. The Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families provides reports of the legislature’s activity related to children and families at http://louisianapartnership.org

I am beginning to feel hope because I see influential individuals and organizations working together to identify and correct flaws that work against good in the lives of children. For example, just this week the Louisiana Budget Project’s “Dismantling Child Welfare” reports that Louisiana is failing in one of the fundamental duties of state government: safeguarding vulnerable children.

Perhaps I am hopeful out of desperation or because I long for an end to the poor way Louisiana provides for the welfare of her children. Surely something new must be near. As the graphic shows, for 27 years Louisiana has held the average rank of 49th in the nation for child well-being. Literally, for two generations we could hardly have done worse by our children. We cannot continue longer.


Clearly, it is past time for change. I am hopeful something new for children is on the wind in Louisiana!

If you care about children then find a way to demonstrate it. Volunteer for an after-school tutoring program in your community. Fill lunch sacks for hungry children to take home on weekends. Become a foster parent. Support a nonprofit organization which meets children’s needs. Do one something to make a difference for a child.

Rick Wheat, President and Chief Executive Officer
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services

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