Louisiana’s new Coordinated System of Care (CSoC) kicks off on March 1. One consequence of this new system of care is a change in the way our residential facilities in Ruston, Mandeville and Sulphur will be licensed. After March 1, our facilities will no longer be licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services. They will be licensed by the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Two things require us to change our licenses: the size of our campuses and the significant emotional and behavioral needs of our children. It’s about the number of children and their severe needs. That combination requires each of our campuses to become licensed under the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) regulations.

I know the word “psychiatric” on the front of “residential treatment facility” gives some people pause. In this case, it should not. What Louisiana is doing by creating a Coordinated System of Care for children is a good thing. But like all new things, it generates questions.

One of the common questions is this: Are the Methodist children’s homes in Louisiana becoming psychiatric hospitals?

The answer is, No.

Our children’s homes are NOT becoming psychiatric hospitals. We will continue providing intensive residential services to children.

Another frequent question is, “will you change your names?”

Again, the answer is, No.

We are not changing our names. We will still be Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston, Methodist Home for Children of Greater New Orleans in Mandeville and Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana in Sulphur. We are who we are.

What I like about these new licensing requirements is that they will help us increase the intensity of our treatment programs so we can better meet the needs of our children. We have always sought to provide care for the neediest children in Louisiana. We care for children and adolescents whose needs and behaviors challenge our abilities.

This dynamic tension between what children need and what we have done to meet their needs has enhanced our expertise through the years. Muscles grow when they are flexed.

Simply stated, under these new licensing standards we will add additional staff and treatment resources to meet the increasing needs of the children for whom we care. These standards will help us flex our ministry muscles and, once again, we will enhance our residential services to children.

If you wish to learn more about Louisiana’s Coordinated System of Care for children, information is available online at: About the Coordinated System of Care.

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