Time & Location
May 26, 2022, 11:30 AM
About the event
My Community Cares (MCC)! MCC is a community-driven approach that strives to bring together community members and agencies committed to a shared vision of promoting child and family well-being and ensuring that families can access the support they need to reach their full potential. The vision of MCC is for children and families to have access to services, activities, programs, resources, and supports in the communities where they live.
MCC was developed in response to the 2018 Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) conducted on Louisiana’s child welfare system. Inspired by the federal Children’s Bureau’s new vision to shift from a reactive system to one centered on family strengthening, Louisiana judges and legal and child welfare stakeholders chose to stir the pot and try something different than a one-size-fits-all approach to preventing children from entering foster care. Stakeholders were impassioned to co-design strategies with community members to find ways to serve families before they became entangled with the court and foster care systems. As a result, the Court Improvement Program (CIP) of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Pelican Center for Children and Families, and local courts partnered with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund, Louisiana Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Task Force, Casey Family Programs, many other agencies, parents and families with lived experience with the child welfare system, and community members to implement MCC.
Louisiana’s child welfare data showed that many families involved with the child welfare system historically live within the same neighborhoods. Stakeholders agreed to seek the voice of residents in these neighborhoods to find out what community-based programs and supports they felt families needed to access critical services that were supportive, racially equitable, culturally relevant, and built on the strengths of their community. Four parishes with high numbers of children entering foster care were chosen to pilot MCC: Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, and Rapides. Fourteen priority neighborhoods were identified within those four parishes.
Over the past two years, MCC has partnered with thousands of families in these communities to assess opportunities and challenges and co-design solutions with them to prevent children from entering or remaining in foster care. While each community took its unique approach to implement MCC, there are key tenets across the parishes:
About the Speakers
Jenny Forrest is the My Community Cares State Director with the Pelican Center for Children and Families, which administers the Louisiana Court Improvement Program for families involved in the child welfare system on behalf of the Louisiana Supreme Court. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies in 2008, Jenny worked as a Child Advocate and Residential Counselor at a battered women’s program, as a Qualified Mental Retardation Professional and Program Development Specialist overseeing numerous group homes, as a Case Manager and Community Support Specialist in Louisiana and Tennessee, and as a Prevention Specialist and Program Administrator with Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee and Louisiana. She is a certified Forensic Interviewer, Nurturing Parenting and Darkness to Light Stewards of Children facilitator, and an Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mandatory Reporter trainer. Jenny’s passion and focus is to advocate for healthy and safe families through collaborative child abuse and neglect prevention work within communities across the state of Louisiana.
Judge Davidson is a 1988 graduate of The LSU Law Center. At LSU Law School, he was Order of the Coif and a member of Louisiana Law Review. He began his private practice in New Orleans working in the areas of complex commercial litigation and bankruptcy. He moved to Alexandria in 1992 and continued his private practice in the areas of commercial litigation, general defense work, personal injury, and domestic law. In November 2004, he was elected Ninth Judicial District Judge in Rapides Parish.