by C.C. Campbell-Rock
In the midst of dwindling and scarce resources for mental health services, the Children’s Bureau stands as an oasis—an advocate for children exposed to trauma, abuse, natural disasters, crime, and environmental issues that can ruin a young mind for life.
The Children’s Bureau targets children, ages 0-17, with an intense focus on ages 0-5, the youngest and most vulnerable.
“We are seeing kids who are diagnosed with ADHD, for example, only to find out they really have untreated trauma,” says Paulette Carter, president and CEO of the 120-year-old agency.
Located at 2626 Canal St., the agency wants to spread awareness about its services.
“We can provide at least 12 days of in-patient services but we also provide long-term wellness treatment plans. The Children’s Bureau also provides parenting training and information on how to care for children who are traumatized,” Carter says.
One of the agency’s success stories is the late, great Louis Armstrong, who spent time at one of the Bureau’s facilities, the “Waif’s Home.”
Carter said the agency’s Project LAST (Loss and Survival Team) offers grief and trauma services such as crisis intervention and/or therapeutic services to children and families who have been impacted by a traumatic event (natural disaster, motor vehicle accident, etc.), as well as those who have lost a loved one or witnessed and/or been a victim of violence. Project LAST offers individual, family and group interventions.
On Oct. 25, Children’s Bureau, its volunteer board and sponsors hosted the agency’s first “Children’s Hero Awards” at Calvin and Frances Fayard’s home on St. Charles Avenue. Honorees for the inaugural event included: city of New Orleans Health Commissioner Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo, Xavier University President Norman C. Francis, pediatrician Dr. Stephen W. Hales, executive director of the Metropolitan Human Services District and retired Judge Calvin Johnson, team ambassador and former New Orleans Saints player Michael Lewis, Entergy CEO Charles Rice, co-founders of Each One-Save One Sally Ann Roberts and Cathy Harris, president of Sabiston Consultants Norma Jane Sabiston, social worker and University of South Florida professor Alison Salloum, founder of the New Orleans Women’s Shelter Jackie Curtis Silverman, and Chevron North America vice-president Warner Williams.
“The awards program was created to celebrate individuals who have shown an extraordinary commitment to children in metro New Orleans and to raise awareness around the mental health challenges many children in our community face,” says Amy Collins, Children’s Bureau board chair. “We hope people left the event with an understanding and deeper awareness of the need for mental health services, hospitals, and therapeutics.”
Crystal McDonald, the agency’s development director, says there is a dire need for additional funding.
“Children are covered for hospitalization, but we want to advocate for funding to provide continuing services,” she says “We want to fill the gaps in care. How do we help the systems to better support children? The demand is so great, we can’t meet it.”
For more information on the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans or to make a donation to the agency, call or visit www.childrens-bureau.com.