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Louisiana Children in National News

Given Louisiana’s low rank for child well-being, we cannot be surprised when the experiences and conditions of our children put Louisiana children in national news. We can gain from the experiences and perspectives of our fellow citizens in other states that have been more successful in caring for children.

DateNews Report
09/06/2023Louisiana has the country’s worst gun death rate for children by Ivana Saric and Carlie Kollath Wells, Axios

Firearm deaths among children in the U.S. hit a new record high in 2021, with Louisiana sadly leading the way, according to a study published recently in the journal Pediatrics.

09/09/2023Louisiana’s Notorious Angola Prison Will No Longer Hold Children by Arianna Coghill, Mother Jones

On Friday, a federal judge ordered the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the country’s largest maximum security adult prison, to relocate all incarcerated youths being held in the facility’s former death row building by September 15 after findings revealed that they were living in unsafe conditions and suffering inhumane punishments.

07/20/2023La. moved minors to an adult prison. The conditions are inhumane, ACLU says. by María Luisa Paúl, The Washington Post

Now, citing testimony from some of those juveniles, advocates allege that the state has not kept its promises regarding the conditions in which young people would be held or the temporary status of their housing.

07/19/2023Louisiana juveniles held in old death row facility suffer dangerous heat and routine isolation, according to court filing by Amy Simonson and Lauren Mascarenhas, CNN

Children in the custody of Louisiana’s Office of Juvenile Justice being held in a former death row building at an adult prison are suffering dangerous heat conditions and routine isolation in their cells that experts say could cause serious and irreversible harm, according to a federal court filing Monday.

03/20/2023States look to New Jersey as model for child mental health interventions – by Christine Herman, Side Effects Public Media, | Here & Now

Louisiana implemented a children’s system of care modeled on New Jersey, Pires said, but the state lost providers because reimbursement rates for services weren’t high enough. After the pandemic hit, more providers left. State funding was cut and now the system in Louisiana is “kind of wobbly,” Pires said.

03/16/2023Toxic school: How the government failed Black residents in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ – by Maite Amorebieta, Cynthia McFadden, Katie Reimchen and Rich Schapiro,

His old block in this majority-Black community backs up to a synthetic rubber plant that has for decades spewed a chemical into the air that federal regulators say is likely to cause cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency first warned of the dangers of the plant seven years ago. Yet, it has been allowed to continue to operate even though it sits about 450 feet from the Fifth Ward Elementary School.

11/04/2022‘Dying Inside’: Chaos and Cruelty in Louisiana Juvenile Detention – by Megan Shutzer and Rachel Lauren Mueller, The New York Times

Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced he will launch a second state investigation – one that includes the Department of Children and Family Services and the Office of Juvenile Justice – into Ware Youth Center, a large juvenile detention facility in Coushatta.

Ware’s staff allegedly engaged in sexual abuse, choking and other physical violence against incarcerated youth in its care over a period of 25 years, according to a report from a href=””>The New York Times.

05/11/2022Why Louisiana counseling centers are seeing a rise in kids with grief – Roby Chavez, NPR News Hour

Dr. Denese Shervington, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Tulane University’s School of Medicine, said her fear “is that children’s sadness will look like badness,” and they won’t get the kind of support they need, Shervington said. “Unfortunately, for Black and brown children, that puts them at higher risk for being in the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, we misdiagnose those kids and mislabel these grieving kids as having a conduct disorder.

03/10/2022No Light. No Nothing.” Inside Louisiana’s Harshest Juvenile Lockup – Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project; Erin Einhorn and Annie Waldman; NBC News and ProPublica

Louisiana holds about 350 youths, more than 80% of whom are Black, in secure facilities; it has promised for decades to move its lockups toward a more therapeutic model. But like many states, it has failed to fully fund or commit to the new approach. That, combined with a debilitating staff turnover caused by low pay and dangerous conditions, has meant staff members haven’t been properly trained to prevent the violence and chaos that has erupted.

05/10/2020Sen. Bill Cassidy On Reopening Schools: Children Are Paying A High Price At Home – James Doubek, NPR
07/05/2019In La., new youth prisons to replace outdated ones – by Grace Toohey, Daily Comet
03/21/2017Plan to End Children’s Mental Health Program Faces Pushback – by Melinda Deslatte, U.S. News and World Reports
10/03/2016Floods threaten the mental health of children – by Juanita Constible, National Resources Defense Council
09/07/2016Judge’s Football Team Loses, Juvenile Sentences Go Up: No, Seriously. – by Emily DeRuy, The Atlantic

That’s the gist of a new working paper by a pair of economists at Louisiana State University. It sounds almost comical, like an Onion headline, at first glance: “Judge Sentences Teen to Two Years After Louisiana Tigers Fall to Wisconsin Badgers.” But, insists Naci Mocan, an economics professor at LSU and a co-author (with a fellow professor, Ozkan Eren) of “Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles,” it’s not far off.

05/10/2016The foster care system is pushing college students into homelessness: When your 18th birthday is like walking the plank – by Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report
07/03/2014In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children – by Sarah Carr, The Hechinger Report

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