COVINGTON — The Covington Region of Louisiana has more foster care cases than any other region of the state. James Samaritan, an independent nonprofit organization that serves the needs of the foster care community across the Greater Northshore Region, is drawing some much-needed attention to this invisible and underserved community. James Samaritan will host the first annual State of Our Children Breakfast on Friday, July 16th at 7AM in the Briggs Center of St. Paul’s School in Covington.
The event will feature community leaders and other experts including the Honorable Judge Blair Edwards (21st JDC), Dean Madeleine Landrieu, the Honorable Judge Scott Gardner (22nd JDC), Assistant District Attorney and Chief of Criminal for the 22nd JDC District Attorney’s Office J. Collin Sims, Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center – Hope House Thomas Mitchell, and Dr. Michael Sprague, Chaplain for the State. These speakers will address the causes, solutions, legislation, trends and statistics that impact the foster care system and the community as a whole.
The invocation will be led by Br. Ray Bulliard, President of St. Paul’s. According to national statistics, youth that are transitioning out of foster care are more likely to fall into the traps of human trafficking, homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse and mental illness. Many of these young people experience twice the level of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder than that of a combat veteran. However, there are many ways that the community can help.
“Too often I’ve seen children from broken families who have grown up in the foster care system wind up in the criminal justice system,” says District Attorney Warren Montgomery. “By then, both the damage and consequences are great. Helping our most vulnerable children avoid such a destructive path will require all of us working together.”
Local organizations at the forefront of this issue, like James Samaritan and CAC – Hope House, will provide practical, community-based solutions and insight at this event.
As Judge Scott Gardner says, “We know all of the children in the community are our family. Many children have no fault except that they have been born into neglect and want. We hope to lift up these children and their families. As Christ reminds us in Matthew 25:40, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye do unto me.’ On July 16th, the community will learn what can – and should – be done.”
Tickets to the breakfast ($30 each or $200 per table of 8) are now available. For more information, or to purchase tickets or become an event sponsor, visit https://tinyurl.com/JSbreakfast or email firstname.lastname@example.org.