Content tagged “Children”

A legacy of hope

President, ITI Technical College

173 unaccompanied immigrant children have moved to EBR since January, report says

Of all the unaccompanied immigrant children who arrived at the U.S. border between the start of the year and July 31, a total of 37,477 have been released to a sponsor in the U.S. And according to new figures released Wednesday by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, 173 of those children have arrived in East Baton Rouge Parish. The report says a total of 1,275 children have been released to sponsors in Louisiana. In just nine other states have more children found sponsors to stay with while they await immigration proceedings, according to ORR, an office of the Administration for Children & Families. The sponsors are usually relatives, ORR says. East Baton Rouge is among five Louisiana parishes that have seen at least 50 immigrant children arrive since January. The others are: Jefferson (533); Orleans (237); St. Tammany (54); and Lafayette (51). Gov. Bobby Jindal has criticized President Barack Obama and the federal government on the issue, saying he wants more details on the...

Reilly Family helps kick off program to help refugee children

Baton Rouge's Reilly Family has pledged $310,000 over the next four years in challenge grant funds to kick-start a new program designed to help unaccompanied refugee children seeking protection in the United States. The Louisiana Esperanza Project is being established by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge to provide legal services available under U.S. law that aim to not only protect the children's lives but assure their sanctuary in the U.S. remains documented. "The children at our border are some of the most vulnerable children on our continent," says Winifred Reilly, who, with her husband, Kevin Reilly, Jr., helped kick off the project. "Their parents have the same hopes and dreams as we all have for our own." Winifred and Kevin Reilly, Jr., joined several CCDBR board members and Jennifer and Sean Reilly in funding the project and challenging the community to match their gifts. "Louisianans are known for their generosity, and in this cause, we can help save lives,"...

Jindal sends Obama letter in search of details on immigrant children in La.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is blasting President Barack Obama's administration for providing few details to Louisiana officials about the more than 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children who have been released to sponsors here. The Associated Press reports Jindal sent a letter today to the president, saying placement of the children in Louisiana could have "potential negative ramifications." The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted data on its website showing that sponsors in Louisiana received 1,071 of the more than 30,000 unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S. border from Jan. 1 to July 7. Jindal says state officials should have been consulted, to deal with child safety and welfare issues, including where the children will be housed in a hurricane evacuation, whether they received medical screenings and how many more Louisiana may receive.

Melissa Juneau

For some, there is an entrepreneurial spirit hidden within, waiting to be awakened by an idea, a challenge or a vision. In the case of Melissa Juneau, the executive director of The Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior and Development, it was all three, and then some.

Pennington launches childhood obesity and diabetes research program

Gov. Bobby Jindal joined officials at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center today as they opened a new front in the battle on childhood obesity with announcement of the Childhood Obesity and Diabetes Research Program and the opening of a newly renovated space on the campus off Perkins Road for the program's activities. The state provided $6.4 million in funding for the renovated facilities—part research lab and part education center—called the Translational Research Clinic for Children, or TReCC for short. Researchers at the facility will explore new ways of preventing, treating and managing childhood obesity. "The funding for the TReCC has allowed Pennington Biomedical to retain 19 direct jobs for pediatric studies, and the investments are expected to create more jobs in the future as grants are obtained," the governor's office says in a statement released today. "This investment in Pennington Biomedical is not only an investment in research; it is a continued...

Children's Gallery closing its doors on Bluebonnet

After almost two years in business at 8645 Bluebonnet Blvd., baby boutique The Children's Gallery is closing its doors at the end of this month. The owners hope to reopen at some point, possibly in a new location. "We want to take the business in a different direction," says owner Christopher Bond, "so we're going to close it down to regroup and eventually reopen it." Bond says he's terminated his lease for the 2,500-square-foot space the store has operated in since March 2012, effective Jan. 31. Charlie Colvin of Beau Box Real Estate, who represents the approximately 6,600-square-foot retail center in which The Children's Gallery is located—alongside Style Salon & Spa and The Bar Method—says a few potential tenants have shown interest in the space being vacated, but he hasn't yet signed a lease agreement. While Bond and business partner Joel Fruge may reopen the boutique, Bond says they are selling off all inventory in the meantime at 30% to 60% off. The business...

The business of feeding the hungry

Click here to see a photo gallery by Tim Mueller.
By 9 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning, the line is 30-deep at Hope Ministries' food pantry on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge. Men and women of a range of ages sit on a long bench outside one of the buildings on the former church campus.

Kim Bowman

Bella Bowman only spent eight years on this Earth, but her impact will be felt for many years to come. Her mother, Kim, wouldn't have it any other way.

Kristy Andries

Kristy Andries often says her entire family was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on August 25, 2001. That was the day she learned her 17-year-old son, Bradley, had the disease.

Audit says La. lax in its oversight of WIC program

A new audit says Louisiana's public health office has done a poor job of monitoring a federal nutrition program that provides food to poor women and children. The Associated Press reports Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office reviewed the Office of Public Health's administration of the program known as WIC. The audit says OPH didn't verify grocery prices charged through the program, overpaid for food, didn't follow regulations governing the program and often didn't sanction vendors for unsanitary conditions in stores or expired products on shelves. The Department of Health and Hospitals, which oversees OPH, requested the review of the program, which cost $126 million in the 2012 fiscal year. OPH uses self-reported sales data and store location information to assign vendors to seven different tiers dictating what prices vendors can charge for WIC foods. The audit says OPH assigned 43% of WIC vendors to an incorrect tier. "As a result," the audit says, "vendors may have...

Most La. households on food stamps will see cuts in November

Most of the nearly 388,000 households in Louisiana that receive food stamps will be hit with a drop in their aid Friday, when a temporary boost in the federal benefit disappears. The Associated Press reports the reduction depends on household size and whether the family currently receives the maximum food stamp amount allowed under the law for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP. The cuts range from $11 each month for a one-person household getting the maximum aid to $43 for a household with five people—about a 5% reduction—according to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS. The federal stimulus bill passed by Congress in 2009 temporarily increased the maximum amount of food stamp aid that people could receive. The increase falls away at the start of November for food stamp programs in all states. "The state of Louisiana cannot prevent or change the decrease in SNAP benefits. The decrease is required by federal law,...

La. continues WIC despite federal budget battle

Louisiana will continue operating a nutrition program for more than 140,000 low- to moderate-income women and children even though the federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown. The Department of Health and Hospitals says Louisiana's Women, Infants and Children Program, commonly called WIC, will be funded until the end of October, using money set aside from the prior fiscal year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture previously advised DHH the money was unavailable during the federal government shutdown. On Wednesday, the USDA contacted DHH and said the funds would be reallocated for use in the current fiscal year. As a result, DHH says it will provide WIC participants with a full month of benefits for October—not a partial month as participants were previously told. Those who received partial benefits earlier this week will have to return to their local WIC office to receive the rest of their October benefits. Additionally, the program will be able to accept new...