BATON ROUGE, La. (KSLA) - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services is celebrating a well-earned recognition.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is recognizing La. D.C.F.S. for its work increasing the number of foster children placed in permanent homes.
Over the last three years, La. D.C.F.S. has broken adoption records consecutively, finding 2,400 foster children permanent homes.
“What we’ve done with child welfare is really revolutionize how we do our work in this field, in this state,” said Marketa Walters, secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services. “The child welfare staff is really amazing.”
Walters credits the recognition to her tireless, hard-working staff and the partnership they’ve developed with other organizations, such as the Dave Thomas Foundation, Casey Family Programs, Annie E. Casey Foundation, as well as the Youth Villages and the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development.
“We’ve adopted more sibling groups, more teenagers than ever before and that’s extraordinary work,” Walters said.
She also highlighted the success of the Quality Parenting Initiative, which builds bridges between a foster family and birth family.
“That is so validating for that child to know that they have a lot of people around them that love them, honor them, cherish them and keep them safe,” Walters said. "That is the biggest shift in the change we’ve done in this agency. "
The recognition comes on the heels of National Adoption Month in November, where Walters’ agency will be recognized at a Children’s Celebration of National Adoption Month in Washington D.C.
Louisiana D.C.F.S. last won this award in 2015.