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"DCFS and CWLA share a commitment of ensuring children are in safe, loving homes," said Sonnier. "I look forward to working with child welfare experts from across the country to seek innovative ways to engage faith-based organizations in the best possible outcomes for children in or at risk of entering our child welfare system."
Efforts by Louisiana faith organizations span a wide variety of activities, including providing space for DCFS foster and adoption orientation, establishing support groups for foster and adoptive parents and recruiting for foster care services. Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge has taken a lead role in creating and maintaining Louisiana's Heart Gallery, which showcases professional photos of foster children available for adoption. Louisiana Family Forum has helped to raise awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families through the Over the Edge events this year and last. Faith based organizations across the state have made a commitment to the adoption of children from the foster care system.
As a CWLA Faith-Based Advisory Committee member, Sonnier will assist in identifying and developing resources to assure a faith perspective in CWLA conferences, trainings and materials. The Committee will also provide input for conducting research on effective models for engaging faith communities in child welfare services.
The committee will begin its work this month. CWLA is a coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920.
For the past three years, DCFS was ranked by the Administration for Children & Families' Child & Family Services Review as number one in the country in timeliness of adoptions. For more information on DCFS' Child Welfare programs visit www.dcfs.la.gov/ChildWelfare.