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BATON ROUGE, LA - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is encouraging Louisianans to "Be There" for families in their community this holiday season by reaching out to neighbors in need of resources and support.
So far in 2023, the Louisiana 211 Statewide Network has made more than 267,500 referrals to services and helped meet more than 159,000 needs for residents dialing 211 throughout the state. That includes putting people in touch with resources like food pantries, utility payment assistance programs, and transitional housing.
Still, there were more than 11,700 individual unmet needs due to lack of available resources identified by Louisiana 211 this year. This includes resources for housing, utility assistance, transportation, clothing and household needs, and individual, family and community support.
"This is where you can step in," said DCFS Secretary Terri Ricks. "The needs are great throughout the state, and yet sometimes the solutions can be as small as one neighbor reaching out to help another - with a ride to work, a gift card for warm winter clothing, a home-cooked meal for a family whose dollars are stretched too thin, or simply calling 211 to find out what other resources might be available. Who in your community could use a little extra support right now? Will you 'Be There' to help them make 2024 a better year?"
DCFS assists roughly 1 in 4 Louisianans every year, including with food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), financial assistance through the Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP) and Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), employment and training services, child support services, and disability determination services.
Despite other basic services addressed by governmental agencies, there are still gaps in essential needs that challenge families and their stability.
"While we are proud of the difference we make for Louisiana's children and families, we know that supplemental assistance programs aren't always enough to make ends meet," Ricks said. "We also know that some of the cases of alleged child neglect that come to us arise not from a lack of care but from a lack of resources. You may never know the ripple effects of your decision to 'Be There,' but even small deeds can make a great deal of difference for children and families."
Visit BeThere.Louisiana.gov to learn more about programs and resources that can help you "Be There" for families in your community.
About the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
DCFS is the state agency responsible for keeping children safe, helping individuals and families become self-sufficient and providing refuge during disasters. The Division of Family Support administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), Workforce Development (SET for Success), Child Support Enforcement, Disability Determination Services, and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. The Child Welfare Division manages Child Protection Investigations, Family Services, Foster Care and Adoption Services. Through its Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response, DCFS supports the state's disaster response and recovery functions that involve evacuation, sheltering, emergency food assistance and human services. For more information, visit www.dcfs.la.gov.
About Louisiana 211
The Louisiana 211 Statewide Network is composed of 232-HELP/211, Capital Area United Way, United Way of Central Louisiana, United Way of Northeast Louisiana, United Way of Northwest Louisiana, United Way of Southwest Louisiana, VIA LINK/211 and the Louisiana Association of United Ways. This statewide network provides free and confidential information and referral services to all living within the 64 parishes of Louisiana, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Services can be accessed by dialing 211 or texting a zip code to 898-211.