In the Greater New Orleans area, there are over 400 children in foster care on any given day. And every day, social workers struggle to find available foster care for these kids.
With over 4,000 children in foster care in Louisiana and a limited number of social workers, Crossroads NOLA paves the way for possible foster parents to become certified and find a support system within New Orleans churches.
The non-profit was originally established by First Baptist New Orleans to rebuild homes after Katrina. In 2013, Crossroads reached out to Anna Palmer to take on the role of Executive Director of the organization. After meeting with the Department of Children and Family Services, Anna recognized the need for foster families in the New Orleans area. Inspired to help,Anna changed Crossroads NOLA’s mission to focus on foster services.
Since then, Crossroads has partnered with over 50 churches, helping them create a support structure for new foster families. Through the organization, churches are able to recruit and certify families who wish to take in foster kids and to provide financial support the process. “We recruit foster families by helping them do their home study… [Crossroads] has helped about 50 families become certified and networked with another 15-20 others,” says Mandi Wallis, their Director of Operations.
In addition, the non-profit gives the churches the means to involve their members in other ways besides becoming a foster family. Through Crossroads members can become court-approved special advocates who meet with a foster child, represent them in court, and protect their rights. Others can volunteer in fundraisers or provide childcare for the foster families in their church. Mandi says, “I love working for an organization that really helps people and is a support to foster families that will allow children to have a safe, loving family.”
For more information, visit crossroadsnola.org.
by Hannah Bond
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