CARE Center initiates network to help families get services

Through new ‘Bridging Futures’ program

Four years after founding the St. Charles CARE Center in Hahnville, the nonprofit organization is expanding services and furthering its mission to serve as a central location for community resources and social service agencies.

“We’re in the process of developing and launching new programs,” said Lauren Johnson, the center’s executive director.

Johnson was hired in August of last year during the launch of the community wide project called, “Bridging Futures.”

As a result, the CARE Center entered into a formal partnership with the 29th Judicial District Court, and together launched this new initiative, she said.

The goal of Bridging Futures is to support the success of youth and families in St. Charles Parish through community collaboration and coordination.

Johnson said the initiative has brought together more than 30 of the parish’s public and private agencies that include churches, health care providers, St. Charles Parish Public Schools and several state and local government offices including the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, district attorney, public defenders, community services, state Department of Children and Family Services and more.

As guided by the Bridging Futures strategic plan, the CARE Center is launching a new program called CARE Navigator.

“The CARE Center has taken a leadership role in bringing together government and private nonprofits to develop a strategic plan on how to better help families,” she said. “The center has taken a huge role in this strategic plan.”

Johnson said the program is a community based prevention and service navigation program for young people and their families.

“It takes a holistic approach to helping people realize their strengths, overcome challenges, and ultimately reach their full potential,” she said. “Using evidence based screening and intervention techniques, CARE Navigator will identify and address the mental and behavioral health needs of children and families in St. Charles Parish.”

Families will have access to case management services to improve treatment and other services, Johnson said. The added benefit comes with having use of centralized screenings and streamlined referrals to social services.

To launch the program, the CARE Center will hold its first major fundraiser called the CARE Affair in April.

“In 2015, we opened our doors as a social service hub in Hahnville in order to provide residents with a central location to access community resources and provide social service agencies with low cost rental space,” she said.

Alpha Daughters of Zion, American Red Cross, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) have all come under the CARE roof, Johnson said.





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