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OFFICE OF COMMUNITY SERVICES
Children, Youth and Family Services
Louiaiana Department of Social Services
Serving Claiborne, Webster, and Bienville Parishes

†††1232 Sheppard Street
†††P. O. Drawer 1076
†††Minden, La. 71058-1076
†††(318) 371-3004
†††Regional Office: Shreveport
†††STAFF:
Child Protection Investigators, Family Services Workers, Foster Care Workers, Clerical Staff, and Paraprofessionals.
†††HOURS: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM Mon - Fri
†††Web Site: http://www.dss.state.la.us

The Webster Parish OCS office serves the parishes of Webster, Claiborne and Bienville. Services of the agency are provided without regard to income and are extended for the protection of children.

The goal of Child Protection Investigation Services is to protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment; and, to ensure their safety through protective investigation, social services provision and legal intervention to remove them from that environment when it seriously threatens their safety and well being.

The Louisiana Children's Code mandates the responsibility for investigating reports of child abuse and/or neglect to the Office of Community Services. Reports of child abuse and neglect can be mandated or permissive. Mandated reporters who have cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect shall report.

Mandated reporters include; health practitioners: mental health/social service practitioners; teachers and other school staff child care providers; law enforcement officials; and, commercial film and photographic print processors.

Permissive reporters (any other persons) who have cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered may report. The law provides that any person who in good faith makes a report, cooperates in an investigation, or participates in judicial proceedings shall have Immunity from civil or criminal liability.

Family Services are social services which are provided to families and children in their own homes in order to address problems of abuse/neglect and promote the safety of the children within the family unit. These services are provided in situations where the abuse or neglect is not assessed to be of the nature and extent which would place one or more of the children in substantial risk of serious harm if services are provided to the family, and in which the parents or responsible caretakers demonstrate a willingness to change the abusive/neglectful behavior or circumstances. This program is based upon the philosophy that each child should remain in his own home if it can offer him safety and meet his basic needs.

Foster Care provides substitute, temporary care for a planned period of time when a child must be separated from his own parents or relatives.

It must be viewed as an interim process to provide care for a child until he is returned with his family or is provided with another type of permanent living situation. The provision of foster care services is based on the belief that every child's most urgent need and right is to have a permanent home and family of his own.

The goals of foster care in order of priority are:

  • To restore the family so the child can be returned to his own home or to the care of relatives, or in the case of the older foster child, to achieve independent living.
  • To place the child in a permanent home through adoption.
  • To provide for each child in foster care who cannot return home or be adopted to a stable and continuous relationship with a nurturing, parenting person or persons through a transfer of legal custody or through a formalized long-term contractual agreement.

COST: All services are free of charge.


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CLAIBORNE PARISH OFFICE OF FAMILY SUPPORT
†††622 East 2nd Street
†††P.O. Box 210
†††Homer, Louisiana 71040
†††Ph: (318) 927-3518
†††FAX: (318) 927-5496

†††HOURS: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday - Friday

The Claiborne Parish Office of Family Support determines eligibility for FITAP and the Food Stamp Program and other programs available for persons with financial need. All applicants are asked about their household, and are asked to provide proof of the given information. One Application for Assistance may be submitted for Food Stamps, FITAP and Refugee Cash Assistance.

Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) is a public assistance program which provides financial aid for children in their own homes who are in need because they are deprived of parental support by death, absence from the home, or illness of one or both legally responsible parents. To be eligible, one or both parents must be absent, deceased, disabled, or unemployed. Applications for Assistance are available at the Office of Family Support in Homer. All applicants must be interviewed by one of three case managers. Following the investigation, a decision should be made within 45 days. Eligibility is limited to two years in a five year period. Adults must take part in an educational or job training project approved by the case manager.

Food Stamps help low-income households buy food needed for good health. An Application for Assistance must be completed and shall be followed by an interview. Decisions are made within 30 days. Expedited services are available for persons with emergency situations. Based on fiscal unemployment statistics, eligibility may be limited to three months in a two year period unless the household is otherwise exempt. Food stamp applications are processed by one Eligibility Determinations Examiner. Food stamp case loads are maintained by three Eligibility Determinations Examiners.

The Child Support Enforcement Program is geared towards improving the quality of life for children. This is accomplished by locating parents and establishing obligations for child and medical support. Cases certified for FITAP or Medicaid only are automatically referred to the CSE Program without payment of a fee.

Child Care Assistance is a program of the Department of Social Services to help parents (or guardians) pay for child care. The amount of assistance a person Is eligible for Is dependent upon the total income of the household and the number of people in the household. The program pays for a portion of the child care provider's actual charges; parents supplement the allotted amount with a co-payment. Applicants may chose child care in a child care center, in a family day care home, in the home of a relative, or in the child's own home. An application must be completed and returned to the regional office.

All FITAP recipients must participate in FIND WORK, a program geared towards assisting persons through education, job skills training, job readiness activities, job development and placement, group and individual job search and on-the-job training. It includes support services. According to certain criteria, some recipients are exempt.

Transitional Assistance (TA) Is designed to help former FITAP recipients who are ineligible for continued benefits because of earnings make the transition from welfare dependency to self sufficiency. This is done by providing Medicaid coverage and Child Care assistance for up to 12 months. Interested persons should contact the local Office of Family Support.

The Medically Needy Program is available to people who need medical assistance. It is limited to persons meeting criteria related to age, blindness, disability, and deprivation. Contact a person in the local Office of Family Support for further information.

COST: All consultations are free.


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CLAIBORNE PARISH SHERIFF'S TRIAD PROGRAM
†††613 East Main Street
†††Homer, Louisiana 71040
†††(318) 927-2011
†††(318) 927-3796

†††STAFF: Eugene Kendrick, Coordinator

TRIAD provides educational materials to senior citizens (age 50 and above) promoting the prevention or reduction of criminal victimization among them. Videos are available on fraud and con games teaching citizens how to protect themselves against such activities. Seminars are given and videos about personal safety are presented. Home security tips are available. The S.A.L.T (Seniors And Lawmen Together) council works to enforce programs which will benefit senior citizens.

The TRIAD telephoning program, "How Are You Today?" contacts people who live alone or are isolated from others. The program is free and those wishing to participate may apply by calling the Claiborne Parish Sheriffs Office at 927-2011. Daily contacts are made to check on the well-being of those enrolled in the program.

COST: All programs are free of charge.


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FAMILY SELF-SUFFICENCY PROGRAM
Claiborne Community Services
†††621 South Main Street
†††P.O. Box 569
†††Homer, Louisiana 71040
†††Ph: (318) 927-3557
†††Fax: (318) 927-3835

†††HOURS: 8:00AM - 4:30PM

The goal of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program is to enable eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency by combining housing assistance with other public and private resources. Families and single persons who are already on Section 8 Rental Assistance, or who reside in Public Housing, are eligible to participate in the FSS Program without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or status in regard to public assistance.

The program helps Participants to locate: child care; transportation; remedial education; education for completion of high school; job training; preparation and placement; counseling for substance and alcohol abuse and family violence; training in homemaking, parenting skills, financial management and household management.

Recipients of Section 8 Rental Assistance or residents of Public Housing are eligible. Participating families sign a Contract of Participation that spells out the services to be provided to the family and the obligations the family agrees to undertake. Each family's Action Plan is individually designed to meet particular need for services, training, counseling and other assistance. The head of the family must agree to seek and retain employment.

The contract is for 5 years, but may be extended for 2 years for good cause. It may be modified as family circumstances change, if the changes are mutually agreeable to the family and the Housing Authority. The escrow account offers a family the opportunity to save for the future. During the term of the Contract of Participation, the Housing Authority will establish and interest-bearing escrow account to which the FSS family will contribute all or a part (depending on the income level of the family) of any amount they would normally pay as increased rent due to an increase in the earned income. Conditions for withdrawal are defined in the contract.

If a participant decides to quit the program, they will not lose rental assistance or housing. Any money in the saving account, however, will go back to the Program because all money was put there by the Housing Authority. None of the money put in the account comes out of an individualís wages.

COST: All services are free of charge.

   

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