LCCR’s fiscal year came to a close on June 30. Here’s a glimpse at what your support helped accomplish.
We’re on the front lines every day, protecting the rights of young people impacted by the justice system:
Standing With Kids. LCCR attorneys defended the rights of 534 children in Orleans Parish courtrooms this past year. Meanwhile, our social workers and youth advocates connected our kids with the resources they need to grow up healthy and leave the justice system behind for good. Support from people like you helped:
97 children enroll in school
119 children connect with jobs or job training programs
31 children secure new or improved special education supports (IEPs)
274 children receive better accommodations within their schools for meeting their special education needs
28 children defend their right to an education in school expulsion hearings
10 children connect with mentoring programs
139 children access care for mental health and substance use disorder
COVID-19 Changed How We Work, But Not What We Do. Never could we have imagined at the start of the year that by mid-March our entire staff would be conducting client meetings and providing services almost entirely remotely. But even though these necessary adjustments in this new pandemic reality have made our work more challenging, we continue to zealously advocate every day on behalf of our kids. If nothing else, COVID-19 has further exposed the underlying inequities that make our kids vulnerable in the first place, and why our work on this front is so vitally important.
As soon as the crisis landed in New Orleans, our social work team immediately began calling each of our 300+ families to gauge their needs, and in quick time assembled this online resource guide to help out. In addition to our regular activities, our team has spent the past four months providing triage support to our families — connecting them with food, housing assistance, utility support, and other emergency relief services. We’ve helped children maintain access to educational services amid sudden school closures and the transition to remote learning. We’ve helped families navigate Juvenile Court’s closure and what it means for their kids. We’ve also addressed overcrowding issues at the City’s juvenile jail, and continue to address health risk concerns for kids being held in the state’s juvenile prisons.
It’s hard to predict what’s in store for the remainder of the year. But with coronavirus rates spiking across the country, emergency eviction moratoriums expiring, and unemployment bonus payments coming to a close, we imagine the next several months will be difficult for our families. One thing we can say for certain is that we will continue to be there for them and lend whatever support we can. That’s what we do.
We’re transforming the juvenile justice system both locally and statewide:
We Won a Second Chance for Kids. Despite the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, LCCR’s policy team continued to advocate for our kids at the state legislature. Our big push was to educate lawmakers about a bill that would allow for parole eligibility after 25 years to children serving egregiously long sentences. Act 99 was passed in June and now hundreds of people who thought they would die in prison may now have an opportunity to go home. This is a huge win in the decades-long fight to abolish death-in-prison sentences for youth and, in doing so, affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every child.
Raise the Age is Finally Here. On July 1, the Raise the Age Act became fully implemented – the culmination of our four-year effort which began with our campaign promoting Raise the Age at the state legislature in 2016. As a result, now any 17-year-old who is arrested in Louisiana will be treated by default as a child in the juvenile justice system rather than automatically prosecuted and incarcerated as an adult. Additionally, 17-year-olds who make a mistake will no longer be saddled with a criminal record that can follow them for a lifetime. Fewer children will be held in adult facilities, where their safety and well-being is at constant risk. And the state will save millions of dollars each year to reinvest in children and families.
It’s been another HUGE year for Louisiana’s kids, and your support made it all possible. Thank you!
FY 2020 Financials: