By Joel Daugherty, M.A., LPC
A great thing about living in this area is the fact that we have a coordinated system of care for youth and families. As a life-long resident of the Lake Charles area and as a clinician in the mental health field, I'd like to share some valuable resources I've gleaned over the years that might be of benefit to you and your family.
Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) / Office of Juvenile Justice Services of Calcasieu Parish
The MARC is an outreach of the Calcasieu Parish Policy Jury and helps families in crisis by making referrals to local agencies. Parents who might be having some behavioral difficulties with their teens can bring their children to the MARC for evaluation, drug testing, and referral. The Office of Juvenile Justice Services coordinates with the MARC to also offer the FINS (Families In Need of Services) program, which assigns a probation officer to teens who commit misdemeanor crimes, or need greater oversight. All services are free of charge. Call 337-721-3960. https://www.cppj.net/services/juvenile-justice-services/m-a-r-c/m-a-r-c-overview
Child and Adolescent Response Team (CART) hotline
For families in immediate crisis, the CART hotline is available 24/7. The CART hotline is a program administered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in which a parent or child can call the hotline number for support. Once the call is screened, a licensed counselor is dispatched to the family's location to assess the crisis and make referrals. The CART program is not a counseling service, rather CART serves as an intervention measure for families in crisis. Call 1-800-272-8367.
Educational and Treatment Council (ETC)
ETC was founded in 1975 on the basic premise that community involvement and support is essential for resolving community problems. ETC offers a variety of social service programs for youth and their families.
Harbour House is an 18 bed licensed residential facility for children ages 10 - 17 years old. The program offers emergency shelter services to runaway and homeless youth, status offenders, and other youth in need of a safe place. Harbour House also provides brief respite (usually 72 hours or less) for children of families in crisis to ensure safety and reduce stress. Harbour House provides group and individual counseling, an official homebound school, educational and recreational activities, aftercare, and linkage to community resources.
TRANSITIONAL LIVING PROGRAM
ETC's Transitional Living Program is scattered site and supervised apartment housing for youth ages 16 - 22 who are homeless or aging out of the state juvenile justice system. Youth strengthen and develop basic life and work skills required for a successful transition to adulthood. Services focus on vocational training, job attainment, educational advancement, and money management. The program helps youth to develop permanent connections with others while building skills that allow them to become independent, self-sufficient, and contributing members of society.
CAMP NEW DIRECTIONS
A week-long camp (five days and four nights) for children ages 9 - 11. The camp focuses on strengthening resiliency and enhancing self-esteem. Trained ETC teen volunteers serve as peer mentors.
Family and Youth Counseling Agency
Family & Youth Counseling Agency was established as a nonprofit organization in 1970. It is their mission to provide affordable and professional support through programs and services dedicated to advocacy, counseling and education for the people of Southwest Louisiana. It is the belief of Family & Youth that all individuals possess the ability to solve their own challenges and live full and healthy lives when support is available.
AUTISM SUPPORT ALLIANCE
Autism Support Alliance offers opportunities to persons who want to enjoy more positive experiences in verbal and nonverbal communication, problem solving, expressing emotions and engaging in appropriate social interaction. Using small group sessions, individuals have the opportunity to interact more effectively with others. Participants develop socially with the use of one-on-one instruction, experiential activities, and dynamic group experiences.
THE LEADERSHIP CENTER FOR YOUTH
The Leadership Center for Youth (TLC) provides opportunities for positive youth development. Committed to shaping today’s youth into strong leaders for tomorrow, TLC provides youth with opportunities for leadership development, career exploration, civic engagement and service learning.
Archer Institute is Lake Charles Memorial Health System's advanced 42-bed behavioral health hospital. The facility includes a 14 bed child and adolescent unit, which can evaluate patients as walk-ins Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit https://www.lcmh.com/locations/archer-institute-of-memorial/.
Volunteers of America - Southwest Louisiana
Volunteers of America is a Christian organization, established in 1896 by Christian social reformers Ballington and Maud Booth. The mission of the organization, as stated in 1896, is "to reach and uplift all people and bring them to the knowledge and active service of God." Volunteers of America supports and empowers families and individuals to reach their full potential through the delivery of human service programs, including housing, family, mental health, veterans and homeless services. To download their comprehensive list of service organizations in Southwest Louisiana, click here.
Focus on the Family
Focus on the family is a faith-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to building and preserving families. Their daily radio broadcast reaches millions with parenting tips, relationship strategies and stories of hope and healing. Check out their podcast below!