Over the summer, our team spent some time with Crossroads NOLA, an organization based in New Orleans that helps find and train foster families across the state. Its executive director, Anna Palmer, is one of our Angel Award honorees this year, and she is known for her work in sharing the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) model.

TBRI is a framework of parenting and support that looks beyond problematic behavior of children in foster care and recognizes the significant trauma that they have endured. It keeps kids and their caregivers in communication and allows foster families to stay together and focused on healing for their children.

Our Angel Award program has, from the beginning, been about highlighting those who go above and beyond in support of Louisiana kids.  We’ll share more about all of our Angel honorees in the coming weeks, but the experience with Anna and her team has been a reminder of  the sometimes overlooked importance of mental health for our children.

This year, an analysis of recent data published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that one in six children is dealing with a treatable mental or behavioral health disorder — including anxiety, depression, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Given research on adverse childhood experiences and overall trends, we have reason to believe the need might be even greater in Louisiana. As the healthcare industry increasingly connects mental, social and physical health outcomes, it’s not hard to see the patterns that are influencing negative outcomes for an entire generation.

We know that we need to address this individually and systemically. We’re grateful to have partners who are working on mental and behavioral health for our children and their families, including:

There’s so much work left to do on this vital need for our kids. We have a standing RFP for collective impact proposals to provide services for our children and their families. The Foundation is eager to receive more proposals in this area.

If you’re working to address these needs, I’d love to have a conversation with you about what we can do to improve these outcomes for the next generation, or to hear about resources in your community that might be good potential partners for us. By addressing the needs of our children – body and mind – I believe we can start to make important progress in the overall health of our state’s next generation.

– Michael Tipton
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
Head of Community Relations


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