United Way of Acadiana has received a COVID relief grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to facilitate the launch of a program called My Community Cares in its four parish service area.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield grant program was geared toward responding to immediate needs in the community as a response to the COVID crisis. My Community Cares is modeled off of programs in four other Louisiana communities and began as a response to coordinate case management services for children in the foster care system. ”The COVID crisis has exacerbated a lot of the underlying issues faced by this underserved community. Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation recognized the importance of getting better organized and coordinated as the volume of people in need increases due to the economic downturn that has already begun to impact so many in our communities,” said United Way of Acadiana President and CEO Carlee Alm-LaBar.
Over the past year, CASA of South Louisiana has been working with local partners as well as the Department of Child and Family Services to stand up the My Community Cares program in this area. “Before the COVID-19 outbreak, CASA of South Louisiana was initiating the My Community Cares program to increase the number of services provided to families in Lafayette coordinating the various agencies that work with children to reduce the number of children entering foster care. I am pleased to see this program expand and grow its reach by coming underneath the United Way of Acadiana umbrella,” said District Judge Tommy Duplantier, who serves as a judge for the child in need of care cases in the 15th judicial district.
My Community Cares utilizes the Unite Us platform which allows information sharing and coordination across both private nonprofits and public agencies. In addition, during the COVID-19 response, United Way of Acadiana has begun to utilize the Unite Us software platform to fill gaps in food relief that exist in the region. My Community Cares works by serving as a “quarterback” to help drive client care. Families or individuals can be referred into the program by various groups. A case manager is assigned to work with them to make sure they have basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing. Once the client’s basic needs are assessed and met, the case manager can make sure the client is plugged into any of the many other social service agencies in the area, such as help finding a job, education, parenting classes, or financial management.