Family Service Division
In September 2000, the District Attorney's Office and the Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parish School Boards partnered to initiate the Early Intervention Program, later named the Prosecutor's Early Intervention Program (PEIP), for at risk children, ages 4-13 attending elementary schools in the three parish area. The 16th Judicial District was also chosen as a Truancy Assessment Service Center site in 2001. The Family Service Division was created to house these two programs in the fall of 2002. In July of 2006, PEIP was extended, on a pilot basis to selected middle schools.
Family Service Division programs are school-based with case management, counseling, and "wrap around services" components. School personnel refer students to the Family Service Division when behavioral, school performance, truancy or parental involvement problems cannot be resolved though standard channels and the school had exhausted all it resources. Referrals are based primarily on behavior/discipline problems and truancy problems presented in the classroom, but are not limited to this. Other reasons for referrals may include poor classroom preparation, poor hygiene, or inappropriate clothing. School referrals are made in the form of FINS (Families In Need of Services) complaint. Law Enforcement and the Courts also divert youth with delinquency charges for minor offenses into the Prosecutor's Early Intervention Program (PEIP).
Family Service Division programs strive to create a conduit between the home, the school, the social service system and the legal system in order to quickly identify and intervene with elementary and middle school children. Service plans are developed for each child and family based on assessed needs. Service plans are designed with a goal of reducing risk factors and enhancing protective factors through a variety of services and interventions that support identified children and their families. For example, parents may be referred to parenting classes or mentoring and children to anger management or social skills training. Six "scientifically based, best practice" programs are included in the pool of services offered to referred youth and their families through the Family Service Division including the Functional Family Therapy Program. Case managers monitor adherence to the service plans. If the original complaint is resolved, the case is closed. However, if the problem behaviors continue, Juvenile Court procedures may be utilized.
In addition to the direct services provided by the case managers and in-home counselors, Family Service Division programs provide indirect services by referring families to existing school-based services as well we those provided by community-based agencies. Transportation, a common obstacle with our participants, is provided to and from services on an as-needed basis.
Family Service Division Contact
Gannon Watts, Executive Director
Family Service Division
300 Iberia Street
New Iberia, LA. 70560