MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) -- KNOE 8's Bakari Savage reports, "Elizabeth, John... The grounds behind me are empty and so is the Novice House. Caregivers walked off the job last Friday, and by doing so, violated state rules for youth homes."
Foster kids living at Novice House and Youth House in Monroe have been moved again. Children and Family Services decided the children were in a hostile environment, and the state needed to step in.
Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services communications director, Trey Williams, explains, "We had been told that the employees at the facility were upset about not being paid and were leaving the work site." Louisiana has certain requirements that youth homes must meet, including the number of workers per child. When neither of these houses could meet that, the children had to be removed and placed somewhere that could.
But Novice House program director Dorthea Bridges disputes that. She says it's not true that workers walked out, in fact, staff and management relations are fine. Bridges rebuts, "The staff did show up and all issues concerning the staff have been resolved." One worker who had agreed to talk to us, later refused to return our calls.
The state sets the standards for living conditions in the homes, but salary issues are up to each house, which is privately run. To remain operational, the state must grant a license. Keeping that license means the homes are subject to random state visits. Novice house has passed previous inspections and the program director is confident it will get its kids back. Bridges proclaims, "We are looking forward to continuing to serve children in our community."