Many times families suffer with addictions, mental health issues and developmental disabilities without ever knowing the wide array of services available to them.
Ora Rice, Webster Parish representative for the Northwest Louisiana Human Services District, spoke to the police jury Tuesday about the services they offer.
“It’s been a joy to represent the jury,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but that’s what we’re here for, especially those with mental disorders, addictive disorders and developmental disabilities. What we have found is that many community members are not aware of the services.”
NWLHSD, a program offered by the Department of Health and Hospitals, provides services for Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Webster parishes. The board of directors is comprised of representatives from each parish in the service district and three representatives appointed by the Louisiana governor.
Her job is to work with the communities in the service area and take back to the board any issues they may have.
Juror Jerri Lee commended Rice for her work with the organization, saying she felt Rice is the right person for the job because she is a social worker.
“She will be able to serve as a liaison for us,” Lee said.
The Minden Behavioral Clinic is one service location, but NWLHSD is not affiliated with any of the health units in the service area.
Jury President Jim Bonsall says the reason for Rice’s presence at the meeting was to seek input from the jurors on how the district could better serve the community.
“She’s here to let the people know that these services are available,” Bonsall said.
Some of the services offered, according to documents from the Department of Health and Hospitals, include contracted services for transportation, homeless outreach, mobile crisis services, gambling help, medical detox, primary prevention, substance abuse treatment (adult and adolescent) and many others.
The Developmental Disabilities office serves as the single point of entry into the developmental disability services system, according to a brochure, and oversees public and private residential services for people with developmental disabilities.
The program also offers a flexible family fund in which monthly stipends are provided to families with children with severe or profound developmental disabilities up to the age of 18.
It offers individual and family support as well as intermediate care facilities such as protected residential settings according to the participant’s needs.
For more information, call the Minden Behavioral Health Clinic, located at 435 Homer Road, at 371-3001. For developmental disabilities questions, call the Bossier City office at 741-7455.