Trees for Life is a tradition of distributing trees in memory of each Louisiana child who died the prior year as a result of abuse. This year 31 trees were distributed to recipients who are asked to plant, nurture, and hang a blue ribbon around the tree each April in remembrance of a child who died in Louisiana of abuse. On April 22nd in the Garden Room of the Children’s Advocacy Center, community members gathered to honor these 31 children and commit to prevention strategies that will strengthen families and prevent future harm to children. Trees for Life began in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, memorializing the innocent lives lost due to abuse while giving rebirth to our storm-devastated community. This was the 10th anniversary for the Trees for Life Ceremony and to date 340 Trees for Life have been planted memorializing the 340 Louisiana children who died as a result of abuse.
Denis Rousselle, Superintendent of Plaquemines Parish Public Schools, was selected by the Plaquemines Community CARE Center to receive a tree this year in remembrance of one of the Louisiana children who died in 2014 as a result of abuse. The presentation was made by Julie Olsen, Executive Director of the Plaquemines Community CARE Centers. Mr. Rousselle advocates for children on a daily basis in his role as school superintendent. However, he also advocates for children through his support of the Plaquemines Community CARE Centers, and its Plaquemines Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA). Superintendent Rousselle recognizes the impact the Plaquemines Community CARE Center has on children and families in our community by providing programs and resources for families to live happy, healthy lives. Several of the school system’s faculty members and administrators are CASA volunteers. And ALL teachers are mandatory reporters when child abuse or neglect is suspected.
Additionally, Superintendent Rousselle and his staff work with Judge Clement’s Juvenile Court representatives and Department of Youth and Family Services representatives to provide additional assistance to children and families in need of services.
Superintendent Rouselle’s tree will be planted near the School Board Office and decorated each April with a blue ribbon to remind everyone that it takes a community to keep our children safe.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call toll free 1-855-4LA-KIDS (855-425-5437) to speak with a trained specialist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Parenting classes are available through the Plaquemines Community CARE Centers, 504-393-5750.