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Public Defenders Scrambling To Locate Evacuated Youth in Hurricane Ida’s Path

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The total number of youths evacuated during the storm remains unknown. Parents weren’t notified until all of the youth had been transported, and many are still trying to connect with their kids.

In Louisiana, during the destruction of Hurricane Ida, many detention centers evacuated youths to different facilities deemed to be safer. However, weeks later, public defenders say they’re still scrambling to locate children, and with the number of youths evacuated still unknown, many are working overtime to make contact, reports the Louisiana Illuminator.  “I don’t know who, if anyone, was told about their ultimate destinations,” said Richard Pittman, deputy public defender, and director of Juvenile Defender Services at the Louisiana Public Defender Board. While the Office of Juvenile Justice knew which facilities had been evacuated, parents were never notified of the evacuation until all the youth had been transported. 

According to Beth Touchet-Morgan, the Office of Juvenile Justice executive management advisor, 38 youths from the Bridge City Center for Youth were taken to Monroe accompanied by more than 60 staff members — but this is just a snapshot of the bigger picture. One facility in the path of the hurricane, Bridge City, will be back to operational levels as soon as power and water are restored, and hurricane debris is cleared away. Only then, facility members say, will the youth be brought back. Advocates voiced further concerns about holding youths after the hurricane, saying that the further traumatization and extreme stress are damaging to the youth and their psychological and emotional development.  

Source: The Crime Report

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