BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For families with kids who skip school or cause problems when they are in class, help is on the way. The East Baton Rouge Truancy Center is set to open in less than two weeks. But the facility that staff says will be way more than just a place for truant kids.
"Truancy is the number one and the first indicator of a possible life of crime. Everyone needs to understand that it is the very first time you can see a problem with a child beginning to grow," said Roxson Welch, Director of the Family and Youth Services Center.
Welch says she and her staff understand truancy is not the only problem for these kids and their families. That's where this facility comes in. It is a one-stop shop for different services that families from around East Baton Rouge Parish need.
"We've got a truancy assessment services center here, we've got the former Prescott drop-off center here," said Welch. "There's a bus stop on the corner, and so that takes away any of the transportation issues."
Welch says this center makes getting help easier for families and more efficient for those who provide it.
"Everybody comes together, and we all take the cases that we have and we discuss it. Quite often you'll find that different agencies all have the same families that they've been dealing with for years," said Welch.
Welch says while the nine acre site will be a place to deal with serious family issues, it will also be a place where kids can express themselves.
"One of the things we'll have here is the creative arts that brings out what is the strength of the child 'cause they all have one," said Welch. "You have to find it, and then you use that strength to build the other strengths."
Strengthening the parishes youth, and, Welch says, preserving the future of the Baton Rouge community.
The center is also home to a residential charter school called "Thrive". On weekdays, 10 male and 10 female sixth grade students live and learn at the facility. Other services will start a week from Sept. 17, when the facility opens.