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Nomination Period for Third Round of Innovation in Louisiana Government Fellowship Extended to July 30

Current fellows wrapping up second round

DCFS today extended the nomination period for the third round of the Innovation in Louisiana Government Fellowship until July 30. The ILG fellowship is a three-month program that will provide leadership training and technical assistance and a $1,000 stipend to fellows working to develop innovative social service projects.

"We are excited to see the quality of leadership and innovation that will result from the third round of the ILG fellowship," said Johnson. "With each round we are reminded of the importance of fostering leadership skills and innovative problem-solving in our field in order to improve the way we deliver social services in Louisiana through changes business processes that achieve cost savings or increase efficiencies, intervention strategies to improve client outcomes, and systems-level integration."

Nominations for round three are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 30, 2010. Self-nominations will be accepted. Nominees will be selected based on the quality of their fellowship project proposal, demonstrated leadership in social services, experience or interest in designing and implementing new ideas, ability to work in partnerships and contribute to peer-learning and commitment to the application of information and communication technology.

Funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will support the fellowship class during a three-month training academy. The academy will consist of a formal curriculum, expert speakers, technical assistance, in person and virtual peer learning and collaboration, one-on-one leadership coaching, collaborative social networking tools, and the opportunity to fully develop their proposed projects into a complete implementation plan.

Over the course of the three-month academy, fellows will gain skills and tools to be more effective leaders as Louisiana modernizes the methods by which social services are delivered in the state. A key element in this process will be the planning of individual fellowship projects. Throughout the course, fellows will receive training and work together in person and through virtual collaboration and support. At the end of the fellowship, participants will return together as a group to finalize and share their work and plan for implementation and dissemination.

Currently completing the second round of the ILG fellowship, which is scheduled to wrap up July 29, are community-based, non-governmental, government and industry representatives that began the three month fellowship back in May.

Second round fellows included:

Sheila Matute is the Director of Education and Child Care Services with the Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation. Her proposed project aims to provide early learning, resources and case management for families with autistic or exceptional needs children from birth to 12 years of age.

Angela Nicole Louis is a Grant Manager with the Capital Area Violence Intervention Center. Her project, Teens Against Teen Dating Violence, proposes to train teens to be a source of guidance for their peers and use a system of early intervention, peer to peer networks and parent and teacher involvement.

Anthony Ellis is the Program Administrator for DCFS Prevention Services. Karen Faulk is a Program Manager in the same unit. Together they propose a comprehensive service integration project for families of high risk children ages 0 to 5 for families who have been reported to DCFS and are determined to need ongoing service in order to improve child safety and reduce re-entry into the child welfare system.

Charles R. King is the Program Director of Intensive Home-Based Program for the Volunteers of America in Alexandria. His proposed project aims to create a volunteer mentoring program for parents of children at risk for out-of-home placement with the goal of teaching parents new and better ways of coping with the challenges of everyday life.

Elaine Ellerbe is the President and CEO of Reentry Benefiting Families. She proposes to expand a pre-release program currently in place at Dixon Correctional Institute that provides substantive life-skills programming for offenders and their families so that they may move toward self-sufficiency through financial literacy and other tools.

Gwendolyn Jacksonis a DCFS Child Welfare Specialist. She proposes an assessment of the use, management procedures, benefits and side effects of treatment regimens including medication for psychiatric, behavioral and emotional health needs of children in foster care in order to develop training and education for foster parents and staff. The project focus includes the development of guidelines and procedures for psychiatric medication monitoring for children in foster care.

Jacqueline H. Smith is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Community Volunteer in New Orleans. Her project aims to strengthen families through a faith-based collaborative model of supports, accountability, resource leveraging among families, community partners and state systems to help single mothers reach their maximum parenting potential and to increase children/youth developmental assets.

Karla Venkataraman is a Section Administrator with DCFS' Home Development program. Her project aims to identify ways to increase in the number of certified foster and adoptive families for children in the custody of the state through outsourcing the recruitment and/or certification portions of the Home Development program.

Kimberly Bardell is a Program Coordinator at DCFS. Her proposed project aims to develop a community emergency plan to empower community residents to help one another before official emergency relief arrives by providing emergency child care, transportation and food pantry services for their neighbors.

The fellows for the second round were confirmed by an external Social Services Council consisting of leaders in government and community that advises DCFS on policy and program issues on a regular basis. Council members also serve as mentors to the fellowship class and provide guidance to the as they work to develop effective solutions to social service delivery that may be implemented, assessed and replicated.

Following the fellowship, participants also may serve as mentors to future fellowship classes and will be asked to share what they learn with their peers through a Leadership and Innovation Conference that marks the end of the Academy.

Information, nomination forms and instructions are available at For more information or questions, contact Daryl Blacher at or call (225) 342-9972.
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