Wraparound Agency opens to serve at-risk youth

The Town Talk
By Jeff Matthews
July 29, 2012

A new agency tasked with coordinating state services for at-risk youth is the latest tenant in the Plaza 28 center in Alexandria.

Eckerd CenLa Wraparound Agency started implementing programs in March. It’s part of the state’s Coordinated System of Care, which seeks better and less costly outcomes for youth most at risk for significant behavioral issues.

The wraparound agency serves as a planner and facilitator for the several systems that deliver services to such youth.

“When you have multiple systems involved, what you often get is ‘this group is telling me this, this group is telling me that,’” said Jodie Roberts, program director at the wraparound agency. “What we try to do is bring all these different people involved together so that it all makes sense and meets the child’s needs.”

The Coordinated System was developed to make the delivery of services to people with behavioral health, mental health and addictive disorders more effective. By better coordinating and planning the process, it is hoped, more people can receive more effective treatment and stay out of expensive state facilities.

“We know that often doesn’t work and costs a lot of money,” Roberts said. “Our job is to facilitate the planning process to prevent kids from going into those places.”

The wraparound agency is serving about 65 youth per day, Roberts said. The state cap is 240 per day, which he hoped to reach by the end of the fiscal year.

The agency employs about 15 people and is occupying a 6,825 square foot space in Plaza 28, the converted former CenturyTel location on La. Highway 28 West that opened to tenants earlier this year.

In addition to the wraparound agency, the center currently houses property manager Maurice Hebert’s commercial real estate company and a construction company. A nail salon is close to going in, Hebert said.

Two of the four pad sites in front of the center have been sold, one to the developers of a car wash and one to investors looking to locate a fast food restaurant there.

An open house for Plaza 28 is being held Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call Hebert Commercial Real Estate at (318) 449-3500.

Accion makes first loan

Microlender Accion recently made its first loan under Louisiana’s Innovation Loan and Technical Assistance Program.

The recipient was Pineville-based Girtman Enterprises, a residential and commercial agricultural land-forming company that specializes in site work, hauling, GPS surveying and precision land grading.

The Innovation Loan and Technical Assistance Program is designed to provide assistance to small businesses that are currently located in or will open in areas suffering from the long-term effects of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav or Ike.

Accion bills itself as the nation’s leading microlender, offering credit to startup businesses that would otherwise not be able to attain it in order to spur entrepreneurship. The company opened its first Louisiana office in Alexandria in December 2009.