After 32 years on the front lines of the battle against child abuse and neglect, Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana is no longer in operation.
At the end of 2018, board Chairwoman Kris Cangelosi sent out a letter to supporters and partners alerting them that the agency was shuttering its doors. It was a heart-wrenching decision to make, she said.
“This by no means reflects a diminished need for comprehensive and integrated services preventing child abuse and neglect,” says Cangelosi's letter. “We are working to find ways to continue these crucial efforts through other local organizations committed to nurturing children and families across the state. We also encourage every member of the community to find their own way to play a positive role in a child’s life, whether through mentoring or contacting elected officials and encouraging them to support policies and programs that promote healthy child development.”
Cangelosi, who served on the board for three years before becoming chairwoman, said the money just wasn't there to keep the agency going.
"I looked at the books, and, as a businessperson, I just didn’t see the numbers,” said Cangelosi.
The decision was especially hard for former CEO Marketa Garner Walters, who now serves as the secretary of the state Department of Children and Family Services.
“The news of the organization’s closing is heartbreaking,” she said in a statement. “I wish the public had a better appreciation for the devastating impact of child abuse and neglect, and the benefit of investing in prevention. Without the community’s support for the intensive public education that is required, real child abuse prevention will remain elusive. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. PCAL and its supporters were an important part of the village, and we’re sorry to see them go.”
According to Cangelosi, the agency has just completed an audit and is in the final stages of officially closing down. On the bright side, all of its office equipment and furniture has been donated to the Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center.