New Leadership Announced at Children's Bureau

Joy Banks, PhD Joins Children's Bureau of New Orleans



The Children's Bureau is proud to announce that Joy Banks, PhD has joined the staff as Deputy Director. In this role, Joy will work closely with CEO Paulette Carter to advance the organization's mission through organizational planning and management. She will lead and support both internal and external leadership activities including administration, operations, on-going partnerships and collaborations.


Joy has been in New Orleans and on the job with Children's Bureau just a few months now having come from nonprofit management in Baton Rouge. When we asked Joy what her favorite thing about New Orleans is so far, she said, "I work and live in the heart of the city - in Mid City, and it's awesome to be within 20 minutes of everything. I also love the outdoor artwork by local artists, such as the painted utility boxes that gives the area so much personality."


Children's Bureau has grown in the last few years and now employs almost 50 full-time social workers and support staff. Joy adds capacity to the management team to implement systems and policies that come with that growth.

Giving Fund Benefits Every Child

Did you know almost 40% of our budget comes from donations and grants?


We can't do the work we do without support from people like you, and that's why we've set up an Annual Giving Fund to encourage support year round. You can opt for recurring gifts monthly or write a one-time donation. All money goes directly to our programs.


Donations can be made on this website, or by mailing a check payable to Children's Bureau of New Orleans to:


Annual Giving Fund

c/o Children's Bureau of New Orleans

2626 Canal Street, Ste 201

New Orleans, LA 70119


If you would like to set up a recurring gift, contact Leah Ann Plaisance or Joy Banks at (504) 525-2366.


All donations are tax deductible. 

Annual Meeting Set for Nov 24

The Children's Bureau of New Orleans will hold its annual meeting on Monday, November 24 at Cafe Reconcile, 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, starting at 11 am.

At the meeting, the organization will recap its accomplishments and celebrate achievements of 2014. Financial information will be shared on the operating expenses and revenue for programs and the organization overall. Staff, board of directors and key supporters will be in attendance.

2014 Children's Hero Awards Announced

The Children's Bureau of New Orleans will present its 2nd Annual Children's Hero Awards Friday, October 3 to celebrate seven individuals and two organizations that have shown an exemplary commitment to improving the quality of life for children in greater New Orleans.

"We are excited to honor such an impressive and deserving group in our second year as we continue to raise awareness around the mental health challenges many children in our community face," says Paulette Carter, president and CEO of the Children's Bureau.

This year's honorees include:

  • Kim Boyle, Phelps Dunbar
  • Leah Chase, Dooky Chase's Restaurant
  • Lloyd Dennis, Silverback Society
  • Judy Reese Morse, City of New Orleans
  • Mrs. Miriam Ortique and The Honorable Revius Ortique, Jr. (posthumously)
  • Greg Feirn, Louisiana Children's Medical Center
  • Fore!Kids Foundation
  • ReNEW Charter Schools

Liberty Bank has signed on as title sponsor for a second year in a row.

The event will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the home of Laurie and Jeff Young at 1605 Lakeshore Drive. The night will include food and drinks, as well as live entertainment.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. For further information or to buy tickets, contact the Children's Bureau's development office at (504) 525-2366 or email Tickets will go on sale on the website soon, and more information on our honorees will also be displayed soon!

Mental Health Consultants Have Big Impact in Child Care Centers

Infant mental health is about relationships.  Babies and young children are engaged in rapid cognitive and physical development, and it all happens within their relationships with their caregivers.  Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) is a program designed to enhance teacher relationships with children they care for and to connect children and families to a safety net of resources when they need help.

The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program began in 2007 to serve childcare centers participating in the statewide Quality Start Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Childcare centers who participate in the program are provided with a mental health consultant who offers a variety of services. The consultant partners with the childcare center for six months visiting about twice a month for a total of 10-12 visits. 

“In that time, we provide classes for teachers; we work alongside teachers in classrooms to observe and reflect, then jointly plan classroom changes; we model techniques and strategies; and we consult with center directors about center goals,” says Sharon M. Gancarz-Davies, LCSW, an Infant Mental Health Specialist that runs ECMHC for Children's Bureau of New Orleans.

In certain cases, the consultant also provides parent workshops, meets individually with parents on interventions as needed, and makes referrals to community resources to address child and family needs.

High Impact, High Reward

Indirectly through the teachers and centers who continue to serve children for years, the ECMHC program has a very broad reach.

“This program is amazing because it allows us to support teachers and parents as they strive to help very young children develop into smart, happy, safe people.   The skills and knowledge of a trained mental health clinician gives them more tools to reach their goals,” say Gancarz-Davies.

“This program also gives us the opportunity to reach a large number of families and impact multiple systems.  The family environment remains essential for children, and children spend a lot of time with their child care providers, so this kind of program can make a real difference.”

Many children spend up to 8 to 10 hours per day in childcare centers, so the interactions with these caregivers are critical to their healthy development. 

Evaluation of the model established by Tulane University for the program has established that the services measurably improve the classroom environment and teacher relationships with children.  

The ECMHC program also positively impacts the lives of young children.  For example, one pre-school aged child was cooperative but withdrawn at school. The mother, however, reported that she was very aggressive at home to the point of being a danger to herself and others using knives and setting fires. 

The center arranged for her mother to meet with the mental health consultant at the center.  After listening to the mother’s concerns and discussing her behavior and development, the consultant supported the mother in calling in some counseling options for her daughter.  At this point, having spent time building some trust with the parent, the mental health consultant asked the mother if she felt safe at home. It was then that the mother courageously admitted that her partner had been violent with her to the point of bruising and injuring her.  The mental health consultant supported her in calling the Family Justice Center to help her further reflect on her situation and the steps she wanted to take to ensure her safety and that of her child.  Some months later she removed her child from the center and went to live with family in another state.  She called the center after she was settled and reported that her daughter's behavior was much more manageable and she seemed happy.

In this case and others like it, the mental health consultant brings knowledge of community resources, knowledge of the possible meanings behind children's behaviors, experience in asking difficult questions, and hope that change is possible. 

“This center had love and concern for the child and had built a positive relationship with the parent.  The parent used these resources to create a safer home for her family. That is what this program is all about.”