The Situation. The Solution. The Need.

James Storehouse Louisiana

In a Faith – Government Partnership with:

Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS),
The OpenTable Movement an
d Community Churches

James Storehouse Louisiana has been dedicated to the support of the child foster system for the past 8 years. Inspired by
James 1:27, this non-profit organization was created by St. Tammany resident Kim Bigler. Working with Louisiana DCFS,
volunteers and foster families, James Storehouse Louisiana provides resources and improves living conditions for foster
children. “I was a business manager in New York making money, but then I had a moment when I reconnected
with my faith. I can’t think of a more vulnerable person than a child without a family”.

The Situation

In the Covington Region (Florida Parishes) of Louisiana there are 822 foster children, which is larger than in
any other region of the State. In fact this number is 20% of all foster children in the 9 regions statewide and a
45% larger number than any other single DCFS region in Louisiana. Livingston Parish leads the State with 286
foster children, followed closely by Tangipahoa and St. Tammany with 194 and 159 respectively.

Roughly 23,000 children (5-10% of all foster children) age-out of the foster care system each year. What this
means is that once they turn 18 years old all funding and support stops for these foster children. These young
adults are then forced into independent living which exposes them to homelessness, incarceration, teen
pregnancy, substance abuse, and limited education. How do former foster care kids fare as adults? According
to research prepared by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the National Foster Youth Institute, four years
after “aging-out” of the foster system:

  • 25% have been homeless at some time (approximately 20% are instantly homeless);
  • Less than half have graduated from high school or be able to pass the HiSet (formerly known as the GED);
  • Less than 3% earn a college degree at any point in their life;
  • Over 70% of female foster youth will become pregnant by the age of 21;
  • More than 80% are unable to financially support themselves;
  • Only 50% of aged-out foster youth will have some form of gainful employment by age 24;
  • Have twice the rate of post-traumatic disorder than US combat veterans;
  • More likely to have been incarcerated at some time

A 2013 study by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative showed that, “on average, for every young
person who ages-out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs like public
assistance, incarceration, and lost wages to a community over that person’s lifetime. Do the math and you
can conservatively estimate that this problem incurs almost $8 billion in social costs to the United States
every year.”


The Solution

At the encouragement of the DCFS, James Storehouse Louisiana will be teaming with The Open Table Movement, DCFS
and community churches to address this challenge. The Open Table ( has designed and
implemented a comprehensive model and program to provide a support system for these young adults that
are suddenly on their own. The Open Table model is being used in 180 cities and communities in 28 states, the
District of Columbia and several countries around the world. DCFS has recently partnered with The Open Table to
bring this model to the Baton Rouge and Monroe regions. Because of its leadership in foster care, James
Storehouse has been asked by DCFS to bring The Open Table model to the Covington Region (Florida Parishes).

An organizational meeting recently took place in Covington in December 2017 that was attended by James
Storehouse, DCFS, the founder of The Open Table and representatives of local churches. In addition, in August 2017, foster care was selected by the Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards as her primary initiative. In her announcement/press release she identifies The Open Table and James Storehouse Louisiana as two of the primary partners in her initiative.

The model will first be initiated in St. Tammany Parish. Once the model is up and running, it will be expanded
into the other Florida Parishes, including Livingston Parish, where the largest need is located.

The Need

James Storehouse Louisiana is seeking funding to bring The Open Table model and training to the Covington Region, plus
fund two part-time employees to administer the model and coordinate with our Church partners in delivering
support to the young adults that have aged-out of the foster system. The two employees will be a Program
Director and an Administrative Assistant. The part-time Administrative Assistant will be a former foster
program participant and may also be a current college student.

The projected first year budget to implement The Open Table model in the Florida Parishes is $93,000. Of this
amount, the cost of the proven 7 Phases to The Open Table training is $50,000. This includes all travel (from
their Arizona headquarters), all training sessions and one year of Technical Support. The budget for staff,
program administration and program start-up is $43,000. James Storehouse will also be seeking office space
in the Mandeville/Covington area from which to administer the program. There may be an additional expense
and funding need if donated office space is not forthcoming.



Kim Bigler, Founder

Brittany Kazancioglu, Manager


Karl Zollinger


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