The Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office Early Intervention Program is a cooperative effort between the Office of District Attorney John F. DeRosier and the Calcasieu Parish School System. The program, which started in 2007, targets at-risk elementary school students who are in need of additional assistance with various life issues. The goal of the program is to ensure that these children and their families remain out of the juvenile justice system.
"There are numerous programs to address drugs and other issues that impact our young school children from grades 5-12,” says District Attorney John DeRosier. “The Prosecutors’ Early Intervention Program (P.I.E.P.) starts at the Pre-K level and, with the assistance of school teachers, seeks out “at-risk” children to address potential issues long before the issues develop into problems.”
The program is currently active in, but is not limited to, four Calcasieu Parish elementary schools: J. J. Johnson, Oak Park, Ralph Wilson, and R. W. Vincent. District Attorney case managers headed by Licensed Professional Counselor Penny Haxthausen and school counselors are responsible for identifying eligible children. They also assist families in accessing resources, which in turn empowers families to make better decisions.
“Our case workers work with school teachers and counselors to address whatever issues might be placing these children “at-risk” and to assist the children and their families in whatever way is needed,” says DeRosier. “The primary purposes of the program are to help the child perform successfully from the beginning of school and to keep the child and family from ever being part of the Juvenile Justice System. Children who have never been in the Juvenile Justice System are much less likely to ever be part of the adult Criminal Justice System.”
Additional counseling is provided to some children and families by Licensed Professional Counselor Ray Melerine. The program’s Coordinator is Assistant District Attorney Carla S. Sigler. The School Board liaison is Mrs. Mitzi Wilkinson. The program is funded by the District Attorney’s Office.