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Thurs 6/20 8:15pm: WRKF's FM/HD broadcasts are operating with reduced power due to an equipment fault. Online listening is unaffected.

Who Helps the Family Alton Sterling Left Behind?

When hurricanes or tornadoes hit, FEMA, the Salvation Army, and others step in to help. When a fire destroys a family home, the local Red Cross chapter often provides assistance. But who helps families devastated by shootings, like Alton Sterling’s?

“One of the greatest fears is to see your child hurt, and know that there’s nothing you can do about it,” a heartbroken QuinyettaMcMillon, the mother of Alton Sterling’s children, cried out.

Is there anything the state can do to help? Marketa Garner Walters, Louisiana Secretary of Children and Family Services, says yes.

“Having that happen -- literally in front of this child’s eyes because of social media and being able to see it – if that’s not a traumatic experience, I don’t know what is. And we are all about helping traumatized families,” Walters told WRKF.

“We are going to be involved with grief counseling with this family, and we’re very happy to step a little outside of our box because of these extenuating circumstances.”

Secretary Walters explained her Department is usually required to be reactive, rather than pro-active.

“It’s a little outside of our normal because there’s no allegation of abuse or neglect. We aren’t set up like a non-profit that can reach out immediately to families. Our plates are pretty full.”

But, she says, DCFS does have partnerships with a number of charitable non-profits, and often calls on them to assist.

“We can reach out to them and say, ‘This family has come to our attention. Can you help and where can you help’?”

The Secretary confided she has spoken with Ms. Mcmillon, and is confident she and the children will receive substantial help.

“There are a lot of wonderful non-profits in our community that have already reached out and offered support, that will be able to be with them and help them and stick with them for awhile.”