By Justin DiCharia
BATON ROUGE — Two-year-old Juno Roy breathes with the help of an oxygen tank strapped on the side of her stroller. Her parents, Jessica and Brian Roy of Baton Rouge, feed her through a tube, often finding themselves in a hospital hoping a small infection does not turn fatal.
Juno was left at a Louisiana Safe Haven, a state-run facility where a desperate mother can leave her infant if she can’t care for it, no questions asked. She had been born three and half months premature. The Roy family fostered her for a year before officially adopting Juno. They were well aware of the odds against her survival.
Doctors told the family Juno would not make it through the first year, but she defied them all and is nearing her third birthday.
If the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services is underfunded this coming year, Secretary Marketa Garner Walters told the Senate Finance Committee Monday, it will become exponentially harder to find foster care parents for children with severe disabilities and conditions like Juno Roy.