By Terrica Hendrix
The Call launch party, held Saturday morning at the Scrapper Dome, was a successful event, according to organizers. There were plenty of games and bounces houses, and activities such as face painting to keep children busy.
Howard County will become the 43rd county in Arkansas to launch and become part of the 501 (C) (3) organization, The Call, devoted to the needs of foster care.
“Our purpose is to mobilize Christians of all denominations to meet the needs of foster care,” organizer Jodi King explained.
According to The Call’s website, more than a dozen children will come into foster care in Arkansas because of abuse or neglect.
They will join nearly 4,500 other children in state custody.
This year, more than 7,000 children will spend time in foster care. More than 500 children are waiting to be adopted. The greatest need of every child in foster care is a safe, loving family where they can heal and grow. There are 1,100 foster homes in Arkansas – too few to meet the needs of children who are taken into care.
Children are placed in emergency shelters, group homes or residential facilities. Siblings are often separated because there is not a home available to take them as a group. Nearly half of all children who enter foster care must be placed outside their home county because there is no room closer to home.
Out-of-county placements create the need for children to be transported to their home county for staffings, family visits, and court appearances. Extended travel time leads to further disruptions in the child’s life – like missing school. It also consumes DCFS staff time.
The Call will serve as a pool of available foster and adoptive families in every county in Arkansas – including Howard – and will go a long way toward solving the problem. The Call is mobilizing Christians from multiple denominations and churches in local communities around Arkansas to meet the needs of local children in foster care.
Although recruiting families is the priority, organizers know that not every Christian is called to foster or adopt. The Call works with local churches to assemble a support team of volunteers to wrap around their foster and adoptive families. The organization also attempts to connect churches with other opportunities to serve children in foster care.