New initiative to provide needed homes for foster children in Franklin County
Every day 12 children come into foster care in Arkansas and each child needs a safe place to stay
On any given day, 35-40 children are in foster care in Franklin County, but there are only 6 available foster homes in the whole county. The CALL is about to change that. The first step is an organizational meeting on Saturday April 5 at 9am in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church in Charleston, Arkansas.
"We would especially like to have a pastor or representative of every church in Franklin County present, along with Franklin County teachers/school administrators, daycare and preschool staff members, children’s interest group leaders and anyone else who is passionate about the needs of local children in foster care," explains Shannon McChristian, a Charleston resident who is organizing the launch of The CALL in Franklin County. "We have a local crisis and now we have an answer!"
"The CALL is a Christian nonprofit organization with a vision to have no waiting children in the state of Arkansas. In other counties where The CALL has started, there has been a drastic increase in the number of available foster homes and children that were previously places far from home in other parts of the state have been brought home to surroundings and people they know."
In a county, The CALL sets up a local organization that recruits, trains and supports foster and adoptive families through the certification process. Training for new families is held in a church setting with fellow Christians at no cost to the prospective family. The CALL enjoys a unique partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services which handles the licensing and approval of families.
"If we can recruit and open one new foster or adoptive home from each church in Franklin County, we can solve this problem," says McChristian. "Then instead of a scramble to find a place to put a child that comes into foster care, there will be safe homes waiting for children. That’s the church in action. We can do that."
The CALL is a statewide nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supports families from the Christian community who foster or adopt children from the Arkansas foster care system. The CALL works in close cooperation with local churches and the Department of Children and Family Services. The CALL started in 2007 in one county and is now active in 27 counties in Arkansas. To date, 1426 families have been recruited, 826 homes opened and over 200 children adopted. The CALL is working towards a day when there are safe and trained foster homes available for any child that comes into foster care in Arkansas.
For more information contact Shannon McChristian at email@example.com, (479) 965-6877 or Dana Baker at (479) 965-6347.
At the Statewide office contact Niki Zimmerman, Assistant to the Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org, (501) 907-1048
The CALL website is www.TheCALLinArkansas.org.