The CALL recruits, trains and supports foster families for the 8,000 children that enter foster care.
The CALL started in 2007 after a group of concerned individuals came together to look for a way to provide for children in foster care. What started in one county, quickly spread to other counties. In 2010, The CALL became a statewide organization and is now active in 57 counties around Arkansas. The goal is to serve all 75 counties in the state, so that whenever and wherever a child comes into foster care, that child will not have to be sent off to another county, but will find a welcoming foster home in their own community. The CALL just celebrated its 14th year of operation helping meet the needs of children in foster care throughout Arkansas. More than 23,000 children have been cared for by over 2,600 families recruited by The CALL. Over 1,800 children have been adopted into their forever family as a result. The CALL works closely with the Arkansas DCFS. Today, 60% of foster families statewide were recruited/trained by The CALL. Our services are provided at no cost to families.
We need "more than enough" foster homes to provide the most appropriate home to meet the needs of children who have experienced trauma. Currently, there are 4,671 children and youth in foster care in Arkansas, with only 1,560 homes available. When children enter care, over 55% cannot stay in their hometown. Many are already behind in school because of the circumstances resulting in their removal. Without enough homes in their local communities, they are forced to leave all that they know. More than enough homes would allow these children to stay in their local communities. Funds provided through this grant will provide training and support to adoptive and foster families and the recruitment of additional families. In addition, funding will be utilized to help create additional support centers throughout Arkansas. These centers strengthen our partnership with the DCS, better engage the community to serve foster families, and offer space for clothing closet and biological visitations.
The most critical factor in whether or not a child can return home to their family after entering foster care is weekly visitation. When biological parents can spend quality time with their children in a welcoming environment where they can attach and connect, they are given the strength and focus to complete the necessary steps to have their children return home. When children are placed outside of their home county, as over 55% of children are, traveling to and from visitation is a barrier. Especially when children are placed several hours away, the children and their parents have to travel several hours every week to make visits—missing time at school and work. Having more than enough local families will decrease the number of children placed outside of county and remove these barriers to visitation. Access to Support Centers for parent-child visits around Arkansas also makes visits more accessible. It provides the warm, home-like environment most conducive to quality visits.