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Nonprofits and organizations working to enhance Arkansas’s foster care system



Garland County, Arkansas – Following Governor Sanders’ Executive Order 23-18 to safeguard children, assist families, and enhance the foster care system in Arkansas, the Department of Human Services released a list of eleven suggestions last week.

The Call and the Christian Alliance for Orphans are two nonprofit organizations that are seeking to enhance the foster care system in the state and the country.

The Garland County Coordinator for “The Call” is Tonya Ross. A group dedicated to empowering, educating, and inspiring the Christian community to provide foster children in Arkansas a future and hope is helping the state’s foster care system.

“We just live in a broken world,” Ross said.

Ross thinks that in order to address the issues she perceives, cooperation will be necessary. One of the eleven proposals is to broaden the use of team-based techniques to cooperatively support families during court procedures and related case plans.

“There are just so many ways families are struggling and unfortunately children suffer those consequences,” Ross said.

Strengthening the DCFS workforce is another suggestion; “The Call” collaborates with this organization on a daily basis.

When Ross and her husband initially began fostering, they didn’t have easy access to group support, but because to concerted efforts on all fronts, they now have more support, which has helped them continue over time.

“It’s what has helped us continue to foster for 10 years,” Ross said.

Additionally, Ross is involved with the Christian Alliance for Orphans, which links churches, organizations, and foster families with children in need, according to Ross.

She claims to have returned to Arkansas with knowledge after meeting with foster families and groups around the nation during the summit she attended last week.

Foster families are more equipped to care for children when they share experiences, according to Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Although some people find statistics depressing, he argues there is still hope.

“What we see is there is one statistic that matters more than any other and that is that it just takes a single caring adult to make a lifelong difference for children and so every one of us can play a part of that,” Medefind said.

Foster families and organizations should work together, he argues.

“These families need support, they need community,” Medefind said.

Although there is always more work to be done, Medefind and Ross agree that the efforts made at all levels are positive and a start in the right direction for the kids in foster care.

Ross intends to engage in state working groups with the objective of

“They are worth it, and we have to stick with it, we have to,” Ross said.


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