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Organizations in Arkansas seeking to increase funding for the foster care system



Little Rock, Arkansas – Foster care in Arkansas is allegedly in crisis, according to some people.

“There are about 4,100 children in foster care right now. We go in between 1,500 and 1,700 foster homes,” said Mischa Martin, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services.

There were more kids in the foster care system than there were foster homes in the state.

Mischa Martin claimed that Covid-19 made it difficult to find foster families.

“Obviously Covid had an impact on a lot of things including people being willing to open their homes as foster homes which is part of the reason we are strategically recruiting and really getting the word out about the need for additional foster families,” said Martin.

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and a few Arkansas organizations are working to increase the state’s foster care funding.

An executive order creating the Arkansas Strategic Plan for Foster Care Placement was signed by Governor Sanders.

DHS collaborated with Every Child Arkansas, a non-profit that provides assistance for foster care.

Martin stated that she wants people to be aware of common misconceptions concerning foster care.

One of the myths, according to her, is that relatives are not foster families.

“Relatives are foster families,” said Martin.

“People think they have to be homeowners but they do not. We are open to foster families that rent,” said Martin.

A family from Central Arkansas named Emma and Will McGrath described how they began fostering kids more than four years ago.

They claimed that their families’ support was crucial in starting the foster care process.

“That was kind of just luck of the draw that we were placed in those families and just not everyone in Arkansas has that same support and life that we were very privileged to have growing up. And so looking at if we were in someone else shoes wouldn’t we want someone to step in for our kids if were just going through a hard time?” said Emma McGrath.

Will took on the challenge of fostering with his family and disproved the idea that you may start fostering at a certain age.

“I think people think you need to have your life together in every sense to become a foster parent: financially, be older, you know, have your life figured out so to speak, but we stepped into it right when we got married before I started law school,” said Will.

The McGraths concluded that their involvement in foster care had been rewarding.

“Overall, it is just really life-giving to watch families get reunified and restored and work really hard to change their lives and to do what they need to do to be able to have their children back in their home,” said Emma.


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