ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The reversal of Roe v. Wade could put a strain on an already overwhelmed foster care system in Arkansas.
Advocates say now is the time to get ready for a possible influx of children that could be coming in the next few years.
Katie Lynch works for Foster Love, an organization that trains foster and adoptive families, and she has also been a foster mom herself.
“When I was a foster mom it was almost daily, ‘hey, we’ve got this kid coming in can you take them,'” Lynch said.
Lynch said there are almost 5,000 kids in Arkansas in the foster care system, but there are only about 1,700 open homes for the children.
Michelle Douglas works for another foster care agency, The Call, and she said the need for more foster families is great.
“Any increase at all is going to be a strain on an already overwhelmed system,” Douglas said.
Lynch and Douglas said now is the time to prepare for a possible increase in kids needing care after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
“If that is potentially coming, now’s the time to prepare for that, now’s the time to try to build up and meet the need we have now so that we’re poised to meet any needs that might come in the future,” Douglas said.
Lynch said more foster parents are essential to providing safe homes to children.
“We need to be ready, we don’t need to 3, 4, 5 years from now be caught off guard we can start today by becoming prepared in our state,” Lynch said.
Laura Kellams with the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families said the state needs to also work on supporting children and families before they need to utilize the foster care system.
“Let’s make sure they have the services that they need, let’s make sure it’s not so hard to get food assistance in Arkansas,” Kellams said. “Let’s make sure that the people who have the babies have health care coverage.”