Foster Care is in Crisis in Arkansas


Arkansas is experiencing a foster care crisis. In order to fix the problem, specifically in Sebastian county, Governor Asa Hutchinson believes awareness is the first step.

Sebastian county is struggling to keep their foster kids near their homes. They’re even resorting to sending them out of state.

Thursday, Mercy hospital and multiple local organizations were called by Gov. Hutchinson to address the growing issue. 

“We have a huge crisis in our area. There are almost 800 children in Sebastian county alone that are in foster care,” said Nancy Brisher a trainer with The Call.

Sebastian county has more children in the foster care system than anywhere else in Arkansas. There’s only one foster home for every 8 children.

“Right now we have 200 more kids in Sebastian county in foster care than they do in Pulaski county, so we have a lot of kids,” Glenda Evans, Exec. Director of Sebastian County CASA.

In order to raise awareness to the growing problem, Mercy hospital brought together many important groups from the foster care community to start a real conversation.

“Tonight is that opportunity for people to speak out, and talk about why is it that foster care has gone on in our wonderful state for so long,” said Martin Schreiber, VP of Mission, Mercy Hospital

Mercy hospital understands this won’t immediately solve the problem but hopes to open the eyes of the community. 
“The problem we’re having with foster homes right now is two-thirds of our kids are in different areas of Arkansas. Which causes a big problem because siblings are split up, which is horrible,” explained Evans. 
“Right now, Sebastian county is sending children all over the state. We do not have enough foster homes in this area, and as a result we need to raise awareness about the need for them,” said Paul Barron, UAFS Chancellor.
Anyone can get involved to help with the issue, whether becoming a foster parent or donating.
“There’s so many organizations in our community that can have a great impact on the crisis, and so getting the word out and letting the employees know about the crisis..this is one of the best ways we can attack this problem,” said Brisher.
As for why Sebastian county has the most foster kids, it all may have to do with location and the drug problem in the area.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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