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Growing nonprofit addresses Arkansas’s demand for foster care



Trumann, Arkansas – A nonprofit organization in Northeast Arkansas is seeking to add more foster homes as part of its recent expansion.

Beginning in Central Arkansas in 2007, the CALL recently reached every county in the state. The organization wants to assist nearby churches and communities in providing for the needs of foster children.

The CALL has attempted to find 3,135 foster homes in the state, according to Heather Shrader, the coordinator for Craighead and Poinsett County. About 30,800 children and teens in care have been helped by families associated with The CALL, and more than 2,100 children have found permanent homes as a result of The CALL.

The group is still in its infancy at the moment in Northeast Arkansas.

“We’re having the initial sit-downs, making people privy to what’s happening in their community, and seeing how churches can engage with The CALL and step up,” Shrader said.

The Call reported that there are 57 foster families and 79 foster children in Craighead County. There are just 28 foster homes and 114 foster children in Greene County. There are just 12 foster homes in Poinsett County, while there are 94 children in foster care.

There is an issue when a county does not have enough homes.

“If a child comes into foster care, and there isn’t an open home, then that child is placed in the next best option which is usually very far away or group home living,” Shrader said.

For children, moving counties can entail adjusting to a new city and school system, which can cause additional stress. Shrader said she knows the struggle because she was in foster care herself.

“I was bounced around a lot, and there weren’t many open homes,” Shrader said. “My siblings and I were separated because there weren’t enough open homes.”

Foster care training, resources for after-care, and help opening homes to foster care are all provided by the CALL.

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