Thoughts on Foster Care From Two Members of Every Child Arkansas

(L) Derek Brown of Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries and (R) Christen Butler of The Call
(L) Derek Brown of Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries and (R) Christen Butler of The Call
Foster Families Needed
Arkansas has around 1,600 foster families. Around 2,400 families are needed.

Christen Butler, The Call

"Right now the majority of kids have to be placed out of their county. That creates a twofold issue. One, they’re separated from the bonds that they did have – they lose that relationship with maybe a church, a coach, a counselor, a teacher, their friends. Now they’re separated from their home and their biological family and every other connection that they have. And it doubles the workload on the state, overloading the system that’s already overloaded.

This mission field is local, and it’s right here in your own neighborhood. These kids are in school next to your kids, riding bikes and scooters in your neighborhood, shopping at the grocery store right next to you.

Once potential foster families step up and say, ‘We’re interested,’ we train them, we provide trauma education, and we really work to engage a community network around them and provide support, continuing education and immediate care needs."

Children in Foster Care
There are approximately 4,200 children in foster care in Arkansas today.

Derek Brown, Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries

"The children in foster care today will grow up to become parents. One of the reasons why we now face such a big challenge is that we didn’t do (foster care) well during the previous generation.

Many parents of children in foster care were in foster care themselves at some point. We can’t let children go into the next generation without the support that they need to understand healthy relationships and provide for their future children. We can fix this for the next generation and do it well this time around.

When we look at Scripture, the preferred place of care for children is always
in the family. We want to do everything we can as an organization to support that and to make it possible. But we can’t do that alone; it takes all of the church stepping up.

If each of our churches could take that mission on, we would create a proactive solution for this generation to change that trajectory for the next generation."

Think About It
IF 1% OF EACH OF OUR CHURCHES actively fostered on a regular basis, we could do MORE THAN SOLVE THE URGENCY of the crisis – we could create healthy families in our community. IS 1% OF YOUR CHURCH WILLING TO STEP UP FOR THIS SEASON?

Smart Justice is a magazine, podcast, and continuing news coverage from the nonprofit Restore Hope and covers the pursuit of better outcomes on justice system-related issues, such as child welfare, incarceration, and juvenile justice. Our coverage is solutions-oriented, focusing on the innovative ways in which communities are solving issues and the lessons that have been learned as a result of successes and challenges. 

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