Division of Human Services Wants Struggling Parents To Reach Out

(L to R): Teresa Bunche, Charlie Simpson, and Christina Allen
(L to R): Teresa Bunche, Charlie Simpson, and Christina Allen

Teresa Bunche of the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services said struggling parents often fear that if they contact D.C.F.S. for help, it will lead to their kids being removed from their home. Bunche said that is not the case and parents should not be afraid to reach out to the department for help. She said DCFS can help connect parents to necessary resources. 

Bunche made those remarks today during a panel discussion in Little Rock hosted by the 100 Families Initiative of Pulaski County.

Christina Allen of Next Level Counseling in Little Rock and Charlie Simpson of the Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center echoed that sentiment. They also spoke about the fear struggling parents often have when it comes to asking for mental health services.

"Unfortunately, we are still in a crisis-based type of field where people really only seek help whenever the crisis hits," said Simpson.

"When you say 'mental health' people say 'I ain't crazy.' It's teaching individuals that it's not that you're crazy, it's just that you need a little help along the way," said Allen.

"Everybody could be considered 'crazy' at some point in time, right? But therapy is a support and I think the holistic approach where you're getting the therapy for the child and for the parents and everybody is collaborating is so crucial to the development of that child and to the development of the family as a whole. So it's getting rid of the stigma against mental health. Let's change the terminology to mental wellness."

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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