FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor Asa Hutchinson Updates Progress in State’s Foster Care System at Maggie House Dedication
LITTLE ROCK – At an event today in Charleston, Governor Asa Hutchinson provided an update on the progress of the state’s foster care system. “There’s plenty of work to do to address the foster care crisis in our state, but we are taking the right steps,” said Hutchinson to those in attendance at the dedication of the Maggie House, one of the many faith-based organizations that are stepping up to fill a critical need. “I am optimistic about the progress we are making to improve foster care services in Arkansas.”
Governor Hutchinson issued an additional statement below following the dedication:
“Following my Restore Hope Summit, real efforts have been made by the public and private sectors to improve our foster care system. Since August, the state has increased its number of foster homes by 109 and increased its number of available beds for children by 232. We are making progress, but we must do better. The Division of Children and Family Services has made several procedural improvements and has expanded its statewide partnerships. In addition, DCFS has successfully eliminated the backlog of more than 1,200 foster parent inquiries. This is a good start, but there is still more to be done.
“In November alone, there have been more than 50 foster family homes opened, which brings our statewide total to 1,385. Small things matter, and as a state, we are heading in the right direction. It is up to us to help our children start their lives on the right track, and I want to do everything possible to ensure we are providing them with every opportunity for success.”
Since Governor Hutchinson’s Faith-Based Summit – a two-day conference held in Little Rock this past August – Arkansas has made substantial gains in key areas, including:
- 109 new foster homes
- In November alone, 50 foster family homes opened, bringing the statewide total to 1,385.
- 232 new beds
- Eliminated the backlog in contacting interested foster care applicants (more than 1,200 applications)
- Since August, DCFS has sent 394 In Home Consults to the field (First stage in the foster home licensing process)
- At the end of October, 136 homes were on the wait list to begin training, which – for many – began November 5.
- For the first time, an Applicant Tracking log has been developed and implemented which allows the agency to track where applicants are in the foster home process
- For the first time, Foster/Adoptive/Foster & Adoptive Inquiry Queues have been developed which will allow the agency to know how many inquiries are coming in on a daily basis.
In addition to these key advancements, the state has increased and/or expanded its partnerships, including examples like:
- Agape House - Opened family style group homes for children.
- Fort Smith Children’s Shelter – Bought an apartment complex which will be used to house youth who are transitioning to adulthood.
- Maggie’s House – Opened an emergency shelter.
- C4K – Expanded coverage beyond Craighead County
- Arkansas Baptist – Recruited volunteers and will start training foster parents
Since August, contacts have been made to all individuals who completed a Letter of Commitment at the Restore Hope Summit and the Child Welfare steering committee has met numerous times since then and continues to meet regularly.
For the latest updates on this ongoing commitment to the children of Arkansas, please visit the Arkansas Child Welfare – Improving Outcomes for Children and Families page on the Governor’s website.
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