Feeding Our Children
Today in Arkansas, we have 5,200 youth in the foster care system – with another nearly 3,000 going through the system annually. Half of these young people have been abused or neglected and have never experiences a strong stable family foundation or home.
As moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and grandparents, this should shock us. The children of today will build and support the communities of tomorrow, and each child should have nothing but hope and promise ahead of them. For these young people, each day is a struggle and our state foster system is stretched thin.
However, in Arkansas we are blessed to have the support community organizations to offer guidance and development to our foster youth, and I am proud to highlight one of these organizations in this month’s CEI Blog.
One organization making a real difference is The CALL. The core mission of The CALL is to connect foster youth with homes that fit for them. They draw upon the networks of Arkansas churches to find families willing to make a life-changing difference in a youth’s life with the possibility of adopting them. Through these partnerships, The CALL connects foster children with families that have a strong faith and community foundation.
One couple who made a difference is Adam and Chrystal Baker. After seeing a teen’s story on a television show called “A Place to Call Home” in March 2015, they found the CALL through a neighbor who had adopted through the state foster care. After extensive consultation and training, they were able to open their home to foster children later that same year.
Shortly after, they attended a family picnic for open adoptive homes in October where they spent two hours with foster teen Donté, going through a book of family memories and photos to the introduce him to their family. In early 2016, he moved into their home and in June 2016, he became a permanent family member.
Since that time, the Bakers learned more about the need for foster families and felt called to re-opened their home to other children in need. They are still currently fostering on top of volunteering as trainers for The CALL - helping prepare new foster and adoptive families. Adam and Chrystal are always on hand to help with any need that arises. They are currently holding a diaper drive to help fill their local CALL Mall with diapers for children in foster care. On June 24, 2017, the CALL awarded them “Foster Family of the Year” for their incredible commitment and dedication to children in foster care.
Every child deserves a mentor, a counselor, unconditional love – something that a stable home life and family provide. Organizations like the CALL are making a different in the lives of children across Arkansas and leading by example. We are grateful for the CALL’s service to the foster youth in our state and the community as a whole and the example they provide.