CONTRIBUTED BY JULIE PASQUINZO –
“Children are not a distraction from more important work; they are the most important work.” This quote by C.S. Lewis is a reminder of the opportunities and responsibilities one has in establishing a better future for God’s greatest gift, children.
There are approximately 35 children in DCFS foster homes from Polk County, but with a limited number of foster homes available in the area, only 20% of these children have the opportunity to remain in the county; that means four out of five children will leave their families, schools, and core support systems. In the majority of DCFS cases, reunification is the goal, but at times adoption is the healthiest option, however, resources available can hinder the possibility of achieving these goals for the local children; therefore, more support is necessary. The abuse and neglect that brings children into care calls for a stable, supportive family to help them grow; they need a “healing place for kids to call home.”
The CALL of Polk County is a Christian, non-profit organization that is working to bridge the gap by recruiting, training, and supporting families to open their homes to foster care or adoption. Local members of our community have answered their own “call” to support and grow the availability of homes in Polk County. Jennifer Brewer, Polk County Coordinator, discusses the progression of The CALL in Polk County and how the organization has planned its launch for February 19th. With compassion, humility, and authenticity, Jennifer discusses the goals of seeking an “organic group of people working to intercede for the families in need of these services.” Jennifer states that the initial meeting held in Polk County, led to 70 individuals expressing a passion and desire to work toward creating a portfolio of homes available with quality care.
The CALL collaborates with DCFS and CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocates] on both state and local levels to meet the needs of children and families. Volunteers are necessary and welcome on multiple levels; it is emphasized that while opening your home to foster or adopt may not be where you are led, that there is a basic need for “prayer, basic house cleaning, donating supplies, groceries, providing lawn care, meals, attending court and medical appointments with involved families, respite, financial donations, and even helping with car maintenance for those transporting the involved families.”
There is a place for everyone who wishes to be a part of the organization. Personal testimonies from community members discuss the lack of resources available for those welcoming kids into their homes. The CALL is working to establish a “CALL Mall” that can supply clothing and supplies. These supplies are available to foster children, regardless of their placement in CALL homes or established foster care homes. Donations will be accepted graciously to fund this effort. With the great amount of churches in this area, The CALL is hoping to form contact with individuals and organizations to collaborate and offer sustenance to the children of Arkansas’s future. One may question if they are ready to adopt or foster, but one must realize that no child is ready to be an orphan; you are either called to bring a child into your home or you are responsible to support those who do. Please consider what role you can play in providing care for those in need.
There will be a “launch” held Friday, February 19, 2016 at 6pm, at the National Guard Armory located on Morrow Street, adjacent to RMCC. All interested parties are welcome to come and enjoy the provided meal, hear Alicen Bennet, the state liaison from DCFS to The CALL organization, share testimonies and the need for Arkansas’s children and families, and if led, participate in the love offering and begin their journey into answering their own “call.”
For more information contact Jennifer by calling at 479.234.2398 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The CALL has a website available at thecallinarkansas.org for more information.