The Arkansas foster care system is in a state of crisis.

Record numbers of children in foster care combined with a lack of personnel and foster homes have pushed the system to the brink of disaster, with nearly half the children in care not in foster homes, according to the latest yearly statistical report published by the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

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The Children

A Lost Childhood

Andre Johnson has experienced more than his fair share of adversity.

While the 21-year-old University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) student is in many cases a fantastic example of a former foster child finding success after aging out of the system, his journey has been anything but easy.

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A Shelter in the Storm

For those who enter the foster care system, a home is not a guarantee. For the nearly 30 percent of children who do not end up in a home, children’s homes and emergency shelters are only other options. Located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Hillcrest Children’s Home is one of the many facilities that house children who cannot be placed with a foster family.

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A Lack of Beds Put Children in a Bind

Placement in a foster home is not a guarantee for children who enter the foster care system,. While the number of available beds continues to grow every year, the rate of growth has failed to keep up with a rising number of placements keeping many kids from going to foster homes.

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The Stresses of Foster Care Take a Mental Toll on Children

For many foster children, the psychological toll of the foster care system creates issues that can last a lifetime.

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The State

The Foster Care Timeline

The foster care timeline can be confusing. Check out the timeline below to gain a better understanding of the basic structure of the foster care system.

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On the Frontline

Felicia Carter is busy. Sitting behind a desk covered in paperwork, Carter, a county supervisor in Pulaski County, has been on the front lines for years, working to keep Arkansas’s children safe.

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Independent Report Takes Issue with Some Cases of Removal

According to a report conducted at the request of the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services, nearly a quarter of children placed in foster care could have been left with their families.

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Foster Crisis Combines Abundance of Children with Overworked Employees

As a result of the statewide crisis in the foster care system, foster homes have to do more with much less. Currently, there are over 5,000 children in foster care throughout the state. According to the most recent reports from the Division of Children and Family Services, there are open beds for just over half of the children in foster care.

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The Families

New Foster Families See Crisis Firsthand

As Arkansas works to fix the foster care crisis, new foster families find themselves experiencing the issues firsthand.

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Arkansas DHS Works to Involve Families

In an attempt to remove some of the pressure stemming from the lack of open foster homes, Arkansas Department of Human Services is working to bring more biological families into the system.

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The Life of a Foster Sibling

Being a foster sibling is a full-time commitment.

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Blog

About

jackson-carter-team-si

Jackson Carter is a doctoral student at the University of South Carolina in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Carter has been involved in the foster care system since 2005. Academically, Carter’s research interests go beyond just the foster care system and include advertising, new media communication, and political communication.