Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online

The CALL seeks to enlist, encourage and support local foster parents

The CALL seeks to enlist, encourage and support local foster parents

Photo: Foster parents Earl and Natalie Kleece (far right) open their home to CALL?members and leaders being led through a foster child’s journey.

May is Foster Care Awareness month and The CALL (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime) is working hard to find new volunteer members and adults to care for foster children.

“The CALL is a Christian, nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supports foster and adoptive families through local churches,” said Meg Scott, county coordinator for The CALL. “The CALL of Crawford and Sebastian Counties has opened more than 65 foster and adoptive homes since January 2010. Over 30 of those homes are actively caring for children. So far this year, five children have been adopted out of the foster care system by a CALL-recruited family.”

“There are more than 570 children in the Crawford and Sebastian counties foster care system, with fewer than 100 homes to care for them,” Scott explained. “The CALL’s mission is to educate, equip and encourage the Christian community to provide a future and a hope for children in foster care in Arkansas and their vision is to have no children waiting for foster homes.”

An information meeting will be held at 6 p.m. May 12 at Van Buren Free Will Baptist Church, 4874 Alma Highway, Van Buren, Ark. Volunteers also will be at the Community Corner at BrickCity Emporium May 19-31. A bake sale will be held there May 24. A pizza day fundraiser May 23 will be held at Larry’s Pizza of Fort Smith, which may be at its new location, 5605 Rogers Avenue, or at its present location, 2919 Towson Avenue, Fort Smith.

The CALL also is presenting Journey Home in May. Community leaders and members are given a tour of a day in the life of a child in foster care. Traveling by bus, members first go to a home where a child is being removed?(a re-enactment) and taken to a shelter. It continues to the courthouse where legal procedures are explained; a local visiting center where parents are allowed to meet with their children who are in foster care; then on to an actual foster home or shelter. This process is to show what a child may go through to get to their foster families.

The program is invitation-only but those interested may be added to a future tour. To learn more, call 479-719-9298, go online to thecallinarkansas.org or on Facebook as The CALL of Crawford/Sebastian Counties.

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