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Lack of available foster homes affects Arkansas placement agency

The need for foster parents in Arkansas has been dire, with thousands of kids stuck in the system— but one local organization is working to change that.

BRYANT, Ark. — The need for foster parents in Arkansas has been extremely dire, with thousands of kids in the foster care system, but not enough people that could care for them. 

Second Chance Youth Ranch knows that the dream for any child is to be in a safe place, and they've made it their mission to help.

"Nothing more devastating than to know that there out there who have been rejected or hurt or abused," said Rachel Hubbard with Second Chance Youth.

She said the reality for them, has been that they are running out of room for kids who need a foster family.

"We turned away 14 children in one day that desperately needed a home," explained Hubbard.

She said they have 20 homes in the organization, and they have about 45 kids at homes spread across central Arkansas.

Hubbard added that this has become an issue because there aren't enough foster parents in Arkansas. 

"I understand that the thought of becoming a foster parent is scary and then it involves a certain level of sacrifice," Hubbard said.

As of July, the Department of Human Services said there have been more than 4,502 kids in foster care in the Natural State, and the total number of foster homes in the state is 1,702.

"The solution to that is more families saying yes," Hubbard said.

Leaders at the Second Chance Youth Ranch organization have been expanding the living spaces available with hopes of finding more kids a secure living space.

"We're in the process of constructing two more campus homes and when those homes are for families who say I want to foster and I would do a large sibling group," Hubbard said.

She added that oftentimes, siblings are separated in a foster home and building the campus homes could cut down on that.

Becoming a foster parent is a calling and the organization supports those who answer.

"We provide a large home, we provide a vehicle to transport all the kids in and we provide case management services, so that family has a lot of support," Hubbard described.

She also expressed how it's heartbreaking whenever they have to turn a child away.

"It makes you feel like you're just not doing nearly enough," Hubbard said.

However, she remains optimistic more parents will help curb this problem.

By next year, Hubbard said the organization hopes to open up 20 more homes for parents and kids.

If you are interested in fostering, you can find more information by clicking here.

   

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