CAKID

Central Arkansas Kids

CAKID - See A Kid, Not A Case

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A resource for foster parents, adoptive parents, and DCFS case workers across the state of Arkansas.

If you have reason to suspect that a child you know is being abused, please call the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-482-5964.  Don't stop until you get an answer.

For more information on recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect in Arkansas, see http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/dcfs/Pages/ChildProtectiveServices.aspx

About This Site:

The central Arkansas foster parents have researched and gathered together into one place a comprehensive collection of information for and about the foster care system in Arkansas, resulting in this web site.  It is aimed at current and prospective foster parents, adoptive parents, Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) case workers, the judicial community, and other State of Arkansas officials as “the place to go” for information and answers to questions about fostering in Arkansas and adoption from DCFS.  (“Foster parents” provide a home and care for the child while the child is in DCFS custody.)  The web site includes questions and answers for foster parents and adoptive parents, contacts within DCFS to help with their questions and concerns, publications and forms for foster parents and DCFS case workers, and links to organizations focusing on the foster care system and children’s issues in Arkansas, along with publications on the web aimed at recognizing and identifying child abuse (since foster parents are “mandated reporters”).  It gives practical advice leading to a well informed and knowledgeable foster parent who is well prepared to navigate the maze of the state’s foster care system, as well as to understand the laws and procedures as they are written.

Being a foster parent is a noble calling, with times of heartbreak and disappointment, but which is outweighed by the opportunity to pour love and hope back into these children forced to grow up too fast, and to give them some of their childhood back, restoring their feelings of safety, security, belonging, and, especially, love, that all children deserve.  We end with a saying that conveys foster parenting best: “One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had, nor what my clothes were like, but that the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.”

Contents:

Foster Parent Groups
Arkansas State Employee Directory
DHS/DCFS Web Sites
Major Players in the Foster Care System
Foster Parent Information
Adoption Information
Other Information, Organizations, Web Sites, Manuals, Publications, and Forms

In 2002, the Department of Human Services reported 18,541 investigations of child abuse and neglect in Arkansas.  On average, two out of three investigations are deemed unsubstantiated and are closed after the initial interviews.  But, that doesn't mean that the reporter didn't have a valid cause for concern, or that the report was false.  Be aware that certain professionals and child workers in the state are required to report if they have a reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed, as defined as maltreatment by Arkansas law, which is what you and any other caring parent or adult would want, too, if your child or a child that you knew and loved was at risk or had been harmed.

Foster Parent Groups

The Pulaski County Foster Parent's Association serves the foster parents of central Arkansas, with monthly meetings, training, and get-togethers for area foster parents and their children.  We meet on the second Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Moody Chapel, AME Church, 5630 Mablevale Pike, Little Rock, AR.  Click here for a map.  Each meeting you attend counts as two hours toward your yearly 15-hour training requirement for foster parents (be sure to get your certificate after each meeting that you attend).  For more information about us, including our officers, see http://www.cakid.org/news.html.  Contact Ulysses Davis (President) at LeLe_davis@yahoo.com or Tracey Jeffries (Secretary) at fosterassoctjeff@att.net for further information about the Foster Parent's Association.

Arkansas State Employee Directory:

To find the e-mail address and phone number for employees of the state of Arkansas, go to: http://www.arkansas.gov/directory.

DHS/DCFS Web Sites:

Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS): http://www.arkansas.gov/dhs.

Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS): http://www.arkansas.gov/dhs/chilnfam.

Major Players in the Foster Care System:

Besides the DCFS case workers and their supervisors (DCFS has offices and case workers in every county), there are other players in the foster care system:

The foster parents take care of the child while the child is in DCFS custody.  They should also attend any DCFS staffings (where the progress of the case is discussed and plans are made), along with any court hearings (so that their voice can be heard).  They should also take the child to any doctor's appointments or therapy sessions (so that the doctor gets the complete picture of the child's condition and that the foster parents become aware of any medical needs that the child has or that are diagnosed at the appointment).

The Guardian ad Litem is the child's attorney in court cases.  They do not represent DHS, DCFS, or any other state agency - their only responsibility is to represent the child.

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a volunteer organization that looks out for the child's best interest during court cases and legal proceedings.

The County Judge plays a crucial role in determining the status and foster/adoption plan for the child.  It is the judge who monitors how the birth parents are progressing before they can get custody of their child back, and who decides whether or not the birth parents are up to the challenge of raising a child or that their parental rights must be terminated (called TPR) in order to put the child up for adoption and find a permanent home for the child.  Court hearings for the case are usually held once every 3 to 6 months.  And, don't be surprised if they get delayed or rescheduled for a few months when you get there.

The Arkansas State Police (ASP) is responsible for the statewide Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-482-5964) and some child maltreatment investigations (through their ASP Family Protection Unit (FPU)).  The local city police and county law enforcement personnel conduct most of the child maltreatment investigations.  The Child Abuse Hotline receives child maltreatment calls statewide to screen out or accept for investigation.  The DCFS Agency Staff investigators are involved in both "Priority 1" and "Priority 2" reports.  The Arkansas State Police FPU Crimes Against Children Division investigates all "Priority 1" reports.  "Priority 1" reports are those that describe abuse with a deadly weapon, bone fractures, brain damage/skull fracture, burns, scalding, immersion/suffocation, internal injuries, poison/noxious substances, oral sex, sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual penetration, subdural hematoma, or death.  The "Priority 2" reports are investigated by just the DCFS Agency Staff investigators.

All of the information gathered by the DCFS case workers and law enforcement personnel, along with the rulings from court proceedings, and all of the DCFS forms to fill out, is entered into a database called CHRIS (Children's Reporting and Information System) - the CHRIS Project Manager is Darcy Dinning <darcy.dinning@arkansas.gov>.  There is also a Central Registry, which serves as the repository of all child maltreatment reports.  The Child Maltreatment Reporting Act requires that a statewide central registry be established within the Department of Human Services (DHS) for the collection of information relative to the child maltreatment reports.  The registry contains identifying data, dates and circumstances of any persons requesting or receiving information from the registry.  Anyone listed in the Central Registry who has a true finding in an investigation is not allowed to become a foster parent.

The Arkansas Legislature makes the rules by which all of these parties must abide.  For example, the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Act is section 12-12-501 through 12-12-519 of the Arkansas Code.  You can read some of these laws here.  For a condensed version of the law, broken up into topics for both child abuse and neglect as well as child welfare, click here.

Foster Parent Information

Adoption Information

Other Information


One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had, nor what my clothes were like, but that the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.

 

The beautiful pictures on cakid.org are graciously used by permission and copyrighted by Darrel Tank at www.darreltank.com.  These and more may be seen at http://www.cakid.org/Darrel_Tank/thumb.html.  Thank you, Darrel, for your contribution to the foster parents of Arkansas.  We thank you, and our kids thank you!

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This Page Was Last Updated on 05/17/16


All information, forms, manuals, and other material on this web site are freely available to all
foster parents (in any role), potential adoptive parents, DCFS staff, CASA workers, guardian ad litem's,
county judges, legislators, and any other state officials or state employees that may need it.


The webmaster who maintains this web site (Stephen Rea, a foster parent) may be reached at srea1957@maristream.com.
Please let me know if you have any other resources or information for foster parents that we can post here.
Your contributions would be greatly appreciated by us and the other foster parents across the state!

Dedicated to Olivia