The CALL, a faith-based non-profit located in Arkansas, was invited to participate in a Listening Session on Thursday, November 29, 2018, at the White House. This session was facilitated by the Domestic Policy Council focused on foster care and adoption. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the federal government delegation on work occurring around the nation as they expand their focus on adoption and foster care in 2019. A secondary emphasis for the session was on the growing opioid crisis in the country and its impact on the foster care system.
“I am pleased that The CALL is receiving national recognition for the difference that it is making throughout Arkansas” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “For over a decade, The CALL has trained and recruited thousands of foster families and raised awareness about the foster care needs in our state. I am delighted that The CALL is receiving due recognition from the White House and serving as an example for other organizations in other states to follow.” Lauri Currier, Executive Director of The CALL, said, “It is an incredible honor to be given a seat at one of the most important tables in our nation. The Call’s impact is a testament to the passion and commitment of our families, church partners, volunteers, staff and donors across Arkansas.” The meeting, led by Andrew Bremberg, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, also included Lynn Johnson, Assistant Secretary for Children and Family Services with the Department of Health and Human Services, Jim Carroll, Director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, Kellyann Conway, Senior Counselor to The President, and Congressman Phil Mitchell of Michigan, adoptive dad.
The CALL was one of six non-profits from around the nation invited to share the work they do, the impact they have made on the foster care system as well as challenges experienced. The CALL serves as a bridge organization between the Division of Family and Children Services and local Christian churches. The CALL has been in operation for over 11 years in Arkansas and is currently located in 47 counties throughout the state. Michelle Douglas, Program Director, shared that through their partnership with DCFS, The CALL has helped over 2,050 foster and adoptive homes open. Those families have cared for over 11,000 children and youth and provided forever families for over 1,000 children and youth through adoption. Today, families recruited by The CALL represent around 67% of the currently serving foster families in Arkansas.
In addition to the work accomplished in Arkansas, The CALL is recognized as a national leader in equipping local churches to serve local children, youth and families impacted by foster care. The CALL, a member of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), has received national attention recently in several national and peer-reviewed publications. The CALL’s model of engaging the Christian community to meet the needs of foster and adoptive families has inspired other organizations to begin similar work in several states. “In many cases, The CALL has provided consultation to other ministries and state agencies as they have worked to engage the faith-based communities in their states,” said Michelle Douglas.
The CALL is optimistic that this opportunity will further their vision for no waiting children in foster care in Arkansas, and will eventually lead to more than enough families available for all children and youth in foster care in the US.