Local Churches Revitalize DCFS Visitation Rooms

Few things are as impactful to reunification as visitation times. These are the moments when a biological parent or sibling can see their family with whom they have been separated due to the child entering DCFS custody. Most of these visits happen within DCFS offices in an assigned “visitation room”.
Due to the huge impact these visitation rooms can have on family reunification, two local churches have revamped the visitation rooms at Pulaski County DCFS’ offices.
We want to say a HUGE thank you to Sylvan Hills Community Church and Sylvan Hills Church of Christ for meeting this need in such an incredible way!
The following article was published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette by Paper Trails columnist Sean Clancy:

“At the Arkansas Department of Human Services office on East Washington Street in North Little Rock, there is a room where children in foster care meet with their biological parents during supervised visits. It’s called the visitation room.

Every time Morgan Adams went there, the state of the space left her dejected.

“I thought, ‘My goodness, this is where children hang out with their parents, and it’s not OK,'” says Adams, 38, who lives in North Little Rock with her husband, Scott, their three children and their 9-month-old foster son. “It was very dirty with piles of toys and a couch that shouldn’t even be on a street corner.”

Although the room is a place for families to engage and connect, sometimes parents don’t show up.”Not only are the children left feeling sad and rejected, but then they’re in a gross room,” Adams says. “Our thought was that we can’t control the parents’ choices, but we can control the environment to an extent and the aesthetic impact it has on a child.”

Adams wanted to do something. As she was talking to friends about what steps to take, she learned of a plea from The Call, a faith-based group that works with adoptive and foster families, to fix up the room.

“I instantly replied that I would do it,” says Adams, a member of Sylvan Hills Church of Christ. “I knew I could get people to help, whether it was my church family or my family and friends.”

She started a registry at Amazon.com for items to spiff up the room — things like a TV, DVD player, a play kitchen, table, chairs, games, toys, a wall-mounted hand sanitizer station and a new sofa. Almost everything was bought within a couple of days, she says.

New floor tiles were installed, the walls got a fresh coat of paint and on Aug. 2, volunteers redecorated the area. A second visitation room was to be fixed up Saturday by volunteers from Sylvan Hills Community Church.

Adams hopes that the project influences others who want to lend a hand.

“Funding for these types of things is not there, and this is a group of people really overwhelmed with cases. They don’t have the time to reach out for help. I think that should be on us, on church groups and community groups to step up and say, ‘How can we help you?'”

Working with the state as a foster parent has also given Adams a greater appreciation for what caseworkers do.

“I have a whole new level of empathy for what they are dealing with every day,” she says. “They are literally in the trenches. They’re doing really heavy stuff, and it’s been a joy for me to get to know the people working in that office and to take on some of their perspective.””

You can read the full article here.

 

While the article was published before the second room was completed the following week, Sylvan Hills Community Church completed an incredible revamp as well (see pictures below)! We want to thank both Sylvan Hills Community Church and Sylvan Hills Church of Christ for their incredible work!

 

Visitation Room #1

Sponsored by Sylvan Hills Church of Christ

Image may contain: indoorImage may contain: indoorImage may contain: living room and indoor 

Visitation Room #2 

Sponsored by Sylvan Hills Community ChurchImage may contain: indoor

Our history

The CALL started in 2007 after a group of concerned individuals came together in prayer, looking for a way to provide for children in foster care in Pulaski County by working together with the Department of Children and Family Services. What started with one group, in one county, quickly spread to other counties.

In 2010, The CALL became a statewide organization and is now active in 44 counties around Arkansas. The goal is to eventually be active in all 75 counties in the state, so that whenever and wherever a child comes into foster care, that child will not have to be sent off to another county, but will find a welcoming foster home in their own community.

Families recruited by The CALL make up over half of all foster families in the state. Since 2007, these families have cared for over 10,000 children, and created forever families for over 800 children.

The CALL provides its services to families and churches at no cost, because cost should never be a barrier to foster care or adoption. The CALL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, funded by contributions from individual donors, churches, foundations and corporations.

Member of ECFA and CAFO.

Partnership with churches

The CALL is about mobilizing and equipping the local church to be actively involved in helping solve the foster care crisis in their community. Any church, no matter how large or small, can now be involved in caring for children in foster care in the community.

Families that foster or adopt need encouragement and support. What better place to get that than from their local church?

For a church wanting to make a difference for children in foster care, The CALL provides a proven path to get involved. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Promote The CALL Info Meetings to your congregation
  • Host an Informational Meeting
  • Host a foster/adoptive parent training
  • Host foster/adoptive parerent support meetings
  • Provide support to foster/adoptive families in the congregation

Partnership with DCFS

The CALL works in close partnership with the Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services.

This allows us to provide a unique training experience for prospective foster and adoptive families through the entire certification process and beyond, ensuring that you are not left wondering what’s happening at any stage of the process.

Becoming a foster parent or adopting can be seem like a daunting process. We help demystify that journey and are with you every step of the way, from the first inquiry to when you have children placed in your home and for as long as you need.