LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined with others Tuesday to announce that the state of Arkansas is joining with private groups to address foster care.
Sanders was joined by leaders of the newly-launched Every Child Arkansas in announcing the program, designed to streamline and improve the adoption process in Arkansas by creating private partnerships with the state. The program launch included a new website going live, and Sanders signed an executive order on the partnership and foster care initiatives.
All speakers, including Sanders, said Every Child Arkansas intended to make the state the first in the country to have more than enough foster parents.
The initiative was part of her administration’s pro-life agenda, the governor said, adding that “every child is a gift from God.”
One of the program’s initiatives will be the creation of Foster Advocates in the state, with one “deputized,” in each county, the governor said. These advocates can work with families, marshaling them through the foster care process.
Philip Goad, Executive Chairman of Every Child Arkansas pointed out that foster care is more than families taking in children. He said that part of the care duties is providing support for families who wish to reunite and assisting families at risk of breaking apart.
This was reiterated in remarks from Every Child executive board member Jerome Strickland who described the customer support team at Every Child. He said the team was equipped to marshal anyone through volunteering, assisting in foster care and working with those interested in becoming foster parents.
As part of today’s launch, Every Child was launching a Show Up Arkansas campaign to encourage participation, Strickland said.
Arkansas Department of Human Services director Mischa Martin also spoke, expressing thanks and gratitude for the groups involved in the Every Child Arkansas program.
Arkansas currently has about 4,100 children in foster care, the governor said.