Arkansas' child welfare system in the spotlight following report - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas' child welfare system in the spotlight following report

(Source: KARK) (Source: KARK)

Arkansas’ child welfare system is in the spotlight following the release of a 2015 report.

The report, published in July 2015, showed, in addition to a shortage of foster homes, Arkansas caseworker loads were twice the national average leading to high rates of caseworker turnover.

Last year, the Arkansas Department of Human Services reported having 400 family service workers with an average caseload of 29, and just half a bed for each child in care.

NBC affiliate KARK reports those numbers haven’t changed much this year, with the exception of an additional 1,000 kids in the system.

“Give us a chance,” said Mischa Martin, director of the Department for Children, Schools, and Families. “Our staff is working hard and with a difficult situation, but I believe my staff has a heart for this.”

The division is now working to improve relationships with foster families and track why caseworker turnover is so high.

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