JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Hundreds of children in Region 8 are now without a home.
Amanda Frankenberger is the Program Manager for CASA of the 2nd Judicial District, a 501-c-3 non-profit organization working to help solve the problem.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Their purpose is to serve abused and neglected children in Craighead, Greene, Clay, Poinsett and Mississippi counties.
Frankenberger said they held a special luncheon on Wednesday to try and find solutions for these kids.
"We have set up a meeting with the Department of Children and Family Services Area 8 Director," Frankenberger said. "And the Adoption Supervisor. We're really working with them on trying to figure out how we can help our kids achieve permanency. We have about 20% of the kids that linger around in the system. And where CASA can really help these kids is looking around and maybe finding placements for these kids. Or even talking and working with people who might add an influence in these kids' lives."
Frankenberger said they need the communities help with these children.
"We need foster parents," Frankenberger said. "And we need CASA volunteers. We have a lot of older kids that just linger around in the system. They either age out or they can choose to stay in care. But a lot of our kiddos choose to age out of the system. And then they don't have that forever home."
CASA representatives serve as the child's voice in the courtroom.
Frankenberger said they need volunteers.
"CASA is serving about 50% of the children in foster care," Frankenberger said. "So, we need more CASA volunteers. So, we can help these kids to have a voice in the court system."
Frankenberger said keeping siblings together is hard.
"We also have a hard time," Frankenberger said. "Finding families for big sibling groups. A lot of times, CASA may have a sibling group of four or five. And it's really hard to find a home for all those children. So, that's part of the reason why we put this lunch together. To figure out how we can help solve that problem."
Frankenberger said some of the children, who age out, return to the parents they were taken from.
"They don't have a forever family," Frankenberger said. "We don't know where these parents have gone if they choose to age out of the system. Some kids, even after parental rights are terminated, they choose to go back to those biological parents. And we don't know what kind of situation they're returning to."
There are currently around 628 children in Region 8 waiting for a family to love them.
To learn how you can help, visit their website by clicking here or call the main office at (870) 935-1099.
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