Shelter the Children

July 7, 2006 -- 3:30 PM CDT

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- When parents are taken to jail in handcuffs because of crystal meth use or manufacturing, their children sometimes have no where to go.

"It is our responsibility to see that those children are taken care of," said Sheriff Dan Ellison of Lawrence County.  "So yes, we will bring them here."

Sheriff Ellison said that his office is no place for a child.

"We're not talking about a large volume (of children), but it does happen on a daily basis," he said.

Judy Turnbull is an advocate for children's safety, and she and Ellison have a vision for an emergency children's shelter in Lawrence County.

"I have been in this courthouse and have seen children running up and down the halls, and it's just not right," said Turnbull.

Lawrence County has nine foster homes in the area, but Turnbull said they're all full, and that's one reason she and the sheriff are pushing for an emergency shelter.

"We want to have these children where we can put them in a safe environment...we can bathe them...we can feed them, and they will be able to sleep, feel secure and not have fear," said Ellison.

There's no destined location for the emergency shelter as of yet, but Ellison said there are three possible locations that may be available to purchase so that his vision may become a reality.

"We're starting with nothing...literally, and we're going to build this thing," he said.

Turnbull said that they are in desperate need of a shelter, and with the support of the community they hope to get one very soon.