Region 8 Adoption Meeting

JONESBORO - The process of getting children out of foster care and into a permanent home is taking a lot longer than some think it should.

There are over 400 children in Arkansas foster homes. Many of those children have been in more than one foster home. This is why the Adoption Coalition was formed.

Sharon Stallings is co-chair of that coalition, a group who is working to get more children adopted here in Northeast Arkansas.

"We are hoping to get the children that are in foster care permanent homes," said Stallings.

But even with that effort they've hit several snags.

"The system is way too slow and not responsive," said Stallings.

She said that's because they've requested a list of the 420 children currently up for adoption in foster care from adoption specialist supervisor Gloria Stevenson several times.

"We do not have that list. We have been trying to gather a list. We have an unofficial list of children who need to be adopted from the county attorney's," said Stallings.

But Stevenson said she has provided a list.

"I have provided the list for every county. I have contacted every county supervisor and every attorney with our agency," said Gloria Stevenson.

Stallings said they do have that list, but it's of first names and ages only. They need a more detailed list which includes locations of the children.

"We cannot move forward without the list of children that need to be adopted," said Stallings.

There are eleven potential parents who want to go through the process of becoming foster parents and only three of those have been contacted by the state.

The state wants to have at least half of the over 400 children adopted by then end of 2007. To make that happen, it appears it will take cooperation of both the coalition and the state.