‘Pray for your foster families’ | The impact of COVID-19 on foster families

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Over the weekend, “The Call” held its first ever online training as the number of Arkansas children in state care continues to climb.

The faith-based organization supports foster families.

Current foster families are also facing challenges because of the virus.

“Pray for the foster families and pray for the foster kids,” foster parent Jonathan Bailey said.

Bailey has been a foster parent for seven years.

“Everything is kind of chaotic right now, so it’s very similar with foster kids. We just may have more kids than you do,” Bailey said.

He and his wife have six children and three of them are in foster care.

With all the children home due to COVID-19, they’re facing new hardships.

“Our food budget has gone through the roof,” Bailey said. “We go through a lot of toilet paper obviously, because there are eight people living here, so just those everyday things are challenges.”

He was trained with The Call.

The organization supports over 67% of traditional foster families in the state.

They’ve seen the need increase in foster homes.

“The main thing right now is gift cards. We have so many needs for those children in care as far as clothing and right now, it’s hard to go get those items from our Call Mall locations,” The Call Development Director Jill Bobo said.

Their goal is making sure children have what they need in uncertain times.

“If you know foster parents, a gift card to a restaurant would be great. Something like that, that way it takes a little bit off of that grocery budget,” Bailey said.

The Call has also started a gift registry at Walmart where you can pick up specific items for children.

“We try to help with needs that we have for biological families that are trying to still care for their children, so they don’t have to go into foster care,” Bobo said.

The donations can be mailed to their center at 3800 North Rodney Parham Rd. in Little Rock.

The state and groups like The Call are always looking for more families who can open up their homes to foster children.

If you’re interested in helping out, click here.

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