Child Welfare

Arkansas’s Children in Foster Care

The number of children in the Arkansas foster care system has decreased from an all-time high of 5,200 children in foster care to 4,331. The majority of these were cases of neglect by parents, which we know can be addressed through preventive services and programs.

The Family First Prevention Services Act is a landmark piece of federal legislation recently passed by Congress and is the first major federal child welfare law enacted in decades. The new federal law focuses on keeping children safely with their families when possible, because entering foster care can be traumatizing for many children. It also places an emphasis on placing children with relatives, so that a child can maintain a connection with their family. And if children do have to enter foster care, it encourages children to be placed in the most family-like setting available, such as a family foster home, and it discourages using group care for children by limiting funds for group care settings.