If Laura Caldwell somehow could reunite all children with their estranged parents and have them live happy, healthy lives, she would do it in a single heartbeat.
Caldwell and her husband, C.R. Caldwell, have started the New Start for Children & Families, a nonprofit is located at 4411 Alma Hwy. between Van Buren and Alma. The single-story, 1,300-square-foot house serves as a safe haven for foster children and their families who live in Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Scott, Yell and Johnson counties.
Open 24 hours a day, the home allows parents to reunite with their children to visit, eat and be with each other while under the supervision of representatives from the Department of Human Services, said Laura Caldwell, who serves as director for home.
“We knew Crawford County needed a place for these children,” she said. “We originally thought we would see 10 to 15 kids, but we had 178 kids come through here in June — we’re talking children from birth all the way up to teenagers — and we’re looking to have quite a bit of kids for the month of July.
“There are over 1,200 foster kids in our area, which makes our area have the biggest number of foster children in the state,” added Caldwell, who is a therapist for Bost Human Services, operates a private practice and works with The Call, a local organization that strives to reunite children with their families. “For some reason, there is such a big drug problem for so many individuals in our area. That is why we see so many children in foster care in this region. It’s sad.”
Those area parents who struggle with addictions usually are grappling with methamphetamine,…
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