CHARLESTON (KFSM)-- A house for children in the foster care system was the dedicated on Tuesday (Dec. 1).
The Maggie House held a special ceremony with the governor in attendance to celebrate the event.
“It's a huge challenge in Arkansas in making sure we have enough foster homes for those children that need placement, and in the River Valley we have more than 900 that are in foster care, but we only have about 400 homes to place them in,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson spoke at the dedication to the hundreds in attendance, saying his primary goal is to care for the children of Arkansas.
“There's not a greater responsibility for me as governor or that the state has than children, and so to be able to see this kind of partnership result in better care for our children is very gratifying for me as governor,” Hutchinson said.
With four different cottages and 33 beds, the Maggie House will also help reunite groups of siblings that have been separated.
Cecile Blucker is the director for the division of Children and Family Services. She said the kids say they just want a normal life.
“When you talk to the kids who are in our system they say we want a home,” Blucker said. “We want that home-like environment, so we said replicate that. If you can take that big facility and replicate that home-like environment, that's really what we want, and they entered that.”
House parents will look after the children and teach them skills like cooking to provide a nurturing environment which is something many of these kids have never experienced.
“What it's going to open is better care, closer to home and a safe environment with more support, and that's what it's all about,” Hutchinson said.
It was also announced that a donation of $1.6 million from a Missouri donor will go toward building another Maggie House at Chaffee Crossing.