Alternatives to Jail for Some Arkansas Parents?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The large number of convicts with kids in Arkansas is leading a small group to take action at the State Capitol. 

Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind got fellow advocates and lawmakers in the same room on Tuesday to talk alternatives to jail for these parents.

They mentioned the importance of treating drug addiction and mental health differently. 

Founder Dee Ann Newell says there are about 72,000 children in the state who are currently living without a mother or father. 

A board member, who left her three kids parentless while she was locked up, knows the state has to do better. 

"My older daughter had to step into the role because my husband had died and I was gone," says Brenda Olive. "Her senior year, she had a little sister and a brother and a household." 

The nonprofit plans to meet regularly starting in January to work on potential solutions ahead of the 2019 legislative session.

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