CENTRAL ARKANSAS (News release) - The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) celebrated foster parents Tuesday at a luncheon and named Shantel Moore Area 6 Foster Parent of the Year for her significant efforts to support children in foster care and their families.
“Children who come into foster care need structure, compassion, kindness and grace, and we are grateful for the examples set by Shantel and each of the families we recognized,” said DCFS Director Mischa Martin. “I am so thankful for families that step up to serve and love our children. We could not provide them safety and stability without our amazing foster parents.”
Martin said Shantel was selected as an area winner because she has embraced her role as a foster parent for teens, and for teen girls specifically.
“Shantel has chosen to fill a unique but hugely important need,” said DCFS Foster Care Manager Tiffany Wright. “Her current foster child is 17 years old and also has a small child of her own who is in foster care.”
DCFS is responsible for the safety of children and youth in the state and has 5,200 children in foster care, most of whom are placed in home settings with foster families. The state is divided into 10 service areas, and nominations for outstanding foster families were submitted from each area by family service workers, school personnel and child advocates.
One winner from each area as well as an overall winner were chosen by DHS/DCFS staff based on years of services to the division, willingness to take “hard to place” children, child advocacy, and reunification efforts with biological families. The luncheon was held in May as part of National Foster Care Month.
Shantel noted that her current foster care schedule keeps her hopping, but that she’s proud to be that someone who chose to step up and care for her child and others just like her.
Area winners are:
- • Area 1 - Cory and Shannon Stocks
- • Area 2 - John and Lora Yother
- • Area 3 - Charles and Ginger Blue
- • Area 4 - Terra Cobb
- • Area 5 - Steve and Ruth Haile
- • Area 6 - Shantel Moore
- • Area 7 - Bryan and Kassie Atwood
- • Area 8 - Jesse and Laurie Romine
- • Area 9 - Keith and Karen Spencer
- • Area 10 - Tate and Tammy Pfaffenberger
- • Statewide - Andrew and Amy Baker
DCFS also recognized Kim Laffoon, who volunteers with White County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), as Partner Volunteer of the Year and Patricia Lucas of St. Francis County as DCFS Volunteer of the Year.
Central Arkansas news anchor and child advocate Dawn Scott emceed the luncheon and former foster parent Christie Erwin gave the keynote address. Erwin also is a child advocate, adoptive parent and executive director of Project Zero, which seeks to match prospective adoptive families with adoptable children.
For more information about the foster care system in Arkansas or to begin the application process to become a foster family, visit FosterArkansas.org or call 501-682-8770.
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