A Call to the Community: ‘Be a Blessing’
Local group highlights human trafficking, need for foster homes
firstname.lastname@example.org Last April, Cassie Hoskins, Executive Director for Families in Transition, launched a Facebook page inviting area residents to join in an effort to “Be a Blessing” to one another.
Since then, the group, aptly titled “Be a Blessing -Crittenden County,” has grown to more than 600 members.
The group helps people in need connect with people offering assistance, be it a job search, an emergency ride to work, a good used appliance or just the contact info for a fair and honest repairman. This month, Hoskins is using the platform to bring awareness to human trafficking.
“January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” Hoskins posted last week. “Families in Transition provides shelter and support services to victims of human trafficking as well as community education on prevention and awareness. If you are interested in having one of our trained advocates speak to your business, organization or youth oriented group in a virtual setting via Zoom, please contact Cassie Rutledge at 901-833-0815 or Nyya Marion at 870-732-4077 to schedule a date and time.”
Another issue near and dear to Hoskins’ heart is the county’s dozens of children in the foster care system. Prior to taking her current role heading up Families in Transition, Hoskins served as head of CASA of Crittenden County (which has since expanded into CASA of the Arkansas Delta), Court Appointed Special Advocates, a local nonprofit specializing in advocating for area children in legal matters. She also used the page to highlight the ever-growing need for more foster families in the area, sharing a post from Jamie Okrochkov.
Crittenden County friends, we need your help,” Okrochkov said. “As of November 1st, there were 60 Crittenden county children in foster care and only 11 foster homes in the county. There are only enough beds for 42% of those kids. The rest are sleeping in the office waiting for an opening or being shuffled across the state, losing friends, schools, and familiarity behind because a closer foster home isn’t available.
Hoskins and Okrochkov pleased for members of the community to step up and serve.
“We need more homes,” Okrochkov said bluntly, asking the community to help spread the word by sharing the post or contacting local church pastors and inviting the group to share information about being a foster family with local churches or other civic organizations.
“We have an informational meeting next Tuesday evening (tonight) via zoom, and our next foster parent training begins Sunday, January 17th,” she said.
“We need foster homes everywhere, so all counties are invited to participate.
I’m just highlighting one of our neediest counties tonight.”
For more information, find and message Jamie Okrochkov on Facebook, “if you want to hop on the informational meeting or can help us network and raise awareness.” You can find Families in Transition and Be a Blessing -Crittenden County on Facebook as well.