Imagine a foster home where small children, who are supposed to be taken care of benignly, but in reality are the victims of sexual assault.

 

Imagine a foster home where small children, who are supposed to be taken care of benignly, but in reality are the victims of sexual assault.
Such horror stories are too common rather than isolated, Mary Ned Foster of Marvell told members of the Helena-West Helena Lions Club.
Foster, whose husband, Sonny Foster, is mayor of Marvell, told Lions there is evidence than some children are “put in a cage” and only let out when adult(s) in a foster home sexually abuse them.
The thrust of her talk was about the Sept. 30 kickoff for the Phillips County chapter of CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA State Director Julian Holloway of Little Rock will preside. It will be held at the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, 111 Hickory Hill.
“(Then-Attorney General) Gov. Mike Beebe and (Supreme Court) Chief Justice Jim Hannah were instrumental in bringing CASA to Arkansas several years ago,” Foster said.
Foster said once she and others have been trained and the group has been officially organized Phillips County will become the 24th county in Arkansas with a chapter.
She said the state CASA is continuously striving to improve and expand its program at the county-level.
“Ninety-eight percent of the cases involving abuse and neglect involve African-American children,” Foster said.
Foster said advocates represent children before the court.  The initial contact for child abuse or neglect is the Department of Human Services.
The first CASA program in Arkansas started in Pulaski County in 1987 under a different name and in different format. CASA gradually expanded, setting up branch offices in Little Rock, Camden, Batesville, Jonesboro, Texarkana and Springdale. Offices opened in Hot Springs and Benton in 1999.
By 2001, offices had been opened in Pine Bluff, Fort Smith, Ash Flat, Russellville, Searcy, Lonoke, Arkadelphia, Harrison, Conway, Van Buren and Monticello.
CASA got behind the removal of 464 children who had been confined to the compound at El Dorado, Texas earlier this year.
CASA began with action by a superior court judge in Seattle, Wash. in 1977 to handle abused and neglected children.
Foster said once the Phillips County chapter has been set up a paid part-time director would be hired.