The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) celebrated and honored its foster parents on Friday, July 12 at a banquet at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.
As part of that celebration, the agency selected Chrystal and Adam Baker of Alexander as one of its 2019 Foster Parents of the Year.
DCFS Director Mischa Martin said the Baker family was selected primarily because they fully support the value that all kids deserve a safe, stable, and nurturing home every day and they work closely with the biological families of the children in their care.
“Chrystal and Adam are amazing foster parents and pour all their energy into their children,” said Martin. “In addition to their commitment to helping return foster children to their families, the Bakers have made a name for themselves through their ability and willingness to be ambassadors and powerful voices for foster parenting.”
Chrystal and Adam say they have had the most amazing support system over their three-year fostering journey. “Our own parents are huge helps to us. We also have a great group of friends that showers our foster kids with welcome baskets when they arrive. But our best support has been fellow foster and adoptive parents that ‘get us’ and know this battle.”
Chrystal and Adam started their journey by adopting a teenage son after seeing a Place To Call Home segment with Dawn Scott on THV 11 and going through training with The CALL (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime, one of the Division’s foster family recruitment and support partners). That process opened their eyes about the real need for fostering teens.
They also are huge supporters of biological families and getting kids safely back home. Chrystal stated, “We believe in mentoring bio parents and helping families as much as we can. Adam and I both grew up with phenomenal parents, but others aren’t necessarily that blessed. If we can be good role models to bio parents, and if we can maintain connections after reunification and be a source of support, we love playing that role.”
Chrystal and Adam don’t have to worry – they and their family are great role models, for the kids in their care, for bio families working to get stronger, for other foster parents wondering how to manage this crazy ride, and for all of us who admire their passion. That’s why Chrystal and Adam Baker were named the Area 3 Foster Parents of the Year.
One winner from each area of the state as well as the overall winner were chosen by DHS/DCFS staff based on several criteria, including reunification efforts with biological families, partnership with the agency, support for other foster parents, and advocacy for the children in their care.
Area winners were:
- Ashley and David Daniel (Rogers)
- Krista and Chris Morland (Fort Smith)
- Chrystal and Adam Baker (Alexander)
- Jennifer Stuart (Magnolia)
- Julie and Matt Rothacher (Vilonia)
- Allison and Ted Bowsman (North Little Rock)
- Nora Cooney (Lonoke)
- Teri Ann and Stephen Bearden (Rector)
- Adrienne and Tony French (Searcy)
- Dorothy and Emmanuel Kiyumbi (Palestine)
DCFS is responsible for the safety of children in the state and has approximately 4,300 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, other foster parents, and child advocates.
For more information about the foster care system in Arkansas or to begin the application process to become a foster family, visit FosterArkansas.org.