For Immediate Release:
Chief of Communications
Deputy Chief of Communications
Arkansas Foster Parents of the Year Recognized
Virtual ceremony part of continued DCFS effort to better support and retain foster families
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) celebrated and honored its foster parents on Friday, September 18, with a virtual Foster Parents of the Year awards ceremony.
The ceremony featured appearances by Governor Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson, DCFS Director Mischa Martin, a number of legislators and community partners, as well as videos on the winners from each of the state’s 10 service areas.
As part of that celebration, the agency selected Linda and Wendell Green of Newport as its overall 2020 Foster Parents of the Year.
DCFS Director Mischa Martin said the Green 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.
“Linda and Wendell 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 Greens have made a name for themselves by forging long-lasting connections with children and their families.”
Linda and Wendell were humbled by the award but proud to accept it on behalf of the over 100 children and their families that have touched their lives over the past fourteen years they have been foster parents. “We want parents to know that we’re going to love and protect their children while they get stronger,” said Wendell said during a video shoot before the ceremony. “When parents know their kids are being taken care of, they feel better and can focus on themselves, which helps get everyone together again faster.”
Linda agreed, noting that they’ve been able to stay connected with many of the children who’ve come through their home and their families. “We get to go to ballgames and other activities to support them,” she said. “We’ve even taken children on vacation with us after they’ve gone home. They’ll always be a part of us.”
DCFS selected one winner from each area of the state as well as the overall winner based on several criteria, including reunification efforts with biological families, partnership with the Department, support for other foster parents, and advocacy for the children in their care.
Area winners were:
- Rachel and Sebastian Guerra (Springdale)
- Janice and Michael Bell (West Fork)
- Jamie and Brad Ramm (Alexander)
- Genie and Jeremy Humphries (El Dorado)
- Maria and DJ Troyer (Harrison)
- Chris Chuah (Little Rock)
- Adrienne and Luke Thomas (Cabot)
- Sherry and Dale Hibbs (Jonesboro)
- Linda and Wendell Green (Newport)
- Jamie and Levi Hammil (Monticello)
The entire ceremony can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/RcUTTF0lwvA
Area winner videos are available separately if needed.
DCFS is responsible for the safety of children in the state and has approximately 4,400 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.