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Little T’s Mini Golf’s popular pumpkin contest made a spectacular return this year, raising $3,400 for The Call in Baxter County.
The popular mini golf course celebrated its second successful year of fundraising by hosting the Lighting The Way To Foster Care Fundraiser and Mini Golf Tournament with The Call and community donors and residents on Saturday evening.
This year’s pumpkin contest saw 63 entries from local businesses and residents all over town. A total of 18 organizations also participated in sponsoring the mini-golf tournament.
Nineteen teams participated in this year’s mini-golf tournament.
Little T’s owner Scott Tavegia said the fundraiser would return again next year, with a goal of reaching 100 pumpkins. Tavegia said he was exploring artificial pumpkins next year.
“The Call is a resource that is volunteer-driven,” Tavegia said. “Their goal is to help find a home for every child that needs to be placed in a home. None of us want a child to have to go to foster care, but it happens. And there are families who have a heart to foster, but they feel like they don’t have the means, the resources, the training or the knowledge. The Call provides all of that.”
The Call is a non-profit organization that mobilizes local churches to serve local children and youth placed in foster care. They provide a way for Christians to invite the mission field into their homes to serve those most vulnerable in their communities.
The Call partners with the Division of Children and Family Services to recruit, train and support foster and adoptive families for children and teens in foster care.
In Baxter County alone, there are currently 47 children in foster care. Sadly, 23 of those children have to be placed outside of Baxter County because of a lack of foster homes.
In Baxter County, 58 churches are currently assisting The Call alongside 13 dedicated families who have taken in many of the community’s foster children.
Foster care is home-like care provided by licensed foster parents and providers for children who cannot live with their parents because they: are unsafe, have special care or treatment needs that their parents are unable to manage, or have other circumstances resulting in their parents or family being unable to care for them.
Placement in foster care is usually temporary and gives families time to make necessary changes so the child can safely live in his or her home and community. Most children in foster care return home to their families, which is called reunification. When children cannot return home, they find permanence through adoption, guardianship, or other means.
Foster children usually do better in foster care than they do in government-run facilities for children. In 2021, there were 1,530 homes that were licensed to be foster homes, with roughly 1,041 of those homes receiving active foster placements.
To become a foster, an Arkansas resident must be 21 years of age and be able to prove that they have a stable home. Both married couples and single adults can apply to become a foster. Homes must have bedrooms large enough to provide each child with a minimum of 50 feet of space.
All household members ages 14 and up must be cleared through the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry. Those 18 and older must be cleared through a State Police Criminal Record Check and a fingerprint-based FBI Criminal Background Check.
All fosters must be able to bear to produce sufficient resources to meet a foster child’s financial, medical, physical, educational, emotional, and shelter needs without relying on state or federal funds.
For more information on fostering, please contact The Call in Baxter County at 870-424-4211. For those wishing to attend a meeting with the Call on fostering a child, the next meeting will be held on Dec. 6.