Dear <<First Name>>,
Recently I was asked how the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) would affect Soaring Wings. Truthfully, the Family First Act will not affect Soaring Wing’s mission or the vision for the future of our ministry in any way. The FFPSA is a federal funding bill that impacts the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) referral sources. Some childcare organizations are going to have to close and others will have to totally restructure their operations to meet the federal standards required by the FFPSA guidelines and continue to receive placements. Fortunately, we have never depended on state or federal funding to operate. If we were required to make changes every time it was suggested by DCFS, the high quality of care we provide would not be what it is today.
We opened our doors on August 1, 2007, to serve children needing a chance, through no fault of their own, and we determined to serve them as long as they needed. We have served children who were privately placed (by families or guardians) and also children who were placed by DCFS. The ages of the children we are able to serve has expanded to include birth through 17 years of age. In 2017, it became apparent to our staff and our board that we needed to develop a detailed plan of how to reach the growing need of privately referred children. Over the course of the last two years, we have focused on private placements and we are thankful that we did. In a recent email from Arkansas DCFS, it was made clear that by October 2020, they would no longer be making referrals to organizations like ours. In the meantime, they wanted to force us to operate in a way that we do not feel is in the best interest of the children we serve. Therefore, instead of making a gradual shift to only private placements, we are making an immediate one. We will joyfully continue to serve the children that were placed in our care by DCFS as long as we need to because we love them and this is their home.
It is not our desire to ever circumvent DCFS by keeping children who are maltreated or neglected from coming into the state’s care. Rather, it is our desire to reach these families before their circumstances require them to place their children into the overburdened foster care system.
We have witnessed the value and benefit of working directly with families in private placement scenarios first-hand. While we have experienced some success while working with DCFS, we have also seen the chances for positive outcomes decrease with their involvement. We have found that our staff has to spend an excessive amount of time trying to deal with DCFS issues, taking away time that should be spent directly meeting the needs of the children and families we serve. Over the last 11 years, we have had the honor of serving over 300 children, including many sibling groups. It is our desire to continue serving children until Christ’s return. We are grateful to God for His provisions and to you for your continued support. Thank you for giving children a chance.
Founder & Executive Director
Soaring Wings Ranch