Booneville woman on Maggie House Board of Directors.
Maggie House director Bob Moody is in hopes his organization lands enough money and incentive money through Thursday’s online Arkansas Gives to pay off the foster group home in Charleston that serves Logan, Franklin, Sebastian, Crawford, Johnson, Scott and Yell counties.
Maggie House is part of Arkansas True Vision Children’s Home is a part of Free Will Baptist Family Ministries in Greenville, Tenn.
The Maggie House is a converted nursing home that was donated but there was a $1.1 million expenditure to remodel the facility into four cottages of boys 5-11, girls 5-11, boys 12-17, girls 12-17, as well as a common areas with case manager, commercial kitchen and administration.
“It’s a very, very nice facility. At $1.1 million that’s a bargain,” said Moody.
Of that amount over $800,000 has been raised so Moody is hoping to see the remaining almost $270,000 raised on Arkansas Day of Giving on April 6.
Maggie House led the way of 388 not-for-profits in the Arkansas Day of Giving two years ago, even before the facility opened its doors.
Last year, when there were over 600 organizations involved in the Day of Giving, the Maggie House was fourth in total amount but first in total donors. This year there are 1,100 organizations seeking funding Moody told Booneville Rotarians — club member Shirley Young is on the board of directors for the Maggie House.
There is a added pool of money, $400,000, that is divided through the Arkansas Community Foundation, on a prorated share in relation to the amount raised.
“For every dollar people have given the first two years, we’ve gotten $1.20,” said Moody.
The event is by credit card, with a minimum of $25, between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. To give to the Maggie House the website is GiveMaggieHouse.com
“All along our plan was to pay off the Maggie House and build another (the Young Home in Sebastian County) and pay that off and build another one,” said Moody.
That would go a long way to satisfy a long range placement goal.
“Our goal in Family Miniseries is to get the kids back in their own counties, but we’re starting trying to get them back in their own area,” said Moody.
Superintendent John Parrish said the Booneville school district, “has lost about 50 students who have been placed in foster care out of the area” because the city is lacking in foster care homes.
Addressing the Rotary Club, Moody confirmed there are five children placed in the Maggie House from Logan County now.
“We’re at war right now trying to save these kids,” he said.
Statewide, Moody said, there were 35,493 reports of abuse or neglect and 10,117 were determined true.
“That doesn’t mean the others weren’t true, they just weren’t able to prove it,” he said.
Of the report 68 percent were for neglect, 21 percent for physical abuse and 20 percent were for sexual abuse — some fell into multiple categories — and there were 41 deaths attributed to child abuse in the state last year, Moody added.
“The sad part of these are sometimes when these children go to foster care they get jerked around. We had an adoption of a girl at the Maggie House who had been in seven foster homes,” Moody said. “Many of these children will end up in prison and many will end up abusing other children. It’s a cycle that we have to stop. If we don’t stop it we’ll lose generation after generation of our children.”
Statewide there are 1,192 children in foster care, Moody said.
“A lot of people think this is a minority problem. Of the children in foster care, 905 are Caucasian,” said Moody. “To be frank I think the black and Hispanic families take care of their extended families better than white people do.”
In 2016 the Maggie House served 60 children and had an average monthly census of a low of 17 in the second month of operation and a high of 31. The census is typically 29 or 30.
Of those discharged, nine were reunified with families, seven were sent to behavioral clinic, four have been adopted and three have been placed in family foster care.
Arkansas Gives day aside the biggest need right now, Moody said is a need for house parents, which pays couples $18,500 each. Requirements are confession of Christianity and regular church attendance.