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Family Integrity & Justice Works Partners with First Client in Arkansas

Staff turnover surpassed 100 percent in Pulaski County. Family Integrity & Justice Works is partnering with local child and family services to solve the problem.

Family Integrity & Justice Works (FIJ Works) of Public Knowledge® is partnering with Pulaski County, their first client, to help in replacing standard child welfare practices.

David Kelly and Jerry Milner, Directors of FIJ Works, along with Christie Matlock, are stepping in to assist Pulaski County in Arkansas in gaining control of the crisis it faces in staff turnover and drastic spikes in youth in foster care.

Pulaski County’s Current Situation

According to an article from The Imprint:

  • The pandemic caused an increase of youth in foster care during the pandemic. The number has increased 12 percent between March 2020 and March 2021.
  • In Pulaski County, the entire frontline workforce has turned over since the start of COVID-19. State-wide, turnover is 57 percent—in Pulaski County, turnover has reached a staggering 105 percent.
  • The number of youths in foster care has surpassed 700.

While the Statistics are Shocking, there is a Silver Lining

However, they aren’t starting from scratch, David told The Imprint. He shared how some semblance of parent defense is in place. FIJ Works would like to extend that to the foster care proceedings.

The Key Problem Pulaski County Needs FIJ Works to Solve

The prominent issue that needs addressing is creating a reporting system specifically for family crises, according to Mischa Martin, Director of the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. This partnership between Pulaski County and FIJ Works hopes to move away from a reactive approach to a system where families get the support they need without having to call a hotline and face family separation. According to Milner, the county will move to a system where the first response is to take swift action so the family stays together.

Read the Full Article to Learn More About FIJ Works’ Unique Approach

PK is excited to see how the newly formed FIJ Works team takes on this unique challenge. Hoping to create a shining example of how Arkansas can function, this dedicated team is up for the task.

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