December 9, 2009 Edition

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Shelter back in operation

Gretchen Hunt

The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge is once again doing what it was designed to do - helping children in need.

Amber Hampton, shelter administrator, said DHS had not been placing children in the shelter while the Division of Child and Family Services were reviewing the shelter's policies.

After completing the review, some changes were requested including limiting the age of children accepted to those between five and 12. Hampton said they will be able to accept children ages birth to 14 if they are part of a sibling group.

Judy Clark, a member of the shelter's board, said she is pleased there are children in the shelter once again.

"We have a responsibility to the public to do what they have supported us to do," she said.

Hampton said seven children have been placed in the facility since the agreement was reached with DHS. The only other stipulation was that foster parents not be allowed to volunteer in the shelter.

Foster parents, including Clark, can still support the shelter and assist in other ways, including serving on the board and helping with fund-raising and awareness.

"We thank the community for their continued support," Hampton said. "People have been great throughout this. They rallied and stood behind us."

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