H.G. Foster of Conway, appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe in November to the 20th Judicial District, 1st Division, is a happy man.

It’s not only because he’s back in Conway, attending to the law, but it’s also because he’s found a way to "minimize human suffering."

He hears frequent cases involving domestic disputes that put innocent children in the middle.

The children hear their parents yelling at each other; they hear themselves accused of lying and other misdeeds; they are victimized by the system, Foster told the Conway Lions Club on Tuesday.

Foster has encouraged a team of volunteers to convert a section of the fourth floor of the Courthouse, the old jail, to a place for the children to be protected. The room was painted a bright color, toys and games were gathered, and Foster "hired" interns to keep the children occupied and isolated from the goings-on in the courtroom.

Two Hendrix students, Taylor Williams of North Little Rock, and Christina Langston of Magnolia, have been working with the children to listen to their fears and worries.

Interns, inmate labor and other volunteers helped convert the bare unused space into a "safe" place for the children.

"They tell me they feel safe here," said Williams. A psychology major, Williams will continue working with the children.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at becky.harris@thecabin.net and 505-1234.)