More mush from the wimp on DHS | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More mush from the wimp on DHS

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 12:32 PM

I just noticed Andrew DeMillo's weekend column on the possibility that careful handling of the Tony Alamo case by the Arkansas Department of Human Services could provide some redemption for the agency, battered this year by poor handling of child abuse cases. Gov. Mike Beebe, again, assures us of his abiding interest and the good intentions of DHS workers.

To quote Flo Cato, the indomitable letter writer, Ha!

1) DHS first has to handle the Alamo case well. How will we know? Because they tell us? I tend to believe the state  and the judges hearing evidence about alleged mistreatment of young girls at the Alamo compound at Fouke, as opposed to Tony Alamo. But we'll never be able to judge these cases without more disclosure than the state or Gov. Beebe is ever willing to give.

2) Four children in state foster care have died this year. One case is under criminal prosecution. Neither the governor nor the state apparently plan to ever offer details about these cases -- age of children, circumstances of placement, circumstances of death, evaluation of state workers who had a role in the cases. There is no legal bar to these general discussions despite what DHS apologists would have you believe. But still, Gov. Beebe stonewalls.

3) DHS apologists continue to hint that there's a story about the child nearly beaten to death after a DHS worker turned his grandparents' report of abuse away. They hint darkly at unspecified smears against family members who tried to help the child. It is a slimy tactic to employ while stonewalling. Again, if there's an excuse, they may freely offer it to the public. Yet Beebe stands silent.

4) With the state woefully short of foster parents, DHS is this week forging ahead with codification of a rule to make sure no needy child happens to be placed in a home where a gay couple lives. The Huckabee era apparently lives on in the Beebe DHS. The Arkansas Advocates of Children and Families will announce their opposition to this rule tomorrow and urge others to be heard at a public hearing Thursday. Don't bother to attend if you expect Gov. Beebe to speak up for needy children. This is his agency at work, perpetuating mean bigotry in the name of political expedience.

5) See this week's Arkansas Times for an even more outrageous story. It will detail how DHS has found an end-run around a court ruling that it is unconstitutional to bar placement of foster children in a home with a gay person ("practicing" or not). The state is working in tandem with a group of so-called Christians to facilitate practical implementation of this rule, which had been declared illegal by the courts.

In the enlightened Beebe era, you need not even be gay to be barred from foster parenting. It is enough that you refuse on principle to sign a McCarthy-style sexual loyalty oath that you are not gay or having sex with another person, gay or straight, outside matrimony.

We sought a Beebe statement on the latest DHS outrage. We didn't even get the usual mush from the wimp. Just silence. And lame alibis from the Huckabee holdover who serves as the DHS mouthpiece.

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