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Alan Clark 
Member since Sep 17, 2016


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Re: “Legislative overreach again: This time in children's services

If Max Brantley cared about the truth, which is highly doubtful, he needs new sources.

The most egregious lie he told about me this morning is that I shared private information about a child with fellow legislators. That is pretty serious slander. Not only would I (nor I think any other legislator) not even consider such a thing, I don't know anything about the child he refers to. It is hard to share what you don't know. But Max is obviously comfortably with being fact challenged. Fact checking is so...20th century. The cool journalists evidently don't do that anymore.

It appears once again, that Brantley is more concerned about churning out sensationalistic drivel than he will ever be about children, families or proper government policy. If he did care, he would surely check his facts.

Contrary to the fiction that Brantley produces, what I have asked for is a mechanism by which a legislative committee can have better oversight over what is by nature and necessity a very secretive agency with over 1000 employees and who currently oversees over 5000 children that they have placed in foster care. In spite of the majority of wonderful people in that agency who do very important work and sometimes encounter horrific situations, there are statistically going to be some bad apples.

It is my educated belief (having direct knowledge and having spent hundreds of hours investigating) that there are many allegations of extremely improper conduct and abuse of authority by some, not only by the accused, but often by foster parents and adoptive parents. The suggestion has been made that when a family believes their rights have been violated in an egregious way that they can have some place they can go for relief. No one has ever suggested that anyone's information ever be made public or publicly discussed except that a family ask that such a thing be done. Not surprisingly, people who know they are innocent, are perfectly willing to release that information and are begging that somebody somewhere will listen to them.

Up until now, high ups in the department have intimated that they agreed with the need to some kind of legislative oversight. What had been suggested was some kind of executive session, that could be conducted in private. The department now seems to believe that even when innocent people are persecuted, information that only protects the department and it's employees and in no way affects the privacy of the children or family should be kept as hush hush as the most secure nuclear codes. What it actually leads to is an obstruction of justice.

That is exactly what is happening in the Stanley case. Upon the new discovery of old evidence there is no doubt that some knew the Stanley's were not guilty of anything but being different. Yet the State of Arkansas is still insisting that they be on the child maltreatment list. The agency is doing the exact opposite of their mission of protecting children and families. And they are using the privacy laws to do it.

If Max Brantley and a few legislators support that undeterred, uninvestigated persecution, they will answer for that someday. I predict however when the state loses a large civil rights lawsuit, Brantley will conveniently have amnesia about where he stood today. Some legislators will too.

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Posted by Alan Clark on 09/17/2016 at 11:51 AM

 

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