Arkansas Improves Child Welfare System

According to a recent news release, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), has made significant strides toward stabilizing the child welfare system over the last year, including slowing the alarming increase in the number of children in foster care, reducing caseloads, and ensuring that children in foster care are placed in the best and safest place for their needs.

“Last year, we created a comprehensive plan to improve the child welfare system. With our partners, we worked to focus on better supporting families so children can be safely reunified with their parents and we strengthened the foster care system for those who need it,” said DCFS Director Mischa Martin. “Our data show that together we achieved much of what we set out to accomplish but there is more work to do. Now that we see some signs that we are moving toward stability, we must keep moving forward so that we can attain long-term, systemic improvements.”

Governor Asa Hutching said, “I’m pleased with the work of DCFS and the progress Director Martin and her staff have made to improve our child-welfare system. While there’s still much work to be done, this report shows we are headed in the right direction with fewer children in foster care, a higher number of children placed with relatives and reduced caseloads. This is great news for our children and the foster care community as a whole, and we will continue to build on these successes to make our state a better place for children and families.”

“What they’ve done has not been easy, and some people may have given up when obstacles got in their way, but not Mischa and her team,” Gillespie said. “That’s because they have a true calling to help the children and families we serve. I am so thankful for all they accomplished, and for how other DHS divisions stepped up and worked side-by-side with them to make positive changes.”