DHS Hold Hearing About Adoption Process

JONESBORO (KAIT)-The DHS hearing in Jonesboro started just after one on Friday afternoon.

Joining the department were dozens of people from different agencies and even a few who have been having problems with the adoption process.

"I think that's what has happened in DHS. Some of the parts of the body are not doing their role, and it's just affecting the whole part. It's like the right hand almost doesn't know what the left hand is doing," said Bryan Mize who's been trying to adopt.

The lack of communication between those looking to adopt and workers within DHS was at the top of the list.

"Anytime there is a problem anywhere in the department, we want to look at it and see what we need to do to correct it," said Steven Jones.

As Deputy Director of DHS, he says he realizes that to put children first means problems have to be solved now.

"We are at the point, at the highest levels of the department, where we are looking at any deficiencies that are within DHS and we are working on them day in and day out," said Jones.

And state leaders, like Senator Paul Bookout, who is adopted himself, said it was important to him that DHS wasn't viewed as an agency to be afraid of.

"The most important thing is putting these kids in the homes of those who really want to be parents to these kids. Anything we can do to help speed that process up, is of the upmost importance," said Bookout.

And that is of upmost importance to those wanting to welcome a child into their life and into their family.

"I hope the system changes so other children can find a home, and they are not left in foster care for months on end. There needs to be some changes in the system. The system is broken," said Rachelle Mize.

But hopefully with Friday's hearing the talks will turn to action.

"It's all about the children. As long as we stay focused on our kids and things we can do to improve their health and their lives, I think we will have done good work here," said Jones.

Jones also said that he plans to meet with his staff first thing on Monday and start looking at what they've accomplished and what they need to work on.

Meanwhile, those like the Mize family, looking to adopt, tell me they left today's meeting feeling much better about the future.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.