Beebe backs off support of foster care policy
Gov. Mike Beebe said Friday he’s revisiting his past support of
the state’s policy prohibiting unmarried couples living together
from becoming foster parents, saying Arkansas needs more good homes
The governor has previously said he supported the restriction,
which is now being reviewed by state officials. Beebe on Friday
questioned whether the prohibition — which took effect before he
took office — is still needed.
“I’m not backing away from the ultimate test, which is still
what’s in the best interest of the child,” Beebe told The
Associated Press. “Now the question then becomes: Is the best
interest of the child in foster care best handled by a blanket
policy prohibiting it or by a case-by-case situation? Particularly
in the light of the fact that we’ve got a problem with the number
of foster families.”
Arkansas Department of Human Services officials heard testimony
Thursday from advocates urging the state to drop its policy. The
restriction is being reviewed as a campaign is under way for a Nov.
4 ballot measure that would put a similar prohibition into law.
The Department of Human Services instituted their current
policy after state courts struck down an earlier provision
specifically barring gays and lesbians from fostering/adopting.
Make no mistake about it, the paper trail is clear, these
foster/adoption restrictions aimed at all “unmarried, cohabitating
couples” were created first and foremost to get at us.