Ark. state Rep. Justin Harris

Foster parents who took care of two girls before they were adopted by Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris and his wife said Harris lied when he blamed social service workers.

The foster parents said they warned the couple repeatedly about the two girls.

They said the adoption proceeded over the objection of the foster couple and of Department of Human Services staff after Cecile Blucker, the head of Division of Children and Family Services, exerted pressure on the Harris’ behalf.

The Harrises claim they weren’t told what they were getting into and they said when they spoke to Blucker about the trouble they were having with the girls, she threatened them with child abandonment charges.

The Harrises claim they had no options about caring for the two girls. The foster parents said they hoped to remain in touch with the girls and remain in contact with many of the children they fostered. Instead, the Harrises cut off contact immediately.

The Harrises claim the girls threatened violence. A third sister was in a different foster setting that provided emotional therapy to abused children. The foster parents said that child would be a danger in a home with other children, but the two girls they cared for were not.

The Harrises claim they remained in contact with the family where they “rehomed” the girls. That family claims they were working with DHS on placing the girls in another adoptive home. The Harrises claim they didn’t know about it. That’s unlikely if they were in regular contact.

There’s still a question about the subsidy checks and whether the money was actually given to the new family — the one that raped the six-year-old — or not.

Legislation has been introduced in the Arkansas legislature to make rehoming a crime. Harris is on the committee that would hear that bill. It’s unclear if the Harrises could be charged with child abandonment. Certainly they could be charged with theft if they kept the support money from the state. Could the Harrises at least be investigated as being unfit parents and their other children be removed from their home?

Most gay people take it more seriously when they adopt a dog.

The Arkansas Times is doing a great job investigating this story and provide lots more details in their coverage.