Since July 30, the state Department of Human Services has been observing a new state law pushed by the Beebe administration that requires public notice of deaths or near deaths of children reported to DHS. These are all cases in which neglect, abuse, drug use by a pregnant mother, crime or other untoward circumstances are suspected.
As I’ve written before, it was but a small step toward more transparency about the ways in which society and the state have failed its most vulnerable. As I’ve also written before, the law didn’t provide for adequate release of information about these cases. DHS won’t provide even the tiniest bit of additional information about circumstances or the performance of state workers paid to look after children.
Still: The news has value. Another report of a near death has been released. Check the list with the new law not yet in effect even a full month — nine deaths and six near deaths. Almost one a day.
Arkansas, we have a problem. The more we know — as horrible as it might be — the more likely we are to to do something about it.