Legislator Who Rehomed Children has Received $4M in Public Funds since 2010

Date: 2015-03-13

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state representative under fire for rehoming his adopted daughters with another family has blamed lack of support from the Arkansas Department of Human Services as the reason the children were rehomed. According to DHS records, Harris has received more than $4 million in public funds from DHS programs through his preschool since 2010.

State Representative Justin Harris, R-West Fork, rehomed his children with another NWA family after claiming behavior issues made it unsafe for his other children to live with the girls. One of the girls was later molested by Eric Cameron Francis, the man Harris sent the girls to live with. Francis was convicted in late 2014. Harris claimed that DHS had threatened him with child abandonment charges and was not supportive in his efforts to deal with the girls' behavior issues.

Citing the privacy of the children involved, DHS has said it cannot comment on the adoption or the claims Harris has made. Other individuals who know the girls and had served as foster parents for them contest Harris's descriptions and say Harris thwarted their offers for help.

According to DHS, Harris has received more than $4,195,651 from public program funds for his Growing God's Kingdom preschool since 2010.

The department's data show the following money has been distributed since 2010:

$547,619 from the USDA for free or reduced lunches for young children
$2.7 million from the Arkansas Better Chance state-funded pre-K
$945,580 from the Child Care Development Fund that helps pay for childcare for qualifying families.

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