State Rep. Justin Harris Used Foster Daughter In Campaign Materials, Violating DHS Rules

When the story about Rep. Justin Harris “rehoming” his adopted daughters with a man who raped one of them first came out, it was reported that he had adopted the girls right before he started a re-election campaign for State Representative. It was later revealed that he did this in spite of myriad objections from Department of Human Services officials and the girls’ former foster families, threatened the DHS with budget cuts.

I did not want to speculate and thus did not do so publicly, because I am not a psychic, but it sure seemed like he may have only adopted those girls to look good for a re-election campaign. It turns out, my gut may have been onto something.

Although the Harrises did not eventually adopt the eldest of the three sisters, whom the Arkansas Times referred to as “Jeanette,” he did use pictures of her in campaign materials while she was his foster daughter. In fact, those pictures remained up on his website until at least September of 2013, well after he returned her to DHS,

While this may seem pretty innocuous and maybe like they were just trying to include the girl in a family activity, it’s actually a huge violation of the DHS rules, as it would compromise a foster child’s anonymity, which they have a right to.

The DHS’s Amy Webb told the Arkansas Times:

“If we were made aware of a situation like you described, we would immediately call the foster or pre-adoptive parent and tell him to discontinue using the picture on any campaign material. We would not be comfortable with a foster child’s picture being used during a campaign. [DHS’s Office of Policy and Legal Services, which according to department rules, has to approve public use of any media featuring a foster child] would not agree to that either.”

While this is certainly not on the level of giving one’s adopted daughters to a rapist or having them and other children exorcised, it certainly does not do much to detract from the impression that Harris only adopted the two other girls in order to give his campaign a boost and then kinda just tossed them out once they’d served their purpose.

It has also been revealed recently that Harris’s “Growing God’s Kingdom” daycare and preschool received a total of $4 million dollars in federal funds over the past few years, which is kind of a lot for a preschool.

[Arkansas Times]