LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined with others Tuesday to announce that the state of Arkansas is joining with private groups to address foster care.

Sanders was joined by leaders of the newly-launched Every Child Arkansas in announcing the program, designed to streamline and improve the adoption process in Arkansas by creating private partnerships with the state. 

The program launch included a new website going live, and Sanders signed an executive order on the partnership and foster care initiatives. Arkansas currently has about 4,100 children in foster care, the governor said.

For one Arkansas woman, she said she is desperate to see some changes for her family.

Denise asked to not share her last name out of privacy, and to ensure she does not jeopardize her granddaughter’s adoption case, but she said that is her prime focus right now: bringing her granddaughter home.

Her granddaughter was taken into foster care years ago, along with her other two grandchildren. Her grandsons were adopted by other families already, though her granddaughter still has not been cleared to come home.

“When they started having problems with the parents, I went and got my grandkids,” she said.

Denise said according to the state, it is out of concern for her own mental health. She said this is an issue that has been addressed with her doctors and dealt with, and she was even deemed eligible again to gain custody of her granddaughter again in 2019, but she is still waiting.

Denise came to the interview with KARK 4 News with a stack full of papers. She held onto them tight throughout the entire interview, later showing them to prove all the work she has gone through to try and gain custody of her granddaughter, along with her grandsons before they were adopted by other families. Some were papers from DHS, others were from her doctors proving she has sought the proper medical treatment to make her eligible to be a legal guardian.

Gov. Sanders’ foster care executive order specifically directs the Department of Health and Department of Human Services to accelerate the process to put kids back into homes of biological family members, as long as they are eligible.

Denise said she is hesitant to be hopeful about any changes, because all she has known from the state so far is hurt, though she hopes something will be done.

She said more than anything, she would like to sit down with the governor to address what all has happened to her family through the foster care system.

“I did nothing wrong,” Denise said. “I love my grandkids.”