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Arkansas officials announce plan to revamp state foster system 

MARION, Ark. -- Arkansas state leaders announced they would budget $26.7 million to hire more than 200 new employees at the Dept. of Human Services Monday. They said the funding would help alleviate a crisis in the state's foster system.

New foster parent Emily Hall also has two biological children.

“To get to love on them the same way we love our children is a benefit to generations after us,” she said of her and her husband's decision to bring a third child in to their Marion home.

She said the approval process took seven months. Arkansas DHS officials said that is too long. It's part of want they said they planned to change to streamline and modernize the foster system.

Officials released the new plan Monday.

“We are in crisis. In Arkansas, we have 5,200 kids in the foster care system,” DHS's Brandi Hinkle said.

Hall said hiring more staff would be at the top of her list for ways the department could improve.

“The more case workers we can hire, the better. These people have very difficult jobs and often are just piled on case by case,” she said.

She said she and other families in Crittenden County planned to start a foster parent association to help recruit and establish support for each other.