The Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services has a new supervisor; he's from this area, and he has several goals for DHS, and the children of Southwest Arkansas.
Jeffery Williams is formerly from Prescott, graduating from Prescott High School in 1990. His parents are Leo and Elaine Williams, of Prescott.
Williams attended Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and majored in Human Services.
“Basically, a Human Services degree is a Social Work degree,” Williams said.
Williams has experience in working with people one-on-one in several counties, including Hempstead, as a worker, several years ago; in Nevada County for four years, and in Columbia County as a supervisor for seven years.
“I also had a short stay at Southwest Arkansas Counseling and Mental Health in Hope,” he said. “I supervise a staff of six at my new position.”
Some of the services offered at DHS include foster care, which involves drug treatment, parenting classes, and counseling, according to Williams.
Protective services is another arm of DHS's services.
“In Protective Services cases, we don't actually remove the children from their home, but we provide services to where the children can stay in their homes,” Williams said. “Health and safety risks are less than for foster care. We do weekly, or if the situation warrants, more frequent visits to the home.
“We provide parenting classes and counseling, which can be done in or out of the home,” he said. “Drug screening is also done, if needed. If drugs are seen by the worker out in the open or if there is a meth lab in the house, then the children are removed.
“We set up a plan with the family and try to achieve certain goals,” Williams said. “The courts are involved and CASA is usually involved, also. “We're all working together to reunite the child and the parents. We want to make sure that the children in Hempstead County are safe and healthy.”
Some of the goals that Williams has as the new supervisor for DHS include “not to have any children in foster care. I want children to be able to go home and, if not home, a place where they will be healthy, safe, and taken care of.”
There are currently seven foster care homes in Hempstead County.
“My goal, at the end of the year, is to have 10 foster care homes in Hempstead County,” he said. “I want to increase the number of foster care homes so that we can have local folks taking care of local children. I don't want them to be displaced far from their home.
“In every case, we try to find a relative who will take the child so that he can finish school where he began,” Williams said. “The relative option is only after we learn that going home is not an option at that point.”
Page 2 of 2 - Williams is married to Satara Williams, and the couple has four children, Ky, Darian, Kennedi, and Jeffery.