Foster Kid Uses Governor's 'MyIdea' Project to Seek Changes to DHS

CABOT, Ark. - Since the website and call line launched nearly two weeks ago, Gov. Asa Hutchinson's "MyIdea" project has received hundreds of submissions. 

One was from a young Christian rapper in Cabot. 

"This is one of my newer ones," said Dylan Johnston as he starts to play one of the many rap videos on his YouTube channel. 

"How you seein' different ways," he rapped. "I'm seein' the need."

"I titled it 'Ways' because there's so many different ways that people can detour their life," Johnston said. 

The high school senior couldn't control the latest detour in his life. A year ago, he became a foster kid, separating him from his two sisters. 

"It ain't a fun thing," Johnston said. "It's not something that anyone would deal with, you know?"

Like he uses his YouTube channel as an outlet to share his Christian voice, Johnston stumbled upon another site to share his experiences as a foster kid, the governor's "MyIdea" website

"I was just doing my daily scroll through Twitter and all and saw a tweet about it," he said. "I just decided I might as well give my input on a certain department that I was concerned about and that I would relate to."

Johnston submitted a lengthy idea about how to improve the Department of Human Services. 

"The system as it is is overwhelmed," he said. 

In his submission, Johnston stressed the need for more case workers and foster parents. 

"It's something that the government overlooks a lot because they don't think it's this big of a problem," he said. "There needs to be a better call to action."

Johnston also pushed for better programs for children in DHS shelters after spending two weeks in one. 

"It honestly feels like you're behind a little kid jail," he said. "You can't go outside when you want. You have to be together at all times. You have to eat breakfast at a certain time." 

Finally, Johnston believes DHS should offer better classes for parents whose children were removed from their care.  

"Further investigate that problem to where they can overcome it rather than just sending them to this program and trying to make it work," he said. 

Johnston hopes DHS and Gov. Hutchinson hear this message: "Not all the kids in the system are bad kids. It's just the way they were either raised or what they've been through."

Johnston let the rest of his rap video play out. 

As his future with his parents hangs in the balance, he wants to be a voice for other foster kids to help them find their "Ways." 

The agencies targeted in the "MyIdea" submissions have 30 days to respond in writing with how they plan to tackle each idea.

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