Mississippi Foster Care Faces Financial Crisis

The Mississippi Foster Care System has found itself grasping for solutions to its money troubles. According to the director of Mississippi’s Department of Child Protection Services, Jess Dickinson, there is a deficit that started at $52 million for the last half of the fiscal year. Cuts were made, and empty jobs were left open. That total has been reduced to $44 million.

One change already underway which may help is the separation of Child Protection Services and the Department of Human Services. The idea came as the result of a lawsuit filed against them. The separation is set to be completed over the summer. Dickinson says he may be able to spend $12 million through the Dept. of Human Services, and then use that to get additional federal funding. Apparently CPS has less access to federal money than Human Services, so it’s a matter of working the system.

The state Supreme Court Chief Justice may choose to appoint a special judge to temporarily serve in the circuit and county courts. The goal would be to reduce the backlog of cases in Harrison County that need the termination of parental rights of kids in foster care in order to expedite adoption.

House Bill 1171 and Senate Bill 2075 have been proposed to keep a connection between the Dept. of Human Services and Child Protection Services.