"Report: Mississippi Foster Care System 'Well Beyond Crisis'" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS


Report: Mississippi Foster Care System 'Well Beyond Crisis'

A https://gallery.mailchimp.com/1634a09efaeae40a01ab03d1e/files/ABC_MS_press_statement2_1_6_2016.pdf">report in the Olivia Y case, filed on Jan. 6, found that an infant died within five days after entering the state's foster care system. The report found that the state had not inspected the home where the baby died before the baby was placed there. Judith Meltzer, from the Center for Study of Social Policy, found that the baby's death was a result of poor documentation and failure to "properly collect and document information significant to the licensing process" and "record information in the case record."

Mississippi's foster care system has actually gotten worst, the report found. Only 2 percent of children entering the foster care system received a health exam within 30 days, and 2 percent of foster parents received all the relevant medical information on a foster child within 15 days of placement.

The Olivia Y case has been ongoing since 2004, since the state was sued by A Better Childhood, a national nonprofit advocacy organization, on the state's foster care children's behalf. On Dec. 22, 2015 the federal court issued an order requiring that the state create the Division of Family and Children's Services--separate from the Department of Human Services. Gov. Phil Bryant selected former Mississippi Supreme Court Judge David Chandler to be the executive director of the new division on Dec. 29, 2015.

The court order also requires increased compensation and technology for caseworkers as well as an increase in foster homes in the state. Executive director of A Better Childhood, Marcia Robinson Lowry said there are far too few foster homes and workers in the state, in a press release. "The facts could not be more clear," she said in the release. "The foster care system in Mississippi is well beyond crisis."


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