One troubling aspect of the Mississippi Legislature is the Republican majority’s willingness to reduce funding for social services.
Despite a years-long lawsuit over the state’s foster care system, the Department of Child Protective Services (CPS), which provides care for nearly 5,000 foster children, is meeting only 37 of 113 goals set down in a court decree.
The report, prepared by an outside monitor, also questioned whether CPS is doing enough to investigate reports of mistreatment of children who have been placed in foster care. Another problem is administrative: The department’s outdated computer system, along with data-entry errors, has prevented the tracking of more than one-quarter of the 113 goals.
CPS head Jess Dickinson, a former Mississippi Supreme Court justice, said last week the legislature has allocated an extra $15 million to the department starting next month, and the public can expect “greatly improved services to children.” It will be interesting to see how the federal courts deal with the slow pace of improvement.