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CAI Holds Congressional Briefing to Unveil New Report:

Shame on U.S.
Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave
Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm
January 27, 2015

The federal government's dereliction allows states to fall short on meeting minimum child welfare standards. Below is information specific to Mississippi.

CFSR Results Summary: In its Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process, HHS determines whether each state is in substantial conformity with 7 specific outcomes (pertaining to the areas of safety, permanency and family and child well-being) and 7 systemic factors (relating to the quality of services delivered to children and families and the outcomes they experience).  In the first two rounds of the CFSR, HHS has concluded that Mississippi was:

Round 1 (2004)

  • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
  • NOT in substantial conformity with 5 of the 7 Systemic Factors

Round 2 (2010)   

  • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
  • NOT in substantial conformity with 5 of the 7 Systemic Factors

Although federal law mandates that any state found not to be operating in substantial conformity during an initial or subsequent review must begin a full review within two years after approval of the state's program improvement plan, HHS has announced that Mississippi will not undergo Round 3 of the CFSR until FY 2018 (see CFSR Technical Bulletin #7 (March 2014)).

Documents from the U.S. Health & Human Services Children's Bureau

Child Welfare Litigation*

  • Olivia Y. v. Barbour
    This class action lawsuit was brought on behalf of 3,000 foster children in the custody of the Mississippi Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) and the thousands more who are improperly diverted from the system.  Plaintiffs allege that DFCS placed thousands of foster children in danger and at risk of harm, and has left many thousands more to fend for themselves in abusive and neglectful homes.  Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiffs brought equal protection, substantive due process, and procedural due process claims, as well as claims for violation of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act. 

*litigation summary taken from information provided by the website of the National Center for Youth Law

Child Welfare In the News**

  • Parents air grievances with foster care system (Sea Coast Echo - January 07, 2015) A standing-room-only crowd of parents and grandparents of local children in foster care showed up in force Monday to share their concerns at the inaugural meeting of the Hancock County Youth Court Task Force. "The members of this task force ... are committed to getting all the information," state Rep. David Baria, spearheading the group, told parents Monday. "This problem will take awhile - there's no quick or easy fix - but we're committed." As of last month, Hancock County had 458 children in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, accounting for a full 10 percent of DHS's wards in all of the state's 82 counties.
  • Agency seeks $12 million more for foster care reforms (Clarion-Ledger - December 25, 2014) The Mississippi Department of Human Services is seeking an additional $12 million next budget year to continue with reforms mandated by the settlement of a decade-old federal lawsuit over how the state cares for abused and neglected children in the state’s foster care system.
  • Task force to study DHS foster crisis (Includes video) (WLOX - December 23, 2014) The foster care crisis in Hancock County continues to mount. With 458 children now in DHS custody, the county now has the worst per-capita foster care rate in the entire state. A task force has been formed to take an in-depth look at the problem and to come up with viable solutions to reduce the number of children placed in DHS custody.

**news summaries taken from daily newsfeed service of HHS' Child Welfare Information Gateway


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Children's Advocacy Institute
University of San Diego School of Law
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone: 619.260.4806
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