A scathing new report has been released on the Division of Family and Children Services at the Department of Human Services.
According to Children's Rights, a national advocacy group that filed a class action lawsuit against the state in 2004, Mississippi has yet to deliver on court mandated reforms to improve the lives of abused and neglected children.
The group says, from January 2009 through March 2011, less than 60 percent of child abuse reports were investigated within the required 24 hours or completed within the 30 day time frame.
The group charged Mississippi in 2004 of denying children safe, stable, permanent homes, of having dangerously high caseloads for social workers, untrained case workers, a shortage of foster homes and a widespread failure to provide basic health care services.
We talked with Marcia Robinson Lowry, founder and executive director of Children's Rights by phone. She says Mississippi taxpayers should be concerned.
"What this report shows is that their tax dollars are spent on an agency that is dysfunctional and that the most vulnerable children in the state are not being protected by the agency that has the responsibility for doing so," Lowry said.
A spokesperson for DHS says a modified settlement agreement was signed by Governor Phil Bryant today and is in the process of being filed with the court. The spokesperson says DHS will respond at the proper time.
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