Foster kids in danger? - - Jackson, MS

Foster kids in danger?

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A national group believes Mississippi's foster children are in danger. Children's Rights continues to press for reforms from the State Department of Human Services dealing with its care of foster children in the state.

Abused, neglected; right now in Mississippi there are more than three thousand children in foster care.

"I think the citizens of the state should be very concerned about what's happening to its children," said Marcia Lowry, the Executive Director of Children's Rights.

The national group believes those children are not being properly cared for.

The lawsuit filed by the group against the State Department of Human Services was settled six years ago. Lowry, says this status conference was held before the judge to see if the state is making necessary progress in implementing the six year old settlement agreement.

"The children in the foster care system are children who were in danger when this lawsuit was settled, almost six years ago," said Lowery. "We still do not have accurate data about what's happening to children."

Lowry says therefore it is impossible for the state to protect the innocent.

"In June of this year, the court entered an order directing specific steps the state had to follow to produce this data," added Lowry. "They haven't complied to this order to this date."

DHS would not comment, but during the status conference it did take the stand telling the judge it has taken employees more time to complete the request than it initially thought. A DHS representative assured it is working on the report and is doing everything it can to comply and release the data.

"And so we are hoping that they are going to be able to," said Lowry. "But as of this point we do not know and we don't know what's happening to the children nor does the state know what's happening to its own children."

Children's Rights did make a request to the judge asking that another hearing take place in February, that wish was granted. An exact date has not yet been set.

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