Agreement could lead to separate Miss. child welfare agency - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Agreement could lead to separate Miss. child welfare agency

By JACK ELLIOTT JR.
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi may consider making its child welfare unit a separate agency in the latest effort to resolve a longstanding lawsuit over conditions in the state's foster care system.

In an order signed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee, the state agreed to hire consultants who will recommend changes to the system, including whether the child welfare unit should become a separate agency from the state Department of Human Services.

The order says a special legislative session might be needed to create a new agency.

Gov. Phil Bryant's spokeswoman, Nicole Webb, says Bryant will call a special session if children's welfare is in imminent danger - but, if consultants release their recommendations late this year, the issues might be discussed during the regular legislative session that begins in January.

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