New pilot program aimed at helping parents break drug addiction - - Jackson, MS

New pilot program aimed at helping parents break drug addiction cycle

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Thousands of Mississippi's children are caught in the middle of their parent's cycle of drug addiction. An increasing number of them are being put in foster care because of it.

"When they come out into the world on their first day, they've never had the chance to be sober from day one," described Rankin County Youth Court Judge Thomas Broome.

The state's youth court judges are seeing more and more heartbreaking cases of children born into a drug addiction. Marion County Chancellor Rhea Sheldon has seen the lasting impacts of that world in her own son.

"I'm an adopted parent and my son was born with an NAS, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and I know from personal experience that it's devastating," Sheldon explained. "So I relive this every day when I'm on the bench and we have to try that. I wear a necklace with his thumb print on it. Every day when I'm on the bench making these decisions, I touch it and I think about it."

Stakeholders from the courts, state agencies and even churches are looking at ways to break the cycle. Hopefully preventing more kids from being taken from drug addicted moms.

"We can work alongside her, realizing that in all likelihood she herself as a child experience some kind of abuse or neglect and that in turn has created a lot of hurt that she's just self-medicating with these drugs," said Mississippi Supreme Court Justice awn Beam.

First Lady Deborah Bryant will serve as a co-chair for the pilot program ReNew Mississippi. It will start in Marion County and then expand to Pearl River and Hancock counties.

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