Director: Mississippi foster care has budget shortfall

MGN Online

The director of Mississippi's Department of Child Protection Services said Tuesday that the agency is about $44 million short of what it needs for the final five months of the budget year.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 6:25 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The director of Mississippi's Department of Child Protection Services said Tuesday that the agency is about $44 million short of what it needs for the final five months of the budget year.

But he told lawmakers that they can solve the agency's budget shortfall by spending only about $12 million. The director, Jess Dickinson, said the $12 million can be routed through the Department of Human Services, which could then use it to receive additional federal money.

"This is a pathway out," Dickinson told members of the House Appropriations Committee.

Child Protection Services has been splitting away from Human Services in recent years as state officials have tried to put more time, money and effort into solving foster care problems after the state was sued. The split into separate agencies is supposed to be complete by this summer.

Budget problems arose because Child Protection Services has less access to federal money, said Dickinson, a former Supreme Court justice who became director in September.

He said Child Protection Services was facing a $52 million shortfall for the current budget year, which ends June 30. That figure was reduced to $49 million by canceling some contracts and cutting back to what Dickinson called the agency's core responsibilities. He said he will save another $5 million by not filling some vacant jobs the next five months and by delaying work on an update for a computer system. That would bring the shortfall to the $44 million he mentioned.

Legislators will consider bills that would keep a connection between the Department of Human Services and Child Protection Services, largely with the goal of helping head off budget problems. One is House Bill 1171 . Another is Senate Bill 2075 .

The House bill attempts to solve a specific problem Dickinson mentioned Tuesday. Under current law, the state Supreme Court chief justice may appoint a special judge to temporarily serve in circuit court or chancery court. The bill would allow the chief justice to temporarily serve in county court. Dickinson said that would help reduce the backlog of county court cases dealing with termination of parental rights for the birth parents of children in foster care and awaiting adoption. He said coastal Harrison County has a long list of such cases.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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