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: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540083

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798481529
Mobile41283809
Madison35157506
Tuscaloosa25925455
Shelby25302249
Montgomery24723593
Baldwin21411310
Lee15993172
Calhoun14574319
Morgan14425280
Etowah13925353
Marshall12280225
Houston10648282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10070151
St. Clair9948245
Cullman9768194
Lauderdale9460243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8341176
Walker7261278
Autauga7005108
Jackson6840112
Blount6773139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5581118
Dale4877113
Russell445738
Chilton4373113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394877
Chambers3596123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303098
Winston275873
Bibb264764
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219169
Fayette212862
Henry189943
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178141
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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