Federal judge asked to appoint outsider to run Mississippi's fos - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Federal judge asked to appoint outsider to run Mississippi's foster care system

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. Source: MDCPS Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. Source: MDCPS
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

Lawyers are asking a federal judge to appoint an outsider to run Mississippi's foster care system, saying the state's latest attempt to fix the system's problems has failed.

In a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Jackson, the lawyers say a judge should hold the state in contempt of a previous agreement to fix the system.

The Department of Child Protective Services has touted improvements, but in court documents, the plaintiffs in the 14-year-old lawsuit say the state is in "blatant noncompliance."

Plaintiffs also say that current commissioner Jess Dickinson "is simply not capable" of operating the agency because key leaders have departed.

Spokeswoman Lea Anne Brandon says the department disagrees with the motion and is confident it's moving in the right direction to protect children.

This is the statement from MDCPS:

Mississippi’s foster care system has made great strides and recorded significant improvement since MDCPS was established in 2016. We are confident we are moving in the right direction to ensure the continued protection and safety of at-risk children and their families.

We disagree with the plaintiff’s assertions and will continue working diligently each day to care for the thousands of abused and neglected children entrusted into our custody for protection.

Governor Phil Bryant also responded saying: 

I am pleased with the progress CPS has made, including reducing by 700 the number of children in foster care the last 14 months and nearly doubling the number of adoptions in the current fiscal year. I am confident that progress will continue under current leadership as we vigorously oppose plaintiffs’ latest legal maneuvering.'

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