JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A state agency will soon get a new leader.
Governor Bryant is appointing Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze as the next Mississippi Department of Human Services Executive Director. The current director, John Davis, is retiring at the end of July.
When Christopher Freeze retired from the FBI, he made it his mission to work on helping communities overcome the challenges tied to adverse childhood experiences.
“A lot of that revolves around the physical, emotional and sexual abuse, emotion and physical neglect. Things that go on in the household that are dysfunctional,” explained Freeze.
Freeze notes that DHS touches on a lot of those issues in providing services to families who need help.
“This is a great opportunity for me to learn more hands-on but also to bring what I’ve learned and what I know to the table and try to provide a perspective on what trauma-informed care means and how to best do that in an agency as large and important as DHS,” he added.
But he’s taking on an agency that is multi-layered and in need of changes, according to the most recent Auditor’s report focused on how state agencies are using federal dollars they receive. Freeze has not had the opportunity to review the audit, but he did say this:
“Money is always an issue. Often times you don’t have enough and what you do have, you try to make the best use of. So, in this case if there were things the State Auditor found that we can correct and make better so that we’re making sure all available dollars go to the citizens of Mississippi...that’s what we’re going to do.”
The report found DHS didn’t follow legal requirements to make sure people were actually eligible for programs like SNAP and TANF. It noted they didn’t keep basic documents with a full list of grant recipients. For several, they didn’t monitor to determine if money was being spent in accordance to the law.
Freeze will take on the role of Executive Director August 1.