Chandler’s appointment comes amid the ongoing lawsuit regarding Olivia Y. The case alleges that Mississippi is violating the constitutional rights of its foster children by failing to adequately protect them and provide necessary services.
Governor Phil Bryant says he is pleased that Chandler is taking on the critical role.
"We wanted to send a message that Mississippi is very determined to work with the courts in solving the problems that we've had in the past with our foster children. I think Judge Chandler was a perfect selection to send that message and to be able to begin this process of improvement," Bryant says.
Governor Bryant says Chandler's strong educational and law background can help the state take steps in the right direction.
Bryant says the Division of Family and Children's Services will now report directly to him, instead of the Department of Human Services Executive Director, Rickey Berry. He says it's a much needed change.
"Not many other issues rise to the level of having the federal courts order the state of Mississippi to improve its foster care system, huge expenditures that could be ordered by the court upon the legislature of the state of Mississippi, and it is the right thing to do. At the end of the day, it is simply the right thing to do," says Bryant.
We reached the Department of Human Services. They declined to comment, instead referring us back to the Governor's office.
Governor Bryant will appoint a new justice to the nine-member Supreme Court who will complete Chandler’s term, which is set to end in January 2017.