A survivor of child abuse is sharing his story with Mississippi social service providers to promote more understanding about the impact of trauma and the need for community support. MPB's Desare Frazier report.
Fifty-year old Terry Morris is enjoying a 30-year career with NASA, owns multiple homes and travels the world. It's a complete turnaround for the man whose parents called him the devil. He says his alcoholic mother beat him routinely. Morris says he was also stabbed with nails and a knife. When he was 13, he says his parents drove him from Chicago to Plantersville, Mississippi and put him out of the car. Morris says he was homeless for a year and a half before he ended up in a boys home. That's when everything changed.
"Other than providing the financial means of going back to school and clothes and taking a bath and having food to eat. It was probably more of the psychological, mental and emotional you can make it. You can do it," said Morris.
Morris says teachers, social workers and years of counseling helped him deal with his anger and learn to forgive. Now he shares his story to help others understand the depth of the trauma abused and neglected children experience. Christine James-Brown CEO of Child Welfare League of America says it takes community involvement to help families.
"The faith-based community has to be involved. Schools have to be involved. The mental health community has to be involved. It takes a broad based effort," said Brown.
Mississippi Children's Home Services sponsored the children's mental health summit, and reports there are more than 5,000 children in child welfare custody in the state.