Efforts to revamp Mississippi troubled foster care system are working according to the head of Child Protection Services. The agency's asking for more funding because more cases are being investigated.
Within a year, Mississippi's Child Protection Services reports the number of children in foster care has grown from 5 to 6,000. In 2016 the agency received an additional $34.5 million to hire nearly 500 social workers to comply with a federal lawsuit settlement. The case accused Mississippi of not adequately protecting children in foster care. Child Protection Services Commissioner David Chandler is asking the Senate Appropriations Committee for an additional $1.6 million to hire 60 more social workers.
"In order to comply with the federal litigation we must have another increase this year to hire more social workers to address the enormous number of children that are coming into our agency now," said Chandler.
Democratic Senator Hillman Frazier of Jackson says state revenue collections haven't met projections so there's no additional monies to allocate.
"We're going to do the best we can with all the agencies. We're going to look at how the revenue comes in in March, and make the hard decisions at that point in time," said Frazier.
Chandler says Child Protection Services is also being required to upgrade it's antiquated computer system.