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MDCPS: Drug-related Foster Cases Up
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Chandler (center) receives award from National Center for Adoption
Mark Rigsby - MPB News

Drugs, and the impact on families, are becoming a growing challenge for Mississippi's foster care system. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, the state's drug-related foster case load is growing.

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services Commissioner David Chandler says there's been an increase in children being taken into state custody due to parental drug abuse. Nearly half of all foster care cases now are drug related, up from one quarter three years ago. Chandler says the agency wants to help treat the addiction to try to keep the family together.

"To help them address that problem, fix that problem. So that they can assume the responsiblity of raising their children themselves. That's the approach we're taking."

Governor Phil Bryant says the new big challenge is with drug-dependant mothers. He says law enforcement and the health care community must work together on the problem.
"We will make it more difficulty for someone to be able to provide those illegal drugs to a mother. So we're working with the medical community in trying to determine how we best go about getting them into a treatment center."

The National Center for Adoption, a child welfare advocacy group, is recognizing Chandler for turning around the state's once failing foster care system. There are currently 388 children in Mississippi in the process of being adopted. 166 are still waiting.