Skip to main content
Your Page Title

PEER: Tracking Revenues, Caseloads, Issues for Child Protect


PEER: Tracking Revenues, Caseloads, Issues for Child Protection Services

Email share
Adoption Day at Hind County Court This Week

The state agency charged with protecting Mississippi's neglected children lacks the accounting system and manpower it needs. That's according to a newly released report. MPB's Desare Frazier has the story.

Tracking revenues and expenses is a problem for the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services according to the state's PEER Committee. The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review says the agency doesn't have a separate revenue tracking system from the Department of Human Services. Child Protection Services has had revenue shortfalls and the committee isn't sure their financial data is accurate. James Barber is with PEER.

"One recommendation that the committee makes in the report is for the state auditor to do a forensic audit of DCPS funds just to unravel why those deficits have occurred," said Barber.

Barber says it's not about wrong doing but to accurately track financial data. Another issue is only 57 percent of case workers have the recommended number of cases, the rest have too many. Taylor Cheeseman is the department's chief of staff. He says the caseload requirements are part of a settlement reached over a 2004 federal lawsuit that accused Mississippi of failing to adequately protect neglected children. The Department of Child Protection Services was created as part of the settlement. Cheeseman says they're seeking $25 million in additional funding for 2019. He says this year's allocation was $109 million.

"Part of that increase we're requesting is to fund additional positions so that we can put more caseworkers in the field. We've engaged in a series of efforts to improve the retention of our case workers," said Cheeseman.

Cheeseman says they're working to improve their accounting system in conjunction with the state Department of Human Services.