JACKSON, MISS– The bill to create the Division of Family and Children’s Services has passed the House, and is moving on to the senate for further debate.
The bill creates the DFCS as a stand alone organization under the umbrella of the Department of Human Services. DFCS would oversee foster care operations in the state. The bill outlines how the division would operate, as well as how the director of that division would be paid for his work.
This bill comes as an answer to the recommendations made after the Olivia Y Lawsuit, named for a little girl who was taken from her mother at 3 years old, then moved to 5 different homes–one being that of a convicted rapist– before she was finally adopted. The lawsuit stated this had happened to 6 other children, and that Olivia had not gotten the proper medical and therapeutic care provided by the state.
U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee signed the order July that says the state will hire consultants to find and fix problems in the foster care system. The DFCS became part of the solution to the problem, and former Supreme Court Justice David Chandler has been named the executive director.
Questions did arise before the bill was passed regarding Chandler’s pay in this division. The bill states he could make 150% more than the governor’s salary, and more than that if the funds come from federal or private contributions.
The bill now heads to the Senate for more discussion.