As the 2023 legislative session nears, one state leader is looking to advance legislation that will empower mothers and children in the Magnolia State.
Senator Nicole Akins Boyd, R-Oxford, who chairs the Senate Study Group on Women, Children, and Families, says the committee is exploring all options to improve the lives of people in this category. One specific avenue that has been emphasized is adoption and foster care.
“We looked at healthcare, in general, for these individuals. We looked at early intervention services — what we’re doing right and what we’re not doing very well,” Boyd said on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “We have also really focused in on adoption and foster care. We’ve been working with the attorney general’s office as well, and we’ll probably be proposing a foster care bill of rights so that those families have some surety when they take care of those children.”
Another area in which Boyd is looking to help provide to mothers in Mississippi, especially ones who are single, is access to quality child care. With the labor force participation rate for single mothers being 20 percent higher than that of the general population in the state, she believes it is imperative to assist these mothers with finding affordable child care.
“Finding good child care is a challenge for every Mississippi mother that’s out there working — and we know that our mothers in Mississippi are out working,” Boyd continued. “Our general workforce participation rate in the state is around 55 percent and we know that 75 percent of our single mothers are out there working.”
Boyd has also found a way to intertwine her role in the panel on women, children, and families with her position as vice chair of the Senate Universities and Colleges Committee. Two major universities in Mississippi have worked with Boyd and used their facilities and resources to work toward finding solutions to the issues that families face in Mississippi.
“In this women, children, and families committee, we partnered a great deal with both Mississippi State and Ole Miss. With Mississippi State, they have the social science research center, and then at Ole Miss, they have UMMC that we partner with a lot on our medical issues,” Boyd added. “It has been really exciting to see these universities step up to the plate.”
Watch the full interview with Senator Nicole Akins-Boyd below.