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In 2004, 65,000 children living in foster care had their parental rights terminated for all living parents.
Mississippi CPS News Archive
The Mississippi news section is your source for the latest in family rights news items,
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Mississippi News Coverage
Mississippi Poised to Pass Breathtaking Anti-LGBT Law
The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a sweeping anti-LGBT law on Friday that will make it easier to discriminate against gender and sexual minorities in the state.
The so-called Religious Liberty Accommodations Act is meant to protect people, businesses, and organizations with "sincerely held" religious beliefs about the sanctity of traditional marriage. The bill also says gender is determined by "an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth."
April 2, 2016
Same-Sex Couples Can Adopt Children In All U.S. States, Federal Judge Rules
A federal judge in Mississippi on Thursday blocked a ban against same-sex couples adopting children, declaring that the law was unconstitutional and citing last summer's historic gay marriage ruling as the reasoning behind his decision.
The judge's preliminary injunction subsequently legalized the process in all 50 U.S. states, allowing same-sex couples everywhere the right to adopt. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan wrote that to deny gay couples access to adoption services directly conflicted with the high court's earlier decision.
April 1, 2016
State fails to meet foster care lawsuit requirements
The latest report by an independent federal court monitor says Mississippi doesn't have the capacity to meet many of the court order's basic requirements to improve the state's foster care system.
"The evidence shows that in most instances defendants did not meet Period 4 performance requirements," said Grace Lopes, the Washington, D.C.-based monitor appointed by a Mississippi federal judge. "Based on the history of defendants' performance since 2008 when the remedial stage of this lawsuit began, it appears that defendants do not have the capacity to meet many of the MSA's most basic requirements. Defendants' ongoing failure to meet these requirements has a substantial and continuing impact on the safety and well being of the thousands of children in defendants' custody every year and their timely placement in permanent and nurturing homes."
June 16, 2015
Collins not completely organic nor mainstream
Peyton Collins was horrified when a little girl told her she thought spaghetti grew on trees. The Clinton wife, mother and compulsive gardener said it's a sad irony that despite Mississippi's agrarian roots.
Known locally as "The High Heeled Hippie," Collins is no pushover. Every Saturday she puts on her high-heels and gathers up a truckload of her locally grown, heirloom edibles and heads to the Mississippi Farmers Market at the state fairgrounds in Jackson. "Saturday is the only day I'm not wearing work boots," Collins said while unloading a pallet of lettuce seedlings at one of her gardens recently.
April 1, 2013
Facebook messages lead to arrest in sex crimes case
New details have been released in the sex crimes case against WLBT meteorologist Eric Law. According to the report the girl said she spent the night with Law and the two would go to the "law and order room" and engage in sexual behavior.
According to a Madison Police Department incident report, Facebook messages between Law and the 15-year-old girl he is accused of having inappropriate contact with were turned over to an investigator with the Rankin County Sheriff's Department.
March 29, 2013
House of Representative Jessica Upshaw found dead
Simpson County and state authorities are investigating the death of House Representative Jessica Upshaw. According to the Mississippi Legislature's web site, Upshaw, 53 was a Republican.
She served District 95, in the Mississippi House of Representatives, which covered Hancock and Harrison Counties. "It appeared she had a gunshot wound to her head; it appeared to be self inflicted," said Simpson County Sheriff Kenneth Lewis.
March 15, 2013
Foster System Remains 'Unacceptable'
Jamison J. had shuffled through 28 foster homes, mental institutions and temporary shelters, by the time he was 17 years old. In the first of the homes, when he was 4, his foster mother terrorized him by shoving Jamison in front of her two dogs.
A Mississippi Division of Family and Children's Services caseworker had removed Jamison and his sisters from their mother, who was physically abusing and neglecting her children. DFCS separated the boy from his sisters. His third foster family wanted to adopt him. Instead, DFCS sent him back to his biological mother, where he witnessed his mother's boyfriends beating her and watched them repeatedly abuse a 2-year-old. Jamison saw the little boy thrown into walls and whipped with an iron belt inscribed "Boss."
February 27, 2013
Forced Vaccinations: Stepping Into Eugenics?
What are the implications of forcing vaccinations on people? Two states allow no exemptions to any child for religious or philosophical reasons. People lose their jobs if they don't acquiesce. It's for the 'greater good', of course-just as eugenics is.
Vaccinations are being forced on people. Children are refused entrance to school if they haven't complied with the government-defined vaccine schedule. Two states, West Virginia and Mississippi, do not accept either religious or philosophical exemptions. State after state is making it harder, often to the point of virtual impossibility, for parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated. More and more, people are being told that they must be vaccinated or lose their jobs. We are seeing more and more cases of parents threatened with loss of their children if they don't submit them for vaccinating.
October 23, 2012
EAGLE Association bonds home school families
Each Tuesday from noon to 3 p.m. Farmington Baptist Church is teeming with 195 students engaged in creative, interesting, fun, mentally and physically demanding activities.
What draws these students of all ages from preschool through high school is the EAGLE Home School Association enrichment program. From five Northeast Mississippi counties - Alcorn, Benton, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo - and three west Tennessee counties - Hardeman, Hardin and McNairy - the students, their parents and teachers who are pastors and others from the community, come together from their separate educational pursuits for elective classes and sports activities.
October 18, 2012
Homeschoolers are not dropouts
Every few years, someone with a little power and a lot of time becomes alarmed by how unregulated home education is in Mississippi, detects a vast conspiracy and decides to expose it.
They often use phrases like "homeschooled dropouts" and "fake homeschoolers" to describe children whose parents they suspect of using the state's homeschool statute to circumvent the compulsory attendance law.
October 15, 2012
Positive changes come from suit, workers say
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - There were many wakeful nights. John Reynolds remembers the draining experience of being a foster care supervisor in DeSoto County from 2000-2002.
Charged with protecting 100 of the county's most vulnerable children, as well as investigating 100 cases of abuse and neglect per month, Reynolds had only three to four caseworkers at his disposal to fulfill that task. "What we were doing was really impossible - in fact, dangerous - to protect children," said Reynolds, who now directs the University of Southern Mississippi's Training Academy that educates caseworkers and supervisors through a Mississippi Department of Human Services grant.
September 30, 2012
Olivia Y. v. Barbour: Has foster care system 'danger' subsided since 2004?
There were many wakeful nights. John Reynolds remembers the draining experience of being a foster care supervisor in DeSoto County from 2000-2002.
Charged with protecting 100 of the county's most vulnerable children, as well as investigating 100 cases of abuse and neglect per month, Reynolds had only three to four caseworkers at his disposal to fulfill that task.
September 23, 2012
Foster care: Gains made, more needed
How much progress has been made in Mississippi's foster care system since the class-action lawsuit Olivia Y. v. Barbour was filed in 2004?
Changes have been made: more case workers, a higher level of educational training and better use of resources. Funding has been boosted: The Division of Family and Children's Services has received increased appropriations from the state Legislature from $18.5 million in 2008 to the 2012 appropriation of $53.3 million.
September 23, 2012
Home-school robotics team aims for the top
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For Michael Lane, one of the hardest parts of building a home-school robotics team was finding a place for all the students to work on the robots.
Lane, director of the Starkville Christian Home Educators Robotics team, said the team was small enough to meet at his house when it first formed. In the five years since, he said, the team has long outgrown his home, swelling to 35 students this year. The competition will kick off Sept. 15 at Raspet Flight Laboratory, Lane said, giving the students six weeks to not only design and build a robot, but also create marketing material, build display booths, write oral presentations and spread word about the competition to the area.
September 13, 2012
Justice: Meridian, Miss., violated youths' civil rights
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department Friday accused police, the courts and juvenile probation officials of operating a school-to-prison pipeline in Meridian, Miss.
Justice said its Civil Rights Division investigation, which began in December, found children arrested at Meridian schools were trapped in an incarceration cycle and systematically deprived of their rights.
August 12, 2012
5 children stranded at bus stop after mother dies
Five children traveling across the country are in the custody of authorities after their mother died.
The mother and her children were waiting in line early Friday at the Greyhound bus station in downtown Dallas. A Greyhound spokeswoman tells The Dallas Morning News that the mother appeared to suffer a medical emergency and was taken to an area hospital, where she died.
July 8, 2012
Just In: State Not Responding Well to Child Abuse, Neglect
A new report shows that the Mississippi Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) has yet to deliver on court-mandated reforms to improve the lives of abused and neglected children in state care.
These reforms were spurred by Children's Rights when the national advocacy organization filed a class action suit against the state in 2004. According to the progress report, released today by an independent federal court-appointed monitor, chronic understaffing and an inadequate data management system continue to hamper efforts to ensure the basic safety of foster children.
July 1, 2012
Foster care child-turned-NASA engineer to speak at JSU child welfare conference
NASA engineer and child advocate Terry Morris will be the opening speaker for Jackson State University's 10th annual Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference Jan. 25-27 at the Jackson Marriott Hotel, 200 E. Amite St., in Jackson, Miss.
Morris endured an abusive childhood before entering the foster care system as a youth. He later earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Mississippi State University and went on to earn a master's in electrical engineering at Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in systems engineering at the University of Virginia. He now works as the manager for integrated hazard analysis within the safety-critical avionics systems branch at NASA.
January 25, 2012
Mississippi toddler severely injured; couple held
BRANDON, Miss. - A toddler from Rankin County is hospitalized with multiple broken bones and bleeding of the brain.
The Clarion-Ledger reports the couple accused of inflicting the injuries will hear the evidence against them during a preliminary hearing Oct. 25 in Circuit Court.
October 19, 2011
Shocker! On his own, judge demands homeschool student IDs
A state judge in Mississippi has issued an order to public school attendance officers in his district to provide the names of all homeschoolers there. There was no explanation for why the judge issued the original demand for homeschoolers' information.
An attorney for the group, James Mason, told WND that in the years he has worked with homeschool issues, he never before has seen such an order. "It's a very chilling prospect," he said. "That would have a chilling effect on freedom of association, and the exercise of other freedoms," he said. A judge in a similar order could demand the names of patriot organizations, tea party groups, Democrat groups, GOP groups or even labor, teacher or parent groups.
April 8, 2011
Foster Care Lawsuit
A national group asked a federal judge to appoint someone else to take over Mississippi's foster care system. They also wanted the Division of Family and Children's Services for the Department of Human Services held in contempt of court.
It all goes back to a lawsuit filed in 2005 and a settlement of the case in 2007. Children's Rights say Mississippi had more than 350 children in unlicensed foster homes with caregivers who have not been screened or trained. In the 2007 settlement, DHS agreed to make sweeping improvements in the system.
WLBT News 3
October 6, 2010
Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010: The worst-case scenario
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons per day.
If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels -- or more than 6 million gallons per day -- based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well.
April 30, 2010
Group suing DHS says state 'resistant'
Oklahoma has been as resistant as any state that Children's Rights has sued over child welfare concerns, the group's founder says.
Children's Rights began as a project of the New York Civil Liberties Union and later the American Civil Liberties Union. It became an independent nonprofit in 1995. The group has filed lawsuits against child welfare systems in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
April 28, 2010
Foster parents on blue streak
DESOTO COUNTY - Renee Tatum wants to see a blue ribbon on every mailbox in her neighborhood.
Tatum and fellow members of "A Loving Heart," a Mississippi Department of Human Services Family Support Group, have launched a blue ribbon campaign in observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the state. DHS adoption specialist Jessica Michael said at any given time in DeSoto County, about 120 children are in foster homes due to abuse or neglect.
Desoto Times Tribune
April 2, 2010
Baby Taken Away From Mother Because She Can't Speak English
The Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS) recently ruled that a woman was an unfit mother because she can't speak English.
The DHS declared that the inability to speak English, "placed her unborn child in danger and will place the baby in danger in the future."
September 2, 2009
Alert Kidjacked to Mississippi CPS news!
Jacked Up: No Where To Turn
Most states have safe haven laws on the books, permitting a new parent to drop off an infant at a local fire department or hospital without repercussions. This is a laudable service that I am certain has had a positive impact on more than one infants life over the years.
May 15, 2010