Nearly 6,000 children are in the care of the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services.
Officials with MDCPS said drug use among parents is the number one reason children are often removed from the home, or placed under CPS supervision.
“A few years ago, the percentage of children who were in our custody was twenty-eight percent,” said MDCPS Commissioner Dr. David Chandler. “Now that has almost doubled.”
The rise of the recent opioid addiction epidemic across the United States and in Mississippi is part of the reason for the dramatic increase in foster care cases.
“We also have a lot of alcoholism and heroin use in our state as well,” said Kristi Plotner, Deputy Commissioner.
Plotner added that this is a $100 million dollar tax burden on the state.
“And that number will just continue to go up unless we do something different,” said Plotner.
Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice and CPS head Maura Corrigan has been contracted through the Casey Foundation to help Mississippi fight back against the increase of foster children in the state.
“There are programs across the United States that are being used now,” said Corrigan. “And I’ll be looking at those programs with Mississippi, finding the ones that will be of use to them.”
Plotner said if you spot a child in need of assistance, don’t play investigator.
“We don’t want citizens in that situation,” said Plotner. “If you’re noticing signs of neglect, or something seems off, give us a call.”
Visit the MDCPS website for more information.