/Human Services agency director to retire

Human Services agency director to retire

Gov. After Ricky Berry, the former director of the agency, resigned in 2016, Phil Bryant appointed Davis as its head. The agency has seen many changes and a federal investigation into its reporting of SNAP error rates have been conducted. Davis was previously deputy administrator for programs, the office director for division of economic aid, and the director of the Lincoln County Department of Human Services. “I am grateful for John Davis’ 28 years of service to Department of Human Services. John has dedicated his entire life to helping others and has been an incredible advocate for Mississippi’s families and children. Bryant stated in a press release that we will immediately begin the search for a new Executive director. The department recently changed its eligibility criteria for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) to conform to a 2019 state law that allowed people with past felony drug convictions eligible for the benefit. The department started automatically granting benefits to those who were already receiving SNAP in July. Davis was awarded for his accuracy and stewardship in SNAP. The release also mentions the mandatory work requirements within the food aid program. The board for Mississippi’s Statewide Longitudinal Data System, (SLDS) which connects various state agencies with data about Mississippi citizens, appointed Davis as its chairman in May. He stated that he plans to use the data in order to find solutions for those living in poverty. He helped create the state plan for the agency, “gen plus”, which aims to meet the needs of grandparents, parents, and children simultaneously. “Over the years, my goal was to truly, truly, holistically view a family in order to help them reach self sufficiency. That sounds great. It’s easy to say, “Oh, well, you should be doing that or giving them that.” Davis spoke to Mississippi Today in May. “But, we have been really organized over the past three- to four years to look from a generational PLUS — or gen plus — standpoint to say that it’s not enough to just find someone a job. What can we do to help the whole family, such as if there are education requirements? Are there food requirements? Are there specific clothing requirements? What are the barriers? What are the soft skills requirements? Are there soft skill requirements? “I believe SLDS is Mississippi’s best chance of reaching the ultimate goal of helping families and people holistically.” It is responsible for child care centers and enforcement of child support. After it revealed that only 1.4 percent of applicants to TANF were approved in 2016, the department was under fire. A Mississippi Today analysis of public records revealed that the agency approved only 1.4 percent of applications for TANF in 2016, despite the fact that the overall caseload is steadily declining. This program serves less than 7 percent families who live below the poverty level. The department has been focusing on coordination services in the context of the state’s Workforce Opportunity Investment Act plan with the federal government. Families First of Mississippi has created 30 “one-stop shops”, which are nonprofits that offer intangible resources such as resume writing and parenting classes. Families First receives a portion of the approximately $110 million in TANF funds from the department of human service to help run the centers. The department is still working on changes to its child-care center quality rating. This will allow centers that are “comprehensive”, to receive higher voucher reimbursements from their state.