/Olivia Y foster care settlement adds social workers, loosens regs

Olivia Y foster care settlement adds social workers, loosens regs

Olivia Y. v. Barbour updates several of the reporting requirements that were imposed on Department of Mississippi Child Protection Services under the 2012 consent decree. Additional social workers will be available in the state, as well as increased licensing of foster homes. This agreement is intended to help children find permanent placements more quickly. “Thanks in large part to the leadership of our governor, and other elected officials we were able to implement system reforms in Mississippi that directly impact the lives of children and their families. We are constantly improving and expanding our services with their support. Every county in our state is getting more skilled employees. We are registering more foster homes and adoptive parents who love children in need. In a press release, Tracy Malone, the deputy commissioner for child welfare in Mississippi, stated that the settlement will be centered on ensuring the safety of all Mississippi children. Since 2004, the case of Olivia Y. has prompted a total restructuring of Mississippi’s foster-care system. The suit alleged that Mississippi’s foster system had repeatedly neglected children under its care, as exemplified in the case of Olivia Y. along with six other child plaintiffs. The lawsuit sought court-ordered changes to the foster care system and not monetary damages. Numerous changes were made. The state has strengthened its training requirements for caseworkers and improved its record in keeping siblings together and placing kids within an hour’s drive of their homes. A 2014 report found that Mississippi’s foster-care system was still lacking in many areas, including accurate data collection and investigation into child abuse. The Department of Human Services was created to assist the then-Gov. Haley Barbour was the original defendant in the suit. The Department of Human Services, which along with then-Gov. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed David Chandler, a former justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, as its first director. U.S. District Judge Tom Lee issued a second court order last spring instructing the state with details to follow his 2008 mandate to clean-up the system. This is the updated settlement that resulted from that order.