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Court and CPS collaboration spotlighted in Round 3 Report for Legal and Judicial Communities

February 23, 2021

Children in MDCPS Custody

Collaboration between the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services and the judiciary was in the spotlight in the "Child and Family Services Reviews Round 3 Report for Legal and Judicial Communities" issued last week by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Report noted, "Mississippi's Department of Child Protection Services (MDCPS), in partnership with judicial leadership, has committed to expanding the number of counties that involve judicial court staff in the state's child welfare Practice Model Learning Cycle (PMLC) during the CFSR PIP Implementation Period. The PMLC is a training and coaching process to institutionalize the state's prevention-focused, trauma-informed, family-centric child welfare system practice model. Additional counties are being invited to replicate the judicial PMLC based on complementary initiatives, performance data, and readiness to participate." 

The Report noted that Hancock County was among the early judicial adopters of the Practice Model Learning Cycle. Judge Trent Favre and his court staff participated in 2018, shortly after he became the first full-time County and Youth Court Judge for Hancock County.

The Report said, "Joint implementation of the practice model resulted in shared goals and expectations that include ensuring all efforts are made to prevent children from entering foster care, safely returning children home when possible and appropriate, strengthening family engagement and accurate assessments, and achieving more timely permanency. It also strengthened agency and court communication and respect; provided a common language; and created a trauma-informed, supportive, and restorative approach to casework practice and judicial proceedings."  

The Report said, "Data for two of the early judicial adopters of the PMLC, Hancock County in 2018 and Harrison County in 2019, show that both counties experienced a sharp decline in the rate of children entering foster care, the number of children in foster care, the percentage of children re-entering foster care within 12 months, and the percentage of children experiencing recurrence of maltreatment."

Judge Mike Dickinson became Youth Court Judge for Harrison County in 2019

Here is a link to Department of Child Protection Services March 2018 data detailing children in CPS custody: March 2018 Data  Compare to February 2021 children in custody data: February 2021 Data

In 2020, Tippah, Benton, Marshall, Lee, Sunflower, Humphreys, Yazoo, Warren, and Copiah counties participated, according to Taylor Cheeseman of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. The Report referred to seven training sites, but Tippah and Benton counties trained together, as did Sunflower and Humphreys counties.

Read the summary of Mississippi's activities at pages 8-9 of the Report here: Round 3 Report