Council of Youth Court Judges says DHS staff shortage presents crisis

Oct. 25, 2002

The Mississippi Council of Youth Court Judges in a recently adopted resolution said the staffing shortage at the Department of Human Services "creates a crisis for children at risk."

The resolution, adopted Sept. 20, asked the Legislature and the Governor to fully fund the Department of Human Services.

Thomas B. Storey Jr. of West Point, chairman of the Council of Youth Court Judges, told a statewide conference of judges in Jackson Thursday that the staff shortage within the Divisions of Children and Family Services at the Department of Human Services "is an endangerment to the citizens and the children of Mississippi."

Storey also said staff shortages at the state training schools present problems.

Storey made the remarks Thursday while making a report of the Council of Youth Court Judges at a luncheon meeting of the Trial and Appellate Judges Fall Conference in Jackson.

Storey in an interview said he fears that tragedy could happen in Mississippi as it did in Florida because overworked social workers are handling too many cases each.

"We are just asking for trouble," Storey said.

The resolution adopted Sept. 20 by the Council of Youth Court Judges reads, in part:

WHEREAS, the Council at its annual meeting held September 20, 2002, did find that the shortages of staff at the Mississippi Department of Human Services creates a crisis for children at risk in the State of Mississippi to such an extent as to constitute an endangerment to the lives of the children and to the citizens of the state of Mississippi.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of Youth Court Judges as follows:

  1. It is recommended to the Mississippi Legislature and to the Governor of the State of Mississippi by this Council that the Department of Human Services be immediately and fully funded, particularly in the Divisions of Children and Family Services and Youth Services, in order that the best interests of the children of the State of Mississippi be adequately addressed and met.
  2. This Council finds that the shortages of staff at the Mississippi Department of Human Services creates a crisis for children at risk in the State of Mississippi to such an extent as to constitute an endangerment to the lives of the children and to the citizens of the State of Mississippi.

THE FOREGOING resolution was unanimously adopted by the Council of Youth Court Judges at its annual business meeting held on September 20, 2002 after proper motion, second and unanimous vote.

A copy of the resolution is available upon request.

Storey may be reached at 662-494-5184.

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MEDIA CONTACT:   Beverly Pettigrew Kraft
Administrative Office of Courts
601-354-7452