Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi
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Access to Justice Commission to discuss child neglect and abuse prevention March 5

March 1, 2019

Federal funding to aid child neglect and abuse prevention will be discussed by the Access to Justice Commission at its March 5 meeting in Jackson.

The Commission will convene at 10 a.m. March 5 at the Mississippi Bar Center at 643 North State Street. At 10:30 a.m., Susan Robison, Director of State Relations for Casey Family Programs, will talk about the Federal Family First Prevention Services Act, FFPSA.

The Act passed by the U.S. Congress redirects some federal spending to child abuse and neglect prevention in an effort to reduce the need for children to enter foster care. FFPSA emphasizes allowing children to remain at home while families receive community services and support.

Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam will speak to the Access to Justice Commission at 11:30 a.m. Chief Justice Michael K. Randolph is expected to meet with the Commission shortly before noon.

The Supreme Court created the Access to Justice Commission in June 2006. The Commission works to develop a unified strategy to improve access to justice in civil legal proceedings for the poor in Mississippi.

Justice Beam is a member of the Access to Justice Commission, and is co-chair of the Commission on Children’s Justice and of the Family First Initiative. She is expected to talk about the work of the Family First Initiative, which aims to prevent child neglect and reduce the number of children who are removed from their homes and placed in foster care. The program, which organized six pilot programs in 2018, seeks to assist struggling families, improve family stability and create safer home environments for children.

In 2018, the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services found 19,384 substantiated cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of children. Child Protection Services reports approximately 4,800 children are currently in state custody or foster care.

For more information about the Access to Justice Commission, contact Executive Director Nicole McLaughlin at 601-960-9581 or nmclaughlin@msbar.org. Visit the Access to Justice Commission website at http://www.msatjc.org/.

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