News

Teamwork for child safety training to be presented in Oxford, Madison and Gulfport

May 10, 2019

Teams of child protection professionals who work to safeguard the welfare of abused and neglected children will gather for a day of training in Oxford on May 13, in Madison on May 14 and in Gulfport on May 15.

On May 13, the With Teamwork Our Kids Win training program will be presented in Oxford at the Oxford Conference Center, 102 Ed Perry Boulevard, from 9 to 3 p.m.

On May 14, the Teamwork program will be presented in Madison at Broadmoor Baptist Church, 1531 Highland Colony Parkway, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On May 15, the Teamwork program will be presented in Gulfport at Michael Memorial Baptist Church,10553 John Clark Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Child protection workers, Youth Court judges and referees, Youth Court prosecutors, attorneys for parents and children, guardians ad litem and others who work with children are expected to attend the training.

The training will include how to evaluate and balance safety of children versus risk factors in determining whether they should be removed to foster care or can remain safely at home. The federal Family First Prevention Services Act, FFPSA, emphasizes prevention of abuse and neglect by providing services that families need, rather than removing children from parents’ custody. The federal law redirects some federal spending to child neglect prevention in an effort to reduce the need for children to enter foster care.

“Family is one of the most valued treasures that a child can have,” said Rankin County Youth Court Judge Thomas Broome, co-chair of the Commission on Children’s Justice and chairman of the Mississippi Council of Youth Court Judges. “Children have to feel safe and loved, and they thrive when there is a low risk of harm to them. The training will focus on whether the current conditions in a home or family pose an immediate threat of danger to children,” he said. “There will also be an effort to identify strengths and protective factors that families bring to the table. The goal is to have parents and agencies work together.”

The team aspect means that participants “will join in critical training that brings everyone to the table so that we talk the same language and also share a common core of values,” Judge Broome said.

“The whole point is that we are trying to get everyone to focus on prevention rather than ...removal” of children from the custody of their parents, said Mary Fuller, Youth Court Programs Director at the Administrative Office of Courts.

The number of children in state custody reached a high of more than 6,100 in July 2017, according to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. The number of children in state custody in cases of suspected abuse and neglect has declined to fewer than 4,700 as of May 1, according to CPS.

The training is provided by Casey Family Programs and the AOC Court Improvement Program.

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