Tags: Health Topics | childhood | mdcps | olivia y

Party of Life Should Support Foster Care

foster care
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By with Michael R. Shannon
Friday, 24 May 2019 04:39 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Conservatives are often accused of being hard-hearted when it comes to social services.

Much of this is simply leftist propaganda. However, the one area of social services where we believe conservatives should never even giving an inkling of callousness is foster care.

Conservatives should support their particular foster care system 100 percent. This does not mean conservatives should not closely monitor how the money is being spent and exercise due diligence in how the overall system is being run.

It does mean foster care services should never be short of money to operate a first-class system that protects and yes, fosters the development of these vulnerable children.

If conservatives, and for the most part by default this means Republicans, are truly the party of life, we must remember life continues after birth and for some children it will require the intervention of the state.

What brings this to mind is a recent story by Brandon Richard of Memphis, Tennessee's WMC Action News 5. Richard reports that a federal court has been asked to take over the state of Mississippi’s entire foster care system, "That's what a child advocate is pushing for, arguing the state is violating a federal court agreement by not providing proper care to thousands of children in its custody."

The case has a long history. It began in 2004 when A Better Childhood, headquartered in New York, sued the state contending children in the foster care system were being harmed.

One of the children’s stories is horrifying, "The plaintiffs included a three-year-old girl, who is listed in court documents under the pseudonym of Olivia Y. The suit claims the state placed Olivia in a home where a convicted rapist also lived. It alleges state foster care workers made no effort to determine if Olivia, who was also malnourished and weighed just 20 pounds, had been sexually abused or carried sexually transmitted diseases."

Mississippi settled that court case, but now A Better Childhood claims it has not done enough.

In response, the state says it has “reduced the number of kids in its custody (4,750 as of April 2019), eliminated overdue investigations, and recruited and licensed 400 new foster homes in 2018.”

The state agreed to hire enough new caseworkers (and one would hope train them) so that each had no more than 14 cases. Fifteen years later this still hasn’t been done. The state rationalizes, "Our goal is for all caseworkers, regardless of where they are assigned, to have no more than an average of 14 cases," said Lea Anne Brandon, director of communications for MDCPS.

"We are, on average, slightly above that caseload cap but everyone is very close to meeting it. Roughly 65 percent of our workers have 14 cases or less. The remaining 35 percent are close or very close with only a few cases over. We are diligently working to bring everyone into caseload limit compliance," Brandon added. 

In the new lawsuit, A Better Childhood wants the case load limit to be reduced even more, while lawyers for the state claim funding cuts have hampered compliance.

Mississippi’s budget for 2019 is $6.1 billion. Somewhere in that vast amount of money there are funds to build a foster care system that puts the children first. It’s all a matter of priorities. Let’s hope Mississippi legislators decide to make protecting children one of the state’s top priorities.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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If conservatives, and for the most part by default this means Republicans, are truly the party of life, we must remember life continues after birth and for some children it will require the intervention of the state.
childhood, mdcps, olivia y
655
2019-39-24
Friday, 24 May 2019 04:39 PM
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