DHS asks state for support in better staffing

Published 12:58 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It could take more time, money and policy changes to better protect children in Mississippi, where eight have died of apparent abuse and neglect this year.

The state’s child-welfare agency has asked lawmakers to support a new payment plan to hire and retain additional social workers, as well as patience as the department reviews its policies for placing children.

Lawmakers also considered mandating the monitoring of children whose abuse cases have been closed.

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Those suggestions were made at the state Capitol Monday during a meeting of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Lori Woodruff, deputy administrator for the Department of Human Services’ Family and Children’s Services Division, said she blames “evil behavior” for abuse deaths rather than the agency’s historical lack of funding.