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Manna Ministry starting Family Advocacy Program to help families

Through the use of grant funding from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, Manna Ministries is kicking off a Family Advocacy Program.

Program Coordinator Meghan Finley spoke with members of Exchange Club of Picayune and Rotary Club of Picayune recently to share information about the new program and ask for references to local resources that could help the program succeed.

The aim of the program is to help families address the cause of potential child neglect, which is typically based on financial difficulties or a lack of access to resources. Finley said that many times when child neglect occurs, it’s not that the parents don’t care about the child, but they have those obstacles in life to overcome.

Most cases of child abuse are due to neglect, not necessarily physical abuse, and many of those cases go unreported. She said that within Mississippi, 76 percent of child maltreatment is due to neglect. Children who are neglected are at risk of suffering from cognitive, social and emotional development issues.

As adults those children will have a lack of social skills, and have trouble solving problems in life. That can lead to a a cycle of substance abuse and neglect of their own children. Many times children who are determined to be neglected are taken from their home, putting a burden on the state’s resources. Finley said that in 2016, about $160 million was spent within Mississippi on child welfare.

The aim of the Family Advocacy program is to end the cycle of neglect by promoting safe and stable families and helping parents through the use of a support system.

By helping the parents, they can prevent child abuse and keep the children in their own homes.

Currently, Finley is in the initial phase of gathering information about the availability of resources that can help those families overcome their obstacles.

For more information or to share resources with the program, Finley can be reached at 601-569-6991.