MDCPS Adoption Unit receives National 2022 Adoption Excellence Award

Published 12:03 pm Friday, December 30, 2022

Jackson, MS – The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services Adoption Unit received the 2022 Adoption Excellence Award in the category of Child Welfare/ Judicial Systemic Change and was honored in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey building in Washington, DC, on November 15, 2022.  The Adoption Unit was nominated by Shonda Kirksey and Tosha Satcher and recognized by friends and colleagues for their extraordinary contributions to advance the importance of permanency for children from the child welfare system. The United States Department of Health and Human Services established this award in 1997. It recognized ten recipients for outstanding accomplishments in achieving permanency for America’s children waiting in foster care in 2022. These awards honor States, child welfare agencies, organizations, courts, businesses, individuals, and families. Marcus Davenport, Director of Permanency Support Services, attended the ceremony to accept the award along with Adoption Specialists Devin McCorkle and Kristen Warihay.


In his current capacity, Mr. Davenport oversees several program areas, including Termination of Parental Rights, Adoption, and Independent Living Services. Additionally, Davenport manages several program-related federal grants and contracts.  In March 2019, the Mississippi Supreme Court’s Commission on Justice honored him as one of three inaugural Champions for Children.

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Marcus Davenport stated, “The children, youth, and families served by the Department keep me showing up each morning. We’ve made significant progress in improving the child welfare system in Mississippi and bettering outcomes for our clients through prevention, reunification, adoption, and other avenues.  Witnessing our children, youth, and families being restored (through any path) motivates me to return to the fight daily for the betterment of the Department and Mississippi’s child welfare system. Lives depend on us. My team and I being recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Children’s Bureau for the 2022 Adoption Excellence Award is a great honor and testament to the progress we’re making in Mississippi. I’m proud to lead this team.”


“This is thankless work sometimes, and we don’t get a lot of happy, feel-good moments. We do hard work in families, and it’s rewarding but not always rewarded. So, this award is coming at a perfect time when we’re trying to focus on moving children to permanency”, said Commissioner Andrea Sanders.


MDCPS has a commitment to permanency called Paving a Pathway to Permanency. As an agency and with our community partners, we will be evaluating how we can work with the legal system for our children who have a permanency plan of adoption in Mississippi. The court system is the primary system, as well as prosecutors and parent representatives, to start clearing a path to permanency for children. We are intentionally looking at children who are legally free for adoption and living with their family that wants to adopt them. MDCPS is working with lawyers across the state that have agreed to do the work, and we have received 167 adoption decrees since our Home for the Holidays campaign kickoff on October 15, 2022.


The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services serves to protect children, support families, and encourage lasting family connections. To learn more, please visit