Mary Grantham of the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services visited Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee on Thursday to discuss the need for foster parents statewide and in the Laurel/Jones County area. “We need foster homes here in Jones County,” she said. Grantham explained that the greatest need is for foster parents for teenagers and sibling groups. However, other groups who are in need include children with medical needs, teen mothers and pregnant girls, sexually active children, children who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, children who have been sexually abused, youth with psychological or developmental issues, and children who need to learn new coping skills. Foster parents can express their preferences to a licensure specialist once the process is started.
According to the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services, foster care is “intended to provide temporary short-term care for a child. Foster care is a protective service for children and their parents who must live apart because of child abuse, neglect, or special family circumstances requiring the need for out-of-home care.”
The Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services reports that there are nearly 4,000 children (3,850) currently in MDCPS care.
In order to be a foster parent, you must be a legal resident of Mississippi, be 21 years old or older, be legally single or legally married, have fewer than five children currently living in your home, be financially self-supporting and all members of your household over the age of 14 must be able to pass a criminal background check.
If you are interested in being a foster parent, you can visit email@example.com to apply. After you apply a licensure specialist will contact you to set up a meeting and discuss the next steps with you and your family.
In general, when children have been removed from their parents’ home, the parents have six months to make the improvements recommended by the state before having their rights terminated. If a parent’s rights are terminated, the child could be adopted by the foster parents or by other family members. In ideal circumstances the child is placed in foster care for 6 to 8 months while the parents make the changes needed to regain custody. However, in many cases children placed in foster care will remain in foster care for longer than six months. It is determined on a case-by-case basis. While foster parents usually do meet with the child’s biological family, MDCPS does not disclose the foster family’s personal contact information.
Once a person or family qualifies to have a licensed foster home, the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services will provide support and resources to help them be successful in this new role. “We do help families adjust to having a child in the home,” Grantham said. “Families will know everything that is expected of them and we will be there as a support for you.”
For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.