Hundreds of Mississippi children and youth will celebrate with their adoptive “forever families” on Saturday as part of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services’ annual Adoption Picnic and Celebration.
MDCPS adoption and frontline staff will join adoptive parents, former foster children and community service providers for an afternoon of outdoor games, picnic fare and late summer fun at the “With Love, Families Will Grow” celebration event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, August 24, at Sunnybrook Children’s Home. The media is invited to participate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunnybrook Children’s Home is located at 222 Sunnybrook Road in Ridgeland.
MDCPS adoption and foster care staff, Mississippi College Law students and private service providers including Southern Christian Services will be on hand to explain the adoption process and post-adoption support services available to those attending.
“MDCPS is involved with these families prior to, during and after adoption to provide support, services and encouragement,” said Jasper Lowe, adoption director for the state’s child welfare agency. “We want this day to be all about the families just celebrating permanency for the children in their lives.”
In SFY 2019, more Mississippi foster children were adopted into loving forever families than in any previous year.
The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services finalized 657 adoptions between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019—an increase over the previous record of 647 adoptions finalized the previous year. Then, since July 1, another 139 adoptions have been finalized with dozens more only waiting for final approval by the court.
“This is one of the best parts of our work – when a child is reunited with a birth parent and, when that’s not safely possible, when a child goes home with a “forever” adoptive family,” said MDCPS Commissioner Jess H. Dickinson.
MDCPS has made it a priority to remove obstacles to timely adoption of children in custody once the court has decided to pursue adoption. In 2017, the agency identified almost 1,500 children who were lingering in foster care while their adoptions had been stalled for a myriad of reasons. In partnership with the local courts and with the Mississippi Attorney General’s office, MDCPS began examining each case and assigned staff and attorneys to resolve obstructions and address problems preventing the cases from moving forward.
SFY 2019’s new adoption record overtakes SFY 2018’s record performance which increased by more than 100% the number of adoptions finalized in SFY 2017 (The state fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30).
As of today, MDCPS has finalized 2,111 adoptions since July 1, 2015 (the beginning of state fiscal year 2016).
In SFY 2019, 657 adoptions were finalized.
Thus far in SFY 2019, which began July 1, MDCPS has finalized 132 adoptions.
In SFY 2018, 647 adoptions were finalized.
In SFY 2017, 302 adoptions were finalized.
In SFY 2016, 373 adoptions were finalized.
Lea Anne Brandon
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39202
MAIN: (601) 359-4368
DIRECT: (601) 359-4364
Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline: 1-800-222-8000