(Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Human Services released its 2019 Annual Report today, highlighting how the agency’s work improved the lives of thousands of Mississippians and keeping its commitment to transparency and visibility.
Tasked with the mission to move children and families from a state of crisis to a state of self-sufficiency, the agency took great strides during the year to improve the lives of thousands of Mississippians statewide. Highlights from 2019 include:
· The Division of Aging and Adult Services served 1,862,877 meals in home settings, and 398,678 meals in congregate settings.
· The Division of Child Support Enforcement collected $371,714,793 in child support payments to go to custodial parents.
· Through the Community Services Block Grant, the Division of Community Services was able to serve 63,730 clients with $11,374,954 to be used to help obtain an adequate education, secure, and retain meaningful employment, and adequate housing, pursue health and nutrition services, and access community resources and transportation through referrals.
· Through the Healthy Families Mississippi program, The Division of Early Childhood Care and Development was able to serve 639 children, 692 families, and visit 7,557 homes. In addition, 35,876 children were served with subsidies through Mississippi’s Child Care Payment Program.
· The Division of Economic Assistance served 218,271 households and 420,427 persons through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and 3,731 households and 7,211 persons through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
· With a $7,066,115.78 investment through the Ethics Discipline Goals Employment program, 3,051 students received assistance in numerous exit pathways, which included academic (high school equivalency or college vocational education), life skills (additional work or behavioral skills) or work (subsidized or unsubsidized employment).
· The Division of Youth Services provided probation and after-care services to juveniles referred to Youth Courts in all 82 counties in the state. Oakley Youth Development Center provided rehabilitative services to 150 youth and their families.
· The newly-formed Office of Inspector General was established with the mission to detect, prevent, and deter fraud, waste, and abuse through the audit, investigation, and monitoring of federal and state taxpayer dollars used to deliver human services programs in Mississippi, through diligent monitoring and investigation, the Office of Inspector General identified 995 SNAP program violations, collecting $4,374,958. As discrepancies are identified, they are corrected immediately either by internal measures or reporting those discrepancies to the proper authorities.
“Inside this report you will find facts, figures, and explanations for each of our programs. The numbers are more than just dollars or statistics. The numbers represent individuals throughout Mississippi who at some point in the year found themselves in a state of crisis,” said MDHS Executive Director Christopher Freeze. “Perhaps, they struggled to put food on the table, pay an electric bill, complete their education, find childcare services, collect child support, support a child in the juvenile justice system, learn a skill to become employed, or ensure they were not defrauded during their retirement years.
MDHS is committed to demonstrating leadership, working with our partners, and being good stewards as we help the most vulnerable in our society. What we do best is captured in our name; we are the Department of Human Services.”
The 2019 Annual Report is also the first to be issued under the leadership of Director Freeze, who was appointed Executive Director in August 2019. During his first two months at the helm, Freeze has implemented numerous controls and procedures to raise the level of transparency and visibility within the agency, to include:
· Releasing all Request for Proposals (RFPs) to the public through the media and other external outlets and requiring all subgrantees to submit to RFPs.
· Establishing an RFP Committee made up of representatives from each division to review proposals and determine the best prospect to receive funding.
· Developing a Risk Assessment Matrix to evaluate the suitability, feasibility, and acceptability of proposed subgrantees. Signed off on by the Office of Inspector General and Deputy Executive Director for Programs and includes onsite visits to determine how the dollars would be used.
· Establish subgrantee training at the beginning of the grant period to ensure subgrantees follow the same procedures and controls implemented within the agency.
The full 2019 Annual Report can be found here.
For more information on the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the services they provide, go to www.mdhs.ms.gov.