Child abuse organization says funding problem bigger than FedEx

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Executive Director of the Center for the Prevention Child Abuse, Michelle Shows, is speaking out after recently learning her organization was denied nearly $325,000 worth of funding from the state Department of Human Services.

"We were shocked and disappointed, after 12 years, that we were not renewed," Shows said.

It all started after the center learned a package sent priority overnight through FedEx arrived in Jackson three days late. As a result, the center missed the funding submission deadline.

But, according to Shows, at this point, the center isn't looking to FedEx to fix the situation.

"They happily wrote us a letter. They realized clearly that this error cost an agency $325,000 and are doing what they could to help us. Now it lies in the decision and discretion of the Department of Human Services," Shows said.

Last week, the center sent the letter from FedEx explaining the package was delayed due to operational problems in Memphis. In a follow-up letter to department head Don Thompson, the center asked not to be disqualified for funding due to circumstances beyond its control.

"He reviewed our plea to please accept our proposal and award us a contract, and he decided to deny our plea," Shows said.

The denial has the center scrambling to contact everyone from politicians to community supporters. Its contract for funding will run out after Wednesday of this week.

The money would fund the Families First Resource Center which provides numerous resources before, during and after abusive situations to nearly 8,000 children and parents in Harrison, Hancock, Stone and Pearl River Counties. Shows said youth courts, social workers and non-profits depend on services like its family resource library, parenting classes and child advocacy center.

"This community deserves to have its programs and services in place," Shows said.

WLOX tried contacting the Department of Human Services, but was unable to reach anyone to respond to this story.

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