HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A report completed by the Hancock County Youth Court Task Force calls drug addiction one of the biggest problems facing the foster care system in Hancock County.
In December, 2015 more Hancock County children were in DHS custody per-capita than anywhere else in Mississippi. With those alarming numbers, a task force led by State Representative David Baria was formed to figure out why 459 children were in the care of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, and what could be done about it.
The study found that more than 75 percent of families with children in custody suffered from the effects of drug addiction. Methamphetamine was the most common problem drug, with usage up for juveniles in the system. There was also an observed rise in heroin use by parents.
Among the task force's 16 recommendations included an increase in resources to treat substance abuse and addiction in the county.
The report also recommends for the county to hire more attorneys so every parent who appears in youth court can be represented. The attorney and other voluntary groups could help the parents comply with court orders.
Other recommendations of the task force center around the need for continuing efforts to improve communications between agencies and increase resources for children and families in Hancock County.
You can read the entire report here.