SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - This Friday, First Lady Deborah Bryant, with the help of Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam, will kick off a pilot project aimed at reducing and preventing child abuse and neglect by helping parents break the cycle of drug addiction.
Earlier this year, Beam sat down with the head of Child Protective Services, Dr. David Chandler, to talk about the foster care problem in Mississippi that has a direct correlation to opioid abuse.
Rescue 100 is a fast track program that helps people become certified foster care parents. That program started on the coast and has now spread throughout the state.
Beam worked with a Gulfport pastor on that program, and has now come up with the Children's Justice Commission. It provides a way to help drug addicted parents before their children are taken away and while they are away.
For the first time, they will start with pregnant moms, offering weekly classes for underlying trauma therapy and parenting skills. It's about more than certifying people to become foster parents, but helping the parents at the same time.
"I think sometimes we are mistaken when we think oh, let's just get them a nice home with loving parents when they will still have to overcome some of the rejection that comes with replacing your biological family," said Beam. "We are going to do everything that we can, and the law requires that we provide reasonable efforts to help these moms in particular overcome the drug abuse issue."
The program will launch in Marion County later this year and then move to Pearl River and Hancock counties.