Putting Children First

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Almost 500 advocates, educators, law enforcement agents and human service professionals from all over Mississippi met at the Pearl River Resort this week to share ideas on dealing with children and families, and bettering communities statewide.

Thelma Brittain, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services sponsored the conference. Brittain said the main focus of the Permanency Partnership Network is to promote stability and growth in families. She said it's paying off.

"It has impacted the state by bringing families back together and making them interact again," said Brittain.

But it takes a lot of work from everyone involved to make that impact.
The Desoto County Project Homestead office brings a lot of resources from school systems, mental health centers, and social workers to create a change for the better in the community.

"They wanted to be involved. They wanted to know what they can do in their community. How to get abstinence in their schools, permanency issues discussed in their communities," said Kelli Harris of Project Homestead. "Many issues like child abuse, teen sex, and violence."

Participants took home new ideas of how to help each other. They say, alone, the DHS can't work as effectively as it could with the community's help.

"When we come together like this the people from the community learn what services we have and we learn what services they have and by working together we can provide a better job in taking care of these children," said Billy Mangold of Copiah County's DHS.

And with everyone working together, the mission to strengthen the family has a much greater impact, all over Mississippi.