Head of Mississippi foster care agency retiring in January

Jess Dickinson (Source Mississippi Dept. of Child Protection Services)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The leader of Mississippi's foster care agency is retiring next month when a new governor takes office.

Jess Dickinson has announced that Jan. 16 will be his last day at Child Protection Services.

The former state Supreme Court justice has been commissioner since September 2017.

Gov. Phil Bryant says the agency has increased adoptions and taken steps to keep families intact when it's safe to do so.

Marcia Robinson Lowry is head of a child advocacy group that sued the state over foster care. She says things have gotten worse under Dickinson's watch. He disputes that, saying they've gotten better.