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Families reunited by Hinds County Youth Court receive Thanksgiving meals

November 26, 2020

Social services workers on Wednesday delivered Thanksgiving food boxes to 15 families who were recently reunited with their children in Hinds County Youth Court.

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“These are families whose children have been in foster care,” said Hinds County Court Judge Carlyn Hicks. “These are families who have been recently reunited through the Court. The families have satisfied the Court’s requirements to safely reunite with these children.”

Judge Hicks organized the food collection and distribution. The Hinds County Department of Child Protection Services called upon private donors to pay for the meals, collecting more than $2,000.

“We wanted to help those families prepare for the holidays and Thanksgiving meals so they could just focus on family,” Judge Hicks said.

The smell of fried turkey and roasted chicken filled a conference room at the Henley Young Juvenile Justice Center in Jackson on Wednesday as Department of Child Protection Services workers began loading boxes of food for delivery to the recently reunited families. CPS social workers who have worked with those families delivered the meals to their homes Wednesday afternoon.

Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings. “We are all fortunate to be able to sit around the table with our families,” Judge Hicks said. “It can feel very isolating for a child in foster care during the holidays.” Even though they are well care for, “that’s not their family. It’s not the same because they are in foster care.”

Judge Hicks has pushed to reunite families if children can be returned to their families safely. Since her appointment to the Hinds County Court on July 14, Judge Hicks has ordered reunification of 71 former foster care children with family members. They went home to live with parents or grandparents, aunts and other extended family. Twenty more children are in trial home placement, living with family members while remaining under the supervision of the Department of Child Protection Services to make sure that their transition is safe.

Judge Hicks has undertaken an evaluation of every foster care child in the custody of the Department of Child Protection Services in Hinds County. “Only those children who need to be in the foster care system are in foster care,” Judge Hicks said.

Child Protection Services social workers are assisting families to make changes ordered by the Court so that they may provide safe home environments.

“When we work together, this is the result,” Judge Hicks said.