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February 2017

THE BEACON IS GETTING A NEW LOOK!

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MDHS…A Better Me, A Better Mississippi - Last month I introduced to you the concept of a Human Services Generational Approach or gen+. This month I am pleased to bring to you the overarching tagline that this administration will intentionally work toward as we move forward. MDHS…A Better Me, A Better Mississippi. This fits perfectly with gen+ because our goal is “a hand-up” for each person who seeks assistance but, our efforts do not stop at the individual level. In fact, it must be a holistic family approach. If we assist an adult household member with workforce development/career technical assistance we too must determine how we may reach the youth who are in the household. 
Either directly through the programs we administer or the taxpayer who ultimately funds this agency, we have the potential to reach every citizen.  The question must be, “Does the contact produce positive empowering results.” I am not offering anything new to most of you. What I am offering is the fact that we, MDHS staff, are uniquely positioned to help empower almost 1 million Mississippians which translates to approximately 400,000 families. Our website states: “The agency seeks to empower families so they can become self-sufficient and responsible for their future success.”  Are we fulfilling that mission? 
If given the choice, along with the opportunity, the overwhelming number of families who enter MDHS are simply needing supplemental assistance while on their journey back to self-sufficiency.  They are not seeking the entanglement of a bureaucratic process which threatens to become their only hope.  The assistance of a compassionate and knowledgeable MDHS staff member can offer the opportunity to navigate through an often complicated system. As gen+ ​Navigators, we at MDHS, have a unique “big picture” view of potential resources. Many of you know me personally and my history with the agency; however, I learn something new every day which potentially may be the specific resource needed by a family in their quest for self-reliance. I, like you, must use that knowledge to help others. 
 
In gen+, we must also recognize there are some who may need additional assistance. Perhaps the first employment for the adult household member leaves them underemployed. This is an opportunity for MDHS to look across the private nonprofit, for-profit sectors or governmental agencies to determine if there are potential resources. Career/technical training at the local Community College, assistance through the WIN Job Centers, an employer who is willing to offer advanced training, or maybe even something through the braided services of the multiple state agencies involved in the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plan. 
We, as an agency, have as our core values: Integrity, Self-Development, Outstanding Program Delivery and Excellent Customer Services. As we continue to move forward, I would like your feedback. What are your suggestions concerning how we can best work to empower children and families?  I would also like to hear your comments about what you think about MDHS…A Better Me, A Better Mississippi and gen+.  Please feel free to send your comments directly to the MDHS Office of Communications.
I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the MDHS team as well as your continued dedication and hard work in our efforts to serve the citizens of Mississippi. At MDHS we are all gen+ Navigators.
 
We would like to welcome Dr. Candice N. Pittman Director, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development. A native of West Point, Miss., Dr. Candice N. Pittman enters her position after working seven years at NSPARC, the innovative research center at Mississippi State University that is involved in several early childhood projects. During her time at NSPARC, Dr. Pittman coordinated and managed numerous research efforts for the State Early Childhood Advisory Council, Mississippi Head Start Association, and Mississippi Building Blocks. She is also an author on several technical reports and publications related to workforce and early childhood care and education.

“I believe that it is imperative for all of our children to receive high-quality early care and learning,” Dr. Pittman said. “It is even more important to ensure that Mississippi’s most needy children are fully prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn on day one. Helping child care centers achieve these goals will be my No. 1 priority.”

Dr. Pittman believes the connections she has built in the early childhood community for her work at NSPARC will prove invaluable moving forward.

“I am looking forward to growing the relationships I have with providers and organizations so that we can make sure every perspective is accounted for when making decisions,” Pittman. “I know from my research experience that we have a lot of people in Mississippi who are deeply committed to improving the learning experiences of our youngest children.”

Dr. Pittman received all three of her degrees from Mississippi State, including a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in instructional technology, and a doctorate in instructional systems and workforce development.
 

CYPRESS MUFFINS
 
INGREDIENTS
15oz box of raisin bran cereal
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups all purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt

DIRECTIONS
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients in a large dishpan.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Mix Very Well!
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
**Batter will last up to 4 weeks in the fridge**.
Recipe submitted by Crystal Aaron
Adult and Aging Services Call Center
Meet the new hotline team. To report abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult call  the Vulnerable Adult Abuse hotline center. The Vulnerable Adult Hotline Number is 844-437-6282.

Pictured above Back Row from Left to Right: Syletta Eide, Leah Fulton, Jessica Wells,
Gabriel Parson, Lyndria Lee
Front Row from left to Right: Lavada Singleton, Sandra McClendon, MDHS Division of Aging and Adult Services, Director, Migai Wilson
Dana Kidd, Reshma Khatkhate, Sandra Giddy, and Suzanne Anderson attended SERO's (Southeast Region) annual FNS ABAWD/E&T conference in Atlanta during the week of February 13-17.

Yolanda Daniel, SERO's ABAWD Program Specialist (aka SERO's ABAWD queen), was in charge of the ABAWD portion of the training.

One of the training sessions was ABAWD Family Feud.  Each state made a team and the states competed against each other. The Mississippi Team was the only team who answered each question correctly the first time (no buzzers for us at all).  The 3 spokespersons for each team were crowned ABAWD queens. 

Pictured above is Suzanne Anderson


Kay Papas, director of Noxubee County, received a certificate for having a great (M.E.) review.

Noxubee county had 4 cases that had errors none with over payments.

The certificate was presented by Jim Sims, Region 5 Director.
The Forrest County DHS staff, Regional Director and Program Specialist from Region VI, and State Office Program Specialists assisted with SNAP Replacements in the aftermath of the tornado that hit the area on January 21, 2017. At the completion of the two-week process, staff enjoyed a luncheon consisting of taco soup, salad, dessert, and beverages.
Mrs. Paula Grimes retired from Lee County Department of Human Services, Tupelo, MS with over 30 years of service.  Lunch was provided by the county staff.
We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Pictured above: Paula Grimes (Left); Leslie Tucker (Right)
The Mississippi Department of Human Services and Mississippi Department of Employment Security Hancock County office has  "HOT JOBS".  Jobs are posted weekly by case management and employment security.  The agencies are reaching out to the local businesses to post employment opportunities as well.

Pictured from left to right:  Camile Johnston, County Director; Helen Joyner, Case Manager; Cassandra Magee, Employment Interviewer II; Chris Young, Office Manger I
Vicksburg Catholic Schools are looking to make an impact on the Vicksburg community by partnering with Families First for Mississippi.

Families First for Mississippi is a grant funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services that serves communities through two nonprofit organizations, the Mississippi Community Education Center and the Family Resource Center of Northeast Mississippi.“Between the both of us, we deliver Families First programs throughout the entire state,” said Alyssa Laubach, media coordinator for MCEC.

These nonprofits divide the state into north and south and partner with different organizations and schools in communities throughout the state to better serve each area.

“We’re just trying to connect the dots between our services and make sure there’s a greater reach,” she said. “My understanding is they’ve been reaching out to different people who are already providing similar services, and by us granting them some of our money, hopefully, they can continue to do that as well as now bring in some of our Families First services.”

The services provided through the grant center on youth development, workforce development, parenting education and life skills education, and are offered to families in the community through seminars and online workshops.

To read the rest of the article visit http://www.vicksburgpost.com/2017/02/15/families-first-vcs-establish-partnership/
This is Coco Chanel Lee. She is a Jack Russell Terrier. She is 2.5 years old and resides in Raymond, MS. She has one brother, Soldier. Coco loves to play with her stuffed animals. She loves to sleep and drink plenty of water. Coco is very energetic and she loves to run around the yard. Coco may be small in stature but she is very protective of her family. She likes doggy treats and loves to scare the mailman. Coco loves to chase cats and scare other animals from the yard. She has a motherly instinct and loves to cuddle.
Photo courtesy of Lyndria Lee
Elizabeth Kriss, longtime director of the Marshall County Depart­ment of Human Services office, has accepted a position with the Division of Workforce Development, a part of the state DHS.

She joins 32 others in starting up the program. Kriss said those in on the ground floor will help develop the new Division of Workforce Development. Her last day in the county was January 13.

David Spencer, with Marshall County DHS, is also going to be involved in the new program and is shadowing Kriss.

Paul Nelson, at the Mississippi Department of Human Services, said directors and staff in the newly created Division of Workforce Development, will collaborate with partners all across the state, including the Mississippi Community College Board and local community colleges, to help individuals and families that MDHS serves. Those clients will have access to education and training services and supportive services while they earn a credential or gain workforce skills that will help them compete in today’s job market.

“We also want to partner with community-based organizations to help support families with wrap-around supportive services such as case management, navigation, and mentoring services and help resolve barriers that make it difficult for individuals to participate in educational and training programs and activities,” Nelson said. “We want to connect participants to in-demand fields and careers.”

High growth sectors that are expected to have jobs that offer livable wages will be targeted across the state for these services, he said.

Marshall County fits well within that sector.

The DWD staff will be responsible for resource mapping across the state, initially.

“MDHS is moving to a whole family approach to serve families, not just individuals,” Nelson said. “Resources will be critical in meeting the needs of families.”

The staff of the new division, DWD, will assist adults in finding employment or in enrolling in education and training activities. They will also help parents access quality childcare. Some high schools already help students identify a career pathway and to earn college credits prior to graduation.

Nelson said MDHS wants to help support these efforts by school districts to use all the available resources and to help DWD’s partners to maximize their resources through braiding services.

He added that workforce development is a priority for the State of Mississippi, not only MDHS.
“MDHS is a core partner in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act state plan,” Nelson said. “Partner agencies are working together to ensure appropriate referrals are made to all agencies that may have services and resources available, regardless of which agency from which the person initially seeks assistance.”

He said Kriss will work with workforce development in Marshall County as well as across the entire state partnership area.

Employees like Kriss will be placed in locations accessible to local workforce development needs, such as at community colleges, WIN Job Centers, and Family First Resource Centers, Nelson said.
Kriss said she is one of 11 county office directors of DHS leaving to work in the state program.

Photo and Article by SUE WATSON
Staff Writer for The South Reporter

 
MDHS' own Sherman Nunn (DECCD), who also serves as President of Jackson's P-16 Community Engagement Council, stands (center) with other council members and Jackson Public Schools Board Member, Jed Oppenheim at JPS Headquarters to discuss the selection of a new school superintendent. The P-16 Council assists the school board by giving a community voice to many issues, including policy matters and internal solutions.

"This is an excellent opportunity to make groundbreaking strides for the community's involvement within our educational system.", stated Nunn at the conclusion of the meeting. "We plan to be as instrumental as possible in this very important process of selecting a new superintendent who will be in tune with the needs of our children."

On the first and third Tuesdays of each month,  MDHS' Department of Early Childhood Care and Development (DECCD)conducts statewide training via the internet to train potential Childcare Providers for the task at hand. At the helm of the operation is Sherman Nunn, Special Projects Officer IV with the department. 

"I inherited the duty very soon after joining the MDHS family", says Nunn. "It is a joy to me as I am able to assist our clients with other skills that I have". Nunn, a former Radio/TV Broadcast Major at Jackson State University, finds the opportunity by conducting the webinars known as "eLedger Training for New DECCD Approved Providers" pleasantly challenging and very necessary.

"As with the case of anyone working with matters involving children, I recognize the importance of what I am doing and I strive to make certain that our childcare provider candidates are as informed as possible and that they understand how pivotal their role is in the lives of our community's children." He added is very helpful to have a background in which he was trained to speak to large numbers of people while conveying important information. 

Childcare provider candidates apply through DECCD to become approved for receiving subsidized payments that assist children who hold certificates on DECCD's Child Care Payment Program. A vital part of the provider approval process is successfully completing a webinar training session.

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