January 2017


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The New Year is proving to be as fast-paced as 2016. It has provided closure to many projects but, also offered opportunities for progressive steps in other areas such as Workforce Development. We are currently heavily engaged with the new legislative session which will complete the first 30 days with the introduction of more than 300 bills directly related to MDHS. We estimate there are over a thousand bills waiting to be released in the coming days which may or may not affect MDHS. How, you may ask, does this affect our current operation?  No immediate changes will be required. Should legislation pass through the process and be signed by the Governor into law, we will ensure you are aware of every procedural and policy change required well in advance of implementation. This session is like all others in this respect. One of our primary goals has and will continue to be working with county, state and federal partners to deliver the services administered by this agency as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

I want to thank each employee for your dedication and hard work. Through teamwork, many of the agency goals have been successfully attained. However, we have much more work to do. The families we serve need our assistance in their quest for self-reliance. As I referenced earlier, Workforce Development will continue to be our primary focus. In an effort to re-emphasize the importance of assisting a family as a whole, we have adopted a multigenerational approach, branded generation plus (gen+), to delivering needed assistance.

Our gen+ approach begins by addressing poverty as well as associated barriers encountered by Mississippi families. The approach is designed with an intentional focus on working with the family as a whole. The gen+ approach has 4 core components: education; economic assets; health and well-being; along with social capital. The goal is to create a foundational framework within the department so that identified resources and services along with program support are aligned with a generation plus approach to build upon the success of the family as a whole.

The success of MDHS depends on the success of the individuals we serve. We must use an entire family, multigenerational approach to improve outcomes. Our partnership with the Families First Centers, as well as other critical stakeholders, allows for a broad and comprehensive reach across the state. However, it will require all of us to move forward.

I also want to encourage each of you to visit the MDHS website, follow us on social media and offer our communications department suggestions on how to improve the experience. Social media and electronic communication will become an increasingly more important tool for interaction internally and externally. I appreciate each of you for what you do everyday to ensure success for all of our goals to assist families in Mississippi.
If you have entered the lobby of The Mississippi Department of Human Services you have been met with the beaming smile of Ms. Shirley R. Wright.  She is the kind of person that just brings happiness and joy into a room. Ms. Shirley is originally from Utica, Mississippi but has made Jackson her home. She attended Hinds Agricultural High School, Hinds Community College and Jackson State University. Go Tigers! Ms. Shirley has worked with MDHS for over twenty years. She enjoys interacting with people and it shows. Ms. Shirley says “helping someone gives her such a gratifying feeling.”  If you have had the pleasure to interact with Ms. Shirley you can definitely see that people are her specialty and she enjoys her job.  Ms. Shirley has one child, a son.  Some of her pastimes are reading, gardening, walking and cooking. If you have not had the esteemed pleasure of meeting Ms. Shirley I would suggest taking a trip to the lobby to get a jolt of positivity. 


2lbs. spaghetti
1 chicken bullion cube
1 whole chicken or chicken leg quarters/thighs
salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)
1 chopped bell pepper/yellow onion
2 cans rotel tomatoes (I use one hot on mild)
1 block Velveeta cheese (1 1/2 blocks if you like extra cheese)
1 can cream of mushroom/1 can cream of chicken soup

1. Season chicken and boil in water seasoned with bullion for 35 mins/until chicken is done.
2. Remove chicken from the flavored water and shred. 
3. Add spaghetti noodles to water, cook 15-20 mins, drain
4. Cut Velveeta cheese into blocks
5. In baking dish combine chicken, cheese, soups, chopped bell pepper/onion and rotel tomatoes. Mix well
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, until cheese is melted through. 
Recipe submitted by Crystal Aaron
On December 13th the Canton location held an open house to show the community what kind of impact our local MAC Centers have. Read the article below:
"One Stop shop for Mississippians, Canton MAC Center helps to make the process of finding care easy
The Mississippi Access to Care Centers are funded from money allocated from the Mississippi Division of Medicaid to the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services. As Dr. Chelsea Crittle, Central Mississippi Planning & Development Aging Programs Director, takes us on a tour of the Mississippi Access to Care Center (MAC Center) you see the love and dedication each employee has for the center.  In one room you see where they have gathered educational pamphlets from all around the state to better help the customers that come into the center.  As a special touch Dr. Crittle enlisted the help of Saint Andrews 7th grade students to create art to bring a multigenerational touch to the MAC Centers. As you walk through the MAC center, you definitely take away that you have been in a very warm and welcoming environment. We learned from Dr. Crittle’s address at the Open House the staff has successfully documented over four thousand three hundred and eighty-eight (4,388) telephone calls, responded to over three hundred and eighty-five (385) email requests, presented information to service providers, consumers and families at over eighty-nine (89) community events/trainings and made numerous home visits. The MAC Centers are a reliable “one stop” system where Mississippians can find help for the elderly, disabled or any person seeking assistance with long-term care in terms of screening for Medicaid Waiver programs, person centered options counseling, referral for local services and support throughout the state of Mississippi. The centers are advocates for all individuals seeking services regardless of financial status.  For more information visit your local MAC Center or go to, or call 1-844-822-4MAC, 1-844-822-4622."
Christmas was merry and bright for a sibling group of six this year thanks to Sara Hemphill (Amite County Prosecutor) and her husband Patrick. Pictured with the bikes are Dana Haygood, Region 5W Family Protection Training Coordinator 's children, Caitlynn and Jake.
Cam and Danielle Sharp of Amite county along with their three beautiful girls donated Christmas gifts for a CPS family this year. The girls had so much fun selecting and wrapping the gifts and look forward to doing it again next year!
Lawrence County and Clarke County Offices held a door decorating contest during the Christmas season. 
Photo courtesy of Lawrence County Press
Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging hosted their 9th Annual Senior Christmas Day on December 16, 2016. Over 400 seniors were in attendance at this event. Lillie Mae Word, 101 years old, was recognized at this celebration. 
The Jackson County Senior Companion Program Staff and Volunteers attended and participated the bi-annual Sr. Awareness Event.  The SCP Volunteers assist with registration, the kitchen, photography and with the vendor room.  This years event was prepped with food for 500 senior citizens in Jackson County.  There were people from individual homes, assisted living homes, personal care homes, senior centers, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.  Fifty (50) vendor tables were set up to bring awareness to the participants on health matters, scams, medical equipment and much more.

Judy Williams, Jackson County Senior Companion Program Director, tells us that "the Senior Companion Volunteers are always willing to assist for a short time at each event but they also have more time of visiting the booths for valuable information, getting their photos taken, eating lunch and socializing with others."
This is Lil Gracie May. She may look tiny but she is fierce. Out of all of our dogs she is the first to fend off would be intruders with her seal bark. Gracie’s favorite things to do all day are sleeping under covers, snuggling on the couch and eating treats. She loves to sun bathe, if she could do it all day she would. One thing for sure is she is one spoiled pooch.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Lowe
Regional Staff and County Directors of Regions 4N and 4S gathered for their regional meeting and Annual Christmas Meeting.
Beth Cummings, Director in Clay County, was presented a certificate of appreciation from the Fresh Savings Program for the county's success with the program. 

LaVada Singleton and the rest of the MDHS staff would like to congratulate Gabriel Parson, DAAS, APS call center, for graduating from Belhaven University with a BA in Social Services. 
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