our everyday life

How to Make a Complaint to Mississippi CPS

by Laura Scott

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has established a Bureau of Investigations and Department of Consumer Services to review different types of complaints from residents involved with the department's many programs, including Child Protective Services. Complaints made with the department involve problems people may have with CPS decisions, staff or programs. Complaints are separate from accounts of suspected child abuse or neglect, which should be reported by calling the department at 1-800-222-8000, or by calling the police if there is reason to believe a child is in danger.

Request a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Families and individuals who disagree with a decision made by CPS staff and feel they have been treated unfairly can appeal the agency's actions at a hearing conducted by staff who were not involved in the case. Make the request in writing and provide case number, dates of decisions and the names of CPS staff members who were involved. Make a copy of the request. The office will send a hearing date and instructions on how to prepare for the hearing. Office of Administrative Hearings 750 North State St. Jackson, MS 39202.

Send a complaint to the Office of Special Investigations at Mississippi Department of Human Services. The office investigates allegations of employee misconduct and can review complaints from families regarding inappropriate behavior or comments made by a caseworker or CPS administrator. Write a summary of the complaint including the case number, dates and the names of CPS workers. Make a copy for your records and mail the complaint with a return receipt that will document when the office received it. Office of Special Investigations 750 North State St., Jackson, MS 39202

Send a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Families who believe the Mississippi CPS discriminated against them because of race, religion, age, sex, nationality or because of a disability, can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Write a summary of the complaint and include names of CPS workers, dates and the case number. Keep a copy of the complaint and forward a copy to the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Complaints can also be filed on-line at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Civil Rights - Region III 150 S. Independence Mall West Philadelphia, PA 19106-3499 Mississippi Department of Human Services 750 North State St., Jackson, MS 39202

Contact the Office of Consumer Services at the Mississippi Department of Human Services and make an appointment to discuss concerns or complaints about CPS. The office can help individuals decide how to pursue a complaint about the quality of service. Consumer services staff can also launch reviews of cases and register individual complaints.

About the Author

Laura Scott has been reporting for Gatehouse Media New England, Essex County Newspapers and other regional publishers since 1997. She won several New England Press Association awards for her coverage of the fishing industry and coastal communities. Scott is a graduate of Vassar College and has a master's degree in American studies from Boston College. She also attended art school in Italy.