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Power of Hope is focus of Commission on Children’s Justice presentations

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ms commission on childrens justice

Hope is more than a wish, and giving hope can make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children and their families, says an Oklahoma psychologist who will meet with Mississippi officials next week.

The Mississippi Commission on Children’s Justice has scheduled presentations by Chan Hellman, Ph.D. for Oct. 20, 21 and 22 in Jackson at the Gartin Justice Building and the Department of Child Protection Services.

Dr. Hellman, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a professor of social work at the University of Oklahoma  and Director of The Hope Research Center. His research is focused on hope as a psychological strength helping children and adults overcome trauma and adversity. He is the co-author of the book “Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Life.”

“Our overall goal is to create a culture of hope that is grounded in evidence-based practices,” Hellman told the co-chairs of the Commission on Children’s Justice and the HOPE training development committee in a virtual meeting Oct. 8.

“When you expose people to the awareness of trauma and adversity, the question is what do we do about it. The answer is hope,” Hellman said.  “Individuals who are in crisis, who have a history of trauma, tend to set goals of avoidance. Higher hope individuals set achievement goals.”

Commission on Children’s Justice Co-Chair Justice Dawn Beam said, “We are excited to welcome ‘Hope Rising’ author Dr. Hellman to Mississippi. He will challenge all of us to think outside the box on how to help struggling families in our state. My prayer is that he helps all of us to see hope: hope for our state leaders to see a way to improve services to our families, hope to service providers that have been workers in the trenches for years, but especially hope to our families and children to see their way out of poverty, helplessness and despair.”

Taylor Cheeseman, Interim Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, said, “Ensuring child and family wellbeing is the ultimate goal for all who serve in Mississippi’s child welfare system. And I believe Dr. Hellman’s research and training on hope will be an effective tool for fostering the resilience families who have experienced significant trauma need to move towards a state of long-term wellbeing.”

Dr. Hellman also is scheduled to present a series of hope centered lectures to judges, court staff and Department of Child Protection Services social workers during three regional trainings April 13, 14, and 15, 2021, in Oxford, Madison and Gulfport as part of the Court Improvement Program.

Providing hope is part of the work of those charged with ensuring the wellbeing of children and families. Hope is a pathway to helping people find employment and find solutions to problems such as acquiring transportation to reach  jobs or gain access to services. People need hope that there is a way out of their circumstances.

The Commission on Children’s Justice recently established Programs of HOPE to continue to address child neglect prevention. Five multi-disciplinary committees were established to identify and recommend actions which can fill gaps, strengthen opportunities and lift up Mississippi families to a place where they can see a path toward better lives.

Programs of HOPE committees include  Housing and Transportation; Opportunities for Treatment; Parent, Child and Family Supports; Economic Security; and Pathways of HOPE.

The Mississippi Supreme Court created the Commission on Children’s Justice in 2006 and tasked it to develop a statewide, comprehensive approach to improving the child welfare system; coordinate the three branches of government; and recommend changes to improve children’s safety, strengthen and support families, and promote public trust and confidence in the child welfare system.

In person attendance at each session is by invitation.

COVID-19

New COVID-19 cases in MS top 1,000 Thursday for the first time in nearly two months

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New COVID-19 cases reported in Mississippi topped 1,000 for the first time in nearly two months. The last time the state reported more than 1,000 cases on any one day was Aug. 19. As new cases rise, so do hospitalizations, and both have been rising steadily since the beginning of October.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,486, and the county’s death toll is 54.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,322 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 108,139. The seven-day average of new cases is 760, higher by 311 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Thursday that 12 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,152. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.9%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 12 deaths MSDH reported Thursday, 11 occurred between Oct. 3 and Oct. 14 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Forrest 1
Hinds 2
Jackson 1
Lee 1
Marshall 1
Neshoba 1
Perry 1
Tippah 1
Union 1
Washington 1

One additional COVID-19 related death occurred in Washington County Aug. 23 and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been showing a definite rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, is 633, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 500 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 133 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 143 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 72 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 94,165 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 87.1% of the cumulative 108,139 cases reported Thursday, Oct. 15.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Sept. 24, was 1,402, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,348, or about 90.7% of the 1,486 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 15. The county has an estimated 84 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Sunday, Oct. 3 (the latest date available from MSDH), is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.1%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 128 Thursday. About 40.4%, or 1,273, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Overnight shooting in Warren County

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Just after 1 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, a shooting victim arrived in the Emergency Room at Merit Health River Region, reportedly with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Warren County deputies are investigating the shooting that reportedly occurred at the Autumn Oak Townhouses at 4920 Halls Ferry Road. Deputies are on scene at the apartment complex and the emergency room at the time of this writing.

The Vicksburg Daily News will provide additional information as it becomes available.

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18-wheeler in wreck on 61 South in Warren County

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

An 18-wheeler was involved in a single vehicle crash around 6 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. Highway 61 South approximately 1 mile north of the Claiborne-Warren County line.

The truck left the roadway on the northbound side of the highway for unknown reasons.

The driver was transported to Claiborne County Hospital by private vehicle before law enforcement arrived on the scene. His condition is not known at this time.

Traffic has not been affected, but use caution in the area to allow investigators to do their jobs safely.

Warren County deputies Daniel Thomas and Ron Kinard are on the scene, and a trooper from the Mississippi State Police is on the way and will be in charge of the investigation.

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