Rescue 100 providing foster care training

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services Division Director Samantha Crimm speaks at Starkville Rotary about Rescue 100. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)

Staff Writer

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services Division Director Samantha Crimm spoke at the Starkville Rotary Club about Rescue 100, MDCPS's initiative to partner with churches in the state to recruit, train and support foster parents.

Crimm said Rescue 100 targets Attalla, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster and Winston counties, and is a collaborative effort between MSCPS, the courts and churches representing all denominations to streamline training and licensing process for foster families.

"It got started in Gulfport in 2016 as a faith-based initiative by Pastor Tony Karnes of Michael Memorial Baptist Church," Crimm said. "They saw a need in their area for foster homes."

According to Crimm, children are not allowed to be placed in a shelter because it is not a home-like environment, so MDCPS must find foster homes for children in the area where they are from.

In Oktibbeha County, 20 children are in foster care, according to MDCPS. There are 40 foster homes, with 12 of those licensed for relatives only. Five children have a plan for adoption.

In all the counties served, 303 children are in foster care, and there are 147 foster homes and 74 children with plans for adoption.

"Not everyone is called to be a foster parent, and some of us are, but we are called to do something," Crimm said. "There are about 7,500 churches here in the state of Mississippi, and we've got about 5,500 children in custody. If one person out of those churches would become a licensed foster parent, that would eliminate the problem of the shortage of foster homes."

Aside from fostering, Crimm said people can support foster parents by volunteering to help with activities such as school work and reading to children, or by donating items needed by foster families.

"We really need to reach out to the families that want to be foster parents and lift them up," Crimm said.

Crimm said to call the local MDCPS office at (662) 323-1573 to find out specific needs and volunteer or donate.

Crimm said foster care is only temporary for children, and time in foster care varies until they are placed with a family member or possibly adopted.

Rescue 100 licensure training will take place Sept. 15 at First United Methodist Church in Starkville.

Prior to the licensure training event, interested individuals need to attend a Rescue 100 Orientation Session on Aug. 6 at First Baptist Church in Starkville, Aug. 7 at Life Church in Columbus, Aug. 13 at First United Methodist Church in Kosciusko or Aug. 14 at Parkway Baptist Church in Houston.

All orientation sessions will be from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. Registration for orientation sessions can be done online at