Mississippi officials and plaintiffs in an 11-year-old lawsuit over conditions in the foster care system have made another agreement in the case, with plaintiffs saying Tuesday they will not push to have the state government held in contempt.
The move comes after a court-appointed monitor in the Olivia Y case found that the Department of Human Services was faltering in efforts to improve Mississippi’s foster care system. The case is named after a then-young girl who was one of eight children that lawyers said had been abused because of the state’s failures.
The new agreement has been submitted to U.S. District Judge Tom Lee, but wasn’t yet available in an online court docket Tuesday.
Marcia Robinson Lowry, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a news release that the state has agreed to consultants who will recommend changes, including whether the child welfare unit should be an independent agency separate from the Department of Human Services. Lowry said the consultants will also recommend a new leader for the system to Gov. Phil Bryant.