Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has signed a series of pro-mom and pro-life legislation. The legislation strengthens Mississippi’s adoption system, increases support for pregnancy resource centers, establishes a foster parents bill of rights, creates a task force focused on improving adoption and foster care systems, improves the Department of Child Protection Services, and gives the agency the largest budget in its history.
“Mississippi will always protect life,” Reeves said. “Our state will continue to be a beacon on the hill, a symbol of hope for the country, and a model for the nation. Mississippi will be relentless in its commitment to life, relentless in our support of mothers and children, and we will be relentless in our efforts to advance the New Pro-life Agenda.”
Reeves signed House Bill 510, House 1671, and Senate Bill 2696 during a news conference Wednesday morning in Jackson.
He also announced that he had signed House Bill 1625, House Bill 1318, Senate Bill 2384, and House Bill 1149.
House Bill 510 establishes a foster parents bill of rights. The legislation increases transparency for foster parents, expands communication opportunities with professionals, and makes the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services personnel more readily available for foster parents. Additionally, it helps ensure that the educational needs of foster children are being met and provides access to available resources for parents.
House Bill 1671 expands the tax credit for pregnancy resource centers across the state from $3.5 million to $10 million.
Senate Bill 2696 creates an income tax credit for qualified adoption expenses. The program will cover a maximum of $10,000 worth of adoption expenses for those who adopt a child from Mississippi and $5,000 worth of expenses for children outside of Mississippi.
House Bill 1149 establishes the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services as its own agency separate from MDHS. This separation will give it the ability to draw down more federal funds to support Mississippi families. The legislation will also help improve the efficiency of CPS procedures including adoption cases.
House Bill 1625 gives the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services the largest budget in its history. This equips the agency with the resources needed to effectively carry out its mission and better support Mississippi children.
House Bill 1318 increases the opportunities available for parents to choose adoption by authorizing safe haven baby boxes across Mississippi. The legislation increases the age that children can be dropped off at these boxes, authorizes safety devices to be sponsored by emergency medical service providers, and authorizes any city or county to sponsor a baby safety device.
Senate Bill 2384 establishes the Mississippi Task Force on Foster Care and Adoption. The task force will study Mississippi’s laws regarding foster care, adoption, and other related areas and make recommendations for improvement to the legislature.