Tag Archives: MS DHS

Indicators of Abuse.

Regrettably, in family law instances of child abuse are ever-present. The Mississippi Department of Human services, along with law enforcement and the Courts are tasked with dealing with these critical circumstances.

The following are instances and indicators of abuse.

Emotional/Verbal Abuse is anything said or done that is hurtful or threatening to a child and is the most difficult form of maltreatment to identify:

  • Name calling; “You’re stupid.”
  • Belittling; “I wish you were never born.”
  • Destroying child’s possessions or harming pets.
  • Threatens to harm child or people they care about; “I’m going to choke you,” or “I’ll hurt your sister.”
  • Locking a child in a closet or box.
  • Rejecting a child.
  • Isolating a child.

Sexual Abuse is any inappropriate touching by a friend, family member, anyone having on-going contact and/or a stranger, such as:

  • Touching a child’s genital area.
  • Any type of penetration of a child.
  • Allowing a child to view or participate in pornography.
  • Prostitution, selling your child for money, drugs, etc.
  • Forcing a child to perform oral sex acts.
  • Masturbating in front of a child.
  • Having sex in front of a child.
  • Touching a Child’s genital area.

Physical Abuse is any type of contact that results in bodily harm such as bruising, abrasions, broken bones, internal injuries, burning, missing teeth and skeletal injuries:

  • Hitting or slapping a child with an extension cord, hands, belts, fists, broom handles, brushes, etc.
  • Putting child into hot water.
  • Cutting the child with a knife or any other sharp object.
  • Shaking or twisting arms or legs, yanking a child by the arm.
  • Putting tape over a child’s mouth.
  • Tying a child up with rope or cord.
  • Throwing a child across a room or down the stairs.

Neglect means not meeting the basic needs of the child and is the most common form of maltreatment.

  • Medical – not giving a child life-sustaining medicines, over medicating, not obtaining special treatment devices deemed necessary by a physician.
  • Supervision – leaving child/children unattended and leaving child/children in the care of other children too young to protect them (depending upon the maturity of the child).
  • Clothing and good hygiene – dressing children inadequately for weather, persistent skin disorders resulting from improper hygiene.
  • Nutrition – lack of sufficient quantity or quality of food, letting a child consistently complain of hunger and allowing the child to rummage for food.
  • Shelter – having structurally unsafe housing, inadequate heating, and unsanitary housing conditions.

Call 800-222-8000 or 601-432-4570 to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of a child in Mississippi.

Reports can also be made online at https://www.msabusehotline.mdhs.ms.gov

Division of Family & Children’s Services
800-345-6347 | 601-359-4999

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Attorney in Mississippi.

Follow the blog: #BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

Child Support, DHS and Why You Should Care; Pay Attention or You May Pay More!

Child Support is the court ordered obligation the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent for the necessary child related expenses. Usually Dad pays it directly to Mom in a divorce situation and in paternity cases it’s more often through DHS, the Department of Human Services-Child Support Enforcement Unit. (dah-duhn) (the Law and Order “sound” being referenced just now.)

ms-dhs

 

It is standard that if dad is delinquent on payments or mom seeks state benefits, opening a case with DHS will cause the monies to be redirected through DHS, and possibly a Withholding Order be issued against the payor.  The law provides that DHS can do this summarily upon application with minimal notice requirements and does not require a modification of your Court Order by the Court which originally ordered it.

This is kind of a big deal.  In plain English, this means that if mom says your late, DHS swings into action.  They send you a letter stating you are behind, threaten to suspend your license, send a Withholding Order to your work and assume guilt automatically.  This creates lots of hassle and headache when it’s not true.  Additionally, when it’s not true, it takes filing an action in Court to fix it, securing an Order.  There are usually no consequences for mom and she can do it again if she wants.

Well, DHS is stepping up their enforcement another notch. Mom can go in and just say, “I want him to pay through DHS.”  She does not have to allege any delinquency, she does not have to apply for other state benefits.  She pays $25, opens a case and dad is notified that from that point he is to pay directly to and through DHS.  If dad does not pay directly, DHS will pursue contempt and arrearage against him.   And DHS considers the letter, which dad may or may not have even received, as sufficient and reasonable notice to dad and treats dad’s continued payments to mom as “gifts.” All of this without formal Court involvement and in my view far short of “due process,” but nonetheless valid as of now. MCA 43-19-35, et seq.

So if you are paying child support directly and get something from DHS, DO NOT IGNORE IT.  It could have serious implications on who and what you pay.  Notify your attorney immediately.  If you are receiving child support and are having issues with the payor, consider having it redirected through DHS.  It is a much less expensive alternative to a private attorney when that deadbeat ain’t paying.

Whether you like the DHS process or not it is being enforced force and taking effect.

Matthew Thompson, a Child Support Lawyer and Family Law Adj. Professor at MC Law, encourages you to know your rights and obligations when it comes to Child Support. Pay your Support and Pay it Often!

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law FirmYou may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms