Story of abandoned toddler in Southaven sparks interest in foster care

Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 11:02 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Southhaven police said a 2-year-old was kidnapped before being abandoned at a Goodwill Store in Southaven on Monday.

When people around the world learned what happened to him, they started to call Child Protection Services in Mississippi.

“It was amazing, from emails to text, to phone calls,” said Lea Anne Brandon, CPS communication director. “We were just overflowing with offers of support.”

Brandon can’t share any details about this child’s case. So when someone calls to learn about fostering or adopting the boy, she tells them that many children in Mississippi need a safe home.

“We have right now hundreds of children who are waiting, who the courts have terminated parental rights, and they’re waiting to be adopted. But we have about 75 children and youth who have not been matched with a forever family,” said Brandon.

The goal is to keep children united with their biological parents, but Brandon said that isn’t always possible.

“CPS, as an agency, can’t do what we do unless we have the volunteers in the community who will step up and be foster families,” said Brandon.

How do you become eligible to foster in Mississippi?

“You have to be at least 21 years old. You have to be legally single or legally married and you have to pass a background check where we go back just to make sure, for the child’s protection. Then we go put them through some training. It’s basic safety training. It’s also letting them know how to care for the mental and emotional needs of these children,” said Brandon.

For a complete list of requirements and other details, click here.

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