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It’s always important to put ‘Families First’

A decision by the Department of Human Services to keep FamiliesFirst Centers open should be welcome news for many citizens acrossthe state.

Don Taylor, DHS executive director, said last week that $3.4million from Healthy Mississippi Initiative, funded by the tobaccolitigation settlement through the Attorney General’s office, wouldbe used to maintain center operations. The funds will mean thecenters, which had been ordered closed due to budget constraints,can stay open through Sept. 30.

Officials with the Lincoln County Families First Center hope toresume operations this week. The center offers tutorial services,parenting classes, supervised parental visit assistance and avariety of other services.

The center in Brookhaven has helped not only Lincoln Countyfamilies, but those from surrounding areas as well. Hundreds ofstudents and adults have come through the doors during the center’sfour years in operation.

While some services, such as tutoring, may be providedelsewhere, every bit of assistance a family in need gets representsanother chance for them to improve their lives.

Keeping families together and providing children with a strongeducational foundation is a worthy goal that all of society shouldstrive to achieve. Keeping the Families First Centers opensrepresents another step toward that goal.