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Lawyers seek outside takeover of Mississippi foster care

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lawyers are asking a federal judge to appoint an outsider to run Mississippi’s foster care system, saying the state’s latest attempt to fix the system’s problems has failed.

In a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Jackson, the lawyers say a judge should hold the state in contempt of a previous agreement to fix the system.

The Department of Child Protective Services has touted improvements, but in court documents, the plaintiffs in the 14-year-old lawsuit say the state is in “blatant noncompliance.”

Plaintiffs also say that current commissioner Jess Dickinson “is simply not capable” of operating the agency because key leaders have departed.

Spokeswoman Lea Anne Brandon says the department disagrees with the motion and is confident it’s moving in the right direction to protect children.