At the end of 2018, Families First for Mississippi was rolling right along in North Mississippi. They were serving families in 42 counties across the northern half of the state with 15 offices to reach them. Program such as "Beds for Kids" were seeing great success.
Then came the government shutdown, which lasted from late December 2018 to late January of this year, that put a freeze on the oh-so-crucial funding Families First operates on.
With funding at a standstill, the organization was forced to temporarily shut down 10 offices and lay off 135 part-time and full-time employees.
When government activity resumed so did funding, but not at the levels it had prior to the shutdown for Families First.
So, they had to overhaul how they do things.
The 10 offices in North Mississippi that were forced to close from lack of funding re-opened in spaces provided by Department of Human Services offices and county supervisors.
Most of the employees that were let go have found new work DHS offices and elsewhere. The organization now employs 110 full-time and 12 part-time workers and still covers all 42 counties.
Families First offices in North Mississippi are located in:
Corinth, Cleveland, Calhoun City, Houston, Clarksdale, Hernando, Grenada, Fulton, Oxford, Tupelo, Columbus, Amory, Iuka, Tunica and Greenville.
Families First for Mississippi's goal is to impact the whole family by connecting the dots between all of the Mississippi family services.
For more, check out Michaela Gibson Morris's in-depth story on Families First for Mississippi this Sunday in print and online.