Children’s shelter director says county facility is much needed

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Warren County Children’s Shelter has an important mission, director Cindy McArley said.

“We love children back to life. We give them hope.”

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Speaking to the Port City Kiwanis, McCarley was quick to point out the shelter’s success is not the result of her efforts.

“It’s not about me,” she said, adding the shelter’s results are the work of the staff members who have direct contact with the children.

She said the shelter came into existence in 1991. It developed, McCarley said, because people in Warren County “were tired that children were living on the streets, (homeless) children had no where to go, children were being placed in our county jail because we had no place to house them in Warren County.”

The people in Warren County, she said, went to county officials and got a special tax passed for a children’s home. “The Board of Supervisors is one of our biggest supporters, and we are grateful for that,” she said. “Twenty-seven year later, we are still here.”

The program helps children from birth to age 17 who are in the custody of Mississippi Child Protection Services or are in crisis and need emergency shelter. Admissions of children are accepted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A child referred by Child Protective Services may stay at the shelter for 45 days.

Homeless or runaway children may stay for 21.

The shelter offers medical, dental and psychological services, crisis intervention, counseling, behavior management and the staff can refer a child to another agency if the shelter is unable to provide services. Non-residential individual and family counseling is also offered for homeless children and runaways.

McCarley recalled the shelter’s first child had been abused by her father. She said she later met the child, now an adult while speaking for a United Way program at a local school. She said the woman introduced herself after the program.

“People ask, ‘Do we make a difference?’ The answer is ‘yes,’” she said. “We made a difference in that child 27 years ago.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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