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Supreme Court justice David Chandler steps down to run foster care system

David Chandler

David Chandler

Associate State Supreme Court Justice David Chandler is stepping down from the bench to take over Mississippi’s troubled foster care system.

The announcement, effectively immediately, was made Monday by Gov. Phil Bryant.

Bryant says Chandler and the Division of Family and Children’s Services will report directly to him, instead of to Department of Human Services Executive Director Rickey Berry.

The unit, which oversees Mississippi’s foster care system, is subject to an 11-year-old federal lawsuit alleging children are being abused because of state failings and demands reforms. In July, Mississippi agreed to hire a new director and make changes to avoid being held in contempt of court.

Chandler had served on the court since 2009. Bryant will appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the 2016 election, when Chandler’s term ends.

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