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Protection Services Workers Placed on Administrative Leave in Natchez



Folks in Natchez were shaken to their cores last week to learn about a 4-year-old girl dying from physical abuse. Little Amani Hill’s abuse was severe and had been going on for a while. The Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services was involved but it was too little, too late.

MDCPS says concerns were reported about the welfare of 4-year-old Armani Hill, who died at a hospital, and her 3-year-old sister, Lailah Hill, who was taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and is listed in critical condition.

The horrifying case caused MDCPS to launch an internal investigation. Last night state MDCPS officials announced that they have placed a frontline worker and their supervisor, who had control of that case, on administrative leave pending the conclusions of their investigation.

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong walks James Christopher Anderson to his preliminary hearing.(photo from WJTV)

The children’s mother, LaKeisha Jones, and her boyfriend, James Christopher Anderson, have been charged.

“We’re looking at what the supervisor did, what the caseworker did, what the investigator did,” CPS spokesperson Lea Anne Brandon told WLBT. “Where was the ball dropped? Where we should have done more, and we have yet to reach a final conclusion.”

WLBT also reports new developments in Mississippi’s ongoing 15-year-old foster care lawsuit in federal court. A monitor now says of the 113 obligations the state had agreed to comply with, including measures ranging from investigating reports of children being maltreated in foster care to the timely provision of medical treatment, the state only met 37. That case, known by one of its original plaintiffs, Olivia Y, was first brought against the state of Mississippi in 2004.

“We at CPS are under the belief–sincere belief–that the children in Mississippi are safer today in our care than they have ever been.” Brandon told WLBT. “Even though we have not checked all the boxes in this very important court agreement, we do know that the children are being cared for. There’s so much improvement that’s been done. We’re just not where we need to be yet. We need more money, we need more time.”

3-year-old Lailah Hill is still hospitalized in critical condition in Jackson. The body of Armani Hill is awaiting final arrangements at West Gate Funeral Home in Natchez.


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