David Chandler was confirmed this week by the Senate as the first commissioner of the newly established Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.
The action marked Chandler’s official confirmation to the position he has held since being appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant in December 2015, the Department of Child Protection Services noted in a press release.
“This process provided me an opportunity to share with the Senate committee during the confirmation hearing how appreciative I am for their interest and attention to the efforts of all of us who are employed at Child Protection Services in promoting the proper care for our children,” Chandler said in the release.
The press release noted that Chandler resigned from the state Supreme Court in December 2015 to accept the appointment to oversee federally mandated reform of Mississippi’s child welfare and foster care system.
Chandler first was named executive director of the Division of Family and Children’s Services, a cabinet-level position reporting directly to the governor.
In July 2016, following the Mississippi Legislature’s creation of the stand-alone agency, Chandler was appointed as MDCPS Commissioner. In May 2016, Bryant signed Senate Bill 2179 separating it from the Mississippi Department of Human Services and establishing MDCPS as an independent agency and dramatically increasing its budget, the release said.
Chandler’s appointment to the cabinet-level position and the creation of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services are both part of a federal court-ordered mandate to resolve lingering issues with Mississippi’s foster care system, the agency noted.
Chandler was elected to an eight-year term on the state’s high court in 2008 but resigned the elected position to assume the role in child protective services. A Kosciusko native, Chandler was reared in Weir, the release says.
The release also notes that he earned his bachelor’s masters and doctoral degrees in education from Mississippi State University, a J.D. law degree from the University of Mississippi and a master of law in judicial process from the University of Virginia. For almost 10 years, Chandler worked in Choctaw County public schools before becoming a research and curriculum specialist at Mississippi State.
Chandler was municipal judge in Weir from 1999 until he was elected to the Court of Appeals where he served for eight years before being elected to the state Supreme Court in 2008, the press release states.