Promoting self-sufficiency and personal responsibility for all Mississippians.


The History of MDHS

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has its origins in legislation passed in 1935 during the closing days of Governor Mike Conner’s administration and the early days of the administration of Governor Hugh White in 1936. Governor Conner called a special session of the Mississippi Legislature in October 1935 to consider ways to financially assist certain groups of needy Mississippi residents. The Legislature responded by passing the “Emergency Relief Act,” which created a state department of emergency relief consisting of a five-member State Welfare Board, a State Commissioner and, not more than ten additional workers. The law also provided for the creation of county welfare or relief boards and appropriated $700,000 to be given to the needy, aged, blind, crippled or otherwise disabled, and dependent children under certain conditions [Laws, 1935, Ch. 18].

The State Department of Public Welfare, the predecessor of the Department of Human Services, was created by the Legislature in April 1936 as part of the passage of the “Mississippi Old Age Security Act.” The Emergency Relief Administration, which had only functioned for five months, was abolished.

The law provided for the creation of a State Board of Public Welfare, a Commissioner of Public Welfare and county boards of public welfare. It accepted the provisions of the federal Social Security Act as applicable to needy persons more than 65 years of age and appropriated $1,000,000 to fund the program, an amount to be matched by the federal government [Laws, 1936, Ch. 175].

The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) was renamed and established by the legislature in 1989 as part of the state government’s reorganization [General Laws of the State of Mississippi, 1989, Ch. 544]. The new department assumed the responsibilities of the State Department of Public Welfare and the State Board of Public Welfare. The agency also absorbed the Office of Energy and Community Services, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and the Mississippi Council on Aging which was formerly within the Division of Federal/State Programs, Office of the Governor [Mississippi Code Annotated, 1972, §43-1- 6].

Meet our Team

Robert G. “Bob” Anderson

Executive Director

A lifetime of service and a commitment to protecting the citizens and integrity of the State of Mississippi has led Bob Anderson to accept an appointment as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS). Governor Tate Reeves appointed Anderson to the post on March 4, 2020.

As executive director, Mr. Anderson oversees an agency responsible for providing a wide range of public assistance to children and families throughout Mississippi. Under his leadership, agency staff helps Mississippians move from a state of crisis to self-sufficiency through targeted state assistance programs. This assistance makes a profound difference to these families and improves the quality of life within the state. With more than $1 billion in economic contributions per year, MDHS is one of the largest economic drivers in the state.

Before his appointment at MDHS, Mr. Anderson served as the Director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and prior to that as Chief Integrity Officer for the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, where he supervised the Office of Program Integrity, the Compliance Office, the Office of Administrative Appeals and the Office of Third Party Recovery.

He formerly served as a Special Assistant Attorney General with the Public Integrity Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, where he prosecuted white collar crime and public corruption matters including insurance fraud matters. He has over 20 years of experience in the federal sector, mostly as an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting health care fraud and other significant white collar crime cases while also litigating False Claims Act health care fraud cases.

Mr. Anderson and his wife, Judy Ann, are long time members of First Baptist Church, Jackson, where they have taught missions education classes, marriage enrichment classes and Sunday School while also leading short-term mission trips for many years. He has been a deacon in his church for over 20 years.

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The Strategic Plan

The eight goals included in the plan describe the path needed to connect with Mississippians who reach out to MDHS for assistance and help them become more economically secure, better skilled to enter the workforce, and more likely to live in safe and healthy home environments that promote and enhance their well-being.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services is dedicated to serving others while providing a wide range of public assistance programs, social services and support for children, low-income individuals and families. The agency seeks to empower families so they can become self-sufficient and responsible for their future success.

Olivia Y. Lawsuit

Olivia Y., et al. v. Barbour, et al.
(Civil Action No.3:04CV251LN)

Olivia Y. was filed in March 2004 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson, Division, against the Governor of Mississippi, the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services, and the Director of the MDHS, Division of Family and Children’s Services, all in their official capacities. This case alleged that Mississippi’s foster care system was failing to adequately protect children in its custody and provide necessary services in violation of their federal constitutional rights. This lawsuit sought only court-ordered changes in the system; money damages were never at issue.

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Disclaimer, Terms & Conditions

All information provided on the MDHS website is believed to be correct. However, no liability is assumed for errors in substance or form of any of the materials published on this website. Electronic versions of documents appearing on this site may not display the text of these documents exactly as the printed versions.

MDHS provides the information contained in this website as a service to the Internet community. MDHS tries to provide quality information, but makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website. In addition, MDHS is not liable for information on sites that are linked to the MDHS website. Further, MDHS is not responsible for any content contained on sites that are linked to the MDHS website.

Images included on the MDHS website may be licensed and copyrighted. Copyright restrictions expressly prohibit downloading licensed photographic materials, republication, retransmission, reproduction or any other use of the licensed photographic images.

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Privacy Statement for the Mississippi Department of Human Services

The Mississippi Department of Human Services respects the rights of privacy for those who visit the MDHS website and agency collects no personally identifying information about visitors to the site unless that information is provided by the visitor. Any personally identifying information provided through the website will be used only to respond to an inquiry or comment to address any issue identified by the visitor or for statistical purposes. Such personally identifying information will not be sold or given to other entities for commercial or marketing purposes.

The routine technical information that is collected through the site by visitors includes:

  • The name of the domain from which the visitor accesses the Internet.
  • The date and time of the visit to the MDHS website.
  • Which pages were viewed on the MDHS website.
  • If the MDHS site is linked directly to another site that information is collected.

This information is used for statistical purposes and to make the MDHS website more useful to visitors. It does not identify a visitor personally. For questions or comments, emails can be directed to