Having grown up in the Michigan foster care system in the 50’s & 60″s and having also lived there 2004-2007 I was glad to see this article yesterday.
However I know Michigan has been making these promises since 2002 with little or no improvement in many areas. Many of the same problems I had to live with when in the system youth still have to deal with today.
I hope the Feds, if Michigan does not come through this time, will in fact take action as the youth cannot afford to allow the state to continue on the path they have been on for years.
Michigan developing plan to improve foster care
State’s child welfare system must address problems detailed in federal report in 3 years or face $2.8 million penalty
Catherine Jun / The Detroit News 3/15/09
Michigan children in foster care need to be placed in more stable homes, and the state must respond quicker when abuse or neglect is suspected, a federal report states.
These are two of several improvements the Michigan Department of Human Services must make over the next three years to its child welfare system, or face a federal penalty of $2.8 million.
The deficiencies were detailed in a 112-page report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is part of the Child and Family Services Review, a federal effort that began in 2002 to improve foster care.
According to the report, Michigan fell below federal standards in all seven categories measuring the well-being of children in foster care. No state has ever complied with all seven standards.
Michigan officials said Friday they have begun drafting an improvement plan for an April 27 deadline.
According to the report, Michigan succeeded in limiting children’s re-entry into foster care and placing children near their parents and with siblings.
The state failed, however, to meet standards in several other areas, including ensuring against repeated abuse or neglect, providing in-home services to prevent child mistreatment and expediting adoptions.
“Everything in the report we take to heart,” said Mary Mehren, director of the federal compliance division at Michigan’s Human Services Department.
She said many improvements were already under way, including offering specialized in-home support for foster children with severe emotional issues and $4 million this year for abuse and neglect prevention programs.
The report, , issued earlier this month, comes at a time when the state is overhauling its child welfare system. In 2008, the state settled a lawsuit filed by New York-based Children’s Rights, which charged the state with endangering the lives of its foster children. The state’s system serves about 19,000 children.
Michigan’s review began in April 2008 and was conducted through September 2009.
In 2002, Michigan failed to meet any of the seven standards.
Then, a $2.5 million penalty was threatened, but the state made improvements over the next several years.