Federal review of Michigan foster care spending is good news for children helped by system
Michigan children in foster care will continue getting the support they need through federal dollars as a result of the state being found in compliance during a funding eligibility review.
The U.S. Administration for Children and Families said in a recent letter to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that the state was in substantial compliance, meaning it appropriately used and maximized federal Title IV-E dollars for foster care services. The federal review is important because any state that doesn’t comply has to complete a costly secondary review and could ultimately have to pay fines and penalties that could exceed $30 million.
“MDHHS is very proud of the hard work of our funding eligibility specialists and our local courts who ensure the Title IV-E program continued to comply with federal requirements again during this reporting period,” said Steve Yager, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency that oversees services to children in foster care.
“Their dedication directly benefits the services MDHHS and our partners provide to children in need of protection from abuse or neglect and assists the state in reducing out-of-home placements and shorter stays in foster care," Yager said.
Title IV-E is the primary federal funding source for children’s foster care and adoption assistance, providing a 50 percent match to state funds. MDHHS received more than $249 million from the funding source in fiscal year 2016.
“Continued funding so that kids in foster care get the services they need depends on proper compliance with federal rules,” said Milt Mack, state court administrator. “This audit shows that judges and court staff are doing their jobs right, and that’s good news for kids in foster care and for Michigan.”
Every three years each state undergoes a federal review. By maximizing this federal source, Michigan can budget more state funds toward services that assist at-risk children and families while keeping children safe or assisting families in adopting children who were removed from their parental home permanently when the children couldn’t stay in the home safely.