LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Children and families involved in Michigan’s child welfare system will benefit from $4 million in federal grants this fiscal year.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Children’s Services Agency was awarded the funding from the Federal Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments Program.
Funds being spent this year will allow the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency to address a number of priorities, including:
• Increasing safe and stable placements with relatives.
• Reducing maltreatment of children placed in foster care.
• Shortening the amount of time it takes to find a permanent home for children in foster care – either through safe reunification with their families or adoption if it’s not safe for them to return home.
• Improving Children’s Protective Services responses to reports made to the toll-free Centralized Intake phone number for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.
• Placing a greater share of children in family home settings and decreasing use of congregate care facilities for children in foster care.
• Developing a new training curriculum for foster, adoptive and relative parents.
“We need to do whatever we can to protect the safety and well-being of Michigan children,” said JooYeun Chang, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “That means keeping children safe and providing them with loving, permanent homes where they can enjoy stability and connections with relatives and their communities. This federal funding helps us meet these important goals.”
MDHHS will work with private partner child-placing agencies from around the state in using the federal dollars to improve the child welfare system. "Community-based organizations are committed to supporting the highest quality services possible to children and families in Michigan," said Janet Reynolds Snyder, executive director of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families that represents the private nonprofit child and family services organizations in the state. "We look forward to continuing our work together with our partners at MDHHS to invest these federal dollars wisely to continue improving outcomes for children and families."
The funds are from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Michigan was first awarded this Adoption and Legal Guardianship grant for fiscal year 2016. Grants are awarded to states based on their ability to increase adoptions and legal guardianships of children in foster care.
The state uses the funds for services related to adoption from foster care and legal guardianship of children in foster care – with a focus on adoptions and legal guardianships for older children in foster care from ages 14 and up, and for preadolescent children ages 9-13.