Report: State not making enough progress on child welfare programs

Dec 7, 2010

A court appointed monitor watching over Michigan’s child protective
services warns that system is “substantially non-compliant” with a court agreement. 
The state agreed to make measurable improvements to its child welfare system when it settled a lawsuit with New York-based Children’s Rights group in 2008.
But two years later, a monitor says the state Department of Human Services has shown a “frustrating lack of progress” in implementing reforms.
Sarah Bartosz, a senior attorney for Children’s Rights, says the state is about a year behind where it should be.

“This still is a system that can’t adequately protect kids from harm. So there’s challenges ahead and urgent action needs to be taken to get this reform on track.”

Bartosz says she hopes Governor-elect Rick Snyder’s administration will recognize the “urgency” of reforming the system.
Edward Woods III, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, dismisses assertion the current DHS
isn't acting with a sense of urgency.

“That is so far from the truth. Our caseworkers work very hard. And this is going to be very damaging psychologically when they see this news about substantial non compliance…and they’re the ones who are dealing day in and day out with child protective services.”

Bartosz says if the department doesn't make significant progress soon, the court could order an outside receiver to take over the state’s children’s welfare services.