foster care

Politics & Government
7:31 am
Fri February 28, 2014

In this morning's headlines: Foster care, schools, Debbie Dingell

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Governor announces plan to help foster care system

"Gov. Rick Snyder says the state could do a better job protecting foster children if it changed the way it paid for the service. The governor unveiled a report yesterday that says the state should pay foster care agencies based on their performance," Jake Neher reports.

Schools in better financial shape

"There are fewer school districts in Michigan that have budget deficits than there were at the end of 2013, and more districts are pulling themselves out of debt. That’s according to the state Department of Education," Rick Pluta reports.

Debbie Dingell to officially run for U.S. House

"Debbie Dingell is officially launching her campaign today for the U.S. House seat held by her husband," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
5:31 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Snyder seeks overhaul of foster care and how the state pays for it

Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan helps announce the proposal Thursday in Royal Oak.
Jake Neher MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state could do a better job protecting foster children if it changed the way it paid for the service.

The governor unveiled a report Thursday that says the state should pay foster care agencies based on their performance. Right now, those agencies all get paid the same regardless of their track records or the needs of individual foster children.

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2:22 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Movie review: foster care depicted on film in Short Term 12

Lead in text: 
The culture and ideas that surround issues of kids and well-being are just as important to the public discussion as the daily realities. Head over to State of Opportunity for a review of Short Term 12, a feature film about at-risk kids in a care home and the adults that try to teach them how to cope. It's just out on DVD, at your public library, Netflix, etc.
Destin Daniel Cretton's film Short Term 12 (2013) does a great job of delving into the issues of trust, confidentiality, and uncertainty children face when removed from parental care and entrusted to other adults.
9:47 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Relatives trying to cope with the child welfare system lack representation

Lead in text: 
There's one attorney for every 21,000 low-income Michigan citizens. That's according to the Michigan Bar Association. And that lack of representation hits hard for relatives of children in the foster care system. State of Opportunity's Sarah Alvarez has been following the case of Vanessa Moss, a grandmother struggling financially to take care of four children. Faced with their removal from her home, where do people without resources turn for legal representation?
For every one of the 13,000 kids, there is a specific story behind what landed them in foster care in the first place or how their life will unfold afterward. The same can be said of their parents or the adults who stand in for parents. Many of these adults can feel just as trapped in the system as the children.
Law
2:00 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Pilot program in Kent County hopes aims for better outcomes, savings in foster care system

Kent County is a part of a new pilot program for children in the foster care system.

Michigan has been working to overhaul its child welfare system for years, after it was sued over problems in the system.

“(That case) tells us that we don’t have a perfect system. So we have to continually improve,” Kent County Assistant Administrator Wayman Britt said.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Fri August 9, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit Police changes, childhood obesity, and custody case

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
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Detroit Police Department prepares for big changes

Detroit Police Chief James Craig intends to introduce a large departmental reorganization, reports Michigan Radio’s Sara Cwiek.  Craig announced last week that he will restore a version of the department’s gang squad.  Many administrative jobs will be filled by civilians so that more officers can return to field work.

CDC says obesity down among Michigan children

According to a new Center for Disease Control study fewer Michigan children qualify as obese.  Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports that the obesity rate among low-income preschool children dropped from 13.9% in 2008 to 13.2% in 2011.  Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for obesity rates.

Michigan Supreme Court returns custody to foster family

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered that four children be returned to their foster family, reports Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta.  Custody was awarded to their grandmother last year by the Michigan Court of Appeals because state law gives automatic preference to relatives when parental rights are terminated.  The Supreme Court said that the children should be returned to the foster family until it makes a decision whether to hear the appeal.

Law
7:30 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Program aims to keep kids safe in homes and out of foster care

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More than 400,000 children are currently in foster care in the U.S. Once a child has entered the system, they remain there on average for nearly two years, according to a federal report. Our State of Opportunity team looked into a unique program that’s working to prevent kids in Michigan from even entering foster care in the first place.

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Stateside
5:16 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Are kids in the state's care safe? Court monitor says not safe enough



Almost 14,000 kids in Michigan have been taken out of their own homes by the state because of an abuse or neglect allegation.

Those kids then rely upon the state's Department of Human Services (DHS) to keep them safe and put them in an environment where they have a chance to thrive. Most of those kids end up in foster care.

Six years ago the state was sued by the advocacy group Children's Rights over treatment of kids in its care.

The state was back in court today to see where things stand. Everyone agrees things have gotten better since the lawsuit started six years ago, but the court appointed monitor said too many kids are still unsafe.

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Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Today on the show, the city of Flint recently hired seven new police officers, but some say that might not be enough to make a noticeable difference on the streets.

We explore public safety in the one of the nation's most violent cities.

And, new data show women in the U.S. prefer foreign-made cars to domestics. We find out why and talk about what it will take for the Detroit Three to win over those women.

And there are almost fourteen thousand children in Michigan who have been taken out of their own homes by the state because of an abuse or neglect allegation.

Those kids rely upon the state to keep them safe and put them in an environment where they have a chance to thrive.

Six years ago, the state was sued over treatment of kids in its care. The state was back in court today to see where things stand. Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez brought us a report.

Education
4:27 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Seita Scholars Program Helps Foster Care Alumni

Chris Harris, Director of the Seita Scholars Program
Seita Scholars Program Western Michigan University

There are lots of scholarship programs that help pay for school.  One scholarship at Western Michigan University goes farther to help students tackling college on their own. 

John Seita's an alumni of WMU.  Against long odds he earned three degrees from the school, after he aged out of the foster care system.  His story inspired a program bearing his name.

Now the Seita Scholars Program helps students facing similar challenges.  It’s a full tuition scholarship for people who've aged out of the foster care system.

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Education
11:13 am
Sat December 1, 2012

New grant will help support foster youth in college

Baker College of Flint is one of the schools that will have a counselor
Baker College of Flint Facebook.com

When a child grows up in the foster care system, they face some unique challenges as college students.  They may lack the financial and emotional support their classmates get from families.

The Michigan Department of Human Services is trying help them out.

They awarded seven universities in Michigan shares of an $800,000 grant.

The money will pay on-campus coaches at Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Baker College of Flint, Ferris State University, Saginaw Valley University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan-Flint who will work with former foster youth.

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Education
8:41 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Seeking change in the foster care system

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This week on Seeking Change, Christina Shockley talks with Angelique Day about the foster care system.

Day grew up in foster care. She now focuses her work on researching and helping children in foster care in the state.

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Politics & Government
9:25 am
Thu October 11, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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No citizenship box on ballot

"Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says there will be no citizenship box for voters to check on ballot applications this November. Johnson says the election is getting close, so she won’t challenge a federal judge’s ruling that the citizenship question is unconstitutional. But she says there could be further legal action after the election. Johnson says she also intends to press the federal government for naturalization records to help clear voter rolls of non-citizens. She ordered the check box even after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill to require it. No one could be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box, but Johnson says it's useful to remind people that only U.S. citizens can vote," Rick Pluta reports.

DHS says foster care is getting better in Michigan

"Child welfare officials say Michigan’s foster care system is getting better. Steve Yager is the director of Children’s Services for the state Department of Human Services. He told a legislative committee the state is doing a much better job of recruiting and keeping foster parents. Yager also says child welfare workers have more manageable caseloads. The state has been working to overhaul its child welfare system since 2008, after the group Children’s Rights sued the state over problems in the system," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan foreclosure rate at a five year low

"Michigan’s home foreclosure rate could soon reach a milestone. A few years ago the state's foreclosure rate was near the top of the 50 state list. But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says the latest data shows Michigan is poised to drop out of the top 10 possibly by the end of the year. He says Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is near a five year low," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
7:09 am
Fri October 5, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

Michigan Secretary of State in court today over citizenship checkbox

"Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will be in federal court today to defend a citizenship checkbox she ordered onto November ballot applications. Election officials would ask voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship, but would not deny them a ballot if they decline to answer. A number of county clerks say it’ll cause confusion and could scare off eligible voters. Johnson says the citizenship question will help cut down on voter fraud and the number of non-citizens who receive ballots," Jake Neher reports.

Ambassador bridge owners say new bridge not economically feasible

"Opponents of a new bridge between the U.S. and Canada say Michigan would lose about $325 million in taxes if the project goes ahead. The owners of the Ambassador bridge commissioned a study they say shows there's no need for a new bridge. Canada would pay for construction of the bridge and recoup its investment from future tolls," Rina Miller reports.

Pilot program to keep kids at home, not in foster care

"The state of Michigan is going to try a new approach to keep at-risk children out of the state’s foster care system. A federal waiver will allow the state to use grant dollars to start a pilot program that will try to keep children under five years old with their families rather than place them in foster homes. Steve Yager is the director of the Department of Human Services’ Children Services Administration. He says they want to avoid putting very young children through the ‘trauma’ of  being placed in foster homes. The pilot program will start next year in Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Macomb counties. There are currently 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

New program offers Michigan kids alternative to foster care

Michigan's Department of Human Services is participating in a new program that keeps kids out of foster care.
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Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS) is piloting a new program designed to keep "at risk" kids in their homes instead of handing them over to foster care.

The program will target families with children younger than five years of age.

From DHS:

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Law
10:25 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Is foster care in Michigan getting better?

Some of the games for young people at the Ruth Ellis House, a place for homeless youth.

Michigan’s foster care system is huge, the sixth biggest in the country. So many kids in the system were being abused, neglected or just forgotten about under the state’s care that a group called Children’s Rights sued the state to force it to change in 2006. Two years ago, the state entered into a court settlement and is now being monitored as it makes changes to its child welfare system.

Toni Williams grew up in foster care. She spent almost her whole life in the system, from the time she was a baby until a year ago when the state says she became too old for the system. Williams was 20. Under recent legislation some young people in Michigan can now receive transitional services until 21.

Williams just graduated from high school and is going to community college in the fall where she’s going to study to be a childcare provider and maybe work with the foster system.

“The reason why is because I know what it feels like, you know, to not have your family," says Williams. "You know what I’m saying? So it’s actually a good feeling to know that there’s someone out here who is willing to take a place for being a mother, or a father.”

Williams knows somebody needs to step up and be there for kids who need love, and guidance. The state for too long, was not stepping up.

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Commentary
10:50 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Commentary: Making foster care better for kids

Recently, I served as the master of ceremonies at the Council on American Islamic Relations annual banquet in Dearborn.

There, I met a family that had suffered an injustice at the hands of our state so terrible it was hard to believe it wasn’t a movie. Ahmed and Rehab Amer were Arab-Americans living a quiet life in suburban Detroit. But in nineteen eighty-five, their two-year-old son died after falling in the bathtub. The state immediately took their other kids away and charged Rehab, their mom, with negligence.

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Politics
6:14 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Governor extends benefits to foster kids who "age out"

Governor Rick Snyder signed a law today to extend benefits for children who grew up in foster care after they turn 18 years old. The new law will allow foster kids to continue to receive a housing subsidy and health coverage until the age of 21, and to continue to work with foster care caseworkers.

The extended benefits will be available to young adults who are enrolled in college or job training, or working at least 80 hours a month.

The governor says Michigan owes it to children who would otherwise lose their support system when they become legal adults.

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Politics
4:15 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Snyder to sign law nudging foster kids to college

Foster kids who used to “age out” of the system at 18 years old will continue to get state financial support under legislation Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign tomorrow.

The measure is designed to help more college bound foster children maintain a support system after they become legal adults.

Jack Kresnak directs the advocacy group Michigan’s Children.

“The state is taking an important step forward to help the young people that we as a society have taken out of their parents’ care and placed in the state’s care succeed – this will help many, many more young people succeed,” Kresnak said.

The new law means young adults who grew up in foster care will continue to qualify for a housing subsidy and Medicaid health coverage. 

Kresnak said he would like to see the law amended in the future to give former foster kids who opt out of going to college a chance to change their minds and reenter the system. He said colleges and universities can also do more to help former foster kids succeed.

Politics
4:27 pm
Mon July 18, 2011

New agreement gives Michigan a fresh start to fix foster care

A federal judge in Detroit gave a go-ahead to a new agreement regarding the state foster care system.
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Children’s advocates and a federal judge have given Michigan another shot at fixing its foster care system. The plan was given the go-ahead today by a federal judge in Detroit.

The new agreement gives the state more time to hire and train caseworkers and  to get more children in foster care placed with permanent families.

The state also promised to pay more attention to older children in the system – especially those about to “age out” as they reach adulthood.

The state was out of compliance with an earlier agreement and this new decree represents a fresh start in an effort to resolve the five-year-old lawsuit. 

The consent agreement with the New York-based organization Children’s Rights was signed by Governor Rick Snyder and Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan – putting their credibility with the court on the line if the state fails to comply.

The first real test will come at the end of the year, when a court-appointed monitor files a report on the state’s progress in fixing its system for children in foster care.

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