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foster children

Taisha standing behind a sign that says neighborhoods of hope
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Family visits for kids in foster care often take place in a foster care agency’s office, which is not always the homiest setting. But a new program launching in Wayne County wants to change that.

Neighborhoods of Hope is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and community partners in Detroit.

The centerpiece of the project is a townhouse in the GardenView Estate public housing development in Detroit. The furnished home has a cozy living room, a full kitchen, and a play area in the backyard.

Andy / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Need for scholarships for former foster kids is running higher than funds available.

Michigan's Fostering Futures Scholarship Fund helps people who've aged out of foster care pay for college. It supplements other financial support students receive.

To be eligible for a grant, a student must have been in Michigan foster care after their 13th birthday because of child abuse or neglect.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County is looking for people who are willing to open their homes to foster children.

The number of children in Genesee County in foster care remains stable.  But the number of foster homes has dropped significantly during the past few years.

Mike Milks is Genesee County’s Child Welfare director. He says the stress associated with Flint’s lead tainted drinking water is a factor for some.

Children walking together
Public domain

Legislation requiring child-placing agencies to make reasonable efforts to keep siblings together in the foster care and adoption systems is going to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

The bills say if siblings could not be placed together due to safety or other concerns, agencies should prioritize sibling visitation and interaction.

The state already places siblings together when feasible under provisions of federal court oversight of Michigan's child welfare system.

Daniel Paquet / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Parents who've been judged to be "unfit" during child protection proceedings cannot prevent the vaccination of their children on religious grounds, according to a 3-0 decision this week by a Michigan Court of Appeals panel.

The Michigan appeals court upheld the decision of a Kent County judge to order physician-recommended immunizations for the four children – despite the mother's religious objections. The trial judge found the vaccinations were in the best interest of the children and society.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state House committee will consider legislation to help foster kids navigate the system.

Among other things, the bills would require a “children’s assurance of quality foster care policy is developed” and that current and former foster children participate in developing the policy.

The bills would also require foster kids be able to meet with judges overseeing their cases and know how to file complaints.