State Rep. Phil Green’s plan to improve Michigan’s foster care system and better serve children is now law.
His plan requires the state to conduct a needs assessment to better identify and understand service gaps in the foster care system and ensure residential treatment options meet the needs of children who require clinical intervention.
The plan was developed by the Adoption and Foster Care Task Force, on which Green served. The report detailed findings that resulted from meetings with stakeholders, experts, and the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The task force’s mission was to listen to people from the entire continuum of the state’s child welfare system, partner with experienced and knowledgeable professionals to learn how and why the system is falling short, and find effective solutions to ensure that every child has champions and forever homes by developing better, more effective systems to ensure their voices are heard.
Green was appointed to the task force in February.
“Credit for these reforms is due to the exceptional professionals, foster parents and adoptive parents doing extraordinary work to improve the lives of children who have sustained abuse and neglect,” said Green (R-Millington). “With their help we identified many areas within the system that need to be addressed and programs that need more financial support. These changes will make a huge difference in the lives of children being cared for by the state.”
Other bills in the plan signed into law today will:
- Expands kinship care options by allowing a non-parent adult with close emotional ties to the child to meet the definition of “family” for the purposes of youth placement.
- Coordinate training for attorneys involved in child welfare proceedings to ensure they understand the complexities involved with representing children who have been abused or neglected.
- Ensure that the state safely reduces the number of young people in the child welfare system and reinvests the savings to further improve services.
- Conduct an annual needs assessment to better understand where service gaps exist and ensures residential treatment options meet the needs of children who require clinical intervention.
- Allow foster homes in good standing to receive an extended license of three years, rather than the current two-year license.
- Establish a tax credit for Michigan job providers that provide paid leave while parents care for their newly adopted children.
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