Michigan Department of Human Services

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Michigan Department of Human Services
Agency overview
Type principal department
Employees 10,000
Annual budget $4 billion
Agency executive Maura Corrigan, Director
Website http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is the agency of state of Michigan, headquartered in Lansing,[1] that provides public assistance, child and family welfare services.

Additionally, the DHS oversees Michigan's child and adult protective services, foster care, adoptions, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and child support programs. The DHS also licenses adult foster care, child day care and child welfare facilities.[2]

About DHS[edit]

The DHS administers the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant (Family Independence Program) and Food Assistance programs through local state offices. In addition, the DHS accepts applications for Medicaid administered by the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Other assistance programs the DHS administers - jointly funded by the federal government and the state - include medical and disability assistance, food stamps (federally funded), and the state medical services program, which is funded by the state of Michigan and the State Emergency Relief Program.

The agency also administers child support collection and client welfare fraud investigation programs for the state of Michigan. The DHS offers a wide range of service programs for the children and families of Michigan, including protective and preventive services for children who are neglected, abused, or exploited, including foster care placement.

The DHS, in May 2010, began heavily recruiting foster and adoptive parents statewide for the 16,000 children in Michigan's foster care system. Of those children in foster care, almost 4,000 are available for adoption because they are state or court wards after their parents' rights were terminated by a court due to abuse or neglect. Efforts include running radio public service announcements and newspaper ads. The spots and ads are part of an Ad Council campaign, You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent, developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Adopt Us Kids, which works to raise awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families, and supports states in their own efforts.

In addition, the DHS offers institutional and non-institutional social services for the care, training, and treatment of delinquent and neglected children committed to the agency as state wards and temporary court wards. Services include counseling and casework, adoption, foster care, and the operation of centers for institutional residential care and group homes.

Further, the DHS provides consultation on general child welfare problems to private and public agencies throughout Michigan and offers services through the Interstate Compact.

The DHS provides family services that include referral for employment and training, independent living services providing housing assistance, family planning, counseling, health-related services, volunteer services, refugee assistance, foster family care, transitional services to youths exiting foster care/out-of-home placements, child development and care, migrant services, Native American services, and domestic violence prevention and treatment programs. These services are provided to Michigan families to strengthen family life and to help Michigan families become self-sufficient.

Adult services include protective services, adult placement services, home help services, and assistance with health, transportation, housing, and educational needs.

The DHS further administers the Children’s Trust Fund and the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.[3]

'Children's Rights Lawsuit On August 8, 2006 Child Advocacy Agency Children’s Rights filed a class action lawsuit in federal court seeking to reform DHS' failing foster care system. The complaint alleged that the state violated the constitutional, federal statutory, and federal common law rights of children in foster care by: •Failing to move children quickly into safe, stable, permanent homes either through reunification with their birth families or adoption, •Failing to provide children with adequate medical, dental and mental health services, •Failing to provide safe and stable foster homes, and •Failing to prepare children who will age out of the foster care system at the age of majority to live independently as adults.

The complaint further charged that Michigan’s child welfare system was poorly managed, underfunded, and dangerously understaffed, creating conditions that put the children in its custody at risk of serious harm.

Following two failed attempts at reaching a deal to settle the case in early 2007 and May 2008, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a sweeping settlement agreement on July 3, 2008. On October 24, 2008, the Court entered an order granting final approval of the settlement agreement and entered it as a court-enforceable Consent Decree.

According to Children's Rights' December, 2010 report to the Court, two years into the reform effort thousands of children remained stranded in foster care waiting for safe, permanent families and more youth were aging out of foster care without homes or skills to live on their own. Children's rights alleged the following: --Despite the state’s promise to focus on a large backlog of youth who had been available for adoption, DHS was only able to find permanent homes for an additional six percent of kids — leaving more than 2,000 children stranded in foster care for at least two years, and many times much longer than that. --Michigan saw a 28 percent increase in the number of children aging out of foster care without a permanent family between FY2008 and FY2009. According to Children's Rights, the state contributed to this problem by failing to live up to its promises to adequately support youth in foster care through age 20 and provide services through age 21. --DHS was backsliding in its ability to recruit and license new foster and relative homes for children in state care, and in fact lost more homes than it was able to recruit and license. --Nearly half of the caseworkers responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect allegations and monitoring children’s safety at home with their parents were carrying caseloads larger than the maximum specified by the settlement agreement, and DHS’s previous progress in reducing caseloads for adoption workers was now slipping. Additionally, DHS wasn’t ensuring newly hired staff were fully trained before investigating child abuse and neglect allegations and taking on new cases.

In January 2011, the new administration of Governor Rick Snyder took office. The newly appointed DHS management thereafter conducted negotiations with Children’s Rights to refine and update the original Consent Decree. Following several months of discussions facilitated by a court-appointed monitor, the parties submitted a revised settlement agreement in the District Court on July 18, 2011. The Court approved the modified settlement agreement and entered it as a consent order that same day.

On March 20, 2013, while acknowledging some improvement under the direction of new DHS Director (and former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice) Maura Corrigan, Children's Rights asserted that DHS was "still not protecting kids from abuse and neglect." Children's Rights and the court-appointed federal monitor documented the following: --241 kids were determined to have been abused or neglected in care during the most recent monitoring period. --1,805 of the 4,810 foster children residing with relatives at the end of the period were in homes that were not licensed, enrolled in the licensing process or waived from the licensure requirements. Alarmingly, 40 percent of all child abuse of children in Foster Care occurred in these homes. --According to the most recent facts and figures available, just 73 percent of children were visited monthly, and only 56 percent of children were visited twice during their first month in foster care. --DHS failed to launch CPS investigations on time for 35 percent of abuse and neglect allegations that required an immediate response, and failed to ensure caseworkers frequently visited with children.

Nearly eight years after settling the lawsuit, and more than three years after structuring the revised settlement agreement, Children's Rights reported in March, 2014 that "DHS has some major challenges to overcome if it is to fulfill its commitments to kids in foster care. The state is still putting children in emergency shelters too often and for too long, and the number of kids in unlicensed relative foster homes remains far too high. These kids deserve the same supports — like basic foster care maintenance payments — as those in non-relative foster homes. We’ve met with DHS management about our concerns, and are confident that agency leaders are focusing on the challenges. We are looking forward to the day when Michigan’s foster care system becomes the safe haven that kids deserve.”

The state’s progress in complying with the agreement continues to be overseen by a monitor who reports to the federal court.

Lawsuits by families of victims and alleged victims of abuse and neglect Records provided by the Michigan Senate indicate that at the same time DHS was publicly struggling to comply with the Revised Settlement Agreement, the state of Michigan was quietly settling lawsuits filed by families of victims and alleged victims of abuse and neglect totaling over $300,000.00. These settlements included a case where a child died in Foster Care and three cases where DHS improperly removed children from their homes.

Lawsuits by victims of discrimination Records provided by the Michigan Senate indicate that at the same time DHS was publicly struggling to comply with the Revised Settlement Agreement, the state of Michigan was also settling lawsuits filed by victims of employee discrimination totaling over $129,000.00

Bureau of Juvenile Justice[edit]

The Bureau of Juvenile Justice is responsible for the operation of juvenile correctional facilities.[4]

Facilities include:

Director[edit]

Maura Corrigan is the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services. Corrigan was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder on January 14, 2011 at noon. As a former Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Corrigan was chosen to lead the State's largest executive agency.

Corrigan graduated from the Marygrove College.

History[edit]

The Department was created in 1965 as a principal department with the name of "Department of Social Services".[8] Renamed in 1995 to "Family Independence Agency", the department was once again renamed in 2004 to indicate its status as a principal department as the "Department of Human Services".[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Contact DHS." Michigan Department of Human Services. Retrieved on July 25, 2010.
  2. ^ "Ahmed named human services director | Crain's Detroit Business". Crainsdetroit.com. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  3. ^ "DHS". Michigan.gov. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Juvenile Justice." Michigan Department of Human Services. Retrieved on July 25, 2010.
  5. ^ "Bay Pines Center." Michigan Department of Human Services. Retrieved on July 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "W.J. Maxey Boys Training School." Michigan Department of Human Services. Retrieved on July 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "Shawono Center." Michigan Department of Human Services. Retrieved on July 25, 2010.
  8. ^ Section 450 of the Executive Organization Act of 1965, 1965 PA 380, MCL 16.550
  9. ^ "EXECUTIVE ORDER No.2004 - 38". Michigan.gov. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 

http://www.childrensrights.org/news-events/press/advocates-call-for-immediate-improvements-for-foster-youth-as-michigan-reforms-falter/ http://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Publications/Lawsuit/Lawsuit2013.pdf

External links[edit]