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Improving Michigan’s

Child Welfare System:


Our Children. Our
Future. Our
Responsibility.
Prepared for
Ismael Ahmed, Director
Michigan Department of Human Services

Prepared by:
Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force

C. Patrick Babcock, Co-Chair


Carol Goss, Co-Chair

April 2009
Table of contents
Preamble ......................................................................................................................................... 1
Glossary of terms ............................................................................................................................ 3
Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 5
Vision for change............................................................................................................................ 8
Values guiding Michigan programs serving children, youth and families ............................... 10
Mission.................................................................................................................................. 10
Assumptions.......................................................................................................................... 10
Guiding Principles ................................................................................................................ 10
Urgent need for change............................................................................................................. 12
Increase in confirmed abuse and neglect investigations ....................................................... 13
Insufficient resources for prevention and transitional services............................................. 13
Growing backlog in the child welfare system....................................................................... 15
Michigan’s building blocks....................................................................................................... 16
Child Welfare Improvement Task Force ...................................................................................... 20
Composition of Task Force....................................................................................................... 21
Task force work process ........................................................................................................... 21
Work groups.............................................................................................................................. 23
Prevention, Community Services and Treatment Work Group ............................................ 24
Foster Care Work Group....................................................................................................... 24
Adoption and Permanency Work Group............................................................................... 24
Detention, Residential Care, and Treatment Work Group.................................................... 24
Transitional Support Work Group ........................................................................................ 24
Funding Work group............................................................................................................. 25
Communications Committee .................................................................................................... 25
Steering Team ........................................................................................................................... 28
Synthesis Committee ................................................................................................................ 28
Status of child welfare in the U.S. ................................................................................................ 29
Michigan’s Reality................................................................................................................ 30
Current Challenges................................................................................................................ 33
Strategies for change..................................................................................................................... 35
Change Priority #1: Create a seamless array of services that meets the full needs of children
and families in a respectful way, with emphasis on prevention and early intervention. ...... 37
Change Priority #2: Planning and provision of service should be guided by a timely
comprehensive screening and assessment of the child and family and their needs.............. 40
Change Priority #3: Secure greater funding and use it more flexibly to achieve the structural
system and service reforms................................................................................................... 42
Change Priority #4: Racial, gender and cultural equity must become a priority for the child
welfare system. ..................................................................................................................... 45
Change Priority #5: Engage and empower consumers, children and youth, birth and
adoptive parents, families, Tribes and Tribal organizations to ensure their involvement and
voice as decision-makers and respected partners in case planning, program/policy
development, service delivery and systemic change efforts................................................. 47
Change Priority #6: Foster a seamless approach to service delivery through cross systems
collaboration and community partnerships to improve the conditions of vulnerable children
and families........................................................................................................................... 49
Change Priority #7: Improve the strategic use of data collection, analysis and reporting to
improve performance of the system as measured by outcomes for families and children. .. 51
Change Priority #8: Provide opportunities for training and workforce development to ensure
that judicial officers and public/private providers have adequate skills and competencies to
effectively serve the needs of children, youth, and families................................................. 53
Leadership and implementation.................................................................................................... 55
Global system outcomes of the improvement strategy ................................................................. 57
Evaluating the Task Force process ............................................................................................... 58
Appendix A................................................................................................................................... 59
Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force Membership and Consultants .................. 59
Task Force Staff and Consultants ......................................................................................... 61
Department of Human Services Staff ................................................................................... 61
Appendix B ................................................................................................................................... 62
Change Priority Implementation Plans ..................................................................................... 62
Implementation Strategies .................................................................................................... 62
Change Priority #1: Create a seamless array of services that meets the full needs of children
and families in a respectful way, with emphasis on prevention and early intervention. ...... 63
Change Priority #2: Planning and provision of service should be guided by a timely
comprehensive screening and assessment of the child and family and their needs.............. 82
Change Priority #3: Secure greater funding and use it more flexibly to achieve the structural
system and service reforms................................................................................................... 87
Change Priority #4: Racial, gender and cultural equity must become a priority for the child
welfare system. ..................................................................................................................... 98
Change Priority #5: Engage and empower consumers, children and youth, birth and
adoptive parents, families, Tribes and Tribal organizations to ensure their involvement and
voice as decision-makers and respected partners in case planning, program/policy
development, service delivery and systemic change efforts............................................... 108
Change Priority #6: Foster a seamless approach to service delivery through cross systems
collaboration and community partnerships to improve the conditions of vulnerable children
and families......................................................................................................................... 122
Change Priority #7: Improve the strategic use of data collection, analysis and reporting to
improve performance of the system as measured by outcomes for families and children. 129
Change Priority #8: Provide opportunities for training and workforce development to ensure
that judicial officers and public/private providers have adequate skills and competencies to
effectively serve the needs of children, youth, and families............................................... 135
Appendix C ................................................................................................................................. 142
Evaluation of the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force charge and process .... 142
Appendix C: Attachment 1 ......................................................................................................... 152
Evaluation Plan and Data Collection Matrix .......................................................................... 152
Appendix C: Attachment 2 ......................................................................................................... 156
Task Force Charge .................................................................................................................. 156
Appendix C: Attachment 3 ......................................................................................................... 157
Task Force Survey .................................................................................................................. 157
Appendix C: Attachment 4 ......................................................................................................... 160
Task Force Meeting Evaluation Survey.................................................................................. 160
Appendix C: Attachment 5 ......................................................................................................... 161
Work Group Meeting Evaluation Survey ............................................................................... 161
Appendix C: Attachment 6 ......................................................................................................... 162
Initial Child Welfare System Survey ...................................................................................... 162
Appendix C: Attachment 7 ......................................................................................................... 134
Post Meeting Task Force Survey ............................................................................................ 134
Appendix C: Attachment 8 ......................................................................................................... 135
Work Group and Committee Meeting Dates, Time and Locations ........................................ 135
Appendix C: Attachment 9 ......................................................................................................... 137
Work Group Survey Analysis................................................................................................. 137
Appendix D................................................................................................................................. 138
Steering Team responsibilities................................................................................................ 138
Appendix E ................................................................................................................................. 139
Bibliography of Reports Reviewed by Task Force................................................................. 139
Appendix F.................................................................................................................................. 142
Task Force Work Group and Committee Membership........................................................... 142
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“No one spelled it out for me but I kind of guessed.”
Young adult
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Preamble
On behalf of our fellow colleagues, we are honored to submit the final report of the Child
Welfare Improvement Task Force. The CWITF included a cross section of Michigan’s children
and family services leadership, including young adults and parents with direct experiences in the
state child welfare continuum, members of the judiciary, state legislators, state and local
officials, public and private agency leaders, educators, health and child welfare professionals,
philanthropic leaders and advocates for our state’s children and their families.

We know that we speak for all Task Force members in thanking the Michigan Department of
Human Services Director, Ismael Ahmed, for his leadership in establishing the Task Force, in
serving as an active Task Force member, and in his continual expression of support for our
ongoing work.

A nearly universal question raised at the inaugural meeting last May, was whether the CWITF
could make a difference? In large part, this question arose from the limited success of the
numerous special committees and taskforces that have focused on parts of the state child welfare
system in past years. Their recommendations, although thoughtful were rarely implemented. In
spite of this initial skepticism, the Task Force has been successful in bridging often significant
differences in philosophy and experiences to frame a common agenda for systemic reform; an
agenda that was adopted by consensus during the last Task Force meeting on March 23, 2009.

Our success in forming a community for change was greatly influenced by Director Ahmed’s
ongoing active participation in Task Force meetings and commitment to lead a child welfare
advisory board to design and oversee an implementation strategy for systemic change,
incorporating the Task Force recommendations.

We believe that Director Ahmed’s leadership and commitment can move this report from paper
to action and look forward to supporting the implementation of the Task Force recommendations
and tracking the progress for children and families served.

Carol Goss, Co-Chair C. Patrick Babcock, Co-Chair


Skillman Foundation

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“I should have been with my grandmother. I was safe where I was.
After I was told why I was in care, no one bothered to tell me the
steps.”
Young adult
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 1 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009
Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 2 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Glossary of terms
ADC = Aid to Dependent Children
AFDC = Aid to Families with Dependent Children
CAPTA = Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
CCF = Child Care Fund
CFSR = Child and Family Services Review
CIAO = Creating Independence and Outcomes
CPS = Child Protective Services
CSSP = Center for the Study of Social Policy
DCH = Department of Community Health
DHS = Department of Human Services
DIT = Department of Information Technology
DELEG = Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth
DMB = Department of Management and Budget
DOC = Department of Corrections
EPSDT = Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment
ETV = Education and Training Vouchers
FMAP = Federal Medical Assistance Percentages
FCRB = Foster Care Review Board
HSCB = Human Service Collaborative Bodies
ICWA = Indian Child Welfare Act
L-GALs = Lawyer Guardians ad litem
MAFAK = Michigan Association of Foster, Adoptive and Kinship parents
MDE = Michigan Department of Education
MPCBs = Multi-purpose Collaborative Bodies
MPHI = Michigan Public Health Institute
MSHDA = Michigan State Housing Development Authority
MYOI = Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative
NCJFCJ = National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
OJJDP = Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
SACWIS = Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System
SCAO = State Court Administrative Office
SSW = Schools of Social Work
TANF = Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
TDM = Team Decision Making
TFC = Treatment Foster Care
WIA = Workforce Investment Act
YIT = Youth in Transition

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 3 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009
Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 4 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Introduction
In April of 2008, Michigan Department of Human Services Director Ismael Ahmed established
the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force (CWITF) with a charge to assess the
state’s policies and programs and to recommend outcomes and actions that will drive future
reform of the state’s child welfare system.

While several other committees and task forces have been created to examine parts of the state’s
child welfare system in the past several years, the CWITF was unique in the breadth of both its
scope and its composition. It was asked to look at all parts of the state-supported system,
inclusive of policies and programs for youth and families at risk of or experiencing maltreatment,
delinquency and teen homelessness. The 85 members of the Task Force include state and local
public officials, and leaders from all sectors of the child welfare community, including 16 young
adults with direct experience in the system. Their perspectives were complemented by a
presentation from birth parents that had also been served.

In this report, the Task Force is advancing both the values and change priorities needed to
achieve systemic reforms necessary to vigilantly promote the best interest of children and youth.
The report details specific actions and outcomes that will protect and support life opportunities
for some of Michigan’s most vulnerable young residents and their families.

These recommendations are based on recognition of the critical elements imperative for systemic
reform, including:

„ The vital roles and contributions of family -- both immediate and extended -- in protecting,
nurturing, and making decisions about the safe development of children and youth at risk
of/or experiencing abuse, neglect, delinquency, and/or homelessness.
„ The common developmental needs of vulnerable youth, irrespective of the programmatic or
legal labels that have been assigned to them, such as abused, neglected, delinquent, or
runaway.
„ Investment of public resources in evidence-supported statewide community-based prevention
and early-intervention services that protect children by strengthening families.
„ Investing in human and financial resources to prepare and to support young adults in their
transition from the child welfare system to productive independence and leadership roles in
their communities.
„ Restructuring a currently fragmented, confusing, and often counterproductive federal, state
and local child welfare financing system that is oriented to categorical services. It must be
creatively redesigned with a strategy that supports developmental needs of youth and their
families, and that places emphasis on in-home services, while ensuring quality treatment for
children and youth who need temporary out-of-home care.
„ Establishment of a clear and achievable goal of reducing out-of-home care through the
support of safe and nurturing family- and community-based environments.
„ Increased accountability to policy-makers, the public and equally importantly to the children
and youth and their families who receive service.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 5 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
The CWITF change priorities, key actions, and proposed outcomes frame a strategic map for
systemic reform of Michigan’s child welfare system. This report includes both intermediate and
long-term actions. Some can be achieved within existing policy and resources, while others will
require new policy and more appropriate and sufficient funding than currently exists.

Some recommendations chart new territory. The Task Force recommends clearly-stated goals to
safely reduce the number of Michigan children in foster care, to address the needs of seriously
emotionally disturbed children in juvenile justice residential care and to address the inexcusable
disproportionally high rate of African American and Native American children in out-of-home
care, among others. Some recommendations build upon and call for reinvestment in evidence-
supported family preservation programs that Michigan has pioneered, but which have not been
fully implemented due to declining state fiscal capacity. Many recommendations deal with day-
to-day challenges inherent in effectively managing comprehensive services. Improvements are
essential to assure quality and strengthen effective partnerships between state and local
governments, and public and private agencies. Finally the recommendations recognize and build
off the work of the various special committees and task forces that have preceded us.

The CWITF recommendations also acknowledge the reforms included in the settlement of
Dwayne B. v. Granholm. We applaud both Governor Jennifer Granholm’s and Director Ahmed’s
leadership and the Children’s Rights advocacy group for reaching agreement on this landmark
settlement for reforms that will lead to improvements in protective services, foster care, adoption
and permanency. Timely implementation of the settlement is essential to the protection of
children. At the same time, the Task Force cautions that without increased attention to evidence-
based prevention and family-preservation services, an unintended consequence of the settlement
could be the investment of funds in more expensive services rather than more cost-effective ways
to safely serve families and children in community settings. In addition, the primary direction of
the settlement requirement that all children in foster care be placed in licensed settings may very
well result in the disruption of safe, stable, and nurturing placements of many children and youth
currently in state-supported and funded relative provided unlicensed foster care. As noted in the
Task Force’s recommended change priorities, it is essential that the Department of Human
Services and private agencies proactively reach out to current unlicensed family providers and
equally proactively apply federally sanctioned waivers of non-safety-related licensing
requirements whenever appropriate and in the best interests of affected children. Further, when
DHS has determined that family members, who have declined licensure, are providing safe and
nurturing foster care for their minor relatives, the children in care should have equal access to
services and financial resources needed to stabilize their placements and foster their
development, as do children in licensed foster care placements.

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“All my siblings stayed together.”
Young adult
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 6 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
The state child welfare system is complex. It is experiencing unprecedented challenges,
increased public expectations, and rapid change. The Task Force believes that the strategy
outlined in this report will better prepare state government to meet these challenges. It is
important to point out that the elements noted above are interrelated. A reform strategy that does
not address all these elements of change will not be successful and indeed may lead to serious
unanticipated new problems. Such was the case with the mid-1990s reforms that solely focused
on standards for the termination of parental rights; the reforms resulted by some accounts in the
state’s failure to meet federal standards concerning permanency for state wards and contributed
to subsequent litigation.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 7 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Vision for change
The recommendations of the Child Welfare Improvement Task Force are intended to improve
the outcomes for children and youth, and to restructure services for children and their families.
First and foremost, the intention is to create networks of supportive, preventive and early-
intervention services at the community level, allowing families to resolve problems without
disrupting relationships unless absolutely necessary to protect the safety of the child. This will
require a shift in funding strategies so that investments are made in less intrusive services. As
community-based services are developed, the reliance on out-of-home placement must diminish
and be restricted to those children who cannot be safely cared for in their own homes or who
need specialized treatment.

The provision of services should be tailored to the individual needs of children, youth, and
families within the context of community and culture. This will require the ability to make
accurate assessments that lead to individualized family service plans driven by needs rather than
resources. The service array must be developed based on needs and the most effective models
available. Focused effort must be directed at integrating service systems through shared goals,
collaborative planning, and community partnerships. Out-of-home placements, when necessary,
should be close to family and community and be focused on specific treatment or developmental
goals. Permanency services -- including reunification, adoption, and guardianship -- should start
from the day of placement. This reform strategy will allow children and families to have their
needs met in their own communities, minimize disruption to critical relationships, and promote
their long-term well-being.

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“If the system thinks you are ready, they will close your case and
leave us without support. Many of us end up in homeless shelters
after getting put out of the system.”
Young adult
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 8 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
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“I did have a very good experience with the system. I learned a lot.”
Birth parent
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“They need to realize that it’s my first time. It’s my first time losing
my child. I’ve never done this before.”
Birth parent
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 9 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Values guiding Michigan programs serving children,
youth and families
The reforms recommended in this report should lead to a service-delivery system that is client-
oriented, focuses on results, and has the capacity to document performance and regularly share
its effectiveness with the public. Given this view for the future, the CWITF developed the
following mission, assumptions, and guiding principles as the foundation for reform.

Mission
The State of Michigan is committed to ensuring that economic, health and social services are
available and accessible to vulnerable families, children and youth. Services are designed to:

„ Strengthen families and help parents create safe, nurturing environments for their children.
„ Reduce child maltreatment, abandonment, neglect, preventable illness, delinquency,
homelessness, and other risks to a child’s development and well-being.
„ Strengthen economic security, promote strong nurturing parenting, and improve access to
health care and safe, secure housing.

Assumptions
„ When children are separated from their families and familiar environments, they experience
trauma.
„ All services must be guided by knowledge and understanding of the developmental needs of
children, youth and their families. They must recognize that childhood is a short period of
time and interventions must be provided consistent with a child’s sense of time. All children
and youth are in their formative years and are entitled to safe, nurturing environments and
high-quality, developmentally appropriate services. Children experience the least trauma
when such environments can be provided by parents and other relatives.
„ Services should be provided in the homes and communities whenever safe and appropriate.
This requires the development, expansion, and coordination of a continuum of prevention,
early intervention, and placement services. All services should be accessible and focus on
safety as well as the outcomes of permanency, physical and mental health, and educational
achievement for children and youth. Services and decisions should be guided by the best
interest of the child. They should balance the needs of children and youth with those of their
families, and, above all, should do no harm.
„ Racial disparities in both the delivery of service and the outcomes for children, youth, and
their families must be eliminated.

Guiding Principles
„ A vibrant and viable public and private sector network, working in concert, is in the best
interest of Michigan’s children and families.
„ Michigan and its public and private provider network will strive to provide an array of
resources and services which best meet the child and family’s need in the timeliest manner –
the right service at the right time.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 10 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ The well-being of all children and youth is fostered by assuring safety; strengthening
families, marriage and parenting; engaging fathers and paternal relatives; and fostering
permanent relationships within the birth family, kinship and/or Tribal networks or in an
alternative community-based family setting.
„ Services best meet the needs of children, youth, and families when they are based on the
strengths of the family, community, and culture from which children and youth come.
Outcomes improve when family members are actively engaged in the problem-resolution
process.
„ Services should be provided to children, youth, and families based on their particular needs
as determined by a comprehensive assessment conducted at all entry points. Service should
be equally accessible to all residents of the state and be responsive to the family’s race,
culture, Tribal affiliation, language, religion, sexual orientation, disability status, gender of
the head of household, geographic location, and economic status.
„ The community must be engaged through partnership and public education. Communication
must be honest, consistent, respectful, and reflect a commitment to resolving critical issues.
„ Services must be provided in the least restrictive manner in terms of the levels and duration,
thereby minimizing trauma. Placements outside the family should be utilized only when
necessary to protect and/or stabilize the child.
„ Children, youth, and birth parents or guardians should be respected, active participants in all
levels of service delivery, and their voices and opinions must be valued. The state must be
committed to engaging consumers of services, and resources must be available to facilitate
their involvement.
„ A developmentally appropriate continuum of care must be safe and nurturing and
demonstrate dignity and respect for the individual, family and culture. The continuum
should include:
o Community-based services focused on prevention, early intervention, and diversion from
placement.
o A range of effective placement resources, including specialized care within the state.
o Treatment, family reunification, re-entry/ post-placement services.
o Permanency (family preservation, reunification, adoption, and guardianship) services.
o Post-placement support for children who have returned to their communities and families.
o Support services and permanent connections for young persons making the transition to
adulthood.
o Peer youth advocacy.
„ The provision of a seamless system of care requires collaboration among multiple child-
serving systems (child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, health and education) in order
to: keep children and youth safe; reduce high-risk behaviors; assure permanence; and foster
development. This collaboration must occur at the case- and system level and must involve
shared outcomes, accountability, and funding strategies. Courts, which have responsibility
for decision-making for children and youth, should actively participate in the resolution of
issues consistent with the judicial role and ethics.
„ DHS in collaboration with the counties, private providers, Tribes and Tribal organizations is
responsible for ensuring that services are provided by a trained workforce. The workforce
must be skilled in working with children, youth, and families; grounded in evidence-based
practice; culturally competent; focused on results; and able to engage families and
communities in responding to needs.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 11 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Michigan’s elected and appointed leaders, along with local public service administrators,
must be accountable to the residents, Tribes and Tribal organizations, and the federal
government for performance. They must provide regular reports on the results achieved for
children, youth, and their families.
„ Every effort must be made to use financial resources flexibly to facilitate the creation of a
seamless array of effective community-based services. Transparency in the use and allocation
of funds is essential for public stewardship.

Urgent need for change


Michigan’s child welfare system is responsible for some of our most vulnerable children and
youth -- those who are at risk of maltreatment and in families in need of service; those who are in
out-of-home care due to abuse, neglect, or delinquency; those who have left their family homes
and are on the streets; and those who have recently aged out of foster care or juvenile justice
services. For children currently at risk, access to services in the community is limited and may
only be available at the point of crisis. This may lead to preventable out-of-home placements,
long stays in placement, and reduced likelihood of reunification. For children who are unable to
return home, access to permanency through adoption is limited, and the likelihood of
emancipation without the emotional support of family and friends is increased.

Immediate action is necessary to ensure that child welfare services result in positive outcomes
for children and families in Michigan.1 The Michigan Foster Care Review Board noted in its
2007 Annual Report that data collected for Michigan’s pending September 2009 Child and
Family Services Review (CFSR) indicate that the state is not in compliance with federal
permanency requirements. As a result, the state could lose millions of dollars in federal Title IV-
E and Title IV-B assistance for Michigan’s child welfare system.2 In addition, data provided by
DHS’ Federal Compliance Office and by the Foster Care Review Board of the State Court
Administrative Office indicate that Michigan’s reunification outcomes must be improved.3,4

Michigan children removed from their homes are less likely to be reunited with their families
within a year than children in other states. In Fiscal Year 2007, only 42 percent of Michigan
children left the child welfare system to re-unification in less than 12 months, compared with the
federal standard of 75 percent. CFSR data also indicated that the median length of stay for
children in Michigan’s child welfare system was 13.8 months -- more than double the federal
standard of 5.4 months. Although DHS is working to improve these outcomes through the
settlement agreement and other activities, the Foster Care Review Board’s 2007 Annual report
indicates that the local courts also play a role in the unsatisfactory permanency and reunification
outcomes. They indicate that there are four court-related issues that need attention:

1
Throughout this report, the use of the term “child welfare” is inclusive of abuse, neglect, juvenile justice, homeless
and runaway youth unless otherwise noted.
2
Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office, Michigan Foster Care Review Board 2007 Annual
Report.
3
The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is a comprehensive federal evaluation of each state’s operations in
child abuse and neglect cases. These reviews are the means by which the federal government ensures that all states
remain committed to continuous quality improvement in their child welfare system.
4
Federal Child and Family Services Review presented by Carol Kraklan and Jim Novell during the August 18,
2008, Child Welfare Improvement Task Force meeting.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 12 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Absence of consistent judicial leadership.
„ Inefficient administrative processes.
„ Lack of mandatory jurist training and experience.
„ Inconsistent local court/agency collaboration and cooperation.

Increase in confirmed abuse and neglect investigations


Child welfare caseloads have increased due to the deteriorating conditions of many children and
due to reduced resources for public and private human services. According to Michigan
Department of Human Services (DHS) data generated for the Task Force, the total number of
children’s protective services investigations (CPS) assigned by the department increased between
2000 and 2008. Assigned investigations went from 69,400 to 74,439 during this time period; an
increase of 7 percent. During the same time period, the total number of confirmed CPS
investigations increased by 13 percent; from 15,210 in 2000 to 17,460 in 2008. It should also be
noted that the percentage of investigations resulting in a finding of preponderance of evidence is
increasing; the number of confirmed investigations increased from 22 percent in 2000 to 26
percent in 2007.

The state child welfare system has also experienced serious incidents, placing these already
vulnerable children and youth at increased risk. In addition, the decline of publicly supported
mental health services has increased pressure on the foster care and juvenile justice services as
more severely impaired children and youth are placed in the foster care or juvenile justice
programs.

Insufficient resources for prevention and transitional services


Upon review of historical data generated by DHS, the Task Force also found that the Michigan
Legislature has consistently appropriated an insufficient level of funding for preventive, early-
intervention and transitional services for children, youth, and families who come into contact
with the child welfare system. While the state is experiencing growth in new child welfare cases
and a backlog of existing child welfare cases, twelve-month enrollments in the DHS Families
First program have declined by 25 percent between 2000 and 2007. This trend appears to be
counter productive as it is occurring at the same time that the State is reporting increases in the
number of confirmed investigations for abuse and neglect. Investment in prevention and early-
intervention services can reduce the need for removal, minimize expenditures on costlier services
that require out-of-home placement, and significantly reduce trauma associated with removal
from parents and familiar surroundings.

In addition, many young adult members of the Task Force indicated sufficient services are not
being provided as they age out of the child welfare system. This is a critical period of transition
that has tremendous impact on the social, educational and professional outcomes. In order for
Michigan to have an effective child welfare system, these problems must be remedied. For that
to happen, sufficient and flexible state and federal funding must be provided.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 13 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
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“Through the first seven months of them being in care, my children
experienced emotional, mental and physical abuse that they never
experienced while they were under my care.”
Birth parent
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“I had a wonderful foster care specialist, who breathed life into
me…they believed me. They didn’t see me as a stereotype.”
Birth parent
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 14 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Growing backlog in the child welfare system
On average, children spend longer than 12 months under the jurisdiction of Michigan’s Child
welfare system when CPS investigations result in a finding of preponderance of evidence. As a
result, Michigan is experiencing a problematically high of rate of children and youth in foster
care who are awaiting adoption or other permanency services. This has resulted in a permanency
backlog of 5,178 youth who are temporary court wards and another 4,396 youth whose parents
have had their parental rights terminated.5 Although Michigan is close to the federal standard
concerning the number of exits to adoption in less than 24 months (33.9% in Michigan compared
to the federal standard 36.6%), a large proportion of youth remain without permanent ties.

The average length of stay for cases in the child welfare system has steadily decreased between
2004 and 2007. While this trend appears to be moving in the right direction, it only accounts for
cases that were actually closed and does not include cases that remain open in the system. In
2004, DHS investigations resulted in 6,952 new child welfare cases. Of these cases, 18 percent
were closed within the first 12 months, 61 percent were closed between 1 to 3 years and 11
percent were closed between 3 to 5 years. Another 10 percent (696) of these cases still remained
open as of April 2009. These data indicate that a large number of youth remain in the system
after several years and are not attaining permanency outcomes in a timely manner. When
looking at cohort data over time between 2004 and 2007, the problem appears to become more
apparent and compelling. As of April 2009, there are a total of 7,811 cases represented in these
four cohorts that remain open.

When looking at the profile of the 7,811 cases in the 2004-2007 cohorts that remain open,
African American youth are disproportionately represented. According to 2007 Census
estimates, African American youth between the ages of 0 and 17 represent 20 percent of the
juvenile population6 in the State of Michigan, but they represent 42 percent of the 17,226 youth
who were in the child welfare system in April 2009 and 49 percent of the cases that remain open
for at least 3 years after coming into contact with the child welfare system.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I always went in with that mind state that I wasn’t going to be
there very long. I think that that is why a lot of my placements went
not so good because I went in with a negative mind state.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5
DHS Children’s Services Update presented by Terri Gilbert during the January 26, 2009 Child Welfare
Improvement Task Force meeting.

6
Puzzanchera, C., Sladky, A. and Kang, W. (2008). "Easy Access to Juvenile Populations: 1990-2007." Online.
Available: http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezapop/.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 15 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Michigan’s building blocks
Despite these significant challenges, there is much to build on within Michigan’s child welfare
system. The engagement of citizens and their extensive contribution of time, energy, and talent
to this Task Force is a measure of broad community commitment to meeting the needs of the
most vulnerable children and families. Michigan has a history of demonstrated leadership and a
capacity for system improvement.

There is ongoing consideration of implementing best practices around Team Decision Making
throughout Michigan, a process that actively engages families in planning for the safety and
well-being of their children and promotes family-centered services. Some jurisdictions have
instituted parent-advocacy programs to assist parents in working with the child welfare system;
model courts which expedite permanency decision-making; and local collaboratives to better
integrate services across systems. Additionally, there are programs such as the Michigan Youth
Opportunity Initiative (MYOI) that support young people who are aging out of the foster care
system.

The potential for achieving the changes identified in this report is heightened, by the recent
commitment of the state to resolve the class action litigation, Dwayne B. v. Granholm. The
consent decree requires:

„ Improvement in the processes for receiving and evaluating complaints of abuse including a
statewide hotline and new medical policies and staffing.
„ Improvement in outcomes for children through:
o Increased adoptions
o More support for children placed with relatives
o Concurrent planning
o Improved access to medical and mental heath service
o Increased recruitment of foster and adoptive families

The agreement also increases staff qualifications, training, and supervision to ensure that the
frontline staff has the knowledge and skills needed to serve children, youth and families
effectively. The state has also agreed to implement an improved management information
system, which will provide regular management reports and track compliance with policy and
the settlement order. This change agenda is complementary to the recommendations of the Task
Force.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I own a small business right now, and that is exactly how the system
has helped me.”
Young adult
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 16 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
The Michigan system has residual strengths, including past leadership and investments in family-
preservation services, guardianship assistance services, increased services for youth aging out of
care, as well as a long-standing partnership between private and public providers committed to
quality services. However, the current financial crises have threatened the effectiveness of both
program innovations and those partnerships as DHS and experienced providers have struggled to
maintain services. Michigan has several existing task forces and committees that are working
collaboratively with the state and have recently released reports, including the:

„ Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice


„ Advisory Committee on the Overrepresentation of Children of Color in Child Welfare
„ Interdepartmental Task Force on Service to At-Risk Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
„ Governor’s Task Force on Children’s Justice
„ Statewide Adoption Oversight Committee
„ Foster Care Review Board
„ Michigan Child Death Review Program
„ Michigan Mental Health Commission
„ Michigan State Tribal Partnership

The Department of Human Services itself has also established some foundations for progress in
improving Michigan’s child welfare system. Previous and ongoing improvements include:

„ Engaging families and communities through Michigan’s Family to Family initiative.


„ Improving services to youth in transition through the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative.
„ Adding new positions to expedite permanency for children who have been in placement for
extended periods of time.
„ Implementing concurrent permanency planning to improve and speed reunification and
permanency for children and youth.
„ Initiating the Michigan 2020 Initiative to reduce the number of children in foster care by 50
percent by the year 2020.
„ Implementing the requirements of the Dwayne B. v. Granholm Consent Decree, especially
those related to caseload reduction and staff training.

The state has recently participated in a pioneering qualitative study of racial equity issues7 and
has received a set of recommendations that have been considered in the development of this
report. A focus on racial equity will be critical to achieving the proposed systems outcomes for
this effort. Among the recommendations:

„ Build the internal leadership capacity to ensure that the agency functions in a fair and
equitable manner.
„ Use data to manage for racial equity.
„ Clarify policies related to kinship care and termination of parental rights.
„ Re-evaluate the risk assessment tool and its implementation.
„ Collaborate with courts to improve decision-making and establish policies for assisting
youngsters who are wards of both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

7
CSSP, Ibid

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 17 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“People need to be compassionate and understanding, not just pre-
judge not knowing what people have been through.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I would like to recommend that when you are considering placing
a child in a foster home and what would be the best placement,
please talk to the parent. He’s my son. I know what’s best for
him.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 18 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Federal legislation (The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.
L.110-351)) enacted in the fall of 2008 provides new opportunities for states to support children
in foster care and increase permanency.8 For the first time, states can use Title IV-E funds for
subsidized guardianship, which should facilitate more permanent family arrangements. States
are specifically authorized to waive non-safety-related foster care licensing standards to facilitate
the licensure of otherwise eligible family foster care providers.

This legislation also:

„ Provides direct IV-E funding for Native American Tribes and Tribal organizations, and in so
doing recognizes Tribal sovereignty and provides resources to help families and children.
„ Requires agencies to make reasonable efforts to keep siblings together and when that is not
possible assure visitation between brothers and sisters.
„ Gives states the option to further assist older youth aging out of foster care by extending care
to age 21 with federal participation.
„ Requires that youth have transition plans within 90 days of exiting care.
„ Makes additional federal training funds available for court and private agency staff.

Finally, adoption assistance is de-linked from pre-1994 AFDC eligibility criteria, making more
children eligible for federally matched adoption subsidies. The adoption incentive program has
been extended for five years, with additional payments for states that increase their rate of
adoption. It will be important for Michigan to examine the changes in federal policy and funding
and utilize these new provisions to advance the reform agenda. The combination of state history
of managing system improvement, the settlement agreement and the new federal law contribute
to the potential for systemic reforms.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I did not receive clothes for months.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8
Geen, R. (2009).The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act: Implementation Issue and a
Look Ahead at Additional Child Welfare Reforms: Working Paper. Child Trends: Washington D. C.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 19 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
The Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force has been charged with identifying new
approaches to improve life opportunities for children and youth. After nearly a year of study, the
Task Force is presenting recommendations that will increase the level of services to children and
families, re-invigorate public-private partnerships, and lay out achievable and progressive
outcome measures to guide future policy.

The Task Force was established to provide recommendations to the director of the Michigan
Department of Human Services about the essential outcomes necessary to determine the efficacy
of Michigan’s child welfare services in the development and transition of children at-risk of, or
receiving, child welfare services.

The scope of the Task Force included developing measurable outcomes for the full continuum of
state-supported services for children and their families. This includes community-based
services for families to protect children from abuse or neglect, temporary placements such as
shelter and detention, foster care, relative and other court-ordered home-based placements,
residential care, adoption, independent living, and youth transitional services.

Building upon the recent work of the advisory committees and task forces noted previously, the
Task Force was tasked with:

„ Examining the DHS child welfare philosophy:


o To provide advice concerning its clarity and sufficiency for system wide direction.
o To develop and recommend guiding principles to determine the type and choice of
services provided to children and their families.
„ Reviewing and assessing the implications of current federal and state standards in developing
state child welfare system outcomes.
„ Developing and recommending clear, achievable, and measurable performance and process
outcomes for the comprehensive state child welfare system and for each subsystem
(prevention, community-based family services, out-of-home family-based care, adoption,
residential care, independent living and transitional services).
„ Recommending the essential high-yield actions that state government should take to address
the program and process outcomes.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Technically after they close your case you have a year to get into a
housing program. Many kids do not hear about this, or there is a
waiting list. Not every youth is informed about everything.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 20 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Composition of Task Force
The Task Force’s membership draws from young adults and parents who have experience with
the Michigan child welfare system, and public, private, and government agency staff and
administrators. The members include state legislators, a Supreme Court justice, trial judges and
referees, members of the governor’s cabinet, leaders from federally recognized Tribes, leaders of
several service organizations, university professors and deans, attorneys, advocates for youth,
foundation executives and other public and private providers. (Appendix A provides a complete
listing of the Task Force membership.)

Task force work process


The Task Force established six work groups to examine different aspects of the child welfare
continuum. Each work group was responsible for examining federal and state mandates
regarding outcomes. The work groups also reviewed and incorporated recommendations from
prior task forces and committees. Some groups are continuing to meet to develop best practice
strategies. The groups and reports consulted by the Task Force include the:

„ Advisory Committee on the Overrepresentation of Children of Color in Child Welfare


„ Interdepartmental Task Force on Service to At-Risk Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
„ Governor’s Task Force on Children’s Justice9
„ Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice
„ Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative
„ Statewide Adoption Oversight Committee
„ Public-Private Providers Committees (2005)
„ Partners in Excellence (2007)
„ Foster Care Review Board Reports (2006) (2007)
„ Michigan Child Death Review
„ Michigan Mental Health Commission
„ Granholm Transition Team Report
„ Ombudsman Annual Report
„ Casey Kids Count Report (2008)
„ Michigan Comprehensive Plan for Juvenile Justice Services (1977)
„ Assessment of Juvenile Justice Services in FIA: Granholm Transition Team
„ Permanency Options Work group
„ Adoption Forum

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“The referee pushed my court hearings back due to lateness of
court workers.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9
The reports of the Governor’s Task Force on Children’s Justice were included in the 2002-2007 Annual Reports of
the Michigan Citizen Review Panels.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 21 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“My foster care worker was actually wonderful. She brought me to
the table.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
““We need to support prevention services.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 22 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
In addition to reviewing prior recommendations and existing laws in their subject area, each
work group was tasked with integrating its subject area with the systemic cross-cutting issues
that the Task Force had identified. The cross-cutting issues were:
„ Disproportionality (race and gender inequity)
„ Family engagement as decision-makers, service providers, and service recipients.
„ Best practice standards for assessment and treatment.
„ Transition to independent living.
„ Funding.
„ Poverty.
„ Family assets.
„ Community support.
„ Coordination of human service delivery.
„ Concurrent planning.
„ Data collection.

The goal of each work group was to develop child welfare improvement recommendations
within its area of focus. Each group identified and prioritized major issues and recommended:

„ Clear and measurable program outcomes.


„ Strategies to implement desired outcomes.
„ High-yield policy and practice actions to trigger implementation of recommended outcomes
and changes to the human service system concerning programs and personnel.
„ Fiscal and other resources required to implement recommendations.

Work groups
The Task Force relied on smaller work groups to study specific areas and report their progress
during monthly Task Force meetings. To avoid working in silos, the work groups included
leaders from the area of focus as well as a cross-section of the Task Force. Task Force staff
helped identify cross-cutting themes that applied to multiple areas. The work groups are listed
below, along with the Task Force members who co-chaired the groups and a description of the
issues that were analyzed.

Copies of the reports and recommendations that were produced by each work group can be found
on the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force Website at http://michigan.gov/cwitf.
Click on the “Work Groups” link and select the report you would like to review.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“My lawyer didn’t show and my court proceedings were postponed.”
“I had never met my lawyer before my court hearing.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 23 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Prevention, Community Services and Treatment Work Group
Co-Chairs: Diana Sieger and Alice Thompson
The work group formulated recommendations regarding preventive services, concluding that
communities should provide to families to avoid the need to remove children from their homes.
Preventive services can save substantial funds and reduce trauma by addressing a situation
before it worsens into one that requires removal from home. In addition, the group
recommended the implementation of standardized and validated assessment tools to identify the
socio-emotional needs of children/youth, and improved access to health, mental health and
substance abuse services. This group met five times between late August and mid-October 2008.
It presented its findings and recommendations at the October 20 Task Force meeting.

Foster Care Work Group


Co-Chairs: Joan Jackson Johnson and Sylvia Murray
This work group met eight times between late August and early November 2008 to develop
recommendations for improving the delivery of foster care. The group presented its
recommendations at the November 17 Task Force meeting. They included expanded training for
those serving youth, the development of a seamless system of care, and the development of
multi-disciplinary team assessment and case-planning programs to better meet the needs of
youth.

Adoption and Permanency Work Group


Co-Chairs: James Novell and Addie Williams
This work group developed recommendations to enhance judicial and court training and promote
the stable, long-term placement of youth. This group examined expediting the reunification of
youth with their families, providing timely services and funding to families whose children have
been removed, and ensuring that youth are provided opportunity to participate in judicial
proceedings affecting their case. It also looked at developing a database of services so that
families in need can more easily learn about and access them, and studied other services
attempting to decrease the length of time that youth remain in the foster care system. The work
group presented at the November 17 Task Force meeting.

Detention, Residential Care, and Treatment Work Group


Co-Chairs: Sue Hamilton-Smith and Michael Williams
Developed recommendations for improving care provided to youth in detention facilities and to
youth with high-treatment needs. The group met six times prior to presenting at the January 26
Task Force meeting. Its recommendations included the creation of diagnostic-assessment centers
for youth taken out of their homes in crisis situations, addressing concerns with the licensing
system in Michigan, and developing a better system for meeting the needs of youth in both the
child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Transitional Support Work Group


Co-Chairs: Amy Good and Jonnie Hill
This work group met seven times between late August 2008 and January 2009 to develop
recommendations to better serve youth in transition. Transitioning youth are those aging out of

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 24 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
the foster care system as well as any other youth who are moving into or out of any part of the
services that Michigan DHS provides. At the January 26 Task Force meeting, the group
presented its recommendations. They included retaining the involvement of the child welfare
worker when a youth enters the juvenile justice system; the use of a joint information system for
juvenile justice and welfare; increased educational support; and the provision of support as youth
age out of the foster system.

Funding Work group


Co-Chairs: Senator Bill Hardiman and Representative Dudley Spade
This work group met seven times between August 2008 and January 2009. The group developed
recommendations for how to secure more funding for Michigan’s child welfare system and how
to better utilize funding to provide services to youth and families. The Funding Work Group
presented its findings at the January 26 Task Force meeting.

Communications Committee
The communications committee convened frequently as a whole and in work groups over a
seven-month period to develop strategies to publicize the Task Force’s work, communicate its
recommendations and build public will to support vulnerable children in Michigan. It worked
with DHS staff to improve the Task Force’s web site to better inform Task Force members and
the public of the Task Force’s progress. The committee solicited advice from leading
professional and academic marketing experts, who advised that the key to sustaining the Task
Force’s ambitious agenda is to educate, engage, and empower the public with a strong call to
action. The central message: Every Michigan resident has a stake in every child’s future. The
committee studied campaigns in other states and found the most effective ones combine
aggressive, limited-term public service media campaigns, a robust web site that links people to
action in their communities, and strong “earned media” efforts to tell the story. The committee
carefully examined the Casey Family Foundation’s Raise Me Up campaign, launched last year in
Austin, Texas, and believes it is a best-practices model that would be ideally suited for Michigan.
The foundation is expanding its campaign to a small number of other states in 2009, and the
committee urges DHS to aggressively pursue a partnership to begin a campaign in southeast
Michigan.

Michigan is at a crossroads and has a unique opportunity to improve the lives of thousands of
children. The recommendations of the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force provide
a road map for reform. If the recommendations are adopted, implemented and sustained, fewer
children will wind up in foster care, families will be nurtured and preserved, and youth in the
juvenile justice system will find paths to success.

The Task Force offers its recommendations against a backdrop of tough economic times and
harsh budget restraints. It believes the reforms are nonetheless vital and doable, but that they will
only come if there is a strong public will that not only supports but demands protection of
children in the child welfare system.

The key to success will be to engage, educate and empower the public about the
recommendations and the importance of investing in children in the child welfare system and

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 25 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
others who are at risk of entering it. Our key message is that these are "Our children. Our future.
Our responsibility."

Other states are undertaking similar efforts. Illinois and Texas, for example, have effectively
used media campaigns, earned media and robust websites to build support for vulnerable
children.

Over the past several weeks, the communications committee and DHS staff met with the Casey
Family Foundation to discuss the "Raise Me Up" campaign that it launched in Austin, Texas, last
fall.

Key elements of the campaign include:

„ A paid media campaign to build public will and encourage people to "raise your hand" to
help. It drives people to the website, raisemeup.org
„ An earned media campaign engaging the newspapers and television stations and encouraging
news coverage.
„ An empowering website that provides information and makes it easy for the public to get
involved.

The "Raise Me Up" campaign is a best-practices campaign that would be ideally suited for
Michigan. The Task Force encourages DHS to continue to work with the Casey Family
Foundation to become a partner as the foundation expands its efforts to other states.

The Task Force has examined DHS’s own web site and recognizes that it contains a wealth of
information to educate the public about child welfare issues, but the information is not always
organized in a consumer-friendly fashion. DHS has indicated a commitment to revamping its
web site, and the Task Force strongly encourages that effort.

As the Task Force submits its report, it believes that this must only the beginning of the
conversation. The voices for children must be heard often and loudly as lawmakers and other
policy-makers make tough decisions about the future. Our children deserve no less.
The Task Force urges the department to post this report on its web site and allow and encourage
other organizations to do so as well. It believes that public forums – supported by DHS and the
organizations that Task Force members represent – can play a vital role in building and
maintaining momentum.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I was in foster care for three months before I knew why I was in
foster care.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 26 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“A plan is made about us, without us.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“That intervention saved my life.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 27 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Steering Team
The Steering Team met monthly to plan and approve Task Force meeting agendas and coordinate
the planned activities of the work groups. Toward the end of the Task Force process, the
Steering Team reviewed the preliminary recommendations of the work groups, oversaw the
integration of the work group recommendations, and reviewed the final draft of the Task Force
report prior to submission to DHS Director Ismael Ahmed. The Steering Team was composed of
the Task Force co-chairs, work group co-chairs, DHS staff and contracted staff, and an
evaluation consultant. (See Appendix D for a detailed list of the Steering Team’s
responsibilities.)

Synthesis Committee
The Synthesis Committee included at least one representative of each work group and reflected
the diversity of the Task Force. The committee included both Task Force Co-Chairs, Task Force
members from each work group, DHS staff and contracted staff. The committee convened in
January 2009 and met five times. Members were able to participate in all meetings via
conference call as well as in person.

The committee developed the format of a draft report for consideration at the February 23 Task
Force meeting and the protocol for the committee’s assessment of work group recommendations.
The Synthesis Committee then analyzed each work group’s findings, recommendations, and
proposed outcomes to identify systemic cross-cutting outcomes and action steps for inclusion in
the draft Task Force report. The committee had the discretion to add, modify, or delete
recommendations to develop a final set of cross-cutting issues, measurable outcomes, and
concise recommendations.

Following review by the Steering Committee, the Synthesis Committee redrafted its
recommendations and forwarded a report to the Task Force for consideration at the February
2009 meeting.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“When my social worker came to get me I didn’t know what was
going on, I was in class and they called me to the office and told me
I was leaving.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 28 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Status of child welfare in the U.S.
The child welfare system has as its goal ensuring the safety of children, securing a permanent
family arrangement and promoting the well-being of children in its care. Across the country,
social service systems that assist children and families who are experiencing maltreatment,
delinquency, homelessness and other social issue are involved in reform efforts. Although the
number of children in care nationally has declined, the current efforts continue to leave too many
children and youth without the kind of safe, permanent, nurturing relationships that foster
development. Driven by the weaknesses in the current operations and deteriorating economic
and social conditions, state governments and their partners are working to improve their ability
to effectively serve children and families.

Among the common challenges are: improving the outcomes for children, youth and families;
making sure there is an adequate array of services: strengthening the workforce by providing the
practical skills needed to help families; consistently seeking and using feedback from those
served; and working within a limited fiscal framework that makes major investments in out-of-
home placement and substantially smaller investments in earlier interventions. There is a general
recognition that government alone cannot provide all of the resources that families need. Efforts
are under way to build partnerships with not only the private sector but with other public
agencies (e.g. mental health, education, disabilities services) and with communities.

For children, youth, and their families, these challenges result in removals from homes when
community-based services might stabilize families. Children are kept in placements for
unnecessarily long periods of time because family problems are not adequately addressed. Too
many children and youth spend significant portions of their childhoods in care and age out
without the emotional, educational, and financial supports needed to promote their continued
development. Nationally, there continue to be large numbers of children and youth bereft of
permanent caring families. Children and youth of minority backgrounds are more likely to
experience these disadvantages, as evidenced by higher rates of entry and out-of-home
placement and lower rates of exit to permanent, safe family situations.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“The MYOI…is a program that has done so many things in my life…it
allowed me to change into the successful contributing member of
society that I’ve always wanted to be.”
Young adult
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 29 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Michigan’s Reality
Michigan’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems share the national challenges which are
played out in the state’s unique context. While the entire nation is struggling with a severe
economic down turn, Michigan has been affected by a declining economy much longer than
most other states. Global competition has devastated the automobile industry and it subsidiaries,
resulting in the loss of jobs, collapse of small businesses, declining state revenues and a
reduction in the limited services used to support troubled families. The January 2009
unemployment rate was 11.6 percent, four points higher than the national average. The state lost
173,000 jobs in 200810 and another 89,000 in January 2009.11 The problems in housing and the
credit market have combined with the joblessness issue to create a very difficult environment for
young families.

As a result of the economic downturn, funds available for human services have been cut
significantly. Michigan’s proposed Fiscal Year 2009-10 human services budget contains
significant cuts for family preservation and prevention services, including:

„ Teen parent counseling


„ Family group decision-making
„ Youth in transition programs (Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative)

On top of this, families have experienced increased need due to loss of jobs and homes as well as
the effects of these stressors on family relationships. The erosion of the safety net and the loss of
jobs and benefits cause families to be more vulnerable. The percentage of children in poverty is
19.4 percent and affects an estimated 486,400 children.12 Nearly half of these children live at 50
percent of the poverty rate.13 For families receiving cash benefits from TANF, the cap for a
family of three is $459. Over half a million children receive food stamps, which provide $29 per
week for food for each individual.14 In addition to poverty, family structure influences the well-
being of children. Kids Count reports that in 2007, 32 percent of Michigan’s children were being
raised in single-parent families and 36 percent of children and youth were being raised in
families in which no parent had a full- time, year-round job. About 4 percent of Michigan
children lived with grandparents.15

In 2007, nearly 68,000 reports of maltreatment involving almost 187,000 children were
investigated.16 Some 27,000 children were found to be abused or neglected.17 The

10
Michigan Labor Market Information retrieved from www.milmi.org/?PAGEID=67&SUBID=200 .
11
http://www.michigan.gov/DELEG/0,1607,7-154--210172--,00.html
12
Children’s Defense Fund. Children in Michigan: Fact Sheet. Washington, D.C.: November 2008
13
Ibid
14
. Personal communication. Ismael Amhed. Director Department of Human Services, November 2008
15
Kids Count 2008. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from:
http://www.kidscount.org/datacenter/profile_results.jsp?r=24&d=1&c=9&n=1&p=5&x=116&y=9
16
Child Maltreatment 2006. U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Administration for Children and
Families, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. April 2008; Michigan Child
Protective Services 2007 Trends Summary Report. Submitted to the state Legislature on February 20, 2008, by DHS
Director Ismael Ahmed.
17
Ibid. Table 3-6.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 30 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“They weren’t in crisis yet. They went for help and did not get
help…Then the crisis occurred, and then children got removed.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“In the very beginning, we are judged. We are looked at as guilty.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 31 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
number of investigations has increased as has the percentage of confirmations of maltreatment.18
Neglect was the most prevalent form of maltreatment (76 percent) followed by physical abuse
(17 percent) and sexual abuse (4.5 percent). Additional forms of abuse were medical neglect and
psychological abuse. Rates of confirmation vary by race and ethnicity. The lowest rate is for
Hispanic children at 6.3/1,000. White children are substantiated at a rate of 9.3 per 1,000
investigations. The highest rates are among African American children (21.3) and Native
American children (15.4).19 These differences also show up in terms of placement rates, exits
from care and permanency outcomes.20 The ages of children and youth found to be maltreated
varied, with 32 percent under the age of 4; 30 percent ages 4 through 11; and 26 percent ages 12
and older.21 Eighty percent of the children who were found to be maltreated received services as
did 10 percent of the children who were not found to be maltreated.

At the end of 2008, the number of children under placement orders because of child abuse and
neglect was 17,696, with 15,794 living with someone other than their parents. Thirty eight
percent of these children were with relatives. Of the non-relative placements: 6,251 were with
foster families; 1,266 were in institutions (including shelters), 43 were in jail/detention or court
treatment; and 949 were in independent living settings.22 DHS placed 2,722 children in adoptive
homes in FY 2008.23 Despite this accomplishment, there are over 6,000 children whose ties to
parents had been legally terminated, of which 4,300 had a goal of adoption. The remaining
children were described as “youth satisfied with their placement and not wishing to be adopted
or youth in other living arrangements where adoption was not appropriate.”24 External studies
have documented persistently low rates of reunification for children who are placed out of their
homes.25

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I didn’t get to go to any of my court dates because I was younger,
but I wanted to go because I wanted to hear more about what was
going on because I still feel like I haven’t heard the whole story.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18
Ibid Children’s Protective Services 2007 Trends Report.
19
Ibid, Table 3-11.
20
See: Center for the Study of Social Policy (2009). Racial Equity Review: Finding from a Qualitative Analysis of
Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families in Michigan’s Child Welfare
System. Washington DC.
21
Age data was missing for 12 percent of the children.
22
Foster Care Fact Sheet: December 2008 retrieved from:
www.Michigan.gov/doc/DHS-FosterCare-factsheet-131252-7pdf
23
Michigan Department of Human Services, AFCARS Adoption Reporting System, “State Ward Finalized
Adoptions by Age Group,” report run March 2009.
24
Adoption Facts, Michigan Department of Human Services Retrieved from:
http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,1607,7-124-5452_7116-104564--,00.html
25
Final Report; Michigan Child and Family Services Review (2002). Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau.
Washington DC:

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 32 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Current Challenges
Based on this stark reality, the Task Force reached consensus that the following challenges need
to be addressed to strengthen Michigan’s child welfare system and the services provided to
children, youth and families:

Adequate array of services


„ Inadequate array of services to support children, youth, and families in their own
communities, minimize the use of out-of-home placements, and support children and youth
returning home.
„ The lack of integration of services for children in need of protection and those who have been
engaged in delinquent behavior.
„ Overutilization of placement.
„ Inadequate permanency outcomes for children who enter care as evidenced by youth aging
out, low rates of reunification, 4,000 children awaiting adoption, and about 6,000 youth
whose parents have had their parental rights terminated.

Flexible funding strategies


„ Funding strategies that are heavily invested in out-of-home care, with limited investments in
a range of community-based services.

Fair and equitable treatment


„ Significant differences in the outcomes and service process for African American and Native
American children compared with others.

Engaging children, families and Tribes as decision-makers


„ Lack of routine process for securing the input of families and youth to inform the
development of policy and implementation of services.
„ Lack of an institutional structure and processes to work with Michigan’s Tribes and Tribal
organizations in a manner that recognizes their sovereignty and complies with the Indian
Child Welfare Act.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I didn’t have to go at first but later on when I was moved to
Wayne County they made us go through family therapy. I felt like it
helped. We went every week.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 33 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Collaboration and partnerships
„ Absence of a shared mission and goals among the key stakeholders involved in serving
children and youth: the public agencies, Native American Tribes and Tribal organizations,
provider agencies, the courts and the Legislature.

„ Fragmented service delivery approaches that are organized around social issues (e.g. mental
health, housing, substance abuse treatment, special education) rather than around the
individualized needs of a family.

Data and reporting


„ Inadequate information on performance and inadequate technology to manage the services
system in a manner that fosters accountability and transparency.

Training and workforce development


„ Need to improve the competency and capacity of staff of public and private sector agencies
and court to deliver the services and make decisions as required by state and federal law.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 34 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Strategies for change
Michigan’s current allocation of funding for appropriate child welfare services is insufficient to
ensure the safety and well-being of children, youth, and families being served by the child
welfare system. The Task Force believes that the fundamental reinvestment and reform
strategies included in this plan are essential to meeting Michigan’s obligation to children and
their families. With that said, the strategies require that an adequate level of public investment is
made at both the state and federal level as noted in the recommended change priorities. Keeping
this in mind, the Task Force has forwarded a number of recommendations that can be
implemented within Michigan’s current resources. Other recommendations will require
Michigan’s legislative and executive branches to make fundamental changes in funding and
policy in order to achieve federal outcome standards.

To achieve the recommend reforms, multiple strategies must be undertaken. The Task Force has
organized its approach to change around eight key areas that will be discussed in detail below.
(See Appendix B for a detailed implementation plan for each change priority.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Aging out sucks.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 35 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“It is so hard to sit and talk to somebody knowing that they think you
are a bad parent.”
Birth parent
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“The system helped me tremendously.”
Young adult
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 36 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #1: Create a seamless array of services that meets
the full needs of children and families in a respectful way, with
emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
Michigan’s array of child welfare services, similar to other states, has historically relied upon
out-of-home placements. Nearly twenty years ago, Michigan was recognized as a leader
nationally in the development of alternative services to out-of-home care. This is no longer the
case. Today, Michigan’s commitment to early-intervention, family preservation, post-placement
and youth transition services is insufficient and underfunded both in terms of availability and the
range of services. A comprehensive array of community-based services, including preservation,
early intervention, treatment and a decreased reliance upon out-of-home care is desirable and
should be a priority in the ongoing development of services to children and families and receive
adequate, sustainable funding.

Concise recommendations
„ Foster care workers and court staff shall be well informed and shall work with collaborative
agencies to develop a continuing plan of care and aftercare. It should be developed with
children, youth, and families and document the resources that are available for child welfare
services.
„ Develop a comprehensive array of services, accessible to children and families throughout
the state, designed to safely reduce the need for out-of-home placement and to improve
outcomes for children who must be placed outside their family homes. The full array of
services needs to be universally accessible statewide. The services included in the array must
address the needs of:
o Abused and neglected youth.
o Youth in transition.
o Youth in the criminal/juvenile justice system.
o Families in need of preventive services and/or early intervention.
o Families in need of services to promote timely reunification.
„ Improve educational and workforce opportunities and outcomes for children served by the
child welfare system. This should include replicating higher educational programs such as
the Seita scholarship and giving youth in the foster care system preference in AmeriCorps.
„ Improve support services for all youth, ages 15 to 24, who are transitioning from foster care,
from juvenile justice, and from youth homelessness (including those with, or without, a
history in child welfare or juvenile justice).
„ Use residential and other institutional placements only when essential to the needs of
children and youth or to public safety. When these placements are essential, the safety,
permanency, reunification and well-being outcomes for children served must be improved.
„ Implement the best practices and lessons learned from the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry
Initiative (MPRI) for youth to help with the reduction of recidivism.

Key actions
„ Conduct comprehensive child welfare needs system assessment and gap analysis that
includes consultation with all key players. Identify options and priorities for changes in the

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 37 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
service array and allocation of resources to improve outcomes for children and safely
decrease the number of out-of-home placements.
„ Consult with a committee of public and private child welfare, foster, and kinship care
providers, and national program experts to study rates paid to direct family care providers
through the Determination of Care method and through levels of specialized care (such as
Therapeutic Foster Care). Recommend changes that will improve outcomes for children in
out-of-home family care.
„ Maximize the use of family-preservation and reunification services as well as wraparound
funding to reduce the number of children entering foster care and increase the timeliness of
exits from care.
„ Decriminalize children and youth. As of February 2009, the State of Michigan had 485
“juvenile lifers” incarcerated under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC); 346 are serving life sentences without parole. The Children’s Cabinet
(including Corrections) should propose to the governor and Legislature amendments to the
criminal code to reduce inappropriate criminalization of youth, to abolish sentencing of youth
to life imprisonment without parole, and to limit waivers of minors to adult court only in
situations in which protection of public safety requires them.26
„ Based on the needs assessment and study of direct care rates, develop and implement a multi-
year plan for priority changes in service array that:
o Synchronize with public policy and funding decisions.
o Include consultation with all key players in the child welfare system, including private
agencies.
o Elevate the use of prevention services to decrease the number of children and families
entering the child welfare system.
o Expand access to specialized mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse
treatment services.
o Increase the range and capacity of foster and kinship care homes to meet the special
needs of children.
o Provide sufficient resources for the operation of support services for foster care
providers, such as training, recruitment, retention, and support networks.
o Provide sufficient staff resources for program design, development, evaluation,
knowledge management, and communication.

Expected results
„ A full continuum of services is accessible to every Michigan community, including but not
limited to:
o Prevention services
o Home and community based family centered services.
o Behavioral, mental health and substance abuse services.
o Physical health and dental care.
o Individualized educational services.
o Workforce development and support services.
o Residential services.
o Transitional services for youth.

26
Juvenile lifers include inmates serving active life sentences for which all of their relevant life sentence crimes
were committed while they were under age 18, regardless of their current age.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 38 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
o Increased range and capacity for foster kinship care.
o Post-placement and permanency support services.
„ Children and families are able to access any service when needed promoting positive health
and social/emotional outcomes and success into adulthood.
„ Families remain intact, and children remain safe and stable.
„ The number of children in foster care placements will be reduced by 50 percent by December
2020.
„ Children and youth in the juvenile justice system are placed in the least restrictive setting
appropriate to their needs.
„ Transitioning youth (from foster care, homelessness, & juvenile justice) will achieve safe and
stable independent living.
„ Increase the percentage of children who are reunified with their parents by October 2013.
„ Decrease the time it takes for children in out-of-home care to be reunified with their parents
by October 2013 (meet timelines established by federal standards).

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 39 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #2: Planning and provision of service should be
guided by a timely comprehensive screening and assessment of the
child and family and their needs.
Decisions to intervene and/or implement a treatment plan for youth, children, and families are
not uniformly guided by the use of consistent screening and assessment processes and
instruments that are standardized, validated, culturally normed and available across the systems
that provide child welfare interventions. Comprehensive assessment, intervention and treatment
services will allow for the development of an individualized intervention/treatment strategy and
provide information on needs that guide the development of community-based services.

Concise recommendations
„ Establish and use a prescribed set of validated, standardized screening and assessment tools
that are culturally normed, appropriately administered, and available across the various
stages of child welfare intervention from intake to case closure.

Key actions
„ DHS and the Legislature should work together to secure additional funding to either purchase
an existing, or contract for the development of a comprehensive approach to screening and
assessment. DHS will include the contractor in its partnership with other state agencies and
the Tribal-state partnership in the development effort.
„ Implement a minimum of five pilot comprehensive screening, assessment and case-planning
programs. Resolve obstacles encountered in the pilots, and collect process and outcome
evaluation information. Analyze process and outcome information, publish results, and use
results to make revisions to the model that improve its effectiveness. Target Wayne County
as a pilot site.
„ For all children taken into custody, DHS should require professionally staffed, objective
diagnostic assessment of the child, the nuclear and extended family to determine:
o The feasibility of family preservation as compared to out-of-home placement.
o The level of placement needed, including consideration of the availability of a licensable
relative placement.
o The service needs of the child and family regardless of the placement.
„ DHS will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the family’s current medical, emotional
and social strengths and needs.
„ Assessment will be mandatory for youth under juvenile court jurisdiction, using a uniform
assessment tool administered by trained staff. Target Wayne County as a pilot site.

Expected Results
„ Improve the precision of identifying who needs services, which services, and how much.
„ Increase the timely implementation of quality treatment plans by utilizing
holistic/comprehensive view of the child and family, and multiple levels of assessment.
„ Increase availability of research-based, outcome-driven best practices throughout the array of
services, including behavioral, physical, educational, and mental health services.
„ Increase utilization of existing services through assessing available services and developing a
set of tools for screening and assessment across systems.
„ Increase the use of prevention and diversion services.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 40 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“The system helped me a lot. I’m at college.”
Young adult
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Me being removed from my home, I think that was a good idea
because it wasn’t a safe environment for me.”
Young adult
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 41 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #3: Secure greater funding and use it more flexibly
to achieve the structural system and service reforms.
Michigan’s current child welfare funding strategy makes significant investments in out-of-home
placement and significantly less in community-based prevention and early-intervention services.
Further, the current approach does not maximize funding or provide opportunities to fill service
gaps through the use of blended funding and other creative approaches. Flexible and creative
funding strategies will allow the reinvestment of current placement dollars in community-based
services and maximization of other state and federal dollars to promote a seamless service array.

Concise recommendations
„ Request that the state address the structural deficit that contributes to cutting safety net
programs for children, youth and families; revenues continue to decrease and the need for
programs continue to increase).
„ That the Governor support and the Michigan Legislature amend Section 436.1409 of the
Michigan Compiled Laws to increase the excise tax on beer by five cents per 12oz can or
bottle ($16.53 per barrel). Revenues raised by this amendment will be deposited in the child
abuse/neglect prevention, family preservation and juvenile justice community treatment fund.
Annual appropriations from the fund in any fiscal year will be contingent upon an annual
legislative appropriation from state funds for child abuse/neglect prevention, family
preservation programs, 0-3 programs, and juvenile justice community treatment programs at
least equal to state general fund and TANF expenditures for these programs in fiscal year
2008-09, adjusted for inflation (amendment to Funding work group report by Task Force
action at the March 23rd meeting; reservation noted at the end of Appendix B by Justice
Maura D. Corrigan).
„ Improve coordination of fiscal planning and funding of services across systems for children
and families involved in the child welfare system.
„ That Michigan provide the required state match, starting in 2010, to draw down the funds
made available by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.
„ Institute comprehensive change in Michigan’s funding system for services that support the
safety, permanency, and well being of children and families. This change anticipates
expansion of funding, along with a reduction in the number of children placed in out-of-
home care. Funds saved as a result should be reinvested in front-end services to preserve and
support families. The new funding arrangement will provide for:
o Effective community services for prevention of abuse, neglect, delinquency, and
homeless youth.
o Effective family preservation services.
o Post-placement and post-permanency services for child abuse and juvenile justice.
o Medical, mental health, dental, and substance abuse treatment services.
o Transitional services for children and youth exiting foster care, juvenile justice, mental
health and homeless youth.
o Educational services for children during and after exiting foster care, juvenile justice,
mental health and homeless youth.
o Reinvestment of state funds freed up by the temporary federal stimulus adjustment of
FMAP into community-based prevention and early intervention for at risk families.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 42 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Advocate with Congress and federal agencies for increased federal funding to expand the
availability of community-based, in-home services for children and families.

„ DHS should support the expansion of the capacity of federally recognized Tribes and Tribal
organizations to protect children by facilitating the planning and funding of services and
coordinating state and Tribal programs.
„ Target specific funding changes and advocacy efforts to enhance critical program needs.

Key actions
„ Conduct annual interagency budget hearings with DHS, the Department of Community
Health, the Department of Education, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority,
and the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, DCH and MSHDA, focusing
on child welfare services and treatments. Hearings should include Tribal representation.
„ Charge special child welfare advisory board recommended under Change Priority #6 with
coordination of budget, planning, and development with state government branches and
agencies.
„ Institute a university consortium in partnership with the special child welfare advisory board
recommended under Change Priority #6 (using the Michigan Public Health Institute model)
to provide an objective, independent clearinghouse to serve as a resource to all branches and
levels of government.
„ Enhance funding by maximizing federal funds and reinvesting state savings in
improved/expanded services:
o Use IV-E funds where possible to pay for placements of delinquent youth.
o The Legislature should authorize and DHS pilot an enhanced reimbursement percentage
for the In-Home Care portion of the Child Care Fund (from 50 percent to 75 percent).
o DHS should work with the Congressional Delegation to seek federal approval to utilize
medical assistance and Title IV-E funds more flexibly to pilot alternative methods for
delivering services to children and families.
o Improve process for approving out-of-state placements to ensure child benefits from the
placement.
o Revise Medicaid policy to increase availability of mental health treatment for children.
o As appropriate, use existing DHS counseling funds to draw down additional Medicaid
funds for mental health services.
o Create a reinvestment fund to carry forward savings in state and private funding
dedicated to serving children and families.
„ Expedite direct federal funding for Tribal organizations.

Expected results
„ Increased use of flexible funding so resources can follow the child throughout the continuum.
„ Increased collaboration around funding between state, Tribal and local partners.
„ Decreased funding barriers, allowing for flexible funding and leveraging of all possible
revenue sources to maximize available funds.
„ Increased use of data to help with decisions about how funds and resources are deployed.
„ Increased use of incentives through performance-based contracts that focus on family
reunification.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 43 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Increased utilization of federal resources to preserve state and local resources; can be helpful
for sub-populations such as:
o Dual wards
o Foster care
„ Increased ability of the system to meet the immediate needs of families whose children have
been placed in out-of-home settings.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Workers are not aware of the Y.I.T. funds that are available for
the youth in the system. This limits us from getting things like
money for prom and college financial assistance.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 44 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #4: Racial, gender and cultural equity must become
a priority for the child welfare system.
Data for the state of Michigan document the over-representation of Native American and African
American children in the child welfare system statewide, as well as a double standard for female
youth. These children and youth come into care at a higher rate than male children of European
descent; they stay longer and are more likely to age out to lives of uncertainty. Recently,
Michigan undertook at study designed to document the dynamics underlying this problem for
African American children.27 Key findings included:

„ African American families do not receive necessary supports that could prevent or divert
their involvement with the child protective system. Once involved in DHS, African American
families often experience the services offered to them as irrelevant, difficult to access, or
inadequate to support and strengthen their families.
„ African American families experience child welfare systems as intrusive interventions that
do not fairly assess and appreciate their unique strengths and weaknesses and fail to
adequately explore the least restrictive placement options for children.
„ African American youth and families are negatively characterized or labeled by workers in
the child welfare system. Some of these labels follow them through their interactions with
various new workers and ultimately negatively affect the outcome of their cases.
„ Advocacy on behalf of African American families and children is insufficient in helping
them participate in, challenge, and negotiate the child protection system.
„ There are inadequate mechanisms for African American parents and youth to hold DHS,
providers, and advocates accountable for equitable treatment and quality services.

Racial and cultural equity will focus on the reduction of disproportionate representation in out-
of-home care and disparities in outcomes that affect families and children of color.

Concise recommendations
„ Provide the top leadership and managers of the organizations with the knowledge and skill
needed to address institutional policies and practices that disadvantage girls and African
American and Tribal children, youth and families.
„ Clarify and implement existing policies and procedures in a manner that better serves diverse
populations.
„ Ensure that effective public and purchased services are available to families of color and to
Tribes in their communities for prevention, early intervention as well as out-of-home
placement services.
„ Track and report to the public progress made reducing disproportionality and disparate
outcomes.

Key actions
„ Build the capacity to address disproportionality and disparate outcomes.
27
See: Center for the Study of Social Policy (2009). Racial Equity Review: Finding from a Qualitative Analysis of
Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families in Michigan’s Child Welfare
System. Washington DC.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 45 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Accountability: DHS must monitor and publicly report on progress in this area by adhering to
the recommendations in Change Priority #7 Data and Reporting.
„ Establish partnership with communities.
„ Imbed race equity in the contracting process.
„ Training: DHS must monitor and publicly report on progress by adhering to the
recommendations in Change Priority #8 Training and Workforce Development.

Expected Results
„ Reduced disproportionality and disparities in the child welfare and juvenile justices systems.
„ Increased access to culturally/racially responsive and appropriate services.
„ Increased competency of staff to practice in a manner that appropriately reduces
disproportionality.
„ Effective use of data to track and manage the reduction in disproportionality.
„ Increased presence of preventive and early-intervention services in over-represented
communities.
„ Establishment of community partnerships to protect and support children and families.
„ Decrease in the disproportionate number of female youth held in residential facilities for
status offenses.
„ Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Funding for the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative should not
be cut. The program has helped us so much.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 46 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #5: Engage and empower consumers, children and
youth, birth and adoptive parents, families, Tribes and Tribal
organizations to ensure their involvement and voice as decision-
makers and respected partners in case planning, program/policy
development, service delivery and systemic change efforts.
Opportunities are not consistently provided for current and former consumers of service to be
among the key decision-makers in planning services in their own cases. They do not have
sufficient input into how services or systems of care are developed, provided or improved.

Family and community engagement creates opportunities for consumers to provide critical
feedback to inform service planning. It engages communities in the efforts to keep children safe
and promote their well-being. Planning should elicit and acknowledge the child’s preferences,
choices and abilities, as well as identity and build upon the child’s, youth’s and family’s
strengths.

Concise recommendations
„ Strengthen staff intervention and response network at first point of contact with youth,
children and families in order to respond to needs and build trusting relationships.
„ Ensure that youth, children and families are provided with:
o Solutions to remove barriers such as:
• Opportunities to actively participate in statutory hearings.
• Timely information from workers (such as written reports) so that youth can
participate, in an informed manner, in their statutory hearings.
• A means to transportation to attend their statutory hearings.
• Appropriate attire when participating in statutory hearings.
o Opportunities to provide feedback through survey feedback.
o Adequate enforcement of legal representation.
„ DHS and SCAO should work together to establish training for jurists that provides an
appropriate protocol for actively engaging youth “on the record” in statutory hearings.
„ Once permanent placement has been established, seek to terminate court jurisdiction when
appropriate.
„ Recognize and prioritize the role and contributions of families as service providers.
„ Fund a kinship association that will serve as a critical stakeholder in the development of case
planning, program, and policy development.
„ Fund parent and youth partners to serve as system navigators and peer mentors.
„ Maximize the use of family-preservation and reunification services and wraparound funding
to reduce the number of children entering foster care and increase the timeliness of exits from
care.
„ Review Michigan termination-of-parental-rights policies and recommend legislative
amendments and executive actions to ensure that all appropriate actions for family
preservation or kinship placements (licensed and unlicensed) have been fully considered
before termination-of-parental-rights action is considered.
„ Revise foster care licensing policy to strengthen outreach to kinship caregivers and to
proactively apply federally authorized waiver of non-safety-licensing regulations.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 47 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Implement Team Decision Making (TDM) in each county. The TDM facilitator should not
be the child’s caseworker.
„ Encourage or promote the participation of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) in
representing the needs and point of view of children in abuse/neglect cases.
„ DHS and SCAO should work together to ensure that children and youth in the Michigan
Juvenile Justice System, including dual wards, are provided with adequate attorney
representation and support to participate in the judicial process.

Key actions
„ Establish Quality Assurance process that ensures public and private child welfare workers are
trained and prepared to engage children and families in a positive and collaborative manner.
„ Involve stakeholders in planning of prevention efforts and family services at the macro and
micro level.
„ DHS and the Department of Community Health should:
o Seek funding to support system navigators and peer mentors.
o Establish a practice that involves system navigators in case management, programming
and the court process to assist children, youth, and families as peer mentors.

Expected results
„ Better decision-making and therefore better outcomes for youth, children, and families.
„ Increased frequency with which families are used as viable service providers.
„ Decreased trauma experienced by children, youth, and families.
„ Increased use of kinship care.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“We were split up and then reunited, then separated, never
reunited.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 48 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #6: Foster a seamless approach to service delivery
through cross systems collaboration and community partnerships to
improve the conditions of vulnerable children and families.
Current case planning and service delivery efforts do not ensure continuity of care across the
systems that serve children involved in child welfare interventions or between and among the
array of providers responsible for intervention and treatment services.

The experiences of Tribal youth illustrate the systems’ discontinuity. Tribal representatives have
observed a lack of understanding about the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act and
failure to correctly implement provisions of the Act. Tribal representatives also note a failure to
demonstrate respect for Tribal sovereignty when planning programs and services that affect their
children and families. The lack of resources for Tribal services continues to be a challenge.

Collaborations and partnerships to promote seamless service delivery will allow for the
development of shared goals and outcomes, and collaborative strategies that reduce redundancy,
and improve access and responsiveness to clients.

Concise recommendations

We recommend that the Director of Department of Human Services assume primary


responsibility to plan and lead the implementation strategy for the change objectives proposed by
the Task Force.

As a member of the state Children’s Cabinet, the Director is in a key leadership position to
support collaboration with other state departments and agencies that are identified as having
significant roles in achieving the outcomes that are recommended in the eight change priorities.

To assure sustained system wide collaboration, integration of the work of other specialized
committees and task forces, and accountability in implementing the change priorities, we also
recommend that the Director appoint and chair a special child welfare advisory board, consisting
of key public, Tribal, private and community stakeholders, including young adults and parents,
that is charged with assisting the department implementing the strategy for reform and reporting
on its progress. The child welfare board will advise the Director, and through his/her office other
state officials on planning, funding or delivery of services to children and families involved in
the child welfare system, including:
„ Reviewing and acting on improvement recommendations included in statutorily required
reports related to child welfare issues.
„ Directing the development and enhancement of collaboration in relationship to planning,
funding and delivery of child welfare services. Specifically, the special child welfare
advisory board will:
o Establish a model for statewide and local collaboration on child welfare issues.
o Facilitate the development of evidence-based models of collaboration.
o Establish standards for coordinating case processes and case flow among state- level and
Tribal entities.
o Establish a shared strategic focus across all organizations serving families and children.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 49 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ Ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
„ Provide state financial assistance to Tribes for non-federal match required under Title IV-E.

Key actions
„ Concurrently plan and define complementary models for collaboration and seamless service
delivery.
„ Pilot the implementation of the models.
„ Clarify policy and implementation related to risk assessment, kinship care, Indian Child
Welfare Act and termination of parental rights.

Expected results
„ Increased community-level coordination and integration of services, thereby eliminating silos
and duplication of efforts, while addressing the needs of youth being served by multiple
systems or providers (e.g. dual wards or dually diagnosed youth).
„ Increased development of collaboratives that review and approve strategies, and hold each
other accountable.
„ Increased draw-down of public and private funds (better use of Title IV-E funds, increased
Medicaid federal share dollars to support mental health and substance abuse services).
„ Increased ability of DHS to serve as an agent of systems change.
„ Increased consumer access to services, and improved continuity of services.
„ Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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“Though I was adopted and sent to Illinois, which I didn’t want,
and my adopted parent was an evil person to me, I feel that the
system saved my life.”
Young adult
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 50 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #7: Improve the strategic use of data collection,
analysis and reporting to improve performance of the system as
measured by outcomes for families and children.
DHS and the Michigan courts face major challenges in managing the child welfare and juvenile
justice systems because of very limited access to information on the operation of programs, the
status of individual cases at the state and county level, and the impact of services on children and
families. The Children’s Rights settlement requires the development of a Statewide Automated
Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS)-compliant system by October of 2012 to enable
reporting on the settlement requirements. To do so, DHS, the courts and the private provider
network need to build a system can be used to manage programs, services, resources and staff
toward the desired outcomes, and provide regular reporting of program to the agency and the
public. Target Wayne County as a pilot site.

Strategic use of data to manage performance and accountability will provide critical feedback by
focusing on building the Management Information System and the capacity to use the resulting
information to manage for results and increase support front-line staff.

Concise recommendations
„ DHS and the courts must build a Management Information System that:
o Supports decision-making at the case, program and system level.
o Allows for the tracking of progress on race equity.
o Identifies Native American youth immediately.
o Identifies services and resources by geographic area for service planning.
o Allows for the ongoing evaluation of all programs including the Reunification and the
Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative.
o Links child welfare, juvenile justice, court, and private agency data.
o Supports the development of a public report card on agency and judicial performance,
shifts in the service delivery system, and outcomes for children and families.
o Uses validated instruments.
o Meets standards for quality and accuracy of data.
o Includes, and works in collaboration with, private sector services.
o Interfaces with other state data maintained by DHS, the Department of Education, the
courts, and other public data sources.
„ DHS and the Supreme Court/State Court Administrative Office must issue an annual report
card with outcomes for children and families, racial equity and progress on achieving
performance standards outlined in the Task Force report.
„ DHS and SCAO will work with local counties, Tribes and Tribal organizations, and
providers (with an emphasis on Wayne County due to the large number of children who
reside in that county) to establish data-sharing agreements to improve the state’s ability to
establish a statewide child welfare, juvenile justice and homeless and runaway youth
database.
„ DHS should take the lead and collaborate with appropriate data collection partners to
establish an integrated, state-wide child welfare, juvenile justice and homeless and runaway
youth database (SACWIS plus).

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 51 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Key Actions
„ The Task Force fully endorses the current efforts to use external experts to evaluate the
current child welfare systems and databases, plan changes, and competitively contract for
improvements in quality, ease of use and data integration.
„ DHS and the courts must establish performance standards and issue an annual report card on:
the outcomes for children and families; racial equity; and the progress on the systemic shifts
outlined in this report.

Expected Results
„ Increased use of data to:
o Manage the system.
o Inform public stakeholders on the state of child welfare and current efforts.
o Improve accountability and effectiveness of programs.
o Determine the long-term impact of policy and program changes.
„ Increased access to data at the case level to improve the quality of case practice (private
agencies currently don’t have access to data).
„ Increased data sharing and case planning among service providers to improve quality, create
better service outcomes and establish benchmarks and standards.
„ Increase collaboration between the Department of Information Technology, the State Court
Administrative Office, Tribes and Tribal organizations, courts and DHS in order to
implement critical system enhancements that will improve access to and analysis of data.
„ Increase the capacity to leverage funding streams.

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“Foster parents have to be more understanding. Foster parents
need to be parents and not babysitters.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 52 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #8: Provide opportunities for training and
workforce development to ensure that judicial officers and
public/private providers have adequate skills and competencies to
effectively serve the needs of children, youth, and families.
Consistent with the settlement, clear standards for experience and competence must be
established for Michigan’s legal and social work practitioners in the field of child welfare
through the implementation of competence-based training. Michigan has yet to establish a
system requiring these practitioners to demonstrate competencies in the practice of child welfare.
Because of this, professional child welfare decisions and practices may be guided by insufficient
information or knowledge, resulting in less-than-optimal outcomes for children, youth and
families who come into contact with the child welfare system.

Workforce development and training must focus on ensuring that staff has the knowledge, skill
and supervision needed to work effectively with families and children consistent with the values
and desired outcomes.

Concise recommendations
„ DHS should implement a statewide child welfare training consortium, including agency
directors, supervisors, federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations, and private
agencies. This consortium will assess and address the training needs for Michigan’s child
welfare system and ensure that relative caregivers, foster families and public/private
providers are provided the necessary training to move cases to safe and timely permanency.
„ DHS will collaborate with the State Court Administrative Office, Michigan Supreme Court
and Legislature to ensure that judges, referees and attorneys, assigned to child welfare cases,
have the necessary training to move cases to safe and timely permanency. Comprehensive
training regarding requirements of the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) should be required and provided upon appointment.
„ Training should be expanded for relative and fictive kin caregivers (reflecting the cultural
definition of family members; e.g. godparents or clan members).
„ DHS should comply with the Children’s Rights settlement provisions regarding
qualifications, training, and supervision to ensure that children and youth are provided with
high-quality case management services.
„ Measures of judicial performance should be established by SCAO and utilized as a tool for
training and improving outcomes for children and youth.
„ DHS should facilitate and participate in cross-training opportunities with the Department of
Community Health/Community Mental Health, the Department of Education and other
groups on such subjects as evidenced-based practice interventions and even sub-specialty
content for early childhood development, health care integration, parents with disabilities and
children with disabilities.

Key actions
„ The DHS Child Welfare Training Institute (CWTI) should establish and implement a training
and workforce development consortium to serve court and legal personnel, and public and
private service providers.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 53 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
„ DHS and SCAO should provide cross-training opportunities for judges and attorneys, DHS,
and private providers that prepare staff to fulfill their responsibilities in a competent manner.

Expected results
„ Increased number of lawyer guardians ad litem, other attorneys, judges, relative caregivers,
and jurists who are trained on critical issues related to child welfare law and policy.
„ Increased quality of service and care provided by judges, relative caregivers, foster families,
jurists, public/private providers, attorneys, and lawyer guardians ad litem.
„ Improved outcomes for children and families in the areas of safety, timeliness of
permanency, youth rehabilitation and child and family well being.

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“I was put into care at the age of 4, nobody wanted a cute little 4
year-old.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 54 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Leadership and implementation
The Task Force has recommended eight interrelated change priorities that should be acted upon
concurrently to improve Michigan’s child welfare system. As indicated earlier in the report, it
will be important for Department of Human Services to build the capacity to implement these
change priorities and to consider the leadership, organizational and systemic changes that will be
required to secure the commitment and resources and to put the plan into action. This will
require a process to:

„ Manage the change process.


„ Keep a focus on outcomes for children and families.
„ Respond to potential problems.
„ Maintain vital partnerships with courts, the Legislature and the community.
„ Make collaborative decisions.
„ Sustain support for implementation.

Strong leadership and effective ongoing management will be necessary to implement the change
strategies in a way that achieves the expected results. As a member of the state children’s
cabinet, the director of DHS is in a key position to support collaboration with other state
departments and agencies that are identified as having significant roles in achieving the
outcomes that are recommended in the eight change priorities.

Michigan’s child welfare services are complicated with many often competing demands and
expectations. The Task Force which included members from all sectors of Michigan’s child
welfare leaders, including young adults and parents, has recommended change objectives that
address the system or the “big picture" for reform. We recommend the Director of DHS assume
primary responsibility to lead the implementation strategy for these change objectives. To assure
sustained system-wide collaboration, integration of the work of other specialized committees and
task forces, and accountability in implementing the change priorities, we recommend that the
Director appoint a child welfare advisory board, consisting of key public, private and community
stakeholders, including young adults and parents, that is charged with assisting the Department
implementing the strategy for reform and reporting on its progress.

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“When you age out, it seems like you lose everything. That’s how
foster kids end up on the street.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 55 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
To help with this process, the following are some suggested steps to coordinate the
implementation of the recommended change strategy.

„ Review the Task Force implementation plan. The leadership group should review the
recommendations and make a commitment to use it as a document to guide change and
progress. Timelines should be established to measure the progress of reform and expected
changes in outcomes. The initial review process should allow readers to become familiar
with the:
o Change priorities.
o Concise recommendations.
o Expected results.
o Implementation plans.

„ Convene and facilitate a series of regional forums among key staff and stakeholders to
discuss the report and the implications for various sectors.

„ Post the final report on the DHS website and issue periodic reports to the public which
includes a discussion of actions taken and the outcomes for children, youth and families.

„ Allow Task Force members to post the report on their websites to inform the general public
of the state’s commitment to improving the system.

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“I was happy that my brother and I were able to be adopted and
grow up together.”
Young adult
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 56 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Global system outcomes of the improvement
strategy
Once the plan is implemented, in order to determine progress, numerous measures of change
should be tracked over a 5-year period and reported to the public annually. Expected outcomes
include:

„ The proportion of children, youth and families safely served in family and community- based
settings will increase.
o More families will receive prevention and early intervention services.
o More children families and youth will receive community-based placement diversion
services.
o Communities will increase their capacity to meet the needs of families using a mix of
public, private, voluntary and sectarian resources.
„ Out-of-home placements will decrease by 2020.
„ For children and youth in need of placement the following outcomes should be expected:
o The number of children placed in licensed family foster care will increase.
o The number of placement changes will decrease.
o Re-entry rates will decline for children and youth in the child welfare system.
o The length of time in care will be reduced.
o The number and proportion of children reunited with their families and relatives will
increase.
o The number and proportion of children who are adopted or placed in legal guardianship
arrangements will increase.
o The number and proportion of children aging out of foster care will decrease.
o Inappropriate congregate-care placements will decrease.
„ Recurrence of maltreatment and delinquency will decrease.
„ An increased number and proportion of vulnerable youth transitioning (out of homelessness
and the child welfare system) to adulthood will have the educational, occupational,
emotional, and social resources needed to promote long-term well-being.
„ An increased proportion of services will be tailored to respond to racial, cultural and gender
and other diversities.
„ Racial equity for children and families will increase as it relates to:
o Substantiation of maltreatment.
o Access to community-based services.
o Placement rates and type of setting.
o Length of stay in care
o Safety and permanency (reunification, adoption and guardianship) outcomes
o Aging out
„ Transparency will increase as evidenced by annual reporting on the safety, permanency and
well-being outcomes of children, youth, and families.
„ State and federal funding for community-based services will increase.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 57 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Evaluating the Task Force process
Surveys were administered by an external evaluator during Task Force and work group meetings
to seek continuous feedback on the Task Force process. Task Force members and work group
participants were asked to respond several questions to identify areas for improvement and to
determine if the Task Force was making adequate progress on accomplishing its charge.
According to the final report provided by the external evaluator, the Child Welfare Improvement
Task Force structure and implemented processes functioned to produce their stated goals and
required work products and satisfied all tasks and work products as defined in the charge. (See
Appendix C for the full evaluation report on how the Task Force met its charge.)

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“My family may have not been the best place to place me because
the family member that neglected me was easily able to reach me
and cause more harm.”
Young adult
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Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 58 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix A
Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Membership and Consultants
Pat Babcock, Co-Chair – Lansing
Carol Goss, Co-Chair, President and CEO of the Skillman Foundation – Detroit

Ismael Ahmed, Director, Michigan Department of Human Services – Lansing


Gary Anderson, Director, Michigan State University School of Social Work – East Lansing
Beth Arnovits, Executive Director, Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency – Lansing
Quientae Baker, Parent Partner, The Guidance Center – Southgate
Sheryl Calloway, Parent Partner, Association for Children’s Mental Health – Detroit
Patricia Caruso, Director, Michigan Department of Corrections – Lansing
State Representative Brenda Clack – Lansing
Sharon Claytor Peters, Claytor Peters Consulting – Belleville
Marvis Cofield, CEO, Alkebu-Lan Village – Detroit
Rob Collier, President and CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations – Grand Haven
The Honorable Maura D. Corrigan, Justice, Michigan Supreme Court – Detroit
The Honorable Susan Dobrich, Judge, Cass County Probate Court – Cassopolis
The Honorable Charlene Elder, Judge, Wayne County Circuit Court – Detroit
Mike Flanagan, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michigan Dept. of Education – Lansing
Harold Gazan, Child Welfare Executive (retired), Michigan DHS – Holland
Amy Good, CEO, Alternatives for Girls – Detroit
Shirley Gray, Director of Clinical Support Services, Children’s Hospital of Michigan – Detroit
Ricardo Guzman, CEO, Community Health and Social Service Center – Detroit
Sue Hamilton-Smith, Director, Dept. of Children and Family Services – Wayne County
Senator Bill Hardiman – Lansing
Ashley Harris, Youth Representative, MYOI – Canton
James Haveman, President, Haveman Group – Grand Haven
Michael Head, Deputy Director for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, DCH - Lansing
Jeriel Heard, Chairperson, Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice – Farmington Hills
James Henry, Director, Southwest Michigan Child Trauma Assessment Center – Kalamazoo
Jonnie Hill, Peer Group Facilitator, Creating Independence and Outcomes Project – Detroit
Rob Hilla, Youth Representative, MYOI – Midland
Jennifer Hopp, Youth Representative, MYOI – Midland
Cameron Hosner, President and CEO, Vista Maria – Dearborn Heights
Judith Jackson, CEO, Youthville – Detroit
Joan Jackson Johnson, Human Relations and Community Services, City of Lansing – Lansing
Senator Gilda Jacobs – Lansing
Senator Mark C. Jansen – Lansing
Alicia Johnson, Youth Representative, MYOI/Dream Academy – Detroit
Jane R. Johnson, Director, Muskegon County Dept. of Human Services – Muskegon Heights
Ashley Jones, Youth Representative, MYOI/CIAO/WIA – Detroit

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 59 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Susan Kelly, Senior Director for Strategic Consulting, Casey Family Programs – Ypsilanti
Noble Kheder, Chairman, Kheder Davis and Associates – Lansing
Alan Kilar, Financial Secretary Treasurer, UAW, Local 6000
Margaret King-Ahmed, Enrichment/Parenting Teacher, Dearborn Public Schools – Dearborn
Mistie Klingelsmith, Youth Representative, MYOI – Interlochen
John Konke, Youth Representative, MYOI – Bay City
Jack Kresnak, President and CEO, Michigan’s Children – Lansing
Shannyn Lee, Youth Representative, Alternatives for Girls – Detroit
Jen Leedy, Youth Representative, Spirit Youth Board – Lenox
Sandra Lindsey, CEO, Saginaw County Community Mental Health – Saginaw
Bill Memberto, Director of Family Services, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians – Manistee
Robert Miles, President and CEO, Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan – Bay City
Martin Mitchell, President and CEO, Starr Commonwealth – Albion
Vondie Moore Woodbury, Muskegon Community Health Project – Muskegon
Cory Morgan, Youth Representative, MYOI – Grand Rapids
Sylvia Murray, Director, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan – Mt. Pleasant
Dinia Nobles, Foster Parent Representative
James Novell, Program Manager, Foster Care Review Board at SCAO – Detroit
Kathryne O’Grady, DHS Children’s Services Administration – Lansing
Janet Olszewski, Director, Department of Community Health – Lansing
Debra Porchia-Usher, United Way for Southeastern Michigan – Detroit
Robyn Price, AFSCME – Detroit
Verlie Ruffin, Director, Office of Children’s Ombudsman – Lansing
David Sanders, Executive Vice President, Casey Family Programs – Seattle, WA
Bill Schramm, Youth Representative, MYOI – Traverse City
The Honorable Peter J. Schummer, Jr., Wayne County Circuit Court Family Division – Detroit
John Seita, Associate Professor, Michigan State University School of Social Work – Lansing
Shawn Semelsburger, Youth Representative, MYOI – Traverse City
State Representative Rick Shaffer – Lansing
Diana Sieger, President, Grand Rapids Community Foundation – Grand Rapids
Carol Siemon, Director, Child Welfare Training Institute, DHS – Lansing
Gerald K. Smith, President and CEO, Detroit Youth Foundation – Detroit*
State Representative Dudley Spade – Lansing
Tabitha Stauffer, Youth Representative, MYOI – Freeland
Carl Taylor, Professor, Michigan State University Department of Sociology – East Lansing
Gary Tester, Vice President of Advocacy, Holy Cross Children’s Services – Clinton
Alice Thompson, CEO, Black Family Development, Inc. – Detroit
Sheryl Thompson, Director, Genesee County Department of Human Services – Flint
John Tropman, Dean, School of Social Work at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Christina Vadino, Attorney – Grosse Pointe Park
Annemarie Valdez, Executive Director, Child’s Hope – Dearborn
Frank Vandervort, University of Michigan Law School – Ann Arbor
Phyllis Vroom, Dean, School of Social Work at Wayne State University – Detroit
Margaret Warner, Wayne County Child and Family Services Administration – Detroit
Kiefert Watson, Youth Representative, Orchards Children’s Service – Hazel Park
Addie Williams, President and CEO, Spaulding for Children – Southfield

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 60 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Michael Williams, President and CEO, Orchards Children’s Services – Southfield
Michelle Williams, Youth Representative, Wolverine Human Services – Detroit
Paris Winters, Youth Representative, Wolverine Human Services – Detroit
Robert Wallack, CEO, Wolverine Human Services – Grosse Pointe Park
Gorgeous Young, Youth Representative, MYOI – Detroit
Andy Zylstra, Director, Kent County Department of Human Services – Grand Rapids

*Deceased

Task Force Staff and Consultants


Chris Andrews, Public Policy Associates
Charles Corley, Ph.D., Public Policy Associates
Lisa Cylar-Miller, Skillman Foundation
Paul Elam, Ph.D., Public Policy Associates
Dan Fitzpatrick, Public Policy Associates
Jim Hennessey, Michigan State University
Jim Hines, Public Policy Associates
Danielle Moore, Public Policy Associates
Kristin Raymond, Public Policy Associates
Rick Robinson, Ph.D., Independent Evaluator
Elysia Rodriguez, Public Policy Associates
Carol Spigner, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Willard Walker, Public Policy Associates

Department of Human Services Staff


Montrelle Baldwin, Departmental Analyst
Mary Chaliman, Senior Executive Assistant Deputy Director
Beverly Davenport, Executive Assistant to Chief Deputy Director
John Evans, State Bureau Administrator
Ted Forrest, State Administrative Manager
Terri Gilbert, State Bureau Administrator
Kate Hanley, State Division Administrator
Mary Mehren, State Office Administrator
Anita Peters, State Administrative Manager
Ozzie Riveria, State Administrative Manager
Jeanette Scroggins, Departmental Specialist
Stacey Tadgerson, Departmental Specialist

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 61 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix B
Change Priority Implementation Plans
The Change Priorities presented in this Appendix provide key action steps that the Task Force believes should be implemented to improve Michigan’s
child welfare system. To implement the action steps, the Task Force is recommending a four-pronged approach that will require an ongoing commitment
to complete tasks that are already in progress, reinvestment strategies, reform strategies and meaningful partnerships between the executive, legislative and
judicial branches of state government.

Implementation Strategies
„ Commitment to complete tasks in progress - Action steps in this category are already in progress and DHS has made a commitment to accomplish
these tasks with existing resources. It will be important for the Department to oversee these initiatives to make sure that they are maintained as
priorities and that the expected outcomes are achieved within specified timeframe.

„ Reinvestment strategies - Action steps in this category are also supported by DHS departmental leadership, but will require a significant shift in the
way the Department currently utilizes existing staff and monetary resources. It may mean spending more time on new initiatives and focusing
energies in areas that have not been seen as priorities in the past. These action steps will require additional planning efforts to realize the expected
results within the recommended timeframe.

„ Reform strategies - Action steps in this category are also supported by DHS departmental leadership, but will require statutory changes and/or
additional funding to accomplish the associated outcomes. To accomplish the outcomes associated with these action steps, the Department will have
to engage in ongoing reform efforts to secure resources that are not currently available. Initiation of the reform/funding proposals should occur within
the recommended timeframes.

„ State partnerships - Action steps in this category are also supported by DHS departmental leadership, but cannot be accomplished without partnering
with other branches of the state government. To accomplish the outcomes associated in this area, DHS will have to establish ongoing collaborative
relationships that provide opportunities to impact statewide programming, training and policy within the recommended timeframe.

To assure both transparency and inclusion of the insights of the multiple parties engaged in child welfare policy and service delivery, it is
recommended that stakeholders with a primary interest in the recommendations included in each of the following change priorities be consulted on a
regular basis. While the grouping may vary by change priority, key stakeholders in Michigan’s child welfare system include, but are not limited to,
Tribal governments, local courts, local multipurpose collaborative bodies, Michigan Association of County Social services, Foster Care Review
Boards, local courts, state judicial associations, private children agencies, community mental and public health agencies, state and local united ways,
community foundations, MYOI, CIAO, University schools of social work, MAFAK, and kinship associations.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 62 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #1: Create a seamless array of services that meets the full needs of children and
families in a respectful way, with emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
Specific Issue
Michigan’s current child welfare array of services is weighted heavily toward out-of-home placement options. The array of early intervention,
family preservation, post-placement and youth transition services is insufficient, both in terms of availability and the range of services.

Concise Recommendations
1. Develop a comprehensive array of services designed to safely reduce the need for out-of-home placement and to improve outcomes for children
who must be placed outside their family homes. The full array of services needs to be universally available and accessible to children and
families throughout the state. The services included in the array must address the needs of:
a. Abused and neglected youths.
b. Youths in transition.
c. Youths in the juvenile/criminal justice system.
d. Families in need of preventive services and/or early intervention.
e. Homeless and runaway youth.
2. Improve educational and workforce opportunities and outcomes for children served by the child welfare system. This should include replicating
higher educational programs such as the Seita scholarships and giving youths in the foster care system preference in AmeriCorps.
3. Improve support services for all youth ages 15 to 24 who are transitioning from foster care, from juvenile justice, and from youth homelessness
(including those with or without a history in child welfare or juvenile justice).
4. Use residential and other institutional placements only when essential to the needs of children and youth or to public safety. When these
placements are essential, improve the safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for those served.
5. Foster care workers and court staff shall be well informed and shall work with collaborative agencies to develop a continuing plan of care and
aftercare. It should be developed with children, youth, and families and document the resources that are available for child welfare services.

Expected Results
1. A full continuum of services is available to every Michigan community, including but not limited to:
a. Prevention services.
b. Home and community-based family-centered services.
c. Behavioral (mental health and substance abuse) services.
d. Physical health and dental care.
e. Individualized educational services.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 63 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
f. Workforce development and support services.
g. Residential services.
h. Transitional services for youth.
i. Increased range and capacity for foster kinship care.
j. Post-placement and permanency support services.
2. Children and families are able to access any service when needed promoting positive health and social/emotional outcomes and success into
adulthood.
3. Families remain intact and children remain safe and stable.
4. The number of children in foster care placements will be reduced by 50% by December 2020.
5. Children and youth in the juvenile justice system are placed in the least restrictive setting appropriate for their needs.
6. Transitioning youth (from foster care, homelessness, and juvenile justice) will achieve safe and stable independent living.
7. Increase the percentage of children who are reunified with their parents by October 2013.
8. Decrease the time it takes for children in out-of-home care to be reunified with their parents by October 2013 (meet timelines established by
federal standards).

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 64 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #1: Create a seamless array of services that meets the full needs of children and
families in a respectful way, with emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. Conduct comprehensive child welfare needs system assessment and State Partnership: 1. Needs assessment and gap analysis identifies options and
gap analysis that: DHS (lead) priorities for changes in the service array that prioritize:
a. Includes consultation with all key state and local players in the DCH a. Availability of community-level evidence-based
child welfare system including children, youth, and families; foster DMB prevention services both prior to and after CPS
care, kinship care, and adoptive families; and service providers. DOC intervention.
b. Provides a common definition of each of the service elements in MDE b. Use of a wraparound service delivery concept within a
the array, including prevention services. DELEG family preservation and reunification model that front-
c. Defines an array of services most essential to achieving timely MSHDA loads services for families by providing limitless flexibility
permanency for children while protecting their safety and well- SCAO to use of any universally available service to meet
being, focusing on use of proven and promising program/service FCRB individual and family needs available at any point in the
models. intervention process including at the time of preliminary
d. Evaluates the services needed to reduce the number of children In Progress: MSU Child Welfare Resource court hearings.
in out-of-home placements. Center is in the process of completing a c. Front-loaded services within a family preservation and
e. Identifies options and priorities for changes in the service array comprehensive Needs Analysis to document reunification model with increased use of evidence-
and allocation of resources among elements of the service array unmet needs of the child welfare population and based parenting education programs and increased
to meet the goals of improving outcomes for children and safely to identify gaps in the service array. Service visitation for children in out-of-home care.
decreasing the number of out-of-home placements array exploration is in process, Needs d. Increased foster care range and capacity that:
assessment will contribute to identification of i. Provide appropriate placements for special needs
Time Frame: next steps. Pilot programs are being developed children (age, sibling groups, cultural issues, health
May 15, 2009: Complete 1st assessment & gap analysis. currently with DCH. issues, etc.).
Nov 15, 2010: Complete 2nd assessment & gap analysis. ii. Address revised limits on the number of children
Reinvestment: Service array may require re- who can be placed in one home.
directing existing funding to most effective and iii. Improve quality of foster homes.
appropriate services. Needs assessment will iv. Address the need for proximity of placement to the
help determine service gaps and priorities. home of the child’s family.
v. Assume aggressive implementation of new
Reform: New services determined by the needs federally authorized waivers from licensing
assessment may require an investment of requirements for non-safety issues.
additional resources. vi. Provide services and support in kinship care
equivalent to other foster care arrangements.
vii. Provide parity in financial support for kinship care
when the home is not licensed.
viii. Provide full support for foster parents that
addresses recruitment and retention needs.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 65 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. Based on the needs assessment and study of direct care rates, State Partnership: 1. Multi-year service array improvement plan is prepared.
develop a multi-year plan for implementing priority changes in service DHS (lead) 2. Expected results of service array changes are developed.
array that: DCH 3. System-wide understanding of changes is maximized.
a. Recognizes the need to synchronize program and service array MDE 4. Public policy and appropriations changes are identified for
changes with decisions about public policy changes and changes DMB-Budget the initial year of implementation.
in program appropriations. DELEG 5. Information to promote policymakers’ understanding of
b. Includes consultation with all key players in the child welfare MSHDA needed changes is prepared.
system including private agencies. SCAO
c. Elevates the use of prevention services to decrease the number
of children and families entering the child welfare system. Reinvestment: A strategic plan will result from
d. Maximizes the use of family preservation and reunification the needs and gap analysis, and policy. The
services and wraparound funding to reduce the number of impact on policy, statute and appropriations
children entering foster care and increases the timeliness of exits could be a key part of plan. Resources
from care. dedicated to this effort would need to be
e. Expands access to specialized mental health, behavioral health, redirected from other departmental priorities.
and substance abuse treatment services. At a minimum, this
should include: Reform: Expansion will depend on current
i. A more complete definition of the treatment approaches paid service array and availability and resources
through the Medicaid outpatient benefit. available to fund any new or significantly
ii. Improved targeting of services currently paid through DHS revised services statewide.
counseling contracts.
f. Increases the range and capacity of foster and kinship care Additional resources would be needed to train
homes to meet the special needs of children who must be placed community collaboratives and complete
in foster care. additional work associated with interagency
g. Addresses recommendations related to DOC and specialized integrated service delivery.
level-of-care rates.
h. Provides sufficient resources for the operation of foster care
provider support services such as training, recruitment, retention,
and support networks.
i. Provides sufficient staff resources for program design and
development to maintain ongoing communication with service
recipients, service and care providers, and representative service
support organizations about program needs and potential
improvements. These staff also need to maintain knowledge of
proven and promising practices to improve programs.

Time Frame:
1st Quarter FY 2010: DHS initiates planning process.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 66 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. Develop and deploy an implementation plan for first year of the multi- State Partnership: 1. Policy and appropriations changes are enacted.
year plan that addresses: DHS (lead) 2. Contracts and arrangements for delivery of new and revised
a. Needed changes in state policy and appropriations. DCH services in the array are in place.
b. Development of contracts for new and altered programs and DOC 3. Service-delivery coordination plans are in place.
services. DMB-Budget 4. Service and care providers are trained for changes in the
c. Protocol for coordination of services among state and local-level MDE service array.
public and private service providers. DELEG 5. Measurement tools are developed and ready to use in year
d. Development and delivery of training to all involved service MSHDA one.
providers. SCAO
e. Development of metrics and tools that will be used to measure
implementation progress, account for timely and accurate delivery In Progress: Discussions are in progress with
of services, and gauge the effectiveness of service delivery in DCH to develop mental health services for child
achieving expected outcomes. welfare clients.

Time Frame: Reform: Implementation of recommendations


3rd Quarter FY 2010: Plan requirements submitted for FY 2011budget. from the needs and gap analysis, including
4th Quarter FY2010: Implementation plan completed. expanded or new services, will require
additional resources. These resources may be
required across departmental and program
budgets.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 67 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Implement the first-year plan. State Partnership: 1. Intermediate process outcomes:
DHS (lead) a. Improved system functioning including communication
Time Frame: DCH and coordination among public and private service
FY 2011: Plan approved for first year pilot implementation. DOC providers across program areas; increased participation
DMB-Budget of parents, children, and direct-care providers in defining
MDE system needs and developing system changes; and
DELEG increased agreement on service delivery and practice
MSHDA models across all involved program areas.
SCAO b. Increased service array and flexibility allowing workers
to improve service packaging in a manner that meets
Reform: Expansion will depend on current the needs of children and families.
service array and availability and resources c. Increased recruitment and retention of family out-of-
available to fund any new or significantly home care providers.
revised services statewide. d. Increased compliance with SCAO standards on
Additional resources would be needed to train timeliness, including:
community collaboratives and complete i. By October 1, 2009, at least 80% of cases will be in
additional work associated with interagency compliance with SCAO practice standards.
integrated service delivery. ii. By October 1, 2009, in at least 90% of the cases,
court orders authorizing services for families whose
children have been placed in out-of-home care will
be signed by the judge and delivered to DHS within
72 hours of the hearing. In a minimum of 90% of the
cases, if the child is supervised by a private agency,
DHS will fax the court order to the private agency
within 24 hours of receipt. Private agencies will
begin delivering services within 72 hours of receipt of
the order for 90% of the cases.
iii. Placement orders for out-of-home cases will be
signed and delivered to DHS within 72 hours of the
hearing. DHS will deliver the placement order to the
agency within 24 hours. Agencies will deliver
services within 24 hours of receipt.
e. Increase the availability of formal support networks and
adults (MYOI model).
f. Increase the allocation of resources for youth aging out
of the system.
g. Increase the number of available foster homes and the
frequency with which foster homes remain licensed.
2. Long-term outcomes for children, youth, and families:

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 68 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
a. Increase in number of children served in their own
homes, per plan, by instituting new/improved evidence-
based services and practices in accordance with year
one plan (e.g., in-home nursing programs).
b. Decrease in number of children in foster care per plan
by reducing the frequency of removal, increasing speed
and frequency of reunification, and decreasing the
length of time to alternative legal permanency.
c. Expedition of services through appropriate partnerships
to move children from foster care who have been in
placement for long periods of time.
d. Decrease in disproportionate removal of children of
color per plan.
e. Reduction of the number of moves experienced by
children in foster care, per plan.
f. Reduction in disparity between length of placement for
children of color and that of total foster care population,
per plan.
g. Reduction in the number of children in residential care,
per plan.
h. Decrease in exposure to the risks inherent to foster
placement (which in some cases are the same risks
present in the birth home).
i. Increase in skill building and educational opportunities
for foster children.
j. Improvement in public safety outcomes resulting from
better juvenile justice services.
k. All permanency placements have access to ongoing
services to maintain and stabilize the placements.
l. Youth who are transitioning have ongoing access to
services needed to maintain progress and stability into
early adulthood.
m. Overall improvement in child safety, permanency, and
well-being outcomes.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 69 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
5. Collect and analyze measurement data. State Partnership: 1. Data analysis provides information that can be used to
DHS improve service and program design and delivery processes.
Time Frame: DCH 2. Data and information are widely shared among policy
1st Quarter, FY 2011: Initiate evaluation DMB-Budget makers, funders, program developers, public and private
4th Quarter, FY 2011: Complete evaluation. DOC service providers, provider/parent/youth support
MDE organizations, and advocacy organizations.
DELEG 3. Design for data collection and aggregation uses the
MSHDA automated child welfare information system (see Change
SCAO Priority #5) as fully as possible.
4. Use of the measurement and reporting process provides
Reform: Additional resources are needed to information needed to improve design and operation of the
procure independent evaluation. automated information system.
5. Further improvements in outcomes for children and families
are achieved.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 70 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
6. Revised Multi Year Plan Implemented State wide. State Partnership: 1. Long-term outcomes for children, youth, and families:
DHS (lead) a. Increase in number of children served in their own
Time Frame: DCH homes, per plan, by instituting new/improved evidence-
FY 2011 DMB based services and practices in accordance with year
DOC one plan (e.g., in-home nursing programs).
MDE b. Decrease in number of children in foster care per plan
DELEG by reducing the frequency of removal, increasing speed
MSHDA and frequency of reunification, and decreasing the
SCAO length of time to alternative legal permanency.
c. Expedition of services through appropriate partnerships
Reform: Additional resources will be needed to to move children from foster care that have been in
implement state wide access to array of placement for long periods of time.
services d. Decrease in disproportionate removal of children of
color per plan.
e. Reduction of the number of moves experienced by
children in foster care, per plan.
f. Reduction in disparity between length of placement for
children of color and that of total foster care population,
per plan.
g. Reduction in the number of children in residential care,
per plan.
h. Decrease in exposure to the risks inherent to foster
placement (which in some cases are the same risks
present in the birth home).
i. Increase in skill building and educational opportunities
for foster children.
j. Improvement in public safety outcomes resulting from
better juvenile justice services.
k. All permanency placements have access to ongoing
services to maintain and stabilize the placements.
l. Youth who are transitioning have ongoing access to
services needed to maintain progress and stability into
early adulthood.
m. Overall improvement in child safety, permanency, and
well-being outcomes.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 71 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
7. Improve educational services for children involved in the child welfare State Partnership: 1. The percentage of transitioning youth (those transitioning
system by: MDE (lead) from foster care, juvenile justice, and homeless programs)
a. Changing the system to facilitate transfer of education credits, or DHS who complete high school and participate in post-secondary
partial credits, between schools and between residential settings DMB-Budget educational opportunities will equal the national average.
(foster care or juvenile justice) and community-based schools. DELEG 2. All eligible youth (with eligibility expanded to include
b. Enforcing consistent standards for high school education in homeless and juvenile justice youth) will have access to
private residential placements, ensuring that adequate resources Reform: Expansion will depend on current Chafee funds for educational support.
are provided for such programs, and measuring results. Ensure service array and availability and resources 3. A reduction in the students who are pushed out or drop out of
that youth are given every opportunity to earn high school available to fund any new or significantly high school as a result of inappropriate uses of zero-
diplomas rather than resorting to GEDs. Explore middle college revised services statewide. Additional resources tolerance policies.
programming in residential facilities. would be needed to train community 4. School attendance and performance for youth are improved.
c. Providing alternative pathways to graduation from high school, collaboratives and complete additional work
including dual enrollment in technical skills training schools and associated with interagency integrated service
college. Provide resources necessary for youth to attend delivery.
community college. Public schools should receive incentives for
exploring and piloting alternative models.
d. Providing incentives for higher education institutions to recruit and
retain transitioning youth.
e. Assessing the impact of zero-tolerance policies, advocating for
change if deemed necessary by assessment, and considering
best practices in other states regarding zero tolerance.
f. Using DHS educational planners to serve homeless and juvenile
justice youth as well as foster care youth. House these positions
in the intermediate school districts in order to ensure that MDE
remains engaged in serving this population. This will further
ensure that services are consistent across regions. Focus
educational planners on reducing school mobility and on reducing
its (statistically significant) negative impact on the likelihood of
graduation. That is, help smooth transitions when school
transfers must take place.
g. Expand the DREAM Academy pilot model to at least four counties
beyond Wayne County.

Time Frame:
2nd Quarter, FY 2010: Educational issues partnership team established by
Dept Directors and led by MDE.
4th Quarter, FY 2010: Partnership team completes implementation plan for
Dept. Directors approval.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 72 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
8. Improve workforce development and community living services State Partnership 1. By the end of 2011, all transitioning youth are able to be
provided to youth by: DELEG (lead) successfully referred to Michigan Works! Eighty percent of
a. Supporting Michigan Works! in its efforts to successfully serve the DHS these youth will be successfully employed within three
thousands of youth aging out of foster care who will be referred to DMB-Budget months of referral.
them in the coming years. This includes developing capacity of Michigan Works! 2. All transitioning youth have a written career plan that has
Michigan Works! staff and contracted service providers to address Community Service Commission been developed with their participation (benchmark: 100%).
the specific needs of youth in the manner required by WIA. MSHDA 3. Written career plans are updated annually.
b. Supporting similar development of increased capacity of Michigan Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison 4. Within four years, all transitioning youth are offered an
Rehabilitation Services to meet the needs of youth with opportunity to be matched with an “employment mentor.”
disabilities. In Process: Program in place with MSHDA to Begin within first year with pilot services in several counties,
c. Exploring the capability of Goodwill Industries and other similar provide housing vouchers to youth aging out. including both urban and rural.
organizations to serve transitioning youth. 5. All service providers involved with transitioning youth
d. As this system becomes effective, making similar referrals of Reinvestment: Youth over the age of 14 must understand the requirements and resources available
other transitioning youth (those aging out of the juvenile justice have an appr0priate independent living plan through the McKinney-Vento Act, and all eligible youth
and homeless systems of care) as well. Do this through: developed. Committing additional resources to receive the support and services to which they are entitled.
i. Engaging workers who serve transitioning youth to educate ensure educational and career planning could 6. Youth currently ineligible because of their status in the child
and support Michigan Works! staff regarding special needs of be accomplished through changes in some welfare system, such as most homeless and juvenile justice
transitioning youth. current programming. youth, have access to transition support services.
ii. DHS work with Michigan Works! to assist it in implementing a 7. Youth transitioning from juvenile justice system and
socialization component (soft skills) in job-training Reform: This effort will require homeless services will have access to ETV, YIT, and MYOI
programming for transitioning youth. program/systems changes plus additional and resources to assist them in continuing their education and
e. Recruiting, training, and supporting volunteer career mentors for reinvested resources. maintaining housing.
all youth.
f. Ensuring that transitioning youth receive educational and career
planning support by age 14, or, for those who enter a system of
care after age 14, within a month of entering foster care,
homeless services, or the juvenile justice system. Continue
educational and career-planning support at least annually from
age 14 until exiting services.
g. Fully implementing rights of McKinney-Vento-eligible children and
youth (Detroit and Washtenaw County have successful models).
Educate all players regarding the McKinney-Vento Act and
resources connected with it.
h. Making youth transition and support resources and services,
including MYOI, ETV, and YIT, available on the basis of a uniform
and rational set of criteria based on the need for assistance (e.g.,
income, access to parents/guardians with resources, education
completion, housing, health, workforce development, etc).
i. DHS, together with private foundations, should seek ways to

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 73 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
sustain and expand MYOI beyond the end of Casey funding in
2010, through additional appropriations and other sources (see
Funding CP #3, 5e).

Time Frame:
3rd Quarter, FY 2010: Workforce issues partnership team established by
Dept Directors.
1st Quarter FY 2011: Partnership team completes implementation plan for
Dept. Directors approval.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 74 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
9. Consider and prioritize the following: State Partnership 1. Continuity of planning, services, resources, and medications
a. Providing continuity of service and oversight by continuing case DHS (lead) is maintained for children who move from child welfare to
involvement by the child welfare worker in the parens patriae role DCH other systems.
when child moves into juvenile justice or mental health systems. MDE 2. Transitioning youth improve their life skills scores from the
In addition, whenever possible, the same judge and attorneys DELEG baseline assessment to the point that they complete the life
should be responsible for the child welfare cases when the DMB-Budget skills training program or when they leave the foster care,
children enter the juvenile justice system. MSHDA juvenile justice, or homeless program (whichever comes
b. Providing life skills training and assessment during and after high SCAO first), as determined by validated life skills assessment (e.g.,
school. Training and employing peer advocates to help Ansell-Casey). Eighty percent of transitioning youth who
implement. DHS should review life skills educational and Reform: This effort will require participate will score at 75% competency or higher at the
assessment resources and adopt a single system to be used program/systems changes plus additional and point of completion of the training program or of exit from the
statewide so that all counties and private service providers use reinvested resources. service system.
the same measures for efficiency’s sake. 3. All transitioning youth have access to, and 65% participate in,
c. Providing opportunities for paid internships, career exposure paid internships, career exposure programs, and/or volunteer
programs, and volunteer employment to transitioning youth. employment.
d. Expanding eligibility for MYOI assistance to all transitioning youth. 4. Policies and procedures are developed to ensure the
e. Maintaining case responsibility for the youth until age 24, when continuation of services by the appropriate agencies through
requested by youth. Need specialty positions with DHS to serve the age of 24, when requested by the youth in transition.
18 to 24 year-old population. Implementing a “return” policy, per 5. Seamless transfer from foster care status to independent
citation in “Background” section above, to ensure that lack of status is increased.
housing during school breaks does not interfere with a
transitioning youth’s ability to go away to college.

Time Frame:
1st Quarter FY 2011: Implement revised policies.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 75 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
10. Assure the treatment of youth in the Juvenile Justice system: State Partnership: 1. No child or youth is jailed or detained solely for a status
a. Monitor detention facilities and jails to ensure that children are not DHS (Lead) offense or violation of a court order related to a status
detained solely for status offenses or violation of a court order DMB-Budget offense.
related to a status offense. In addition, provide referrals to support Corrections 2. Referrals are made to support youth and avoid any concern
services for runaways and children committing other status County DHS about need for detention.
offenses. Monitor detention facilities and jails to determine the SCAO
extent to which these referrals are made.

Time Frame:
1st Quarter 2010: Policies issued by DHS & SCAO.

b. Eliminate the use of adjudication of a youth as a delinquent as an


alternative to transitioning from child welfare.

Time Frame:
1st Quarter 2010: Monitoring procedures developed.
2nd Quarter 2011: County level monitoring agreements implemented.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 76 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
11. Apply and enforce Child Care Organization Licensing Act equally for all State Partnership: 1. Immediate outcomes:
state and private agencies. DHS (Lead) a. Passage of the amendment would mean there is no
a. Amend the Child Care Organization Licensing Act: DCH distinction between governmental and non-
i. Require all governmental child care organizations to be SCAO governmental child care organizations, as related to the
licensed. application of licensing requirements and the
ii. Remove Section 6 by redefining both non-governmental and In Progress: Parts b, c, &e of this enforcement of the licensing statute.
governmental child care organizations. recommendation are in progress by the b. Performance outcome measures are applied
b. DHS will resolve inequalities by revising policies and procedures department. The Director of DHS holds consistently, whether to governmental or non-
to equally enforce licensing requirements, whether applied to managers of child placing departments governmental agencies.
governmental or non-governmental agencies. accountable for their licensing outcomes, and 2. Long-term outcome: Reduction—with the goal of
c. DHS will ensure equality of treatment and maintain an equal floor has provided tight timeframes for resolution of elimination—of the disparity of resource allocation. Per Diem
of protection and service delivery to all Michigan children and provisional licenses. rates should be equal in governmental and non-
youth. governmental operations for programs of a similar nature.
d. DHS will eliminate disproportionality of resources between the Reinvestment: Equal Application of licensing
programs it operates and agencies it contracts with. rules to public agencies is with the authority of
e. Upon the amendment to the licensing rules, the director of DHS the Director, DHS.
will require all managers of child-care organizations (as defined by
the Act) to fully comply with licensing requirements and make Reform: Legislative action and promulgation of
compliance a matter of performance. administrative rules will be necessary.

Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2009: Request recommended legislation. Ongoing
monitoring of policy

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 77 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
12. Develop specialized programs for children and youth: State Partnership: 1. Immediate outcomes:
a. For children taken into custody in crisis situations, DHS will DHS (lead) a. Keep sibling groups together.
conduct professionally-staffed, objective diagnostic assessment of DHC b. Provide more time to assess whether out-of-state
the child and the nuclear and extended family to determine: DMB-Budget relative placement is appropriate.
i. The feasibility of family preservation. SCAO c. Make better information available for juvenile court
ii. The level of placement needed, including consideration of dispositions.
the availability of a licensable relative placement. Reform: Establishment of diagnostic centers 2. Intermediate outcomes:
iii. The service needs of the child and family, regardless of the and assessment of all children and families will a. Improve the accuracy of service planning.
placement. require new funding and resources. b. Speed the delivery of correctly targeted services to the
b. DHS will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the family’s child, parents, and other family members.
medical, emotional, and social strengths and needs. Assessment c. Provide appropriate services to adjudicated delinquents
will be mandatory for youth under juvenile court jurisdiction using 3. Long term outcomes:
a uniform assessment tool administered by trained staff. a. Reduce the incidences of inappropriate out-of-home
c. DHS will establish small staff-administered group homes for older placements.
youth who have attachment disorders, drug dependency, or b. Reduce the number of replacements.
pronounced emotional/psychiatric challenges. c. Reduce the number of failed foster family placements
for teens.
Time Frame: d. Increase rate of high school graduation for all children
2nd Quarter FY 2010: Initiate planning action for a, b, & c. under governmental jurisdiction.
3rd Quarter FY 2010: Request budget support for b & C for FY 2011. e. Increase seamless transfer from foster care status to
independent status.
f. Increase success of children exiting the juvenile justice
system.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 78 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
13. Decriminalize children and youth: The Children’s Cabinet (including State Partnership: 1. Immediate outcome: Supervise standardization of information
Corrections) should propose to the Governor and Legislature DHS(lead) and data for inter-agency sharing and networking across
amendments to the criminal code to reduce inappropriate Corrections systems.
criminalization of youth, to abolish sentencing of youth to life Governor’s Children’s Cabinet 2. Long term outcomes:
imprisonment without parole, and to limit waivers of minors to adult SCAO a. Decrease the number of juveniles tried in adult courts
court in situations in which protection of public safety requires the and housed in adult correctional facilities.
waivers. Crimes committed by youth that may be harmful to the youth Reform: Will require amendment to state law. b. Increase treatment options in the juvenile justice system
but present little or no danger to public safety should be excluded from Transfer of funds to DHS to provide services for that eliminate geographic, racial, and gender disparities
waivers (service array recommendations advanced in this Change youth who would otherwise be incarcerated in in response to delinquent youth.
Priority would provide the services needed to correctly address the DOC facilities should be explored. c. Decrease number of females adjudicated delinquents.
needs of these youth). d. Reduce number of career criminals.
3. Evaluate program effectiveness.
Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2009: Request introduction of legislation.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 79 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
14. In consultation with a committee of public and private child welfare State Partnership: 1. Recommended rates for direct family care providers are
foster and kinship care providers and national program experts, study DHS (lead) developed.
rates paid to direct family care providers through the Determination of DCH 2. Increased support or children in relative provided foster care
Care method and through levels of specialized care. Recommend DMB-Budget that currently provide over 35% of foster care, often at
changes that will promote improved outcomes for children in out-of- FCRB reduced rate and receive lesser services.
home family care.
Reinvestment: May require rate adjustments.
Time Frame:
4th Quarter, FY 2009

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 80 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
15. DHS should proactively reach out to family members providing State Partnership: 1. Increased relative foster care placements
unlicensed and apply the appropriate waivers of non-safety-related DHS (lead) 2. Consistent with settlement provisions
licensing requirements. SCAO

Time Frame:
4th Quarter, FY 2009

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 81 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #2: Planning and provision of service should be guided by a timely comprehensive
screening and assessment of the child and family and their needs.
Specific Issue
Decisions to intervene and/or implement a treatment plan for youth, children, and families are not uniformly guided by the use of consistent
screening and assessment processes and instruments that are standardized, validated, culturally normed, and available across the systems that
provide child welfare interventions.

Concise Recommendations
1. Establish and use a prescribed set of validated and standardized screening and assessment tools from intake to case closure that are culturally
normed, appropriately administered, and available across the various stages of child welfare intervention.
2. For all children taken into custody, DHS will require professionally-staffed, objective diagnostic assessment of the child, the nuclear family,
and the extended family to determine:
a. The feasibility of family preservation, as compared to placement
b. The level of placement needed, including consideration of the availability of a licensable relative placement
c. The service needs of the child and family, regardless of placement
3. DHS will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the family’s current medical, emotional and social strengths and needs. Assessment will be
mandatory for youth under juvenile court jurisdiction using a uniform assessment tool administered by trained staff.
4. Implement a minimum of five pilot comprehensive screening, assessment and case-planning programs. Resolve obstacles encountered in the
pilots, and collect process and outcome evaluation information. Analyze process and outcome information, publish results, and use results to
make revisions to the model that improve its effectiveness. Target Wayne County as a pilot site.
5. Assessment will be mandatory for youth under juvenile court jurisdiction, using a uniform assessment tool administered by trained staff.
Target Wayne County as a pilot site.

Expected Results
1. Improve the precision of identifying who needs services, which services, and how much (i.e., who is at risk and what do they need).
2. Increase the timely implementation of quality treatment plans through utilizing a holistic/comprehensive view of the child and family and multiple levels of
assessment.
3. Increase availability of research-based, outcome-driven best practices throughout the array of services, including behavioral, physical, educational, and
mental health services.
4. Increase utilization of existing services by assessing available services and developing a set of tools for screening and assessment across systems.
5. Increase the use of prevention and diversion services.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 82 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Change Priority #2: Planning and provision of service should be guided by a timely comprehensive
screening and assessment of the child and family and their needs.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. The Legislature should provide funding for DHS to either State Partnership: 1. Funding is available for DHS to contract for the development of
purchase an existing, or contract for the development of, a DHS (lead) comprehensive screening and assessment approaches.
comprehensive approach to screening and assessment. DCH
DHS will include the contractor in its partnership with other DMB-Budget
state agencies and the Tribal-state partnership in the MDE
development effort. SCAO
FCRB.
Time Frame:
2nd Quarter FY 2010: DHS budget recommendations include In Progress: A screening tool for mental
funding a comprehensive assessment development project in health services is being piloted to determine
FY 2011. effectiveness and applicability.

Reform: Additional resources would be


needed to provide a comprehensive
assessment for each child.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 83 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. With contracted assistance, DHS and its partners should: State Partnership: 1. A project work plan with timeframes for the training and implementation
a. Enlist consumer participation throughout the process DHS (lead) of the tools is completed.
of developing and implementing a cadre of tools. DCH 2. Agencies agree on a comprehensive, prescribed set of tools that meet
b. Review and build on the DHS/DCCH/CMH screening MDE the following requirements:
tools pilot for identifying social/emotional concerns DMB-Budget a. Tools are standardized, reliable, and validated and must cover all
using the screening tools Ages and Stages SCAO functional domains for each person involved in a child welfare case
Questionnaire (for 0-5) and Pediatric Symptom Check FCRB (child, parents, and other family members, as appropriate), along
List (for 6-17). with screening and assessment of the family system domains.
c. Review and build on the Michigan Medicaid EPSDT In Progress: An initial pilot is underway using b. Within the prescribed set of tools, use of a mental health
requirements for physicians to administer a the Pediatric Symptom Checklist, potential to assessment tool that is sensitive to change and can measure
standardized developmental screening tool during add more tools upon evaluation of the pilot. outcomes of mental health services is required of mental health
well-child visits at timelines identified by the American service providers.
Academy of Pediatrics. Reform: Additional resources are needed to c. Tools will provide the information needed to begin planning for the
d. Examine the existing assessment programs and provide assessment and screening. child’s, youth’s, and family’s exit from the system in the initial case
protocols (such as Structure Decision Making); tools Development of tools and processes can be plan.
like those used at the Family Assessment Clinic at the done collaboratively. d. The tools are unbiased, age appropriate, culturally sensitive and
University of Michigan School of Social Work, the responsive, trauma informed, and oriented to identify the strengths
West Michigan Child Trauma Assessment Center at DHS should work with other stakeholders to of children and families being assessed.
Western Michigan University, and the Wayne County request expansion of EPSDT, may involve the e. Screening and assessments are conducted by qualified staff.
Juvenile Assessment Center; and other assessment need for additional funding/resources from f. Competent screening and assessment administration is reinforced
processes used successfully in Michigan or nationally. Medicaid to expand the protocol. Additional through casework supervision.
e. Determine which parts of these programs’ processes resources would be required to conduct a g. Training is provided to develop worker competency in administration
and protocols meet the requirements in the comprehensive review, revalidation, or of the tools.
recommendation and are critical to obtaining both adoption of new assessment protocols. h. The results of the screening and assessment tools are portable
early screens and comprehensive assessments in a across the systems that serve child welfare needs.
consistent, timely manner. Develop a final set of i. Families and children experience a reduction in the number of
critical ingredients for the comprehensive cadre of assessments needed to plan services because the process relies
tools. on a uniform assessment protocol and the use of sub-assessments,
f. Plan for pilot implementation of the comprehensive when indicated by initial screening.
processes, protocols, and tools. Establish a statutory j. Use of the assessment tools includes a process that ensures full
or court rule amendment that requires judges to and accurate use of the results of the screening and assessments,
indicate on the record the reason court jurisdiction along with all other relevant case information throughout the service
should be continued after a permanent placement has delivery continuum. When appropriate, planning based on
been established. screening and assessment results should be cross disciplinary.
3. Procedures are developed on when and how the tools are to be used.
Time Frame:
1st Quarter, FY 2011: Initiate comprehensive assessment
development project.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. Implement a minimum of five pilot comprehensive State Partnership: 1. Use of tools per procedures will result in behavior-specific treatment
screening, assessment, and case planning programs that DHS (lead) goals related to the reasons for DHS intervention for both parents and
address all requirements of the recommendation and DCH children.
ingredients identified by the analysis. Resolve obstacles DMB-Budget 2. The approach will identify and document gaps in needed services in the
and barriers that are encountered in the pilots and collect MDE pilot communities.
process and outcome evaluation information. Analyze SCAO 3. Services will be initiated on a timelier basis, resulting in outcome
process and outcome information, publish results, and use decisions in line with statutory time frames in the pilot communities.
the results to make revisions to the model that improve its In Progress: Screening tool in pilot now will 4. The comprehensive screening and assessment model and its cadre of
effectiveness. guide the Department on next steps toward tools will be adjusted per results of the analysis to achieve improved
implementation results upon statewide implementation. Input is solicited from a diverse
Time Frame: set of stakeholders in a systematic manner by the special child welfare
3rd Quarter, FY 2011: Initiate pilot assessment project. Reform: Expanding screening and advisory board and DHS in policy development. Input of community
assessment to all children in five pilots will stakeholders is solicited at the local level for both community and case-
require additional resources. level planning.

Engaging external research partner to conduct


outcomes evaluation will require additional
resources.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Implement this revised model in all counties or regions of State Partnership: 1. Successful results from pilot will be replicated statewide.
Michigan. DHS (lead) a. Intermediate process outcomes:
DCH i. Service providers across systems will have a common
Time Frame: DMB-Budget language for understanding assessed needs and strengths of
4th Quarter FY 2012 MDE children and families.
SCAO ii. Service-delivery staff will have necessary tools to measure
functional improvement
Reform: Statewide implementation will require iii. Information will be available to determine case-level service
additional resources. needs and to prioritize system-level funding decisions.
iv. The number of enrollment steps for each client is reduced, and
children and families are able to move between systems more
easily, resulting in a more timely delivery of services.
v. Decrease to the system in the cost of multiple screenings for
families and children.
b. Long-term outcomes:
i. Children and families will receive the services and treatments
appropriate to their needs throughout the life of their cases.
ii. The number of children requiring removal from homes as a
result of a CPS investigation will decrease.
iii. Children petitioned to court, placed out-of-home, and then
successfully reunited with their parents will be returned home
sooner, on average.
iv. Children for whom reunification efforts are unsuccessful or
inappropriate will have the court order the filing of a
termination petition within 15 months in significantly more
cases. In addition, this will occur within six months for more of
these cases.
v. The number of children placed in foster care who have no
more than two placements will increase.
vi. The current level of racial disparity within the child welfare
system will decrease.

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Change Priority #3: Secure greater funding and use it more flexibly to achieve the structural system
and service reforms.
Specific Issue
Michigan’s current child welfare funding strategy makes significant investments in out-of-placement and significantly less in community-based
prevention and early-intervention services. Furthermore, the current approach does not maximize funding or provide opportunities to fill service
gaps through the use of blended funding and other creative approaches.

Concise Recommendations
1. Improve coordination of fiscal planning and funding of services across systems for children and families involved in the child welfare system.
2. Institute comprehensive change in Michigan’s funding system for services that support the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and
families. This change anticipates expansion of funding, along with reduction in the number of children placed in out-of-home care. Funds
saved as a result should be reinvested in front-end services to preserve and support families. The new funding arrangement will provide for:
a. Effective community services for prevention of abuse, neglect, and delinquency, and homeless youth.
b. Effective family preservation services.
c. Post-placement and post-permanency services for child abuse and juvenile justice.
d. Medical, mental health, dental, and substance abuse treatment services.
e. Transitional services for children and youth exiting foster care, juvenile justice, mental health and homeless youth.
f. Educational services for children during and after exit from system.
g. Reinvestment of state funds freed up by the federal stimulus adjustment of FMAP into community-based prevention and early intervention
for at-risk families.
3. Advocate with Congress and federal agencies for expanded federal funding to increase the availability of community-based, in-home services
for children and families.
4. Expedite planning and funding for Michigan’s federally-recognized tribes to directly access and administer federal Title IV-E funds, rather than
requiring the funds to flow through a Tribal/State agreement (e.g., special child welfare advisory board, joint hearings by House and Senate
appropriations subcommittees regarding cross-departmental system issues (HS, ED, DCH, DOC, Ombudsman, etc.) affecting youth/families in
child welfare programs).
5. Target specific funding changes and advocacy efforts to enhance critical program needs.
6. That Michigan provide the required state match, starting in 2010, to draw down the funds made available by the Fostering Connections to
Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.
7. DHS should support the expansion of the capacity of federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations to protect children by facilitating the
planning and funding of services and coordinating state and Tribal programs.
8. Establish a State child abuse/neglect prevention, family preservation and juvenile justice community treatment fund supported by an increase in

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the state excise tax on beer, equal to five cents per 12oz serving (reservation noted by Justice Maura D. Corrigan)..
9. Request that the state address the structural deficit that contributes to cutting safety net programs for children, youth and families; revenues
continue to decrease and the need for programs continue to increase).

Expected Results
1. Increase the use of flexible funding so resources can follow the child throughout the continuum.
2. Increase collaboration around funding among state, Tribal and local partners.
3. Decrease funding barriers to allow for flexible funding and to leverage all possible revenue sources to maximize available funds.
4. Increase the use of data to help with decision making regarding how funds and resources are deployed.
5. Increase the use of incentives through performance-based contracts that focus on family reunification.
6. Increase the utilization of federal resources to preserve state and local resources; can be helpful for subpopulations like
a. Dual wards
b. Foster care
7. Increase the ability of the system to meet the immediate needs of families whose children have been placed into out-of-home settings.

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Change Priority #3: Secure greater funding and use it more flexibly to achieve the structural system
and service reforms.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. a. Conduct annual joint interagency informational budget hearings, which State Partnership: 1. A legislative budget process based on knowledge of
include Tribal representation, with DHS, DCH, MDE, MSHDA, and DELEG, Senate & House Appropriation Cmtes. (lead) the relationships between agencies.
focusing on child welfare services and treatments. Sen. & House Fiscal Agencies 2. Improved efficiency
DHS (lead) 3. Reduction in redundancy.
Time Frame: DMB – Budget 4. Increased services funding at the local level.
4th Quarter FY 2009: DHS leadership work with the chairs of the House and DCH 5. Leveraging of private funding.
Senate Appropriations subcommittees to plan and hold this hearing. MDE 6. Cost savings.
DELEG 7. Involvement by all government branches in planning
b. Charge the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet with coordination of budget, MSHDA and funding child welfare services.
planning, and development with state government branches and DOC 8. Funding decisions at the state and community levels
agencies: SCAO driven by policy needs.
i. Review current children’s services funding and program University Consortium 9. Improved efficiency and reduced redundancy across
requirements. all branches, agencies and levels of government.
ii. Identify local policy and funding needs. In Progress: DHS is investigating funding 10. Funding of essential high-priority recommendations
iii. Develop agreement on inter-branch, cross-agency and cross- sources and utilization of local grants for of the Child Welfare Improvement Task Force.
system strategic policy goals for children and families served by the prevention and reunification support services. 11. Commitment from at least one non-governmental
child welfare system. Local MPCBs are involved in determining funding resource in each high-risk community to help
iv. Develop inter-branch and cross-agency budgets that reflect these priorities. leverage support for the prevention, treatment and
strategic goals, leverage and maximize use of federal funds, and community service recommendations.
coordinate budget and spending plans to maximize the impact of DHS is exploring the applicability, impacts and 12. Communities increase leveraged funding for
available funding. practicality of a System of Care model. prevention (e.g., Child Care Fund).
v. Specify statewide accountability and outcome measures and goals 13. Information available to all parties to allow for
for children’s services. Reinvestment: State executive branch agencies informed decision-making.
vi. Blend Medicaid, child welfare, and other appropriate funding where provide information and assistance to a combined 14. Complete information about federal, state and local
possible. children’s services budget process. funding options and opportunities available to all
vii. Develop a systemic annual plan and implementation processes for government branches, levels and agencies.
addressing deficiencies. Ensuring one collaborative body per community 15. Improved coordination of planning and service
viii. Formulate a plan with priorities for joint ventures annually and then would require significant collaboration and buy-in delivery at the local level will be improved.
ask the independent clearinghouse (recommended below) to at multiple state, county and local government 16. State and local dollar savings available to increase
identify federal grant announcements that may support those levels. in-home and community-based services.
priorities
ix. Develop and prioritize funding proposals to support the race equity, Reinvestment of “savings” would require funding,
training and other recommendations of the Child Welfare reporting and tracking changes.
Improvement Task Force.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
Time Frame: Reform: Establishment and funding of an
3rd Quarter FY 2009: DHS recommend that the Governor charge the children’s’ independent university base budget and policy
cabinet with this responsibility. information center will require new resources.

c. Establish a relationship with the Office of Foundation Liaison to explore DHS should initiate and provide information and
how foundations and other forms of philanthropy can assist in those assistance to a Children’s Cabinet to review
communities with a significant percentage of youth and families at risk of policies, outcomes, funding, budgeting, blended
abuse and neglect. funding, development of strategic plan. May
require additional staff resources.
Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY 2009

d. Institute a university consortium in partnership with the special child


welfare advisory board recommended under Change Priority #6 (using
the MPHI model) to provide an objective, independent clearinghouse to
serve as a resource to all branches and levels of government. This
clearinghouse will:
i. Research information on the sources of and regulation for federal
funding for services for children and families.
ii. Develop a knowledge base of program funding and best practices
to assure transparency and accessibility of information on policy
and funding.
iii. Provide technical assistance to the special child welfare advisory
board regarding funding and policy alternatives.
iv. Recommend and assist in developing approaches to maximize
federal funding.
v. Explore funding models of other states and best practices (e.g.
Indiana Office of Federal Grants).
vi. Assist agencies in identifying and applying for federal and private
funding.
vii. Support the special child welfare advisory board coordination of
enterprise-wide child welfare budget and fiscal planning.
viii. Identify new and emerging opportunities in addition to those
identified in the annual plan.

Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY2009: DHS initiate planning session with leaders of the child welfare
consortium.
4th Quarter FY 2009: DHS coordinate with the Office of Foundation Liaison to

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
identify potential funders.

e. Incentivize and support collaboration efforts at the local level.


i. Identify sources of flexible discretionary funding. Provide funds to
local level counties/jurisdictions that agree to direct funds toward
locally established goals.
ii. Establish goals of safety, permanency, and well being of children
and families, as required by federal funding sources, toward which
local counties/jurisdictions direct discretionary spending.
iii. Ensure a single collaborative is established for each community in
the state to plan for cross-system and cross-agency child welfare
services. Include the local United Way and local foundations, as
well as human services agencies, and other public and private
agencies, as participants in the collaboration.
iv. Increase local allocations by reinvesting state and local savings --
achieved through improved efficiencies, the reduction of
redundancy, and the reduction in high-cost out-of-home placements
-- into home and community-based services.
v. Require reinvested funds, including state funds that freed up as a
result of changes in federal match for Title-IVE funded programs,
be used to expand and develop new community-based in-home
service options.

Time Frame:
2nd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY
2010 budget to include this item.

f. Develop System of Care model demonstrations.

Time Frame:
2nd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY
2010 budget to include this item.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. a. Explore, select and implement options to increase federal funding for State Partnership: 1. Increase in IV-E eligibility for the juvenile justice
services to juvenile justice youth. Options include but are not limited to: DHS (lead) population.
i. Establish law and process for courts to commit delinquent youth DMB - Budget 2. Transfer of foster care costs from the Child Care
needing placement to DHS, while retaining probation staff SCAO Fund to Title IV-E funding.
oversight. This would shift the cost for placement of IV-E eligible DCH. 3. Savings for the Child Care Fund.
youth in non-secure placements from the Child Care Fund to IV-E. 4. Savings for the state due to the higher
ii. License court staff offices as child-placing agencies. This would Reinvestment: Exploring options to qualify IVE reimbursement federal rate.
allow for the courts to make an IV-E administrative claim for its eligible youth under court supervision for federally 5. Improved prevention and family preservation
probation staff. supported services may require operational or outcomes.
iii. Claim costs of supervising youth in the community to the extent definitional changes while maintaining both single 6. Development of new public and private agency
they could be classified as candidates for foster care. state agency requirements and accountability to business models for serving children adjudicated
courts. delinquent.
Time Frame: 7. Reduced cost to the Child Care Fund resulting in
2nd Quarter, FY 2009: DHS convene a special review committee including SCAO savings for both counties and the state.
and sitting county judges to identify policy options and investigate practices of 8. Programs achieve measurable outcomes in the
other states and local jurisdictions that have successfully changed Title IVE following areas:
claiming practices in this area. a. Reduce out-of-home placements.
b. Reduce P.A. 150 commitments.
b. Legislature should authorize and DHS pilot an enhanced reimbursement c. Reduce ratio of placements to commitments,
percentage for the In-Home Care portion of the CCF (from 50% to 75%). petitions, and adjudications.
i. To be eligible for that enhanced funding programs would need to d. Reduce historical growth rate.
meet a set of prescribed standards related to collaboration, e. Reduce length of stay.
practice, efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes. 9. The availability of home and community-based early
ii. Eligible programs would be required to address one or more of the intervention, prevention and treatment services for
following: children and families will increase as a result of
(1) Mental health services reinvesting savings into the communities.
(2) Substance abuse services 10. Increase the effectiveness of necessary out-of-state
(3) Sexual offender treatment placements.
(4) Community monitoring or tracking 11. Ensure appropriate child and family communication
(5) School failure/truancy and visitation during placement.
(6) Others to be determined 12. Ensure good use of state and county funds when
out-of-home placements are necessary.
Time Frame: 13. Increase mental health services for children.
2nd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY a. The proportion of services that are covered
2010 budget to include this item. through the Medicaid Program will increase.
b. The proportionate number of eligible children
c. The Legislature should authorize and DHS pilot a de-categorized funding and families in the child welfare system in need
stream for children and families not restricted by funding levels of the of mental health and substance abuse services
existing service categories. All or part of the money would be used for who receive those services will increase.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
the county’s community-based, in-home family preservation family foster c. New funding or increases in funding result in an
care, group care, independent living, and adoption purchase of services. increase in services with no change in state
funding.
Time Frame:
2nd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY
2010 budget to include this item.

d. The process for approving out-of-state placements should be improved


to ensure that any such placement is appropriate to the needs of the
child and for providing oversight during placement to ensure the child
benefits from the placement as intended.

Time Frame:
2nd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY
2010 budget to include this item.

e. The state Medicaid policy should be revised to ensure that all DHS
children identified as needing mental health services, through screening
and assessment using standardized validated tools, receive effective
and appropriate mental health treatment.

Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY
2010 budget to include this item.

f. Funds currently being spent on "mental health services" in DHS should


be redirected and used for match to Medicaid, as appropriate, in order to
maximize available resources to provide in order to maximize available
resources and provide effective mental health treatment.
g. Create a reinvestment fund to carry forward savings in state and private
funding dedicated to serving children and families (including, but not
limited to TANF, Medicaid, Social Services Block Grant, CCF) to expand
in-home, community-based services.

Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY 2009: DHS seek executive and legislative support to amend the FY
2010 budget to include this item.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. Advocate that Congress and federal agencies: State Partnership: 1. Savings to counties and state.
a. Eliminate the ADC look-back for IV-E. DHS (lead) 2. Development of new public and private agency
b. Fund the full range of services with IV-E funding, regardless of child’s Governor’s Washington Office business models for serving children and families.
placement, matching the program’s business model with its goals. MI Congressional Delegation 3. Children will achieve permanency in less time.
c. Increase funding to Safe and Stable Families that allows increased DMB - Budget Provision of early intervention and prevention
flexibility and funding for services for non-Title IV-E eligible children. services based on risk and without a mental health
d. Mirror requirements for relative guardianship subsidy to that of adoption In Progress: DHS advocated these change to diagnosis.
subsidy: the Obama transition team and is fully supportive 4. Permits use of modern technology, saves design and
i. To remove the requirement for a 6-month licensed foster care of their adoption. development costs and saves ongoing operation
placement prior to subsidized guardianship. costs resulting form duplicate data entry.
ii. To remove the requirement that relative caregivers be licensed. Reform: Additional federal policy and funding
e. Restore the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention required in order to authorize decategorization of
grants for juvenile justice programming to FY 2002 funding levels. funding and to restore the levels to 2002 funding.
f. Increase in funding and flexibility in state administration of the Child Care
and Development Fund (CCDF) block grant.
g. Allow states receiving fiscal penalties as a result of Child and Family
Services Reviews (CFSR) deficiencies to reinvest the penalty dollars in
correcting the shortcoming and improving the child welfare system. (As
done in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly Food
Stamps).
h. Focus additional funding on family preservation and prevention.
i. Improve services for youth aging out of foster care to ease the transition
to adulthood.
j. Reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
k. Revise federal requirements for child welfare information systems to
permit transferring data between public and private contract agency
automated systems rather than require all data to be originally entered in
the state’s data system.

Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY 2009: DHS initiates communication with MI Congressional
delegation re the implications of these changes to MI children.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Expedite direct federal funding for Tribal organizations: State Partnership: 1. Intermediate term:
a. Tribal Partnership group convene to identify options for individual tribes DHS - Tribal Partnership (lead) a. Streamlines administration for tribes and state
or Tribal consortia to administer funds, the technical assistance needed DMB - Budget 2. Long term:
to develop plans and implement these options. Local DHS offices a. Increase ability of Tribal social service
b. Identify and arrange for technical assistance (TA), including that organizations to provide timely and culturally
available from Department of Health and Human Services, Tribal Reinvestment: Partnership with Tribes to assure relevant services to the children, youth, and
associations and other TA providers, to assist in plan development and that they receive maximum support that they are families they serve.
implementation. entitled to under title IVE. b. Improve outcomes for children, youth, and
c. Develop plans and seek required federal approval. families
d. Implement plans upon receipt of federal approval.

Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY 2009: DHS develop a strategy with the state – tribal partnership.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
5. To the extent practical within the resource limits available to the state, State Partnership: 1. Improved coordination of services for homeless,
consider program-specific funding enhancements: DHS (lead) runaway and street youth.
a. Restore funding for a staff position to coordinate services for homeless, MSHDA 2. Increased understanding of needs of these youths
runaway and street youth, and educate federal policymakers on the DCH 3. Data collection demonstrates that the demand for
importance of a coordinated voice for these youth. Gov office Foundation Liaison housing is met by suitable and appropriate supply.
b. The Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program should be 4. Improved support for foster parents and domestic
expanded to cover 2 years of supplemental rent for more youth. Support In Progress: DHS is working with ACMH to violence victims.
services must accompany rental support. Explore cooperative housing expand their foster parent membership. ACMH 5. Increased advocacy for needs of foster parents and
for high-risk youth, as is available for seniors, families, and college already has birth parent and foster parent domestic violence victims.
students. membership and is very involved in the joint 6. Continuation of MYOI services for the foreseeable
c. Provide financial support for a foster parent advocacy group. programming in southwest Detroit. DHS will future, serving transitioning youth.
d. Provide support for a domestic violence advocacy group. recruit parent volunteers from this group to
e. DHS, together with private foundations, should seek ways to sustain and participate in CWTI pre-service training for new
expand MYOI beyond the end of Casey funding in 2010, through workers.
additional appropriations and other sources.
A large number of DV advocacy groups already
Time Frame: exist statewide. These groups are often
1st Quarter 2010: DHS consider these items in developing FY 2011 budget community or university-based groups. The DVP
recommendations. Board reaches out regularly through funding and
programming to these groups.

DHS is seeking to expand services to youth aging


out and will engage in a pilot project to expand
availability and funding for these youth. MYOI and
YIT will effectively be merged to afford more
youth access to targeted services.

Reform: Statewide expansion of aging out


services will require additional funding.

Funding of advocacy groups would require


additional funding and is sorely needed.

Funding of a foster parent advocacy group – if


solely DHS funded, would be subjected to the
RFP competitive bid process.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
6. Amend Section 436.1409 of the Michigan Compiled Laws to increase the State Partnership: 1. Funding will be available to provide prevention and
excise tax on beer by five cents per 12oz can or bottle ($16.53 per barrel). Governor family preservation services across the state for
Revenues raised by this amendment will be deposited in the child Legislature children and their families at risk of or experiencing
abuse/neglect prevention, family preservation and juvenile justice community abuse/ neglect, delinquency and / or truancy.
treatment fund. Reform: This recommendation will require
amendments to MI law.
Annual appropriations from the fund in any fiscal year will be contingent upon
an annual legislative appropriation from state funds for child abuse/neglect
prevention, family preservation programs, 0-3 programs, and juvenile justice
community treatment programs at least equal to state general fund and TANF
expenditures for these programs in fiscal year 2008-09, adjusted for inflation
(amendment to Funding work group report by Task Force action at the March
23rd meeting; reservation noted at the end of Appendix B by Justice Maura D.
Corrigan).

Time Frame:
3rd quarter 2009: Identify legislative sponsors to draft and introduce bill. Develop
stakeholder coalition to support legislation.

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Change Priority #4: Racial, gender and cultural equity must become a priority for the child welfare
system.
Specific Issue
Data for the state of Michigan documents the over-representation of Native American and African American Children statewide, as well as a
double standard for female youths. These children and youth come into care at a higher rate than male children of European descent; they stay
longer and are more likely to age out to lives of uncertainty. Recently Michigan undertook at study designed to document the dynamics underlying
this problem for African American Children. Key findings included:
1. African American families do not receive necessary supports that could prevent or divert their involvement with the child protective system.
Once involved in DHS, African American families often experience the services offered to them as irrelevant, difficult to access, or inadequate
to support and strengthen their families.
2. African American families experience child welfare systems as intrusive interventions that do not fairly assess and appreciate their unique
strengths and weaknesses and fail to adequately explore the least restrictive placement options for children.
3. African American youth and families are negatively characterized or labeled by workers in the child welfare system. Some of these labels
follow them through their interactions with various new workers and ultimately negatively affect the outcome of their cases.
4. Advocacy on behalf of African American families and children is insufficient in helping them participate in, challenge, and negotiate the child
protection system.
5. There are inadequate mechanisms for African American parents and youth to hold DHS, providers, and advocates accountable for equitable
treatment and quality services.

Tribal representatives have observed a lack of understanding about the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act and failure to correctly
implement provisions of the Act. Tribal representatives also note a failure to demonstrate respect for Tribal sovereignty when planning programs
and services that affect their children and families. The lack of resources for Tribal services continues to be a challenge.

Concise Recommendations
1. Provide the top leadership and managers of the organizations with the knowledge and skill needed to address institutional policies and practices
that disadvantage females and African American and Tribal children, youth and families.
2. Clarify and implement existing policies and procedures in a manner that better serves diverse populations.
3. Assure that effective public and purchased services are available to families of color in their communities for prevention, early intervention as
well as placement services.
4. Track and report to the public progress made reducing disproportionality and disparate outcomes.
5. Ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
6. Provide state financial assistance to tribes for non federal match required under Title IV-E

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Expected Results
1. Reduce disproportionality and disparities in the child welfare and juvenile justices systems.
2. Increase the access to culturally/racially responsive and appropriate services.
3. Increase the competency of staff to practice in manner that appropriately reduces disproportionality.
4. Use data to track and manage the reduction in disproportionality.
5. Increase the presence of preventive and early intervention services in over represented communities.
6. Establishment of community partnerships to protect and support children and families.
7. Decrease in the disproportionate number of female youths held in residential facilities for status offenses.
8. Compliance with ICWA

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Change Priority #4: Racial, gender and cultural equity must become a priority for the child welfare
system.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. Build the capacity to address disproportionality and State Partnership: 1. Increase the number of competency-based trainings.
disparate outcomes. DHS (co-lead) 2. Increase skills and competence of judicial and DHS staff and contractors to
a. Integrate and institutionalize recommendations by SCAO (co-lead) address factors contributing to disproportionality and disparate outcomes.
assigning responsibility within the child welfare
agency for executing the action steps contained in In Progress: The Race Equity staff of DHS
this change priority. will work with SCAO and private agencies to
b. Provide training to agency and judicial leadership raise awareness of overrepresentation of
and key managers on disproportionality that children of color in child welfare and juvenile
includes a focus on: justice, and create training models and
i. Trends in service provision by race. training content to be added to the required
ii. History of racism in child welfare. pre-service and on-going in-service training
iii. Leadership role addressing race equity issues. required for all workers.
iv. Role of cross-system and community
partnership.
c. Create an internal work group composed of staff
from various levels to monitor progress on
increasing racial equity and the implementation of
these recommendations, and to issue an annual
public report on progress.
d. Judicial officers should implement the tools
developed by OJJDP and NCFJCJ and other
organizations to address disproportionality.
e. Front-line supervisors and workers should be
trained in cultural competence and race equity so
that the principles of fairness are integrated into
their daily practices.

Time Frame:
July, 2009: Work plan will be initiated.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 100 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. Accountability: DHS must monitor and publicly report on State Partnership: 1. Changes included on the checklist are developed, implemented, trained and
progress in this area by adhering to the DHS (co-lead) monitored.
recommendations in “Change Priority Data and SCAO (co-lead) 2. Increased accountability through public education.
Reporting.”
a. DHS’ new information system must have the In Progress: The Race Equity staff of DHS
capacity to report on the decision-making, service will work with SCAO and private agencies to
access and outcomes by race and ethnicity at the raise awareness of overrepresentation of
system, office, unit and worker level. children of color in child welfare and juvenile
b. DHS must monitor the effectiveness of providers by justice, and create training models and
race and ethnicity and work with them to improve training content to be added to the required
their outcomes across the continuum of care. pre-service and on-going in-service training
c. DHS must use the data to develop more responsive required for all workers.
strategies for group that are over- represented.

Time Frame:
Ongoing, see change priority # 7 action step 2.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. DHS should prioritize clarification and implementation of State Partnership: 1. Disproportionality is decreased.
the following policies: DHS (lead) 2. Increased services and opportunities for children and youth in relative
a. The state statute on the Termination of Parental SCOA provided out of home care.
Rights must be reviewed/ revised and staff must be
trained to assure that assessments of parental Reform: May require statutory revision of
capacity are made to determine the TPR standard.
appropriateness of parental termination.
b. Kinship care policy needs to be reviewed for clarity May require increased funds for relative
and staff need to be trained in the policy and provided out of home care.
practice requirement for relative search, kinship
care licensing criteria and supports available to
families; the policy on family preservation should be
expanded.
c. Financial support should be made available to
relatives who provide protection and support for
children and youth, at the same level as is provided
when the child is under the jurisdiction of the state.
d. The risk assessment needs to be revaluated and
revised to make sure that neglect is distinguished
from poverty. Staff need to be trained on proper
implementation of the revised tool.
e. Quality assurance reviews should be conducted to
assure that the implementations of the above
policies are consistent with the expectations and
reduce practices that contribute to
overrepresentation.
f. Establish a policy on dual wards to guide the case
management of youth who are being treated in both
the maltreatment and delinquency components of
the child welfare system.

Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2009: The DHS Director appoints a
departmental policy review team with representation from
SCAO and FRCB to review these policies with make a report
detailing policy revisions and implementation steps within
nine months.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Partnership with communities. State Partnership 1. Increase public knowledge re state child welfare policies and practices.
a. The county DHS agencies in collaboration with DHS (lead) 2. Community recommendations re more effective approaches to protect
Multi-Purpose Collaborative Bodies should conduct Local DHS children and provide effective services.
forums to discuss the role of DHS, the importance DCH
of protecting children, relative care, tribes, non- DCH-Tribal Partnership
profits and the use of informal resources to assist
children and families. Reinvestment: Information from forums
b. The use of family group decision making (TDMs) provides opportunities for stake holder advice
with families of color should be monitored to ensure re effective community centered services.
that the focus on family engagement and strengths
is maintained.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
5. The use of family group decision making (TDMs) with State Partnership: 1. Increased parental, relative and youth participation in case planning and
families of color should be monitored to ensure that the DHS (lead) decision making.
focus on family engagement and strengths is SCAO
maintained.
In Progress: TDMs will increase and be
Time Frame: mandated at key points in case planning.
1st Quarter FY 2010: Large Urban Counties Beginning with largest Urban Counties and
3rd Quarter FY 2010: Remaining 14 medium to large counties. rolling out statewide.
1st Quarter FY2011: Remaining counties.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
6. Appropriate representation for children and parents. State Partnership: 1. Improved representation.
a. Increase the adequacy and effectiveness of SCAO (lead) 2. Joint planning and programming to increase legal representation for families
representation for children and parents by: DHS and children/youth.
i. Increasing the number of trained advocates FRCB
and lawyers.
ii. Adequately funding lawyers and advocates.
iii. Evaluating the performance of advocates and
lawyers.

Time Frame:
2nd Quarter FY 2010: Initiate inter-agency policy planning with
report to director DHS and Director SCAO by end of 4th
quarter, 2010.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
7. Imbed race equity in the contracting process by requiring State Partnership: 1. Selection of contractors that are more appropriately suited to meet the needs
that applicants/providers: DHS (lead) of the clients of the child welfare system.
a. Demonstrate capacity to serve diverse populations. DMB
b. Report outcomes by race and ethnicity.
c. Locate service in accessible neighborhood-based Reinvestment: Development of contract
locations. language that address needs of child welfare
d. Provide flexible hours. program.
e. Participate in consumer feedback.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
8. Training: DHS must monitor and publicly report on Reinvestment: 1. Alternative measures that track with CFSR and settlement requirements.
progress in this area by adhering to the 2. Increased public accountability.
recommendations in “Change Priority Training and
Workforce Development.”

Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2010: First DHS report.

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Change Priority #5: Engage and empower consumers, children and youth, birth and adoptive
parents, families, Tribes and Tribal organizations to ensure their involvement and voice as decision-
makers and respected partners in case planning, program/policy development, service delivery and
systemic change efforts.
Specific Issue
Opportunities are not consistently provided for current and former consumers of service to be among the key decision makers in planning services
in their own cases, or for their families to develop and improve programs, provide services or improve the systems of care that provide child
welfare interventions.

Concise Recommendations
1. Strengthen staff intervention and response network at first point of contact with youth, children and families in order to respond to needs and
build trusting relationships.
2. Ensure that youth, children and families are provided with:
a. Solutions to remove barriers such as:
i. Opportunities to actively participate in statutory hearings.
ii. Timely information from workers (such as written reports) so that youth can participate, in an informed manner, in their statutory
hearings.
iii. A means to transportation so that they can attend their statutory hearings.
iv. Appropriate attire when participating in statutory hearings.
b. Opportunities to provide feedback through survey feedback.
c. Adequate enforcement of legal representation.
3. DHS and SCAO should work together to establish training for jurists that provides an appropriate protocol for actively engaging youth “on the
record” in statutory hearings.
4. Once permanent placement has been established, seek timely termination of court jurisdiction when appropriate.
5. Recognize and prioritize the role and contributions of families as service providers.
6. Fund a kinship association that will serve as a critical stakeholder in the development of case planning, program and policy development.
7. Fund parent and youth partners to serve as system navigators and peer mentors.
8. Maximize the use of family-preservation and reunification services and wraparound funding to reduce the number of children entering foster
care and increase the timeliness of exits from care.
9. Review Michigan termination-of-parental-rights policies and recommend legislative amendments and executive actions to ensure that all
appropriate actions for family preservation or kinship placements (licensed and unlicensed) have been fully considered before termination-of-

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parental-rights action is considered.
10. Revise foster care licensing policy to strengthen outreach to kinship caregivers and to proactively apply federally authorized waiver of non-
safety-licensing regulations.
11. Implement TDM based decision making in each county. The TDM facilitator should not be the child’s case worker.
12. Encourage or promote the participation of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) in representing the needs and point of view of children
in abuse/neglect cases.
13. DHS and SCAO should work together to ensure that children and youth in the Michigan Juvenile Justice System, including dual wards, are
provided with adequate attorney representation and support to participate in the judicial process.

Expected Results
1. Facilitate better decision-making and therefore better outcomes for youth, children, and families.
2. Increase the frequency with which families are used as viable service providers.
3. Decrease trauma experienced by youth, children and families.
4. Increase the use of kinship care.

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Change Priority #5: Engage and empower consumers, children and youth, birth and adoptive
parents, families, Tribes and Tribal organizations to ensure their involvement and voice as decision-
makers and respected partners in case planning, program/policy development, service delivery and
systemic change efforts.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. DHS should establish Quality Assurance process that In Progress: This effort is in progress as part 1. Families and children have the opportunity to report whether their experiences
ensures public and private child welfare workers are of the expansion of CWTI. CQI process in with child welfare staff are respectful and helpful.
trained and prepared to engage children and families in some counties will include client satisfaction
a positive and collaborative manner. surveys; eventual roll out to statewide
implementation.
Time Frame:
3rd Quarter FY 2009: Ongoing.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. DHS and SCAO should work with: State Partnership: 1. Children and youth who desire to participate in their court hearings are offered
a. Local DHS offices to establish a plan for efficient DHS (co-lead) that opportunity 100% of the time.
transport of children/youth to court hearings. SCAO (co-lead) 2. Judicial decisions reflect the input provided by the child/youth.
b. Local DHS offices should establish a protocol for
notifying youth of upcoming hearings and In Progress: RFC contracts require that
determining their desire to participate and/or the providers transport children to court. DHS
appropriateness for participation. could amend the PAFC contacts and adoption
c. Local courts should establish protocols to maximize contacts to require transportation to court.
opportunities for child/youth involvement including
after school hours for hearings. Reinvestment: Establishment of local
d. SCAO staff should develop and implement a transportation plans, coordination and funding
mechanism for monitoring child and youth of those plans requires reinvestment focus.
participation in court hearings. Re-assess procedure for hearing notifications,
e. Local DHS offices, local private agencies and ensure that all youth are engaged and have
courts should ensure that youth, children and opportunities to participate.
families are oriented and educated about the child
welfare system and process.

Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2009: DHS and SCAO review of contract
provisions and procedures. Revise PAFC & adoption
contracts. Issue field instructions.
FY 2010: Ongoing monitoring of policy and practices.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. Establish a statutory or court rule amendment that State Partnership: 1. Children and youth achieve safe and timely permanency within related federal
requires judges to indicate on the record the reason SCAO (lead) outcome standards on a consistent basis.
court jurisdiction should be continued after a permanent DHS 2. Judicial caseloads are reduced.
placement has been established.
Reform: May require statutory amendment
Time Frame: and/or court rule.
1st Quarter FY 2010:
DHS initiate discussion with SCAO.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Involve stakeholders in planning of prevention efforts State Partnership: 1. Input in policy development is solicited from a diverse set of stakeholders in a
and family services at the macro and micro level. DHS systematic manner by the special child welfare advisory board and DHS in
DHS Child Welfare Advisory Board. policy development.
Time Frame: 2. Input of community stakeholders is solicited at the local level for both
Ongoing In Progress: TDMs will increase and will be community and case level planning.
mandated at key points in case planning.
Beginning with Urban Counties and rolling out
statewide.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
5. DHS and DCH should: State Partnership: 1. Children, youth and families indicate that:
a. Seek funding to support system navigators and DHS a. Contacts with DHS are positive and helpful.
peer mentors. DCH b. Public and private providers seek their input when making decisions.
b. Establish a practice that involves system navigators c. They are able to make informed decisions
in case management, programming and court Reinvestment:
process to assist children, youth and families as DHS policy revisions to deploy system
peer mentors. navigators and peer mentors in consultation
with DCH/Mental Health.
Time Frame:
1st Quarter FY 2010: Develop and test policy and practices.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
6. DHS should advocate that Congress and federal See Change Priority 3, Recommendation 3
agencies:
a. Eliminate the ADC look-back for IV-E.
b. Fund the full range of services with IV-E funding,
regardless of child’s placement, matching the
program’s business model with its goals.
c. Increase funding to Safe and Stable Families that
allows increased flexibility and funding for services
for non-Title IVE eligible children.
d. Mirror requirements for relative guardianship
subsidy to that of adoption subsidy:
i. To remove the requirement for a 6-month
licensed foster care placement prior to
subsidized guardianship.
ii. To remove the requirement that relative
caregivers be licensed.(also in CP Funding)

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
7. To the extent practical within the resource limits See Change Priority 3, Recommendation 5
available to the state, consider program-specific funding
enhancements to restore funding for a staff position to
coordinate services for homeless, runaway and street
youth in Michigan, and educate federal policy makers on
the importance of a coordinated voice for these youth
(also in CP Funding).

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
8. DCH should lead a multi-stakeholder review of the state See Change Priority 4, Recommendation 3
statute on the Termination of Parental Rights and
develop legislative recommendations and administrative
directives to:
a. Ensure be that public and private child welfare staff
are trained to assess the parental capacity in
determining the appropriateness of parental
termination.
b. Clarify kinship care policy, particularly in the area of
practice requirements for relative search, kinship
care licensing criteria and supports available to
families;
c. Clarify and expand policy on family preservation
including:
i. Financial support for relatives who provide
protection and support for children and youth,
at the same level of support as is provided
when the child is placed in licensed foster
care.
ii. Application of validated, standardized and
culturally normed risk assessment tool that
distinguishes neglect from poverty.
iii. Quality assurance reviews, to ensure that
family preservation policies are consistent with
the expectations and reduce practices which
contribute to overrepresentation.
d. Management, supervisory and front line staff
training on proper implementation of the family
preservation policies. (see CP Racial Equity)

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
9. Maximize the use of family preservation and See Change Priority 1, Recommendation 3d
reunification services and wraparound funding to reduce
the number of children entering foster care and
increases the timeliness of exits from care. (Also in CP
Array of services)

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
10. Increase the range and capacity of family foster and See Change Priority 1, Recommendation 3f
kinship care homes to meet the special needs of
children who must be placed in foster care. (Also in CP
Array of services)

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
11. In consultation with a committee of public and private See Change Priority 1, Recommendation 2
child welfare foster and kinship care providers and
national program experts, DHS should review rates paid
to direct family care providers through the Determination
of Care method and through levels of specialized care
(such as TFC) and recommend changes that will
promote improve outcomes for children in out-of-home
family care. (Also in CP Array of services)

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
12. DHS should proactively reach out to family members See Change Priority 1, Recommendation 3g
providing unlicensed and apply the appropriate waivers
of non-safety-related licensing requirements.

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Change Priority #6: Foster a seamless approach to service delivery through cross systems
collaboration and community partnerships to improve the conditions of vulnerable children and
families.
Specific Issue
Current case planning and service delivery efforts do not ensure continuity of care across the systems that serve children involved in child welfare
interventions or between and among the array of providers responsible for intervention and treatment services.

Concise Recommendations
Appoint a special child welfare advisory board that reports directly to the Director of DHS to include representation from all branches of
government and all agencies within each branch and the Tribal social service organizations having responsibility for planning, funding or delivery
of services to children and families involved in the child welfare system. Membership should include the director and a point person (responsible
for implementing decisions) within each agency to be charged with:
1. Reviewing and acting upon on improvement recommendations included in statutorily required periodic reports related to child welfare issues.
2. Directing the development and enhancement of collaboration in relationship to planning, funding and delivery of child welfare services in
Michigan. Specifically, the advisory board will:
a. Establish a model for statewide and local collaboration on child welfare issues.
b. Facilitate the development of evidence-based models of collaboration.
c. Establish standards for coordinating case processes and case flow across among state level and Tribal entities.
d. Establish a shared strategic focus across all child and family serving organizations.

Expected Results
1. Community level coordination and integration of services is increased, thereby eliminating silos and duplication of efforts and addressing the
needs of youths who are being served by multiple systems or providers (e.g. dual wards or dually diagnosed youth).
2. Increase the development of collaboratives that review & approve of strategies, and hold each other accountable.
3. Increase draw-down of public and private funds (e.g., better utilization of Title IV-E funds, increased Medicaid federal share dollars to support
mental health and substance abuse services).
4. Increase the ability of DHS to serve as an agent of systems change.
5. Service consumers experience increased accessibility to and continuity of services.

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Change Priority #6: Foster a seamless approach to service delivery through cross systems
collaboration and community partnerships to improve the conditions of vulnerable children and
families.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. Concurrently plan and define complementary models for State partnership: 1. Documented agreements in place from agencies represented in special child
collaboration and seamless service delivery. Both DHS (lead) welfare advisory board to facilitate agency participation in local collaborative
models should: DMB-Budget planning, decision-making, resource sharing and evaluation.
a. Focus on improved outcomes for children and DCH a. A collaboration model is developed with the following essential features:
families. MDE i. Participation of all state level agencies and organizations that are
b. Relate to the continuum of care. DELEG responsible for directing services to address child and family needs
c. Provide for full strategic partnership between MSHDA, Corrections in any of the functional domains that affect safety, permanency and
community and system resources and allow for SCAO. well-being of children involved in the child welfare system.
flexibility to meet individual community needs. ii. A method for continuously obtaining input from communities about
d. Operate across all levels of systems and In Progress: Discussion in progress with the needs of their at-risk children and families; the outcomes
communities. DCH to develop mental health services for needed from service interventions; the degree to which current
e. Provide for mutual ownership between systems and children in child welfare system. services deliver those outcomes; and program and funding
communities. strengths and barriers.
f. Focus first on the child welfare needs of children Program in place with MSHFDA to provide iii. Identification of funding streams that can be directed toward the
and families. housing vouchers for aging out young adults. needs of children and families involved in the child welfare system.
g. Specify tangible outcomes and accountability for iv. Development of rules and guidelines that permit the greatest degree
achieving them. Reform: Revision of state policies re to of planning, funding and service delivery pooling and coordination
h. Establish guidelines and standards for operation. support access to a continuum of services for at the community level.
i. Reestablish a governance structure at the state all children / youth and families in the child v. Coordinated planning, development and funding requests for
level to guide the work of local collaborative bodies welfare system appropriate to their needs and services and programs operated at the state level to meet
and communicate clear expectations in planning legal status. community needs as identified through the community input
the use of local discretionary funding. process.
j. Incorporate standards for timely movement of vi. Coordinated administration, monitoring and evaluation of programs
cases across systems, including incorporation of and funding among state-level agencies and organizations.
SCAO standards for timely court processing. b. Guidelines for seamless service delivery models are developed. The
k. Incorporate standards for timely movement of guidance will include:
cases across systems. In order to accomplish this, i. Essential elements of a system of care concept to ensure
SCAO will need to establish standards for timely responsiveness to child and family needs through coordinated
court processing that recognize the interaction planning, development and delivery of services.
between court processes and the processes that ii. Services that provide safety, permanency and well-being of children
DHS and other service providers must follow. The without requiring formal entry to the child welfare system whenever
SCAO standards need to be a part of the overall possible.
standards for case-processing timeliness. iii. For those children and families who require formal involvement in
the system, services that provide necessary/timely; coordinated

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
Time Frame: intake, screening and assessment; service planning and service
4th Quarter FY 2009: DHS initiates discussion with state delivery targeted to the identified needs.
cabinet re community collaborative for child welfare. iv. Use of proven practices within a well-defined collaborative practice
Proposes a high level multi departmental planning & policy framework to provide a continuum of services that addresses all
committee. relevant child, parent and family functional domains. This will
4th Quarter FY 2010: Planning committee reports child require special attention to development or enhancement of
welfare community collaborative implementation plan to collaborative services and programs in several areas, including:
cabinet. v. Abuse/neglect and delinquency prevention.
vi. Intake, screening and assessment
vii. Family preservation.
viii. Mental health and substance abuse treatment services.
ix. Educational services for children served by the child welfare system
x. Recruitment and retention of foster and kinship care providers who
have capacity to serve children with a wide range of special needs
in a family environment.
xi. Mentoring support systems for parents, foster parents, adoptive
parents and guardians.
xii. Transition and support services for children and youth in
preparation for exit from foster care and for homeless and runaway
children
xiii. Use of cross-disciplinary teams as appropriate throughout the
service planning and delivery process. Successful results from pilot
will be replicated statewide.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. Present and obtain buy-in using a business case for the State Partnership: 1. Decision-makers, practitioners and the public understand the costs and
models that: DHS (lead) benefits of implementing the models.
a. Provide essential data on service needs and DMB-Budget 2. Barriers to implementation are overcome in several communities.
impacts, including both risk and return-on- DCH 3. Several communities approve and agree to pilot the implementation of the
investment considerations that point to incentives MDE models.
for participation. DELEG
b. Identify costs and benefits of the models. MSHDA
c. Provide support for the models using data on Corrections
impact from jurisdictions in which these approaches SCAO
have been used successfully, considering existing
and emerging models within and outside Michigan. In Progress: Service array exploration is in
d. Identify state and community decision-makers who process.
need to approve or agree to use of models.
e. Present business case to decision-makers. Needs assessment will contribute to
f. Address any additional barriers to approval. identification of next steps.

Time Frame: Pilot programs are under development with


4th Quarter FY 2010: Business case model presented to DHS.
department directors for approval.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. Pilot the implementation of the models: State Partnership: 1. Outcomes achieved in pilot communities:
a. Community buy-in is required to participate in the DHS (lead) a. Models and plans are tailored to local needs and players,
pilot. DMB-Budget including judges and other independent officials who are
b. Alternative local-level models may be established DCH not bound by state agency rules
based on make-up and needs of communities, MDE b. Outcomes for children and families are improved
including local needs for collaboration between DELEG c. SCAO monitoring of compliance is used to further
service-delivery systems and the courts. MSHDA improve more frequent and timely reunification and
c. Include necessary requirements for federal and Corrections permanency for children.
state level requirements including compliance with SCAO d. Models are improved based on results of pilot experience.
SCAO standards.
d. Combine this approach with the Funding Work Reform: Resources required to support
Group recommendations about funding flexibility pilots.
pilots.
e. Allow pilots to operate for sufficient time to
demonstrate results (This could be 3 to 5 years).
f. Analyze and evaluate pilot results.
g. Adjust models based on results.
h. Include members of public agencies and private
agencies, and citizens with no agency affiliation

Time Frame:
FY 2011 – 12: Pilot counties

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Sell the model to other communities: State partnership: 1. Increased number of community collaboratives trained.
a. Provide training to develop core capacities and DHS
competencies in communities to develop both the DMB
collaboration and seamless service delivery DCH
models. This includes instilling vision/focus on the MDE
diverse needs of children and families from a broad DELEG
range of racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. MSHDA
Also includes developing understanding of Corrections
shared/pooling of resources. SCAO
b. Communicate comparative results to key
constituencies (Judges Association, etc). Reform: Resources will be needed to
c. Present business case to key constituencies. conduct analyses and training of MPCBs.

Time Frame:
FY 2012: Education session in non pilot counties.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
5. Replicate models across state. State partnership: 1. Pilot outcomes or better achieved in all communities in the state.
DHS
Time Frame: DMB
FY 2013: State-wide implementation. DCH
MDE
DELEG
MSHDA
Corrections
SCAO

Reform: Resources will be required to


support continuum of child welfare services
across the state.

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Change Priority #7: Improve the strategic use of data collection, analysis and reporting to improve
performance of the system as measured by outcomes for families and children.
Specific Issue
The Department of Human Services and the courts of Michigan face major challenges in managing the child welfare and juvenile justice systems
because of very limited access to information on the operation of programs, the status of individual cases at the state and county level and the
impact of service on children and families. The Children’s Rights settlement requires the development of a SACWIS compliant system by October
of 2012 to enable reporting on the Settlement requirements. In the course of complying with this expectation DHS, the courts and the private
provider network need to build a system can be used to manage programs, services, resources and staff toward the desired outcomes and provide
regular reporting of program to the agency and the public.

Concise Recommendations
1. DHS and the courts must build a Management Information System that:
a. Supports decision making at the case, program and system level.
b. Allows for the tracking of progress on race equity.
c. Identifies Native American youth immediately
d. Identifies services and resources by geographic area for service planning.
e. Allows for the ongoing evaluation of all programs including the Reunification and MYOI.
f. Links child welfare, juvenile justice and court data as well as private agency data.
g. Supports the development of a public report card on agency and judicial performance, shifts in the service delivery system and outcomes for
children and families.
h. Uses validated instruments.
i. Meets standards for quality and accuracy of data.
j. Includes, and works in collaboration with, public sector services
k. Can interface with other state data maintained by DHS, Department of Education, the courts, and other public data sources.
2. DHS and the Supreme Court/SCAO must issue an annual report card with outcomes for children and families, racial equity and progress on
achieving performance standards outlined in the Task Force report.
3. DHS and SCAO will work with local counties, Tribes and Tribal organizations, and providers (with an emphasis on Wayne County due to the
large number of children who reside in that county) to establish data-sharing agreements to improve the state’s ability to establish a statewide
child welfare, juvenile justice and homeless and runaway youth database.
4. DHS should take the lead and collaborate with appropriate data collection partners to establish an integrated, state-wide child welfare, juvenile
justice and homeless and runaway youth database (SACWIS plus).

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Expected Results
1. Increase the use of data to:
a. Manage the system.
b. Inform public stakeholders on the state of child welfare and current efforts.
c. Increase accountability and effectiveness of programs
d. Determine the long-term impact of policy and program changes.
2. Increase access to data at the case level to improve the quality of case practice (private agencies currently don’t have access to data).
3. Increase data sharing and case planning among service providers to improve quality, better service outcomes and establish benchmarks and
standards.
4. Increase collaboration between DIT, SCAO, tribes, courts and DHS to allow for the implementation of critical system enhancements that will
improve access to and analysis of data.
5. Increase the capacity to leverage funding streams.

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Change Priority #7: Improve the strategic use of data collection, analysis and reporting to improve
performance of the system as measured by outcomes for families and children.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. The below efforts currently underway by DHS (the DHS State Partnership: 1. Increased transparency and greater public accountability.
Court Improvement SACWIS Project) should be DHS (lead) 2. Statewide computer-based program that identifies services and resources.
supported, so that successful cross-systems SCAO 3. Data system for collection, analysis and evaluation regarding equity.
collaboration is possible: DIT 4. The use of data in program planning and management.
a. SACWIS compliance. 5. The development of resources consistent with the understanding of families’
b. SACWIS planning RFP. Reinvestment: Revision of uniform state needs.
c. RFP Award made. child welfare data system is critical to 6. Using the data for better policy decisions and program changes.
d. Grantee will evaluate the current database effective management of the program and 7. Data collected by DHS will be available to support or evaluate the new
(SWSS), additional databases including but not quality services for children. reunification model.
limited to Families First and JJolt and make Actions are underway to meet federal staff 8. User-friendly software so workers can access data.
recommendations for next steps to improve the 9. Data collection system ensures accurate data and evaluation, including that of
quality, ease of use and integration of data. They follow-up data.
will complete a risk analysis and cost/benefit
analysis on database options and report out one
year later.
e. An RFP for the next steps will be issued at that
time.
f. An interim step being considered is providing CPAs
access to SWSS through a citrix thin-client
environment.

Time Frame:
The state child welfare information system (SACWIS) will be
in full compliance by FY 2012.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. DHS must establish performance standards and issue State Partnership: 1. Data demonstrates that all providers and agencies are utilizing validated
an annual report card on: the outcomes for children and DHS (lead) instruments; outcomes are collected effectively; analyses completed by
families; racial equity and the progress on the systemic SCAO university partners, demonstrating significant improvements.
shifts outlined in this report. DIT

Time Frame: In Progress: Much of this work is in progress


3rd Quarter FY 2009: Initiate planning and design for annual pursuant to the agreement with Children’s
report. Rights. This agreement requires reporting on
1st Quarter 2010: Training DHS and court staff. a number of outcomes for children on a
1st Quarter 2011: First report card publicly released. regular basis

Reform: The DHS data system includes


many disparate and disconnected data
sources. Full integration into the data
warehouse for consolidated reporting will
require investment of resources.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. Establish a process for regular cross-agency review of State Partnership: 1. The data system developed by DHS has the capacity to:
the data and action planning to improve the pace and DHS (lead) a. Function as an integrated data system.
quality of change. DIT b. Evaluate the programs.
SCAO c. Identify services and resources by geographic area, for use by agencies
Time Frame: and courts.
The state child welfare information system (SACWIS) will be In Progress: Performance-based outcomes d. Capture disparity data.
in full compliance by FY 2012. and related data reporting are being e. Be user-friendly.
developed for private and public providers. f. Support the development of a public report on child welfare performance.
Disparity data for child welfare is captured,
and reports will be developed to analyze and
evaluate the data. Performance measures
are already reported in the State CFSR
report that is posted on the web. DHS will
develop a more robust web presence to
share performance data.

Reinvestment: Discussion regarding


expansion of Michigan 211 is underway, but
will require focused effort and realignment of
resources.

Reform: Improving the user-friendly


interface of SWSS is part of the existing
evaluation, but the actual implementation will
require additional resources.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. Track outcomes of youth who have had successful State Partnership: 1. More timely response to court orders.
placements and termination of court jurisdiction. DHS (co-lead) 2. More reliable information re status of youth who have been placed in
SCAO (co-lead) permanent settings or aged out of the child welfare system.
Time Frame:
The state child welfare information system (SACWIS) will be
in full compliance by FY 2012.

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Change Priority #8: Provide opportunities for training and workforce development to ensure that
judicial officers and public/private providers have adequate skills and competencies to effectively
serve the needs of children, youth, and families.
Specific Issue
Clear standards for experience and competence have not been established for Michigan’s legal or social work practitioners in the field of child
welfare. Nor have methods been established requiring these practitioners to demonstrate competencies in the practice of child welfare. Because of
this, professional child welfare decisions and practice may be guided by insufficient information or knowledge resulting in less than optimal
outcomes for children, youth and families who come into contact with the child welfare system.

Concise Recommendations
1. DHS will implement a statewide child welfare training consortium, including agency directors, supervisors, federally recognized Tribes and
Tribal organizations, and private agencies. This consortium will assess and address the training needs for Michigan’s child welfare system and
ensure that relative caregivers, foster families and public/private providers are provided the necessary training to move cases to safe and timely
permanency.
2. DHS will collaborate with the State Court Administrative Office, Michigan Supreme court and Legislature to ensure that judges, referees and
attorneys, assigned to child welfare cases, have the necessary training to move cases to safe and timely permanency. Comprehensive training
regarding requirements of the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) should be required and
provided upon appointment.
3. Fictive Kin/Relative caregiver (reflecting the cultural definition of family members; e.g. godparents or clan members) training should be
expanded.
4. DHS should comply with the settlement provisions regarding qualifications, training and supervision to ensure that children and youth are
provided with quality case management services.
5. Judges, jurists and attorneys will be trained on ICWA
6. Attorneys who represent youths in the juvenile justice system will be trained in how to provide better legal representation to those youths.
7. Measures of judicial performance should be established by SCAO and utilized as a tool for training and improving outcomes for children and
youth.
8. DHS will facilitate and participate in cross training opportunities with MDCH/CMH, the Department of Education and other groups on such
subjects as evidence-based practice interventions and even sub-specialty content for early childhood development, health care integration,
parents with disabilities and children with disabilities.

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Expected Results
1. Increase the number of lawyer guardians ad litem, other attorneys, judges, relative caregivers, and jurists who are trained on critical issues
related to child welfare law and policy.
2. Increase the quality of care provided by judges, relative caregivers, foster families, jurists, public/private providers, attorneys, and lawyer
guardians ad litem.
3. Improved outcomes for children and families in the areas of safety, timeliness of permanency, youth rehabilitation and child and family well
being.

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Change Priority #8: Provide opportunities for training and workforce development to ensure that
judicial officers and public/private providers have adequate skills and competencies to effectively
serve the needs of children, youth, and families.
Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
1. The DHS Child Welfare Training Institute (CWTI) should: State Partnership: 1. Reduction in number of children in out-of-home care, 50% reduction in
a. Establish a training and workforce development DHS (lead) juvenile justice and foster care by 2020.
consortium. SCAO 2. Reduction in the number of placement changes that a youth experiences
b. Identify and engage potential members of the while in the child welfare system (removal from home to permanency).
consortium. In Process: CWTI is planning to launch the 3. Reduction in the number of substantiated complaints against foster care
c. Convene the first meeting of the consortium. Training Consortium to be able to incorporate homes, as a result of service array.
d. Identify existing training and areas that need to be learning and training activities into an 4. Reduction of the number of these complaints that result in an actual licensing
developed or built upon to enhance skills and integrated calendar and effort to training violation.
competencies. workers in multiple organizations. CWTI is in 5. Reduction in the number of changes in supervising caseworkers experienced
i. SCAO should initiate an examination of all the process of engaging stakeholders and by a youth during the duration of their case.
states presently requiring continuing education determining membership in a consortium. 6. Establishment of a series of consumer satisfaction scales. Need to begin
for jurists to evaluate best practices, barriers, assessing satisfaction of both internal and external customers of the child
fiscal implications and impact of training on DHS training capacity for private agencies welfare system (including, but not limited to, children, biological parents,
improved outcomes in child welfare cases. has doubled. foster parents, relatives, workers, courts, and service providers).
e. DHS should commit to training that achieves: 7. Fewer children will return to the attention of the child welfare system after
i. Cultural responsiveness. DHS is currently exploring training for relative reaching a planned, permanent living situation. The metrics for this outcome
ii. Cultural competency. caregivers and other foster and adoptive need careful construction and analysis since many factors could play into this
iii. Appropriateness. parents occurrence. Still, it would be a measure of the success/failure of the overall
iv. Adherence to the Indian Child Welfare Act. system with a specific child.
v. Race equity. Reinvestment: New resources may be 8. Employee satisfaction scales centered on training and supervisory
f. Training opportunities should be provided for: required to match additional federal (title IVE) satisfaction. Baseline assessed and the reassessment at 6 months, 24
i. Private and public providers. funds. Part of the state match that has been months etc. Identify appropriate instrument, use existing instrument if
ii. Judges. freed up due to the federal stimulus funding applicable.
iii. Referees. should be redirected for this purpose. 9. Reduced racial bias.
iv. Attorneys. 10. Staff will be well-trained and will be receiving current training.
v. Jurists.
vi. Foster families.
vii. L-GALs.
viii. Relative caregivers.

Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2009: Consortium established.
1st Quarter FY 2010: Enhanced workforce development and
training program initiated.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
2. Evaluations should be developed to secure consumer State Partnership: 1. Management information to assist judicial officers and the public in assessing
and community feedback on court proceedings. DHS (lead) quality of judicial proceedings.
SCAO
Time Frame:
1st Quarter FY 2010: Initiated. Reinvestment: Low cost process to gain
consumer and community feedback re judicial
proceedings.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
3. DHS should develop a partnership with the Michigan Bar State Partnership: 1. By October 1, 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court will pass an administrative
Association and judicial associations to develop training DHS (lead) rule requiring initial and continuing education for all jurists presiding over child
opportunities for attorneys and family court judges. SCAO abuse and neglect cases, and for lawyers assigned to represent children,
parents and the state in these cases
Time Frame: In Progress: 2. By January 1, 2010, the SCAO will have established guidelines and courses
4th Quarter FY 2009: Joint planning with state bar and judge’s DHS meetings with MI state bar ongoing. for jurists and attorneys to attend to meet training requirements.
association initiated. 3. By October 1, 2011, children and youth in child abuse and neglect cases will
achieve safe and timely permanency outcomes consistent with the
requirements set forth in the federal Child and Family Services Review and
the Child’s Rights lawsuit settlement.
4. Increase the number of judges and lawyers who are trained on critical issues
related to child welfare law and policy.

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Action Steps and Time Frames Implementation Strategy Specific Outcomes
4. DHS and SCAO should provide cross-training State Partnership: 1. Increased number of competent providers.
opportunities for SCAO, DHS, and private providers that DHS (lead)
prepare staff to fulfill their responsibilities in a competent SCAO
manner:
a. Develop training curriculum that outlines a protocol In Process: TDM training is being designed
for educating and sharing information with children, and statewide roll out is scheduled beginning
youth, and families (e.g. in-home resources, with select counties. New supervisor training
prevention resources). will be launched in April. Additional content
b. Training resources should be dedicated to building pertaining to race equity and over-
the family facilitation skills of public and private representation will be added to the CWIT
providers. training upon review and recommendation of
c. Criteria should be established for all supervisors, the DHS Race Equity staff. Capacity for
which includes the following: private agency training has doubled. Train the
i. Reinvest in school (master’s level) Trainer courses are in progress.
scholarships
ii. Supervisors/support management.
iii. Performance management training system,
evaluation and coaching.
iv. Structure for regular case conferencing or
review.
d. Training on how to administer a TDM for judicial,
public, and private participants in the process.

Time Frame:
4th Quarter FY 2009: Cross training project planning initiated.

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Appendix C
Evaluation of the Michigan Child Welfare
Improvement Task Force charge and process

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Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Evaluation Report

Prepared by:
Richard D. Robinson, Ph.D.
Prepared for
Ismael Ahmed, Director
Michigan Department Human Services

April 2009

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Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force Evaluation Report

Background
Michigan's child welfare system assumes the responsibility for protecting the state’s children
who are most at risk. Working with families and their communities, the Department of Human
Services investigates more than 16,000 substantiated, and more than 100,000 unsubstantiated,
child protective services cases annually. Through its various agencies, foster care and adoption
programs, as well as the juvenile justice system, DHS delivers services directly to tens of
thousands of vulnerable children each year.

The Task Force was created by DHS Director Ismael Ahmed. On April 22, 2008, Ahmed, along
with former Director C. Patrick Babcock and Carol Goss, president and CEO of the Skillman
Foundation, formally launched the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force.

The purpose of the Task Force was to assess the full continuum of state-supported services for
children and their families and to develop specific recommendations to improve the services
delivered by the child welfare system. The recommendations were to include measurable action
steps and outcomes. In the charge document (see Attachment 2) the DHS director and staff
designated the specific direction for the final work products of the Task Force. The evaluation
process was created to assist the Task Force in achieving its goals.

Evaluation objectives
The charge document delineates the fundamental principles for the construction of the evaluation
plan and objectives (see Attachment 2):

„ Examine the DHS child welfare philosophy:


o To provide advice concerning its clarity and sufficiency for system-wide direction.
o To develop and recommend guiding principles to determine the type and choice of
services provided to children and their families.
„ Review and assess the implications of current federal and state standards in developing state
child welfare system outcomes.
„ Develop and recommend clear, achievable, and measurable performance and process
outcomes for the comprehensive state child welfare system and for each sub-system
(prevention, community-based family services, out-of-home family-based care, adoption,
residential care, independent living and transitional services).
„ Recommend the essential high-yield actions that state government should take to address the
program and process outcomes.

This evaluation report documents the specific processes that were chosen by the Task Force and
its work groups to accomplish their goals and objectives, and to develop their required work
products.

In consultation with the Task Force co-chairs, and with reference to the stated purpose of Task
Force in the charge document (see attachment 2), the following core objectives of the evaluation
plan were identified:

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„ To document the Task Force and work group processes.
„ To assess the functioning of Task Force and work group processes.
„ To verify the fulfillment of work-product requirements.

This formulation anchored the evaluation plan in the basic assumptions of the charge document,
which was essential to the development of an accurate and effective evaluation plan. The
evaluation plan identified a number of questions specifically related to the achievement of Task
Force goals and objectives, which formed the focus of the analysis, such as: Did the Task Force
members represent a diversity of background within the child welfare system, and did they
perceive that the meeting goals were being achieved; or, were work group meetings comfortably
designed and managed; and did the Task Force develop its stated work products?

Evaluation methodology
The evaluation plan incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods. It utilizes three
specific methodologies to accomplish its objectives (see Attachment 1: Evaluation Plan and
Data Collection Matrix):

„ Archival analysis: The review of all documents and literature presented to, or generated by,
the Task Force and its work groups that relate to the evaluation questions.
„ Survey analysis: The development and use of three separate instruments to gather
information about the experience and interests of Task Force members. The three
instruments are an initial Task Force survey (see Attachment 3, copy of survey), a post-
meeting Task Force survey (see Attachment 4, copy of survey), and a post-meeting survey
for work groups (see Attachment 5, copy of survey).
„ Participant observation: Participant observation is a qualitative research technique that was
used throughout the Task Force, work group, and staff meetings. Participant observation
required participation in the activities under observation, informal interviews with
individuals, and direct observation to collect the necessary information. Information from a
sampling of participants was used to generalize the findings.

Data collection process and analysis


The evaluation plan was based on clear and concise questions, using specific methods to answer
those questions (see Attachment 1, Evaluation Plan and Data Collection Matrix), such as:

„ Do Task Force members represent a diversity of background within the child welfare
system?
„ Do a majority of Task Force members think that the goals are being achieved?
„ Did the work groups develop their requested work products?

Archival
The archival information that was reviewed represents an array of sources. It includes records
and archival documents that contain relevant information to verify the assorted evaluator
research inquires as defined in the evaluation plan, e.g. completion of tasks and work products.

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Document Matrix

„ General documents: Charge document,


administrative documents
Task Force and Work Group Processes

„ Department of Human Services documents:


Department settlement document; previous Task
Force reports, best practices reports
„ Task Force informational/presentation documents
„ Work group reports/informational documents
„ Miscellaneous: attendance/membership data,
electronic communications, etc.

„ Task Force final report


Group Work Products
Task Force and Work

„ Work group final recommendations and report to


Task Force

Survey
The survey data collection process employed separate instruments (see above). The initial Task
Force survey was administered one time to the entire Task Force. This survey gathered specific
information about Task Force members regarding their experience with the child welfare system,
their roles, and their issue interests. For example, Question 2 of the survey requests that

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individuals choose the types of involvements they have had with the child welfare system. The
highest categories of results were:

„ Advocate 51.0%
„ Administrator 46.8 %
„ Case worker 25.5%

An analysis of the Task Force member list provided another perspective of the diversity of the
membership, based upon members’ present organization affiliation:

„ Advocate 10
„ Professional/public-private 47
„ Young adults 16
„ Parents 4
„ Judicial 3
„ Public officials 5

This initial survey verified that the Task Force represented opinions of the diverse community
served by the child welfare system (see Attachment 6, Initial Child Welfare System Survey
Summary).

The post-meeting survey for the Task Force was administered on five occasions (see Attachment
7, copy of the summary) to all members in attendance at Task Force meetings. The instrument,
which included both closed and open-ended questions, measured members’ perceptions of the
meeting process. Answers to open-ended questions yielded much detail and were especially
useful in providing comments about alterations to the process and suggestions for improving the
Task Force process. These responses provided a core of information that was shared in summary
form with the Task Force co-chairs, steering committee members, and staff.

The information gathered from this instrument enabled the leadership to make cogent decisions
regarding the necessity and form of on-going improvements to the Task Force meeting format
and function, as well as to facilitate the communication of essential information. The ability to
make mid-course adjustments enhanced the Task Force process itself and helped the Task Force
remain on track and achieve its objectives. Informally, regular Task Force members
acknowledged the effectiveness of these efforts to improve communications and meeting
protocol.

The Task Force work group post-meeting survey was administered a total of 14 times (see
Attachment 9, summary of work group meetings). This survey included both closed and open-
ended questions and was administered to members of each of the work groups at sampled
meetings. The results of these surveys show a high agreement response in both the “slightly
agree” and “strongly agree” categories.

The combined rates of approval in these categories across all seven of the work groups are:

„ Question 1 84.6%

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„ Question 2 94%
„ Question 3 89.4 5%

Although the information gathered was not regularly shared with the work group leaders, the
results of the survey were discussed on a case-by-case basis whenever it was indicated that an
adjustment to the work group process might be productive.

Participant observation was used throughout Task Force and staff meetings and at a sampling of
work group meetings. The participatory approach was especially useful to validate information
provided by the surveys and to develop a sense of how well specific issues were being addressed
in the Task Force and work group meetings.

Task Force structure and process


As previously noted, a central feature of the Task Force evaluation was the analysis of the Task
Force and work group process. Because of the number of individual Task Force members and
the complexity of tasks and objectives, it was agreed that the Task Force process should be
monitored and adjusted as necessary.

The Task Force created a committee structure:


„ Committee of the Whole
„ Steering Committee
„ Work groups (one work group for each of the charge areas, with the addition of a funding
work group and communication committee):
o Prevention, Community Service and Treatment
o Foster Care and Court Ordered Placements
o Adoption and Permanency
o Detention, Residential Care and Treatment
o Transitional Support
o Funding
o Communication Committee
„ Youth Group Committee
„ Synthesis Committee

In Task Force meetings, only members or their alternates could vote. In work group meetings,
all members of the work group, which included Task Force members and invited individuals
with expertise, could vote. Typical meeting composition for each of the committees:

„ Committee of the Whole included all members of the Task Force, invited participants,
observers, support staff and consultants.
„ Work groups were composed of Task Force members, invited non-Task Force individuals
with related expertise, support staff, policy researchers and consultants.
„ Steering committee included work group chairs, Task Force co-chairs and senior staff, and
consultants.
„ The Youth Group committee, which represented an informal assemblage of young adults,
was designed to secure their comments on specific issues as well as to encourage their
continued involvement in the process.

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„ The Synthesis committee was made up of a cross section of Task Force members and work
group members, as well as senior staff and consultants; it offered support for the chairs and
was responsible for molding the recommendations of the work groups into final form.

The Task Force Committee of the Whole had multiple functions:

„ To gather and communicate information from multiple sources to members; the shared
information took the form of individual and group presentations, panels and discussions of
meetings, generating thoughts and proposals.
„ To serve as a forum to discuss varied perspectives, concepts, ideas and approaches for the
resolution of issues.
„ To help build consensus around issues.

The Task Force instituted a final report decision process to ensure that consensus would be
reached on the final Task Force work products. The Task Force acted by consensus on final
policy and practice recommendations. The recommendations were developed by the work
groups and those in plenary discussions. The process assumed that a majority of Task Force
members would support the recommendations as drafted. The Task Force finalized all aspects of
the final report. Recommendations required a minimum of two-thirds’ vote of voting members
to be accepted in the final report. If a recommendation did not reach the two-thirds threshold but
was still an area of concern and under discussion, it would be considered later.

Work group process


The work group committees were first populated through self-choice by Task Force members.
The diversity of the work groups was assessed and, when necessary, additional appointments
were made by the co-chairs. The work groups performed the bulk of the sustained and serious
work to define and develop the systemic issues, specific corrective recommendations, and
SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time specific) outcomes for the Task Force
(see Attachment 9, Work Group final reports).

Work groups, during their deliberations, used a modified logic model to assist with the
development their specific issues, recommendations, action steps and outcomes. A basic logic
model is a general framework that can be used for describing activities and processes in an
organization. A logic model analyzes activities and processes into four categories: inputs,
activities, outputs, and outcomes. These represent the logical flow from:

INPUTS (RESOURCES) --> ACTIVITIES/PROCESSES --> OUTPUTS --> OUTCOMES

As used in this context, outcomes are observable or measurable changes resulting from the
activities or processes required by the recommendations and their action steps.

The work groups often developed unique and effective approaches. For example, the work
groups first identified cross-cutting issues, e.g., issues that were present and in need of
adjustment in each of the service delivery areas under review. The work groups held 35 meetings
over a period of five months (August through December 2008), in order to fulfill their charge.

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The Steering Committee functioned as an executive committee and provided guidance to the
staff and work groups between Task Force meetings.

The Youth Group Committee was composed of young adults (under 22 years of age) and their
adult handlers. The comments from this committee represented a unique perspective on issues
relating to the child welfare system from within that system.

The Synthesis Committee was formed late in the process to assist in the coordination and
synthesis of information from the work groups. In addition, the committee was charged with
ensuring that the recommendations and outcomes conformed to the standards set by the Task
Force.

The deliberative process of the Task Force and work groups, as it relates to final work products,
was consistently based upon simple majority group consensus with considerable effort to include
all viable perspectives in the final resolution of the issue, i.e., recommendations and issue
priority.

The general process for the Task Force and its work groups was both direct and efficient. The
Task Force developed and disseminated information, provided direction for the other
committees, and worked toward Task Force consensus. The work groups carried out in-depth
analysis of issues and developed recommendations, including measurable action steps and
outcomes to correct the issues.

Findings
The following findings are based upon the research questions and the methodologies used. In
general, the Task Force structured and implemented processes that functioned to produce their
stated goals and required work products.

Task Force findings

„ The Task Force achieved a diversity of membership representing a broad opinion base.
„ The Task Force structure enhanced the achievement of Task Force charge goals.
„ The Task Force process used mid-course adjustments to enhance its ability to meet its goals.
„ A majority of members considered the Task Force process useful.

Work group findings

„ The Work group structure and process were successful in enhancing the achievement of Task
Force charge goals.
„ The work groups used modified logic models for the development of recommendations and
outcomes.
„ The work group process was considered useful and productive to a large majority of
members.

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Work products findings

The final work products of the Task Force satisfied the requirements of the charge document:

„ Developed recommendations that included action steps, specific outcomes, and global
systemic changes.
„ Developed an implementation plan, which included high-yield actions for the achievement of
the necessary outcomes.

In conclusion, the Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force as commissioned by


Department Human Services Director Ismael Ahmed completed and satisfied all tasks and work
products as defined in the Charge document.

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Appendix C: Attachment 1
Evaluation Plan and Data Collection Matrix
Evaluations Factor to Questions to Address Method(s) Collection Measure of Success
Evaluate Timeframe

Formative Task Force Has the Task Force • Analysis of charge  Review completed  • Identification of 
Evaluation and Work Charge been documentation  prior to Task Force  Task Force Charge   
Group communicated to the • Analysis of Task Force  formation 
processes Task Force? communications 
regarding charge 
 

Has the comprehensive • Design a  Completed prior to  • Completion of 


description of the comprehensive  Task Force  document that 
process for the Task description of the  formation  includes a detailed 
Force been designed? process for the Task  description of Task 
Force.  Force process, 
Has the comprehensive   deliverables and 
description of the activities 
process for the Work • Design a  • Completion of 
Group been designed? comprehensive  document that 
description of the  includes a detailed 
Has the comprehensive process for the Work  description of Work 
description of the Group.  Group process, 
process been   deliverables and 
communicated to the activities 
• Communicate the  • Communication of 
Task Force?
comprehensive  documents to Task 
description document  Force and Work 
Has the comprehensive

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description of the to the Task Force.  Group 
process been  
communicated to the
Work Group? • Communicate the 
comprehensive 
description document 
to the Work Group. 
 

Do the Task Force • Initial Task Force  Initial Survey ‐‐ • Responses that 


members represent a survey  Completed prior to  represent a 
diversity of background   2nd  Task Force  diversity of 
about the Child Welfare meeting  background with 
System? the Child Welfare 
  System  
 

Do the Task Force • After Meeting survey  After Meeting  • High level of 


members perceive that • Participant  Survey  positive response 
the meeting goals are Observation  administered after  to achievement of 
being achieved? each Task Force  Work Force goals 
and process 
and Work Group 
Do the Work Groups • Low level of 
meeting:  On‐going  negative response 
members perceive that
the meeting goals are task  to Task Force and 
being achieved? Work Group 
decisions 
Are the Task Force • Low level of major 
meetings designed and disagreements with 
managed so that majority decisions  
members are
comfortable with the
meeting process?

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 153 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Are the Work Group
meetings designed and
managed so that
members are
comfortable with the
meeting process?
Evaluations Factor to Questions to Address Method(s) Collection Measure of Success
Evaluate Timeframe

Continued Are the Work Groups  • Participant  On‐going tasks.   • High level of 


following the meeting  Observation  Analysis will  compliance with 
protocols?  • Confirm meeting  terminate when  Protocols 
occurrence and  Work Group 
member attendance. 
meetings are 
• Review meeting 
minutes   completed. 
• Review  summary 
work documents 
• Review archival 
documents   
• Evaluate compliance 
with Work Group 
Scope documents, etc.  
• Review Work Group 
products 
Summative Task Force Did the Task Force • Participant   Evaluation will • Compliance with
Evaluation work produce their required Observation  initiate upon Charge Document
product work products? • Analysis of meeting  completion of requirements
achievement archival data  Task Force
• Review  Task Force   activities
final report‐outs 
concerning issues, 

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 154 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
desired outcomes, 
action steps, and 
outcomes 

• Identify supporting  
resource document s 
for final 
recommendations  
• Verify final work 
products 
Work Did the Work Groups • Participant   Evaluation will • Development of
Groups produce their required Observation  initiate upon recommendations
work work products? • Survey data  completion of that support the
product • Analysis of meeting  Work Groups development of
achievement archival data  activities work products by
• Review  Work Group   the Task Force
final report‐outs  that comply with
concerning issues,  Charge Document
desired out comes,  requirements
action steps, and 
outcomes 

• Identify supporting  
resource document s 
for final 
recommendations  
• Verify final work 
products 
Final • Summarize  and  Completed at final • Completed Final
Evaluation analyze final data    draft of Task Report Document
Report • Draft evaluation  Report
section of final report 

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 155 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 2
Task Force Charge

www.michigan.gov
(To Print: use your browser's print function)

Task Force Charge

The Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force (MCWITF) is established to provide
recommendations to the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services about the
essential outcomes necessary to determine the efficacy of Michigan's child welfare services in
the development and transition of children at-risk of, or receiving, child welfare services.
The scope of the Task Force will include developing measurable outcomes for the full
continuum of state-supported services for children and their families. This includes:
• Community-based and child protective services for families.
• Temporary placements such as shelter and detention.
• Foster care, relative and other court-ordered home-based placements.
• Residential care.
• Adoption.
• Independent living and youth transitional services.
Building upon the recent work of the advisory committees and Task Forces noted previously,
the MCWITF will:
• Examine the DHS Child Welfare Philosophy:
o To provide advice concerning its clarity and sufficiency for system-wide
direction.
o To develop and recommend guiding principles to determine the type and
choice of services provided to children and their families.
• Review and assess the implications of current federal and state standards in developing
state child welfare system outcomes.
• Develop and recommend clear, achievable and measurable performance and process
outcomes for the comprehensive state child welfare system and for each sub-system
(prevention, community-based family services, out-of-home family-based care,
adoption, residential care, independent living and transitional services).
• Recommend the essential high yield actions that state government should take to
address the program and process outcomes.
The MCWITF will include representation from youth, families, state legislative and executive
policy makers, child welfare and health professionals, public and private service providers and
advocates, as well as members of the other Task Forces on overrepresentation, children's
justice, youth in transition and the youth opportunities initiative.
The MCWITF will meet monthly, may appoint work groups (which may meet more than
monthly) and issue a report to the Director of the Department of Human Services in March
2009.

Copyright © 2009 State of Michigan

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 156 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 3
Task Force Survey

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 157 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009
Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 158 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009
Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 159 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 4
Task Force Meeting Evaluation Survey

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 160 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 5
Work Group Meeting Evaluation Survey

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 161 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 6
Initial Child Welfare System Survey
Attachment
6
Summary
Initial Child Welfare System Survey
Number
Response of Total # of
% Responses Responses
Question
1 Previous involvement on Task Force
Yes 55.32% 26 47
Question
2 Involvement with CWS
Highest Advocate 51.06% 24 47
2nd Highest Administrator 46.81% 22 47
3rd Highest Case Worker 25.53% 12 47
Question
3 Level of Knowledge
Child Protective services Moderate 25
Temporary placements,
such as shelter and
detention Moderate 22
Community-based services High Degree 20
Foster Care, relative and
other Court-ordered home-
based placements Moderate 20
Adoption Some 19
Independent living and
youth transitional services Moderate 18
Juvenile Justice Community
Services Some 17
Residential High Degree 16

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 162 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Juvenile Justice out-of-
home/residential Some 15

Highest number of responses


Question
4 Effectiveness of CWS
Provide tailored transitional
services, such as and education,
health care, jobs, financial services
Ensure the physical safety and mentors, for youth who are Not
of children in foster and Moderately aging out of either the Foster Care Very
residential care Effective 25 or Juvenile Justice System Effective 25
Provide homeless and runaway
Place children and youth youth with adequate services to
with their existing family safely and successfully transition Not
members whenever it is in Moderately back home, to Foster Care or to Very
their best interest. Effective 25 independent living Effective 23
Create recommendations
for the Child Welfare
system that will assist in
the placement of children in
the Foster Care and court
ordered care and Juvenile Mentor youth at risk to assist in the Not
Justice in settings that are Moderately prevention of Juvenile Justice Very
culturally appropriate. Effective 21 intervention Effective 22
Assure that siblings will Assure that youth and their families Not
remain together when Moderately have significant voice in placement Very
placed in Foster Care. Effective 19 and permanency decisions. Effective 22
Provide individualized
community based services Assure that out-of-home Not
for families at risk for Moderately placements are nurturing and Very
abuse/neglect - Effective 18 stable. Effective 20
Assure that case workers are Not
adequately trained and have Very
manageable caseloads. Effective 20

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 163 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Provide adequate levels of
community based services and Not
supervision for delinquent children Very
and youth at risk. Effective 18
Provide individualized community Not
based services for families at risk Very
for abuse/neglect Effective 18

Question
5 Most Important Function of CWS
Ensure the physical safety
of children in foster and 37
residential care
Assure that case workers
are adequately trained and
30
have manageable
caseloads.
Assure that out-of-home
placements are nurturing 26
and stable.
Provide individualized
community based services
23
for families at risk for
abuse/neglect
Provide tailored transitional
services, such as and
education, health care,
jobs, financial services and
23
mentors, for youth who are
aging out of either the
Foster Care or Juvenile
Justice System
Provide adequate levels of
community based services
and supervision for 21
delinquent children and
youth at risk.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 164 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
total number of responses per column
Most Important Goal of the Task Force
Question
6 Rank 1 2 3 4 5
Require increased accountability for Child
Welfare outcomes to youth, families, policy
makers and the public. 13 4 3 9 5
Develop a State Child Welfare strategy that
reflects and builds upon the strengths of
existing public and private providers. 10 0 7 8 6
Stimulate a clearer understanding by the
state officials and policy makers of child
welfare goals and values. 8 6 5 8 3
Develop clear expectations an increased
support from Child Welfare services, including
caseload reduction. 8 0 4 7 3
Educate decision makers on the need for
support for community based services for the
families of children at risk of abuse and
neglect. 8 0 6 5 7
Increase support for youth aging out of Child
Welfare/Juvenile Justice systems. 6 0 5 5 8
Communicate the need to decision makers for
regulatory, financial support and services for
family based services and relative placement. 6 0 7 4 12
Educate decision makers on the need for
support for community based services for
delinquent youth. 5 0 2 5 2
Develop a strategy for siblings to remain
together in the system and communicate a
clear commitment to this end to decision
makers. 5 0 4 5 3
Strengthen the Child Welfare Service
continuum to strategically address the needs
of homeless and runaway youth 3 2 3 4 3

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 165 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 7
Post Meeting Task Force Survey
Questions Responses % % % % % Total
Strongly Slightly Uncertain Slightly Strongly Number of
Disagree Disagree Agree Agree Responses
1. I was clear November 5.0 5.0 2.5 36.6 51.0 41
on the goals of October 0 0 9.0 30.0 61.0 33
the WG/TF September 7.0 4.4 4.4 27.0 58.0 45
meeting? August 8.3 0 12.5 41.6 37.5 48
July 7.3 2.4 12.2 24.4 53.6 41

2. The process November 2.3 2.3 14.6 26.8 43.9 41


used in this October 0 9.4 9.4 47.0 34.4 32
meeting was September 7.0 4.4 2.2 38.0 49.0 45
favorable to August 8.3 8.3 18.8 39.6 25.0 48
achieving the July 5.0 0 7.5 35.0 52.5 40
meeting’s
goals?

3. The overall November 5.0 5.0 24.3 24.3 41.5 41


objectives of October 0 6.1 21.3 48.5 24.3 33
this WG/TF September 0 4.4 15.5 42.2 38.0 45
meeting were August 6.4 4.1 31.3 33.3 25.0 48
accomplished? July 4.9 0 17.1 36.6 41.5 41

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 134 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 8
Work Group and Committee Meeting Dates, Time and
Locations
Prevention, Community Services & Treatment – Diana Sieger and Alice Thompson

• Thursday, August 21 10:00 a.m. DHS Training Center, Lansing


• Friday, September 5 10:00 a.m. DHS Training Center, Lansing
• Tuesday, September 16 10:00 a.m. DHS Training Center, Lansing
• Thursday, October 2
• Thursday, October 16

Foster Care and Court Ordered Placements – Joan Jackson-Johnson and Sylvia Murray

• Wednesday, August 27 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. Foster Comm. Center, Lansing


• Friday, September 5 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. UAW Local 6000, Lansing
• Tuesday, September 9 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. UAW Local 6000, Lansing
• Wednesday, September 17 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. UAW Local 6000, Lansing
• Thursday, October 2 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. UAW Local 6000, Lansing
• Wednesday, October 8 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. UAW Local 6000, Lansing
• Thursday, October 16 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. UAW Local 6000, Lansing

Adoption and Permanency- James Novell and Addie Williams

• Thursday, September 11 10:00 – 4:30 p.m. Hall of Justice, Lansing


• Wednesday, September 17 10:00 – 4:30 p.m. DHS Training Center, Lansing
• Monday, November 10 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Spaulding for Children

Detention, Residential Care and Treatment – Sue Hamilton-Smith and Michael Williams

• Friday, August 15 10:30 a.m. Conference Call


• Thursday, August 28 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Conference Call
• Friday, September 12 10:00 – 12:00 a.m. Children and Family Services, Detroit
• Monday, October 6 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Children and Family Services, Detroit
• Thursday, October 9
• Wednesday, November 5
• Wednesday, December 12

Transitional Support – Amy Good and Jonnie Hill

• Wednesday, August 27 10:00 – 4:30 p.m. DHS Training Center, Lansing


• Monday, September 8 10:00 – 4:30 p.m. DHS Training Center, Lansing
• Friday, October 31

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 135 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Funding – Senator Bill Hardiman and Representative Dudley Spade

• Wednesday, August 27 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. State Capitol, Room 161, Lansing
• Wednesday, September 10 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. State Capitol, Room 161, Lansing
• Thursday, September 15 10:00 – 12:00 p.m. State Capitol, Room 161, Lansing
• Thursday, October 16
• Thursday, December 12
• Thursday, December 18

Communication Committee – Jack Kresnak and Margaret King Ahmed

• Monday, September 17 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Cadillac Place, Detroit


• Monday, December 1
• Monday, December 8
• Friday, December 19

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 136 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix C: Attachment 9
Work Group Survey Analysis
Responses

Strongly  Slightly  Slightly  Strongly  Total Number of 


Questions  Uncertain 
Disagree  Disagree  Agree  Agree  Responses 

1. I was clear on the goals of


this Work Group meeting?  8.6%  2.9%  3.8%  23.1%  61.5%  104 

2. The process used in this


meeting was favorable to
achieving the meetings 1.96%  0%  4.0%  32.7%  61.3%  101 
goals. 
3. The overall objectives of
this Work Group meeting
were accomplished?  .97%  5.9%  3.9%  36.0%  53.4%  103 

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 137 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix D
Steering Team responsibilities
ƒ Integrated the systemic cross-cutting issues that the Task Force identified.
ƒ Reviewed and incorporated previous state Task Force and committee recommendations,
federal and state mandates, and the child welfare values that the Task Force adopted.
ƒ Identified promising practices in other states.
ƒ Identified and recommended system supports, including program performance data
requirements and recruitment, training, and retention of professional and executive staff.
ƒ Identified and recommended relationships with education, mental health, substance abuse,
and health systems.
ƒ Identified interlocking issues and recommended priority actions to strengthen child welfare
systemic outcomes in state licensing and regulatory policy; federal, state, and local
categorical funding streams; and policies and practices in other state child welfare programs.
ƒ Recommended measurable and clear outcomes (process, program interventions, and
community) on its designated program area.
ƒ Recommended high-yield policy and practice actions to trigger implementation of
recommended outcomes.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 138 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix E

Bibliography of Reports Reviewed by Task Force


“Adoption Facts.” Michigan Department of Human Services (2009).
<http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,1607,7-124-5452_7116-104564--,00.html>

Adoption Oversight Committee. AOC Annual Report. Lansing, 2007.

Ahmed, Ismael. Director, Department of Human Services. Speech given at Michigan Child
Welfare Improvement Task Force meeting. Youthville, Detroit, MI, 17 Nov. 2008.

Annie E. Casey Foundation. 2008 Kids Count Data Book. Baltimore, MD, 2008.

Center for the Study of Social Policy. Racial Equity Review: Finding from a QualitativeAnalysis
of Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families
in Michigan’s Child Welfare System. Washington DC, 2009.

Children’s Defense Fund. Children in Michigan: Fact Sheet. Washington, D.C., November 2008.

Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,
Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. Final Report;
Michigan Child and Family Services Review. Washington, DC, 2002.

Department of Heath and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,
Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. Child
Maltreatment 2006. Washington, DC, 2006.

Dwayne v. Granholm. No. 2:06-cv-13548. Consent Decree. 24 October 2008.

“Foster Care Fact Sheet.” Michigan Department of Human Services (December 2008).
<www.Michigan.gov/doc/DHS-FosterCare-factsheet-131252-7pdf>

Geen, R. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act:Implementation


Issue and a Look Ahead at Additional Child Welfare Reforms. Washington DC: Child
Trends, 2009. (working paper)

Gilbert, Terri. DHS Children’s Services Update. Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
meeting (January 26, 2009).

Interdepartmental Task Force on Service to At-Risk Youth Transitioning to Adulthood. Report


to the Legislature. Lansing, MI, 2006.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 139 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Ismael Ahmed. Michigan Child Protective Services 2007 Trends Summary Report. Lansing,
2008.

Michigan Advisory Committee on the Overrepresentation of Children of Color in Child Welfare.


Equity: Moving Toward Better Outcomes for All of Michigan’s Children. Lansing, MI,
2006.

Michigan Child Death Review.


<http://www.keepingkidsalive.org/Data_and_Publications/CDR_Publications/Annual_Re
ports.htm>

Michigan Citizen Review Panels. Annual Report. Lansing, MI, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,
2007.

Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice. 2003-2005 Report. Lansing, MI, 2006.

Michigan Compiled Laws § 436.1409 (2008).

Michigan Department of Human Services. AFCARS Adoption Reporting System. “State Ward
Finalized Adoptions by Age Group,” report run March 2009.

“Michigan’s January Jobless Rate Up Sharply.” Department of Energy, Labor & Economic
Growth (2009). <http://www.michigan.gov/DELEG/0,1607,7-154-210172--,00.html>

“Michigan Labor Market Information.” <www.milmi.org/?PAGEID=67&SUBID=200>

Michigan Mental Health Commission. Final Report. Lansing, MI, 2004.

Michigan Office of Juvenile Justice Services. Michigan Comprehensive Plan forJuvenile Justice
Services. Lansing, MI, 1977.

Novell, Jim and Carol Kraklan. Federal Child and Family Services Review. Child Welfare
Improvement Task Force meeting (August 18, 2008).

Office of Children’s Ombudsman. <http://www.michigan.gov/oco/0,1607,7-133-3195,00.html>

Simon, Sandy. “Re: Juvenile Life Sentence Data.” Statistics on Michigan inmates serving life
sentences for crimes committed while under age 18. 25 March 2009.

State Court Administrative Office. Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Foster Care Review
Board 2007 Annual Report. Lansing, 2007

State Court Administrative Office. Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Foster Care Review
Board 2006 Annual Report. Lansing, 2006.

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 140 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Various participants. Speeches given at Native American Focus Group. DHS TrainingFacility,
Gaylord, MI, 11 Feb. 2009.

VOICE: discussing issues and concerns of Michigan’s foster youth (2005).


<http://www.michigan.gov/documents/fyit/DHS-Voice1-FosterYouth_218979_7.pdf>

VOICE 2: discussing issues and concerns of Michigan foster youth (2007).


<http://www.michigan.gov/documents/fyit/DHS-Voice2-FosterYouth_219008_7.pdf>

Director Ismael Ahmed April 2009


Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 141 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Appendix F
Task Force Work Group and Committee Membership
Prevention, Community Services & Treatment Foster Care and Court Ordered Placements Adoption & Permanency
Work Group Work Group Work Group
Diana Sieger, Co-Chair Joan Jackson Johnson, Co-Chair James Novell, Co-Chair
Alice Thompson, Co-Chair Sylvia Murray Co-Chair Addie Williams, Co-Chair
Jim Hennessey, Staff Damon Daniels and Jim Hines, Staff Paul Elam and Anita Peters, Staff
Judge Laura L. Baird** Gary Anderson Judge Susan Dobrich
Montrelle Baldwin** Rep Brenda Clack Richard Garcia**
Quientae Baker Mary Chaliman** Carol Goss
Lulu Beauchamp** Marvis Cofield Kate Hanley**
Grenae' Dudley** James Haveman Ashley Harris
Mike Flanagan James Henry Faye Harrison**
Ted Forrest** Stephanie Hirchert-Walton** Senator Mark C. Jansen
Shirley Gray Jennifer Hopp Jane R. Johnson
Ricardo Guzman Alan Kilar Susan Kelly
Margaret King-Ahmed John Konke Jami Moran**
Sandra Lindsey Judge Thomas J. LaCross** Jean Nieman**
Bill Memberto Chuck Ludwig** Dinia Nobles
Dorothy Pintar Kristin Putney** Kathryne O'Grady
JoAnne Racette** Verlie Ruffin Jenifer Pettibone**
Mark Reinstein** Bill Schramm Leslie Kim Smith**
Janet Reynolds Snyder** Peter J. Schummer, Jr. Tabitha Stauffer
Osvaldo Riveria** Shawn Semelsburger Christina Vadino
Shannon Stotenburg-Wing** Carol Siemon
Stacey Tadgerson** Denneen Smith**
John Tropman Debra Porchia-Usher
Annemarie Valdez Frank Vandervort
Matthew Van Zetten** Melissa VanLuven**
Evert Vermeer** Steve Vagnozzi**
Jane Zehnder-Merrell** Marcella Wilson**
Andy Zylstra Maureen Winslow**
Gorgeous Young

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 142 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Detention, Residential Care and Treatment Transitional Support Funding
Work Group Work Group Work Group
Sue Hamilton-Smith, Co-Chair Amy Good, Co-Chair Senator Bill Hardiman, Co-Chair
Michael Williams, Co-Chair Jonnie Hill, Co-Chair Representative Dudley Spade, Co-Chair
Charles Corley, Staff Damon Daniels and Anita Peters, Staff Jim Hennessey, Staff
Ahmed Alamman** Beth Arnovits C. Patrick Babcock
Patricia L. Caruso Sherie Bailey** Kelly Bartlett**
Captain Katherine Clausell** Greg Boyd** Sharon Claytor Peters
Judge Charlene Elder Sheryl Calloway Justice Maura D. Corrigan
John Evans** Rob Collier John Evans**
Jerri Fisher** Angelique Day** Terri Gilbert**
Harold Gazan Grenae' Dudley** Michael Head**
Judge Judy Hartsfield** Kate Hanley** Rob Hilla
Jeriel Heard Senator Gilda Jacobs Cameron Hosner
Robert Heimbuch** Ashley Jones Susan Martin**
Jack Kresnak Noble Kheder Kathleen McKee**
Barbara MacKenzie** Mistie Klingelsmith Christine McPherson**
Susan McParland** Mashelle Lawson** Mary Mehren**
Robert Miles Shannyn Lee Anita Peters**
Martin Mitchell Jen Leedy David Sanders
Vondie Moore Woodbury Cory Morgan Representative Rick Shaffer
Robyn Price Janet Olszewski Gary Tester
Angela Reyes** Mark Reinstein**
Pamela Smith** Rosemary Sarri**
Carl Taylor John Seita
Margaret Warner Gerald K. Smith
Robert Wollack Sheryl Thompson
Melissa Toppolewski**
Phyllis Vroom
Kiefert Watson
Michelle Williams

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 143 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
Steering Committee Synthesis Committee Communications Committee
Carol Goss, Co-Chair Carol Goss, Co-Chair Margaret King Ahmed, Co-Chair
C. Patrick Babcock, Co-Chair C. Patrick Babcock, Co-Chair Jack Kresnak, Co-Chair
Public Policy Associates, Staff Public Policy Associates, Staff Chris Andrews, Staff
Gary Anderson Beth Arnovitz Gail Bagale**
Chris Andrews** Montrelle Baldwin** Gisgie Gendreau**
Charles Corley** Kelly Bartlett** John Konke
Lisa Cylar-Miller** Sheryl Calloway Michael Layne**
Beverly Davenport** Sharon Claytor Peters Susan Martin**
Paul Elam** Lisa Cylar-Miller** Kiefert Watson
John Evans** Paul Elam**
Terri Gilbert** Sherie Falvey**
Amy Good Dan Fitzpatrick**
Carol Goss Harold Gazan
Sue Hamilton-Smith Michael Head
Senator Bill Hardiman Jim Hennessey**
Jim Hennessey** Cameron Hosner
Jonnie Hill Susan Kelly
Jim Hines** Alan Kilar
Joan Jackson-Johnson John Konke
Jack Kresnak James Novell
Sylvia Murray Anita Peters**
James Novell Debra Porchia-Usher
Anita Peters** Elysia Rodriguez**
Rick Robinsion** David Sanders
Elysia Rodriguez** Jeanette Scroggins**
Diana Sieger Carol Spigner**
Rep. Dudley Spade Willard Walker**
Carol Spigner** Kiefert Watson
Alice Thompson Jane Zehnder-Merrell**
Willard Walker**
Addie Williams
Michael Williams

** Not a member of the Task Force.

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Improving Child Welfare in Michigan Page 144 Child Welfare Improvement Task Force