FYI • April 29, 2011 • No. 9

FYI • April 29, 2011 • No. 9
The next FYI bulletin will be issued May 13, 2011

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

• DHS contract negotiations to resume—The Federation is pleased to report that contract negotiations will resume shortly, with DHS Deputy Director Dudley Spade taking the lead for the department and the Federation facilitating. Dates are being established now for two groups of private agencies that had met last year—adoption and residential treatment—to reconvene.

• May 10: HR Spring Tune-Up—Still time to register for the HR training day by calling the Federation office, 517.485.8552. Cost for Federation agencies is just $35 per person; parking is free; what you will learn…priceless!

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES
• MCI legislation moving through legislative process—The package of bills to amend the Michigan Adoption Code to permit the designee of an authorized representative of the Department of Human Services to consent to the adoption or guardianship of a child have been passed out of the respective House and Senate Families, Children, and Seniors Subcommittees. The bills would allow for adoptions that are not contested to be signed off on by a Department designee. The bills will now be taken up for discussion and vote on the House and Senate floors. Director Corrigan testified in strong support of these bills, and believes they would allow decision making to be brought back to the local level through the approval of adoptions by an MCI designee. Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly also testified in support of the bills and assisted in drafting the legislation. Justice Kelly noted that the courts are a partner with the Department and private agencies, but this legislation is critical to speeding up the adoption process.

EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES

FYI • April 15, 2011 • No. 8

FYI • April 15, 2011 • No. 8
The next FYI bulletin will be issued April 29, 2011

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

• June 8 set for Meet & Greet with DHS Top Administration—Federation member representatives and CEOs will welcome Director Corrigan and several of her top administrators on June 8 at 12:30 PM in the Federation office for a Meet & Greet during our June Board meeting. Joining us along with Director Corrigan are expected to be Chief Deputy Duane Berger, Deputy Director Dudley Spade and Acting Deputy Director for Children's Services Administration Steve Yager. More information will follow closer to the date.

• Federation leadership met with DHS Director Corrigan—Federation Board President Gary Tester, Bruce Ashley of Federation lobby firm Public Affairs Associates, and Federation Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder, on behalf of all Federation members, met April 7 with DHS Director Maura Corrigan and Deputy Director Dudley Spade. The purpose of the meeting was to share with Director Corrigan the priority interests and efforts of the Federation. Gary, Bruce and Janet were encouraged by the initiative of and tone from Director Corrigan and Deputy Director Spade. Director Corrigan is focused on meeting all the requirements of the consent decree and coming out from under federal oversight within the next four years. She has clearly shown a quick start in addressing a number of priority issues as well as the expertise and strength to continue this stride, with a strong team around her. Updates on several key areas are provided in the Legislative and Executive/Administrative Activities sections below.

FYI • April 1, 2011 • No. 7

FYI • April 1, 2011 • No. 7
The next FYI bulletin will be issued April 15, 2011

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

• Federation leadership to meet with DHS Director Corrigan—Federation Board President Gary Tester and Federation Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder, on behalf of all Federation members, will meet with DHS Director Maura Corrigan on April 7. The purpose of the meeting is to share with Director Corrigan the priority interests and efforts of the Federation. Payments, contracting, consent decree requirements, and more, are on our agenda.

• Federation membership to meet with Federal Monitoring Team—Kevin Ryan, the Federal Monitor for the state's child welfare reform, continues to want feedback from nonprofit agencies as to how agencies are experiencing the reform. Federation members have been extremely helpful in this process during the past several years when Kevin and the Monitoring Team have attended the Federation's senior management conferences as well as the trips they have made to individual agencies. As discussions continue with Kevin, Federal Court Judge Nancy Edmunds, Children's Rights, the offices of Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette, and DHS Director Maura Corrigan, regarding possible modifications of the settlement agreement, your input continues to hold great weight.
Federation Executives/CEOs: Please plan to attend a meeting with the Monitoring Team on Wednesday, April 13, from 1 PM–2:30 PM. The main focus of this meeting is on training and changes in the current DHS implementation that would make the process more efficient. This event precedes a meeting the legal parties have in federal court the next day. Our meeting with the Monitoring Team is being graciously hosted by Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan, 15160 West 8-Mile Road, Oak Park, 48237. Please RSVP to Jenny Crichton to confirm your attendance: jenny@michfed.org.

TLC resources in use with Japanese traumatized youth

tlcstarr.pngThe National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children providing materials for interventions

ALBION, MI – The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC), a program of the Starr Institute for Training, is currently providing intervention assistance to professionals from the Tokyo Center for Play Therapy in Japan who work with survivors of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

Among TLC’s many resources and tools for working with traumatized children, adolescents and adults is the best-selling storybook “Brave Bart,” about a young kitten who overcomes a sad and scary event with the help of a helpful neighborhood cat. This playfully illustrated story normalizes many trauma-related reactions children experience. Kyoko Kobayashi Porteux, a TLC Certified Trauma Specialist, translated the book into Japanese.

TLC Director Caelan Kuban has been in touch with Yumiko Ogawa Fariss from Tokyo Center for Play Therapy who asked for the Japanese translation of the storybook. This organization believes that “Brave Bart” will be extremely helpful to the people of Japan experiencing disaster and loss, especially young children.

“They are very thankful to have access to ‘Brave Bart,’ and it is my professional belief that several thousand children will benefit from the therapeutic messages in the book,” said Kuban. “The devastation in Japan is beyond our comprehension. We are deeply saddened by the tremendous amount of loss but more than willing to provide any assistance we can toward the healing process.”

Governor Snyder reappoints Verlie Ruffin as Children's Ombudsman

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has decided to retain the children's ombudsman appointed by his Democratic predecessor.

Snyder's office announced Wednesday that he has reappointed Verlie Ruffin of Detroit to the job. Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Ruffin in 2006. She was confirmed unanimously that year by the GOP-controlled state Senate.

Ruffin previously was associate director of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families for 20 years. She also taught in the Detroit Public Schools. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State University.

The Office of the Children's Ombudsman is an independent government agency that works to assure the safety and welfare of Michigan children involved in foster care, adoption or protective services.

The office investigates complaints and recommends improvements to laws and policy affecting children.

FYI • February 18, 2011 • No. 4

FYI • February 18, 2011 • No. 4
The next FYI bulletin will be issued March 4, 2011

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Adoption Contract— The private agency negotiating group, which last met with DHS officials on November 1, 2010, resumed negotiations for the adoption contract on Thursday, February 10, with DHS Deputy Director Dudley Spade at the Federation office. The negotiating committee worked with Dudley Spade to come to an agreement on making three languages changes to the existing contract dated effective October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011. The new contract, will be issued with a 15% increase to the adoption rates! Agencies can bill at the adjusted rates effective March 1, 2011.

Agencies are encouraged to quickly review the content of the contract, and sign and return the new contract in a swift manner so that payments can begin to be processed immediately. If your agency has already signed the adoption contract, details will be forthcoming on how to proceed with the new contract and procedure.

Moving forward, DHS and the negotiating group will concurrently be working on restructuring the new three-year contract to become effective later this year, October 1, 2011. The negotiating group has made several recommendations for rate structure reform, and contract language amendments that will allow agencies to operate more efficiently, and these changes will all be taken up for further consideration.

Thank you for all of your patience during this time, we know it has been very trying on some of your agencies and the ability to perform business. We are also grateful to all of the members of the negotiating committee who dedicated their time to resolving and working through these matters, as well as the leadership that Deputy Director Dudley Spade has exercised to resolve this critical matter.

Welcome newest Full Member Agency Sunny Crest Youth Ranch!

sunnycrest.png

We are pleased to announce Sunny Crest Youth Ranch as the newest member of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families. Sunny Crest Youth Ranch is a vision of lifelong educators Ron and Ellyn Coppess, and a cadre of caring Ranch partners willing to commit to mentoring some of the most vulnerable in our communities. At full capacity, Sunny Crest Youth Ranch provides a loving, nurturing and secure environment for as many as 48 children who deserve a new start. Sunny Crest offers every rancher a safe place to learn from mistakes without fear of rejection and to practice the skills necessary to become a successful adult. Sunny Crest is designed to be a working ranch operation that offers at-risk boys the experiences and activities any child must have to develop in mind and spirit. Educational programs, mentoring, and skilled adult intervention coupled with cutting edge methods create the Sunny Crest environment – a safe place to explore the opportunities young men need to meet the challenges life has presented them.

For more information, check out their website: www.sunnycrestyouthranch.org

FYI • February 4, 2011 • No. 3

FYI • February 4, 2011 • No. 3
The next FYI bulletin will be issued February 18, 2011

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Adoption Contract negotiations to resume—The already established private agency negotiating group which last met with DHS officials on November 1, 2010, will resume negotiations of the adoption contract on February 10 with DHS officials in the Federation office. The urgency of this matter and the fact that adoption agencies have not received payments for services since October 1 has been discussed with new leaders within the Snyder Administration, the DHS, the Federal Monitor and Children’s Rights. It is a matter that was further discussed last week in the meeting between Governor Snyder, the Attorney General's office, DHS Director Corrigan, Children's Rights and the Federal Monitor. The status of the situation will be reviewed by Judge Nancy Edmunds in the Federal Court next week. We are working aggressively with all means to resolve this terribly outstanding issue.

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES
• DHS Appropriations Subcommittee—The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services held a hearing on Tuesday, February 1, as a follow-up to the Background Briefing presentation given by the House Fiscal Agency (HFA) the week prior. Kevin Koorstra and Bob Schneider, House Fiscal Analysts, provided committee members with a memorandum in response to the questions members had asked, including the difference in cost between public and private foster care services, and the Wayne County Juvenile Justice Model. Committee members were especially interested in how Wayne County developed its Care Management Organization system, and how effective it has been. The committee also dedicated a lot of time to discussing the Family Independence Program administered by DHS, and will schedule a future hearing to discuss issues concerning Bridge Card fraud and abuse. The standing committee hearing time is 9:00 am on Tuesdays.

EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES

FYI • January 21, 2011 • No. 2

FYI • January 21, 2011 • No. 2
The next FYI bulletin will be issued February 4, 2011

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address—Federation Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder, who attended the Governor’s State of the State Address on January 19, 2011, described the atmosphere as “electric” in a positive way. The governor’s approach, expressed interest and commitment, and his appointments to key department leadership positions has, indeed, provided a sense of renewed hope and optimism that serious matters will receive proper attention. For the Department of Human Services, top on the list of priorities is the consent decree and all of its ramifications.

Dudley Spade, new deputy director for the Department, requested to meet with a small group of Federation executives last week to discuss their experiences in doing business with the department, including contracting and rate matters. Those who braved the snowiest night of the year for the after-hours meeting were Loren Brown of Holy Cross Children’s Services, Brian DeVos of Bethany Christian Services, Cam Hosner of Vista Maria, Debora Matthews of The Children’s Center of Wayne County, Jim Scherrer of Child & Family Services of NW Michigan, and Federation staff. Dudley has expressed interest in meeting with our membership periodically, and we will make sure that everyone with an interest in doing so has that opportunity.

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES

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