May 2010 as Foster Care Month in the State of Michigan: HR 274

portraitSpade-057.jpgcb-blue-sky.jpgThank you State Representative Dudley Spade for offering the following resolution! You are a true champion for kids and families in the great State of Michigan!

A resolution to declare May 2010 as Foster Care Month in the State of Michigan

Whereas, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to recognize the important role that foster care parents, workers, and advocates have in the lives of children in the foster care system throughout the United States; and

Whereas, There is nothing more precious to our Great Lakes State than the healthy growth and development of our youth, who will determine the future direction of our State; and

Whereas, the state of Michigan, communities and local governments should be encouraged to invest available resources on reunification services and post-permanency supports designed to allow more children in the foster care system to safely return to their biological parents, or find permanent placements through adoption or guardianship; and

FYI • April 30, 2010 • No. 9

FYI • April 30, 2010 • No. 9
The next FYI bulletin will be issued May14, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

May 20, 2010
Federation Member Day at the Capitol
Your presence in Lansing on May 20 is important! Join your Federation member colleagues for presentations and discussion with Michigan’s legislative leaders and top DHS Administrators; lunch with legislative leaders in the Capitol; and scheduled legislative visits. Be sure to include your staff and board members as you plan to attend this dynamic day of advocacy!
Sign up online at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/membercapitolday2010

STATE EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES

State launches campaign to recruit foster and adoptive parents

State launches campaign to recruit foster and adoptive parents
By Kyla King The Grand Rapids Press April 28, 2010

g0428-tammy-schnydersjpg-e8383cef23657c9f_large.jpgFor anyone thinking of fostering or adopting a child, Tammy Schnyders has a message: It might not always be easy, but it is entirely worth it.

Schnyders, who along with her husband, Steve, has been a foster and adoptive parent to more than 25 children in 14 years said the rewards far outweigh the trials.

"I look at my kids and how far they have come from when we first got them, and that's huge for me," said Schnyders, a West Michigan resident and foster parent for Bethany Christian Services.

"What I keep going back to is if they weren't in a good home they might not succeed in life," she said.

State leaders are hoping to find folks who feel the same way when they kick off a statewide campaign today in Grand Rapids to recruit foster and adoptive parents.

"You don't have to go to China to adopt a child or to be a foster care parent," said Ismael Ahmed, director of the Michigan Human Services Department.

Law Enforcement Leaders Say School Reform Bill Can Help Fight Crime

Prosecutor, police chief back early childhood education, dropout prevention programs

fightcrime.jpgWASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2010) -- Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and Mundy Township Police Chief James Petres traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI) to discuss opportunities to reduce crime through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Representative Kildee will be a key legislator in the reauthorization of that bill as the chair of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.

They said that providing at-risk kids with early education, keeping school-age kids on track to graduation, and reducing bullying, school violence and drug abuse would all have a positive effect on preventing later crime.

“I’d much rather focus our time, energy and taxpayer dollars on effective school reforms than pay room and board for career criminals,” Prosecutor Leyton said. “Public safety pays the toll when kids drop out of school and turn to crime rather than a career or higher education. We need to make sure kids get the right start to their education and stay on track through their school years.”

Research compiled by the anti-crime group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids also shows that a one-year increase of staying in school reduces murder and assault by almost 30 percent, motor vehicle theft by 20 percent, arson by 13 percent and burglary and larceny by about 6 percent. A study funded by the Gates Foundation found that high school dropouts are eight times more likely to be incarcerated than graduates.

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent

Michigan Department of Human Services, Partners:
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent

April 28, 2010
The Michigan Department of Human Services will run radio public service announcements and newspaper ads statewide starting in May to recruit foster and adoptive parents, Director Ismael Ahmed said today.

“Some say we’re asking foster parents to take on a big burden,” Ahmed said at a Grand Rapids event today. “I say it’s an opportunity. Yes, we’re asking people to take on a huge responsibility, but as a father of five I can tell you that you get a thousand times in love what you invest.”

DHS and its partners, including Bethany Christian Services and the
Michigan Federation for Children and Families
, are recruiting foster and adoptive parents for the 16,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system. Of those children in foster care, almost 4,000 are available for adoption because they are state or court wards after their parents’ rights were terminated by a court due to abuse or neglect.

FYI • April 16, 2010 • No. 8

FYI • April 16, 2010 • No. 8
The next FYI bulletin will be issued April 30, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

May 20, 2010: Federation Member Day at the Capitol
Your presence in Lansing on May 20 is important! Join your Federation member colleagues for presentations and discussion with Michigan’s legislative leaders and top DHS Administrators; lunch with legislative leaders in the Capitol; and scheduled legislative visits. Be sure to include your staff and board members as you plan to attend this dynamic day of advocacy!
Sign up online at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/membercapitolday2010

STATE EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES
• DHS communications since the last FYI:
Additional PPC Facilitator Trainings have been scheduled in Wayne County: May 25-27 at Spectrum Human Services; June 15-17 at Spectrum Human Services; July 13-15 at Catholic Social Services; August 3-5 at Lutheran Social Services. Registration occurs through the state’s JJOLT system. Contact Nancy Rostoni if you have any questions: rostonin@michigan.gov
L-letter of 4/2/10, emailed 4/7/10 regarding Adoption and Foster Care Recruitment and Retention Plan
Letter of 4/5/10 requesting PPC facilitator information

• April 28: DHS Quarterly Contractors Meeting—The next DHS Quarterly Contractors meeting is Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 1:00-3:00 PM at the Michigan Library and Historical Center in Lansing. The Federation’s Residential Treatment MIN will meet that same day in the morning at the Federation office.

FEDERATION ACTIVITIES

Holy Cross Children's Services receives Civic Engagement Grant

holycrosslogo.pngHoly Cross Children's Services receives Civic Engagement Grant

Holy Cross Children's Services (HCCS), one of Michigan’s largest not-for-profit providers of services to children and families across the state, has been awarded a $6,000 grant to support civic engagement activities for youth between the ages of 17-21 who are receiving or have completed independent living services through the agency.

The grant, announced by the Alliance for Children and Families, will allow Holy Cross Children's Services to more effectively engage youth in independent living services programming as advocates with local and state officials and aid in educating the general public about the issues they face. With more than 310 members across the United States and Canada, the private, nonprofit member agencies and organizations of the Alliance for Children and Families represent a significant force in the human services sector. In all, over 3.4 million clients participate in Alliance member services annually.
Sadly, many citizens are completely unaware of the circumstances that these young people face because they are a forgotten segment of a statewide population reeling from economic woes, unemployment and related issues. The HCCS Civic Engagement Project will ideally bring a much sharper focus to the particular topic of youth in independent living, helping the public in general and policy makers specifically to better understand their circumstances and means of assisting them in succeeding. Project plans include face to face visits with members of the Michigan State Legislature, testimony to House and Senate committees, presentations to various civic groups and interviews with local media.

Report from Chapin Hall: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth

Chapin HallReport from Chapin Hall: Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth
http://chapinhall.org/research/report/midwest-evaluation-adult-functioni...

Mark E. Courtney, Amy Dworsky, JoAnn S. Lee, Melissa Raap, Gretchen Ruth Cusick, Thomas Keller, Judy Havlicek, Alfred Perez, Sherri Terao, Noel Bost
2010

The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Midwest Study) is a prospective study that has been following a sample of young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they transition out of foster care into adulthood. It is a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington, Seattle; the University of Wisconsin Survey Center; and the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

The Midwest Study provides a comprehensive picture of how foster youth are faring during this transition since the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law. Foster youth in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois were eligible to participate in the study if they had entered care before their 16th birthday, were still in care at age 17, and had been removed from home for reasons other than delinquency. Baseline survey data were collected from 732 study participants when they were 17 or 18 years old. Study participants were re-interviewed at ages 19 (n = 603), 21 (n = 591), and 23 or 24 (n = 602). A fifth wave of survey data will be collected when study participants are 25 or 26 years old.

FYI • April 2, 2010 • No. 7

FYI • April 2, 2010 • No. 7
The next FYI bulletin will be issued April 16, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Registration is open for the June 22-23, 2010
Michigan Teen Conference "Take Charge of Your Journey!"
This amazing conference is for youth ages 14-21, their caregivers, and professionals who work with teens. It will be held on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. This conference is also an excellent place for foster parents to earn training credit hours. Registrations and payment are due by May 30 to conference fiduciary Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. Download the full brochure, registration, and release forms from the home page of www.michfed.org. Check it out now! Spread the word!

STATE EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES
• Snyder to accompany O’Grady to Summit on Public-Private Partnership—Sponsored by the Children's Bureau and the National Quality Improvement Center on the Privatization of Child Welfare Services, two individuals from each state are invited to attend the fourth (annual) Summit on Public-Private Partnership in September 2010. Representing Michigan’s public sector will be Kathryne O’Grady, Deputy for Children’s Services Administration; representing private agencies will be Federation Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder. The purpose of this summit is to facilitate dialogue among leaders in the public child welfare and private provider communities on topics such as (1) maintaining the partnership during times of crisis, (2) bridging the data and technology gap between public and private child welfare systems, and (3) partnering to successfully improve child welfare outcomes. These annual summits focus on sharing rather than simply disseminating information.

FEDERATION ACTIVITIES

FYI • March 19, 2010 • No. 6

FYI • March 19, 2010 • No. 6
The next FYI bulletin will be issued April 1, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

• Member agency program data collection effort underway—Earlier this week, Federation Full Member agency executive directors received a request for adoption, foster care, residential treatment, independent living, and family preservation program information regarding numbers of youth in care, referring counties, utilization rates, and cost of providing services and, in the case of adoption and foster care, projections for cost to meet upcoming caseload reductions October 1, 2010 (20:1) and October 1, 2011 (15:1). This information will be used in aggregate form with policymakers, lawmakers and Children’s Rights as we advocate for proper reimbursement for contracted services. Our goal is 100% member participation; please make it a priority to respond with your data by March 23, 2010.

STATE EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES
• Recent DHS communications—
• Letter of March 11, 2010, clarifying adoption and foster care supervisor qualifications.
• Email of March 15, 2010, providing new/updated policy effective April 1, 2010, within the JJ field policy manual regarding interstate Parole/Probation Procedures and Juvenile Justice Glossary.

FEDERATION ACTIVITIES
• Follow up with Children’s Rights—On Monday, March 22, several Federation executives will join Board President Gary Tester and Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder on a conference call with Children’s Rights to discuss the three issues that are subject to the dispute resolution process as determined in last week’s federal court hearing to work toward formulating feasible solutions. The three areas are: training, caseloads, permanency backlog cases, and maltreatment in care.

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