Judge might relax aggressive child welfare overhaul

BY ROBIN ERB DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

A Michigan judge might relax on Monday an aggressive schedule for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the state’s child welfare system.

Representatives of the Michigan Department of Human Services, a New York child advocacy group, and a federal court monitor have been preparing for a periodic progress report in a 2008 settlement designed to better care for thousands of Michigan children. The state has repeatedly missed crucial benchmarks.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds scheduled a hearing Monday to consider a “modified consent decree.”

Details were not immediately available, but the hearing may signal a drastic change. In December, the state faced the possibility of a contempt of court ruling after it repeatedly failed to meet the conditions of the agreement that began with a 2006 lawsuit by New York-based Children’s Rights.

The group criticized the state for what it described as life-threatening poor care for children. Years of budget cuts, the loss of experienced social service workers and the state’s failure to tap into federal funding contributed to the crisis, according to the suit.

Nominations open through September 15 for 2011 Child Welfare Awards

On an annual basis, the Michigan statewide Foster Care Review Board recognizes one jurist (judge or referee), one foster care case worker, one lawyer-guardian ad litem (LGAL), a single foster parent or foster parent couple, and one parent attorney for exemplary service to abused or neglected children in the Michigan foster care system. Nominations for the 2011 Child Welfare Awards are now available. Click the category to make the nomination; you may have to press and hold the CTRL key while making your selection:

Jurist of the Year: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/

Foster Care Worker of the Year: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/

LGAL of the Year: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/

Foster Parent of the Year: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/

Parent Attorney of the Year: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/

Deadline for submission is September 15, 2011. Recipients of all awards will be recognized at the FCRB Annual Training Conference on November 10, 2011, in Southfield, MI.

Michigan Foster Care Review Board 2010 Annual Report

The Michigan Foster Care Review Board would like to share with you its 2010 Annual Report:

http://courts.michigan.gov/scao//resources/publications/reports/fcrb/fcrb_ar10.pdf

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The Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) is a program established by the legislature to provide third-party review of foster care placements and related matters. There are 30 local review boards throughout the state, comprised of citizen volunteers. For those who are not familiar with the program, complete information can be found at
http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/services/fcrb/fcrb.htm

May-June: Adoption Competency Curriculum Training FREE through National Resource Center for Adoption

The National Resource Center for Adoption is offering training in May and June 2011 on five modules of its Adoption Competency Curriculum:

  • May 12: Module 1: Federal Laws Impacting Adoption Placement
  • May 25 & 26: Module 2: Child/Youth Assessment & Preparation
  • June 8 & 9: Module 3: Family Assessment & Preparation
  • June 9: Module 4: Decision Making & Placement Selection
  • June 15: Module 5: Post Adoption Services

This series is designed as a comprehensive curriculum for training child welfare practitioners in public and private agencies who provide adoption services for children/youth who have been abused or neglected. Registration for each module is limited to 25 participants. All course materials and lunch are provided free of charge. Social Work CECHs are offered for participants who complete one or more modules. An Adoption Competency Overview booklet is available, along with registration information. See attachments below.

May 21st: Rising Above the Odds Against Me: Girls Only Summit

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Presenting the 3rd Annual Fostercare Youth Leadership Conference "Rising Above the Odds Against Me: Girls Only Summit"

There are many unfortunate consequences that foster care youth face as they prepare to “age-out” of the system. Intervention on behalf of this “At-Risk” population can play a key role in motivating such individuals to excel and to rise above the limitations that often arise because of their circumstances.

Mission: To offer a variety of interactive sessions that will promote independence, security, self-esteem and personal development. A special focus of the conference will be to provide youth with a forum to discuss their challenges and ambitions and to encourage them to develop a plan for achieving their goals.

Rising Above the Odds Against Me: Girls Only Summit
Saturday, May 21, 2011
8:30 AM - 6:30 PM (ET)
Dearborn, MI

Click here for more information and to register! 

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