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Housing program gives homeless youth a boost

medium_bilde_0.jpgDetroit News— It was just a few months ago that LaKeisha Johnson and her small children slept in a car when they couldn't count on a relative or a friend to provide them with a place to stay.

On Thursday, Johnson, 24, showed off her new two-bedroom apartment at Oakman Place Apartments, part of a program to house young, homeless adults, as well as those who have aged out of the state's foster care system.

"This is beautiful," said Johnson, as she showed off the expansive ground floor apartment, fully furnished with new furniture. "It doesn't seem real."

The 24-unit, three-story complex on Oakman Boulevard near Woodrow Wilson includes gated parking and a washer and dryer in each apartment.

The $5.1 million development is the result of a partnership that includes Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan, Focus:HOPE and Michigan State Housing Development Authority MSHDA.

Robert G. Miles, president and CEO of Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan, said the Oakman Place program provides adequate housing and other support services for homeless youth and those who "age out of the welfare system."

"Very few of our own children make the transition into adulthood without ongoing support and supportive services," Miles said. "Through this development, we have become more sensitized to the number of families who are challenged to find adequate, safe and affordable housing."

Miles said Thursday he hopes the residents will "love each other, support each other and become a community."

Selecting the first families to live in Oakman Place was a difficult task for social worker Carolyn Rayford, the deputy regional director for Lutheran Child & Family Service.

Child and Family Charities: Organization’s New Name and Logo Reflects Larger Vision and Mission to Help Children, Youth and Families in Mid-Michigan

CFCharities.jpgLANSING, October 6, 2011 – Child and Family Charities (formerly Child & Family Services, Capital Area) publicly announced the organization’s name change and new logo with an unveiling of their new sign on Monday, October 3, 2011 at the agency’s main office building located at 4287 Five Oaks Drive, Lansing, MI 48911.

Debora Matthews, CEO of The Children's Center Honored for Commitment to Children with Disabilities

Detroit, MI (August 15, 2011). The Children’s Center is very pleased to announce that Chief Executive Officer Debora Matthews was selected to receive the 2011 EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to distinguished individuals as part of Disabilities Awareness Day recognition events nationwide. Debora was chosen from an impressive list of local candidates for her dedication and commitment to, and advocacy for, those with special needs.

The mission of Disability Awareness Night (DAN) is to expand awareness of the 54.6 million Americans living with disabilities, by highlighting their extraordinary achievements and the perseverance and dedication of the families, physicians, nurses, therapists, educators and other caregivers involved in their care and development. The presentation of the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award (named after the founder and former editor-in-chief of Exceptional Parent magazine, EP) at each Disability Awareness Night signifies the remarkable accomplishments that can be achieved under difficult circumstances.

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.

FYI • June 24, 2011 • No. 13

FYI • June 24, 2011 • No. 13
The next FYI bulletin will be issued July 8, 2011

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Michigan Teen Conference draws 100+ youth and 100+ adults!—Thank you to everyone who helped plan and arranged for youth and chaperones to attend this year’s Michigan Teen Conference at Ferris State University. The conference was a huge success! Special thanks to the many session presenters, Walk through Life vendors, and generous sponsors and donors who stepped forward to offer expertise and support. As was shared on several evaluation forms by participants, this year's conference was very informative and positive…many youth are already looking forward to next year's conference!

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Reports

KidsCountLogoNearly half of Michigan’s babies are born to mothers in cities or communities larger than 25,000. And many of those children start life without equal opportunities to thrive, arrive at school ready to learn and go on to become part of a highly educated workforce, according to “Right Start in Michigan 2010 – The Other Half.”

The report, released by the Michigan League for Human Services’ Kids Count in Michigan project, looks at eight indicators of maternal and infant health across 69 communities of populations of at least 25,000. It sorts those communities by risk, finding that two of every five births were in high-risk communities, including most racial minority births. It also found large disparities based on race and poverty.

The 2010 Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey Summary Report reflects data current as of January 31, 2010, including a compilation of actual salaries of 4,890 employees across 71 job classifications within 41 Michigan private, nonprofit child and family service agencies, presented geographically: statewide, SE Michigan counties and counties outside of SE Michigan.

FCRBAnnRep.pngThis report, submitted pursuant to 1997 PA 170, § 9, provides an overview of the review board’s functions and program activity details from this past year. Included are data, trend summaries, and observations gleaned by the board during 2009 from the review of cases involving over 1,300 children in foster care. These reviews were conducted by 200 dedicated and well-trained citizen volunteers.

The Dwayne B. v. Granholm consent decree requires DHS to develop and implement a statewide Quality Assurance (QA) program, directed by a QA Unit established within the DHS central office. The Child Welfare QA Unit has been established as a division of the Child Welfare Improvement Bureau to ensure the provision of service in accordance with DHS philosophy.

dhsbanner.jpgThe Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for administering the state’s child welfare program. The DHS mission includes a commitment to ensure that children and youths are safe; to sustain a higher quality of life; and to give children in DHS permanent and stable family lives.

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