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FYI • January 7, 2011 • No. 1

FYI • January 7, 2011 • No. 1
The next FYI bulletin will be issued January 21, 2011

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Governor Rick Snyder held a press conference yesterday afternoon, announcing the appointment of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan as the new Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, making official what has been speculated about for the past several weeks. Justice Corrigan joins the DHS with Deputy Directors Dudley Spade and Brian Rooney and Acting Interim Director Duane Berger, already on the job. Justice Corrigan's resignation from the Michigan Supreme Court is effective January 14, and at this time no announcement has been made on her replacement. She will also serve as the Group Executive for the "People" Group, which includes the Departments of Human Services, Community Health and Civil Rights and Education.

It was encouraging that both Justice Corrigan and Governor Snyder spoke significantly of the Children's Rights lawsuit in their remarks, emphasizing that doing what's best for children and meeting the requirements of the lawsuit were the number one priority for DHS. Justice Corrigan went on to say: In order to help families in crisis, I will work hard to expand our partnerships (with nonprofit private agencies) and do great things in the field of child welfare…. There is no more important task than doing what is right for families.

EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES
• DHS communications posted at www.michfed.org—Log in and go to “DHS Communications” in the right-hand column. Items issued since the last FYI:
➢ December 13: L-Letter L-10-117-CW described the new requirements for involving incarcerated parents in case service plans and permanency planning conferences
➢ December 15: New Policy: Annual Transition Meeting and 90-day Discharge meeting
➢ December 16: Child Welfare Training Institute 2011 training schedules
➢ January 4: L-10-143-CW Relative Licensing Incentive FY 2011

FYI • December 10, 2010 • No. 24

FYI • December 10, 2010 • No. 24
The next FYI bulletin will be issued December 23, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Federal Court Hearing—On December 7, Judge Nancy G. Edmunds held a hearing in federal court to determine the State of Michigan’s progress in meeting the requirements for reform under the consent decree for reporting Period Three (October 1, 2009‐March 31, 2010). Judge Edmunds agreed with the Federal Monitor that the state has not been compliant with the goals of the consent decree, and there continues to be concern with the following core areas: caseload standards for CPS and adoption, training issues that remain unresolved, and areas related to safety and maltreatment in care. Judge Edmunds added that the data reporting by the Department has been woefully inadequate and created an inability to gather accurate data. Judge Edmunds is requiring the parties to meet at the end of January following Governor‐elect Snyder’s inauguration. At that time, the Attorney General, Plaintiffs, and Federal Monitor will meet with the Judge with a comprehensive agenda. Changes in structure will be discussed so as to ensure that resources are used effectively, as many aspects of the settlement reform are not economic issues. Judge Edmunds will have the parties meet again in April to determine progress under the new administration. Go to www.michfed.org to find an executive summary of the report and notes from the court hearing, both prepared by the Federation, plus a link to the full 201-page report for Reporting Period Three.

FEDERAL ACTIVITIES

DHS Launches New Smartphone App

LANSING -- Need to report abuse or welfare fraud to the Michigan Department of Human Services?

Don't worry -- now there's an app for that.

"We needed a mobile app so it can all be on one step, whether it's on the Android or on the iPhone," says Edward Woods III, a spokesman for DHS.

At a press conference Thursday, DHS officials announced they're going mobile with a new application for smartphones. Partners of the agency will now be able to access DHS news, report abuse or fraud, or refer a client to state services -- all on the go.

"This is one more step in democratizing the ability for people to have access, and bringing other people in to the work with us," says DHS director Ismael Ahmed.

How's it work? Say you want to report child abuse.

"You download the app [for free], press the 'Report Abuse' button, and it'll take you to the DHS website, embedded right here in the app," says Tim Davis, director of Digital, the company that designed the application.

"And it then gives you the options on how you would report it, whether it's a phone number, or a field form or e-mail."

And state officials say this application is needed now more than ever. In fact, a recent study by Morgan Stanley suggests that within just three years, more people will be accessing the Internet on their mobile phones than on their desktop computers.

"So there it is, right at the touch of a fingertip," says Janet Snyder, head of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families. She and representatives from other agencies across the state say the new DHS app will increase access and efficiency.

"What we're really doing is increasing the level of the safety net," Snyder says.

Bob Miles, president of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Michigan, agrees.

FYI • November 19, 2010 • No. 23

FYI • November 19, 2010 • No. 23
The next FYI bulletin will be issued December 10, 2010

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Fast approaching…December 7: Federal Court Hearing regarding Dwayne B. v Granholm—On Tuesday, December 7, at 2:00 PM Judge Nancy G. Edmunds will hold a hearing in federal court to determine the State of Michigan’s progress in meeting the requirements for child welfare system reform under the consent decree for reporting period three, October 1, 2009, through March 30, 2010. The federal monitor’s report is embargoed until the time of the hearing, and it will be made available to Federation members as soon as it is released. The court hearing is open to the public and will be held at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Room 226, Detroit.

EXECUTIVE/ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES
• Foster care contracts update—Federation Executive Director Janet Reynolds Snyder has advised agencies to sign the foster care contract, changing the term of the contract from three years to one year as per the Federation Board discussion on November 10. Janet has sent a letter to DHS’ Kathryne O’Grady, letting her know that this action has been recommended to Federation agencies, and has provided to members a letter to attach to their contracts when they are sent to DHS.
• Residential contract amendment update—Federation member executive directors are asked to continue to withhold signatures from the residential contract amendment.
• Adoption contract negotiations update—Federation member agencies are also asked to continue to withhold signatures from the adoption contract. DHS has acknowledged receipt of private agency recommendations as channeled through Janet Reynolds Snyder of the Federation. DHS has indicated it will need time to review the proposal and that a second meeting may be requested. Stay tuned.

Soap opera star inspires kids at St. Vincent's

By MARY JO WHITE • mjwhite@lsj.com • November 7, 2010 • From Grand Ledge Independent

LANSING TWP. - No one had to tell the kids to pay attention to Victoria Rowell when she took time from a book tour to stop at St. Vincent's Home Nov. 1. 
That was because the story of her life profoundly mirrored, at least in part, their own.

One of six children of a mother who had a different father for each, Rowell went to foster care right after birth and stayed there for 18 years.

She told her young audience that she loved her mentally ill mother, but realized she was unable to take care of her.

Despite Rowell's difficult start in life, she has achieved a great deal, appearing on "The Young and the Restless" and "Diagnosis: Murder," as well as in movies like "Dumb and Dumber."

She has also written two books, New York Times bestseller "The Women Who Raised Me" and, more recently, "Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva: a Novel."

In addition, Rowell has started the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, a non-profit formed to provide fine arts classes, cultural enrichment opportunities and sports activities for foster children.

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Through its Children of Color Outreach program, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has published a tool entitled, A Practice Guide for Working with African American Families in the Child Protection System. The publication is meant to help social workers address the systemic overrepresentation of African American children and families involved in child protective services.

A new poll by Zogby International, and commissioned by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) the oldest criminal justice research organization in the U.S. – shows that the public is concerned about youth crime, but strongly supports rehabilitation and treatment, not prosecution in the adult court or incarceration in adult jails or prisons. Major findings from the survey of likely voters included:

Groups wishing to order the Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) Participant Handbooks for Michigan DHS-contracted agencies, may do so through Spaulding for Children. Cost for quantities of 20-100 is $23 each; for quantities of 101 or more, $20 each. Minimum order is 20, unit prices do not include shipping. To order, contact George Miller, Consultant, Spaulding for Children, (248) 443-2108.

There are often issues of school personnel and other mandated reporters' obligation to report suspected child abuse to Children's Protective Services. The Chance at Childhood Program at MSU has put together this very brief, excellent resource brochure for school personnel about reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.

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