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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

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.

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Reports

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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