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New DHS pilot program for at-risk kids
KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3/DHS release) The Michigan Department of Human Services has announced a new pilot program that it is rolling out in Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Macomb Counties.
The five-year program looks to improve the lives of vulnerable children by keeping families together.
The children that will be enrolled will be between the ages of birth and five years old. They must also have been determined by CPS to be at high or intensive risk for future maltreatment.
From the release:
Families served also must live in one of the three pilot counties, where private agencies Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and Catholic Charities of West Michigan will partner with DHS in the new program. All three counties chosen have a higher than typical rate of children in that youngest age group being removed from their homes and placed into foster care.
One hundred families in each of the pilot counties (300 total per year) will be identified and offered a broad array of services in the program, with each engagement expected to last a minimum of 15 months.
Protect MiFamily under DHS will work with its partners to provide:
Safer ChildrenChildren can be made safer in their own homes by better adapting to strategies under Protect MiFamily, avoiding maltreatment and the chance of secondary trauma often associated with foster care. The extended treatment plan will allow for monitoring both immediate and long-term safety issues.
Strong FamiliesHelping at-risk families address the root causes of maltreatmentand neglect, assisting them in raising happier, healthy children. Strengths will be identified, as will barriers like substance abuse, domestic violence and depression.
Supportive CommunitiesMany families under stress have no support system in place. Protect MiFamily will work to nurture and grow that support base among family, friends, neighbors and the community.
InnovationWorking to redirect resources right here in Michigan, at the front end when a family can still be saved and preserved intact, with evidence-based intervention. Protect MiFamily will invite new avenues of collaboration between DHS, its private partners, faith-based and other community organizations.
This new program is an important step and part of the larger reform of child welfare, said Stacie Bladen, Director of Protect MiFamily for DHS. If successful, this project will set the stage for effective prevention and preservation services along with child protection in the years to come.
DHS has also partnered with noted research consultant Westat and the University of Michigan to provide critical analysis of Protect MiFamily, for a rigorous ongoing evaluation during its run and a full report after the planned conclusion date.