Federal Court Approves Landmark Settlement Mandating Michigan Child Welfare Reform


But the question begs to be asked will CPS really try to reunify children with their parents? I think not there is no money in it.

Yvonne

Mandating Michigan Child Welfare Reform07 Oct 2008 / Posted by cr

DETROIT, MI — A settlement agreement requiring comprehensive reform and federal court oversight of Michigan’s long-failing child welfare system was approved today by U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds, who hailed the settlement as going as far as possible to address the system’s problems and put in place the best means of solving them. A court order compelling the state to implement the reforms will be entered on October 24, resolving the first phase of the federal class action brought against the state by the national advocacy group Children’s Rights and a team of attorneys from Michigan and across the country.

Known as Dwayne B. v. Granholm, the suit was filed on behalf of the approximately 19,000 abused and neglected children in the custody of Michigan’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and charged the state with violating children’s constitutional rights by failing to protect their safety and well-being and find them permanent homes.

The court-enforceable agreement requires DHS to establish a Children’s Services Administration dedicated exclusively to providing protection, treatment, and services to children in state custody and those who have been reported for abuse or neglect. The agency must take aggressive action to move more than 6,000 children who cannot return home into safe, stable, permanent homes; improve investigations of reported child abuse and neglect; reduce the occurrence of maltreatment in foster care placements; recruit and retain an adequate group of potential foster and adoptive parents; and provide adequate medical, mental health, and dental care to children in state custody. The state’s progress in complying with the agreement will be overseen by a neutral monitor who will report to the federal court, and Children’s Rights will continue to monitor Michigan’s efforts and enforce the court order if necessary.

“This settlement is truly a landmark victory for the thousands of children dependent on Michigan’s child welfare system,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights. “While the improvements won’t happen overnight, the court’s approval of this agreement gives Michigan’s children power they’ve never had before: a binding commitment from state officials to make the system better and the authority to go back to court if the state fails to deliver.”

Among the specific requirements of the agreement:

•DHS must improve its investigations of alleged child abuse and neglect and keep the children in its custody safer. DHS will establish a statewide child protective services (CPS) hotline, create dedicated CPS units to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, increase caseworker visits to foster homes and facilities, and initiate regular safety reviews to ensure that children taken into state custody do not suffer further maltreatment.
•DHS must take aggressive action to move children out of custody and into safe, stable, permanent homes. DHS will hire, train, and deploy a dedicated workforce of 200 new permanency specialists to address the needs of the more than 6,000 legal orphans who have languished in foster care for long periods of time. Additionally, the agency will begin planning simultaneously for children’s reunification with their birth families and for their adoption in case reunification proves not to be possible.
•DHS must provide adequate financial support and safety measures for children placed in foster homes with relatives. DHS will engage 40 new licensing specialists to secure licenses for the approximately 7,000 unlicensed relative foster homes in Michigan. Without licenses, relatives who provide foster homes for abused and neglected children are not eligible for the financial support available to other foster families to help them provide for the basic needs of the children in their care, and they are not subject to the safety assessments that other foster homes undergo.
•DHS must provide adequate medical, mental health, and dental services for the children in its custody. DHS will be required to meet the benchmarks for these services established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, undertaking a system-wide assessment to determine what it must do to meet the standards of the settlement agreement.
•DHS must improve recruitment of foster and adoptive families. DHS will undertake a system-wide assessment to determine where and how many additional foster care and adoptive placements are needed, and will design and implement a recruitment plan to meet these needs.
The Dwayne B. v. Granholm class action was filed by Children’s Rights, Edward Leibensperger of the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery, and Michigan-based law firm Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton in August of 2006. Following two failed attempts at reaching a deal to settle the case in early 2007 and May 2008, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a sweeping settlement agreement on July 3, 2008.

Full text of the Dwayne B. v. Granholm settlement agreement, as well as the class action complaint, are available at http://www.childrensrights.org/michigan.

Media Contacts:
Chris Iseli or Brooks Halliday // 212.683.2210

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by Lulu.com October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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4 Responses to Federal Court Approves Landmark Settlement Mandating Michigan Child Welfare Reform

  1. Pingback: Federal Court Approves Landmark Settlement Mandating Michigan …

  2. Only way to Contact You I could find... says:

    You just found this…I could of told you. My daughters are ‘backlog cohorts” in this!
    Stacie Bladen (who’s name is well known in my realm of work on several levels, in what “light” you might look into) is requesting I move my case to my State, then Paternal-Step Grandpa (married to the abductor) works across the hall from Ref. who wrote and continues to write orders that include no evidence, partial truths and allow secondary access to perp. (substantiated sexual abuse & why children were placed over 6 yrs ago by MI CPS out of State to me are against her son) CPS worker who place the children in March of 2004 (who’s professional judgement was vital to protect the girls once she had the special relationship as she did not involve bio-dad as he was suspect in sexual abuse at time of placement…?) placed them without following through with ICPC & her last name is Black….should be accountable for actions under her supervisor (last name also Black?) for some reason won’t reopen the case to protect the children…? backlog cohort cases of Dawyne v Granholm ? I don’t know if people are so desperate we can allow children to be placed in situations like this or maybe…I am wrong???
    May God Bless you and yours,
    Just a Mom

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  3. wendy says:

    certain case workers and judges lied and manipulated the system for money. I did everything i was told to do and more. Theses people docket cleanse and worse things that disgust me. I got one child back. now i see Judges that are finally getting caught up with and others. you will weep what you sow. as of a week ago, grandparents were refused visitation. they are still legally kidnapping children. the truth always comes out. they brought my youngest to me from foster care with a blackeye and starving when i asked questions, i never seen her again. I want my case reopened and heard. I want my daughter back and will never stop. the last thing i remember was her crying begging me mommy take me home there mean

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    • Slayer says:

      What is left of wholesome, intelligent American society that they cannot screw up with their multicultural crap, violent games, drugs, alcohol and severely dumbed down schools, they steal away to destroy with long term abuse. If you are a victim of these animals, teach them a lesson and set an example they will never forget. (provided your kids are now grown or out of contact permanently)

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