LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's welfare agency announced Thursday that it's starting a pilot program to try to keep young at-risk children in their own homes, rather than place them in foster care.
The Michigan Department of Human Services said the program for children from birth through age 5 is possible because of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Michigan is among nine states getting the pilot project waiver. Michigan's welfare agency is starting a pilot program to try to keep young at-risk children in their own homes, rather than place them in foster care.
About 14,000 children are in foster care at any time, according to the state agency's website.
"Research confirms what most people instinctively know: All things being equal, the best place for children is in their own home with their own family," Maura Corrigan, director of the state agency, said in a statement. "Under this federal waiver, the department will use funding to wrap around at-risk families with vital services- keeping children both at home and safe."
The Title IV-E waiver lets the state agency use federal foster care funds for the project over five years. Michigan is among nine states getting the pilot project waiver.
The project is scheduled to start Aug. 1, 2013, in Kalamazoo, Macomb and Muskegon counties. The state said it will provide prevention and preservation services for families with young children at high risk for abuse and neglect.
"The heart of the project is applying both prevention and preservation services for families with young children at high risk for abuse and neglect," said state agency spokesman Dave Akerly. "DHS will partner with private agencies and directly engage with families in their own homes to prevent abuse and neglect and to also prevent removal and eventual placement in foster care."
During the five-year project, "independent third-party evaluations will take place, tracking the overall effectiveness of reaching goals and expected outcomes, and payments to private agencies will be performance based and focused on the outcome for our clients," Akerly said in a statement.
Michigan foster care: http://1.usa.gov/QJPNUx