Michigan Seeing Early Progress Keeping Families Together
According to a recent news release, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has initiated a pilot project Protect MiFamily. “Through Protect MiFamily, federal dollars that Michigan would have spent to support placing children in foster care in three counties is being used to provide services for at-risk families with children ages 0-5 to prevent abuse and neglect.
“We’re investing in families – not foster care,” said Steve Yager, executive director of the Children’s Services Agency within MDHHS. “Protect MiFamily is consistent with our goal of keeping families together safely. Children are better off with their parents as long as it’s safe for them to remain in their homes. By working closely with families and providing intensive services to address barriers to child safety and well-being.”
Pam Cohn, chief operating officer for Catholic Charities West Michigan, said: “Following in our mission to provide help and create hope, we at Catholic Charities West Michigan are honored to be a part of the Protect MiFamily program. Being able to partner with families to promote positive change has been both rewarding and successful. The Protect MiFamily program has given us the opportunity to work with families in a different way by collaborating together to provide education, support and community services that enable families to remain together now and in the future.”
“MDHHS released an interim evaluation report from two outside entities that shows progress in the first half of the five-year project. Michigan began Protect MiFamily in 2013 after receiving a federal waiver that gives the state more flexibility in how it spends Title IV-E funds.
MDHHS will make improvements to Protect MiFamily based on the evaluation report and feedback. In the long term, the department will work toward implementing a statewide program with support from Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care. Casey Family Programs is partnering with the department on this innovative approach to helping families.”