The Michigan House has approved Representative Rodney Wakeman’s plan to improve Michigan’s adoption and foster care system.
Wakeman says the plan makes critical changes to fix problems identified by families and professionals who work in the state’s adoption and foster care system. He says will help place more foster children with qualified family members or friends whenever possible, allowing a non-parent adult to meet the definition of “family” for the purposes of youth placement. This will lessen the trauma associated with removal, provide better outcomes for children, and help alleviate the foster parent shortage.
The bill will require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to work with entities that perform “family finding and engagement” services, which help connect foster youth who lack permanency to qualified family members and friends who are able and willing to step in and care for them.
“Most kids entering the foster system have already experienced a tremendous amount of trauma,” Wakeman says. “It makes sense that our first choice should be to place them with people they already feel a connection.”