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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today shared an update on the transformation it has made to the child welfare system that has resulted in improved safety for children and families since the inception of a federal lawsuit.
MDHHS appeared virtually in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for the latest update, which has been tracking progress since a 2008 settlement agreement following a 2006 lawsuit. “I am delighted with the progress that has been made since we adopted the (corrective action plan) last April,” said Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. “I think the state has taken huge steps under (MDHHS) Director (Elizabeth) Hertel. Congratulations are in order for sure,” Judge Edmunds said, adding that more work needs to be done to address issues mentioned by federal monitors.
Specifically, the department emphasized in court how child safety has improved through the increased monitoring of and investment in congregate care facilities where foster and juvenile justice youth are placed. The update came nine months after MDHHS and federal court monitors unveiled new strategies to target 14 areas in the child welfare and juvenile justice system as part of a corrective action plan. “We maintain our steadfast focus on ensuring the safety of all youth receiving treatment in congregate care facilities through intensive improvements in oversight of the facilities where our children are placed,” Hertel said. “I am proud of the work we do and the improvements we have made as we continue to work toward excellence in our child welfare system.” Recent MDHHS actions that are producing results include: