Michigan to expand programs that prevent child abuse and keep children with their families

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services(WILX)
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:18 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) received a five-year grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to provide funding for three counties to support the coordination of Infant-Toddler Court Programs, often referred to as Baby Court, in Wayne County

Two additional counties in Michigan are still to be determined.

“Wayne County has had a successful Baby Court docket for over a decade,” said Kathleen Allen, referee in Wayne County Third Circuit Court. “The children and families in this county have benefitted greatly as a result. Principles of collaboration, communication between the team, and the respect afforded the parents and caregivers of the children have resulted in overwhelming improvement in the child and family dynamic.

The State of Michigan will be expanding local programs that will keep families with young children together and work to ensure that children under the age of 4 in the child welfare system grow up in permanent, nurturing homes that support their development.

The programs provide services to biological parents so that whenever possible they can be the permanent caregivers for children who had been in foster care.

“MDHHS believes strongly in the importance of providing services that keep families and children together while expanding access to behavioral health supports,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Infant-Toddler Court Programs help us address the needs of parents and their young children so that we can build strong families that can stay together.”

The grant also will support the continued expansion and sustainability of Baby Courts into additional counties beyond the funding period.

It will also pay for hiring coordinators statewide and for Wayne County, developing working groups to advance partnerships to support the health and well-being of infants and toddlers in the child welfare system and those who are at risk for entry into the system, and an evaluation that informs quality improvement and determines the effect of Baby Courts.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.

Copyright 2022 WILX. All rights reserved.