Are Michigan’s in-Home Foster Care Prevention Efforts Failing Vulnerable Kids?

A recent study done here in Michigan reveals some very interesting results when it comes to foster kids in the Great Lakes state. But what do these results mean, and how do we interpret them in a way that best benefits children. According to the Youth Policy Lab and the Child and Adolescent Data Lab at the University of Michigan, kids placed in the foster system in Michigan have better attendance rates at school, have a reduced chance of being abused in the future, and tend to do better on standardized math placement tests, over all, than other vulnerable kids who weren’t removed from abusive homes and placed into foster care.

A little girl looking solemnly up at the camera.

What does this mean for foster kids? Is foster care better than their own homes?

The study is encouraging in some ways, showing that foster care can increase a child’s safety and educational opportunities, which in turn positively impacts their future. But it has other, less-than-lovely implications as well. Namely, that Michigan’s current in-home prevention-focused efforts to protect vulnerable kids is failing. And that’s not great news. Specifically, the state’s efforts to keep families together, and to keep children safe in their homes with their own families, isn’t making the headway that we would have hoped for.

How did the study gather this data, and what does it mean?

Using data gathered from more than 240,000 investigations done by Michigan CPS over the course of eight years, researchers from the Youth Policy Lab and the Child and Adolescent Data Lab at the University of Michigan followed public school students who had been removed from their homes by child welfare workers, and those that hadn’t. In particular, they focused on situations where the CPS worker was unsure of what to do about removing or leaving the children. What they found was that the kids taken from their homes and placed in foster care tended to have better school attendance, better results on certain placement tests, and unsurprisingly, a reduced chance of sustaining further abuse. 

In the midst of this pandemic, CPS is having to adjust their approach

It can be pretty tough to find positive things to focus on during this unprecedented time. Even CPS is struggling, as they have far fewer cases to investigate, as a result of having less reports made by teachers and day-care workers, all of whom are now working remotely. However this huge reduction in reports has forced the agency’s hand, and they have pivoted their role from being reactive to more proactive. Which means they’re now looking back through old cases to find the moderate risk families, and trying to find ways to support them during this difficult time in order to avert possible disaster before it even happens. Which means that for the first time ever, the agency is being forced to focus on supporting families in place, rather than breaking them up in the name of safety.

Don’t let CPS tear apart your family, or tell you how to parent your kids.

Obviously, keeping children safe is paramount. Kids need to be loved, cared for, protected, and given the opportunities in life that ensure a better future. As parents, we believe very strongly in these facts. But we also believe very fiercely in a parent’s right to decide how best to raise their children. The US Constitution gives parents the right to decide how to raise their families, and CPS often works very hard to interfere with those rights. And that’s where we come in. Here at The Kronzek Firm our aggressive CPS defense attorneys can fight alongside you to protect your children and your parenting rights, from agency over-reach. Call 866 766 5245 today, and ensure that you have an experienced CPS defense attorney on your team, helping to keep your family safe.