WE have great news! Kent County has created an incentive program aimed at CPS, with the goal of making it more worthwhile to quickly reunify children with their parents. Yes, you read that right! The West Michigan Partnership for Children is providing the child welfare system in Kent County with financial incentives to ensure that children are not kept away from their parents and families even a minute longer than is truly necessary. Isn’t that amazing?
The pilot program, which began this month in Kent County, will run for five years and, according to MDHHS Director Nick Lyon, the “Performance-based funding will reinforce positive outcomes for children and allow us to reinvest savings into the Kent County child welfare system to pay for continued improvements.” So what does this mean for the families of Kent County? In short, it means a major change in the way CPS workers approach the issue of removing children from their homes.
The West Michigan Partnership for Children is responsible for managing Kent County’s foster care system. Under the current system a flat rate is provided to the agency per child, per day, while they are in foster care. Under the new model CPS will be given financial incentives to reunify children with their families as quickly as possible. If their home is deemed unsafe, the financial incentives will help speed the process of finding them foster or adoptive homes.
Part of how this happens in the way in which funding is provided.
The West Michigan Partnership for Children will be receiving twice annual payments in advance to cover the cost of providing services. This, according to Kent County Child Welfare Director Savator Selden-Johnson, will allows CPS workers to be more proactive, flexible and creative in how they solve problems and allocate services. “This way the agency will have those dollars on the front end and they can make decisions about those services and providers themselves.”
There are currently about 880 children in the foster care system in Kent County, many of whom will benefit from the new pilot program. When you consider the fact that thousands of Michigan children are currently involved with the foster system in one capacity or another, this is very good news for the future. Success for this program would mean a good chance for other counties to adopt it, and more families around the state to be unified.
This is very good news, and we wish the providers in Kent County the best of luck as they navigate these next five years. Ultimately we hope this will translate into a more compassionate, and family-oriented CPS in Michigan’s future. Until then, however, if you or a loved one have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We have decades of experience protecting parents rights and fighting to keep families together all over Michigan. We can help you too.