The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has several programs that serve children and families including Child Welfare, which includes Children’s Protective Services and Foster Care, Cash and other family assistance.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child Welfare is responsible for the safety and well being of Michigan’s Children & Families.
The services provided by child welfare professionals are guided by the following vision, mission and guiding principles that guide the work of DHHS Child Welfare:
Vision: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will lead Michigan in supporting our children, youth, and families to reach their full potential.
Mission: Child Welfare professionals will demonstrate an unwavering commitment to engage and partner with the families we serve to ensure permanency, safety and well-being.
The Department of Health and Human Services values encourage workers to interact with children and families in their communities, within their natural support systems, in a culturally competent and respectful manner that ensures that each family, child and/or young adult has a voice in the planning process.
Children’s Protective Services (CPS) is a program within the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect.
Child Abuse as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services means harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, by a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare or by a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the clergy.
Child Neglect as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services means harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare that occurs through either of the following:
- Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
- Placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child’s health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk.
The Michigan Child Protection Law provides guidelines for what CPS must do when neglect or abuse is suspected and the steps they must take. The Department of Health and Human Services website has a link to the Child Protection Law and other helpful documents that may help families navigate the Child Welfare System including:
A Parent’s Guide to Working with Children’s Protective Services
The Foster Care Program:
The Children’s Foster Care Program provides placement and supervision for children who are temporary or permanent court or state wards.
Foster Care is defined as temporary care and supervision to meet the needs of children who cannot currently live safely in their homes. The goal of foster care is to provide children with a safe, stable home and caretakers who are able to care for them until they can be safely returned home, adopted or placed in another permanent living arrangement.
The Foster Care Program identifies and places children in homes when it has been determined that they currently cannot remain with their families because of safety concerns. Foster families provide these children with consistency and support they need to grow while their families work to meet the requirements necessary to have their children returned home.
The Department of Health and Human Services main goal is to return children back to their homes when it is safe. If a return home is not possible, other permanent options such as adoptive families may be considered.
Foster care workers (sometimes referred to as case workers) are responsible for making sure that the children in foster care are safe and that their needs are being met while in care. They are also responsible for helping their parents to develop the skills they need so that their children can return home.
Parents and foster care workers work together to create a plan for the parent to make the changes that need to be made in order for their children to return home. If the changes are not made the children may not be able to return to their home and the foster care worker may make a recommendation for the child’s permanent placement plan.
In addition to the programs above the Department of Health and Human Services houses additional programs that support families including:
Assistance with Child Care
Home & Burial
More information about these programs can be found by visiting: http://www.michigan.gov/dhs