Saturday, May 30, 2009

A truce in Michigan’s war against grandparents

Give the Michigan Department of Human Services and the group that calls itself Children's Rights credit – because this time they deserve it. The Detroit News reports that DHS is revising a policy that could have forced thousands of foster children now in kinship care out of the homes of their grandparents and other relatives. And that couldn't have happened without CR agreeing to it.

As discussed previously on this Blog and in our first report on Michigan child welfare, the consent decree between CR and DHS originally required that all relatives providing kinship care become formally licensed. That meant complying with ten single-spaced pages of requirements, most of them unrelated to health or safety. Indeed, as we noted at the time, the home in Hawaii where President Obama was raised by his grandmother probably could not have met all the licensing requirements. The licensing rule was retroactive, raising the specter of thousands of children being kicked out of the homes of loving grandparents.

Now that won't happen.

There are lots of reasons for the change, including the fact that NCCPR has been raising hell about the problem for months. Of course DHS and CR will deny that this had anything to do with the change. Indeed, DHS already is saying it's not a change, it's a clarification. That's fine. They can call it a kangaroo for all I care – just as long as the change – er, clarification - means the children can stay with their grandparents.