The Michigan Department of Human Services announced October 4th, 2012 that a pilot program for young at-risk children from birth through age 5 to stay with their families, instead of placing in foster care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has signed a waiver to make this possible.

The Title IV-E waiver lets state agencies use federal foster care funds for the project over the next five years. Michigan is among nine states receiving the pilot project waiver.

The project will provide prevention and preservation services for families with young children at high risk for abuse and neglect. The project is scheduled to start Aug. 1, 2013, in Kalamazoo, Macomb and Muskegon counties.

More attention and awareness about the foster care system and the lifelong impact it has on children and the families is half the battle. This pilot “project” needs be a sustainable program that will genuinely help the families and children involved. Reform of the foster care system is long overdue.

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