The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is forming a Kinship Advisory Council to advise the department about the needs of these caregivers and the children in their care.
Kinship care is the full-time care, nurturing and protection of children by family members, close family friends or other important adults in the child’s life. This could include grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings or family friends.
The council will advocate for reform that will lead to a system that is better-coordinated and more consumer friendly and family-centered. Kinship care can occur when a child is placed formally through the MDHHS foster care system or through an informal arrangement between the parent and the caregiver.
“As MDHHS strives to place children in the most family-like setting possible, it is important for us to listen to our kinship caregivers,” said Demetrius Starling executive director of the department’s Children’s Services Agency. “Children who have experienced trauma can benefit from the stability of living with relatives or other kinship caregivers. We value their opinions and want to provide the support that they need.”
The Kinship Advisory Council will:
- Devise a plan to engage support groups and programs providing services to
kinship families to obtain a better understanding of the issues they face.
- Establish a public awareness campaign to educate the public about kinship
caregivers and the state’s efforts to better serve these caregivers by increasing
visibility of the Kinship Support Program.
- Consult and collaborate with the Kinship Support Program on the design and
administration of that program.
- Identify gaps and barriers for kinship families regarding service awareness,
coordination, and utilization, peer support and the use of technologies to create
pathways to resources and supports.
- Ensure equity is considered when making recommendations for system changes.
MDHHS is seeking diverse membership that includes professionals in a variety of
areas, as well as people with experience as kinship caregivers.
Applications for membership must be submitted by Jan. 10, 2022, at https://www.research.net/r/KinshipCouncil.
Anyone who is interested in being considered for the Kinship Advisory Council or has
questions on the application process can email Jessica Bodell at BodellJ1@michigan.gov.