Short Overview of Michigan Foster Care

The Michigan Foster Care Services Program is administered by the Department of Human Services. It provides placement and supervision of children who are temporary or permanent court or state wards. A child who is a ward of the court or state is a child who cannot remain at home because their family is unable to provide minimal care and supervision or whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated.

The foster care program has a goal to preserve the child’s family where possible and this means providing services that can resolve the problem at home, so the child may be returned.

How can foster care become involved? Foster Care will not become involved until a member of the community reports possible abuse, neglect or abandonment of a child by the parent, legal guardian or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare. If there is such a report, Children’s Protective Services will investigate the situation to determine if it is safe for the child to remain in the home. If it is assessed that the child is unsafe, the Department of Human Service may petition the family court to intervene and possibly issue an order to remove the child from the home so that they may be placed in Foster Care.

Both the child abuse and neglect criminal law and the child protection law define “child” as a person who is under the age of 18. “Child abuse” is harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a person responsible for the child’s health or welfare. The harm may actually occur or may be threatened. It may be physical or mental. “Neglect” is harm to a child’s health or welfare by a person responsible for the child’s health or welfare which occurs through negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. The child protection law provides for the protection of all children who are abused or neglected. It requires the reporting of child abuse and neglect by certain persons, and permits the reporting of child abuse and neglect by all persons. It also also allows for authorization of limited detainment in protective custody and medical examinations.

Additional Resources:

For more information about Michigan’s Foster Care Program or other Department of Human Services programs visit Michigan Department Human Services.

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