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    In 2008, an independent study found that the U.S Foster care system is riddled with errors; the study suggests that the system is so understaffed that a number of children are not getting routine medical attention or support.  . "The system is so fundamentally broken that children are dying," said Sara Bartosz. It is evident that social programs are suffering in the midst of economic trauma; in recent years, the people have spoken up against the state programs. "Not having nearly enough caseworkers by itself is rendering the department incapable of protecting children," Goad, one of such outspoken people, claims. The issue persists.  As the economy continually battles an overwhelming recession, funding for statewide programs like those offered through the Michigan Department of Human Services  experience simultaneous overwhelming demand.  With a lack of funding from the state, the hiring of new employees to reduce caseloads and boost service numbers seems out of reach.

    State officials acknowledge their employees are managing more than they can handle, and some families are losing out. Case workers in Wayne County process 45,000 requests for assistance per month; the recession has deduced their worker numbers from approximately 3000 to a meager 1425. And in the heat of a crushing workload, workers say some frustrated clients are resorting to violence and threats. Not only are workers faced with stress in their professional setting, workers are fearful for their own well-being in the workplace. In light of such an obvious concern, the state is making efforts to improve.  In 2009, it hired upwards of 200 more foster care workers and boosted rates paid to private agencies that care for the abused, neglected, or delinquent children. For some, though, these efforts fall short of expectations.  It seems reform on a legislative level is the public's best hope for creating change in statewide public service agencies.

    Advocates for reform look to the governor for help but are confronted with a series of painful choices about future service cuts and tax increases. "If you look at the gap between the cost of providing public services and the revenue available to provide them, it remains very large," said Nicholas Johnson, director of the state fiscal project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  As the public turns to governors and state legislators, they grapple with swollen social service caseloads, underfunded pension funds and flat revenue.  It seems the process of reforming state social programs, and finding funding for such programs, will become increasingly difficult in months to come as federal stimulus aid comes to a halt.

     

    SOURCES:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/05/AR2011010506340.html

    http://wchbnewsdetroit.com/detroit/mildredgaddis/welfare-caseloads-rise-cause-frustration/

    http://blogpublic.lib.msu.edu/index.php/2008/02/17/michigan-department-of-human-services-fa?blog=5

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    About Us

    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Jocelyn Cutean

    Jocelyn Cutean serves as Morality and Family policy correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. She is a first-year student at Michigan State, majoring in Theatre and English. Jocelyn has experience working on the executive board of the Waterford Chapter Coalition for Youth. She has also piloted a grant funded city wide public service announcement entitled, "It Just Wasn't Worth It" which exposes the repercussions of driving while intoxicated. Jocelyn enjoys art of all forms, from writing to performance.