As is well known in Michigan, the child welfare system is in the midst of complete reform. After the American Bar Association came into the state to recommend changes, Michigan has been working toward this. There are many areas in which the state needs to make improvement such as the quality of representation that is offered to parties that go through the court. The Supreme Court Administration Office (SCAO) has created committees that are working to address these issues..
In mid-February, the National Colaition for Child Protection Reform released a report, "Cycle of Failure," which is a very biased attack on the Michigan child welfare system. An article from the Detroit Free Press addresses this report and provides a PDF summary of its content. This very controversial report takes a very slanted perspective on the issue of Michigan's child welfare system and makes baseless accusations. There is some truth to the information provided in the article, such as the immense necessity for system reform but the approach that is taken leads to a skewed perception of the situation.
About a week and a half ago, I met with Jenifer Pettibone who is the Management Analyst of Child Welfare Services in the State Court Administration Office. As soon as I am done writing up the transcript of the article, it will be published under the Interview section of Morality and Family. Some of the items that were discussed in this interview are the role that SCAO plays in the state, Title IV-E funding, the Court Improvement Program -- parent and child representation in the courts, and Pettibone's take on Wexler's "Cycle of Failure" article. Stay tuned!