In 2008, Children's Rights, an advocacy group based in New York, sued the state of Michigan for failing to protect its most vulnerable children. Widespread inefficiency and overwhelming caseloads that endangered children was the major issue addressed in its suit. In the court settlement, the Michigan Department of Human Services agreed to make several major changes over the next five years, among them reducing worker caseloads as well as speeding up foster care adoptions lay. Being called “"the most ambitious effort that we have seen in the state ... to hire and train new workers" by Kevin Ryan of Public Catalyst Group, transforming state child welfare programs has become a priority for Snyder and his team. Public Catalyst Group is the force overseeing this term’s multi-million dollar transformation.
To help make the metamorphosis of child welfare programs a success statewide, recruiters have partnered with higher education facilities including Michigan State University, Oakland University, Northern Michigan University, Grand valley State University, and Marygrove College. In a state effort to comply with court-mandated reforms, the state intends to extend its higher education recruitment to over a dozen schools total before 2011 comes to a close. It is projected to recruit upwards of 500 child welfare case workers to aid the state in its welfare transformation goals. More workers mean a smaller and more effective caseload for the state overall; the statewide recruitment is open to both students and nonstudents with the hopes of creating more jobs for Michigan’s general public. Previously, the Department of Human Services posted available positions to their website. The Department of Human Services is now seeking qualified Michigan graduates to work in the areas of children's protection, foster care, adoption and juvenile and home licensing services through a more proactive recruitment based hiring process. Students with an expected May 2011 or August 2011 graduation are encouraged to apply.
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.
The thoughts, opinions, and positions represented herein are solely those of the participating students and in no way represent an official position or policy recommendation of Michigan State University.
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.