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7:15 pm
Mon March 8, 2010

State claims big improvements in child welfare on eve of compliance report

LANSING, MI – State officials say Michigan has dramatically improved its foster care system since agreeing to an out-of-court settlement a year and a half ago. A court-appointed monitor will release a report Tuesday on whether the state is keeping a promise to improve its child welfare system.

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The lawsuit was filed by the national group Children's Rights. It claimed Michigan was failing its live up to its responsibility to protect children removed from their homes for abuse or neglect.

Ishmael Ahmad is the director of the state Department of Human Services. He says Michigan has made great strides to ensure more of the 16,000 kids in the foster care system are living in stable environments.

"More children in Michigan's foster care system are in permanent homes. That might mean they have been reunited with their families, have been adopted, or have a guardian."

Ahmad says the state is also doing a better job of ensuring foster children have access to proper medical care, mental health services, and prevention programs. The Children's Rights settlement called for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the system.