By Judith Fischer Wollack, President of AACFA
Michigan’s children and families deserve the best care possible.
That’s why the Association for Accredited Child & Family Agencies today launched our Fair Funding for Michigan Families campaign. As non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies in Michigan, we believe it’s critical to ensure fairness in funding across our state’s child welfare system in order to provide Michigan children and families with the care they need and deserve.
Non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies are an essential part of Michigan’s child welfare system –offering youth mental health and counseling services, bringing families together through adoptions and foster care, and providing juvenile justice, residential care and other high-quality comprehensive services for families. Our member organizations employ more than 2,100 highly trained frontline workers who play a critical role in supporting Michigan families, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We provide these services without the same funding as state-run entities, which leaves us at a huge disadvantage to meet the growing needs of Michigan’s families. Lawmakers must explore fairness in funding to ensure children and families are receiving the highest quality care in Michigan.
Through AACFA’s Fair Funding for Michigan Families campaign, we strive to make policy changes that ensure funding fairness across child welfare agencies. Research has shown investing in Michigan’s non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies on the front end will pay dividends for Michigan’s children, families and taxpayers. Fairness in funding would also help level the playing field by affording us resources to provide services to children amid a challenging labor shortage.
Our policy priorities include:
- Providing staffing incentives by increasing per diem rates across Michigan’s child welfare system so agencies are better able to provide the full continuum of services,
- Working with local school districts, communities, judges and law enforcement to gear up for pent up demand for child welfare services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and
- Stopping the intentional elimination of residential services for children in Michigan, which has a huge impact on the overall continuum of services non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies can provide.
By investing in our child welfare system, Michigan can better support programs that reduce abuse and neglect, and better support children and families when they need our services the most. Given the issues COVID-19 has caused, it is a critical time to make these investments.
We urge lawmakers and advocates to support Fair Funding for Michigan Families to give Michigan’s children and families the best care possible.
Keep up with the campaign on our Fair Funding for Michigan Families Facebook page.