Non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies call for Fair Funding for Michigan Families

LANSING – The Association of Accredited Child & Family Agencies (AACFA) today launched its Fair Funding for Michigan Families campaign, which aims to level the playing field across child welfare agencies in Michigan so all children and families get the level of care they need. 

Even though non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies offer a comprehensive continuum of services, we do not receive the same funding as state-run agencies,” said Judith Fischer Wollack, president of AACFA. “In order to meet the growing needs of Michigan’s children and families, policymakers must explore fairness in funding. AACFA stands ready to work with lawmakers to make this happen.” 

AACFA is a group of non-profit, accredited child welfare organizations that provide a continuum of services including adoption, foster care, mental health, residential care, counseling and more. Our member organizations employ more than 2,100 workers across Michigan. The organizations receive 30 percent less in state funding than state-run entities, leaving them at a disadvantage in providing the level of care Michigan children and families need, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There is now growing demand to meet the many needs of our children and families,” said Michael Williams, president and CEO of Orchards Children’s Services, an AACFA organization. “At the same time, we are facing critical labor shortages and we cannot compete with state run agencies for workers simply because we can’t pay them as much. By investing in our collective child welfare and mental health systems, Michigan will be able to better support programs for our children and families when and where they need our services the most.” 

Christie Lazette and her husband Chris Smith adopted Melody, 2, in 2020 through Wolverine Human Services, an AACFA member organization. Lazette emphasized that having an informed child welfare agency to assist with the adoption process is paramount.  

“The adoption process is complicated; there is so much paperwork, so many different people involved, and it can take a very long time,” Lazette said. “Thankfully, our caseworkers from WHS were remarkable, and it’s hard to describe the value Wolverine Human Services and agencies like it bring to families like ours. As a family we are so thankful to have had this team on our side to bring Melody home. We could not imagine our lives without her.” 

Angela Lapham is the adoptive mother of six children, adopting five of her children through Oakland Family Services (OFS), an AACFA organization. Through OFS, she has also fostered 21 children.  

“OFS was wonderful in every aspect, whether fostering, adoption or helping with any obstacle we faced,” Lapham said. “Organizations like OFS and AACFA are so important to our state, and they should be provided the funding to ensure they can keep doing the invaluable work of uniting families.” 

You can watch a recording of today’s press conference or find more information on our campaign Facebook page. 

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All members of AACFA are 501(c)(3) organizations and are accredited by the National Council on Accreditation or Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Our accreditation means we follow national best practices, and we are subject to independent audits and reviews to ensure the highest standards for safety, transparency and fiscal responsibility.   

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