FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Contact: Sydney Smith, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 586-212-3103
LANSING – During National Foster Care Month, non–profit, accredited child welfare agencies are shining a spotlight on the importance of Michigan’s foster care system to children and families.
Collectively, non–profit agencies involved in the Association of Accredited Child & Family Agencies (AACFA) manage numerous foster care cases and provide a wide continuum of services for foster care children and their foster families.
“During National Foster Care Month, we thank our frontline workers and foster care parents who make a difference in the lives of these children every day,” said Judith Fischer Wollack, AACFA president. “Non–profit, accredited child welfare agencies are our state’s experts on caring for these children and families, and we know success happens when they are provided with a continuum of care from highly trained individuals.”
Children in Michigan’s foster care system often come to non-profit, accredited child welfare agencies traumatized and could be suicidal or considering self-harm. These children require round-the-clock care by highly trained frontline workers, especially mental health care. This is one reason AACFA launched its Fair Funding for Michigan Families campaign, with the goal of increasing funding fairness across child welfare agencies statewide so children and families can get the care they need.
Detroit resident Juan Walker, 22, was in the foster care system since 2005 and experienced multiple placements including residential facilities, foster homes and relative placements after courts terminated his mother’s parental rights. Walker is now expected to graduate from Wayne State University next May after utilizing the Orchards Promise Scholarship, which is funded entirely by donors. He credits his independent living providers and caseworkers at Orchards Children’s Services, an AACFA organization, for helping him get to college.
“It’s hard to imagine where I would be without Orchards – I don’t think I would be in school if not for the scholarship and the consistent relationship with Orchards throughout my life,” Walker said. “It would have been much more challenging to get here if I was bounced around to different agencies or assigned different case workers during my time in foster care, and I’m thankful for the continued support while I’m in college so I can focus on my future.”
Non–profit, accredited child welfare agencies are provided less funding than state-run agencies, leaving them at a major disadvantage when it comes to providing children and families with essential services and hiring, training and retaining frontline workers. These agencies are not able to pay as much as state-run agencies.
For more information about the Fair Funding for Michigan Families campaign, visit aacfami.org.