Foster care and adoption improvements in Michigan

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“More can be done” says foster program manager

(WLNS) – May is National Foster Care and Adoption Awareness month, and Michigan has continued to make improvements to the systems here in the state to help the hundreds of children without a safe place to call home.

Martin Strachan is one 12 year old who Michigan has helped take from one dark situation and give him a brand new beginning.

“I felt safe here,” Martin said.

The system we have today hasn’t always been as smooth. In 2006 Michigan was put under federal oversight because of the state of the foster care and adoption system, but now 10 years later, it’s night and day difference.

“It’s been change, it seem like constantly and it’s always change for the better,” St. Vincent Foster Care Program manager Heather Akers said.

Lawsuit: State Gave Child Foster Care License to Known Abuser

In December, 2014, 6-year old Kendrea Johnson was found dead in that foster care mother's home.

In December, 2014, 6-year old Kendrea Johnson was found dead in that foster care mother’s home.

The Hennepin County Human Services Department allowed the placement of a foster care child into the home of a Brooklyn Park woman who had a record of substantiated child abuse, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

In December 2014, 6-year old Kendrea Johnson was found dead in that foster care mother’s home. The child was found hanging from a bunk bed in her bedroom.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reviewed the child’s welfare record cited in the lawsuit that shows that Hennepin County child protection authorities knew in December 2000 that the foster care mother, Tannise Nawaqavou, had a record of child abuse.

But because of a little-known state law, commonly known as “the look-back law,” Nawaqavou was granted a foster care license by DHS in October 2011 because a defined period of time had expired since her violation, thus allowing her to become eligible to take care of abused children. All foster care applicants must undergo a background check by the state prior to a decision being made on whether to grant a license.

Police Find Children Chained and Leashed Outside San Antonio Home, Make Even More Horrifying Discovery

San Antonio TX Foster Care News

This undated handout photo provided by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office shows Porucha Phillips. Phillips is the mother of the six children found in a home where two other young children were found chained and leashed. She is facing charges that include injury to a child by omission. (Bexar County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

DALLAS (AP) — Two young children found chained and leashed outside a San Antonio home had suffered hundreds of scars and injuries from months, perhaps years, of abuse, a sheriff’s official said Friday.

Doctors who treated the children after they were found April 29 determined they had old injuries indicating a long period of abuse. One of them also was suffering from hypothermia and had a broken arm resulting from the way she was tied to a garage door using a dog leash, Bexar County sheriff’s spokesman James Keith said.

Minivan with 10 kids pulled over, parents hospitalized

JEROME COUNTY – Ten kids are in Idaho custody after the Jerome County sheriff’s office says a minivan driven by their mom was pulled over Monday just east of Jerome.

The sheriff’s office said an anonymous complaint was received around 9:45 a.m. of a green minivan “full of kids” being driven recklessly northbound on U.S. 93.

Deputies stopped the minivan near milepost 4 on Idaho 25.

The sheriff’s office said deputies later determined that the female driver and her husband, who was a passenger, appeared to be under the influence of prescription medication and incoherent.

Federal study finds Oregon’s child welfare system falls short of standards

A new federal study finds Oregon’s child welfare system is failing across the board when it comes to keeping thousands of children in state care safe and healthy.

According to the report, caseworkers are still taking too long to check on allegations of abuse and neglect, with just more than half of investigations completed on time. Even in the most serious cases, where check-ins are required within 24 hours, the state met that goal less than two-thirds of the time.

“Oregon is trending in the wrong direction,” the report said.

The state has also struggled to keep children who’ve been abused from enduring new harm, either in state custody or after they leave it. Parents aren’t able to see their children as often as they should.

And obtaining mental health treatment has been a challenge, with foster families unwilling to sign up and private agencies finding it difficult to hire qualified staff. Available foster homes have fallen from 4,229 in 2013 to 3,847 in 2015.