Michigan Gov. Whitmer Wants to Fix Child Foster Care System With Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Counselor
The Michigan child foster care system is a mess. This is not the answer.
Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to fix the state’s awful child foster care system by hiring a “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)” consultant to support the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Unit.
The Washington Free Beacon obtained the contract proposal documents.
The purpose of this Contract is to obtain the services of a consultant to provide support for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) concerns. The consultant must be culturally competent and well versed in outcomes, services provided and how to increase satisfaction with client interaction and resources within child welfare of people who are marginalized. The consultant will assist with awareness, education, and opportunities within BSC 5 as an additional support for the DEI Unit. The goal of this Contract is to create increased sensitivity on issues relating to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) population within Children’s services.
The candidate must show the state “their cultural competence and experience working with people who are marginalized, including individuals within the LGBTQIA+ population, and who obtain services from the child welfare system.”
I wonder if Whitmer is taking any other action to fix a system a judge described as “just devastating” in January. Judge Nancy Edmunds said the state has “slipped backwards” with the efforts to change the foster care system.
I reached out to Whitmer’s office and asked for clarification and comment. I will update if I receive a response.
It doesn’t sound like the problems have anything to do with sexual identity. It sounds like the state has no oversight and doesn’t care about the children once they’re placed in a home. From The Detroit News:
They reported an instance in which multiple staff members of a child-caring institution were aware of a staff member’s inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old resident but failed to intervene or report the behavior. The teen eventually reported the abuse, which launched an investigation. The staff members who failed to report the abuse did not face consequences, the monitors said.
Monitors Crummy and Ryan also uncovered a spate of “maltreatment in care” investigations they say had been improperly reviewed. Of the 130 investigations they reviewed, monitors found state officials had failed to thoroughly review almost 25%.
Of those 32 cases that were not thoroughly reviewed, the monitors determined 19 should have resulted in licensing violations.
Ryan and Crummy highlighted a case involving an 11-year-old girl with asthma who was repeatedly restrained at a group home. A “spit bag” was placed over her head during two or three events that caseworkers investigated. While caseworkers found the restraints were unnecessary or inappropriate, they did not consider the behavior to be considered maltreatment. The monitors disagreed.
Restraints became a priority after 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks died in 2020 after staff members at a Kalamazoo youth home tackled and restrained him.
A report also revealed:
In one case, two foster children were found wandering around a hotel unsupervised after the children’s caregiver asked an unnamed “male friend” to watch them. In another, a foster parent allowed a 12-year-old to supervise seven younger children—including a blind and autistic 10-year-old and a 2-year-old—while the foster parent left home to run an errand. The two-year-old twice left the house “dirty and without pants,” and police later described “deplorable conditions” at the foster home, such as “spoiled food and garbage strewn throughout, rabbit feces outside a rabbit cage, and child access to alcohol and pet food.” In both cases, the report states, Whitmer’s Children’s Services Agency did not find evidence to substantiate claims of “improper supervision.”
I realize the system contains LGBT children. But I hope Whitmer and the state have other plans to tackle most of the problems. I’m not optimistic since her administration didn’t seem to take seriously the issues found in the January report.
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