Wayne County children in foster care will have increased family time in home-like environment as they move toward reuniting with parents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2017

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112

DETROIT, Mich. – Wayne County children in foster care and their parents can spend time together in a more family friendly atmosphere while accessing a variety of community resources through a new partnership.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services kicked off its Neighborhoods of Hope initiative today at Communities of Hope located at Gardenview Estates residential community.

“Neighborhoods of Hope will allow us to achieve our goals of protecting the safety and well-being of children and having children in foster care return safely home to their parents,”

MDHHS Director Nick Lyon said. “When we work with local communities, we can better provide the supports that our families need to stay together.”

Thursday’s event included tours of a furnished home at Gardenview Estates, where family visits will occur for parents and children who are on the path toward a safe reunification. Communities of Hope is a nonprofit focused on meeting health, educational, employment and entrepreneurial development challenges in Metro Detroit.

“This partnership allows these important visits to occur more frequently and in a family-like atmosphere within the community rather than at MDHHS offices,” said Annie Ray, Wayne County child welfare director for MDHHS.

“We are grateful that Communities of Hope, Gardenview Estates, other local organizations and Casey Family Programs are making this possible,” she said. “Even after children and parents are safely reunited and MDHHS is no longer involved, these families will have access to facilities and resources at Neighborhoods of Hope locations that will allow parents to be better caregivers and families to continue to be successful.”

Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care, is financially supporting Neighborhoods of Hope.

Gardenview Estates will be the first Neighborhoods of Hope community hub, with the home available for family visits on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and every other Saturday beginning in late July. MDHHS staff and trained volunteers will be on site at the hub.

Families will have access to community resources, including MDHHS prevention staff, youth development activities and access to nutritious food.

Other locations in Wayne County are expected to be announced soon.

A safe reunification with their parents is the goal for the majority of the 13,000 children in foster care in Michigan. In 2016, 7,168 children exited foster care, with 3,670 of those – or 51 percent – reunified with their parents.

MDHHS and other organizations provide services to families to make a safe reunion possible.

Learn more about these efforts on the MDHHS reunification webpage.

# # #