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Strong Families / Safe Children

Strong Families/Safe Children is Michigan's statewide collaborative initiative for the federal program, Promoting Safe and Stable Families. These federal monies are provided to states for the planning and delivery of community-based family support, family preservation, time-limited reunification, and adoption promotion and support services. The federal program was previously named the Family Preservation and Family Support Services Act.

Child safety, permanency, and improved family functioning to strengthen families are the program goals. These funds must be used for new and enhanced services in the following four service categories:

  1. Family Preservation.
  2. Family Support.
  3. Time-limited Reunification.
  4. Adoption Promotion and Support Services.

These federal funds are legislated for services to at-risk families with children:

  • To keep children safe within their home (when appropriate), and prevent the unnecessary separation of families.
  • Prevent child maltreatment.
  • Promote family strength and stability.
  • Return children in care to their families in a safe and timely manner.
  • Provide permanent alternatives for children who cannot return home safely.
  • Promote and support more adoptions out of the foster care system and help adoptive families maintain permanency.

States were directed to develop a long-term child and family services plan using these funds towards a continuum of coordinated, integrated, family-focused services for children and families that are community-based, accessible, culturally respectful, responsive to family needs, and intensive enough to keep children safe.

Michigan's plan is based on local service plans from county-based collaborative groups. Local service plans are developed through a broad-based and inclusive planning process. Michigan's 83 counties phased into the program over a three-year period from 1994 to 1997. Strong Families/Safe Children services are implemented state-wide to date.

Local service plans are endorsed by the local collaborative and approved by the MDHHS local and regional offices prior to contracting and service delivery. Provider selection, contract agreements and payments for approved services must be done through established MDHHS procedures. The selection of community-based providers is done by the collaborative at the local level via the county-based MDHHS office. Department of Management and Budget and MDHHS policies for purchase of services and other financial protocol apply. The fund source for this program is federal Title IV-B, subpart 2.

Strong Families/Safe Children offers a wide range of services including the following:

  • Parent assistance.
  • Parent education.
  • Home-based family support and home-based crisis intervention services.
  • Wraparound coordination.
  • Supportive visitation.
  • Foster and adoptive parent recruitment/education.
  • Post adoption support services.