State, child welfare advocates spar over DHS oversight

Dec 8, 2014

Sara Bartosz is lead counsel for Children’s Rights.

After six years of federal oversight, Michigan is seeking to reclaim control of its child welfare system. The state came under supervision of federal monitors in 2008. That was after a 2006 class action lawsuit that alleged the Michigan Department of Human Services had failed to protect the safety and well-being of almost 19,000 children in state custody.

The lawsuit said too many children in the foster care system faced abuse or neglect, and often lacked basic physical and mental health care. Children’s Rights, the non-profit which filed the lawsuit, opposes the state’s motion to exit supervision, but DHS Director Maura Corrigan says the department has made significant strides in the past six years. She contends it’s ready to stand on its own two feet.

Current State talks with John Bursch, a partner at Warner, Norcross, and Judd representing DHS in this case, and Sara Bartosz, lead counsel for Children’s Rights.