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Snyder seeks overhaul of foster care and how the state pays for it

Jake Neher
Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan helps announce the proposal Thursday in Royal Oak.

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state could do a better job protecting foster children if it changed the way it paid for the service.

The governor unveiled a reportThursday that says the state should pay foster care agencies based on their performance. Right now, those agencies all get paid the same regardless of their track records or the needs of individual foster children.

“Let’s focus on what’s best for the child,” said Snyder. “And the child shouldn’t have to think about, worry about, or be concerned about who’s bringing those services. They just want the outcomes. They just want the service, or need the service.”

Michigan has been trying to comply with a court-ordered reform of its foster care system for more than five years. It stemmed from a lawsuit claiming the state was not doing enough to prevent abuse and neglect of foster children.

Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Maura Corrigan says the measure would be a big step toward complying with the settlement agreement.

“We issue contracts without regard to outcomes,” said Corrigan. “This new and transparent system will hold both our nonprofit partners and the Department of Human Services accountable for how we do in helping these children.”

The proposal to revamp the funding model for foster care would have to be approved by state lawmakers. Some in the Legislature worry about the costs of overhauling the foster care system.