Michigan HHS to expand mental health services for children in foster care, juvenile system

Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services has released a new effort to expand mental health services available for children in foster care and the juvenile system.

The department is asking child care providers to submit plans for care and placement of these patients in their facilities, according to Michigan's HHS website. 

"This is an important step forward to ensure that children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems who need mental health stabilization have a place to go to be treated," Demetrius Starling, executive director of the department's Children's Services Agency said in the release. "To do that, we are asking our child-caring institutions to provide the behavioral health treatment youth need before they transition to homes with their parents, relatives or foster families."

The state currently has contracts with 31 child care organizations that equate to 800 patient beds. However, due to staffing shortages, these institutions combined can only fill 500 beds. 

The department is looking for additional contracts for the summer of 2023. It has already begun other initiatives such as increasing pay for child care facilities and specialized programs, temporary wage increases for staff during the pandemic, and lump-sum payments to employees to offset pandemic expenses.

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