Michigan Settles Foster Care Lawsuit

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Michigan has agreed to implement major reforms in its foster care system under a settlement reached in a class-action lawsuit.

The suit, Dwayne B. v. Granholm, was brought in 2006 by Children’s Rights, the New York- based advocacy group. The settlement was reached July 3, four days before a trial was set to begin in federal court.

As part of the settlement, the state Department of Human Services will spend approximately $200 million over the next four years to reduce caseloads by hiring 700 new employees, establishing a statewide child protective services hotline, and improving medical and mental health care for children in state custody.

Other stipulations include hiring 200 permanency specialists to address the needs of more than 6,000 legal orphans, whose parents have lost the rights to their children and who are under state care. The department must also increase caseworker visits to foster homes.