Creating a Better "Family Time" Space for Parents With Kids in Foster Care
By APRIL VAN BUREN, MICHIGAN RADIO, JULY 17, 2017
Family visits for kids in foster care often take place in a foster care agency’s office, which is not always the homiest setting. But a new program launching in Wayne County wants to change that.
Neighborhoods of Hope is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and community partners in Detroit.
The centerpiece of the project is a townhouse in the GardenView Estate public housing development in Detroit. The furnished home has a cozy living room, a full kitchen, and a play area in the backyard.
"It's less intrusive, and it's just a very relaxed atmosphere for both the parents and the children," said Annie Ray, Wayne County child welfare director for MDHHS.
The townhouse will also serve as a hub to connect families involved in the child welfare system to a network of community resources as they work toward reunification. Ray says it’s important that the state agency isn’t the only one involved in bringing kids in the foster care system safely home.
“So that long after DHHS is out of the picture, there’s sustaining relationships in the community that the families can build on and continue to use,” Ray explained.
Other partners on the project -- like the Boys and Girls club and on site food distribution -- will be available to kids currently in foster care and their parents even after they are reunified.