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Family Group Decision Making in Kent County, Michigan: The Family and Community Compact.

American Humane Association, Karin
June 4, 2015

Source: (-0001) Englewood, Colorado: National Center on Family Group Decision Making, American Humane. Downloaded 1 December 2005.

Community interest in Family Group Decision Making in Kent County began in 1994 when, as part of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Families for Kids Initiative, concerned citizens underwent a year-long community visioning process to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the local child welfare system. Kent County’s 25-year commitment to permanency for children had already significantly reduced the number of children in foster care and the time they spent in foster care; however, the visioning process revealed that people were not satisfied with the current system. In particular, they were concerned about the over-representation of minority children in foster care and the lack of meaningful inclusion of extended family and community members in the care of maltreated children. With more than half of the foster care placements and adoptions in Kent County involving relatives, it was clear that families were taking care of their own. However, the visioning process revealed an uncoordinated approach to relative caregiver selection, service delivery, and placement. Many relative caregivers believed the system was intrusive and not addressing their needs. Given these concerns, community leaders wanted to develop a process for including extended family and community members in the care and protection of children. Inspired by the use of Family Group Decision Making in New Zealand, Kent County applied for and received funds from the Kellogg Foundation to develop the Family and Community Compact. (excerpt)


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