Innovative Project To Keep Families Together Expands In MI

Michigan Community NewsLansing, MI - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today announced the expansion of the innovative Family Impact Team (FIT) project to 11 additional counties to keep more children safe by making sure their parents are connected to programs that meet their basic needs.

The FIT project has delivered services such as food assistance, Medicaid, housing assistance and gas cards to more than 1,000 families in 12 counties so far during the program’s nine-month first phase. FIT embeds family resource specialists with child protection and foster care staff so they can help families apply for benefits and other economic support.

“This innovative approach to keeping kids safe had resulted in phenomenal success stories over the last several months,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Our FIT workers have used their ingenuity and fierce determination to ensure Michigan families stay intact and healthy. We’re excited to expand the project to even more counties and recognize it takes a committed team of MDHHS professionals working around the clock, doing everything in their power to meet people’s specific needs.”

The second phase of the FIT project is now starting in the following counties: Berrien, Clare, Delta, Dickinson, Isabella, Macomb, Menominee, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Roscommon and Saginaw. The first phase of the project includes Allegan, Barry, Chippewa, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair and Wayne counties.

The FIT approach strengthens collaboration between MDHHS’s Economic Stability Administration and its Children’s Services Administration, which protects children and provides services to their families.

“Our FIT workers are adept at leveraging a variety of community resources to benefit Michigan families who are most at risk,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the Children’s Services Administration. “Like all MDHHS workers, they also have a tremendous desire to help people in their communities.  Expanding this worthy project will allow us to help even more Michigan families.”

“By helping connect families with benefits and other resources including food assistance, Medicaid and housing assistance, FIT workers are ensuring families can thrive in Michigan,” said Dwayne Haywood, Senior Deputy Director, Economic Stability Administration. “A shortage of household resources is not the same as neglect, and the FIT program has been very successful at finding solutions for families to overcome temporary hardships and get back on their feet.”

The FIT project is part of the Keep Kids Safe Action Agenda, the department’s ongoing efforts to improve the safety and well-being of Michigan children.

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