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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Report: Michigan lagging when it comes to tracking child welfare programs

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A new report says problems with the data management system Michigan uses to track its child welfare programs is one reason the state is still under court oversight. 

The report says the system has been unreliable when it comes to collecting data vital to measuring improvements to the state's child welfare system.

This comes one year after the new data management system went online. 

Sara Bartosz is lead legal counsel for Children's Rights, the child advocacy group that sued the state over its child welfare practices. She said the new system has led to backlogs as well as worker frustration and turnover.

“[The system] is slowing down the actual process of engaging families and kids with social work," she said. "The workers are behind a computer screen trying to tackle this stuff.” 

Bartosz said reliable data collection is crucial to the state's improvement process.

“It’s really vital that we reduce the number of blind spots to be able to determine what needs to be done and where are the priorities,” she said. 

Michigan's child welfare system has been under federal oversight since 2008.

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