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Granholm signs bill protecting foster children

LANSING: Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation that will further protect children in Michigan beginning January 1, 2008, by requiring criminal background checks to be conducted on a national level for all licensees of children’s foster care homes.  The new law brings Michigan into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.

“We can leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting children,” Granholm said.  “We must ensure that as a state, we are doing everything we can to keep kids safe no matter where they are.”

Under Public Act 218 of 2007, sponsored by state Senator Gerald Van Woerkom (R-Norton Shores ), the Michigan Department of Human Services will be required to conduct national criminal background checks on all licensees in prospective foster homes.  The background checks will include a fingerprint of foster home licensees and an Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) check of all household members 18 years or older.  If an applicant or adult resident in the household has been convicted of a listed offense, a foster care license will not be issued or renewed. 

The other new laws (Public Acts 217, 219, and 220 of 2007), sponsored by state Senator Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods), protect children by expanding the facilities licensed by the state to include children’s campsites and children’s therapeutic group homes.

“We want to ensure that Michigan is the safest place in the nation for families to live and children to learn,” said Granholm.  “Thanks to the leadership of Senators Van Woerkom and Jacobs, we now have important new tools to protect our kids.”

Granholm has been a long-time advocate on child protection issues. Other initiatives that have been imposed under the Granholm administration include expansion of automated background checks for all child care providers, forensic interviewing training for Children’s Protective Services workers, increased staffing for children’s services, revised and strengthened day care regulations, and implementation of safe sleep recommendations in day care settings and foster homes.





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