Is Michigan's foster care system blind?

Join Us on May 19 for This Important Discussion

Samaritas leaders and Michigan's most compassionate foster care experts will discuss why it seems that foster kids of color are receiving a different level of care than their Caucasian peers. We'll also explore some of the reasons behind the disparities, and what's being done to solve this issue.

Emmy-Award-winning media personality, Christy McDonald will guide this conversation and answer questions from the audience. McDonald is a respected news veteran who has covered the news in Michigan for 25 years. She was known for her work with WXYZ TV 7 and has worked as the managing editor and anchor for WTVS Detroit PBS One Detroit. She’s produced several documentaries, live news events and has appeared numerous times as a guest on PBS NewsHour and CNN to report on Michigan politics and Detroit’s financial crisis.  

This esteemed panel includes:

  • Trisha Sverns, Director, Samaritas Foster Care
  • Demetrius Starling, executive director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Children’s Services Agency (CSA)
  • Kim Reese, director of the Michigan Race Equity Diversity Inclusion (REDI) office
  • Brenda Baker-Mbacke, CASA Director, CARE House of Oakland County

We look forward to seeing you online. Feel free to jump into the discussion with thoughtful questions or personal anecdotes. 




Registration Information
May 19, 2022 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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* Important Notice *

Earlier this year, Samaritas was under investigation by the state for allegations of abuse in our emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. We opened this shelter 26 months earlier for children from Central America crossing the border fleeing from horrible condition; we were asked to take in Afghan youth when there was no other place for them to go after the crisis in Afghanistan occurred. We accepted 19 youth in response to this request and our long-term commitment to help youth to the greatest extent possible at the time of their greatest need. Samaritas was one of several similar emergency shelters across the country asked to take in these refugee youth.

Due to the severe level of trauma they had endured, many of them required intensive therapy and counseling. As a result of the growing concern we had for the depth and breadth of those needs of the youth and the safety of our team, we made the decision to work with our referring partners to move the youth to other programs where they could access the higher level of trauma-informed care, supervision, and medical attention that they required. Due to state and federal oversight of our programs, we are unable to share specific details of the investigation but we were cleared of any abuse allegations by the state and all youth were transferred to appropriate residential placements where they could receive the care they needed. Samaritas continues to be a state and federal leader in refugee resettlement, including refugee foster care.


Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430