The foster care system in Michigan hosts youth from all walks of life. In most cases, the system is intended to be a temporary solution to issues of safety, abuse, or neglect in the residence. Birth parents are generally expected to make an effort to remedy the situation and improve the home environment before they can be reunified with their children, unless the decision is made to allow family members or adoptive parents to raise them. In many cases, the case of a child placed temporarily into a new home can take years to resolve, creating instability and discomfort for children unable to return to their families. While there are many circumstances which may require the mediation of social workers and foster care agencies in Michigan, the following are a few common reasons youth are removed from their families and admitted into the system in hopes of attaining adequate accommodations.
In some cases, parents may decide to relinquish their rights to their child. This determination can be made for any number of reasons, and can result in the child being placed in the system unless another viable solution is found. An example of relinquished rights may be seen when mothers do not know the identity of the child’s father and decide to give the child up for adoption after delivery.
Although many assume children are only placed with temporary guardians because of abuse or negligence, this is not always the case. When caregivers fall ill and have no alternate source of childcare, a foster care agency may be considered.
In the event that a parent is at risk for incarceration, a child may be temporarily placed into the home of a temporary guardian by a social worker until contact can be established with a friend or family member.
Another motivation for a child’s placement into the system follows the death of one or both parents. In some instances, the child can be reunited with their birth family once proper arrangements are made, but there are circumstances in which relatives are unavailable to raise orphaned youth.
Unfortunately, some children experience abuse in the home, whether direct or indirect. Youth that are exposed to domestic abuse or forms of sexual abuse will be placed in the system until conditions improve.
Birth parents which leave their children alone for extended periods of time, fail to provide nourishment or proper medical care, and force children to live in unsanitary conditions are considered negligent. In comparison to the other mentioned reasons for a child to be taken away from their parents, neglect is the most common.