September 25, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

MI Launches New Pilot Focused on Foster Care Outcomes

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says there are more than 13,000 children in foster care in Michigan. Later this week, the MDHHS launches a new pilot program that “will support innovation and provide greater incentives for foster care and adoption service providers to meet outcomes that benefit children and families.”

The new program, which has been in the works since it was initiated by the Michigan legislature in 2013, is a five-year performance-based funding model that will begin in Kent County. If it’s successful we will likely see it modeled in communities throughout the state.

The West Michigan Partnership for Children (WMPC) is the key component to this initiative, it launched with support from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

In the new pilot, the WMPC will facilitate foster care from the MDHHS, administering the work through five local agencies: Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities of West Michigan, D.A. Blodgett St. John’s, Samaritas and Wellspring, many of which are supported by CMF members.

How the WMPC works:

  • The new model pays the WMPC a case rate to enable the agency to create services tailored to the needs of the children and their families.
  • The case rate decreases the longer a child is in foster care, which is aimed at incentivizing efforts to connect the child with a permanent home or reunite them with their family (if the scenario is deemed safe).  
  • The MDHHS says this new model is different from Michigan’s current system which pays providers a per-diem rate based on how many days a child is in foster care.
  • The WMPC will administer performance-based contracts with foster care and service providers that are grounded in consistent performance indicators and outcomes.  
  • The WMPC says it “facilitates a funding model that prioritizes permanency, allows creativity and flexibility for needed services, and rewards early interventions that result in positive outcomes.”
  • It utilizes technology for real-time case management and “predictive analytics that identify client needs and mobilize resources to prevent crises.”
  • The initiative will be measuring key performance indicators such as: maltreatment in care, permanency within 12 months of entering foster care, re-entry to foster care and placement stability.

The MDHHS says the performance-based funding model is not intended to reduce child welfare costs, but rather leverage resources more effectively. For instance, as mentioned, the case rate decreases the longer a child is in foster care, the agency says the intention is to speed up the process for the child to have a loving, permanent home. The savings that may result from a child being safely reunited with their family can be directed to reinvest in services and support for other children entering foster care.

MDHHS says there will be an independent evaluation of the pilot to measure the outcomes, cost and effectiveness and then the agency will determine next steps for the program.

Want more?

Read more about the pilot from the MDHHS.

Learn more about the West Michigan Partnership for Children.







A Better Deal for Rural America: Michigan Perspective

How can we best leverage resources to foster economic development, growth and opportunities in our rural communities? For Michiganders in urban, suburban or rural areas, it’s important as 67 percent of our state is considered rural and these communities are integral to our shared economic prosperity.

The Alliance for Economic Success, an economic development organization serving several counties in Northern Michigan, released a statement saying that business, nonprofit and government leaders from around the country recently met on Capitol Hill to “confirm priorities and share solutions involving a national agenda for rural America.”

A consultant for Alliance for Economic Success, Tim Ervin, who’s also a CMF member serving on the Manistee County Community Foundation’s board, was part of that national conversation representing the Alliance at the national summit, A Better Deal for Rural America.

Ervin told CMF in a phone interview, the summit was a substantive, productive and promising conversation about the needs of rural America in several areas including housing, infrastructure, talent and retention and access to high-speed and reliable internet.

“These issues were being talked about in a totally different way than they have in the past which I think is very encouraging,” Ervin said. “There’s a better understanding of what needs to be done and people are now beginning to put it into a rural context, that our tax base looks different, our economies look different, and yet rural areas and their economies are so important to quality of life as well as economic well-being. We need to give a whole lot more consideration for rural areas when we consider the whole.”

The importance of reauthorizing the Farm Bill was also center stage in D.C., especially as the USDA Rural Development programs exist within that legislation and provide critical support to rural communities.

“In many ways, rural Michigan, rural America is remarkably dependent upon USDA Rural Development as part of the economic engine,” Ervin said.

USDA Rural Development investments in Michigan include:

  • In 2016 in Michigan, the USDA Rural Development Rural Business and Cooperative Programs invested nearly $37 million in rural Michigan businesses, supporting 64 projects.
  • The USDA Rural Development Housing Programs has provided $673 million in loans to improve rural housing in Michigan.
  • The USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Programs invested nearly $81 million in 2016 in Michigan schools, emergency services and other community facilities.

Other key takeaways from the rural summit include:

  • Housing: Developing low to moderate income housing in rural areas is key to drawing in talent, individuals and their families. The Rural Data Portal shows there’s about a 28 percent vacancy in housing in rural Michigan. Ervin said the housing deficit is an issue in Northern Michigan. 
  • Infrastructure: There’s a smaller tax base to fund these projects than in urban areas. Ervin said those at the summit agreed they want to be sure their rural communities have shovel-ready infrastructure projects once the infrastructure spending bill is finalized to better position them to receive federal funding in 2018.
  • Education: Examining our education system and models to ensure they better prepare our students for a changing workforce was a topic at the summit, as attendees look to gather insights from other states and efforts.
  • Next steps: Ervin said the individuals and organizations at the rural summit plan on working together, across state lines, tracking each other’s progress and challenges in various areas to further shape and model strategies for our rural communities.

“We need to not only work hard to bring solid programs that we really need to rural Michigan but also to work with our communities to build cooperation and partnerships to maximize what we can so they in turn can make the best use and biggest impact with those resources,” Ervin said.

Next month at Our Common Future conference, CMF members can join a deep-dive conversation examining the interconnectedness of rural and urban communities in a breakout session developed by the CMF Rural Philanthropy Affinity Group, Strategies for Shared Prosperity in Rural America.

Want more?

Connect with CMF’s Rural Philanthropy Affinity Group.







PolicyLink Examines Racial Generation Gap

We’re getting a look at the data and research that’s highlighting an emerging equity conversation around two projected population changes that will take place in the coming decades.

PolicyLink is sharing its new brief: Bridging the Racial Generation Gap Is Key to America’s Economic Future.

The brief illustrates two shifts in our population in the U.S., in the coming years we will have more senior citizens than ever and our population will also be majority people of color, demonstrating “These twin forces ... are the widening demographic divergence between our youngest and our oldest: a phenomenon known as the racial generation gap.”

The racial generation gap by numbers:

  • By 2033, seniors will outnumber youth for the first time in this country’s history.
  • By 2044 the U.S. population will be majority of people of color. The brief shares that our youth are already more diverse, with more than 50 percent of those under 10 children of color.
  • Michigan has a racial generation gap just below 20 percent. Our state is one of about 18 states with the gap below 20 percent. Arizona has the highest rate at more than 40 percent.

Why it matters:

PolicyLink shares that data has shown a racial generation gap can have a negative impact on communities, especially when it comes to equitable school funding, programs and support for low-income and children of color.

  • While seniors may invest in their community to support youth, the brief states that research has shown “America’s seniors are less likely to support spending on youth when they are from different racial groups.”
  • Data shows that historically “states and counties with larger racial generation gaps tend to spend less on K-12 education on a per-capita basis.”
  • The research points out how such a racial generation gap in the future could negatively impact children of color who already face more barriers than white children as they’re more likely to grow up in poverty.
  • As seniors age out of our workforce we need a diverse, robust and highly-skilled workforce to move our economy forward, therefore the younger generation will need equitable support.
  • Seniors also receive benefits that are funded by taxpaying individuals who are in the workforce.

PolicyLink’s recommendations to address the racial generation gap include:

  • Ensure equitable school funding on the state and federal level. Michigan’s 2018 state budget increased for per-pupil funding ranging from $60 to $120, with the biggest increases going to the lowest-funded districts. A $120 million increase in spending on at-risk students was also included, that’s nearly a third more than the previous levels. The budget also expanded eligibility, allowing another 87,000 children to be considered eligible.
  • Invest in youth beyond school. The brief mentions Promise neighborhoods which provide children in low-income areas pathways to education, career training programs and opportunities for youth, universal Pre-K and reforming “zero-tolerance” school discipline policies. Several CMF members are supporting programs and innovative college funding models for Michigan students, along with supporting career training and jobs programs. Michigan recently removed the mandate for school districts to utilize a zero-tolerance discipline policy.
  • Build multigenerational communities and coalitions for change. Engage seniors and youth in alliances and support campaigns that raise awareness about the importance of investing in youth. Support multigenerational housing and community programming to create platforms for social engagement for youth and seniors.

Want more?

Read the full brief by PolicyLink.

Check out more Michigan data from the National Equity Atlas.








CMF announces first-ever Impact Investing Expert-in-Residence and Fellow

CMF has announced the appointment of our first-ever Impact Investing Expert-in-Residence (EIR), Jennifer Oertel and Impact Investing Fellow, Elizabeth Garlow.

Our new impact investing team members will serve as the impact investing resource hub for Michigan, providing assistance and resources to members, as well as anyone located in Michigan and those seeking to make impact investments in our state. They will seek to further develop the emerging practice throughout Michigan and connect with the national and international field of impact investing.

Oertel leads the Tax-Exempt Organizations and impact investing practice at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, PC. Her legal practice has been nationally recognized for its impact investing work, as she has worked with groups advancing impact investing on a national level as well as locally in Michigan.

In her role as EIR, Oertel will support and further develop the impact investing ecosystem throughout Michigan while bridging communication and knowledge with the national and international field of impact investing.

Oertel will provide CMF’s Impact Investing Committee and CMF members comprehensive findings on data, impact investing deals and any gaps that are identified to inform future work in the field.

She will also lead in developing a database of impact investments throughout the state to better connect the work that’s completed and ongoing.

Garlow has been involved in social enterprise and impact investing around the world. She also served as the executive director of MI Corps, the organization that founded the first-ever social enterprise showcase and fellowship program that has served as a model across the country. In her role as impact investing fellow, she will provide outreach and assessments from the field and help connect those involved or interested in the work.

These appointments come following CMF’s announcement of the launch of Investing for Impact: The Michigan Collaborative. The Michigan Collaborative is an initiative managed by Community Capital Management (CCM), that invests in targeted fixed income investments in affordable housing, small business lending, and civic infrastructure - all targeted toward investor's individual respective desired geographies and areas of impact within Michigan through CCM’s publicly traded mutual fund, the CRA Qualified Investment Institutional Shares (CRANX) fund.

Want more?

Set up time with CMF’s new impact investing team today. 

Connect with Jennifer Oertel.

Connect with Elizabeth Garlow.

See impact investing at work in our CMF member video series.

Learn more about Investing for Impact: The Michigan Collaborative.


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