Family Impact Team project expands in UP

LANSING — Dickinson, Delta and Menominee counties are now part of the Family Impact Team project, which is intended to keep more children safe by making sure their parents are connected to programs that meet their basic needs, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The FIT project has delivered services such as food assistance, Medicaid, housing assistance and gas cards to more than 1,000 families in 12 counties so far during the program’s nine-month first phase. FIT embeds family resource specialists with child protection and foster care staff so they can help families apply for benefits and other economic support.

“This innovative approach to keeping kids safe had resulted in phenomenal success stories over the last several months,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a news release. “Our FIT workers have used their ingenuity and fierce determination to ensure Michigan families stay intact and healthy. We’re excited to expand the project to even more counties and recognize it takes a committed team of MDHHS professionals working around the clock, doing everything in their power to meet people’s specific needs.”

In addition to Dickinson, Delta and Menominee counties, the second phase of the FIT project is also starting in Berrien, Clare, Isabella, Macomb, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Roscommon and Saginaw counties. The first phase of the project includes Allegan, Barry, Chippewa, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair and Wayne counties.

The FIT approach strengthens collaboration between MDHHS’s Economic Stability Administration and its Children’s Services Administration, which protects children and provides services to their families.

“Our FIT workers are adept at leveraging a variety of community resources to benefit Michigan families who are most at risk,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the Children’s Services Administration.

“By helping connect families with benefits and other resources including food assistance, Medicaid and housing assistance, FIT workers are ensuring families can thrive in Michigan,” said Dwayne Haywood, senior deputy director, Economic Stability Administration. “A shortage of household resources is not the same as neglect, and the FIT program has been very successful at finding solutions for families to overcome temporary hardships and get back on their feet.”

The FIT project is part of the Keep Kids Safe Action Agenda, the department’s ongoing efforts to improve the safety and well-being of Michigan children. More information is available at https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/adult-child-serv/abuse-neglect/childrens/keep-kids-safe-action-agenda.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today