Editorial Summary: Michigan

Traverse City Record-Eagle. October 23, 2022.

Editorial: The new juvenile committee is a step in the right direction

We salute the action of Michigangovernor to create a new committee to address systemic issues in the state’s juvenile justice and child welfare system.

The shortage of beds in children’s residential facilities is a crisis, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday when she signed the order establishing Michigan’s Juvenile Residential Facilities Advisory Committee.

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This committee is specifically responsible for increasing the quality of care. It may also consider creating more space for minors in residential facilities when they need care beyond what they can get at home through community services.

He will act in an advisory capacity to the governor within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the department that oversees the state’s child welfare system.

“The Juvenile Residential Facility Advisory Committee will build on the recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force and will thoroughly review residency standards, staff training, case management and collection. of data to address the challenges children in our residential system face,” Whitmer wrote. in a report.

The “Kids in Crisis” project, a collaborative report by Elizabeth Brewer of the Record-Eagle and Michael Livingston of Interlochen Public Radio, documented the problems faced by minors who find themselves entangled in this system.

What Brewer and Livingston found is that virtually every county in the state is struggling with a lack of placements for these children. But, in rural northern Michigan, the distance between communities and the lack of available resources make the situation worse.

Children entering the juvenile justice system often need mental health treatment. But, of 276 inpatient youth psychiatric beds in the state, only six beds serve all of northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula — and all of them are in Marquette.

Other children for whom no placement could be found were sent out of state at taxpayer expense.

Probate judges implored the state to act months ago. Michigan Supreme Court Associate Justice Elizabeth Clement called the crisis “profound.”

The committee, according to the order signed Thursday, will review “licensing standards for state-run, locally-run and privately run juvenile justice facilities and make recommendations to improve evidence-based standards for placements in juvenile justice facilities; review staff training, service standards, length of stay guidelines for local custodial and residential facilities and make recommendations to improve and strengthen them.

It can also develop recommendations to support a statewide strategic plan to increase minors’ access to behavioral health beds.

Michigan has inadequate state laws, court rules, and financial incentives to guide the use of residential investments.

“Funding such investments is only part of the solution,” Clément said. “We need to have high, evidence-based standards, a commitment to continuous quality improvement, ways to measure progress, alternatives to out-of-home placements and a plan to ensure we allocate resources effectively to build the country’s safest, most efficient residential placement system for minors.

This new State Committee has its marching orders. It must meet soon and act expeditiously.

Iron Mountain Daily News. October 21, 2022.

Editorial: Beware of scams targeting student debt relief

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel reminds Michiganders to be on the lookout for scammers now that the U.S. Department of Education has made available the request for student debt relief announced by the Biden administration. .

Here are the highlights of the announced debt relief:

– The current student loan repayment pause has been extended one last time until December 31, with payments resuming in January.

– The U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt forgiveness to non- Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is below $125,000 or $250,000 for households. The waiver application is available at https://studentaid.gov/.

– The previously announced waiver of the Public Service Limited Lending Program, or PSLF, is still in effect until Oct. 31. , state, tribal or local government; military; or a qualifying non-profit organization. The PSLF Limited Waiver allows borrowers to receive credit for prior repayment periods that would otherwise not qualify for the PSLF. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness website.

Nessel encourages residents to follow these tips to avoid scams aimed at taking advantage of borrowers’ eagerness to get debt relief.

For more information on this relief, go to the Federal Student Aid website, https://studentaid.gov/, and/or their loan officer. Do not provide personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages purporting to be from the federal government or a company claiming to be able to help obtain advertised assistance.

— Do not agree to pay anyone for help in order to get that help.

“Don’t be in a hurry. To get you to act fast, scammers say you might not qualify for repayment plans, loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness programs if you don’t sign up right away. Take your time and check it out.

— Do not give your FSA ID. Some scammers claim they need your FSA ID to help you, but don’t share your FSA ID with anyone. Dishonest people could use this information to access your account and steal your identity.

“The possibility of debt forgiveness is also an opportunity for scammers to try to access your personal and financial information,” Nessel said. “It is important to remember that the federal government will not proactively email or text you to take advantage of this program. Residents should rely on legitimate sources of information and not fall for messages that create a sense of urgency or demand financial information.

Those wishing to report potential scams can do so to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.

Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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