Editorial Summary: Michigan
Traverse City record eagle. October 23, 2022.
Editor: New youth committee is a step in the right direction
We welcome the action of Michiganstate governor to create a new committee to address systemic problems in the state’s juvenile justice system and child welfare system.
The lack of beds in children’s residential facilities is a crisis, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday as she signed the executive order establishing the Michigan Juvenile Residential Facilities Advisory Committee.
This committee has the particular task of increasing the quality of treatment. Consideration may also be given to providing more space for minors in residential facilities if they require care beyond what they can receive from community-based services at home.
She will serve in an advisory capacity to the governor of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the department that oversees the state’s child welfare system.
“The Juvenile Housing Advisory Committee will build on the recommendations of the Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform and take a comprehensive look at residency standards, staff training, case management and data collection to address the challenges children face in our housing system are,” Whitmer wrote in a statement.
The Kids in Crisis project, a joint report by Record-Eagle’s Elizabeth Brewer and Interlochen Public Radio’s Michael Livingston, documented the problems faced by young people caught up in the system.
Brewer and Livingston found that virtually every county in the state faces a shortage of places for these children. But in rural northern Michigan, distance between communities and lack of available resources make the situation far worse.
Children entering the juvenile justice system often require psychiatric treatment. But of 276 inpatient juvenile psychiatric beds in the state, only six beds serve all of northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula — and all of those beds are in Marquette.
Other children who cannot be accommodated have been sent abroad at taxpayers’ expense.
Probate judges called on the state to act months ago. Assistant Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement called the crisis “profound.”
According to the order signed Thursday, the committee will “review licensing standards for state, local and privately run juvenile justice facilities and make recommendations to improve evidence-based standards for juvenile justice settings; Reviewing staff training, service standards, length of stay policies for local detention and residential facilities, and making recommendations to improve and strengthen each facility.”
It may also develop recommendations to support a statewide strategic plan to improve youth access to behavioral health beds.
Michigan has inadequate state laws, court rules, and funding incentives to govern housing use.
“Funding internships like this is only part of the solution,” Clement said. “We need high, evidence-based standards, a commitment to continuous quality improvement, ways to measure progress, alternatives to out-of-home placement, and a plan to ensure we allocate resources effectively to provide the safest, most effective youth accommodation system.”
This new state committee has its marching orders. It must meet soon and act quickly.
Iron Mountain Daily News. October 21, 2022.
Editorial: Watch out for student loan debt relief scams
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding Michiganders to be on the lookout for scammers after the US Department of Education made available the Biden administration’s announced student loan debt relief application.
Here are the highlights of the announced debt relief:
— The current student loan repayment pause was extended a final time to December 31, with payments resuming in January.
— The US Department of Education provides up to $20,000 of debt relief with Department of Education loans for Pell grant recipients and up to $10,000 of debt relief for non-Pell grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. The relief application is available at https://studentaid.gov/.
– The previously announced limited waiver of the Public Service Loan Scheme (PSLF) is in effect until October 31. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining federal student loan balance after 120 full-time payments to federal, state, tribal, or local government; Military; or a qualified non-profit organization. The limited PSLF waiver allows borrowers to obtain credit for past repayment periods that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. Visit the Government Loan Forgiveness website for more information on eligibility and requirements.
Nessel encourages residents to follow these tips to avoid scams designed to take advantage of borrowers’ eagerness to get debt relief.
For more information about this facility, visit the Federal Student Aid website, https://studentaid.gov/, and/or your loan servicer. Do not provide personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages purporting to be from either the federal government or a company claiming to be able to assist in obtaining the advertised relief.
— Do not agree to pay anyone for assistance in obtaining this relief.
– No rush. To trick you into acting fast, scammers say that if you don’t sign up right away, you could miss out on qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness programs. Take your time and check it out.
— Do not share your FSA ID. Some scammers claim that they need your FSA ID to help you, but do not share your FSA ID with anyone. Dishonest people could use this information to break into your account and steal your identity.
“The opportunity for debt relief is also an opportunity for scammers to gain access to your personal and financial information,” Nessel said. “It is important to remember that the federal government will not proactively contact you via email or text to take advantage of this program. Residents should rely on legitimate sources of information and not be taken in by news that creates a sense of urgency or demands financial information.”
Anyone wishing to report potential scams can do so with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.
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