Kent County foster care providers believe our community can do a better job of taking care of its most vulnerable members—children. Together with the Kent County government, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and other statewide public and private child welfare leaders, they researched best practices nationwide for improving the quality and consistency of services and safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families. They developed a model that encompassed those practices, and with support from the Michigan legislature and MDHHS, developed a new nonprofit organization to pilot the model.
West Michigan Partnership for Children (WMPC) is the result of those collaborative efforts and is a newly launched nonprofit in Kent County that is piloting an innovative foster care model through a contract with MDHHS that is the first of its kind in the state.
Since October 1st, in Kent County, foster care is administered by WMPC. As a private nonprofit organization, we have flexibility to creatively use funding to innovate the way services are provided. We evaluate our partners based on their ability to achieve positive outcomes for children and families. We utilize cutting-edge technology to track and monitor service and performance outcomes. And our funding is front-loaded the first year a child enters the foster care system which incentivizes permanency, allows creativity and flexibility for needed services, and rewards interventions that result in positive outcomes.
Integral to our approach is our partnership with five private licensed child placing agencies that provide foster care placements and case management to more than 800 children and youth in Kent County: Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities West Michigan, D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s, Samaritas, and Wellspring Lutheran Services. By bringing these agencies and resources together, we can leverage their expertise and work together to strengthen families to address situations that led to a child’s removal.
On October 25, 2017, we celebrated our launch with those who helped make WMPC a reality. It was a day filled with gratitude, rejoicing, and further forecast for the vision. Watch and enjoy the WMPC Launch video here.
WMPC is energized and motivated by our mission of empowering communities to create better futures for children and families through innovation and collaboration, and we know that we can’t do it alone! With the help of our partners and our community, WMPC aims to create a community of belonging, resiliency, and hope where children and families flourish.