Thursday, December 17, 2009

Isn't It Better?

This is a comment I posted on the Detroit News article: Lax home-school laws put kids at risk

Michigan must understand that it must begin to distance itself from its current child welfare system, for it has proven to the public that it is fully dysfunctional.

Instead of perpetuating a mindset of injecting more power and authority in a system that is devoid of any regulation, itself, let's look at alternative solutions:

In order to even begin to open discussion to address the issues with homeschooling, the state must stand up and admit that these anomalies of the most extreme and horrific situations of malice to children happen under the auspices of the state.

Even though the Office of Children's Ombudsman advocates for children, it possess relatively little authority to effectuate any advocacy for children.

Not all complaints filed with the Office of Children's Ombudsman are accepted as they must make it past the intake officer, one singular individual makes "on her feet" decisions whether to accept a complaint.

Next, if, by chance, a complaint makes it to the decision process whether or not to initiate investigation, the Ombudsman can, with arbitrary and capricious decision making powers, deem the complaint "Valid-Not-Opened". This means there were violations substantiated, but the Ombudsman will not take any action.

Then, when the Ombudsman finds violations of federal and/or state law during the course of an investigation, the Ombudsman, being mandated by law is suppose to refer to the counties prosecutor or the Attorney General.

Not one referral has ever been made in the history of the state.

Assumptions can only be made that if, referrals were made to the Attorney General, as he is the proper venue in dealing with Wayne County as the Attorney General prosecutes all child welfare juvenile cases, the Attorney General would have to animate its Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to proceed with the investigations of violations, prosecution and recoveries of Medicaid fraud.

The Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit does not and will not touch Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare. The largest component of funding in child welfare is what is called Targeted Case Management, a Medicaid funded activity. It should also be noted that Michigan is the only state that does not separate its Medicaid expenditures when reporting the amounts spent on children and those amounts on adults.

Another area of Medicaid in child welfare with service providers. It is impossible to validate whether the services were actually provided to children in foster care, adoption, or juvenile justice or if the services were provided by phantom organizations.

With the few examples that have been provided, it is quite evident that the policy recommendations of the Office of Children's Ombudsman should be scrutinized.

Home Schooling Regulation Alternatives

Cyber Schools: The factory school model has been in decay, as evident in the career opportunities in the state. The focus needs to be in technology .

Michigan has already demonstrated its ability to accept innovation in its educational system. This can be seen in the surge of online schools. If a child is not able, for whatever reason, to attend a traditional classroom setting, the child may then be enrolled in the school district in its cyber school program.

The child can then be provided computers, equipment and internet access, all at the expense of the school. The child can then be provided in-home services through visits with mentors, teachers, case managers, and any other professional that can assist the child with their learning objective.

This type of schooling opens multiple federal funding opportunities that can provide resources to encourage the successful progress of the child's education without the intrusive and dysfunctional operations of child protective services.

The child, enrolled in the cyber school, can then be included in the school district student counts, allowing an increase in funding. That increase in funding is coupled with the fact that schools do not have to maintain physical buildings and fixed costs of operations.

Simply put, it is cheaper to buy a child a computer than to maintain a building.

The child's grades and progress is then monitored and recorded.

The child then possesses a tool to go forth in his or her future.

Is it not better to give a man a fishing pole and teach him how to fish?

Is it not better to give the Department of Education the opportunity to protect the future of our children, because before you are a man, you are a child.

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