Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Michigan Juvenile Justice Reform To Battle Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare

This is a powerful quote from the Michigan Catholic Conference report on the need for juvenile
Michigan child fighting the Binsfeld monster
justice reform:

"In the mid-1990s the state passed a series of punitive laws that funneled thousands of youth into the adult criminal justice system. In addition to automatically considering all 17-year-olds as adults, Michigan expanded the number of juvenile offenses requiring an adult sentence and allowed children of any age to be criminally convicted and sent to prison. From 2003–2013, for example, over 20,000 Michigan youth were placed on adult probation, detained in jail, or imprisoned for a crime committed under the age of 18. The majority of the cases were for nonviolent offenses; some were as young as 10 years old. A disproportionate number were minority youths."
These "series of punitive laws" were called the Binsfeld Legislation and became a national model for juvenile justice.

In a nutshell, the Binsfeld Legislation was designed to provide services to youth by putting them in foster care while simultaneously billing under juvenile justice; hence, the term "double-jackets".

Still in existence today, the only way children and youth with mental health needs could access services was through the lodging of a child protective services case.

Parents were tried as "guilty until proven innocent" without charges, never able to face their imaginary accusers, to the only outcome of termination of parental rights. 

Designating poverty as a failure of a parent's moral compass, children, particularly those who historically hail from economically disparaged populations, were snatched, without any due process, and placed under the auspices of the State, to eventually linger in a continuous state of pergatory, until the age of 18 when they aged out, or ran away.

This was the new juvenile justice population for the prison industrial complex to profit.

The purpose of this particular route was to open the flood gates to billing Medicaid, with no holds barred, with the sky's the limit, to become the most pervasive policy of child welfare the nation has ever experienced.

The Binsfeld Legislation was then difussed across the country.

(EXCERPT) Act 368 of 1978 333.6232 
Waiting list for services; placement of parent in priority position. Sec. 6232. 
(1) Subject to subsection (2), if a licensee under this part maintains a waiting list for services, the licensee shall place a parent whose child has been removed from the home under the child protection laws of this state or is in danger of being removed from the home under the child protection laws of this state because of the parent's substance abuse in a priority position on the waiting list above all other applicants with substantially similar clinical conditions. (2) If a licensee receives federal substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant funds, the priority position of the parent on the waiting list granted under subsection (1) will come after a priority position on the waiting list granted under the conditions of the federal block grant. However, if the parent qualifies for priority status on the waiting list under the conditions of the federal block grant, the licensee shall place the parent in that priority position on the waiting list. 
History: Add. 1997, Act 164, Eff. Mar. 31, 1998 

It is still in existence today.

With the freight train of privatization steamrolling throughout the States, with no one providing any substantive challenge to the legitimacy of services or billing policies, except for me, juvenile justice reform is going to be slow as Medicaid fraud in child welfare continues to thrive.

Until children are included in national discussions for criminal justice reform, nothing will ever change.

Changes may be coming to Michigan's juvenile justice system

The House Criminal Justice committee is scheduled to discuss the 20-bill package starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Among other things, the package of bills would bar housing youth offenders with adult convicts and raise the age of mandatory adult sentences.

The Michigan Catholic Conference has been a leading supporter for changes to the way the state handles juvenile offenders.

Dave Maluchnick is with the MCC.

“Move from just punishment to trying to rehabilitate an individual,” says Maluchnick. 

Maluchnick says studies show "get-tough-on-crime" policies haven’t worked.

Supporters say a side benefit of the proposals would mean lower costs for the Department of Corrections. 

The bills have bipartisan support in the Legislature, but as state lawmakers tackle a crowded legislative schedule before the end of the year, it’s possible the juvenile justice bills may struggle to move forward.   

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