Chance at Childhood conducts a number of ongoing projects in cooperation with other agencies. At the current time, Chance at Childhood is involved in the following projects:
Dad’s Legal Clinic Series
The CAC, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Human Services, Proud Fathers-Proud Parents Program, continues its Dad’s Legal Clinic Series across Michigan providing free information and legal advice from experts covering topics in child custody, child support, parenting time, and paternity establishment. CAC plans to continue holding clinics throughout Michigan in the fall and spring in order to help noncustodial and custodial fathers understand their rights and responsibilities in caring for their children.
Prisoner Support Adjustment Project
Chance at Childhood works with the State Court Administrative Office to carry out the Prisoner Support Adjustment Project. This project seeks to overcome barriers that restrict court access and case processing for incarcerated parents needing support order modification. The Project also seeks to secure orders that contain appropriate current support amounts and include prospective provisions for post-incarceration financial and medical support of their children.
The SCAO estimates that the Intensive Processing group will consist of approximately 800 prisoners from targeted jurisdictions capable of handling video appearances who request representation. That group will likely result in at least 400 hearings utilizing video appearances and identify 300 non-hearing cases needing administrative closure or settlement orders. One-half of intensive processing cases will come from Wayne County.
Participating law school clinics agree to handle the legal representation of qualifying assigned cases. The students assigned should be capable of reviewing cases, contacting and communicating with litigants, gathering and analyzing information, arranging settlements, preparing and filing pleadings, appearing at hearings, and entering orders.
Ingham County Supervised Parenting Time Project
The Chance at Childhood Program works with Ingham County Friend of the Court to conduct the Supervised Parenting Time program. This program seeks to address the needs of non-custodial parents and their children through the provision of educated, trained, and reliable supervisors, the dissemination of parent and child activity books, and support through referrals to parent education classes.
Numerous domestic relations cases give rise to the need for parenting time that is supervised by an objective party. The parenting time supervisor is responsible for ensuring the child's safety, and for reporting observations to the Court. With this in mind, law students and graduate social work students are trained on a variety of topics affecting children and families requiring a supervised parenting time order. Other aspects of this program address the circumstances that lead to the need for supervised parenting time such as parent education, free legal consultation for parents, and the creation of material to educate children about separation and divorce.
It is our sincere belief that the program will provide a safe parenting time environment for children; educate the non-custodial parent in appropriate parenting skills; provide and evaluation tool for the court, and an educational experience for MSU students.
Kinship Care Project
In 1999, the Michigan State University School of Social Work established the Kinship Care Project. This project explored the agency and legislative policy framework in which kinship placements are made, as well as the experiences and needs of kinship care providers in several mid-Michigan counties - primarily Ingham, Eaton, Clinton and Jackson.
Today, the mission of the Kinship Care Education Center is to support Michigan's kinship families by utilizing research to provide training, educational tools, and outreach for communities, agencies, and individuals involved in supporting kinship families. This mission will be accomplished by:
- Providing training to individuals who work with kinship famiiles
- Developing educational tools and resources for kinship caregivers
- Raising the awareness of individuals, groups, communities, and government to the benefits and challenges of kinship care
For more information on the Kinship Care Education Center, visit: http://www.kinship.msu.edu/