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December/January 2019Vol. 19, No. 10Individualized Advocacy to Support Families in Detroit

To prevent the removal of children from their homes and expedite permanency when removals do occur, the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy (CFA), a project of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, provides individualized, multidisciplinary advocacy for families in need. CFA utilizes the services of three individuals to support families: an attorney, a social worker, and a family advocate. The attorney provides legal assistance to help reduce obstacles to permanency, such as establishing a guardianship for a relative, obtaining a personal protection order to keep a mother and child safe, or settling a landlord/tenant dispute that could put a child at risk for removal. The social worker assesses family strengths and needs and provides families with referrals and case management. Lastly, the family advocate, an individual who has experienced the child welfare system, helps families navigate the systems.

An evaluation of the project found that, between July 2009 and June 2012, CFA achieved its legal objectives in 98 percent of its cases, with no children served entering foster care. Additionally, CFA staff were able to remove barriers to permanency in 97 percent of cases where children had already entered foster care, with 88 percent of cases being closed by the courts.

To read more about CFA, refer to Promoting Safe and Stable Families: Detroit Center for Family Advocacy at