MDHHS begins partnershipto find forever homes for children in foster care

MDHHS begins partnershipto find forever homes for children in foster care

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Press Release



CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112,

MDHHS begins partnership with Dave Thomas Foundation to find forever homes for children in foster care more quickly

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is getting a boost to its efforts to find loving adoptive homes for children more quickly from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

MDHHS and the foundation, a national nonprofit started by the fast food chain founder, are announcing Michigan’s participation in the Foundation’s signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids®, which will on finding adoptive homes for children who have been in foster care the longest and cannot safely return to their families. The partnership funds 37 adoption professionals to serve youth at highest risk of aging out of foster care, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.

“Each day a child spends in foster care waiting for a permanent family is too long,” said JooYeun Chang, executive director of the Children’s Services Agency within MDHHS. “Wendy’s Wonderful Kids has demonstrated success at finding families for children who have waited in foster care the longest, and we are thankful for the opportunity to expand this program in Michigan.”

Also participating in the project are two existing MDHHS child welfare partners – Orchards Children’s Services and Judson Center Child & Family Services. Those two partners will employ adoption resource consultants who are being trained to implement the Dave Thomas Foundation’s evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model. The model focuses on finding an adoptive family from the child’s known network. Prior to the expansion of the program in Michigan, there were  three positions already in place at Spaulding for Children and St. Vincent Catholic Charities.

“We look forward to working with the State of Michigan as well as Orchards and the Judson Center to serve more children in foster care who are often overlooked and need our help more than ever,” said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “No child should face the COVID-19 crisis, or any other, without the stability and support of a permanent, loving home.”

A rigorous, five-year national evaluation found that a child referred to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is up to three times more likely to be adopted. Based on this evaluation and a successful pilot of the program, Ohio became the first state to expand Wendy’s Wonderful Kids statewide in 2012. In 2017, the Foundation launched a 12-year business plan to fully scale the program across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Nearing the end of phase one of the plan, statewide expansion is underway in Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and now, Michigan.

To date, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids has helped to find adoptive homes for more than 9,500 children across North America, including 195 youth in Michigan.

“We are dedicated to finding forever families for children in foster care,” said Rhonda Parker, director of development for Orchards Children’s Services. “Partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in these challenging times will allow us to help even more children and adoptive families.”

Khadija Walker-Fobbs, chief strategy officer of the Judson Center added, “Judson Center is elated to be able to expand the crucial work of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. Any time we can deepen supports for children in Michigan through partnerships, it is cause for celebration.”

Coronavirus-Focused Virtual Business Workshops

Coronavirus-Focused Virtual Business Workshops

Coronavirus-Focused Virtual Business Workshops Among Several Offered in August by County’s Small Business Team

Pontiac, Michigan – Business owners and entrepreneurs who may have had their operations or aspirations interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic have a chance to get back on track with the help of expert business counselors from Oakland County’s small business team.

The center is offering a series of workshops as part of its August schedule that focus on business strategies for responding to the pandemic, including:

  • Starting a Business
  • Pivoting Your Business to Thrive in a New Environment
  • Market Research Basics During the Coronavirus Crisis – Consumers Have Changed, Will You?
  • How to Write a Business Plan in the New Economy

“Our economic development small business team is ready to help you and your business through the pandemic or help you formalize your entrepreneurial vision,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “These workshops give useful direction and strategies to help business owners chart a course for success. I encourage business owners and entrepreneurs to take advantage of these classes.”

All workshops are free unless otherwise noted and require pre-registration. The August workshop schedule is:

A 360° Perspective on Your Business
August 4 | 11 a.m. – noon | Register Here Cost: Free
Sometimes taking a step back is more important than taking a step forward. This virtual workshop will help you prioritize business activities when everything seems like an emergency. Get introduced to a suite of visual tools (course materials) to quickly evaluate your business and how to grow your business. This workshop is for existing businesses.

Starting a Business
August 5 | 9 – 11 a.m. | Register Here Cost: Free
Thinking about starting a business during the era of COVID-19? We can help. This virtual workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced along with the steps to get started. If you are ready to start your business, we are ready to help. This workshop is for startup businesses.

Startup Cash Flow Analysis – Don’t Get in Over Your Head
August 11 | 11 a.m. – Noon | Register Here Cost: Free
Get ahead of the curve, prepare for the next steps and don’t get in over your head. This virtual workshop helps new entrepreneurs gain a better understanding of the cash demands required to successfully start a business. With 50 percent of small businesses failing within the first five years, proper startup cash flow analysis is paramount to a successful launch. Concepts found in the Startup Cash Analysis Workbook (course materials) and estimating cash needs will be covered. Don’t be astatistic. Register today. This workshop is for pre-start businesses.

The Five Steps to Networking Mastery 2020
August 11 | 9 – 11:30 a.m. | Register Here Cost: $40
We have all heard that it is not what you know but whom you know. BARNACLES! It’s all about how you are known. This brief, impactful training will teach you how to become an individual to whom people want to refer more business. Consider attending if you are frustrated with your current networking; uncomfortable networking but need to do it more; or have a new position and want to increase your pipeline. The better we get at networking, the better our network. Presented by Terry Bean, founder of Networked Inc. and Motor City Connect.

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
August 12 | 9 – 11 a.m. | Register Here Cost: Free
If your business is in Oakland County and you need alternative financing, consider a CEED Lending Small Business Loan. The workshop introduces you to the requirements and process necessary to qualify for a CEED loan. CEED Lending is an initiative of Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.

Pivoting Your Business to Thrive in a New Environment
August 13 | 1 – 2 p.m. | Register Here Cost: Free
Successful businesses pivot to adjust to changing times. New business realities due to COVID-19 require that many new and well-established businesses re-evaluate their business models. This virtual workshop covers three areas of your business that hold clues on how to successfully pivot your business and stay alive. The difference between success and failure may lie in the approach itself. This
workshop is for existing and startup businesses.

Market Research Basics During the Coronavirus Crisis:
Consumers have Changed, Will You?
August 18 | 1 – 2 p.m. | Register Here Cost: Free
New customer expectations necessitate changes in business practices. This virtual workshop is not designed to predict the “new normal” but to help you understand customer expectations, incomes and spending habits during the era of COVID-19. Learn more about changes in consumer behavior for business-to-customer (B2C) businesses, identify consumer behaviors that are likely to stick long term and market resources to help reach and retain customers. This workshop is for existing businesses.

From Good Idea to Great Concept
August 19 | 9 – 11 a.m. | Register Here Cost: Free
A great idea is just the first step along an entrepreneurial journey. Learn how to take your idea and build a great business concept that you can implement. Hear how to move from idea to concept and how successful entrepreneurs adjust their concept to give themselves the best chance at creating a successful business. This workshop is for startup businesses.

Projecting Cash Flow – Overcoming Business Interruptions and Beyond
August 25 | 1 – 2 p.m. | Register Here Cost: Free
This may be the most important class a small business owner will ever take. This virtual workshop helps you gain a greater understanding of the cash demands required to successfully manage a business. Cash flow for normal, emergency and recovery scenarios are covered, including use and concepts of the Cash Flow Projection Workbook (course materials). A good cash flow management
system is paramount to the success of your business. This workshop is for new and existing businesses.

How to Write A Business Plan in The New Economy
August 26 | 11 a.m. – Noon | Register Here Cost: Free
Doing business in the era of COVID-19 might require changes in your business plan, the way you market your business and the way employees interact with customers. This virtual class i for those who need to re-invent their businesses, require a new business plan during the
COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If COVID-19 has turned your business model topsy-turvy, this information is for you. This workshop is for existing and startup businesses.

LEO Launches Digital Hub to Help Michigan Workers

LEO Launches Digital Hub to Help Michigan Workers

New website helps Michigan workers easily connect to online certification and degree programs including free training and work readiness tools

July 28, 2020

Contact: Jason Moon, 517-282-0041

The Coronavirus crisis has created record unemployment across the country and a complicated employment landscape in Michigan. Now more than ever, Michigan workers who possess advanced skills will be better positioned to get and keep higher-paying and more stable jobs.

To that end, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has developed a digital hub to connect residents with online learning opportunities and other training resources. Whether one is looking to return to work, explore in-demand careers, learn new skills, or take the first step toward a degree or certificate, the hub has information to help Michigan workers expand their opportunities in an evolving economy.

The digital hub, features a range of online learning and career exploration options – including free opportunities – for Michigan residents to consider while navigating the Covid-19 economy in the coming weeks and months, when in-person learning opportunities may be limited. The virtual resource is a collaborative effort between LEO, the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA), Michigan Works! Agencies and others aimed at increasing opportunities for all Michiganders to explore online degree and certificate programs that will lead to expanded employment opportunities and bigger paychecks.

“With the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that we help Michiganders improve their skills, explore in-demand career opportunities and jumpstart educational opportunities,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “These online resources continue to expand opportunities for residents to connect with and succeed in high-demand, high-wage careers of the future.”

The hub supports Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal to increase the number of working-age Michiganders with a skill certificate or college degree from the recently released level, 48.9%, to 60% by 2030. The aim of the Sixty by Thirty initiative is to make Michigan a more competitive state and help Michiganders gain access to greater education, training and income growth opportunities.

“The new website connects Michiganders to online programs offered by Michigan’s 28 community colleges,” Michael Hansen, MCCA President said. “As we navigate the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic, Michigan’s business leaders and employers statewide are asking: ‘How do we get people back to work?’ This new information hub is a tremendous start toward solving that challenge.”

In addition, the site provides a new Return-to-Work Playbook that assists those preparing to enter the workforce, finding their next job or discovering another one in a national economy that has seen the highest unemployment rates in 100 years To help workers adjust to changing employer needs and work environments, the Playbook outlines available career and job-readiness resources, including step-by-step instructions for developing resumes, preparing for interviews, exploring new career paths and finding free or inexpensive job training opportunities.

It also provides industry or occupational-specific resources for in-demand careers and additional resources to assist specific individuals including veterans, individuals with disabilities, migrant and seasonal farm workers and adult learners.

“The resources we’ve gathered in the Return-to-Work Playbook will help residents who are looking to improve their job eligibility in a variety of high-demand fields,” said LEO Employment and Training Deputy Director Stephanie Beckhorn.

“This tool will help position Michigan workers for success ­– from job search preparation to training assistance – thanks to resources from our partners at the Michigan Works! Agencies and those we in LEO offer,” Beckhorn said.

Other available resources at include career exploration, job search assistance and professional development opportunities.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, visit and

Whitmer Calls on Trump to Pass Bipartisan Recovery Plan 

Whitmer Calls on Trump to Pass Bipartisan Recovery Plan 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


July 28, 2020

Media Contact: [email protected]


PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Governor Whitmer Calls on Trump Administration, Congress to Pass a Bipartisan Recovery Plan


LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer once again called on the Trump Administration and Congress to work on a bipartisan recovery package that includes support for state governments, frontline workers, and small business owners. The governor was joined by Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, State Budget Office Director Chris Kolb, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah, and Paola Mendivil, co-owner of El Granjero Mexican Grill in Grand Rapids.


To view video of the governor’s press conference, click






MDHHS announces initiative to eliminate hepatitis C

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112,

MDHHS announces initiative to eliminate hepatitis C
in Michigan on World Hepatitis Day

LANSING, Mich. – In recognition of World Hepatitis Day, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is launching the We Treat Hep C Initiative to take important steps towards eliminating hepatitis C in Michigan. This initiative is designed to bring down the cost of hepatitis C medication for Medicaid and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commemorate World Hepatitis Day on July 28 to raise awareness about viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D and E – affects millions of people worldwide, causing both acute and chronic liver disease, and can be fatal.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contaminated blood. Approximately 115,000 people in Michigan are known to have HCV, though when taking undiagnosed persons into account that number may be as high as 200,000. In recent years, Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAA) were developed to treat HCV. This oral medication can cure the disease when taken every day for two to six months. With success rates of more than 90 percent, these drugs have the potential to virtually eliminate the disease.

Over the past several years, MDHHS has covered the cost of hepatitis C medications for thousands of Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP) beneficiaries, and MDOC has covered the cost of these medications for thousands of incarcerated individuals. However, the high prices associated with these drugs have strained program budgets.

In the coming weeks MDHHS will announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) for drug manufacturers of DAAs to provide a significant discount to these programs. In return for this discount, the product will be the preferred DAA for Medicaid and MDOC, with minimal prior authorization requirements.  The RFP will be posted on the State of Michigan Vendor Self Service System, found at

“MDHHS is committed to working with clinicians throughout the state to ensure that persons impacted by HCV can access these lifesaving medications wherever they live,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We endeavor to achieve a future where HCV is no longer a threat to the health of Michiganders.”

In addition, MDHHS has partnered with the Michigan Public Health Institute to engage stakeholders and community partners on testing, linkage to care and treatment of HCV.

Testing and treatment capacity for HCV are highly dependent on engaging, training and eliminating barriers within the clinical community.

For more information, visit