Protect MiFamily

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

What is a Waiver Demonstration?

Waiver demonstrations provide states with an opportunity to use federal funds more flexibly in order to test innovative approaches to child welfare service delivery and financing. Using this option, states can design and demonstrate a wide range of approaches to reforming child welfare and improving outcomes in the areas of safety, permanency, and well­ being. Waiver demonstrations must utilize a rigorous evaluation design (e.g. randomized clinical trial) and remain cost neutral.

Protect MiFamily: Michigan Title IV-­E Waiver Demonstration

The Protect MiFamily project was designed to increase child safety, strengthen parental capacity, and improve child wellbeing. The intervention consists of prevention, preservation, and support services provided to families with young children (zero to five) determined to be at high or intensive risk for maltreatment. The Department of Human Services established contracts with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and Catholic Charities of West Michigan to:

  • Coordinate timely referrals to community providers
  • Provide clinical and evidence­-based interventions
  • Engage families in their own homes to build strengths and reduce risk

The evaluation design is experimental, in that families are randomly assigned to either the demonstration (experimental) or the control (services as usual) group. The outcomes of greatest interest are child safety, which is measured by an absence of new maltreatment investigations; and placement prevention, measured by entry into the foster care system.

Protect MiFamily, operates in three sites: Kalamazoo, Macomb, and Muskegon counties. As of August 2015, approximately 600 families are enrolled in the Michigan Waiver Demonstration.