Governor Pledges More Staff for DHS

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

The governor’s proposal: 51 extra workers at the Department of Human Services. Here is the governor's threat:

"This year, no budget gets signed unless those resources are there," Governor Jennifer Granholm said Thursday.

In the wake of Ricky Holland's alleged murder, DHS is taking a hard look at how they do business. Court documents show teachers told them Ricky Holland was deprived of food, restrained, and forced to wear diapers.

Now DHS Director Marianne Udow is before the cameras for the first time on the Holland case.

"We are looking at all practices, we are looking at all policies to see if here is anything we could have done different, anything we could have done to save this child," Udow said.

She pledges a full investigation, as does the governor.

"Believe me, there will be an investigation of what happened. If there needs to be corrections, those will be made. And we will get additional resources to make sure all children are protected."

As for those resources, Udow says they are absolutely necessary. And so the Republicans say they'll study the numbers.

On average nationally, Udow says, child protection workers handle 15 cases at a time. In Michigan, she says there are counties were workers are overseeing as many as 60.

It's an impossible standard, Udow says, but even if that standard doesn't change, the department as a whole still needs to.

"We are committed to everything we can, even with the resources we have, to improve our system."

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