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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 

President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.

2020Talks - October 23, 2020 

The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

Group: Michigan Foster Care Reforms Keep Families Together

June 10, 2009

Detroit, Mich. - Caring aunts, uncles and grandparents will soon find it easier to become foster parents in Michigan. State officials are now giving caseworkers and judges options other than requiring that children be removed from their relatives' homes if those relatives opted not to become "licensed" foster homes.

The earlier rules were intended to increase child safety, but Vickie Thompson-Sandy, vice president of services for children and families for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, believes that easing the strict requirements is a good move for children.

"We know it's better for children, when they have a connection, to be placed with their relatives - as long as we assure that those relatives are able to meet the needs of the children, and that they're safe."

Relatives who do undergo the foster parent licensing process, she notes, do have some advantages.

"Once you become a licensed foster parent, there are other benefits or services that the agencies and the Department of Human Services provides - like support groups, and training that they're required to attend if they're licensed foster families - that I think all families could benefit from."

There also are financial benefits that come with being a licensed foster parent, she adds, including increased monthly payments and allowances for childrens' clothing. But the new flexibility, she says, will ultimately help keep families together.

Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI