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Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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Putting Families First in MI

October 19, 2010

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - It's a win-win program with stunning success at keeping at-risk families in the Battle Creek area together. The Families First program delivers critical services right to the home in an effort to keep families intact and keep children out of foster care. Problems from domestic violence to extreme poverty threaten to pull these families apart.

Rhea Freitag oversees the Battle Creek program for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

"It is a win for the state of Michigan because absolutely it is much less costly than foster care."

And Freitag says it's a win for the families, because after a year, 86 percent of the families that have participated in Families First were still together. Similar programs operating in all 83 Michigan counties offer crisis intervention and family education services in the home.

Freitag says the program assists families by teaching, modeling and reinforcing parenting methods that get the desired result.

"It's just a real win because we get to keep the kids home, which is obviously our goal."

More than 60,000 thousand families including more than 142,000 children have been served by the program in Michigan.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - MI