Restructured, Releases Web Reports
Gongwer News Service,
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Until this week, the Department of Consumer and Industry
Services Bureau of Regulatory Services had consultants who
dealt with child day care, adult foster care and child welfare
programs. But the new Bureau of Family Services will change
the focus of those employees to licensing, inspections and
CIS Director Noelle Clark and Bureau Chief Carol Engle said
the bureau had only very slowly been changing structure over
the last several years, but the impending retirement of 40
percent of its workforce left the bureau unable to continue
with specialization based on the type of licensee.
"We changed it from program-centered to a functional
organization," Ms. Engle said. "It allows me to focus on the
strengths of my staff."
Under the new organization, consultants in the bureau will be
assigned to licensing, training or complaint investigation for
all childcare, adult foster care and child welfare facilities
within their territory, instead of being required to conduct
all of those tasks for one type of facility.
That change included not only shifting workload among the
consultants, but also automating the reports they produce from
relicensing and complaint inspections, saving time for
consultants and allowing some of the licensing process to be
shifted to clerical staff. The new database is now allowing
those reports to be posted on the Internet.
Ms. Engle said the site,
www.michigan.gov/cis, as of
Thursday contains a notice for any of the 39,000 licensees who
have received a complaint in the last year, and any licensing
or complaint reports generated for each licensee since July.
She said the site would include at least one report for each
licensee within three years.
"If you want to put a loved one in a facility ... you have far
more information than you would have in the past and you have
it immediately," Ms. Clark said.
When the bureau is back up to its new full strength of 235,
down from 275, Ms. Engle said she actually plans to be able to
increase inspections. While childcare facilities and adult
foster care facilities are required to be inspected annually,
home-based childcare providers are subject only to an initial
inspection within 90 days of opening. After that, the law
requires only 10 percent of the homes in each county to be
inspected annually unless a complaint is filed.
Ms. Engle said she is hoping to assign one person at each of
the 10 regional offices to inspecting the home-based childcare
providers with the goal of inspecting each home annually.
The bureau is also working with the Michigan Public Health
Institute to bring some of the training required of childcare
centers to those providing the service from their homes.
The restructuring also will allow the bureau to concentrate on
the regions where there are more complaints being filed, Ms.
Engle said. The prior structure assigned certain consultants
to certain facilities, and often complaints were not
investigated until the assigned person could get to the task.
The bureau will now be assigning complaints to the first
available investigator and will be shifting work around to
ensure that no regional office is overloaded. She said
complaints per provider for home childcare, group homes, adult
foster care, private foster care placement centers, and homes
for the aged. The maps on the Gongwer News Service Web site,
provided by the department, show the dispersion of facilities
Ms. Clark said the restructuring, among the more extensive
changes resulting from the early retirements but also in
planning stages before the early retirement plan was
announced, was well timed even though it came at nearly the
end of the Engler administration and the likely end of her
short time as CIS director. "There's no bad time to do the
right thing," she said. "We're going to help the next