LANSING, MI –State Rep. Virg Bernero (D) is introducing legislation to allow the Legislature to examine FIA files in cases where a child has died while in the child care system.
“We must penetrate the veil of secrecy if we are to get the facts, improve the system and prevent future deaths,” said Bernero. “When the child protection system fails to the point that a child dies instead of receiving needed protection, we must know what went wrong. The benefits to children throughout the state in assuring a real safety net far outweigh the so-called privacy rights of surviving family members. In fact, many family members have expressed their own frustration with the convoluted confidentiality laws that protect bureaucrats more than clients.”
The bill would amend the Michigan Child Protection Law to allow members of the Legislature access to FIA records if one of their constituents had died, if the death occurred in their district or if the legislators serve on child-protection oversight committees.
“If a child has died instead of being protected by the system, continued confidentiality is a disservice to that child’s family and children throughout Michigan,” said Bernero. “Our top goal must be a complete investigation and corrective action to assure proper treatment for children still in care.”