A plan from state [Michigan] Rep. Matt Hall offering needed transparency for investigations into the state’s child welfare system was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Hall has taken a leading role to protect children through his work on the legislation. The first-term lawmaker chairs the House Oversight Committee, which has worked through several reforms after a series of audits over the past two years raised concerns about the state system and how specific issues are addressed.
The new law increases transparency and accountability by requiring the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) to publicly release findings and recommendations related to a child abuse or death investigation within 30 days of a case’s closure date and with confidential information redacted.
“This legislation will spur changes that protect the lives of Michigan’s children in the future,” said Hall, of Marshall. “We needed to provide accountability and transparency because the public was not able to review the findings of these investigations. When you can’t review the findings, needed improvements can’t be made to the child welfare system to keep kids in that system safe. This is vitally important because the well-being of these children is charged to the state.”