Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has submitted a contract for a Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Consultant who will work with the state’s Children’s Services Agency in their investigations.
The state’s child welfare system has been under court supervision for over 15 years. This is after it was sued for negligence and required to make significant improvements.
According to Governor Whitmer’s proposal, the consultant will “assist with awareness, education, and opportunities within Business Service Center 5 as an additional support for the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Unit.”
The consultant must have at least five years of experience “providing services to the LGBTQIA+ population” and “demonstrate their cultural competence and experience working with people who are marginalized, including individuals within the LGBTQIA+ population, and who obtain services from the child welfare system.”
“The goal of this Contract is to create increased sensitivity on issues relating to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) population within Children’s services,” states the proposal.
The contractor will develop and launch training, informational sessions, and webinars for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employees and the department’s 81 contracted agencies.
The consultant will provide “support to LGBTQIA+ youth and families in the form of resources, access to services, trainings, transportation and education” as well as “identify/locate foster homes in contiguous counties… for LGBTQI+ youth in accordance with MDHHS policy as a collaborative effort with the Regional Placement Unit (RPU) and Private Agency Foster Care (PAFC) as needed.”
The LGBTQIA+ consultant will also be tasked with finding community services for transgender youth in the state’s five largest counties; Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent and Genesee. This is as well as services for Native American Two Spirit youth.