Michigan has rules, guidelines to protect foster kids - WNEM TV 5

Michigan has rules, guidelines to protect foster kids

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

It's a job Robert Ennis has been doing for decades: making sure kids in foster care go to a loving and nurturing home.

"Bottom line of it is, we work for children," Ennis said.

Michigan has rules in place for many circumstances.

"They set guidelines and rules for training that we have to give each and every prospective foster parent," Ennis said.

In the case of 9 year-old Omarion Humphrey, questions have swirled about his foster family's supervision of him and their training in dealing with autistic children.

The autistic boy went missing on July 4 while he was under the supervision of his foster family. He was found dead nearly a week later in Lake Callis.

According to Michigan standards, each licensed foster parent is to attend training required by the agency foster parent training plan, at a minimum of six hours a year.

Foster parents are also required to immediately reporting a missing child to the placement agency - something that may not have occurred in Omarion's case, according to testimony in a recent court hearing.

Here at the Ennis Center for Children, where Ennis is CEO, they use their local resources to help better understand special needs children, so they get them the care that they need.

"We also send our staff to and our foster parent who have autistic children to training. And it's a very specialized disorder with a lot of different degrees of it," Ennis said.

No word if Alternatives for Children and Families, the agency who placed Omarion , took this additional step as well.  The agency has declined comment on the case.

For the most part, Ennis says he has faith in the system.

"I think most agencies want to do what's best for the children they serve," Ennis said.

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