By CAITLIN McARTHUR
Capital News Service
LANSING – The Department of Human Services has withdrawn a motion to end federal oversight of its child welfare program and instead will negotiate for a new settlement with the children’s group that forced the intervention, according to department officials. Bob Wheaton, communications manager for the department, said by email that federal Judge Nancy Edmunds has encouraged DHS and advocacy group Children’s Rights to sit down and re-negotiate. Wheaton said the goal of a December motion to completely end oversight had been to obtain more flexibility in meeting the needs of children in Michigan’s child welfare system. Children’s Rights declined to comment. The federal oversight stems from a lawsuit filed by Children’s Rights in 2008 charging that Michigan caseloads were too high, and that, with 19,000 kids in the foster system, not enough children were finding permanent homes.