Southfield (CW50) - Demetrius Starling is the executive director for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Children's Services Agency. In his role at MDHS, Starling oversees the state's child welfare system, including Children's Protective Services, the foster care system, adoption services, family preservation services, and juvenile justice programs.
Starling has a long history in the field of child welfare, having worked in the field for more than 20 years. Prior to his appointment as CSA executive director in May 2021, Starling served as CSA's in-home services bureau director overseeing prevention, preservation, and protection programs.
Starling joined Lisa Germani on Community Connect to discuss and focus on the foster care aspect of his job, and MDHHS's role in the safety of Michigan foster care children.
Since assuming his role at CSA, the number of children in foster care has decreased. Starling attributes this in part to the work set up by his predecessor Joo Chang, who got the ball rolling in focusing on permanency for children looking for homes. The other side is preventative care, making sure a child who is headed in the direction of entering the foster care system never makes it to that point. This is done by looking for a relative to provide a temporary home for the child.
Starling also spoke about his biggest influence to wanting to pursue a career in child welfare. The person he attributes his passion to is his grandmother. He described her a a "titan in our community" and he watched her support and care for children and families around the community, being a "North Star" for him, looking to her for guidance and support throughout life.
He discussed what others can do to help children in foster care, especially by becoming a foster parent. To learn more, got to Michigan.gov/HopeForAHome
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