A state representative from Linden is among lawmakers who have vowed to investigate allegations that the state’s Department of Health & Human Services has mishandled cases of child abuse and neglect in multiple counties.

Over ten years ago, Children’s Rights, a national watchdog organization, sued Michigan for failing to protect children in the state. Based on a recent report, the advocacy group is now alleging that the state has failed to properly investigate claims of abuse and neglect, and conduct background checks on relatives bringing foster children into their home. In May, The Lansing State Journal reported that some abused or neglected children may have been temporarily ignored because supervisors in Marquette, Muskegon, and Barry County reported inaccurate information or assigned cases to employees who weren’t even present in the office to work them. Since then, three former workers have also come forward, saying that similar situations occurred in St. Clair, Monroe, Ingham, and Wayne County.

Representative Joseph Graves serves constituents of the 51st District, which includes the cities of Fenton and Linden. Graves, a Republican and chair of the House Oversight Committee, has said the allegations are “very concerning” if they are true. In a written statement, Graves goes on to say, “These are very vulnerable children. We should be doing all we can to protect them. I will continue to investigate this issue.” At a hearing last week, John Bursch, attorney for the Department of Health and Human Services, says the department has looked through the allegations and found no wrongdoing. (JK)