By Mike Kruzman /

A local agency that helps place children in loving homes is looking for supportive families.

The Ennis Center for Children has 6 southeast Michigan locations, including one on Byron Road in Howell that serves both Livingston and Ingham counties. The Howell office centers its work with children, families and other community partners to provide foster care and adoption services for kids removed from their homes due to issues of abuse and neglect.

Nancy Oliver is the program director and said that despite having 23 children in foster care homes, they can’t place more without help from the community. She said they are turning cases away on a daily basis because they don’t have enough homes. Oliver said they have kids coming in with trauma, issues with parents with substance abuse and mental health issues. She says Ennis has the staff, know-how, and experience to address the issues, but in order to do that they need more foster and adoptive homes.

Ennis also works with the parents of children-removed to try and rectify the conditions that brought the child into care to potentially unify the family if and when the court gives permission, though Oliver notes this is not often the case. Many times, though, children are placed with a relative, and they can help with this process, as well.

Oliver says the state has significant standards to be met as a prospective foster care or adoptive household, but they aren’t so insurmountable that a general family in the Livingston County area can’t meet them. Ennis can provide the needed training, either online or in-person when acceptable, and help with all the policy and procedure paperwork. Oliver said there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about what foster parenting is, pointing at beliefs that the family composition has to be a man and a woman or that single parents aren’t eligible to adopt as falsities. She said what they are looking for are loving, caring, open-hearted families that are also open to diversity and possibly taking in older kids, as older age groups are often hard to place. There is a also a need for therapeutic foster homes for children who have higher special needs, with Ennis providing the specialized training for that, too.

For more information on the Ennis Center, including what it takes to be a foster parent, visit their website,, or call the Howell Office at 517-881-0723.

You can also hear from Oliver this Sunday morning at 8:30 on WHMI's Viewpoint.