Families & Community
8:00 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Here's what one foster family does to help make life a little easier for kids in care

The Kley Family Rules poster hangs on the kitchen wall, and is a visual reminder to any foster kid who walks in the door that this is a safe place.
Credit Sue Kley

State of Opportunity aired a documentary yesterday on foster care. All this week, we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system, and some of the challenges kids within that system face.

Imagine being removed from your home, from the only place you've really ever known. You're taken away from your parents, your toys, your bed, maybe even your siblings, and told that you have to live here, in this new place with these new people. Imagine what that must feel like.

Read more
Families & Community
4:00 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Finding Home, a documentary about foster care [transcript + audio]

Audrey and her two brothers were adopted out of foster care.
Credit Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

    

What does it feel like to be removed from you parents’ home? From the ones who were supposed to protect you and keep you safe?

PART ONE

I want to introduce you to a set of siblings. Let’s start with the oldest one Andrew. He’s an intense little guy who’s 9 years old and very much into superheroes.

ANDREW: My favorite Marvel superhero is Spiderman.

AUDREY: Want to see my best friend?

That’s Audrey, his little sister, she is <<FIVE!>> and adorably shy.

And finally, there’s Braden, the ham of the family.

BRADY: Let it Go! Let it Go! Can’t hold it back anymore

Read more
Families & Community
2:17 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

For kids in foster care, what doesn't make it into the plastic bag can really matter

Credit Christian Guthier / Flickr

State of Opportunity will air a documentary on foster care on Thursday, October 30. In the lead-up to Thursday we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system or challenges kids within that system face.

Andrew, a superhero-loving nine-year-old boy you’ll soon meet in our newest documentary Finding Home, told us regretfully that his Paper Jamz – a toy guitar he loved – didn't make it into the bag he used for his belongings as he bounced from place to place.

Read more
Families & Community
9:20 am
Wed October 29, 2014

How Daniel Lopez learned to stop fearing the worst, and started planning for the best

Mr. Lopez goes to Washington.
Credit Michelle Parolini / Park Journeys, Inc

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

We’ve all heard the saying. But for young people who come to the United States as immigrants, getting to know people can be a challenge.

Language barriers, cultural barriers, sometimes class barriers can prevent young people from meeting the people who can help them be successful in life.

Today’s story is about a young person trying to make those connections.

The story begins very early one recent Friday, as Daniel Lopez hears his alarm go off. 

He wakes up, zips ups his suitcase, feeds his fish, and heads for the airport for an important trip. 

Read more
Families & Community
2:28 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The safety net for young people aging out of foster care is a fantasy

Credit Jenny Downing / Flickr

State of Opportunity will air a documentary on foster care on Thursday, October 30. In the lead-up to Thursday, we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system, and some of the challenges kids within that system face.

For many young adults who have aged out of the foster care system, myself included, the hardest part isn’t actually being in care.

The hardest part is leaving care.

Read more
Families & Community
12:06 am
Mon October 27, 2014

If you want to measure the effect of your early life on your health now, take this ACES test

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is a national leader in the work to treat earl stress and trauma
Credit Nadine Burke Harris

State of Opportunity will air a documentary on foster care on Thursday, October 30th. In the lead up to Thursday we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system or challenges kids within that system face.

America is in the middle of a collective, and scientifically supported, epiphany about just how much early childhood experiences matter to outcomes later in life.

Read more
Families & Community
2:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Michigan's foster care system getting better, but kids still suffer because of state's lapses

Credit David Machiavello / Flickr

State of Opportunity will air a documentary on foster care on Thursday, October 30th. In the lead up to Thursday, we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system or challenges kids within that system face.

Read more
Education
12:06 am
Fri October 24, 2014

If learning starts at birth, teacher training has to start earlier too

This daycare center in Detroit is one of the places where teachers are undergoing training as part of a new initiative.
Credit Sarah Carr / Michigan Radio

Sarah Carr is editor of The Teacher Project, an education reporting initiative at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism dedicated to covering issues facing America's teachers. While in Detroit she put together this story for State of Opportunity.

In Detroit and across the country, pre-school instructors are being asked to teach more formal academic skills so their students can get off to a strong start in school and life.

Read more
Justice
3:22 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

How we're failing to stop, or even see, modern slavery in Michigan

Credit flickr/the_justified_sinner

There were four children, brought to the U.S. under falsified records. They came to live with a man in Ypsilanti. He said he brought them to the U.S. to give them an education, and improve their lives. The children said the man beat them regularly. He beat them with whatever he could get his hands on: a broomstick, a toilet plunger, an ice scraper, even a phone charger. They were beaten and deprived of sleep whenever they failed to do their "chores."

The Detroit Free Press carried the story of how federal prosecutors tried to get the man put in prison on charges of "forced labor" – basically, modern slavery. And of how his conviction on that charge was overturned. Forcing a child to do "chores," and even beating them when they failed to do so, isn't enslavement, the federal appeals court decided. It's just plain child abuse. 

Today, the man, Jean-Claude Toviave, was charged with child abuse, this time in state court, rather than federal court. 

The four children may yet see justice served against the man who allegedly brought them to the U.S. to a life of torture and abuse. But the case highlights the flaws in a justice system still struggling to keep up with the heinous and often hidden crimes associated with human trafficking. 

Read more
Families & Community
10:43 am
Tue October 21, 2014

We want your ideas for State of Opportunity's Infowire!

Credit Garry Knight / flickr

Infowire stories are a little bit different from traditional news stories. The point of Infowire is to fill an information gap. That means a perfect Infowire story would start with a question. Where do you find X in Michigan? Why doesn't X service work the way it's supposed to? Why isn't anybody doing anything about X issue? I then dig into these questions and try to put together a story.

Read more

Pages