Private-sector adoption agencies dispute findings of FIA audit

LANSING-The head of the Michigan Federation of Private Child and Family Agencies (MFPCFA) is disputing the findings of a self-audit by Michigan's Family Independence Agency (FIA), which purports to show that public-sector workers handle adoption cases more efficiently than their private sector counterparts.

Bill Long, head of the MFPCFA, says the FIA audit didn't count overhead costs such as administration and rent, factors that were counted for private agencies - including the salaries paid to adoption administrators. 

The dispute comes amid reports that the FIA, which has been contracting with private agencies since the 1980s, sent more than half its cases - 56 percent - to such agencies last year. In July, Ruth Mutchler, who represents FIA employees at United Auto Workers Local 6000 used the audit to claim that the state was "insisting on privatizing adoption services even though evidence suggests FIA employees do a better job for less money."

But Jean Hoffman, adoption program manager for the FIA, admitted to the Associated Press that the audit didn't recognize many of the benefits of working with private agencies.