• Report: #663051

Complaint Review: Lutheran Social Services of Michigan

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  • Submitted: Wed, November 17, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, December 13, 2010

  • Reported By: Pam — Belmont Michigan U.S.A.
Lutheran Social Services of Michigan
207 E. Fulton, 4th Floor Grand Rapids, Michigan United States of America

Lutheran Social Services of Michigan DHS of Michigan lied and scammed me Grand Rapids, Michigan

*Consumer Comment: Glad you got what was owed

*Author of original report: Thank you

*Author of original report: To What

*Consumer Comment: What

*UPDATE Employee: Expect reimbursement soon!

*Author of original report: Thank you

*Author of original report: More info, yet more confusion and suspicions

*UPDATE Employee: We will try to help you

*UPDATE Employee: We are looking into this

*Author of original report: Yes, I believe I was deliberately cheated

*Consumer Comment: Steal your money?

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In early 2007 I became a host parent for Lutheran Social Services.  We discussed everything from what they expected out of me to what I could expect from them.

One of the things they made very clear was that all expenses above and beyond normal routine would be reimbursed.

I sat down with Loreal Morgan, the case worker at the time, in February 2007 and went through every upcoming expense as the child was in her Senior year.

Every one of those expenses were authorized.  So I went ahead and did what I needed to do to help the young girl.

I got her into, and paid for, driver's training, took her downtown and paid for birth certificates she didn't have, purchased her cap and gown for graduation, as well as a class ring and other graduation expenses.

I kept every single receipt with notes in detail.

Time went on and Loreal moved on?  I was never told exactly what happened.  Joan Lutke and Sara stepped in to take over.

I gave Joan Lutke my folder of receipts and notes in March.  After a couple of weeks, Sara brought back the folder which had a sticky note on it that said return to me.

I thought everything was fine.  I called every couple of weeks asking about the reimbursement.  On one of those calls, Joan Lutke told me to be patient, it takes DHS awhile to reimburse monies.

After calling and emailing, it is now 2010.  I finally got an email today from Joan Lutke saying they don't have the money to reimburse me and DHS won't reimburse because it has been 3 years.

I believe the stall tactic used was to go past some sort of grace period in order to steal my money.  So, my family is out almost a thousand dollars.

It's sad that an organization that is suppose to help kids and the community can be so dirty.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/17/2010 11:46 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Lutheran-Social-Services-of-Michigan/Grand-Rapids-Michigan-49503/Lutheran-Social-Services-of-Michigan-DHS-of-Michigan-lied-and-scammed-me-Grand-Rapids-Mic-663051. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
5Author 6Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Glad you got what was owed

AUTHOR: missingone - ()

 We have had NOTHING but problems with lutheran social services, we didnt even bother to complain about money. We were foster parents we didnt real care but they have treated us so disrespectfully

The director at the aurora il office is very rude and doesnt really care about the children and their well being, she only cares how mucch money she can bring in and thats with the LSSI as a whole. We did get a lawyer!

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#2 Author of original report

Thank you

AUTHOR: Pam - (U.S.A.)

I am happy to report that I did in fact receive a check for the full amount today.
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#3 Author of original report

To What

AUTHOR: Pam - (U.S.A.)

Let me assure you that I was "in it" as you say to help a child in need; one child.  My daughter and this young girl were classmates.  She came to me and told me her story.  Of course I had to help her.

I understand you have no idea from this report exactly all I did for this young girl, so I have to sympathize a bit with your comment.  On the other hand, it's very irresponsible to make such comments as this without knowing all the facts.

I'm not a foster parent.  I was a host parent.  I opened my home for one specific child.  A child I didn't even know was in the system in the beginning.  This is quite a bit different than foster parents.

Please learn the facts before making assumptions.
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#4 Consumer Comment

What

AUTHOR: WissNX01 - (United States of America)

I am wondering if Pam opened her home up to being a foster home for the paycheck.  I understand not wanting to be on the hook for hundreds of dollars of stuff, but I feel like this is whats wrong with some foster parents.  I would know as I have direct knowledge of such a thing.
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#5 UPDATE Employee

Expect reimbursement soon!

AUTHOR: Barbara Lewis - (USA)

I believe we have resolved this problem. Lutheran Social Services contacted DHS and learned that they had sent us a check for $485 that was not forwarded to you at the time -- probably because the caseworker you were working with left our organization unexpectedly. Lutheran Social Services will make up the difference and will reimburse you for the full amount you spent to help the young woman in our independent living program. I'm glad you brought this to our attention so that we could make sure you got the funds you were owed. I hope this will help brighten the holidays for you and your family.

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#6 Author of original report

Thank you

AUTHOR: Pam - (U.S.A.)

I want to thank Laura Mitchell, the director at Lutheran Social Services, for working with me to resolve this situation.

Update:  DHS has agreed to reimburse me for a little over half of the total expenses.

My advise to anyone who opens their home to children in need is to get everything in writing from the organizations involved.  Although Laura Mitchell worked diligently on this situation, it should have been resolved before ever reaching her, and I may have received reimbursement for everything I was told was authorized.




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#7 Author of original report

More info, yet more confusion and suspicions

AUTHOR: Pam - (U.S.A.)

Pam, this is complicated because your caseworker (Loreal) and the DHS caseworker who worked on the case at the time have both left their positions. Expenses like the ones you described are never paid for by the private foster care provider, e.g. Lutheran Social Services. They must be pre-authorized by DHS, and DHS is responsible for payment.

I understand that it is complicated.  I had an extensive conversation with the director at Lutheran Social Services, Laura MitchellShe said some very interesting things.

I believe you when you say you were told these expenses were pre-authorized by DHS, but we don't have any authorizations from DHS in writing. Some of the delay in settling your problem happened because some of the phone calls you made to us actually went to Lutheran Child and Family Service, which is a totally separate organization.

Someone told you wrong.  Only 1 email went to the wrong place.  Most of the phone calls went ignored as I left messages.  I did however speak with Joan Lutke on a couple of occasions.

She assured me I would be paid.  She told me to have patience as it takes awhile for DHS to reimburse.  Make note of that.

However, while speaking with Ms Mitchell, she claims Joan Lutke told her that the expenses were not authorized.  Someone is being lied to.

The messages did not reach us, and so we were unaware that your problem had not been resolved. Now that we know you have not been reimbursed, we are going to try to work this out with DHS. I can't guarantee we will be successful. The decision about whether or not to make this reimbursement will come from DHS, not Lutheran Social Services.

Ms Mitchell also wanted me to pick a number out of the air to settle, even before DHS had made a decision.

So, at the same time, Joan Lutke told me to be patient and wait for the reimbursement while she told Laura Mitchell that the expenses were not authorized.

Everyone of you involved say that you are working with DHS on this problem, yet Laura Mitchell wanted me to give her an amount I would settle for; not even waiting for DHS

She said that it wasn't all their fault, and part of the blame must go on to DHS.  That's fine, but it was absolutely NONE of my fault.  I followed every rule and guideline, yet I'm the one that this is going to affect.

I was told that I would be getting a phone call resolving this matter probably before Thanksgiving Day.  I am still waiting.

Please know that the wellbeing of the children in our care is our primary consideration, and we strive to support the foster and host parents who work directly with the children.

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#8 UPDATE Employee

We will try to help you

AUTHOR: Barbara Lewis - (USA)

Pam, this is complicated because your caseworker (Loreal) and the DHS caseworker who worked on the case at the time have both left their positions. Expenses like the ones you described are never paid for by the private foster care provider, e.g. Lutheran Social Services. They must be pre-authorized by DHS, and DHS is responsible for payment. I believe you when you say you were told these expenses were pre-authorized by DHS, but we don't have any authorizations from DHS in writing. Some of the delay in settling your problem happened because some of the phone calls you made to us actually went to Lutheran Child and Family Service, which is a totally separate organization. The messages did not reach us, and so we were unaware that your problem had not been resolved. Now that we know you have not been reimbursed, we are going to try to work this out with DHS. I can't guarantee we will be successful. The decision about whether or not to make this reimbursement will come from DHS, not Lutheran Social Services. Please know that the wellbeing of the children in our care is our primary consideration, and we strive to support the foster and host parents who work directly with the children.
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#9 UPDATE Employee

We are looking into this

AUTHOR: Barbara Lewis - (United States of America)

We are looking into this. Lutheran Social Services of Michigan values its foster and host parents very much -- you guys are unsung heroes to the children in our care. I understand how frustrating this must be to you. I will post again as soon as I have more information.
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#10 Author of original report

Yes, I believe I was deliberately cheated

AUTHOR: Pam - (U.S.A.)

Every one of those expenses were authorized before I made a move on any of them.  If they would have said no, then I would have either ate the expense or told her we just couldn't do it.

Joan Lutke told me to be patient, it takes DHS awhile to reimburse monies.  Seems odd that I was told to be patient yet the last correspondence I received from her was, it was too late.

I will still help children in need, but it won't be through Lutheran Social Services of Michigan and I hope others will take note of my experience.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Steal your money?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

I believe the stall tactic used was to go past some sort of grace period in order to steal my money.

- Just how did they steal your money?  Did they get reimbursed and just not pass the money onto you?

One of the things they made very clear was that all expenses above and beyond normal routine would be reimbursed.

- An expense "above normal routine expenses" would be things that are UNEXPECTED such as medical bills, or in your case needing a Birth Certificate.  For a Senior in High School things such as Drivers Ed and a Cap and Gown for graduation could be seen as "normal", but at the same time I could see how that probably should be reimbursed.  However, not sure how a "Class Ring" would be considered an "expense".  While it is a very nice gesture it is not really a matter of life and death or a requirement for anything.  I would actually be a bit leery of any charity that is approving something like that as a required expense.  Especially if money is tight.

It is great that you want to help out kids in need.  Charities have hit rough times just like others.  It is possible that they did not have the money for these extras when it came time to paying you.  But that is a long way from calling a Charity a thief.  Unless you have something you are not posting and know that they got reimbursed for your expenses and just didn't pass the money onto you. 

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