Man Wins MDHHS Lifetime Achievement Award – Nov. 24

Lansing, MichiganNovember 24, 2015 – The executive director of the state agency that protects children from abuse and neglect and oversees Michigan’s foster care system and adoption efforts was honored today with a lifetime achievement award.

Steve Yager, executive director of the Children’s Services Agency within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, received the Daniel J. Wright Lifetime Achievement Award during Adoption Day ceremonies at the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice. The award is to recognize outstanding work for Michigan’s children.

Yager is deserving because of his passion for protecting the safety and well-being of Michigan’s children, said Nick Lyon, director of MDHHS.

“Steve’s motto is ‘Do what is right and necessary to help children and families,’” Lyon said. “He consistently embodies the perfect combination of urgency, confidence and calmness that makes staff feel supported and appreciated. Whether he is talking to a teenager who has aged out of foster care or testifying on child welfare appropriations, he will listen with an open mind and heart, expertly weigh the available options, and respond with a sense of realness that reflects the best interests of children.”

Yager, a Barry County resident, has devoted his entire adult life to helping children. He has more than 30 years of experience in the child welfare system, previously serving as a frontline child welfare worker in Children’s Protective Services, foster care, juvenile justice and foster home licensing. He was the longest-serving director of the department’s Office of Family Advocate from 2000 to 2008.

The award sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court and MDHHS is named after Wright, a Grand Ledge attorney who was credited with the “Michigan Miracle” in 2002 when he worked as a special assistant to Maura Corrigan, then chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He led state efforts to upgrade Michigan’s child support enforcement system and meet federally required deadlines. Wright died in 2012.


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