History/Overview of the Migrant Resource Councils: In 1978, the Office of Migrant Affairs of the Michigan Department of Human Services (formerly Office of Migrant Services, Michigan Department of Social Services) was given gubernatorial recognition and support to establish a network of Migrant Resource Councils (MRCs) throughout the state. Specifically, these Councils, comprised of public and private agency representatives, growers, farmworkers and other concerned citizens, seek to “reduce duplication of services, coordinate service delivery, identify unmet needs and develop appropriate programs.”
The Office of Migrant Affairs (OMA), which is an administrative unit within the Michigan Department of Human Services, recognizes that a multitude of barriers – language, cultural, procedural and informational – may impede the delivery of services to qualified Migrant farmworkers and family members. The Migrant Resource Council is one mechanism OMA has sought to develop and utilize at the local level as a means of overcoming these barriers.
The Migrant Resource Councils, which are voluntary groupings of Migrant service providers, seek to identify and address problems at the local level through informal coordination and cooperation. Whereas the Councils have no programs or funding of their own, they seek to work through the various service delivery systems the Council members represent. Council members are sensitized to a variety of problems and needs of the farmworker and, in turn, seek to sensitize their respective organizations.
Below, in summary form, are presented some of the common features and activities associated with the Migrant Resource Councils:
Major Objectives of Migrant Resource Councils:
Information Exchange: Provide a forum for exchange of information on programs, eligibility criteria, services, location and dates of programs and the availability of bilingual English/Spanish speaking staff. (Especially significant since many Migrant programs hire seasonal staff to serve Migrant client population who initially are unaware of their counterparts in other agencies or the services they provide.)
Identification of Unmet Needs: The Council can collectively identify problematic service gaps and/or unmet needs. After identification and documentation of service gaps, Council members can restructure their programs to meet the need or the responsible agency can be alerted to the problem.
Client Referral System: Through informal contacts between Council members, the development of an Agency Resource Guide and a pre-season Migrant service providers meeting, referral system is established which insures that Migrants in need receive expedient and efficient attention by the agency or agencies empowered to meet that need.
Membership of Councils is open to all. Primary emphasis on getting local representatives from migrant and seasonal farmworker service providers. There are no membership dues.