Families say they are being torn apart and blame the privatization of Michigan's foster care system

(WXYZ) - A grandma has been fighting the state to get her grandkids out of foster care for years. A great aunt has been trying to do the same for her niece. But both have been met with strong resistance-- and it may be a matter of money.

7 Action News investigator Heather Catallo has been digging deep into the state's foster care system. Tonight she has part 2: how private agencies may be profiting off of foster children.

The state pays private agencies to handle most foster care adoptions. By law they are supposed to make placing foster children with extended family members able and willing a priority. But 7 Action News has found some cases where relatives say the agencies may be putting profits ahead of policy – and this can cut kids off from family forever.

Lori Scribner says she jumped through every hoop and has spent $50,000 in legal fees and other costs fighting for her grandkids. But she still faces the prospect of never seeing her grandkids again.

"There was nothing I could do that they would let them come," says Scribner.

Micky Gordon says she has been fighting a system that seems set on breaking family bonds. The Department of Human Services and a private agency it contracts approved another couple to adopt her great niece who is in foster care.

"I feel like I have been living under a bully mentality," complains Gordon, who says she has spent about $30,000 fighting to get her great niece.

We'll tell you about a study that says privatizing the foster care system may be costing you more.

7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo examines it all tonight at 11:00 p.m. in the second part ot this two-part series. 

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