News from Members

Michigan Federation Member Agency Spotlights

Karra VanderWiere, a foster care social worker at D.A. Blodgett–St. John’s, has been awarded the 2017 John P. Steketee Child Welfare Advocate of the Year Award! “Karra is the perfect example of what an effective foster care worker should be. Karra’s passion, positivity, and enthusiasm shine through all of her interactions and are contagious to those around her." 

Christ Child House has again achieved expedited accreditation through the Council on Accreditation! Congratulations to Executive Director John Yablonky and the entire staff at Christ Child House!

Teaching Family Homes of Upper Michigan has named Jennifer Santer as the agency’s new CEO, replacing interim CEO Mark Holliday. Welcome Jennifer!

West Michigan Partnership for Children (WMPC) celebrated its October 1 launch with a Fall in Love with Foster Care event on Oct. 25, 2017. WMPC is piloting a five-year innovative foster care funding model through a contract with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that is the first of its kind in the state. WMPC is partnering with the five private licensed child placing agencies that provide foster care in Kent County: Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities West Michigan, D.A. Blodgett-St. John's, Samaritas, and Wellspring Lutheran Services. The creation of WMPC is the result of a long-time public-private partnership between local foster care and other social service agencies, county government, and MDHHS that has been cultivated by the Michigan Child Welfare Partnership Council and the legislature.




On October 14, 2017, Lutheran Adoption Service partnered with Beautiful Savior Church to hold the 3rd Annual Forever Home Run. The 5k race raised $40,000 to help provide supports to families who adopt older youth from the foster care system. Additionally, the race provided awareness within the community of the need for youth to find forever families.




NEW 2018 Child Welfare In-Service Training catalog featuring over 45 opportunities that are offered FREE of charge

Attached you will find the NEW 2018 Child Welfare In-Service Training catalog featuring over 45 opportunities that are offered FREE of charge to child welfare workers and supervisors at private agencies that contract with MDHHS, as well as DHHS employees.

The Leadership training opportunities focus on managing secondary trauma. The Webinar training opportunities are geared towards both caseworkers and supervisors. 

Please also help spread the word with families that you work with about the NEW Caregiver training opportunities- both in-person and webinar offerings attached as well.

All of these trainings are DHHS approved for meeting the in-service training hour requirements set forth by DHHS requiring all caseworkers to receive a minimum of at least 32 hours of in-service training hours annually, and supervisors 16 hours annually. Training participants may also earn CE hours.

Please direct any questions you may have about these courses to the MSU School of Social Work or the university hosting these trainings- and remember to register soon, as courses have limited space and will fill up quickly!

Chuck Jackson new President of Community Social Services of Wayne County (CSSWC)

DETROIT, MI – May 26, 2017 - Community Social Services of Wayne County (CSSWC) is pleased to announce William “Chuck” Jackson as its new President effective May 31, 2017. He will succeed Patrick Heron who retired May 5, 2017. “CSSWC’s Board of Directors thanks Patrick Heron for his years of service and we look forward to working with Chuck and we are excited about the organization’s future,” said Brenda Motley-Aikens, Chair of CSSWC’s Board of Directors. “Chuck’s proven track record of executive leadership coupled with his ability to lead by setting clear priorities and achievable goals will help guide CSSWC on a path to achieve our goal of delivering excellent services to the residents of Southeastern Michigan.”

Chuck graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, earned his BS degree in Sociology from Western Michigan University, a Master’s Degree in Sociology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Sociology from Wayne State University. Chuck brings 28 years of human service experience along with over 12 years of direct executive leadership managing an array of services and programs. For nearly three decades Chuck was employed with Starr Commonwealth. His first position with the nonprofit organization was Resident Counselor; he received many promotions, eventually securing the position of Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer.

“For 70 years CSSWC has been a beacon of hope to so many,” Chuck said. “I am excited about working together with the staff and Board of Directors, but I am most enthusiastic about the future of the organization and looking forward to positive growth.”

About Community Social Services of Wayne County
CSSWC was founded in 1946 as a Catholic Social Services of Wayne County for the purpose of providing services to families in need. The organization’s name was changed in 2013 to more accurately reflect the services provided and the population served.

Community Social Services of Wayne County, historically known as Catholic Social Services of Wayne County has provided a broad range of human services for everyone from infants to senior citizens for 70 years. The mission of CSSWC is to develop partnerships with like-minded organizations, inspiring action that results in rebuilding broken lives and restoring dignity. We accomplish this by delivering excellent services to unlock human potential that empowers individuals and families. To learn more about CSSWC please visit our website,, “LIKE” us on Facebook and “FOLLOW” us on Twitter

Gateway Community Services merges with Child & Family Charities

Child and Family Charities announced October 1, 2014, that Child and Family Charities and Gateway Community Services in Lansing have merged. Under the merger agreement, Gateway will become a division of Child and Family Charities. Gateway was established in 1970 and provides street outreach, counseling, shelter, independent living skills instruction, crisis intervention, and advocacy services to runaway and homeless youth and their families throughout Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. Core programs are housed at the Kevin J. Moody Youth Home located in southwest Lansing. Gateway joins an array of divisions and services at Child and Family Charities, including foster care, adoption, independent living, child abuse prevention, parenting education, early childhood education, juvenile diversion, truancy, mental health, substance abuse, and a shelter for teen parents.

“We reached out to Child and Family Charities because of their long and successful history serving vulnerable populations in our community and the synergies this merger facilitates,” said Gateway Board President Amber Beard. “Our staff, board, and funding sources are very supportive of this development.” Beard will serve on the Child and Family Charities Board of Directors.

Susan Devon, Child and Family Charities board president, echoed that sentiment. “Bringing Gateway under the Child and Family umbrella is a great fit for both agencies,” Devon said. “We see this as part of a broad vision to increase our capacity to serve people in need.”

“The timing of this merger is appropriate. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which was the foundation for Gateway’s development,” said Mark Morton, Gateway’s outgoing executive director. Morton will become director of the new division.

Child and Family Charities will continue under the leadership of executive director Jim Paparella. Paparella has been with the agency since 1997 and previously served as division director for runaway and homeless youth services at Gateway. Child and Family Charities was established in 1911 as Associated Charities of Lansing. The Gateway merger follows two similar mergers with Ingham Teen Court in 2008 and Child Abuse Prevention Services in 2011.

For more information, see website or call Demphna Krikorian at (517) 882-4000, ext. 126.     


Invitation to join Michigan Home Based Family Services Association

MHBFSA logoFederation Affiliate Member Michigan Home Based Family Services Association invites you to join others who are committed to quality family-centered services throughout Michigan.

New and renewing MHBFSA members benefit from three free trainings annually, discounted pricing for the MHBFSA annual conference (September 27-28, 2012), training hours and free social work CEs at each training, an e-newsletter called Practice, access to the Home Based Standards Guidelines Handbook, listing on and access to the MHBFSA website and more!

Find details about membership and benefits at and in the attachments found below.

Housing program gives homeless youth a boost

medium_bilde_0.jpgDetroit News— It was just a few months ago that LaKeisha Johnson and her small children slept in a car when they couldn't count on a relative or a friend to provide them with a place to stay.

On Thursday, Johnson, 24, showed off her new two-bedroom apartment at Oakman Place Apartments, part of a program to house young, homeless adults, as well as those who have aged out of the state's foster care system.

"This is beautiful," said Johnson, as she showed off the expansive ground floor apartment, fully furnished with new furniture. "It doesn't seem real."

The 24-unit, three-story complex on Oakman Boulevard near Woodrow Wilson includes gated parking and a washer and dryer in each apartment.

The $5.1 million development is the result of a partnership that includes Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan, Focus:HOPE and Michigan State Housing Development Authority MSHDA.

Robert G. Miles, president and CEO of Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan, said the Oakman Place program provides adequate housing and other support services for homeless youth and those who "age out of the welfare system."

"Very few of our own children make the transition into adulthood without ongoing support and supportive services," Miles said. "Through this development, we have become more sensitized to the number of families who are challenged to find adequate, safe and affordable housing."

Miles said Thursday he hopes the residents will "love each other, support each other and become a community."

Selecting the first families to live in Oakman Place was a difficult task for social worker Carolyn Rayford, the deputy regional director for Lutheran Child & Family Service.

"That was pretty emotional deciding which person to choose," Rayford said Thursday. "We had well over 100 applicants."

Rayford said there is no time limit to how long the residents can stay in the apartments. They also receive job assistance and support programs for continuing their education.

Johnson, who is six months pregnant, said she is looking forward to re-enrolling in college to become a math teacher so she can support herself and her kids.

The residents pay between $2 and $300 a month rent for their apartments on a sliding scale depending on their income.

Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan, who attended the grand opening of Oakman Place, said the program shows "compassion is alive in our city and our state."

Sierra Spencer, another resident of Oakman Place, said Thursday she had exhausted all options for a place to live, and the opportunity at the complex came along at the right time.

"Thanks to Lutheran Family & Child Services, he's able to have a home," Spencer said of her infant son, whom she cradled at Thursday's luncheon.

"I didn't know what I was going to do," said Spencer. "It's amazing how lucky we both got." 

Child and Family Charities: Organization’s New Name and Logo Reflects Larger Vision and Mission to Help Children, Youth and Families in Mid-Michigan

CFCharities.jpgLANSING, October 6, 2011 – Child and Family Charities (formerly Child & Family Services, Capital Area) publicly announced the organization’s name change and new logo with an unveiling of their new sign on Monday, October 3, 2011 at the agency’s main office building located at 4287 Five Oaks Drive, Lansing, MI 48911.
Attending the festivities were community leaders, board members, volunteers, and agency staff. This year marked Child and Family Charities’ 100 years of service to the mid-Michigan region, established in 1911 as Lansing Associated Charities. Michelle Reurink, President, Child and Family Charities Board of Directors, stated, “It was the significance of the anniversary combined with long- standing name ambiguity that compelled us to action in selecting a name that better reflects the agency’s focus and cultivates stronger community support.” Jim Paparella, Executive Director, added, “The new name and look takes us back to the very roots of our founding purpose as a charitable organization: to serve as an effective partner for social change through programs and initiatives which benefit children, families, and community. At the same time, the change recognizes years of strategic growth through collaboration and alliances, from the advent of Angel House to recent mergers with Lansing Teen Court and Child Abuse Prevention Services.”
The agency’s core divisions include Child Welfare Services, Family Services, Child Abuse Prevention Services, Juvenile Justice Services, and Residential Services. If you would like more information about Child and Family Charities, please call Demphna Krikorian at (517) 882-4000, extension 126 or email:

Like Child and Family Charities here:

Debora Matthews, CEO of The Children's Center Honored for Commitment to Children with Disabilities

Detroit, MI (August 15, 2011). The Children’s Center is very pleased to announce that Chief Executive Officer Debora Matthews was selected to receive the 2011 EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to distinguished individuals as part of Disabilities Awareness Day recognition events nationwide. Debora was chosen from an impressive list of local candidates for her dedication and commitment to, and advocacy for, those with special needs.

The mission of Disability Awareness Night (DAN) is to expand awareness of the 54.6 million Americans living with disabilities, by highlighting their extraordinary achievements and the perseverance and dedication of the families, physicians, nurses, therapists, educators and other caregivers involved in their care and development. The presentation of the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award (named after the founder and former editor-in-chief of Exceptional Parent magazine, EP) at each Disability Awareness Night signifies the remarkable accomplishments that can be achieved under difficult circumstances.

Debora was honored on August 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Comerica Park prior to the Detroit Tigers game. The Children’s Center took more than 50 children and their families to the park for the ceremony and game, compliments of sponsors Barbara Gill, Principal, Seymour Gill Financial, a MassMutual agency and their Special Care program and Exceptional Parent Magazine.

According to Debora Matthews, “This award is truly an honor. I get the greatest reward seeing hope on the faces of children when they finally understand their so-called disability really gives them the ability to strive for a greater future.”

TLC resources in use with Japanese traumatized youth

tlcstarr.pngThe National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children providing materials for interventions

ALBION, MI – The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC), a program of the Starr Institute for Training, is currently providing intervention assistance to professionals from the Tokyo Center for Play Therapy in Japan who work with survivors of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

Among TLC’s many resources and tools for working with traumatized children, adolescents and adults is the best-selling storybook “Brave Bart,” about a young kitten who overcomes a sad and scary event with the help of a helpful neighborhood cat. This playfully illustrated story normalizes many trauma-related reactions children experience. Kyoko Kobayashi Porteux, a TLC Certified Trauma Specialist, translated the book into Japanese.

TLC Director Caelan Kuban has been in touch with Yumiko Ogawa Fariss from Tokyo Center for Play Therapy who asked for the Japanese translation of the storybook. This organization believes that “Brave Bart” will be extremely helpful to the people of Japan experiencing disaster and loss, especially young children.

“They are very thankful to have access to ‘Brave Bart,’ and it is my professional belief that several thousand children will benefit from the therapeutic messages in the book,” said Kuban. “The devastation in Japan is beyond our comprehension. We are deeply saddened by the tremendous amount of loss but more than willing to provide any assistance we can toward the healing process.”

The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC) mission is to bring out the best in every traumatized child by creating environments where children flourish. There currently are more than 6,000 TLC Certified Trauma and Loss specialists operating in schools and clinics across the country and internationally to children, adolescents, families, schools, and communities.

Starr Commonwealth is internationally recognized as a leader in transformational programs for children, families, schools and communities. Founded in 1913, Starr’s treatment philosophy is rooted in seeing something good in every child, which serves as the guiding principle in its strength-based approach. Starr offers a full spectrum of community-based early intervention and prevention services along with specialized residential programs. Through the Starr Institute of Training, parents, clinicians, educators and childcare professionals now have access to Starr’s highly successful and innovative techniques aimed at bringing out the best in every child.

For more information about TLC, visit or call 877-306-5256.

March 26: Michigan Heart Gallery Grand Opening Event



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