News from Members


Judson Center Celebrates Grand Opening of its New Autism Center

jclogoNew Autism Center offers more services to autistic community with the help of donors

ROYAL OAK, Mich., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Judson Center, a comprehensive nonprofit community resource that creates solutions to improve the lives of individuals and families, today opens the newly-constructed Autism Center at its 4410 W. 13 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Mich. headquarters. Judson Center employees, autism advocates and families as well as local leaders and media will be in attendance for today's private Grand Opening ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. ET.

Judson Center's new Autism Center is equipped to engage children, teens and young adults with autism with tools geared specifically to foster personal growth and independence. The Center's features include:

  • Varied-material textures to heighten sensory perception;
  • Individual rooms offering specialized therapies;
  • A children's play area;
  • A fully accessible kitchen and dining area; and
  • A dedicated life skills area

"We are thankful to the many donors that helped us construct our new and much needed Autism Center to provide a resource to children, adults and families in southeast Michigan affected by Autism," said Marn G. Myers, LMSW, president and CEO of Judson Center. "We need the community's ongoing support to furnish and equip the Autism Center and to launch the educational, therapeutic and support programs that will run within it."

A $1.2 million capital campaign to support the new brick and mortar facility and the purchase of its furnishings and equipment is currently underway. With additional funding from the community, Judson Center will offer continued enhanced services to those with autism and their families in the new Autism Center.

The new Autism Center enables participants in Judson Center's Autism Connections program to get more out of their therapies with focused and expert care, and furthers the organization's mission to let consumers live the best lives possible.

Modern & Modular: New Cottage arrives at Starr Commonwealth

starrlogocottageKoby Cottage to serve as home-away-from-home for families visiting children

ALBION, MI - By way of two large and impressive semi-trucks, a new cottage has arrived at Starr Commonwealth that will serve as a therapeutic place for parents to stay with their child while visiting campus.

Featuring a glass and wood exterior, the contemporary modular was designed by Garrison Architects ( of New York City and the building was constructed by Kullman Buildings Corp. ( of New Jersey.

Modular, modern and uniquely different from any of the architecture you currently find in historic Albion, the building made its 641-mile transport here from New Jersey on Monday.

A crane will assemble on campus to lift the two modular pieces of the cottage off of the flatbed trucks. The pieces will be installed onto a concrete foundation that has been prepared and awaiting the building's arrival.

Starr Commonwealth acquires Children's Home of Detroit

starrlogoStarr to carry on legacy of Children's Home

GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MI - Starr Commonwealth and Children's Home of Detroit have agreed to continue the Children's Home's 172-year history of serving children and families. The acquisition, effective Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, makes it possible for the Children's Home of Detroit's mission to live on while allowing Starr to expand its presence in southeastern Michigan.

Children's Home of Detroit closed its residential program in November 2008. Its Board of Trustees voted to transfer the organization's Grosse Pointe Woods and Warren campuses to Starr Commonwealth, a nonprofit children and family services organization headquartered in Albion, Michigan.

Special Report by Detroit Free Press profiling Christ Child House

By ROBIN ERB - Free Press Staff Writer
Sunday, November 30, 2008

Click here to view the online articles/links: Christ Child House: Where children find hope

They come to heal. They come with hope. They come to Christ Child House looking for the love that should come from family.

The nondescript, gray home on Detroit's west side is part orphanage and part therapeutic home to 31 boys who have already exhausted a string of foster homes. More than half the boys are legal orphans, their parents' rights terminated because of neglect, abandonment or abuse.

They represent but a sliver of the more than 6,000 legal orphans in Michigan waiting to find a home and a family.

Kids get a home -- forever; Adoption Day makes siblings' new families official

by Stephanie Esters | Kalamazoo Gazette
Wednesday November 26, 2008
bethanylogoKALAMAZOO -- Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Stephen Gorsalitz suggested that Barbara Barrett write a book on time-management since she so adeptly runs a household with 10 children under the age of 16, eight of whom have special needs.

Barrett and her brood -- her four birth children, four other children she adopted years ago and the four she and her husband adopted Tuesday -- sat before Gorsalitz as he presided over the 9th Judicial Circuit Court's Adoption Day.

"It's kind of like a well-oiled machine," Gorsalitz said Tuesday after listening to Barbara Barrett describe her family as one designing an artistic masterpiece. "We need more families that have your (enthusiasm) and love and that are able to get that trust going with these kids."

Barrett and her husband, Jerry, sat at a courtroom table with Zoe, 3; Emily, 2; Samantha, 8; and 5-year-old Sebastian, nicknamed "Bash," the newest young people to join their family. Celebrating the day were their other eight children, who sat in the jury box, and other relatives sprinkled throughout the courtroom.

Jerry Barrett, who has nine siblings of his own, said he was less-than-enthusiastic about adopting. But, he said, he has grown to understand that everyone wants to "belong" somewhere, someplace.

"That's hard to do in our world, our society," he said. "That's a sad state of affair, and I'm so glad that the kids have shown that they feel like they belong to Barb and me." After the ceremony, the newest little Barretts shared what they day meant to them. Bash and Sam said they were excited by the day.

"I'm adopted," Sam said. That means "that we get to live here" at the Barretts' Mattawan home, permanently, he said.

Even though Tuesday was a happy occasion, Brad Keller, head of the Kalamazoo Branch of Bethany Christian Services, noted that more foster and adoptive homes are needed.

PGA TOUR announces 2008 Charity of the Year

The PGA TOUR announced Wednesday that Whaley Children's Center has been named the 2008 PGA TOUR Charity of the Year.

pgatourlogowhaleylogoWhaley Children's Center serves abused and neglected children throughout the State of Michigan between the ages of 5 and 17. The Center teaches the children how to succeed as individuals, by providing continuity of care across all programs and supporting them with the resources so they can reach their potential. They provide a continuum of services to meet the social, emotional, ethical and academic needs of children and families. They encourage children and family relationships through support service, community education and advocacy.

"Congratulations to the Whaley Children's Center for being named the PGA TOUR Charity of the Year," said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR commissioner. "The Whaley Children's Center provides many services and a nurturing environment for children in the Flint area, and is a worthy recipient of this award."

As the recipient as the 2008 PGA TOUR Charity of the Year, Whaley Children's Center will receive $30,000 towards its recreation program in 2009.

Marlee Matlin speaking at Starr's 95th anniversary

marleematlinALBION, MI - Fresh on the heels of her recent "Dancing with the Stars" appearance on ABC, award-winning actress Marlee Matlin has agreed to speak at Starr Commonwealth's Founder's Day to be held Oct. 5, 2008.

Chuck Jackson joins the executive team at Starr Commonwealth

chuckjacksonDETROIT - William "Chuck" Jackson has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer, joining the senior leadership team of Starr Commonwealth, one of the leading non-profit, child and family services organizations in the state.

Jackson had been serving as Vice President of Community Based Programs since 2005 and Director of Starr Commonwealth's Detroit programs since 2001. He will remain Executive Director of StarrVista, a care management organization serving the at-risk and delinquent population of youth residing in northwest Detroit and Dearborn Heights, a collaboration between Starr Commonwealth and Vista Maria.

His appointment was approved during Starr Commonwealth's Board of Trustees meeting held July 10. In his new role, Jackson will set the direction and oversee all Starr Commonwealth programs at the organization's five locations in Michigan and Ohio, including the many programs and youth services provided to children and families in the greater Detroit area.

Jackson joined Starr Commonwealth in 1988 and has served troubled youth and their families in the Detroit metropolitan area with Starr for the past 20 years. Chuck has dedicated his career to serving children and youth and has served in a variety of leadership positions during his tenure at Starr, including case manager, senior clinician and several administrative roles. He also has been a pioneer in developing unique programs, such as Starr Detroit's Supervised Independent Living, Residential Transitional Reintegration Support programs and most recently a Substance Abuse program.

"Chuck models the core values on which Starr Commonwealth was built. He strives to help children and families and embodies all the characteristics of servant leadership, including integrity, excellence, compassion and faith." said Martin L. Mithcell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starr Commonwealth. “We, and the youth of Detroit, are fortunate to have benefited from Chuck's dedication, which is exactly why he has been selected as a leader in our organization."

Hugh Kocab accepts new position within Starr Commonwealth

HughKocabVAN WERT, OHIO - Hugh Kocab, longtime resident and a very active member of the Van Wert area community, has accepted a new position with Starr Commonwealth as Director of Peer Group Training.

Kocab has served Starr Commonwealth for the past 15 years in a variety of roles, including Senior Clinician, Assistant Director and most recently as Campus Director in Van Wert for the past 10 years.

He has extensive background in Starr's strength-based treatment philosophy and Positive Peer Culture. He also has been instrumental in the creation and development of Montcalm School for Girls. Under his leadership, the girls program has achieved excellent outcomes for young women and their families.

"We know Hugh's daily presence will be missed in Van Wert, but we are excited about the opportunity to utilize his talents and expertise at an organizational level to impact the lives of even more children," said Martin L. Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starr Commonwealth.

July 17, 31; Aug. 7, 21: Understanding Infant Adoption (UIA)

UIAlogoHealth care and helping professionals are partners in the process of disseminating information on options counseling and the adoption option. This professional development opportunity is designed to help health care and helping professionals serving pregnant women and teens discuss adoption as an option with patients and clients who are not sure that they are able to parent the child.

New adoption office in Grand Rapids

LASlogoLutheran Adoption Service (LAS), a partnership between LSSM and Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan (LCFS), had opened an office in the Grand Rapids area. LAS staffer Christopher Fisher is working from the new LCFS office at 1715 Sutherland Drive SE, Kentwood, MI 49508.

Welcome Hands Across the Water

HandsAcrosstheWaterlogoThe Michigan Federation Board of Directors was very pleased this week to unanimously approve the application for Full Membership from Hands Across the Water, a private, nonprofit agency based in Ann Arbor. The agency, led by Director Kathleen Nelson, provides both domestic and international adoption, education and foster care services. Please visit for more information.

Jim Scherrer presents Senator Stabenow with Advocate Award

ScherrerStabenowDCJim Scherrer, Executive Director of Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, attended the Child Welfare League of America National conference last week in Washington DC and presented Senator Stabenow with the CWLA Congressional Advocate of the Year award.

Wedgwood Institute offers trainings that qualify for SW CECHs

Wedgwood Christian Services recently announced the formation of the Wedgwood Institute, whose purpose is to provide top-quality opportunities for Lifelong Learning to agency employees, clinical professionals and others in the West Michigan community and throughout the state. Wedgwood Institute will offer a diverse range of topics designed to deepen understanding and strengthen the quality of responses to the needs of children, clients and customers.

July 20: "Grant Writing is Elementary" offered by Judson Center

Below is a registration form for the upcoming training on Grant Writing is Elementary offered by Judson Center. This training is appropriate for BMSWs, SSTs and LMSWs. For additional information, visit for upcoming trainings.This program is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative for 5 CE Clock Hours. Course approval is # 052907-03.