Sean de Four named VP/COO of Child and Family Services at Wellspring Lutheran Services

Wellspring Lutheran Services is pleased to announce Sean de Four has been named vice president and chief operating officer of child and family services at Wellspring. His work with Wellspring begins Monday, Nov. 27.

De Four comes to Wellspring with a distinguished career in child welfare and family preservation work, most recently in a similar role with Samaritas in Detroit. Prior to that, he served in various roles with Judson Center, Royal Oak, MI. His passion for children and families has propelled his career, making an impact within the agencies where he’s served, as well as contributing to the field in numerous leadership positions.

De Four has served at the University of Michigan’s School of Social work as a lecturer and past member of their Alumni Board of Governors. He is on the board of directors at the Michigan Federation for Children and Families, serves as the co-chair of the Child Welfare Partnership Council in Lansing, and is on the board of the West Michigan Partnership for Children in Grand Rapids. De Four also serves as a peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation.

Federation President Brian Philson succeeded by President Debora Matthews; Maria Lessnau elected as secretary

At the November 8, 2017, Board of Directors meeting, members and staff expressed deep appreciation to Brian Philson, president/CEO of Highfields, Inc., for his exemplary leadership as Federation president over the last two years. Stepping into the presidency role is Debora Matthews, president/CEO of The Children’s Center, having been elected last year to serve as president-elect for a one-year term. Deb previously served as treasurer and chairs the Board’s Audit Committee. Brian remains in a leadership role on the Executive Committee as immediate past president. Also on November 8, the Board unanimously elected Maria Lessnau to serve a two-year term as secretary. Maria is executive director of Guiding Harbor in Belleville and co-chairs the Federation’s Residential Treatment MIN. Maria was honored as Federation Ambassador of the Year at the 2017 Annual Senior Management Conference held in September at Crystal Mountain Resort. Congratulations to all!

December 6-9: Unite to Face Addiction Michigan: 6th Annual Recovery Live Residency Tour

December 6-9: Unite to Face Addiction Michigan: 6th Annual Recovery Live Residency Tour—Four public evening performances and 12 day-time performances and Narcan Trainings will be held for this special series of events. Evening events include:
December 6 • MSU campus and Kellogg Conference Center, East Lansing
December 7 • UAW-Ford National Programs Center, Detroit
December 8 • East Flint Nazarene Church, Flint
December 9 • Zion Lutheran Church, Ann Arbor
The day-time events will be held in high schools, treatment centers, recovery community organizations, and in juvenile, jail and prison facilities in Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. For tickets and sponsor opportunities, visit or call 810-360-5779 or email

2017–2018 Child Welfare In-Service Training Catalog: FREE to private agencies NOVEMBER OFFERINGS

2017–2018 Child Welfare In-Service Training Catalog: FREE to private agencies—Posted at is the newest Child Welfare In-Service Training catalog, listing trainings that are offered FREE to workers, supervisors and foster, adoptive, kinship and birth parents associated with private agencies that contract with MDHHS to provide child welfare services, as well as MDHHS workers, supervisors and caregivers. All in-person and webinar trainings are approved for meeting the in-service training hour requirements set forth by MDHHS requiring all caseworkers to receive a minimum of 32 hours of in- service training annually and supervisors 16 hours annually. Training participants may also earn CECHs. In addition to the listing below, pages 21 and 22 in the catalog list 51 previously recorded live webinars, accessible on-demand online: 4 for caregivers; 2 for leaders/supervisors (Principles of a Mobile Workforce and Making the Case for Retention-focused Management); and 45 trainings for child welfare workers. Register early; sessions fill quickly! November–December offerings include:

Sean de Four, Vice President of Child and Family at Samaritas - Federation Member Leader in Child Welfare!

Federation Member Leader in Child Welfare:

This award is presented to a Federation member who helps to assure the Federation’s vision statement is at the forefront of all their actions: Michigan's most vulnerable children, families and individuals have access to and benefit from quality and cost-effective services supported by public and private dollars.


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