Michigan Reunification Day honors families, jurists and family preservation professionals Jacques Short (Samaritas) and Jason Sroufe (Wellspring Lutheran Services)

Michigan Reunification Day promotes and celebrates the reunification of children with their families and recognizes the many professionals who make it their duty to ensure children are returned safely to their families. Michigan is one of 27 states to hold Reunification Day events. In its fourth year, Michigan Reunification Day is a part of the American Bar Association’s annual Reunification Month celebrations. The ceremony was led by Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement and featured remarks from Justice Megan Kavanagh, MDHHS Children’s Services Agency Director JooYeun Chang, MDHHS Family Preservation and Reunification Program Manager Tracie Kress; presentation of reunified families by Chief Judge Jeffrey Nellis of Mason County Probate Court and Judge Michelle Rick of Clinton/Gratiot County Circuit Court. Among the honorees at the June 20 ceremony at the Hall of Justice: Jacques Short, preservation worker with Samaritas, was awarded the Guy Thompson Worker Achievement Award, and Jason Sroufe, family services division director at Wellspring Lutheran Services, received the Guy Thompson Champion for Reunification Award. Congratulations to Jacques and Jason!

Select quotes from the Jacques Short nomination entry: “It is important for a worker to be personable, empathetic and dedicated to their work and their client(s) for whom services are provided. Mr. Short exemplified all these traits and more when working with this family in reunification services.” “Furthermore, Mr. Short was key in this father initiating the process of filing for custody of his children.” “Mr. Short played an integral role in this family’s reunification, something that would not have been as successful without his involvement.” Photo: Jacques Short of Samaritas and Tracie Kress of MDHHS.

Select quotes from the Jason Sroufe nomination entry: “When working with families, Jason treats them as colleagues, rather than serving as an expert who is telling them what to do. Jason has carried that philosophy through every program he has worked on and with every interaction he has with families as well as staff.” “He is thoughtful about how multiple contracts should work with each other to complement the work of family reunification or extend the impact of family assistance and family support programs.” “Jason has also been leading the way at helping Wellspring identify and address disproportionality within the child welfare system, and he did it starting from family preservation work.” Photo: L-R: Sean de Four, Jason Sroufe, Dave Gehm—all with Wellspring Lutheran Services.

15th Annual Michigan Teen Conference tagged "best one yet"

The 15th Annual Michigan Teen Conference was a tremendous success, with over 300 participants, including 200+ youth, 70+ chaperones, presenters and planning committee members in attendance. Not familiar with the Michigan Teen Conference? Check out the program posted below

Special thanks to conference fiduciary Samaritas for its leadership, to all hard-working planning committee members and generous sponsors (see page 9 of the program), and to Saginaw Valley State University for hosting the conference and providing numerous student volunteers to assist during the event. Several attendees claimed this was the “best one yet.”  


Michigan Federation for Children and Families marks 50 years!

Special Tribute made to the Michigan Federation for Children and Families by Senator Peter MacGregor 

MICHFED 50 On May 1, 1969, the Michigan Federation of Private Children’s Agencies was incorporated as a 501(c)(4) organization. On May 2, 2019, the Federation hosted an evening of celebration of the rich history of the Federation. Former executive directors of the organization and member agencies came together with current leaders of Federation member agencies and partners in this work to recognize this important milestone by recognizing the unwavering commitment to our communities throughout Michigan and the many outstanding achievements of Federation members over the past 50 years. 

The organization was started by volunteers, and through the member agency executives’ commitment of untold hours of volunteer time and energy, significant advances were made toward making children and families, and the agencies serving them, stronger. In celebration of 50 years of the Federation, Senator Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) and Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a Special Tribute to the Michigan Federation for Children and Families. The special tribute concludes, “We applaud the community spirit, industriousness and ingenuity that have brought them to this point in their history, and we look forward to seeing those qualities alive and well for generations to come.” Thank you to everyone who has helped us achieve this milestone, and celebrated with us—cheers to the next 50 years!

Click here to view/download the commemorative program from the May 2, 2019 event!

May 23, 2019 Michigan ACE Initiative Conference

Event Date: 
05/23/2019 - 10:00am to 3:00pm

The Michigan ACE Initiative was created just over two years ago and has devoted its energy to provide awareness of the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Michigan.  This initial focus on awareness was accomplished through a variety of ways: (1) presentations to various groups, organizations and agencies across the state, (2) supportive training of four cohorts of Master Trainers that we remain in partnership to assist in local grassroots involvement, and (3) the consensus of our State Steering Committee in the development of a Policy agenda. 

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