CA with tag line 

 525 N. State Street · Suite 4 · Alma, MI 48801 
(989) 463-1422

"When a Child gives you a gift, even if it's a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It may be the only thing they have to give, and they have chosen to give it to you."

-Dean Jackson

In This Issue
About Us 

Child Advocacy is a non-profit agency with a mission to improve the welfare of children and their families through education, training, and support for the prevention of substance abuse and child abuse and neglect.

 Our Staff
Audra Stahl 
Executive Director
Pam Mahin
Office Manager
Ty Warczinsky 
GCSAC Coordinator
Sara Krebs 
Coalition Coordinator 
 Richelle Davis 
Prevention Educator
Michelle Zombeck 
 CASA Coordinator    
Heather Therrien  
CAC Coordinator
Nicole Showers
CAC Case Manager

Mallory Harrier
CAC Intake Coordinator
Staci Bigelow
Event/Volunteer Coordinator

Morgan Rooy
CAN Coordinator 
Board of Directors  

Carolyn Studley
Community Represenative
Vice President 
Matt Schooley
City of Alma Transportation
Jennifer Stambaugh
DeafBlind Central
Sara Bonacci
Sara Bonacci Photography
Steve Benn
MI State Police

Wendy Currie 
Mid MI District Health Dept

Colleen Davis
Prosecuting Attorney's Office 
Jim Dubey
Garr Tool

Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions 

Tammy Halfmann
Mercantile Bank

David Justin
 Alma School Board
Jennifer Leppien

John Morey

Mike Morris
Detective/Sgt. Gratiot Co. Sheriff's Dept. 
Alison Morrison
Dept. of Health and Human Services 
Jamie Richardson
Doehring Schultz Insurance Agency

Jennifer Siefker
Tri Lakes Petroleum
Steve Vernon
 Gratiot Co. Comm. Mental Health 

Wes Wickes
Central MI Youth for Christ

Mark Williams
Alma Police Depart.

Joe Yourchock
Community Representative


Seat Safety


Did you know that at Child Advocacy we can install and provide a safety inspection for your child safety seat?  Child Advocacy has a nationally certified safety seat technician available!
To make an appointment call
 or 800-552-4489
Permanent Prescription Drug Drop Off
Gratiot Co. Sheriff
226 E. Center
open 24 hrs./day
7 days/week
Alma Police Dept.
525 E. Superior St.
8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Breckenridge Police Dept.
 104 E. Saginaw St.
8:00 a.m.- 5:00  p.m.
Monday - Friday
St. Louis Police Dept.
108 W. Saginaw St.
Mon. 7 - 3 
Tues. - Fri. 8 - 4 
These sites accept
prescription pills and patches.
Program Needs

Gas Cards 
to help cover the cost for medical travel to Grand Rapids or help with transportation of foster children.

Gift Cards to Walmart and Meijer to purchase the specific needs of a child. 
Drawing Paper


New Children's Books


Games for younger children to play

Capri Sun Juice Box's

Bottled Water

Community donations help the quality of our programs and are greatly appreciated. Donations can be made directly at Child Advocacy or by contacting our office. (989) 463-1422

Your Feedback!

"The CASA volunteer was going above and beyond with attention to detail and that her narratives from her visits were very informative and helpful to everyone involved in the case."

Said to a CASA volunteer from a child's attorney.

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

Merry Christmas!
While doing your holiday shopping please remember to donate to your local Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, Foster Closet, or any other local non-profit.  When shopping on Amazon choose Gratiot County Child Advocacy Association, that's us, under the Amazon Smile Foundation program . You can also check out our wishlist on the side of the newsletter for items that our agency could use during this holiday season.   

Child Advocacy Staff
Check out our website .
Upcoming Events

Free Family Carnival & Expo
Saturday, January 28, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Central Michigan Youth for Christ 
2550 W. Cheesman Road - Alma   
Infant Safe Sleep
By: Morgan Rooy
CAN Coordinator

Infant Safe Sleep: The Newest Recommendations

In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their latest infant safe sleep recommendations. They list a total of 19 recommendations for all infant caregivers, some of which are directed towards pregnant women or women who are planning on becoming pregnant. Of the 19, there are also 4 recommendations aimed at policy makers, researchers, and other professionals in the field. 

So what's new? 
Most of us have heard of the ABC's of infant safe sleep: Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib. Not a whole lot has changed with the newest recommendations, and the AAP still recommends the implementation of the ABC's. With the new publication, the AAP puts more of an emphasis on their previous recommendations, more specifically bed-sharing (co-sleeping) and breastfeeding. These are just a few recommendations from their newest publication: 

* Have infants sleep in the parents' room, close to the parents' bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first 6 months. "There is evidence that sleeping in the parents' room but on a separate surface decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. In addition, this arrangement is most likely to prevent suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed" (pg. 4). Bed-sharing is not recommended by the AAP, this includes co-bedding with twins or other children. 

* It is recommended to breastfeed infants. "Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. Unless contraindicated, mothers should breastfeed exclusively or feed with expressed milk (i.e. not offer any formula or other nonhuman milk-based supplements) for 6 months" (pg. 4). 

* Check for broken/missing pieces and product recalls. It is recommended that parents check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls on all baby products. For safe sleep, cribs, bassinets, and portable cribs should be checked. It is also important to look products over for broken or missing pieces. "Cribs with missing hardware should not be used, nor should the parent or provider attempt to fix broken components of the crib, because many deaths are associated with cribs that are broken or with missing parts (pg. 4). 

Why is this so important?

Because there have been 712 infant sleep-related deaths in Michigan between 2010 and 2014, and this is preventable.

How can I get more information?

As an agency focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, Child Advocacy is dedicated to providing the latest and safest information on infant safe sleep. If you have any questions regarding infant safe sleep, please contact our agency at 989-463-1422.

To view the full report with all of the AAP's 
recommendations,  SIDS and Other Sleep-Related  Infant 
Death: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment visit:

The State of Michigan also has infant safe sleep resources found here:  
Game Day Challenge Winner

Congratulations to  Gratiot Community Mental Health for winning our Game Day Challenge 2016! Proceeds from the challenge benefit the  Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County (CAC).   

Thank you to all of you who participated; DuHadway Dance Dimensions, Commission on Aging, Mid MI District Health Dept., Alma Public Schools, Gratiot Community Mental Health, and Mercantile Bank. 

L to R - Heather Therrien, CAC Coordinator, Steve Vernon, CEO CMH, Mallory Harrier, CAC Intake Coordinator, and Nicole Showers, CAC Case Manager.
Future Child Advocates of CMU
By: Megan Nemetz
Central Michigan University Intern

Future Child Advocates is a new registered student organization at Central Michigan University that provides education and volunteer opportunities for students interested in advocating against child neglect and abuse. Each meeting an educational component is provided to bring awareness to group members to help them become better advocates in their communities and future professional careers. 

This semester we are proud to have about 20 new members actively trying to make a difference in our community of Mount Pleasant. This past summer FCA's secretary on the E-board, Maddie Karcher, helped make our first ever backpack project a huge success. FCA donated over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to local schools, along with donating the extra supplies to Mount Pleasant's Foster Closet. Now we are fundraising to make blankets to donate to children locally, as well as collecting supplies at each meeting to donate to the Women's Aid Shelter. 

We are also always searching for new volunteer opportunities so feel free to contact us at For more information and updates on our events and fundraisers. Please like us on Facebook by searching "Future Child Advocates of CMU" and follow us on twitter @FCA_CMU!
Minimizing Holiday Stressors & Focusing on the Joy 
of  the Season
By: Sara Krebs
Coalition Coordinator

The holidays are here- the most joyous time of the year!!!  Also for many, one of the most stressful times of the year.  Depending on the day and your obligations, it may seem  that one day is the most joyous, and then the next is the  most stressful. Holiday parties, shopping, planning, cooking,  squeezing extra fun activities into an already packed  schedule... How do we balance everything, enjoy the 
holidays, and not let the stress of it all get to us? Here 
are some tips to help you avoid and manage holiday 
stress and to focus on the JOY in your holidays.

* Set realistic expectations for yourself and your family.
Remember that each of us has our own idea of what 
makes the season jolly. Don't feel obligated to attend 
EVERY single celebration you are invited to. Remember, 
overextending yourself=more stress.

*Set a gift buying budget, and try to avoid waiting until
 the last minute to avoid the holiday rush. Consider cutting 
back on items bought and focus on time spent with loved 
*Find healthy ways to de-stress regularly during the holidays
- go for a walk, attend an exercise or yoga class, relax and 
listen to some music. Schedule REFRESH or RELAX time into
your calendar.

* Remember to take care of YOU so you can feel your best 
during holiday celebrations. Often this is a time that many 
allow their exercise, healthy eating habits, sleep habits, etc. 
to slip.  Work to keep as much of your "normal routine" as
you can. A healthy and well rested YOU is a happy YOU!

*If you choose to drink alcohol at celebrations, do so wisely:
make sure you have a plan for getting home safely, have a
designated driver, pace yourself (have no more than one 
drink per hour), make every other drink a nonalcoholic one. 

For more information on how to celebrate safely this holiday season, visit:
Holiday_Fact_Sheet.pdf you are enjoying the holidays safely, remember
that there are many people who struggle with the holidays 
for various reasons. Please try to support those around you that may be struggling in positive ways.

With the very recent release of the Surgeon General's Report  on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, we continue to work to increase prevention programs and treatment programs for those with substance use disorders. As you take a few moments to slow down this holiday season, I would also 
urge you to take a look at the "Facts and Recommendations for Communities" from the Surgeon General's Report to see how you may be able to help in our community. Link to:
Remember that the Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition  meets the second Monday of the Month. Our next meeting is December 12th at 1 p.m. in Ithaca at the RESD, we  are always looking for more community involvement in the Coalition.
Have a Healthy Happy Holiday Season!
Scheduled Classes

Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group
Tuesday, December 13
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 
New Location: East Superior Christian Church - Alma
Please call our office at (989) 463-1422 to register for the class.

Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
Monday December 12
1:00 p.m.
1131 E. Center St. 
Ithaca, MI 48847

Please call Sara at 989-463-1422 with any questions
Happy Holidays!

We sincerely appreciate the love, time, and support you have given to our agency in 2016.  We look forward to serving this community in 2017.  Have a safe and happy new year.

Audra Stahl
Executive Director