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Director's Message

Dear Friends,

I’m still overcome with amazement and gratitude for the outpouring of love and support you, our community, showed for CFS at the first ever “Under the Moon and Stars” Masquerade Gala September 20th. It was just a gorgeous event all around—the setting at Bay View Weddings in Leelanau County, the fabulous food, the video stories your support helped create, the telescopic view of Saturn in the clear night sky, the Fabulous Horndogs! So many thanks to our dedicated committee of volunteers and all who contributed in any way. It was truly a magical evening! Everyone seems excited to do it again, so mark your calendars for September 18, 2024.

But although we spent a wonderful time together celebrating all that CFS has accomplished, we can’t rest on our laurels. The work continues apace. Recently we were awarded a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to expand our Safe Haven service out of our Harbor Springs office beginning in 2024. Below you will read more about our Safe Haven program and the importance of these services during this Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We will also be expanding respite services for our foster families, and host homes for our runaway and homeless youth. If you’ve ever considered being a foster parent, or providing an occasional short-term home to a youth who has run away or is homeless, this is the right time to inquire about these programs. Join us at our upcoming open house on October 25th 5-7pm (see below).

As we grow and change in order to better serve our community, we are grateful for you and the trust you place in us. We start this new fiscal year with optimism and hope. Thank you.

See you soon!


Gina Aranki, Executive Director

Under the Moon and Stars Masquerade Gala

was a magical evening!

We are still smiling with gratitude for the generous support of so many people who helped us raise money for the numerous ways we serve our community! Here’s a collage of pics from our event at the stunning Bay View Weddings at Gallagher Farms. It was a perfect evening where the stars and moon aligned to create a cosmic energy of fun, friendship, and bountiful giving! There are a lot more photos on our Facebook page, @childandfamilyservicesofnorthwesternmichigan, and plans are already underway for 2024! Mark your calendars for September 18 and contact us if you or your business want to be a part of this special event. Many thanks to the hundreds of sponsors, contributors and guests who made this inaugural event so successful!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.”( Research shows that when children witness domestic violence, it can permanently alter their brains, causing anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem; difficulty sleeping, making friends, and concentrating in school; and higher rates of juvenile school drop-out, substance abuse, pregnancy, and crime.

To help mitigate the effects of domestic violence, CFS opened Safe Haven, our supervised visit and safe exchange program. Our goal at Safe Haven is to remove stress from parents so that they can focus their energy on building and maintaining positive and healthy relationships with their children. Since Safe Haven began in 2004 with just seven families, the program has expanded to provide more than 40,800 visits and exchanges, serving over 2,400 children and families. In Fiscal Year 2023 alone, Safe Haven facilitated 1,053 visits and 793 exchanges. An average of 64 families and 81 children are served each month. Safe Haven creates staggered arrival times, separate entrances, communication services between parents, and visit supervision. This prevents children from suffering from witnessing or being a part of extreme conflicts or domestic violence.

“The staff are very good with keeping me aware of the things that might be concerning.” --Safe Haven Parent

For more information on Safe Haven please visit:

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence there is help:

National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233

Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City 231-941-1210

Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan 231-347-0082

Call or text 211 for other local and state resources.

October is Homelessness Awareness Month

Winter is coming—we all know that by dropping temperatures and the beautifully-colored trees this time of year. For many who live up north, the coming of the season brings excitement—for winter sports; clean, cold days; and holidays with friends and family. For others, including so many homeless youth in our region, the coming of winter represents hardship and concern—where to stay when the temperature has dropped; the sadness of being without family on the holidays; and how to keep warm when there is no money for warm winter wear and no warm bed or home. These youth may be couch surfing, staying in a motel, shelter or transitional housing, or unsheltered in a car, tent, outdoors, or unoccupied building. A few years ago, a study documented that 127 youth just in the 5-county area around Traverse City were experiencing homelessness. And, of course, the number goes up when you include additional counties.

What can be done? CFS is launching several new youth-serving programs that you will read about more in next month's newsletter. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our mission, reaching out to homeless youth in northern lower


34th Annual Brown Bag Campaign!

The little brown bags represent hope—hope that a warm and loving foster or adoptive family will give each child the love, safety, and security that they deserve.  The Brown Bag Campaign, now in its 34th year, reminds our community of the needs of children in foster care, as well as the ongoing need for foster parents, volunteers, and donations to support our work. Donations help pay for things like a stuffed animal to hug, counseling, school supplies, winter boots, and opportunities such as music or dance lessons or summer camp.

Please consider making a donation. It's simple to fill out and mail in, or you can make a donation online! Your donation will help make life a little easier for the children in foster care whom we serve.

To learn more or to donate online please visit

Upcoming Events

Foster parents needed! Join us virtually to learn more. Our licensing staff will explain the process of becoming a foster parent and answer any questions you may have. The process is easier than you think. Consider helping today!

Virtual Intro To Fostering Wednesday, November 1st, at 5:45pm, or November 15th, at 5:30 Click to learn more and register.

October 21st 10am-3pm Inevitable Farm Peonies is generously hosting this event to support CFS. Come check out these beautiful flowers while helping us help others.

October 23rd 430-6pm Trunk or Treat at CFS

Join us for some spooky fun and tasty treats. Costumes are welcome but not required. Hope to see you all there!

October 25th 5-7pm CFS Open House

Are you interested in helping children in need? Are you unsure if you're ready for long-term fostering? CFS is launching some new programs that allow you to give foster parents a break while dipping your toes in the fostering world. Come learn how you can help us help kids!

October 27th Northern Home & Cottage tour benefitting Child and Family Services.

The 2023 Northern Home & Cottage Virtual Home Tour benefitting CFS launches soon. Get ready to explore some of the North's most incredible homes by making a donation to Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. Don't miss out, get your tickets now!


We are busy gearing up for our 18th Annual Paper Angels Campaign. Lists will be available to donors beginning November 6th. Gift drop off date will be December 2nd.

If you are interested in learning more or donating to our Angel Fund which helps kids all year long, please visit

Donate Today

Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan

3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City | (231) 946-8975

3434 M-119, Ste F, Harbor Springs | (231) 347-4463   | 

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