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

setting example 




"We apt to forget that

children watch examples better

 than they listen to preaching." 


- Roy L. Smith -

In This Issue
Prescription Drugs and Heroin
Giving Wall
Great Start to Quality
Get to Know Heather Gardner
Cost of Child Abuse & Neglect
Scheduled Classes
Plaid Duathlon
Summer Hours


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

Ronda Sorensen -
 Parent Educator  

Brenda Shafley-
Office Assistant 
Pam Mahin -
RRC Coordinator
Lisa Cannon- 
GSAC Coordinator
 Richelle Davis -
Prevention Educator 

Heather Gardner -
 CAC Coordinator

Board of Directors 

President -
Kent Schulze
Dept. of Human Services

Vice President -
Wes Wickes 
Youth for Christ

Treasurer -
Madonna Adkins
EightCAP inc.

Secretary -
 Kim Vetter
MI State Police
Mt. Pleasant Post

Lori Apple
Comm. Mental Health - Isabella Co.

Kristin Bakker
Prosecuting Attorney's Office
 Wendy Currie
Mid Michigan Dist. Health Dept.
Toni Davis
Women's Aid Service
Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions

 Mike Hetzman
 Comm. Mental Health - Gratiot Co.
 Mary Hunt
Retired-EightCAP inc.

David Justin
 Alma School Board

Dan Buschle
Community Member
 Carolyn Studley
Retired Alma Public Schools

 Jennifer Leppien
CASA Volunteer 


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 Drop Off



Alma Police Dept.

525 E. Superior St.

Mon. - Fri. 

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Gratiot Co. Sheriff

226 E. Center


open 24 hrs./day

7 days/week


Both sites accept

prescription pills, liquids, and patches.


Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List



Let freedom ring!


Please take a moment out of your busy summer schedule to enjoy our informative newsletter.  There is always something exciting happening at Child Advocacy.   



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website www.linkforfamilies.org.




Prescription Drugs and Heroin:

 How are they related?

- Lisa Cannon-



Prescription drug abuse and heroin are growing problems across the country taking control of our young people and costing them their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescription drugs tripled nationwide between 2000 and 2008. A growing number of young people who start abusing expensive prescription drugs are switching to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to buy. Prescription pain pills cost $20 to $60, while heroin costs $3 to $10 a bag. In 2009, the most recent year for which national data is available, 510 young adults, ages 15 to 24, died of a heroin overdose, up from 198 in 1999.

What can we do?

  • Ask your doctor if there is an alternative form of pain medication that is less addictive
  • If you or your child is prescribed prescription painkillers, monitor the dose and amount being taken.
  • Use prescription painkillers only as directed by a health care provider.
  • Store prescriptions UP and AWAY from your children and dispose of them properly.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drugfree.org or contact Lisa Cannon, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at 989-462-0142 or lisa@linkforfamilies.org.

 Consider Making a Donation to the

Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County's "Giving Wall"!


Be a part of history, as Child Advocacy opens the doors to the Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County Summer of 2012.


* A Child and Family Friendly Facility * Forensic Interviewing Services * Victim Advocacy and Support

* Specialized Mental Health Services * Family Support

* Community Education and Outreach * Specialized Medical Evaluation and Treatment * Follow Up Services


The "Giving Wall" allows the community to make a meaningful tax deductible donation to this much needed Center in our community. Donors' names will be displayed on the "Giving Wall" inside the Children's Advocacy Center. By making a donation,every child who enters the center will see that you care about them and that you are a part of a community that does not tolerate child abuse and neglect.The children of Gratiot County deserve the best start in life.

Please consider donating today.


Donations may be sent to

Child Advocacy

525 N. State Street, Suite 4

 Alma, MI 48801. 


For further information, please contact Audra Stahl at

(989) 463-1422.

Great Start
Great Start to Quality

- Pam Mahin -


Child care providers have you completed your Great Start to Quality Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) on Great Start Connect yet? This is your opportunity to assess your program and make sure you are aligned with other programs like yours and also receive a star rating that will be associated with your profile. This rating will be made public at the end of this year and anyone looking for child care will be able to see how you scored on the different areas of the assessment.


After you have logged into your profile at www.greatstartconnect.org you can access the SAS by clicking on the Great Start to Quality STARS tab at the top of the page. If you have already started filling out your SAS, watch for a mailing inviting you to a hands-on session where you can come and receive assistance in completing and submitting your survey.


If you have not started filling it out, I urge you to log in and take a look at it. If you have any questions while working through the survey, please call Pam at (989) 463-1422.

Get to Know Heather Gardner-

Forensic Interviewer


Hello from the Children's Advocacy Center! My name is Heather Gardner and I am the new Forensic Interviewer and Children's Advocacy Center Coordinator.  My family and I, which includes my husband and two young daughters, recently relocated back to Gratiot County. I was born and raised in Alma and graduated from Alma High School. I went on to receive my undergraduate degree in psychology from Michigan State University. I have worked in the human services field for over fourteen years now. My areas of specialization include; children and families, child abuse, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.


During my career, I worked at a Children's Advocacy Center in Florida for almost five years. While in Florida, I conducted well over 600 forensic interviews of children. In order to be able to conduct forensic interviews, I have been trained through The American Professional Society on Abused Children and through the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.


I have witnessed firsthand what an impact a Children's Advocacy Center can have in a community. Having a multi-disciplinary team in place to investigate child abuse cases and be able to provide the follow-up services to a family is essential. I am proud to be a new member of the Child Advocacy Organization and to be part of bringing this center to our wonderful community.

Child Abuse and Neglect Cost the

United States $124 Billion

(Rivals cost of other high profile public health problems)


The total lifetime estimated financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) is approximately $124 billion, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal.

The study looked at confirmed child maltreatment cases, 1,740 fatal and 579,000 non-fatal, for a 12-month period.


Additional findings show:

*   The estimated average lifetime cost per death is about   $1.3 million, almost all of it money the child would have earned over a lifetime if she or he had lived:

  • $14,100 in medical costs
  • $1,258,800 in productivity losses

*    The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012, including:

  • $32,648 in childhood health care costs
  • $10,530 in adult medical costs
  • $144,360 in productivity losses
  • $7,728 in child welfare costs
  • $6,747 in criminal justice costs
  • $7,999 in special education costs

The costs associated with every victim of child maltreatment who lives is comparable to other costly health conditions such as stroke, which has a lifetime cost per person estimated at $159,846 or type 2 diabetes, which is estimated between $181,000 and $253,000. 

Scheduled Classes


Daycare Provider Trainings -


Monday, July 16

Stress Relief: Calgon Take me Away!

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Veteran's Memorial Library - Mt. Pleasant

Cost $25


Great Start to Quality Orientation - Aids/Relatives 

Monday, July 23

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Wilcox Non-Profit Center

525 N. State Street, Alma

No Cost


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, July 24

6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Youth for Christ - Alma

No Cost

No childcare available during the summer.


Please call our office at (989) 463-1422 to register or to get more information.

Save the Date

 Plaid Duathlon

5K run (3.1 miles)

 12K bike (7.46 miles)


Saturday, October 27, 2012


Start and finish at Alma College


 Plaid Duathlon

Summer Hours
Starting June 1, 2012
Monday - Thursday
9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Thank you for taking the time to read our July newsletter.  Have a safe and happy summer.
Audra Stahl
Executive Director