CA with tag line 

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

 Fathers Love



"What a child doesn't receive,

he can seldom later give."


P.D. James 


In This Issue
How to Talk with Kids - Ages 5-8
Are you receiving DHS Payments for Children?
Swaddling for Safe Sleep
Teaching Children about Stranger Danger
Scheduled Classes
GCSAC New website Design

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  


Pam Mahin
RRC Coordinator


Lisa Cannon
GCSAC Coordinator
 Richelle Davis 
Prevention Educator 

Heather Gardner
 CAC Coordinator
Brenda Shafley
Office Assistant 

Board of Directors 

Kent Schulze
Dept. of Human Services

Vice President 
Wes Wickes 
Youth for Christ

Michael Hetzman
Community Mental
Health - Gratiot Co.

 Kim Vetter
MI State Police
Mt. Pleasant Post

Lori Apple
Comm. Mental Health - Isabella Co.
Dan Buschle
 Alma Products 
 Wendy Currie
Mid Michigan Dist. Health Dept. 
Colleen Davis
Prosecuting Attorney's Office 
Toni Davis
Women's Aid Service
Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions
Tammy Funnell
David Justin
 Alma School Board
 Jennifer Leppien
Governor's Task Force/Child Abuse & Neglect 
Kelly Piotrowski
DHS - Gratiot Co.
Jennifer Stambaugh
DeafBlind Central CMU
 Carolyn Studley
Retired - Alma Public Schools


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.


Lung Clinic

Lung cancer is the leading cause of deaths from cancer for both men and women.  Tobacco use causes 87 percent of all deaths from lung cancer.  Mid-Michigan Cancer Center is offering smoking cessation education.

If you are interested in learning more about the Lung Clinic a free telephone screening is available by calling
(press 2). 


Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List



Are you interested in competing in a 5K run or walk?  The Child Advocacy 5K Event is scheduled for Saturday, May 4.  Our race welcomes all levels of runners and walkers.  Visit our website to print a registration form.  There is activities for the whole family!


Please take a moment to read the informative articles we have to offer this month.



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website


energy drinks

Energy Drinks 


By Lisa Cannon 
Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator



The number of emergency room visits involving Energy Drinks has doubled from 2007 to 2011 reaching more than 20,000 according to a new government report.  As many of you know, these drinks have been marketed to our teens and young adults.  Teens and young adults use these drinks for increased energy to stay awake, study for an exam, or in conjunction with alcohol or prescription medication.  Truth is the energy drinks can have negative health consequences.  According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMSHA), the consumption of energy drinks is a "rising public health problem."  The energy drinks can cause headaches, increased heart rate, insomnia, and nervousness.  In 2011, forty two percent (42%) of emergency room cases involved energy drinks combined with alcohol or drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall.  When someone drinks three energy drinks within one hour, it is the equivalent of drinking 15 cups of coffee.  Think twice before purchasing these drinks for your children.

For more information on this topic, contact Lisa Cannon, Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition at 989-462-0142 or  or


CAC logoHow to Talk with Kids

Ages 5-8 to

Prevent Sexual Abuse

By Heather Gardner

CAC Coordinator



Please keep in mind your child's developmental stage, you will need to focus on specific issues and address or avoid certain topics.


Reinforce boundaries.  Support your child if they want to say "No thank you" to hugs or kisses from relatives.  If you child is squirming away when Grandpa wants to give them a hug you could say, "Jimmy isn't really in the mood for a kiss right now, and that's okay, isn't it Grandpa?"


Head off guilty feelings. Don't wait until you suspect something is wrong. "Kids need to hear that it is never their fault if someone behaves sexually with them and that they can always come to you," says Jolie Logan CEO of Darkness to Light.  In doing so, you help take away the perpetrator's most powerful weapons-shame and fear.  Bathtime is one opportunity to talk about bodies and boundaries, says Logan ("I want you to understand that people shouldn't touch your private parts, or ask you to touch theirs").  Or use current events: "There are grown-ups who like to do inappropriate things with children, and it's my job as a parent to keep you safe.  You can always come to me if you feel uncomfortable.


Teach internet safety. Many experts consider kids this age too young to be online by themselves.  Use parental controls to limit their access, and explain that people are not always who they claim to be online.  Make sure your child never discloses any personal information or photos.  Ask your child to tell you if they ever feel uncomfortable about anything on the Internet they receive or see.

Article information obtained from "Protect Your Child from a Predator", By Jessica Snyder Sachs from Parent Magazine.

Next month we will look at the final age group of Ages 9+, on how to talk with them to prevent sexual abuse.


  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 5 children is solicited sexually while on the internet.
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) are on children ages 17 and under

Are You Receiving DHS Payments

for Children?


If you receive CDC payments for DHS children in your care, you must register on the State of Michigan website, Contract and Payment Express (C & PE). This is required to continue receiving CDC payments. 


If you have not already registered on this site, here is the link for Step by Step Instructions




CDA Amnesty Has Been Extended

The Council for Professional Recognition has extended the CDA amnesty program until May 31st, 2013. Any provider who has an expired CDA from the past 10 years is still able to renew. The Amnesty program was scheduled to end December 31st, 2012 but the Council has decided to extend this until May due to the high demand. This is good news for providers who never got around to renewing their CDA!


Information provided by Pam Mahin

Regional Resource Center Coordinator

Swaddling for Safe Sleep
By Ronda Sorensen
Parent Educator
After reading the December newsletter from the Happiest Baby Education Association, I find myself even more committed to teaching Dr. Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby curriculum.  New research has shown that since the start of "back to sleep," infant suffocation in bed has actually quadrupled (now approximately 1000 babies per year).  Sleep deaths from SIDS and suffocation continue to be the #1 cause of infant mortality between 1-12 months.  But, now it's within our power to greatly reduce this daily tragedy!
Swaddling during sleep is recommended in numerous AAP books, web sites, and programs including and the AAP's Practicing Safety initiative to prevent shaken baby syndrome.  The AAP SIDS task force chair, Dr. Rachel Moon, specifically encouraged swaddling for naps/nights for fussy sleepers.
There are many theoretical benefits to snug wrapping:  Supine swaddling lessens a baby's ability to roll into the more risky stomach position.
Swaddled babies cry less and sleep longer.  This is important because crying and parent exhaustion are triggers for maternal smoking and breast feeding failure (both associated with increased SIDS risk).
Swaddling-related reduction of crying and improved sleep may also reduce the temptation of bleary-eyed parents to place their fussy infants on the stomach or in unsafe sleep locations (e.g. bed sharing, sofa sleeping).
Swaddling may increase arousability during sleep (arousability is associated with lower SIDS risk).
In addition, this benefit of swaddling to reduce infant crying and increase infant sleep may help reduce marital conflict, child abuse (including, shaken baby syndrome), postpartum depression (of mothers and fathers), excess visits to ER/MD, overtreatment for acid reflux, dysfunctional bonding, car accidents, and even maternal obesity.
The Happiest Baby is the only national program to teach proper swaddling.  During the last several years, a great emphasis has been placed on teaching parents proper car safety seat importance and use...we must also ensure safe sleep procedures by providing parents the information they need to be successful.  Our goal is clear, to give babies the benefit of wrapping without taking any additional risk.
I encourage you to contact Child Advocacy to learn more about the safe sleep for infants, proper swaddling techniques, or to participate in a class teaching Dr. Harvey Karp's amazing 5-S system --The Happiest Baby on the Block.
Teaching Children About Stranger Danger Without Terrifying Them
By Richelle Davis

Prevention Educator


When I go into the classroom to talk to children about strangers, they have many preconceived ideas on what a stranger is. Teaching children to be cautious of strangers is a tricky task. You want them to understand that some people aren't safe. However, you don't want them to run screaming, "Stranger Danger!! Stranger Danger!!" any time a sweet elderly lady smiles at them in the grocery store. It's a delicate balance to find. Our goal is to educate them without terrifying them.


Here are some tips for building awareness without terror.

  • Explain what "stranger" means. Don't take it for granted that they know. You might say, "A stranger is someone that you don't know." Then point out examples, such as, "You know Grandma. She's not a stranger. See that man walking his puppy over there? He looks like a nice man and he has a cute little puppy, but we don't know him, so he's a stranger."
  • Illustrate some of the common ploys strangers use to entice children. Explain that an adult should always ask other adults for help and never children. Tell them that you will never send a stranger to pick them up, and it is not okay to accept any items from a stranger if you aren't with them. Consider instituting a family password. Instruct your children to ask for the password from anyone unexpectedly picking them up.
  • Tell them when it is okay to talk to strangers. It's fine for your children to feel comfortable talking to strangers when you're with them. You will let them know which strangers are safe to talk to, such as doctors and dentists. Explain that it's okay to talk to a new teacher or babysitter even after you leave.
  • Identify "safe" strangers. Let them know that people in uniform are there to help them. Instruct them to look for police officers, firefighters, and store clerks if they get separated from you.
  • Teach them to trust their instincts. If someone makes them feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away and look for a safe person to help them. It's important to trust their feelings. Tell them they don't need to worry about being polite or using good manners if a stranger approaches them when you are not around.
  • Talk about what to do if a stranger tries to take them. The plan might include kicking, screaming and running towards other grownups, especially those in uniform. Make sure they understand that most strangers don't try to hurt children, but it's important to know what to do just in case.  
  • Revisit the subject from time to time.  It's important to give little reminders regularly as children grow and mature.
Don't stop keeping tabs on your children and discussing stranger safety. A blanket statement of, "Don't talk to strangers" simply isn't enough. Keep the conversations going even if you have teenagers. Expand the conversation to people who try to contact them through text messages and social network sites. Children of all ages need to know how to stay safe.

Scheduled Classes


Daycare Provider Trainings


Building Partnerships with Families

February 5-19

Online Course

4 hours of training

To register go to, click trainings, click on the map, in upper left corner, click online.



Diversity: Opening Children's Eyes to the World

February 19 - March 5

Online Course

4 hours of training

To register go to, click trainings, click on the map, in upper left corner, click online.



Great Start to Quality Orientation 


Wednesday, February 13

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

Gratiot-Isabella RESD - Shepherd 

No Cost


Other Trainings/Groups


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, February 12

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Youth for Christ - Alma

No Cost


QPR Training

Tuesday, Feburary 26

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Alma Public Library


Nurturing Parenting Program

for parents and their school-age children (5 to 11 years)

Thursday, March 7 - meeting for 10 consecutive weeks

5:00 p.m. light meal served

5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Class

United Methodist Church - St. Louis

No Cost


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

Gratiot County Substance
Abuse Coalition
has a new website design with a wealth of information on drug and alcohol related topics.
Wow!  This is a wonderful newsletter.  Kudos to the staff at Child Advocacy for putting together such an informative newletter this month.  I hope you learned as much as I did reading their articles.
I am very excited to announce that the Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County is now open!  Heather started conducting Forensic Interviews on January 17th in the Center.  Stacey Graham, from Community Mental Health, is acting as the Center's Family Advocate.  Stacey is working with families to provide follow up services as necessary.  More information regarding the Center and the services we provide in next month's newsletter.
Audra Stahl
Executive Director