CA with tag line 

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




"Stop trying to perfect your child,

but keep trying to perfect

your relationship with him." 


- Dr. Henker - 



In This Issue
How to Talk about Sexual Abuse (Ages 9+)
Charity Basketball Game
Ten Reasons to Quit Smoking
Changes to Great Start to Quality
Child Advocacy Banquet
Scheduled Classes
Child Advocacy 5K Event
Article Headline
Kindergarten Round Up Information

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
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



April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Did you know the Pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse and neglect prevention?  The pinwheel stands as an uplifting reminder of childhood and the bright futures all children deserve.  Keep your eye of out for pinwheels planted around the Wilcox Non-Profit Center.


April is always a busy and exciting month at Child Advocacy.  This month we host our annual banquet, celebrate the grand opening of the Children's Advocacy Center, participate in the Charity Basketball game, and the pre-registration deadline for the 5K Event is April 19. 


Please come out and join us as at one if not all of these outstanding events.



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website

CAC logo  
How to Talk with Kids Ages 9+ to prevent Sexual Abuse
   Submitted 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.)
At this point (Ages 9+), you have years of experience in talking with your children about ways to keep themselves safe.  Continue to have these conversations with them.  As children near adolescence, there is the possibility that their peers could sexually threaten them.  As your child's sexuality is developing, this puts them at increased risk for offenders that are looking to take advantage of this.  Around this age, your child may begin to start spending the night at their friend's house.  Know who will be at the home your child is staying at.  Make sure your child understands to call you if they ever feel uncomfortable and that you will come get them.  Look for chances to brainstorm with your child about ways to get out of uncomfortable situations.  Reinforce that it is never your child's fault when someone mistreats you.  Let them know that you will never be upset with them for what they tell you.  Keep the lines of communication open.
Monitor devices.
Kids can easily and accidentally access pornography through smartphones and gaming system such as Nintendo Wii and Sony PSP that can be connected to the Internet.  "We're seeing a record-high number of these cases in our practice", says Dr. Julie Medlin.  "Most parents have no idea that their kids can access porn so easily in this way, nor do they understand just how much of a negative impact such exposure can have on the child's sexuality."  Look at the user guide for your device to enable parental controls and limit access to certain games with mature content and to manage web browsing, chat features, and purchases.
Help identify trusted adults. 
Lots of children are not able to disclose sexual abuse directly to their parents.  Help children to identify adults in their life that they can trust and talk to if something is bothering them.  It is imperative that the trusted adult acts appropriately to a child disclosing abuse to them.  By law, teacher, and school counselors must report suspected abuse to authorities and in 18 states (and Puerto Rico) all adults who suspect abuse are required to report.  To report abuse, contact the abuse hotline at (855) 444-3911.
* Article information obtained from "Protect Your Child from a Predator", By Jessica Snyder Sachs from Parent Magazine.
Child sexual abuse often takes place in specific places and certain times.  Therefore, knowing the following statistics can help you to be proactive in preventing abuse:
  • Most sexual abuse occurs in a residence, typically that of the victim or perpetrator.  84% of sexual victimization of children under age 12 occurs in a residence.  Even older children are most likely to be assaulted in a residence.  71% of sexual assaults on children age 12-17 occur in a residence (Snyder, 2000).
  • Sexual assaults on children are most likely to occur at 8:00 a.m., noon, and 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.  For older children, ages 12-17, there is also a peak in assaults in the late evening hours (Snyder, 2000).
  • One in 7 incidents of sexual assault perpetrated by juveniles occurs on school days in the after school hours between 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., with a peak from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Snyder).
  • 81% of child sexual abuse incidents for all ages occur in one-perpetrator/one-child circumstances. Six - 11 year old children are most likely (23%) to be abused in multi-victim circumstances (Snyder, 2000).

 * Statistics obtained from "Darkness to Light"

Charity Basketball Game 


Alma High School Alumni

Even Years vs. Odd Years


Friday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Alma High School



Join us for a night of fun! 

Half-Time Entertainment!  Children's Games!


Tickets are $5.00 available at the door

T-Shirts $10.00 call (989) 463-1422 to order


Hosted by: Donald L. Pavlik Middle School Student Council

Proceeds to benefit: Child Advocacy's

Child Abuse & Neglect Programs

GCSACWhy Should Parents and Other Adults be Concerned About Secondhand Smoke?

  • Infants who breathe secondhand smoke are at a higher risk for sudden infant death.
  • Pregnant women should avoid any exposure to secondhand smoke, as an unborn baby's exposure to passive smoke can result in many harmful health effects, such as infant death, low birth weight, decreased lung function, behavioral problems, and an increased risk of developing cancer later in childhood or as an adult.
  • Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to experience pneumonia, bronchitis and decreased lung function.
  • Children who breathe secondhand smoke can have more frequent and more severe asthma attacks, and secondhand smoke may cause children to develop asthma.
  • Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from more ear infections.  Ear infections are the most common cause of children's hearing loss.

 What Can Be Done to Protect Children?

  • If you smoke, make a decision to quit.  Here is a resource that may help.  Michigan Tobacco Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Choose not to smoke around children
  • Choose to make your home and car smoke free
  • Choose to avoid places where smoking is allowed
  • Make sure your day care facilities are smoke-free - it's the law!
  • Choose to eat at smoke free restaurants when you travel outside Michigan.

Information for this article was provided by Prevention Network.  For more information on this topic, contact

Lisa Cannon, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at (989) 463-1422 or the website at 

Changes to Great Start to Quality are Coming Soon!
  Submitted by Pam Mahin
Regional Resource Center Coordinator
The changes to Great Start to Quality are centered on the following key areas:  
  • Staff Qualifications and Professional Development standard will recognize both training and experiences
  • Experience/training criteria for defining "related" field will align with the Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing Rules
  • Assuring language is consistent throughout the standards
  • Points will be awarded for programs that are working on Quality Improvement Plans designed to improve staff credentials
  • Nutritional plan indicator was expanded to include participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

To accommodate these changes it is necessary to make changes to the Great Start to Quality STARS platform that programs and providers access to complete the self-assessment survey.


The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is working closely with the developer of the STARS platform to determine a timeline for changes and programs will be notified when the timeline is finalized.


Don't hesitate to contact our office at (989) 463-1422 if you have any questions.

Child Advocacy's Annual Banquet and
Grand Opening Ceremony of the Children's
Advocacy Center of Gratiot County 
Thursday, April 11 at 12:00 p.m.
Tyler Van-Dusen - Alma College
Lunch Tickets - $12
The following awards will be presented:
Child Advocate of the Year
Child Advocate Organization of the Year 
Following the luncheon we invite you to walk through the new Children's Advocacy Center from 2:00pm-6:00pm.
~Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 2:30pm~
Children's Advocacy center of Gratiot County
525 N. State St.  Alma

Scheduled Classes


Daycare Provider Trainings  

(Parents are welcome to attend)


Beyond Sandy Hook:  Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Children

Saturday, April 13

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Midland County ESA - Midland

Cost $25

To register go to 


Great Start to Quality Orientation 


Friday, April 19

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

Gratiot-Isabella RESD - Shepherd

No Cost


Other Trainings/Groups


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, April 9

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

Youth for Christ - Alma

No Cost 


Free Webchats for Parents and Caregivers

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital is pleased to partner with MetroParent Magazine to once again host a series of free webchats for parents and caregivers. To view the webchat topics, please click here


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

Child Advocacy 5K Event

Saturday, May 4
9:30 a.m. Fun Run/Toddler Trot
10:00 a.m. 5K Run/5K Walk
Alma Armory - 710 S. State St., Alma
All levels of runners and walkers are welcome!
Click here to view and print the race registration form.
Early registration deadline is April 19
All proceeds help prevent child abuse & neglect in Gratiot County.
Importance of Family Meals
By Ronda Sorensen 
I may be showing my age, but I remember when every night mom, dad, and all the kids sat down together at the table and shared not only food, but also lots of conversation about the day and what happened at work and at school.  Everyone had a job to do to help such as setting or clearing the table or drying dishes and sweeping the floor and no one complained.  Well, unless you consider the nightly squabble about whose turn it was to wash and whose to dry the dishes.  This practice was going on in almost every home in the neighborhood.  Families now are busy juggling the needs of work, school, exercise, and after-school activities resulting in families often choosing convenience food which is often less healthy. 
Over the last 25 years, the percent of American food dollars spent on foods away from home has grown from approximately 26% to over 40% with 93% of children's meals being too high in calories.  However, nostalgic we may feel when reminiscing about our family meals, research reveals some even more important reasons for families to make the effort to re-institute the practice of regular family meals.
The average family meal lasts a little more than 20 minutes, but few other activities have such potential to influence children's behavior and development.  Research suggests that families who regularly share a meal together have less likelihood of the children becoming obese or using drugs and an increased likelihood that they'll do well in school.
Research on family mealtimes tells us that:
  • Regular mealtimes have a protective effect on children.  Teens who eat five or more meals a week with their families are less likely to smoke cigarettes or marijuana and to abuse alcohol.
  • Children who are involved in regular family mealtimes have more vocabulary growth and academic achievement than those who don't
  • Frequently shared mealtimes protect against obesity in children and eating disorders in preteens.
  • In families with young children, eating together results in fewer behavior problems.
  • It is unclear how frequent family mealtimes improve children's health outcomes, but families that regularly eat together with their teens tend to eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Various studies have indicated that three to five meals a week may be considered regular, but no magic number ensures healthy outcomes.
  • Watching TV while eating disrupts mealtime patterns that may support children's health and has been linked to obesity in children.

Let's dig out the crockpot or pressure cooker, do a little extra planning, and bring back the family meal.


Source for the above information: The Social Policy Report Brief, Volume22 issue 4. 

Kindergarten Round Up Information  
Click here for the
Gratiot/Isabella Kindergarten Round Up Schedule
With April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I felt like this would be the perfect time to say "Thank You" to all of you who support what we do here at Child Advocacy.  Thank you to every one of you who made a donation, gave of your time and/or talents, allowed us into your schools,  sat through our meetings, events, and community discussions, read our newsletter, commented on our Facebook page, or even perused our website.  We truly can NOT do any of the work that we do without the support and help of this Community. 
From all of us here at Child Advocacy a great big warm "Thank You!".
Audra Stahl, Heather Gardner, Pam Mahin, Lisa Cannon, Brenda Shafley, Richelle Davis, and Ronda Sorensen.