CA with tag line 

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

Cute dog    

 "Kids learn integrity from their parents: 

Integrity is what we say, what we do,

 and what we say we do."

 - Don Galer - 

In This Issue
CAC Grand Opening
Touching Safety Rules
Misuse of Prescription Drugs
Star Power 2013
Grandparents raising Grandchildren
Scheduled Classes
Child Advocacy 5K Event
Child Advocate of the Year

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



Happy Mother's Day!


Our May newsletter is filled with many informative articles on some very important topics.  Learn about prescription drug misuse by teens, the increase of grandparents raising their grandchildren, and talking to children about "safe touch."


May also brings Star Power 2013 and our annual 5K Run/Walk fundraiser.  Please consider joining us at these beneficial events!



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website

Children's Advocacy Center Grand Opening 
 CAC Grand Opening  Members of the Child Advocacy Board of Directors, United Way of Gratiot County, Consumer's Energy Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce joined Audra Stahl, and Heather Gardner for the Ribbon Cutting of the Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County.
Touching Safety Rules

 By Richelle Davis, Prevention Educator


Once children can name the private parts of their body and know about different kinds of touches, you can teach them there is another kind of unsafe touch that is okay.  This kind of touch is when someone older or bigger tries to touch the private parts of their body.


In Protect Yourself, we teach children that no one has the right to touch the private parts of their body without a good reason.  You may tell a younger child that another person may not touch their private parts unless it is to keep you clean or healthy.  Your child should understand that the "clean" part of this rule applies to babies and young children at an age where they would need help with diapering, going to the bathroom, or bathing.  The "healthy" part of this rule applies to doctors' visits or being checked by mom or dad if they are injured or have a problem in their private areas.  Make sure your child understands that without a good reason, no one should be touching their private parts, not even if it is someone they know and trust.


Teach your child the following safety rules: 

  • It is not okay to touch someone else's private body parts
  • It is not okay for someone to touch his/her own private body parts in front of you
  • It is not okay for someone to ask you to touch their private body parts
  • It is not okay for someone to ask you to take your clothes off or take pictures or videos of you with your clothes off
  • It is not okay for someone to show you pictures or videos of people without their clothes on.

Once children have been taught the touching safety rules, they learn what is okay and not okay when it comes to protecting their bodies.  It is amazing the number of children that disclose touching problems after these lessons are taught and share they didn't know these kinds of touches were not okay.  Talk with your child about touching safety today.


Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition

Submitted by Lisa Cannon


National Study:  Teen Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Drugs up 33 Percent Since 2008, Stimulants Contributing to Sustained Rx Epidemic



Parents' Lax Attitudes and Behavior Linked to Teen

Rx Drug Misuse and Abuse


- Nearly One-Third of Parents Believe Stimulants Can Improve Academic Performance, Even for Teens Who Do Not Have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-


New, nationally projectable survey results released on April 23, 2013 by The Partnership at and MetLife Foundation confirmed that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription (Rx) drug at least once in their lifetime - a 33 percent increase over the past five years.  The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) also found troubling data on teen misuse or abuse of prescription stimulants.  One in eight teens (13 percent) now reports that they have taken the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall when it was not prescribed for them, at least once in their lifetime.


Contributing to this sustained trend in teen medicine abuse are the lax attitudes and beliefs of parents and caregivers.  In fact, nearly one-third of parents say they believe Rx stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, normally prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can improve a teen's academic performance even if the teen does not have ADHD.  Parents are not effectively communicating the dangers of Rx medicine misuse and abuse to their kids, nor are they safeguarding their medications at home and disposing of unused medications properly. (Read the full report here). 


Parents can make a difference.  Kids who continue to learn about the risk of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who are not taught about the dangers.  It's up to YOU to talk openly with your kids!  For more information on this topic, contact Lisa Cannon, Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition at (989) 463-1422 or or visit

Star Power 2013
Submitted by Pam Mahin
RRC Coordinator
Be a part of Michigan's biggest voice for our youngest children.  Join thousands of early childhood supporters for Star Power 2013 and let lawmakers know that early childhood is a priority for you!  Star Power is coming on May 14 when we gather in Lansing to support Michigan's infants and young children.  Join us and thousands of others in Lansing this year to address decision makers who directly impact your youngest learners.  Let's stand together to ensure that every child in Michigan starts kindergarten safe, healthy, and ready for school success.  To register, click here
Grandparents raising Grandchildren
by Ronda Sorensen
Studies show more grandparents are raising grandchildren than ever before, however, for most grandparents there have been many years since they parented their own youngsters.  During these years, infant care and safety recommendations have changed.
Could it be possible this generational gap may be putting the children at risk?  According to a 2011 American Community Survey, 56% of grandparent caregivers answered incorrectly when asked to select a correct response to the recommended sleeping position for an infant and 24.5% answered incorrectly when asked which direction the care seat should face for a nine-month old infant. 
From my personal experience, when my granddaughter was born I was woefully behind in knowledge regarding feeding practices and had no idea how to manage an infant swing or attach the car seat in the car.  In fact, I had trouble putting the baby in the car seat and this is the easiest part of raising a child! 
If you or someone you know has found themselves in the often difficult position of raising a grandchild or other relative, please consider attending our support group that is run by Child Advocacy for relative-care givers, foster parents, and adoptive parents.  This group meets once each month on the second Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Youth for Christ building on Cheesman Road in Alma. 
During the support group meetings, we emotionally support each other through the difficult times as well as provide regular trainings.  The trainings cover topics that will help minimize that generation gap as well as provide needed information to assist with the emotional, social, and behavioral issues that often accompany taking a child into one's home.  For instance, in the last two months, we have had training on emerging trends in drugs and alcohol and suicide prevention.  This information is very important information for all care givers and more importantly for resource parents.  Children who are being raised by alternate care givers have been found to be at a higher risk for drug abuse and suicide attempts.  So, please come and join us as we learn from each other and gain new information from the professional speakers.  I will look forward to seeing you there.
For more information about the support group, parenting classes, or resources for young children, please call Child Advocacy at (989) 463-1422.

Scheduled Classes


Daycare Provider Trainings  

(Parents are welcome to attend)


Quality Connections - Promoting Physical Fitness

Tuesday, May 21

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

Wilcox Non-Profit Center - Alma

To register go to 


Great Start to Quality Orientation 


Friday, May 17

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

Wilcox Non-Profit Center - Alma

No Cost


Other Trainings/Groups


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, May 14 

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.
All proceeds help prevent child abuse & neglect in Gratiot County.

Child Advocate of the Year

 by Brenda Shafley


Congratulations to Jennifer Leppien!  She received the Child Advocate of the Year award. Jennifer spends most of her time as a CASA (Child Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer working with children who have been the victims of child abuse and neglect.  Also, she is a Child Abuse & Neglect committee member as well as a Board of Director member of Child Advocacy.


The Organization of the Year award was accepted by His Place Family Enrichment Center at the First Church of God in Alma. The center offers free exercise classes, indoor walking, church basketball leagues, after school programs for young children, summer camps for children and music and movement program for preschoolers. Congratulations to His Place!


Both recipients were very deserving of the awards.  In both cases, children of Gratiot County are being positively impacted by these individuals.

Happy Spring!
Congratulations to Jennifer Leppien and His Place!  We are so grateful to have amazing volunteers in this community working with our children.
Now that Spring has finally sprung, we hope you will join us this Saturday, May 4th to participate in our 5K Events.  The 5K Event is a very important fundraiser for Child Advocacy.  Every year we use the funds raised to buy supplies and educational materials to continue our child abuse and neglect prevention programs in Gratiot County.  This year the fundraiser is more critical than ever as we have added our newest program, the Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County. 
There is still time to register the day of the race. 
See you Saturday!
Audra Stahl
Executive Director