CA with tag line 

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

family involvement 

"At the end of the day,

 the most overwhelming key

to a child's success

 is the positive involvement 

of parents." 


- Jane D. Hulls -

Former Governor of Arizonia


In This Issue
Stimulant Abuse is Major Problem
Great Start to Quality Update
Signs of Child Abuse
Observations from the Playground
Happiness Worth Defending
Scheduled Classes
Golf Outings
Back to School Event
Summer Office 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  


Pam Mahin
RRC Coordinator


Virginia Luedtke
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 
Mike Morris
Detective, Gratiot Co. Sheriff's Dept.  
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).

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This month read about signs of child abuse and how important it is to speak up and protect our children.  Together we CAN prevent child abuse and neglect!


August brings events to our community.  Big Brothers Big Sisters Golf Fore Kids Sake event, Central MI Youth for Christ Golf Outing, and the Gratiot County Back to School Event. Support your community and make a contribution to these events. There is no greater feeling than helping your community. 



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website

GCSAC35% of Teens Think Stimulant Abuse is Major Problem
Submitted by Virginia Luedtke
 GCSAC Coordinator

A new survey of young people ages 10 to 18 finds 35 percent think prescription stimulant abuse is a big problem with their peers, and 15 percent said they had used stimulants at some point. One-tenth of kids said they had diverted medications in some way.


The survey found 7.5 percent said they had used stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin in the last month; 3.9 percent said they took the drugs for non-medical reasons. The findings were reported at the recent annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, by Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine at the University of Florida.


The study was designed to understand current levels and signals of misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription stimulants in youth ages 10 to 18. The researchers interviewed 11,000 teens in Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Tampa, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The researchers went to places where teens congregate, such as malls, cinemas and skate parks, and interviewed participants from urban, suburban and rural areas. "We were surprised to find prescription stimulant rates were up in rural areas," Dr. Cottler said.


The teens were asked to anonymously fill out two booklets, which took about 15 minutes. In one booklet, they were asked what they knew about drugs and prescription stimulants. They were shown pictures of drugs, and asked if they knew what they were. A second booklet showed pictures of stimulants, and asked whether they used them. If they did, they were asked where they got them, how they got them, how often they took the drugs and why.

Participants were also asked how they would prevent kids from using other people's prescriptions, and how should young people be told what prescription drugs are and what harm they can cause. Suggestions ranged from requiring fingerprint matches to allow prescription bottles to open, to requiring teens to have their medications dispensed at the pharmacy. Some said it can't be prevented, Dr. Cottler noted.


"Teens said they want to be warned truthfully about prescription drugs, but they don't want the danger exaggerated. They want to make their own decisions," she said. The study confirms that parents and other family members need to be cautious about where they leave their medication, Dr. Cottler observed. "We need to reduce access," she said. "We also need to teach young people who are taking prescribed ADHD medication that other kids would like to get their hands on their drugs, so they have to be careful and not share them."


This article is courtesy of


Great Start to Quality update

Submitted by Pam Mahin

RRC Coordinator


If you have not had a chance to complete your Self-Assessment Survey, now is the time to do so.  All approved star ratings will go live to the public on August 10th.  If you have decided not to complete the survey or haven't had a chance to do so yet your program will post as an Empty Star, which indicates that you meet all licensing requirements. 


Completing you survey consists of marking the indicators that pertain to your program, uploading supporting documentation and hitting the submit button.  Your survey will either be internally reviewed and approved or you will be contacted to by one of the validators and an on-site visit will be scheduled.


What do the quality stars mean?

  • 1 Empty Star - Program meets basic health and safety licensing requirements.

All other star ratings are blue:

  • 1 Star - Program meets licensing requirements and participates in Great Start to Quality.
  •  2 Star - Program demonstrates quality across some standards.
  • 3 Star - Program demonstrates quality across several standards.
  • 4 Star - Program demonstrates quality across almost all standards.
  • 5 Star - Program demonstrates highest quality.

Ratings are valid for two years.  If you need assistance with your survey or with determining what supporting documents need to be uploaded, please call us at 989-463-1422.

For more information about Great Start to Quality, visit:




Signs of Child Abuse

  Submitted by: Heather Gardner

CAC Coordinator



Below are indicators of child abuse that can include but are not limited to these signs.  Some signs that a child is experiencing violence or abuse are more obvious than others.  Trust your instincts.  Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities.  You do not need proof.


1.  Unexplained injuries.  Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects.  You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child's injuries.


2.  Changes in behavior.  Abuse can lead to many changes in a child's behavior.  Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.


3.  Returning to earlier behaviors.  Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers.  For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.


4.  Fear of going home.  Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.


5.  Changes in eating.  The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child's eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.


6.  Changes in sleeping.  Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.


7.  Changes in school performance and attendance.  Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children's injuries from authorities.


8.  Lack of personal care or hygiene.  Abused and neglected children may appear not cared for.  They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.


9.  Risk-taking behaviors.  Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.


10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors.  Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.


If a child outcries:


  • Remain calm
  • Believe the child
  • Allow the child to talk
  • Show interest and concern
  • Reassure and support the child
  • Take action.  It could save a child's life.



  • Panic or overreact
  • Press the child to talk
  • Promise anything you can't control
  • Confront the offender
  • Blame or minimize the child's feelings
  • Overwhelm the child with questions

Remember, you are obligated by law to report suspected child abuse.  If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, call 911.  


To report child abuse in MI call toll free 1-855-444-3911. 


You may also visit or for a list of resources.


Article provided by

Observations from the Playground
by Ronda Sorensen
Parent Educator

This summer I had the great joy of spending seven weeks with my grandchildren. Since they live 5,000 miles away from me this was a rare treat indeed and I loved every minute of it. Throughout these weeks, I spent many afternoons at playgrounds in Michigan as well as Alaska which gave me an opportunity to make several universal observations about 
Number one, children are frequently not very well supervised in their neighborhoods. I actually made this observation last year before I began the almost daily trips to the playground. In fact, it is the reason I began escaping with the kids to the park. It became clear last summer, that I was almost the only person in the cul-de-sac who was actually out watching the children play. I noticed daily more and more children arriving at the door but I became sure of the situation when 
parents began sending the children with their lunches packed for the day. I am not joking...they actually brought their lunch! Wanting to concentrate more on my own little ones, I decided to take our activities to the neighborhood playground this year.

The second thing I noticed is that children are frequently not supervised at the playground either. In fact, I was one of the few adults supervising there as well. Now, I might have started to wonder if I was being overly cautious but it soon became clear that the children knew that they needed supervision and began coming to me with questions and problems. One great kid that I met was about a 12 year-old youngster who brought his little cousins to play regularly. He 
obviously knew children needed to be supervised and would talk to me about what to do if one of the other kids got hurt and their was no one there to help them. I had been wondering that myself.

The third thing that I observed was that children are very friendly and outgoing and are willing to approach any stranger and begin a conversation making them more vulnerable and in even more need of supervision. This propensity to talk to strangers seems to have no bearing on parental or grand-parental instructions. Multiple times I had 
to call my five year-old granddaughter back from conversations with total strangers and repeated conversations about this did not make a huge change in her behavior. Based on the number of little children talking to me without provocation, I might add, I believe this is a common behavior in little ones.

The fourth and probably most important observation that I made at the playground is that children do not always do what they know to be the right thing to do, making them in the most need of supervision of all. I base this on many incidents occurring regularly while the children played but it became the clearest one day when my little Melanie got in 
a dispute with another youngster. Soon I heard angry words, and was unfortunately not shocked to hear Melanie calling the little boy a "poo-poo head."  Of course I took her home and we talked about the incident. She looked at me so seriously and so contritely and said, "I know, grandma. Something was telling me that I shouldn't do it but it 
just wasn't loud enough." And their in lies the biggest reason of all that we must supervise our precious children. Regardless of training and knowledge to the contrary, those voices are just not loud enough yet and we must be their voice.


Happiness Worth Defending

By: Richelle Davis

Prevention Educator


Kids are terrific-happy, innocent and free.  They can remind us of what is best about ourselves.  When they are sexually abused, that happiness is dimmed, sometimes for life.  


With your help, more kids will get to grow up full of life and light. Kids shouldn't have to try to prevent sexual abuse all by themselves.  We adults have to learn to recognize when people are acting inappropriately around our children and ...and to speak up before a child is harmed.  One in three girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused before age 18.  Chances are, you already know a boy or girl who has been sexually abused-and in all likelihood know someone who has abused a child.  By educating yourself, you can become a powerful source in making the world a safer place for kids.


Children are taught in the Protect Yourself Program to speak up is someone approaches them in a sexual way.  But children should not have the burden of preventing abuse all by themselves.  Adults need to help keep kids safe by recognizing and responding to inappropriate behaviors around kids, before a child is harmed.  Just as you would step in and offer help to someone who is drinking and shouldn't be driving, we need to respond to behaviors that are inappropriate with children as well to keep them safe.


People who abuse children rely on our confusion and on our reluctance to acknowledge discomfort. Our silence allows people who sexually abuse children to get and maintain access to vulnerable children.  We can all help to prevent the sexual abuse of children by speaking up and becoming more aware.


Article adapted from "Stop It  Now" Together we Can Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children.

Scheduled Classes


Daycare Provider Trainings  

(Parents are welcome to attend)


Storytelling with Eileen Delorenzo

Monday, August 12

5:30 p.m. Dinner

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

Veteran's Memorial Library - Mt. Pleasant

1.5 Class Hours

Cost $5.00

To register, visit


Anecdotal Observation Training

Monday, August 19

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

Middle of the Mitten Learning Center - Alma

Cost $15.00

To register, visit 


Great Start to Quality Orientation 


Friday, August 16

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

Gratiot-Isabella RESD - Shepherd

No Cost


Other Trainings/Groups 


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Summer Picnic

Tuesday, August 27

6:00 p.m.

Woodland Park - Ithaca 


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.

Big Brothers Big Sisters
Golf Fore Kids' Sake
13th Annual Golf Outing
Wednesday, August 14
Royal Golf Course
at Canadian Lakes
Stanwood, MI
Click here to view the registration form
Central MI Youth For Christ
Annual Golf Outing
Monday, August 19
Pine River Country Club in Alma
11th Annual Gratiot County
Back-to-School Event 
Wednesday, August 28
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Free to the Public
Free Haircuts
Mobile Food Pantry
Central Michigan Youth For Christ
2550 W. Cheesman Road, Alma
Volunteers are needed to assist in the set-up as well as donations of children's clothing, new socks/underware, and school supplies.
If you have any questions, please contact Shelly Buschle with the United Way of Gratiot County 
at (989) 463-6245 ext. 1003.

Summer Office Hours


Monday - Thursday

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Closed Friday


I hope you are enjoying a happy and safe summer.  Here at Child Advocacy, we are busy preparing for our Site Review for Accreditation for the Children's Advocacy Center.  We are optimistic that we will pass our review and be recommended for Accreditation with the National Children's Alliance.  The Center is a tremendous asset to Gratiot County children and their families.  If you are interested in walking through the center, please give us a call for an appointment 989-463-1422.
In other news, we are pleased to share that the Gratiot County Community Foundation has awarded Child Advocacy and the MI State Police a grant for Shop With a Hero, a Christmas outreach program.  We are excited to announce that this year the program will benefit 30 children/families in Gratiot County.   Stay tuned for more information on Shop With a Hero.
Enjoy the rest of your summer! 
Audra Stahl
Executive Director