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opportunities for your business.

Thank you to Bill Marsh and Families First for your years of sponsorship support. We wish you the best in your retirement years! We hope that our readers will check out Families First final issue by clicking the logo above. 

Contact us to learn how you can be a sponsor of our monthly eBlast along with other sponsorship opportunities. Click here to learn more or call 231-946-8975.

Director's Message

Dear friends;

I love when our children and youth are with us in the building. Yesterday, one of our newest clients walked around asking staff what they’d wish for if they had three wishes, don’t think about it, just answer quickly. It’s always such a fun exercise and the answers tell you a good deal about a person, or an organization. I heard several say they’d wish for all the funding CFS needed to continue to provide great services, pay what our employees are worth and more, and maintain a respected presence in our community—which shows just how invested our people are in this place. As for our youth, he would wish to be immortal, to be able to fly like Superman, and to be a water-bender. While these sound like the wishes of any typical young person who is the center of their own world, these answers were very much based in a traumatic past, a fear of death and pain, a fear of water and inability to swim, a need to not feel stress and anxiety. Despite that past, I believe his experience at CFS will help him believe in a future for himself where he really will be able to soar, maybe not quite like Superman, but in other, even more important ways.

Each one of you contributes to making our wishes come true—through your financial and/or volunteer support, through your fine work walking alongside of people who need a little support in life as a foster parent or mentor, even by simply reading our stories and perhaps sharing them with your own family and friends. Awareness of our work is key to our ability to create better outcomes and growth for our kids and families. But if you are inclined to help in other ways there are many, as you will see below.

Each day I am here, even after 23+ years, I feel so honored and privileged to be a part of CFS. I hope you realized what you mean to us, too.

Happy Spring, and may many, if not all, of our wishes come true.


Gina Aranki, Executive Director

April is Child Abuse Prevention

At Child and Family Services (CFS), many of our programs are geared toward prevention, but part of our role as a non-profit organization is to make sure that those in our community are also empowered to be part of the solution.

One way to prevent abuse and neglect is to get involved in local efforts and spread the word about the good work we do here at CFS. But when you suspect abuse and neglect yourself, the best and most important step to take is to call Child Protective Services (CPS). We know that calling CPS can feel scary, because it could have serious ramifications for children and their families. Oftentimes, people choose not to call because they don’t want to make a mistake, or they assume that another person, maybe someone with more information, will call in. But remember, if everyone thought that way, no one would call, and abuse and neglect would never be reported.

We want everyone in our community to feel confident, knowledgeable, and empowered to determine the best course of action when facing this difficult decision.

Please take a look at our blog post from a few years back if you have any questions about reporting, and remember, you can always call us if you need help talking through a concern. 

If you need to report suspected child abuse or neglect, please call


Could you be the ONE-Host Homes Wanted!

Studies consistently show that it only takes one caring adult to change a child or teen’s life. CFS is in need of caring adults who want to be a part of our Host Homes program by providing a safe place for kids and teens who aren’t in the foster care system, but have challenges living with their parents.

The need for temporary housing, provided by our short-term Host Homes, is typically about 3 weeks, just enough time to help the family address the root problems at home and get them back under one roof, if possible. Short-term Host Homes are needed for youth ages 12-17.

For ages 16-20, we are also looking for Host Homes who are able to make a longer commitments by providing that safe and stable environment and developing a mentoring relationship to help them learn independent living skills.

All of our Host Homes are supported 24/7 by a team of caring staff to help guide you through the process and answer questions as they arise.

You may already be that parent who always takes in your own kids’ friends who need a safe home without lots of conflict. As a Host Home, you will be supported by our professional staff and with funding to help go towards the expenses of feeding those hungry youth.

Call our staff TODAY to learn more!

We ❤️ Our Volunteers

For decades, Child and Family Services has relied not only on the hard work of our employees to make a difference in the community, but also on many dedicated volunteers who support our work. April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and in honor of all the volunteers who choose to donate their time to the mission of CFS, we're saying thank you, today and every day. Volunteers are not only a vital part of our organization, but they also help us maintain and build new community connections. With these connections, we grow, learn, collaborate, and adapt to meet new challenges.

Our volunteers help meet our needs, of course, but more importantly, spread the word about the good work we do and recruit even more caring folks to join our cause.

So, once again, a huge thank you to our volunteers-- past, present, and future.

Earth Day 2024

--Tara Ward Chair, CFS Green Team

My favorite holiday is coming up—Earth Day! Founded in 1970, it was a result of the burgeoning environmental movement. The first Earth Day ever happened right here in our state, as the University of Michigan organized a successful pilot Earth Day teach-in a month ahead of the official Earth Day, which is always April 22.

What does this have to do with CFS? A lot!

As guardians of the health and wellness of the next generation, CFS is concerned with the future. Our organization serves mostly low-income clients. Through the environmental justice movement, we have all come to realize that the consequences of environmental degradation rest disproportionally on low-income populations—our CFS clients! This alone is enough to spur us to action.

In 2021, the CFS Board adopted the Core Value of Sustainability: We are committed to environmental responsibility and protecting the world in which we and our stakeholders live. With that guidance, the CFS Green Team of staff, board, and community members began its work: hosting an Earth Day Art show; taking many energy efficiency measures in the Veterans Drive building, saving $1,000 in the first year; improving recycling in the office; purchasing a community solar share with Cherryland Electric Cooperative; and, of course, supporting CFS’ YouthWork program which has been doing stellar conservation work since 2018.

But it is not just organizations like CFS that can celebrate Earth Day. You can, too! To learn about ways to help, and to just have a good time, join the fun with our whole community at the free Earth Day Celebration at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center on Saturday, April 20, 10am-2pm. For more info, go to: And if you live elsewhere, seek out an Earth Day event in your community—a fun, easy, and positive way to meet the environmental challenges we all face.

Happy Earth Day!

Living the Mission Moments

Huge shout out to workers who have gone above and beyond, living the mission, to serve those in need in our community. Earlier this month five staff and one board member volunteered with a local team to clean up the homeless encampment in the Pines here in Traverse City.

Behavioral Health Director, Paula Smith, will be heading down to Lansing to meet with Reps Morse and Brabec, along with a group from TC who are working on Crisis Stabilization Center and residential beds for minors. They will be advocating in regards to the lack of access to Mental Health services in our state and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Emma Smith, Donor Relations and Volunteer Management Specialist, is a feature writer for The Northern Express. Through this position she spreads awareness on important topics. Click here to read her latest article titled "The Mental Health Gap."

Upcoming Events

Foster parents needed. Could you be the ONE? Join us virtually to learn more. Our licensing staff will explain the process of becoming a foster parent and answer any questions you may have. The process is easier than you think. Consider helping today!

Virtual Intro To Fostering Wednesday, May 1st, at 12pm or Wednesday, May 15th, at 5:45pm

Click to learn more and register.

Respite Care Provider Orientation

Licensed respite providers needed! Join us virtually to learn more about this short-term foster care option. Our licensing staff will explain the process of becoming a foster parent and answer any questions you may have. The process is easier than you think. Consider helping today!

Virtual Intro To Respite Care Monday, May 13th at 6pm

Click to learn more and register.

Donate Today

Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan

3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City | (231) 946-8975

3434 M-119, Ste F, Harbor Springs | (231) 347-4463   | 

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