Charity Spotlight: Child and Family Charities

Uniting children and family through preventive and comprehensive support in times of crisis.

Child and Family Charities helps children across Michigan be carefree and form healthy bonds with their families. They do this by offering a wealth of services that aid children, strengthen families, and help them break free of harmful patterns.

In this charity spotlight, I spoke with the Executive Director of Child and Family Charities, Julie Thomasma.

Origin Story

American society went through many changes in the early 20th century that impacted families. For example, many households no longer had to grow their own food, which freed them to pursue better education and new jobs by moving to the city.

This may seem typical by today’s standard, but at the time these were big changes and with detrimental side-effects. Poverty, unemployment, crime, and child labor were all rising. Many families and children suffered and as a result, many people sought social reform.

In 1911, a branch of the Michigan Children’s Aid Society was formed to protect families in need and give all children the opportunity to flourish and be loved.

Today, that branch is a nonprofit known as Child and Family Charities. Their mission is much the same, but they have evolved with the needs of Michigan families. If a kid or family needs help, Child and Family Charities wants to be there for them.

Today

Many of Child and Family’s services help prevent crises and break families from dangerous cycles. They connect families with food banks, provide clothing, and assist with Medicaid. Screening services help families address issues with mental or physical health, truancy, relationships, and safety before they become worse.

Other services are intended to provide direct support to teens including mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, a crisis hotline (877-833-3689), and a safe space for LGBTQ youth. They also reach teens on the street and provides tutoring, therapy, shelter, and pregnancy/parenting services.

The Ingham Teen Court program allows teens to take responsibility for their actions in a real justice system with a peer jury without impacting their criminal record. It is highly successful at preventing second offenses.

Child and Family Charities also provides a comprehensive foster care program that offers supportive visitation, foster counseling, and adoption services.

Big Wins

Child and Family Charities works with more than 6,000 kids every year. It’s wonderful to help so many children and be a provider for their families and homes. Each child helped is a very special reward.

Helping kids also requires being nimble and adapting to their needs. Doing this successfully for more than 100 years is a major accomplishment!

Goals

Regularly adjusting to the needs of families can be challenging, though. Julie and the rest of Child and Family Charities must also provide a consistent message to the community and keep everyone informed of changes.

Family is important at Child and Family Charities, and that includes their own. They are also looking at new ways to support and empower their staff such as training and secondary trauma support.

For Donors

Cash may not be an attractive way to give, but it is extraordinarily helpful to nonprofits. A cash donation can fill any gap the organization may have. It also helps them go above and beyond equivalent government services. A donation of cash also shows that you trust the organization to spend your money wisely.

For Nonprofits

Many of the staff at Child and Family Charities have been there more than ten years. Your staff will become part of the family if you take care of them like family. Listen to them, treat them with respect, and change with their needs just as you would with the people you serve.

Julie also points out the importance of being sensitive to secondary trauma. People are vulnerable when they help others and your staff will be affected by their work. Give them time and help them heal.

Get Involved

If you want to learn more about Child and Family Charities, you can reach them by clicking one of the buttons below.

Photographs courtesy of Child and Family Charities.