What's New at Family & Children Services

What’s New

13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why:
A TV Series Prompts Discussions about Teen Suicides

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youths, ages 10 to 24. So, teens, parents, educators, and mental health experts take notice when a hugely popular TV series depicts – or “glamorizes,” as say some – a teenage girl’s suicide.

“Teens all across the country are binge-watching and talking about this series,” said Family & Children Services Behavioral Health Services Program Manager Susan Davis, L.P.C.

“Their parents need to be watching and talking with them.”

The show, titled “13 Reasons Why,” debuted March 31 on the entertainment streaming service Netflix. Based on the 2007 book of the same name, the 13-episode series follows the story of Hannah, a high school student who takes her own life in a graphic scene. Prior to her death, Hannah made a series of audio recordings that detail the 13 reasons why she decided to end her life. The tapes, detailing the events and people she holds responsible for her decision, are later sent to classmates.

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June 15, 2017

Sherry Thomas-Cloud

A message from CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud

Dear Friends:

Family & Children Services’ mission is “To support, strengthen and preserve the safety, well-being and dignity of children, individuals and families.” We fulfill this mission in countless ways to thousands of clients each year through the efforts of our dedicated staff members, selfless volunteers, and generous donors

Each of these programs relies on the generosity of donors and volunteers, people just like you who understand that when we help the most vulnerable members of our community, we lift up our entire community. Thank you for all you do for our clients, our community.

Finally, I hope you will read our response to “13 Reasons Why,” the popular and controversial television show about a teenage girl who takes her own life. Mental health experts worry that this show glorifies suicide. If your child is watching the show, we encourage parents to watch with them and talk frankly about its themes of bullying, sexual assault, depression, substance abuse, and suicide. The article provides tips and resources to help parents do this. The more informed we are about this serious issue, the better the chances we can be proactive and focus on prevention. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, local help is available by calling the Mobile Crisis Response line at 269-373-6000 or toll free at 888-373-6200. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Thank you for all you do for Family & Children Services throughout the year. I hope you and your families have a safe and happy summer.

Sherry Thomas-Cloud
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services

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June 15, 2017

Summer Camp

Send a Child to Summer Camp

Most children welcome summer as a time for family vacations, summer camps, and lots of new experiences. For children in poverty with emotional or developmental problems, or children living in abusive or neglectful households, summer means a large span of unstructured time and lost opportunities to learn valuable life lessons, gain confidence in their ability to overcome challenges, and forge trusting relationships with caring adults.

With help from our generous donors, Family & Children Services will give nearly 100 of these children a safe, nurturing summer camp experience this year. Together, we’ve been sending children to summer camp for nearly 20 years.

We match each child with a camp that meets his or her special circumstance. They will do the same things that all kids do at camp: swim, hike, kayak, play soccer, sing, tell stories, sleep under the stars, make new friends. They will also get away from the TV, the streets, and the mall. Most importantly, they will have a chance to just be kids.

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June 15, 2017

Junior League Hosts Easter Event

Junior League Hosts Easter Event for Foster Families

About 60 children in foster care and their foster families had a fun Easter event at the Family & Children Services campus in Kalamazoo, courtesy of the Junior League of Kalamazoo (JLK) and our agency’s Foster Care & Adoption staff.

JLK members served up breakfast and an egg hunt – with about 1,000 eggs that they hid around the new Alan and Elaine Van Leeuwen Greenspace. Other activities included photos with the Easter Bunny, bean bag toss, jelly bean guessing game, and bubbles-and-chalk.

It was a great day and we can’t wait to do it again next year,” said one JLK member.

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June 15, 2017

Family & Children Services

Unique Medical Needs Fund Helps Children and Families

Few people know that Family & Children Services administers a unique Children’s Medical Needs Fund that covers the cost of medical necessities that parents or legal guardians cannot afford to pay and that Medicaid, private insurance, and other sources do not cover.

The fund was established by a generous donor through the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and provides significant dollars of support each year. Dale Hein administers the fund for Family & Children Services.

“When I first started this, I thought we would have to turn people away,” he said. “That has not been the case. Our biggest challenge is letting people know that this resource exists.”

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June 15, 2017

Peggy Liss

WMU School of Social Work Names Family & Children Services Therapist Peggy Liss Its “Field Instructor of the Year”

Peggy Liss, LMSW, outpatient therapist at Family & Children Services, has been named “Field Instructor of the Year” by Western Michigan University School of Social Work.

Here’s what students had to say about Peggy when nominating her for the award:

  • “Peggy has a passion for guiding, teaching and nurturing those of us who want to learn therapy, as she has deep experience with handling difficult and complex cases.”
  • “Peggy continuously walked us through everything and assured us that our education was an utmost priority to her and the agency.”
  • “Peggy is a champion for interns. She truly cares about training the next generation of social workers.”
  • “Peggy has been a constant support and a great role model for future practitioners.”

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May 11, 2017

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Council On AccreditationKalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse ServicesMichigan Department of Health and Human ServicesSummit Pointe
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