History of CAN Council

The CAN Council is a 501(c)3 that has grown and changed over the past three decades. We have adapted to the needs of the community and work to meet new needs that arise.


Received Children’s Trust Fund Direct Services Grant for support of parents at high risk for abuse and neglect


Accreditation granted to expand CASA into Bay County

October 8, 2015

Community open house celebrated completion of Saginaw County office expansion and renovation


With help from court professionals, prosecutors, DHHS and attorneys, research and planning began for CASA expansion into Bay County


Secured 21 infant simulators and began offering Safe Baby program in Bay County after offering the program in Saginaw County since 2003 (originally known as Baby Think It Over)

June 17, 2014

Broke ground on 1311 N. Michigan Ave. building expansion, which added 9,000 sq. ft., a full 12,000 sq. ft. basement, an elevator and a garage


Added Great Start University, offering evidence-based parenting education and support

October 13, 2011

Announced regionalization with Nathan Weidner Children’s Advocacy Center in Bay City to become CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region


Celebrated 30 years of service in Saginaw County


S.O.S. – Safer, Older, Smarter research and development began

January 2005

Established CAN Council’s first endowment fund with the Saginaw Community Foundation’s Kresge Challenge


Children’s Advocacy Center achieved national accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance

May 2003

Legal affiliation with United for Kids: Children’s Assessment Center began; program renamed Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) to reflect the CAN Council’s affiliation with the National Children’s Alliance

May 30, 2002

First CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) case assigned in Saginaw County after program was planned, designed and implemented with leadership from Judge Faye Harrison

October 1999

United for Kids Medical Director Dr. Harry Frederick attended specialized child sex abuse medical evaluation training

September 1999

United for Kids received VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) funding for the first time, allowing for the creation of a case coordinator position

April 1999

Utilizing an NCA grant, a United for Kids multidisciplinary team attended the National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse

February 1999

Pamela Knight, MA, MSW, hired as full-time United for Kids executive director

January 1999

Independent of CAN Council but in shared office space, United for Kids – Children’s Assessment Center created to reduce trauma for children suspected of being sexually and/or severely physically abused and provide medical examinations for abused children; named as a tribute to its first sponsor, United Airlines

November 1998

Purchased buildings at 1311 N. Michigan Ave. and 507 Catherine St. in Saginaw; moved into offices in December

September 1997

New mission statement – “to educate, advocate and collaborate within the community in order to realize the end of child abuse and neglect” – created during a 12-month strategic planning process


Became affiliate member of United Way of Saginaw County


Executive Director Suzanne Greenberg hired


CAN Council articles and bylaws restructured to comply with new Michigan statutes

August 9, 1979

Incorporation completed; housed by Westlund Clinic at no expense, CAN Council began operations with $168 in the budget

July 12, 1979

CAN Council’s Articles of Incorporation approved; board members elected; filing for nonprofit, charitable and tax-free status completed

June 7, 1979

Foundational meeting of CAN Council, held at the Norman Westlund Child Guidance Clinic, attended by 29 people


Ad hoc committee of professionals called together by Junior League of Saginaw Valley; first meeting held in Mary Solterman’s kitchen


Michigan passed the Child Protection Law to stimulate the reporting of abuse and neglect and better protect children; the law directed the Michigan Department of Social Services to work with communities on education and prevention and the development of multidisciplinary teams


National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse founded to help citizens become active in the prevention of child abuse and neglect