15 Jun

A message from CAN Council President/CEO Emily Yeager

An open letter to our communities:

Our nation, our families, our colleagues, our friends and our neighbors are hurting. We’re witnessing an abuse of power so great, we ache for those wronged, and we yearn for our world to be righted. The CAN Council is committed to being a part of resolving such injustices. That begins by acknowledging that not only do black lives matter, but they deserve to be cared for, defended and protected.

Sadly, abuse of power is nothing new. For centuries, authority figures and those we’re taught to trust have abused their power and caused great suffering targeting people based on their race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, religion and culture.

As a community, we’re wondering what we can do to counter such powerful forces. The answer is in the power of one. The power of one act of goodness, one courageous person, one company of integrity, one community united – to speak up for those vulnerable among us – is capable of creating meaningful change.

While our CAN Council works each day to harness our collective power of one for abused children, we know with great clarity the abuses of power suffered by other vulnerable populations. We hurt for you, we want better for you, and we lift our voices in support of you.

To the honorable men & women who dedicate their life’s work to serving and protecting, we stand with you in holding abusers of power accountable for their actions and in helping victims heal. To our community members who may wonder what impact you can make on an issue of such enormous complexity, I ask that you harness your power of one. Stay alert to all forms of abuse. Speak up against abuses of power. Get involved with a charity serving those harmed. And should you have thoughts about how our CAN Council could further our power of one, I’d love to hear from you.
I can be reached at

For the protection of our entire community and believing in the power of one,


Emily Yeager | President/CEO
CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region

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14 May

Teachers: How to Detect & Prevent Child Abuse & Neglect in a Virtual Classroom

Here are some ways to prevent and recognize child abuse and neglect in a virtual classroom setting, put together by our Prevention Education team.

Remember: If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call 855.444.3911.

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22 Apr

2020 Child Abuse Prevention Month: reCAP

Before the COVID-19 pandemic overtook our everyday lives, the CAN Council was gearing up for the most eventful Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month yet — with 133 pinwheel gardens committed, three county CAP Month Kick-Off Ceremonies booked, and Prevention Education trainings scheduled across Bay, Huron and Saginaw counties — the calendar was packed full of all sorts of Child Abuse Prevention events. That quickly changed as the virus continued to spread and a Stay-at-Home order was instructed, but it did not slow CAN staff down.

Within a week, a new virtual campaign was developed and implemented. Virtual pinwheel gardens were “planted” in the form of cover photos,  families colored pinwheels and displayed them proudly in their windows, and supporters all across Michigan participated in #WearBlueDay2020 in an effort to raise awareness of the healthy, happy, and full lives that all children deserve. CAN is particularly proud to have been able to offer our staple presentations to the community through a video series called Ryan Reads, which featured our Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers and Safer, Older, Smarter programs presented by CAN Council Prevention Education Coordinator Ryan Willard.

CAN also collaborated with community partners to offer a multitude of activities for families to participate in from the comforts of their home. The Saginaw Art Museum, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Yoga by Kathryn, and artist Carly Peil all contributed to this initiative. We are so grateful for the support of our community in making Child Abuse Prevention Month such a success!

Rest assured; Child Abuse Prevention does not end in April. Real change happens within our homes, workplaces, faith organizations and community. Join the movement by scheduling a presentation, volunteering with CAN, or by donating towards our prevention efforts. Most importantly, SPEAK UP. If you see something, say something. Children who are facing abuse and neglect at home need us now, more than ever.  If you suspect child abuse, call 855.444.3911 – your call can be anonymous. Together we CAN stop child abuse and neglect.

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06 Apr

An open letter from our President/CEO.

Dear CAN Council Supporters,

No matter our differences, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has presented us all with a unifying concern. During this time of great uncertainty, it’s important to me that you know our CAN Council is continuing to take care of our most vulnerable children. We have a business continuity plan in place to ensure continued provision of our essential community services including forensic interviews and medical examinations of abused children, CASA home visits, court reports and representation at court hearings. With these exceptions as warranted by Law Enforcement and/or Children’s Protective Services, or by an obligation to the Court, CAN Council staff will be working from home.

Phone calls to all of our three locations – in Bad Axe, Bay City and Saginaw – are still being answered every day, and you can expect caring and prompt service from CAN Council staff. Given that our facilities are closed outside of the need for one of the essential community services listed above, we are unable to accept donations of goods delivered directly to our offices. If you’re planning a delivery to the CAN Council, please visit after the Governor allows us to return to work. We’ll look forward to seeing you then and thanking you for your generosity.

During times of great stress and isolation, children are at increased risk for being harmed by their caregivers. Please check-in on those in your life who are caring for our youth. Call and ask how they’re doing, offer encouragement, and remind them to take some time for themselves each day. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please make an anonymous report to Children’s Protective Services at 855-444-3911.

Lastly, I ask that you continue supporting the work of our CAN Council in one or both of the following ways: Because of the COVID-19 situation, our largest fundraising event for our Bay County programming is in jeopardy. Yet our services are needed now just as greatly as ever. Please consider donating to our CAN Council via or through a contribution sent to any of our offices. As we continue through these weeks of significant isolation, please regularly visit our CAN Council Facebook page and share our posts to keep our community informed of critical resources.

This situation will be short-lived, our lives will return to normal. Until then, know that our community can count on the CAN Council to protect our children today just as we did yesterday. If you have any questions or concerns, you’ll find me at 989-752-7226.

Wishing you good health and peace of mind,

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25 Mar

Child Abuse Prevention Month is going virtual!

Child Abuse Prevention Month is going virtual, and we want you to join us. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with what’s happening:

• Kid-friendly Safer, Older, Smarter and Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers Program video presentations by CAN Council Prevention Education Coordinators
• Child Abuse Prevention tips and education from the CAN Council’s Prevention Programming
• Resources relevant to stress, anxiety and mental health management, talking to children about the COVID-19 Pandemic, adjusting to the “new normal”, etc.
• Collaborations with other community organizations featuring learning and arts & crafts activities

In these uncertain times, the children in our region need us now, more than ever. Let’s band together and flood social media with prevention programming and pinwheels!

Other ways to get involved:

• Create a masterpiece with your kiddos, your partner, or yourself and color our pinwheel coloring page. Show your support for Child Abuse Prevention by displaying it proudly and sharing it with us on Facebook! Download the Pinwheel Coloring Page

• “Plant” a virtual Pinwheel Garden by updating your Facebook cover photo to the below image! Right click the photo, save it, then set it as your cover photo.









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03 Mar

We Count Because Kids Matter. Complete your 2020 Census.

Public health and safety is absolutely critical at this moment of uncertainty in our world. But we must also fulfill our constitutional obligation to complete the 2020 Census and count every single person in the United States. For each person not counted, we lose out on $1,800 of annual federal funding. The Census is easy, confidential, and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Did you know you can complete your census online, or on the phone? Check out

Our kids need vital services like WIC, Medicaid, school lunches, foster care, special education and so much more. Census data directs dollars to all of these important community services. Our kids deserve the best we have to offer. That’s why we need to count them.

• The Census is for everyone and it’s easy. Everyone matters with the Census. All populations count – immigrants, minorities, seniors, the homeless, babies, teens, people in jail – everyone! All people living in the same household should be counted. You don’t need to be related, a permanent citizen or over 18 to be counted.

The Census asks fewer questions than a social media profile. The questions are simple: age, name, gender, birthday, race/ethnicity, relationship to head-of-household, owner or renter and phone number. The few minutes it will take to answer the questions equals millions of dollars to our community for vital services and programs. Don’t let the services we need leave our community.

• By law everything you share stays confidential. No other government agencies will see your answers, including ICE, the FBI and CIA, police, landlords, the IRS or any other agency.

Complete the Census online or home or anywhere there’s internet access – on your phone, at the library, at a coffee shop, at your local nonprofit. Tell your family and friends too – the Census is important to us! The process is easy. You can respond online, by phone or mail. Also, the Census is secure, with strong cyber-security measures to protect your information.

The Census creates a better future. Census data is used for 10 years to decide local funding. There’s a lot of money at stake. In our area, each person equals about $1,800 a year in funding. In Michigan almost half of our funding comes from the federal government. If you don’t get counted, we risk losing vital services in Midland/Bay/Isabella/Saginaw (tailor by county).

• You can create a brighter future for our community when you complete the 2020 Census.
It’s easy, confidential and takes just 10 minutes.

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06 Feb

CAN Council Names Suzanne Greenberg 2020 Child Advocate of the Year

The CAN Council will honor its former President/CEO, Suzanne Greenberg, as the 2020 Child Advocate of the Year. The award honors an outstanding individual or group for being extraordinarily committed to making the Great Lakes Bay Region a better place for children. Greenberg will receive the award February 27th at the CAN Council’s 27th annual Mardi Gras Auction at Horizon’s Conference Center in Saginaw.

Greenberg played a significant role in the development of programming and services that the CAN Council offers throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. A passionate and visionary leader, Greenberg grew the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Saginaw County from a staff of two in 1995 to a staff of 22 to serve the 65,000 children of Arenac, Bay and Saginaw counties as CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region by 2019.

In her new role as Executive Director of Michigan Children’s Trust Fund, Suzanne continues being a champion for the children of our region and for the children across Michigan.

The CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region’s 27th annual Mardi Gras Auction presented by Garber Automotive and Causley Trucking is returning to Horizon’s Conference Center on Thursday, February 27, 2020 beginning at 5:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at

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10 Oct

CAN Council GLBR Expands to Huron County

The CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region is expanding its Children’s Advocacy Center and Child Abuse Prevention Education programming into Huron County through an affiliation with the Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect Council. With a new office at 219 E. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe, the CAN Council will build upon Huron County’s strong history of child abuse prevention programming and serve even more local children through the addition of the CAN Council’s nationally accredited Children’s Advocacy Center.

“The CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region takes great pride in expanding our services to protect Huron County’s children,” said Emily Yeager, President/CEO of CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region. “Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect Council Board members care deeply for their community and have entrusted our CAN Council with enhancing their efforts. Just as we do for the children of Arenac, Bay and Saginaw counties, we’ll work tirelessly to secure an end to child abuse and neglect for the children of Huron County.”

Sexually or physically abused children, or those who’ve witnessed violence, recount their experience to a specially trained forensic interviewer at the CAN Council’s Children’s Advocacy Centers. Observing the interview are all parties who need to hear the child’s disclosure: the prosecutor, law enforcement and children’s protective service workers. The child tells of his abuse to one person, at one place, just one time – minimizing the trauma of reliving the details. Meanwhile, non-offending caregivers are supported through the process and receive referrals for counseling during the investigation and beyond.

“This affiliation will help us further protect the children of Huron County and offer more services to families as we continue to make a difference in the lives of these at-risk children,” said Huron County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Rutkowski. “We expect the Children’s Advocacy Center will provide another effective resource for all of law enforcement in the successful prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases.”

Erinn Mausolf, President of the Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect Council, said she is pleased to partner with an organization with well-established policies and procedures, programs and opportunities for growth. “The CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region offers all that, not to mention the solid, positive presence that they currently have throughout the region,” she said. “We are excited to bring all of those opportunities to Huron County – especially to our littlest residents.” 

 Join the CAN Council for an Open House to celebrate the expansion from 2 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 beginning at Raymond James Financial Services at 1 E. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe, located down the street from the new CAN Council office. Light refreshments will be served, and an overview of CAN Council programming will be provided. Guests will then travel by golf cart or on foot to the new CAN Council office at 219 E. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe for a guided tour. The event will conclude with a 6 p.m. program at the new CAN Council office.

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20 Nov

More Than a Bruise? How to Stop Child Abuse and Neglect

What do you think of when you think of an abused child? The quintessential child with a black eye usually appears in everyone’s mind when asked this question. And yes, while physical abuse is child abuse, it is not the only form of abuse that a child could suffer from. All types of abuse or neglect leave marks, and some of these marks may be physical and some may be emotional—but both can have long lasting effects in a child’s life. By understanding what types of abuse there are, you may be able to recognize these marks and get these children the help they deserve.
Contrary to some beliefs, words can hurt—and when directed at a child, emotional abuse can severely damage a child’s mental health or social development. Children experiencing emotional abuse may seem excessively withdrawn, fearful or anxious about doing something wrong. Children experiencing this form of abuse can also show extreme behaviors, from being aggressive, demanding and extremely compliant.
Another very common type of child abuse is child neglect. This is defined as a pattern of failing to provide a child with basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene or supervision. This form of abuse is not always easy to spot, however there are signs you can look for. Children experiencing this form of abuse can appear to have bad hygiene, their clothes can be ill-fitting or inappropriate for the weather. Children may also have untreated illnesses or physical injuries.
Physical abuse involves the physical harm or injury to a child. Children experiencing physical abuse will have frequent injuries and unexplained bruises, welts or cuts. When not visible, these injuries may be covered by inappropriate clothing—such as a child who is wearing a long-sleeved shirt on a hot day. These children may also shy away from touch, flinch at sudden movements, appear afraid to go home, and they may always be watchful or “on alert” as if they are waiting for something to happen to them.
Sexual abuse is a very complicated form of abuse. Sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily involve body contact. For example, a child may be experiencing sexual abuse by being exposed to sexual situations or materials that are sexually abusive, Children experiencing this form of abuse display knowledge of sexual acts well past their age level, and may even exhibit seductive behavior. These children may also make strong efforts to a specific person or run away from their home.
Understand, regardless of the type of abuse, the result is serious harm. There are ways to help and it is normal to have some reservations or worries about reporting child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused, it is critical that you report it—and continue to report each incident of abuse that occurs after the first report. It may seem daunting and it may seem like your reports are not making a difference, but what you must remember is that every report you make—you are creating a snapshot of what is going on in the family. This will allow child welfare workers to better understand how to help the child. And remember, the more information you can provide, the better chance you are giving to that child in getting the help they deserve.

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16 Oct

What is a CASA? An Inside Look at Court Appointed Special Advocates

What is a CASA? An Inside Look at Court Appointed Special Advocates


There is a saying, “volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  Giving back to your community and the world is a fulfilling endeavor.  People who volunteer do it for a variety of reasons.  Volunteering offers them the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them.  It also provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.  And these are the exact reasons why people become CASA volunteers.



What is CASA? 

CASA’s are Court Appointed Special Advocates that are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children.  It is because of the help of CASA’s that these children do not get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.


How can you become a CASA?

CASA welcomes and encourages all people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. And unlike most volunteer agencies, CASA has no required special background or education because once you are accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of abused and neglected children.  The only requirements to become a volunteer is (1) you must be 21 years old, (2) you must be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview, (3) you must complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training, (4) you need to be available for court appearances, with advance notice, and (5) you must willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed.


Why should you volunteer?

Becoming a CASA volunteer is an investment of time, energy and heart.  Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”  Just imagine the life you can make for yourself by volunteering your time to these children.  Not only that—but imagine the life you can make for these children by volunteering your time.  By opening your heart to these children and volunteering, you not only automatically achieved greatness by giving yourself to a cause for nothing in return, but you have succeeded in providing a sense of safety in the lives of abused and neglected children.




This blog article was written and published by Thrive Social LLC


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