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Get involved: Care House of Macomb County

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Location/contact: 131 Market Street, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

Call: (586) 463-0123

Executive Director: Nancy Skula

Visit: www.mccarehouse.net

Objective: Care House is a child-friendly, family-centered facility in Mount Clemens that helps coordinate the complex investigation, prosecution and treatment to victims of child sexual and physical abuse. Its mission is to prevent and reduce abuse. With a $630,000 annual budget, and a board of 30 civic and business leaders it aims to make families, physicians and educators aware of potential problems to help break the this problem.

Leader: Nancy Skula helped start Care House in 1996 to provide a coordinated community response to child abuse in Macomb County and remains its strongest advocate. Frank J. Marella, retired president of the Clintondale Board of Education leads the organizationís board of directors. Care House is the designated Childrenís Trust, thanks to a $5 check off on Michigan taxes that uses funds to educate child abuse prevention. It is also one of 27 child advocacy centers around the state.

Newest project: To work with southeast Michigan hospitals to provide a 24/7 medical exams for childhood victims of sexual abuse.

Service: In 10 years of operation, the organization has conducted over 2,600 forensic interviews of children. One-on-one interviews with children are conducted by trained individuals who follow the Michigan forensic interview protocol along with training at the National Childrenís Alliance in Huntsville, AL to achieve unbiased, empathetic skills to elicit his or her story.

Biggest obstacle: Educating parents and family is a daunting task. While newspaper headlines warn of a pedophile lurking in the neighborhood, the most common source of abuse is a family member or trusted friend. Child abuse occurs in all income levels and neighborhoods with children of all ages. For more information on child trauma contact 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Volunteer needs: A long wish list is posted on the Care House website, www.mccarehouse.net. Among the new items needed are stuffed animals with tags attached, coloring books, individually packaged pretzels or animal crackers and Winnie the Pooh pillows. Cash donations are always appreciated. The organization supports itself through one third public grants, one third fundraising and one third private foundations.

Event: Care House plans a barbecue at Mac & Ray and a golf outing. Contact the organization for more information.

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