Rose City Houghton Creek Park

DHD no. 2 "Save Our Families" rally and playgroup

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 @ 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Posted

ROSE CITY — Families, DHD no. 2 administrators and even a county commissioner gathered at the “Save Our Families” Rally and Playgroup Sept. 10 to show support for the Family Matters program, which was cut from the Governor’s budget back in March.

On Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., about 50 children and adults showed up to give testimony highlighting the need for further funding from the state to provide assistance to families with young children.

A flyer passed out at the event says the Family Matters program is a home visiting prevention program for families with young children in order to promote healthy kids, educational readiness, positive parenting and community connections. It also says funding comes from the Children’s Trust Fund 0-3 Secondary Prevention Initiative, which is an interagency collaboration to prevent child abuse and neglect serving identified at-risk families with very young children.

DHD no. 2 administrators at the event included health director Lynnette Benjamin, Ogemaw County program coordinator Deb Baumann, Oscoda County program coordinator Cheryl Howard and Ogemaw County Family Support Director Jody Dantzer. Also in attendance was commissioner Bruce Reetz.

The Family Matters program is slated to end Sept. 30.

The following are quotes taken from parents and DHD no. 2 officials at the rally:

“It’s really scary because the state doesn’t think this is a big deal. It blows me away,” Cheryl Howard said.

“I would have missed out on the resources,” Crystal Justin said. “I was pretty much no where.”

“She’s motivated us a lot,” Darrin Justin said.

“It gives me a lot more confidence,” Jennifer Trotter said. “I always know I can call her whenever I need.”

“I think it’s great,” Tom Justin said. “It helps us as parents to deal with the frustrations of doing things the right way.”

“The last couple of years have been tough with my ex,” a teary-eyed Elizabeth said. “Without Cheryl I wouldn’t have made it through. I think it’s the best program and I have to speak up for other people.”

“I hate to think, if the program is taken away, what other families will do… for something as silly as not directing funding into the program,” Andrea said.

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