CARE House of Oakland County: It shouldn't hurt to be a child.
CARE House of Oakland County: It shouldn't hurt to be a child.

Hi there! This is Blythe Spitsbergen, CARE House’s Executive Director. On the occasion of our 40th anniversary, I’ve been taking the time to revisit our history and consider how our organization has changed and grown. Maybe the biggest difference between then and now is that, when we opened in 1977, we didn’t provide forensic interviews or therapy services for suspected victims of child abuse. In fact, the child advocacy model that we follow today hadn’t even been invented yet.

The 21st Annual Circle of Friends Luncheon took place last Thursday, January 2, at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. The luncheon focused on children in foster care, the struggles they face, and what we can do to help them. It featured remarks from the event honoree, retiring Oakland County Family Court Judge Joan E. Young; event chair and foster parent Tamara Rambus; and memoirist and foster care parent and advocate, Ashley Rhodes-Courter.

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(l-r: Ashley Rhodes-Courter and the Honorable Joan E.

As people who work with a specific subset of the population – that is, victims of child abuse and neglect – we have a vested interest in researching relevant statistics and sharing them with the community. All the data in the world, though (for instance: at any one time, there are 13,000 children in foster care in the State of Michigan; in 2015 alone, over 10,000 children were removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, 53% of whom were five years old and younger) doesn’t convey what it really feels like to experience the foster care system.