CFS youth participate each summer in the SAIL Champion Program, a part of the Maritime Heritage Alliance


Using a trauma-focused lens, Child & Family Services’ programs help children, youth, adults, and families heal and grow.  We serve our community through offices in Traverse City, Harbor Springs, and Gaylord, and serve children, adults, and families across northwestern Michigan. Click below to learn more about our programs.

Our Impact


Behind each number is a child, an individual, a family, and a community that has come together to change a story for the better. 

YouthWork is getting things done! 

Since the Summer of 2018…


More than 175 YouthWork AmeriCorps members have completed 45,000+ hours of service contributing to:


  • Over 20,000 trees planted which will remove

  • 40,000 tons or 88,000,000 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere over 40 years

  • 100 miles of hiking, ORV, equestrian, biking, and ADA trails constructed, improved, or rehabbed including 1.5 miles of trails made ADA accessible

  • 1,000 feet of shoreline bio engineered and 50 miles of riparian corridors restored

  • 2,000 native plants planted

  • 500 acres of land rehabbed or improved

  • 125 acres of meadows created and restored for pollinators like the Monarch and Blue Karner Butterflies

  • 12 historic structures rehabbed

  • 2 tons of recycled material removed from the waste stream

  • 4,000 feet of wetland boardwalk constructed

  • 7 wetland and wildlife viewing decks constructed

  • 50+ nonprofits, federal agencies, and municipalities engaged in YouthWork service projects

  • $450,000+ in living stipends earned by YouthWork members and $176,000+ in AmeriCorps Education Awards (scholarships) earned by members


Our History

The Need

Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan opened in 1937 as Dr. Mark Osterlin, an area pediatrician and founder of CFS, realized that abused and neglected children needed refuge. After being forced to return battered children to unsafe homes, he envisioned a place that would be a safe harbor for children, and so became CFS. The work Dr. Osterlin started nearly eighty years ago continues today.

Child & Family Services began life as a branch of the Michigan Children's Aid Society. In 1891, Dr. Amos Barlow founded Michigan's first organization of the Federation of Aid Societies, with Articles of Incorporation filed in 1893.  The purpose was "to accept homeless, neglected, and destitute children," and "to find homes for them." The next year, the West Michigan home of the Children’s Aid Society in St. Joseph, Michigan was dedicated as a "receiving home" for children.

The Plan

Dr. Osterlin turned to the Michigan Children's Aid Society.  In 1937, at his invitation, the Society opened an office in Traverse City.  Through this office, children were able to receive needed medical attention, and abused and neglected children found temporary safe harbor in boarding homes (foster homes) and adoptive families.

Dr. Osterlin exemplified the lasting impact one person could have on future generations.  He was a mentor, an innovator, and an advocate for children.  Because of his wisdom, compassion, and foresight, children in our community have the safety net they need–loving homes and families.  

Children waiting for orphan train

The Merge

The Boards of Directors of Third Level Crisis Intervention Center and Child and Family Services met over a period of months in late 2013 to discuss the idea of consolidating the functions and programs of both organizations in response to changing financial and other conditions for nonprofit organizations in a community that hosts more than 2000 charities in a five-county area.  After great deal of due diligence by both boards, it was clear that the idea was a good one for our clients, donors, and the whole community.  On January 1, 2014, the consolidation became official:  Third Level, while maintaining its programs and 40 year-old reputation for excellence in crisis services, is now a part of Child and Family Services.

Our Present



Goal 1: Maintain a financially sustainable organization.

Goal 2: Develop infrastructure that supports service delivery.

Goal 3: Develop and maintain a superior workforce.

Goal 4: Effectively manage and deliver core services.

Click here to view entire strategic plan summary.

Our Mission

Our services support the safety and well-being of children, youth, adults, and families in times of crisis, challenge, and life transition.


Board of Directors 
2019-2020 Term

Diane Emling   (President)
Lisa Thomas   (Vice President)
Ruth Gilmer  (Treasurer)
Rick Summers   (Secretary)
Krista Goldman
Patrick Lamb
Chris Mohrhardt
Robert Needham
Lauren Pfeil
Kaylee Simerson
Rachel Wasserman
Joanie Hazelton

Board of Trustees 
2019-2020 Term

Terry Paquet  (President)
Ken Petterson   (Vice President)
Warren “Bud” Cline III   (Treasurer)
Erik Falconer   (Secretary)
EmmLee Cameron
Bob Cornwell
Jeremy Hawke
Galen Krupka
Sheila Morgan
Rob Tubbs

Our Future


Lifetime Giving Clubs

CFS is grateful for these donors who have attained lifetime giving club status in the past year. 

Gold Circle Club

  • David and Jacqueline Adams*​

  • Autism Speaks, Inc.*​

  • Baiardi Family Foundation​

  • Otto and Kathleen Belovich*​

  • Shirley Blackmore​

  • David and Cindi Boesler​

  • Elaine Amacker Bridges​

  • Bill and Sandra Cartwright*​

  • Cone Drive Operations, Inc. (Ms. Patty Luther)*​

  • Charlevoix County Community Foundation; (Malpass Family Fund)​

  • Kara Cockfield​

  • Christopher and Merrie Corbett​

  • Edward and Suzanne Czymbor​

  • Scott and Kathy Daunheimer​

  • Rick and Kate Dahlstrom*​

  • Cynthia Elliott*​

  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation*​

  • Tedde and Mary Forcier;​

  •        Diamond Draft Systems​

  • Mark Girardin*​

  • Jeff and Krista Goldman*​

  • Great Lakes Business Systems*

  • Anne Griffiths​​

  • Jeremy and Kathryn Hawke*​​

  • Bryce Hundley and Alicia Walker​​

  • Walter and Elaine Kurczewski​​

  • Phillip and Nancy Jean Meek​​

  • Dorothy B. Miller*​​

  • The Newman Family Foundation*​​

  • Packaging Corporation of America*​​

  • Pour for More Inc.*​​

  • Herman Radtke Jr. and Vicki Radtke*​​

  • The Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Women)*​​

  • Rotary Club of Petoskey​​

  • Nathan Scherrer; Freenjoy Incorporated​​

  • Streetside Grille​​
    R.W. Wright Jr. And C.J. Wright*​​

  • Matthew and Jane Zimmerman*​​

  • Zonta Club Of Petoskey Area​

President's Club

Founder's Club
$50,000 and up

  • The Baiardi Family Foundation*​

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation*​

  • The Carls Foundation​

  • Cherry Republic​

  • James and Susan Childs*​

  • First Congregational Church*​

  • Richard and Silvia Gans  ​

  • Green Brick Foundation, Inc.​

  • Hitchens Family Foundation​

  • Jim and Diana Huckle Family Foundation​

  • Robert Kalchik*​

  • Jerry and Roberta Kolak*​

  • Ellen Kerr  ​

  • Alan Newton  ​

  • Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community​
         Foundation; Ted and Brenda Frey Fund​

  • John Ruckrich*​

  • Robet Foundation​

  • The John and Matilda Shumsky Foundation*​

  • Frank and Evelyn Tenbusch*​

  • Edward and Erica Walsh*​

  • Harvey and Marilyn Warburton*​

  • Doug Zernow and Merilyn Ueno*

  • Charles and Dianna Forster 

  • Carolyn Gauthier 

  • Michigan Health Endowment Fund

  • My North Media

  • The Daniel and Pamella DeVos


  • Paul and Laura Jacobson*

A comprehensive list of our lifetime giving clubs members available here. Our annual giving clubs are available here. We appreciate your support!

Our Supporters