2017-05-18 / News

Yuncker tells commissioners NMCAC has ‘come a long way’

With a goal to prevent abuse and neglect and to keep children safe, Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center Executive Director Becky Yuncker told the Roscommon County Board of Commissioners at a May 10 work session that the NMCAC has “come a long way” in ensuring the safety of children.

Yuncker said that the NMCAC staff is celebrating many successes as the facility and staff continues to grow and community partnerships have become stronger. She said the NMCAC has been working with law enforcement, the courts and community partners in the form of Dr. Lyndsy McMorrow from MidMichigan Health. She said these partnerships have formed to ensure that children get the care they need and thorough investigations can take place to make certain that offenders are held accountable for their actions.

Yuncker said that by working with outside agencies, the NMCAC has a 28% prosecution rate and it has received positive comments from families that have used the services of the center. Family surveys have indicated that 91.5% of families felt safe with their children at the center, 96.9% surveyed indicated that the staff helped families to understand why they were at the center and there was a 100% satisfaction rate with the NMCAC staff. She said one comment called the staff “amazing.”

Since the NMCAC has opened, Yuncker said that several deputies have told her that they can’t imagine having to conduct interviews for children of abuse and neglect in the way that the staff of the NMCAC does. She said interviewers are specifically trained to interview children in a non-suggestive way and that children “take the lead” in the interview.

She added that having the center takes stress away from the children as they are being interviewed in a setting that makes them feel safe and that doesn’t have the intimidating feel of the sheriff’s office.

Yuncker then thanked the commissioners for their continued assistance, as the in kind support that is provided by the county helps with the center’s budget. Undersheriff Ben Lowe added that the commissioners’ in-kind support is important and that they would be “shocked” at the situations that occur in the county.

Vice Chair Ken Melvin (District 2) told Yuncker that she can never be thanked enough for the services the NMCAC provides. “Thank you for all that you have done, you are appreciated,” Melvin said.

Michigan State University Extension Educator Sarah Rautio, who covers six counties and whose base office is located in Tawas City, also provided the commissioners with an update on agricultural and horticultural projects she has been working on. Rautio said she has been working with the MSUE Master Gardener Program, which has a large following in southern Michigan, in the hopes of attracting more northern people to the program. There will be Master Gardener training taking place from August to November in West Branch.

She said MSUE has also been busy promoting the importance of pollinators, as well as the smart gardening program, which teaches gardeners how to garden with deer around their homes.

The board’s only action item was the acceptance of a $105,000 bid from Great Lakes Roofing for the county building’s re-roofing project.

The next regular meeting will be held May 24 at 10 a.m., with the work session starting at 9 a.m.

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