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CFS Achieves National Accredtation

CFS Achieves National Accreditation

Meets Highest Standards of Performance




BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN (06-16-2017) – Child & Family Services of Southwestern Michigan, Inc. (CFS) has achieved national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA).

COA accreditation is an objective, independent, and reliable validation of an agency’s performance. The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice. The standards driving accreditation ensure that services are well-coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented, and provided by a skilled and supported workforce. COA accreditation demonstrates accountability in the management of resources, sets standardized best practice thresholds for service and administration, and increases organizational capacity and accountability by creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement.

To achieve COA accreditation, CFS first provided written evidence of compliance with the COA standards. Thereafter, a group of specially trained volunteer Peer Reviewers confirmed adherence to these standards during a series of on-site interviews with the Board of Directors, team members, clients and community representatives. Based on their findings, COA’s volunteer-based Accreditation Commission voted that CFS had successfully met the criteria for accreditation through May 31, 2021.

Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Over 2,000 organizations have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process. Presently, COA has a total of 47 service standards that are applicable to over 125 different types of programs. COA is the only national accreditor designated by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop accreditation standards and processes for human service programs provided to military personnel and their families.

Founded locally in 1891 and in its 126th year of continuous service, CFS supports vulnerable people so they thrive in safe and loving homes; in addition, the organization helps empower all generations to improve quality of life. CFS programs include Autumn House Adult Day Services; Harbor House Adult Day Services; Helping Hands Adult Homecare Services; Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence; and West Michigan Guardianship. 

Privacy Practices


This notice describes how your health information may be used and disclosed and how to get access to this information.  Please review it carefully.  The privacy of your health information is important to Child & Family Services of Southwestern Michigan, Inc.


 We are required by applicable federal and state law to maintain the privacy of your health information.  We are also required to give you this Notice about our privacy practices, our legal duties, and your rights concerning your health information.  We must follow the privacy practices that are described in this Notice while it is in effect.  This Notice takes effect on 4/14/2003 and will remain in effect until we replace it. 

We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this Notice at anytime, provided such changes are permitted by applicable law.  We reserve the right to make the changes in our privacy practices and the new terms of our Notice effective for all health information that we maintain, including health information we created or received before we made the changes.  Before we make a significant change in our privacy practices, we will change this Notice and make the new Notice available upon request.

You may request a copy of our Notice at any time.  For more information about our privacy practices, or for additional copies of this Notice, please contact us using the information listed at the end of this Notice.


We use and disclose health information about you for treatment, payment, and behavioral health care operations.

Treatment:  We will not disclose any health care information about you without prior written authorization.  Your authorization for release of information must be in written form and will have a designated expiration date.  You are also free to withdraw consent at any time.  You have the right to a full description of all information being released about you with your consent.  The only exceptions to this rule include the following:

If you threaten to harm yourself or others and your therapist believes that there exists a credible threat.


If a minor child discloses that they have been abused and/or neglected, we are required by law to file a FIA Form 3200 and to call the Michigan Family Independence Agency and make a verbal report.

If you commit a crime or threaten to harm an employee of CFS.

Payment: We may use and disclose your health information to obtain payment for services we provide you.

Healthcare Operations: We may use and disclose your health information in connection with our behavioral healthcare operations.  Healthcare operations include quality assessment and improvement activities, reviewing the competence or qualifications of our professional staff, evaluating your therapist and our agency performance, conducting training programs for staff, accreditation, certification, and licensing or credentialing and referral activities.  We may receive referral information regarding your health care by fax or phone.  Referral and treatment communications may be discussed by telephone with referral agencies and with your assigned worker.   We will strive to keep this information confidential.  Furthermore, we have trained all of our staff in privacy and confidentiality.

To Your Family and Designated Others: We must disclose your health information to you, as described in the Patient Rights section of this Notice.  We may disclose your health information to a family member or other person to the extent necessary to help with your healthcare or with payment for your care, but only if you sign a written authorization for us to do so.  We will not, however, leave a message on an answering machine without your written permission to do so.  Likewise, we will not leave messages about your behavioral health care with strangers not known to us.  We will not divulge that you are a patient at CFS without your written permission if someone telephones us to ask if you are a patient here.  Even if they say they are related to you, we will not disclose information without your written permission.

Marketing Behavioral Health Services: We will not use your health information for marketing communications without your authorization.

Required by Law: We may use or disclose your health information when we are required to do so by law.


Access: You have the right to look at your health information, with limited exceptions.  If you request to look at your patient record, you will be provided with our procedure regarding this request. 


Disclosure Accounting: You have the right to receive a list of instances in which we or our business associates disclosed your health information for purposes other than treatment, payment, healthcare operations and certain other activities for the last six years, but not before April 14, 2003.  If you request this accounting more than once in a twelve month period, we may charge you a reasonable cost based fee for responding to these additional requests.

Restrictions: You have the right to request that we place additional restrictions on our use of your health information.  We are not required to agree to these additional restrictions, but if we do, we will abide by our agreement (except in mandatory reporting requirements or emergency).

Amendment:  You have the right to request that we amend your health information.  (Your request must be in writing and it must explain why the information should be amended.)  We may deny your request under certain circumstances.


If you want more information about our privacy practices or have questions or concerns, please contact us.

If you are concerned that we may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your health information, or in response to a request you made to amend or restrict the use of your health information, or to have us communicate with you by alternate means, you may complain to us using the contact information listed at the end of this Notice.  You also may submit a written complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  We will provide you with the address to file your complaint upon your request.

Contact Privacy Officer:

Judy Miedema, Director of Human Resources
Telephone: 269-925-1725   Fax:  269-925-1730
Address: P.O. Box 8789, Benton Harbor, MI 49023-8789

Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Governor Snyder Issues Certificate of Proclamation


BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN (04-01-2016) – April has been proclaimed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the State of Michigan by Governor Rick Snyder. The Certificate of Proclamation mirrors the National observance of April as the month when communities are asked to show support for survivors of sexual assault and raise awareness about the topic.

Survivors of sexual assault may be eligible for shelter services, case management and counseling through Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence. There is a 24/7 crisis line that may be reached by dialing 269-925-9500 or 888-237-1891. The crisis line is answered by trained staff who can offer assistance to survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault.

Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence is a local resource for all of Berrien County. Staff members are available to speak to community groups about services offered or provide education on the issues surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. Requests for presentations can be made through the office of the CFSSWMI Executive Director at 269-925-1725.  

CFSSWMI originated locally in 1891 and is celebrating 125 years of service to the local communities. Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence, a program of CFSSWMI since 2008, provides safety and empowerment to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by advocating for justice and equality while promoting diversity.

Launching Hope 10-8-2016

Launching Hope for Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence

Family Fun Event Celebrating Survivors of Domestic Violence

BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN (08-19-2016) –  Launching Hope will be held on Saturday, October 8 from 1:00 - 7:00 pm at Nimby Pond, 11470 Hills Rd. in Buchanan, MI. This is a family fun event that includes a pumpkin chunking challenge, pumpkin decorating contest, bean bag toss, children’s games, live music, food, beverages and other activities. Admission is $5.00 per person and additional charges may apply to certain activities.

New this year is the opportunity for groups to build a catapult and compete against other teams to win the pumpkin chunking challenge for distance and accuracy. Team rules and application are available online at or and must be submitted by September 15.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. This event is an opportunity for the community to show their support of survivors of domestic violence, increase awareness in the community, and raise funds for Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence.

CFSSWMI originated locally in 1891 and is celebrating 125 years of service to the local communities. Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence, a program of CFSSWMI since 2Pumpkin chunking-7503382008, provides safety and empowerment to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by advocating for justice and equality while promoting diversity.

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Photograph by Ron DeKett: CFSSWMI Board member Brett Lutz with son Finnegan during the pumpkin decorating contest at the 2015 Launching Hope event.



2016 Festival of Lights Sponsors

Thank you to all 2016 Festival of Lights Sponsors

We are honored to give special recognition
to our Silver and Bronze level Sponsors

Learn more by selecting the highlighted Silver or Bronze Sponsor name


Silver Sponsors

1st Source Bank

Buiten Insurance

Chemical Bank

Conybeare Law Office, P.C.

Indiana Michigan Power

Kay Manufacturing Company

Keller & Keller

Lakeland Health

Silver Beach Pizza

Tiscornia Foundation

United Federal Credit Union


Bronze Sponsors

Berrien Regional Associates in Neurology

First Church of God

Great Lakes Eye Care, P.C.

Honor Credit Union

Dr. William F. and Jeanette Leahy

Pam Pancoast

Pier Realty

Pilkington North America, Inc.

Priebe's Creative Woodworking

Pri Mart Petroleum Inc./Marzke Family Foundation