The mission of the Otsego County Child Welfare Alliance (OCCWA) is to inform, educate and provide resources to support citizens of Otsego County as they raise safe and healthy children.

They provide information and resources about infant safe sleep, first aid and summer safety supplies, head lice kits, home safety supplies, mandated child abuse and neglect reporter training, community resource cards and child safety seats. This small non-profit has been around and working hard to help families raise safe and healthy children for more than 15 years. Their board and supporters work incredibly hard to bring education and resources to all families in our community. Last year, the impact they made in our county was staggering: almost 2,000 Otsego County residents were able to receive a service from one or more of their programs.

“OCCWA provides resources to help support child safety and well-being. This organization offers so many resources, including car seats, baby gates, safe sleep kits, lice kits, summer safety kits, books and so much more to families. We are very fortunate to have OCCWA in our community. Families really appreciate the resources they provide,” stated Heather Schrems, public health nurse for Health Department of Northwest MI.

One of this organizations newer initiatives is their literacy program. It has been documented that children who have books in their homes are better learners, and OCCWA wanted to help make this happen. The literacy program provided more books to more families to support the importance of reading/literacy in the children’s lives. Last year they handed out over 684 books to children ages 0-5, including books with a sleeping theme and books about divorce to help children cope with this issue. During the Family Fun Fair, the OCCWA took over the stage and did readings every half hour and handed out books after each reading.

“Later that day, I witnessed children who participated in the story-time reading their new books to their families. It was amazing to see our message transfer so quickly and the excitement the children had for the books they received.” noted Brandy McVannel of OCCWA.