News

Organization’s Executive Director Spearheads Efforts to Prevent Child Abuse

July 31, 2018

BY SHEILA PURSGLOVE 

Legal News

                                                                                                               Photo by Mary Steinmetz
Travis Barnett, executive director of CPCAN (Council for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) Jackson, was honored in May with the Jackson County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award, presented by JCBA Treasurer Katie Branigan Hawkins, Jackson County assistant prosecutor.

                In 2005, Travis Barnett first heard about the Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (CPCAN), that for four decades has provided the Jackson community with services and educational opportunities to protect children.

“The director at the time, came and spoke to my church about CPCAN and I felt compelled to find out more,” he says. “After speaking with her I asked if there was a need for a parent educator and the rest is history. As a parent educator I’ve taught all the programs we have to offer, from Parenting Classes to Safe Sleep Practices. It’s very rewarding to hear parents say, ‘I won't carry on the cycle, I’ve broken it.’”

Last September, Barnett became the organization’s executive director, spearheading efforts to help all children grow up in safe, nurturing homes.

“This first year has been an exciting and rewarding experience and I look forward to serving as Executive Director of the only agency in Jackson County that deals solely with the prevention of child abuse and neglect,” he says. A lifelong resident of Jackson County, Barnett is dedicated to the community, and his past work experience provides a unique ability to interact and work with individuals of various backgrounds.

In May, in conjunction with Law Day celebrations, he received the Jackson County Bar Association’s 2018 Liberty Bell Award for his sterling work in the community.

“This was a very humbling experience and I’m very honored to have received it,” he says. “I strive to continue to make a Jackson a safer place for all children to have a happy and healthy childhood.”




Kappa Delta Sorority Supports the CPCAN with over $1,300 Award

March 14, 2018

CPCAN was extremely grateful for the donation from Kappa Delta Sorority at Albion College. They graciously took on our cause for their fundraiser and presented our Board Chair Marsha Hamman and Executive Director Travis Barnett with a check for over $1,300. Thank you again, ladies of Kappa Delta Sorority, for your support!! It takes a community to end child abuse and neglect.




100+ Women Who Care Support CPCAN's Nurturing Father's Program

The Jackson-based group chose the NFP for their recipient charity at their last June meeting. Thanks to these wonderful women the Council will be offering the NFP to our community for FREE!



Baker Spring Tea Supports the Fatherhood Initiative

Last April the Baker Spring Tea held annually the Saturday before Mother's Day chose the Council's Fatherhood Initiative as the recipient of their endeavors. Thank you to all those who contributed their time and skills to help the children and families in our community!



James A. & Faith Knight Foundation Renews Support

The James A. & Faith Knight Foundation renewed an internal capacity-building grant to fund the position of a part-time Development Director. CPCAN's Development Director is vital to the recruitment, training, and coordination of community volunteers who assist with education and outreach in CPCAN's mission: to educate and strengthen our community to reduce child abuse and neglect.

"It takes a community to end child abuse and neglect and this grant will support the important role communities play in protecting children," stated Ms. Wendy Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. "This award will assist the CPCAN in its mission by continuing to broaden our volunteer base and further develop sustainability to assist us in our mission. We thank the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation for this award and their dedication to investing in our community's most precious resource -- our children." 


A graduate of Concord High School, Barnett earned a degree in music education from Spring Arbor University then taught in public schools for 10 years—the first 5 teaching music and the last 5 years in a high school alternative program, where he developed a passion for helping at-risk youth/ adults. He then worked as manager of the Prisoner Reentry program at the Jackson Parole Office.

In his role as CPCAN Executive Director, Barnett faces a daunting challenge: last year, there were more than 1,300 confirmed victims of child abuse in Jackson County; about half under the age of 4. The county’s rate of child abuse is almost twice the rate of the state: 35.4 versus 17.9 per 1,000. The infant mortality rate in 2015 was 6.2 per 1,000, compared to a state rate of 6.8 per 1,000; and the birth rate for teen moms in 2015 was 7.9 percent, compared to a state percentage of 6.3 percent in the same range.

Poverty plays a huge role in the problem: where 22.2 percent of Michigan children lived in poverty in 2015, the Jackson County number was 25.2 percent. Barnett stated that “parents’ anxiety and depression about finances can negatively affect children, and poverty can exacerbate abusive and neglectful behaviors.”

Launched in 1977, CPCAN— that teams with local human services agencies and organizations—aims to be proactive. Believing education is the key to prevention, Barnett and his team offer free parent-centered programs addressing child development, age-appropriate discipline techniques and strategies for dealing with stress; as well as programs for teachers, law enforcement, social workers and concerned citizens.

Programs include:

  • A free fatherhood workshop
  • A program to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Safe Sleep, on protecting infants from sleep-related death
  • How to de-escalate public child abuse situations
  • Stewards of Children, on preventing, recognizing, and reacting responsibly to child sexual abuse
  • Mandated Reporter Training on recognizing and reporting suspected abuse and neglect to Child Protective Services
  • Truancy prevention programs, in collaboration with the Jackson Family Court

Barnett himself, along with CPCAN Development Director Patrick Grubba, has made multiple appearances on the Bart Hawley Show on local TV; on the local radio channel K105.3; held a professional development training on ACEs – Adverse Childhood Experiences; hosted April’s annual “Pinwheels for Prevention” kickoff for Child Abuse Prevention month; and sponsored a table at Baker College’s charity fund-raiser “Baker Tea.” CPCAN also provides child safety presentations and distributes parenting materials at fairs, expos and other special events including the Community Baby Shower, and Kids’ Fest.

Barnett is looking forward to CPCAN’s annual fundraiser, the October 20 Halloween Costume Ball at Cascades Manor House in Jackson. “This will be a fantastic event for a great cause—come out and support CPCAN and show off your costumes,” he says.

For more information, visit www.cpanjackson.org or call Barnett at (517) 788-4239.




Jackson County Bar Association's 2018 Liberty Bell Award Recipient

April 19, 2018

Travis J. Barnett, our Executive Director has been chosen to receive Jackson County Bar Association’s 2018 Liberty Bell Award. The Liberty Bell Award is given each year by the Bar Association in conjunction with Law Day to honor outstanding citizens within the local community. He will be awarded said honor on May 2nd at the Bar Associations Breakfast Meeting.

The award recognizes outstanding service performed by a non-lawyer citizen who has given of his or her time and energy to strengthen the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under law, in keeping with the spirit of our Constitution. Such service may include activities which promote a better understanding of our form of government, especially the Bill of Rights; encourage greater respect for the law in the courts; educate people in the contrast between totalitarianism and freedom under law; or stimulate the deeper sense of individual responsibility to the end that citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights.

Travis has worked unwaveringly to push for the rights and protections of the children in our community through education and initiatives through CPCAN.  He is actively pursuing partnerships and collaborations in Jackson County to help our children and their families. Though he is being honored, he has always pushed the motto of “it takes a village” and knows that it is in our best interest to work together.

Each county winner is a nominee for the Michigan State Bar Association’s 2018 Liberty Bell Award announced at the State Conference and Annual Meeting that will be held on September 26-28 2018, in Grand Rapids.





Hurst Foundation Supports the CPCAN with a $7,500 Award

The Jackson-based Hurst Foundation has donated $7,500 to the CPCAN. The award will help to fund the position of the part-time Development Director, continue to grow the Stewards of Children program, a child sexual abuse prevention training for adults, and help with other community education efforts.

Stewards of Children (SOC), developed by the 
organization Darkness to Light, teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed for organizations that serve youth, and for individuals concerned about the safety of children.

SOC is the only national and evidence-based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective behaviors. 

In 2012, the Exchange Club of Jackson championed the program with the initial $5,000 gift that enabled CPCAN to train two facilitators. Since then we have trained over 500 adults in the program!

Call CPCAN if you would like to obtain training or coordinate a training for your organization.