More than 350 children are victims of abuse and neglect in Michigan each day. The Children’s Trust Fund of Michigan aims to prevent abuse before it happens by funding community programs throughout the state. To raise money for these programs, the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) will host its ninth annual Signature Auction Event on Wednesday, May 18 from 5-9 p.m. at the Lansing Center. This year’s event is named in honor of Pam Posthumus, who passed away in June. The wife of former Michigan Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus, Pam was appointed to CTF’s Board of Directors in 1997 and board chair in 2002. This year’s event features a silent auction from 5-6:45 p.m. followed by a brief program. A one-hour live auction will follow, featuring more than a dozen trips around the country and world. The event will be hosted by Sheri Jones from WLNS TV 6 News, and will have an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Governor Rick Snyder is also expected to attend. Created by legislature in 1982, CTF is Michigan’s only statewide nonprofit organization solely dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. It has raised more than $80 million to support programs that have affected more than 8 million children and families. Fund Development Coordinator Tricia Headley said that CTF is crucial to providing support to abused children. “Unfortunately child abuse is kind of rapid in the state of Michigan, and as the economy has been floundering, unfortunately, statistically those things go up.” Headley said. CTF does not receive state appropriation, but is funded by donations, fundraising, interest from a trust fund and grants. CTF uses its funding in two different ways. One way is the funding of local child abuse and neglect councils, which cover all 83 counties. The councils provide information and support to families to help fulfill children’s needs and give parents the knowledge they need to be good parents. “The councils are also that voice in the community so that decisions are being made about how scarce resources are going to be used,” said Executive Director Mike Foley. The other part of funding goes to child abuse prevention. “Throughout the state, in any community, we know that there are families that may have risks or challenges in their circumstances that are beyond the norm,” said Foley. CTF gives direct-service grants to community programs that identify these at-risk families and provide support to them. Foley says there is a tremendous need for this funding statewide. Out of 40 grant requests, CTF is only able to grant seven or eight. “Because of the tight budgetary times in recent years, there were other dollars beyond the trust fund that supported this work, and we’ve lost that. So, it’s really incumbent on all of us to be a voice for this and to continue to educate our policy makers on the importance and value of this work, because we really are woefully short on the resources that we need to support communities in their efforts for at-risk families,” Foley said. Tickets to the auction are $125 and are available online at www.michigan.gov/ctfauction or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN.