October 2022 Newsletter - Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan


How do you describe fall; the end of summer, sweater and boots weather, happy hauntings, or Happy Thanksgiving? For the Court it’s Happy New Year! Our new fiscal year begins on October 1 which means we begin new projects. We have pushed the send button on our year-end reports. In November, we will assemble our Strategic Planning Team so we can embark on creating our 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. We will welcome

Dr. Brenda Wagenknecht-Ivey as our facilitator, and we welcome your ideas. We have established a new email box so we may collect big ideas. As you bundle up and settle into fall, take a moment and send us your ideas to StrategicPlan2023@3rdcc.org

Stay warm, and we are waiting to hear from you.

Michigan Family Support Council Fall Conference Awards

FOC employees from left to right: David McPhail, JaVonne Ransom, Daniel Ferency, Leslie Murphy, Erin Lincoln, Lauren Wright Middleton, Alicia Bianchi, Joe Smellie

The Michigan Family Support Council presented the Wayne County Friend of the Court (FOC) with the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award at its annual Fall Conference at Boyne Mountain on October 7, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presentation of the 2021 awards were delayed by a year. The FOC received the award for the staff’s perseverance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in continuing to service to approximately 230,000 open cases, despite low staffing numbers. The FOC collected almost $328,000,000 in child support in 2021. The FOC staff were described as passionate, dedicated, and resilient in the award nomination.  Friend of the Court Erin Lincoln was present to accept the award on the staff’s behalf. There were also several staff members present to receive the award.

In addition, the Michigan Family Support Council established the Lisa Robinson Legacy Award to recognize child support professionals who have embodied the true mission of the Michigan Family Support Council and act upon its core values through lasting change and measurable differences in their career and community. Lisa was a longtime employee of the Friend of the Court. She was a supervisor of the Friend of the Court Document Management Department.  She retired from the Friend of the Court in January of 2019 and sadly passed away in June of 2021. In memoriam, Lisa was the first recipient of the Legacy Award.  Her presence is deeply missed at the Friend of the Court. 

Midwest Urban Jurisdiction Meeting

The Midwest Urban Jurisdiction Meeting was held on September 20th through September 22nd in Chicago. The meeting is a gathering of child support professionals serving an urban population. Representatives from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota urban areas were represented. Erin Lincoln – Friend of the Court/Deputy Court Administrator, Jillian Fitzgerald – Assistant Friend of the Court/Legal Director, and Dominique Peacock – Senior Staff Attorney attended on behalf of Wayne County Friend of the Court. The purpose of the meeting is to provide updates, share best practices, and collaborate on new ideas. Office of Child Support Enforcement Commissioner Tangular Gray kicked off the meeting with her vision for the program and new projects. There were presentations on Cannabis Sales and Compliance with Child Support, Sovereign Citizens Movement, Data and Trends in Performance Measures, and Labor and the Economy. And there were group discussions around staffing challenges and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 


Community Collaboration is an ongoing process. Third Circuit of Michigan is a leader at establishing connections and building relationships that connects the citizens of Wayne County to resources that bridge gaps.

On September 21, 2022 representatives from Third Circuit Court’s General Counsel, Juvenile Division, and Criminal Division attended the MSU-Detroit’s Stakeholders Meeting.

MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) had a great panel that hosted a powerful dialogue with members of the community. Teresa Woodruff, Provost of MSU; George W. Smith, Director of MSU AgBioResearch, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Animal Science; Kelly Millenbah, Senior Associate Dean, Director of Academic and Student Affairs College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Fisheries and Wildlife; and Quentin R. Tyler, Director of MSU Extension, Associate Dean and Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

This event allowed community partners to address areas of concern within the metro-Detroit community. Conversations flowed on a variety of topics such as collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), youth and 4-H development, financial literacy, food partnerships for learning and innovations to address food insecurities, promotion of urban farming, and supporting the development of small businesses.

MSU’s Government Relations Office is always on the forefront bringing a cross section of academia and governmental and community partners together and surprisingly it works. Creative and new perspectives help solutions emerge. As Senior Vice President of Community relations, Charles Rivers points out, “Just because it has never been done before does NOT mean we can’t do it!!!”

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Teresa Woodruff, Dr. George Smith, Dr. Kelly Millenbah, and Director

Quentin Tyler

Orange Shirt Day

Photos L-R: Zenell Brown & Jeannette Heacox from Court Administration

LaShonne Finley and Katy Eckel from Criminal Court Administration

Cora Durham, Leigh Ann Spaman, Margaret Shephard, and Angela Asteriou all from Pretrial Services

Photos L-R: Tonie Roland, Dan Flanagan, Dave McPhail, Dianne Wilson and Dave McPhail, Tonie Roland, Dan Flanagan

Photos L-R: Lauren Crawford from LHJ; Leathe Dantzler & Sheila O’Brien from LHJ; and Robyn Roberts from CASA

September 30, 2021, marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day is intended to honor the survivors of Canada’s Indigenous Community against whom a cultural genocide was committed through Canada’s use of its Residential Schooling programs.

Established by the Canadian Government’s Department of Indian Affairs and administered by Christian churches, Canada’s Residential schools began in the 1870’s and ended in the mid-1990’s. From its inception, the goal of the Residential Schooling system was to deprive Canada’s Indigenous Community of their native culture and religion and ultimately assimilate them into Canadian culture. This was done often forcibly removing their children from their homes to attend a Residential Schooling program. Although in recent years, the Canadian government has attempted to apologize for its use and involvement in Residential Schooling, the trauma it inflicted against the Indigenous community undeniably continues to exist today. 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (colloquially known as “Orange Shirt Day”) is inspired by the accounts of Phyllis Jack Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation and a survivor of Canada’s Residential Schooling program. The following is an excerpt from Phyllis’ story. (Courtesy of: www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html):

“I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6-years-old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!

When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

Citizens are encouraged to wear an Orange Shirt to honor the victims and survivors of the Residential Schooling Program on this date. Various court personnel participated in Orange Shirt Day in wearing orange to work.

Free Child Support Help Program


Join us on Saturday, November 5th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. for the Free Child Support Help Program sponsored by the William Booth Legal Aid Clinic. The event will be held in the Welcome Center Atrium at the Wayne County Community College District Northwest Campus located at 8200 Outer Drive, Detroit, 48219. Attendees will be able to meet one-on-one with a pro bono attorney to discuss their child support case and get help with completing motion forms. They will also be able to apply for the State Discharge of Arrears Program. We welcome your attendance and urge you to spread the word in the community!

See Tool-kit


The Third Circuit Court Diversity and Inclusion Team’s Mission: "We appreciate our common connection and respect our diverse and unique human experiences. We move forward as an inclusive organization as we provide accessible and equal justice."

The Court’s Diversity & Inclusion Team strives to ensure the values of its diverse bench, staff, and court users are acknowledged and reflected in our delivery of service as well as our work environment.

In that spirit, the team creates and shares a monthly list of various holidays and observations along with some celebration suggestions. We invite our work community and the community at large to contribute.


World Vegan Day – November 1

Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) – November 2

National Sandwich Day – November 3

National Day of Community Service -- November 4

Love your Lawyer Day – November 4

Daylight Savings – November 6

World Freedom Day – November 9

USMC Day - November 10

Veterans Day -  November 11

World Kindness Day – November 13

International Day for Tolerance – November 16

Transgender Day of Remembrance - November 20

       Thanksgiving - November 24

Small Business Saturday - November 26

National Law Day (“Samvidhan Divas”) – November 26

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