Sharon Berkobien, CEO, Holy Cross Services

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Holy Cross Services’ leader lives the mission

Sometimes it is the smallest people who teach us the biggest lessons. Sharon Berkobien sees this happen every day. “I've just learned a tremendous amount about resiliency and what that takes,” she says. “About what people can actually survive and go through and come out the other side.” (more…)



Did you know that U.S. war veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless? Getting re-introduced into society after experiencing the traumas of conflict can lead to significant risk factors such as severe anxiety, trouble re-connecting with family and friends and drug use. Craig, a Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Forrestal, unfortunately fell into this all-too-common trap when he returned home from the Gulf War. Suffering from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder his relationships became strained. “When I came back, I went through a difficult time. I experienced separation from my family,” says Craig. That’s when he started using substances to help take the pain away. “I started using substances to cope,” he says. “The funny thing is, when you start (using drugs) you don’t really think about how it’s going to end.” Craig lacked the proper support network like so many veterans who are cast aside. When he arrived at Holy Cross’ New Hope Community Center, he described himself as a “lost soul.” Thanks to the support and counseling offered at New Hope, Craig put a stop to his personal tailspin and got back on his feet. Craig is just one of over 6,000 people every year who depend on New Hope. The Center provides programs and services to veterans, adults and families experiencing homelessness who have nowhere else to turn. For the first time in a long time, Craig is now on stable ground and optimistic about the future thanks to New Hope. “I’m truly honored to be here at Holy Cross and they serve so many people and do so many wonderful things. They change lives.” Learn more about the New Hope Community Center.
Should I Become a Foster Parent?

Should I Become a Foster Parent?

Thinking of becoming a foster parent but are unsure whether this is something you and your family could take on? Our goal at Holy Cross is to aid in our foster parents initial and ongoing training to help them succeed. Ensuring foster parents meet the state licensing requirements, while providing the resources they need to be healthy influences to Michigan’s vulnerable children.

The Goal of Foster Care

The primary goal of foster care is to provide a stable, nurturing home to children when they are unable to remain in the home with their biological family. We work with families to understand what they are able to take on and what children are suitable for each home. By operating this way, we’re able to properly place children with families that fits everyone’s needs the best. The safety and well-being of the child is a priority, as is letting them know people are there to help and provide hope when their lives have been turned upside down.

Do I want to be a Foster Parent?

Before becoming a foster parent there are some key questions to ask yourself.
  • Do you have a strong support system that can help during stressful times?
  • Are you patient?
  • Are you prepared for the child to sometimes put unplaced anger, rage, and emotional distress on you and not take it personally?
  • Are you willing to say goodbye when the child moves on?
  • Does your current family situation/setting present a good opportunity to foster?
  • Finally, the most important question, do you have extra unconditional love to give to a child that needs a role model, someone to take care of them and someone to be there no matter what?
Okay, if you’ve said yes to majority of the questions above, now what? Here are next steps to take if you’re considering fostering a child.

How to Become a Foster Parent

Step 1: Orientation

Once you decide you would like to learn details associated with becoming a foster parent, you will attend an orientation in which the following information is covered: rules for foster family homes; requirements to become licensed; and an in-depth discussion about the type of child that would best fit into your home.

Step 2. Application and Background Check

At the end of the orientation, you may be ready to sign an application and officially start the licensing process! At the same time your application is signed, you will submit information to complete a comprehensive background check and your worker will schedule you to have fingerprinting completed. Your application and completed background check/fingerprint forms will be sent to the Division of Child Welfare Licensing in Lansing to enroll you as a foster parent.

Step 3. Home Study

In the next step, you will need to gather personal documents and provide information to your licensing worker about yourself, your home, and the people living in your home, such as:
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Vehicle registration and insurance
  • Marriage/divorce documents
  • Medical forms
  • Copies of income and finances
Your licensing worker will also gather information about any other individuals living in your home. All information provided speaks to your overall life, childhood, adolescence and your current family situation. This information will provide your worker with significant information of how you were raised, how to handle conflict, situations and how to raise/plan to raise children in your care. In addition, you will need to provide the contact information of three unrelated personal references. The Home Study is the bulk of the licensing process and takes four to six months.

Step 4. Training

You will be registered for training with a curriculum designed especially for those caring for foster children. This must be completed prior to a foster license being recommended.

Once You Are Licensed

After moving the process from Orientation, Application, Background Checks, Fingerprints and Training you will receive an initial, original license which is granted for the first six months. Prior to its expiration, your licensing worker will take you through the renewal process which will lead you to the regular license - this is granted for two years. Your licensing worker will visit you each year to update and complete the license due for renewal, this also keeps your license in good standing.


During the licensing process you will have discussed with your worker about the specifics of the child(ren) that will be the best fit for your home. Once the agency receives a match, you will be contacted and typically you will need to respond quickly.


You will be registered for State of Michigan training. The curriculum is designed especially for those caring for children in the foster care system. This must be completed prior to a foster license being recommended. You will be required to keep your training up to date with six hours per person annually. To learn more about becoming a foster parent and what it entails, please visit us online at
A golf ball approaches a hole on the golf course

Fresh air and fairways for annual golf fundraiser

2020 has not afforded us many times to gather as a community, so the annual Corcoran House Golf Scramble was particularly special this year. The yearly fundraiser for Corcoran House took place on Sept.17 at The Fortress Golf Course in beautiful Frankenmuth. This was the 30th Annual Golf Scramble and it was one to remember. (more…)
A young girl in foster care hugs a woman in an outdoor field.

Kids in Foster Care in Michigan are a lot younger than you think

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be in foster care  in Michigan. And perhaps even more about what it takes to step up and become a foster parent. One of the biggest misunderstandings we face at Holy Cross Services is the perception that children in care are only children with behavioral issues. This could not be further from the truth. So, let us explain a little more about the realities of foster care in America and, particularly, in Michigan. (more…)
Prescription drug bottles

What are opioids?

Understanding the drug behind the headlines

You may have read about opioid addiction and the opioid crisis in the news. It is widespread and it is serious. An estimated 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Approximately 2.1 million Americans are battling an opioid addiction. But what exactly are opioids? Why are they so addictive? And why is their use across America so widespread?   (more…)
A man battling addiction sits on a couch with his hands clasped looking out a window.

Addiction, Relapse and COVID-19

Battling Relapse and Addiction During COVID-19

As COVID-19 maintains its grip on America, fears are growing that the pandemic is creating a health crisis of another kind: a relapse into addiction by people battling substance abuse.   Any recovered addict will tell you that their battle with substance abuse is one they fight every single day, and that certain triggers can make that struggle even harder.   The greatest of these, agree experts, is perhaps social isolation. Safety requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have not only encouraged isolation but demanded it.   (more…)
Sharon Berkobien, CEO, Holy Cross Services

“Change the life of one.”

Holy Cross Services’ leader lives the mission

Sometimes it is the smallest people who teach us the biggest lessons. Sharon Berkobien sees this happen every day. “I've just learned a tremendous amount about resiliency and what that takes,” she says. “About what people can actually survive and go through and come out the other side.” (more…)
Lisa is a young mother who was homeless for a year before coming to New Hope Community Center.

A young mother of three is Homeless No More

Like so many people, Lisa never imagined she’d need to knock on the door of a homeless shelter and ask for help. “Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned,” said Lisa, who’s from Lansing and had been homeless for about a year before coming to Holy Cross Services’ New Hope Community Center. “At first I thought it was embarrassing,” she said. “It was hard. I didn’t want to be here. I thought the world was on my back. I was broken. It was horrible.” But Lisa didn’t just have herself to look after, she had two children – a primary school son and a preschool daughter – and was pregnant with a third. (more…)