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Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice Recognizes Leaders Striving to Improve Services for LGBTQ Youth

On May 22, the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice hosted its Second Annual LGBTQ & Allies Awards ceremony and reception to honor outstanding foster care and juvenile justice leaders committed to promoting inclusive and safe environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) children, youth, and families. The event, which took place at Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan, honored a foster youth, foster parent, community advocate, and an ACS staff member.

Highlighting ACS’ commitment to providing affirming services to LGBTQ youth and families, Commissioner Carrión told the audience, “It is absolutely fundamental to our children’s well-being that they are affirmed, their identities honored, and they are celebrated for who they are.” The Commissioner noted several core ACS programs that promote an affirming environment including training and coaching staff to understand and meet the needs of LGBTQ youth and families; finding and supporting foster and adoptive homes for LGBTQ youth, the dedicated LGBTQ Office for Policy & Practice.

Special guest Council Member Rosie Mendez, Co-Chair of the Council’s LGBT Caucus provided personal anecdotes serving as an openly-gay official, noting that the LGBT Caucus has grown tremendously since she arrived. She commended ACS staff for working every day to better the lives of LGBT youth.

Commissioner Carrión and Council Member Rosie Mendez

Commissioner Carrión, right, greets Council Member Rosie Mendez, Co-Chair of the Council’s LGBT Caucus.

Following, Mendez’s remarks, Rhodes Perry, the Director of the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice, along with the Office’s Deputy Director Denise Niewinski and youth liaison Shaquana Green presented the awards. Anthony Turner who was formerly in ACS care and a published writer, was honored as an LGBTQ ally who has “gone above and beyond to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ youth” by encouraging LGBTQ teens to stay in and complete high school.

Shanequa Green and Anthony Turner

Anthony Turner receives his award from Shanequa Green.

Chris Long, who has supported multiple LGBTQ older teens as a certified foster/pre-adoptive parent and serves as the Chief Operations Officer at Family Residences was honored as an outstanding foster parent. The Outstanding Community Advocate award went to Judy Yu, the Associate Director of LGBTQ Youth Issues at the Correctional Association of New York and serves as the chair of the Juvenile Justice Coalition’s LGBTQ Work Group.

Finally, ACS’ own Jenniffer Daly was given the Outstanding ACS Staff Award for her work training staff on meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth and providing guidance in designing the model LGBTQ curriculum. Jenniffer was also presented with a signed copy of Sam Killerman’s book, Genderbread—a teaching aid that recognizes that we all have self-defined sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

 

Contact:  ACS Office of Communications

Tel: (212) 341-0999