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Press release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2005

ACS Press Office
212/341-0999


Statement by New York City Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly Regarding Valery Saavedra Lozada

The Administration for Children’s Services is grateful for the compassion and interest that New Yorkers and citizens throughout the country have shown for Valery Belen Saavedra Lozada, the 4-year-old child who came into the care of Children’s Services last week following the death of her mother.

Right now, we can tell you that Valery is safe and well-cared for in the home of a strong and capable foster family in Queens – the same family that has been caring for her since last Sunday. 

Children’s Services will be meeting with all family members to assess the best possible permanency plan for Valery. When we have finished our assessment, we will make our recommendation to Family Court. 

A team of child trauma specialists met Wednesday afternoon with Valery, her foster mother, a family member and a foster-care agency supervisor to tell Valery that her mother is dead. The adults worked together as a team to reassure Valery that she would be safe and well cared for. The specialists described Valery as being a resilient child. She had a follow-up session this morning, and she will be offered counseling and support throughout this difficult time. 

We now have to ask the public to understand that just as we are responsible for protecting Valery’s safety, we are also responsible for protecting her privacy – we cannot disclose any more details about her. Please remember she is just 4 years old. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will be working to make careful decisions about how best to plan for Valery’s future. The most important thing now is for her to be helped to feel secure and safe. We will do everything possible to aid those who are caring for her on a daily basis to help Valerie deal with the trauma of losing her mother.

There are many other children in foster care who are available to be adopted in New York City. If you are interested in adopting or being a foster parent, please call 212.676-WISH. If you are interested in making a donation to help children in foster care, you might consider making a donation to our nonprofit partner, New Yorkers For Children; 200 Park Avenue; Suite 4503; NY, NY 10166; www.newyorkersforchildren.org.



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