May 28, 2002
ACS Honors Foster Parents, Agencies and Community Organizations During Foster Parent Recognition Month
Honorees From All Five Boroughs Receive Golden Heart Recognition Awards
To mark Foster Parent Recognition Month, Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Commissioner William C. Bell honored eight foster parents and several foster care agencies and community-based organizations for their commitment to the well being of New York City's children. Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis M. Walcott joined Commissioner Bell in recognizing their efforts during a ceremony at the ACS Children's Center, 492 First Avenue, in Manhattan.
This year's Golden Heart honorees include foster parents and a church that teamed with the agency to launch "Circle of Support," a network of community-based support groups for resource parents in each of the five boroughs. ACS also honors three foster care agencies for demonstrating excellence in bolstering foster parent involvement, embracing neighborhood-based services and promoting permanency for children and families.
"In New York City, more than 17,000 individuals currently open their hearts and homes to foster children," said Commissioner Bell. "Each and every one of them deserves great praise and thanks for the love and guidance they offer. We applaud and thank them not only during Foster Parent Recognition Month but every day. Their contributions help to build a better New York City for all children and families."
During Foster Parent Recognition Month, ACS is also reaching out to New Yorkers who can give support and love to a child in need. New Yorkers interested in becoming a foster parent should call the ACS Parent Recruitment Hotline at (212) 676-WISH (9474) for more information.
The New York City Administration for Children's Services protects and ensures the safety and well being of New York City's children and their families. Formed in 1996, the agency oversees the City's programs of child protection, foster care, preventive services, adoptive parenting, youth development, child care and Head Start.
ACS FOSTER PARENT HONOREES
Last year, the following eight resource parents partnered with ACS staff to form Circle of Support, ACS's community-based resource parent support group network. The team has worked hard to launch 10 of these support groups citywide. Each of these honorees runs a Circle of Support group in her free time -- in addition to serving as a foster parent. Their efforts help ACS to better serve all the children and families of New York City. To find out more about Circle of Support, please visit http://www.circleofsupport.org, or call 212-676-6941.
Daisy Boyd, Queens Village, Queens
Karen Lee, Staten Island
Veronica Lewis, Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Jill Mullings, Canarsie, Brooklyn
Nivia O'Meally, Flatbush/East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Janet Stevens, Bushwick, Brooklyn
Audrey Thompson, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Justine Valentine, Staten Island
ACS FOSTER CARE AGENCY AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION HONOREES
Grace United Methodist Church, Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Grace United Methodist Church was the first community partner to join with ACS in Circle of Support. Grace Church has embraced the newly formed Morningside Heights Circle of Support group by hosting the group's monthly meetings. Because of Grace Church's assistance, this particular Circle of Support has become an anchor in the community for children and families, which is the primary goal of ACS's neighborhood-based services plan.
Concord Family Services, Brooklyn
Concord Family Services has ranked in the top five for the past three quarters among ACS's larger foster care agencies for successfully motivating foster parents to attend service plan reviews. Key to Concord's success is involving foster parents immediately when a child enters their home. Concord Family Services recognizes the value of permanency for children and carries out practices that result in this goal.
Abbott House, Bronx
Abbott House has demonstrated a high level of commitment to neighborhood-based services by recruiting foster homes-including large homes for brothers and sisters and homes for children with special needs-in several neighborhoods in the Bronx. Abbott House has also participated in exchanges of foster homes among agencies in an effort to better align the child welfare system along neighborhood lines. Abbott House's commitment to ACS's neighborhood-based services model has resulted in better quality care for all of the children and families they serve.
Jewish Child Care Association of New York (JCCA), Brooklyn and Bronx
There are often underlying tensions between parents and resource parents who do not get to know one another while a child is in foster care. In answer to this challenge, JCCA created the "ReBuilders" in March 2001. The group's mission is to rebuild relationships through better communication for the sake of all children. ReBuilders, along with several other JCCA initiatives, embody the principles of Family-to-Family, a key element of ACS's Renewed Plan of Action.