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Press Release
April 28, 2011

ACS Honors Outstanding Partners with Child Advocacy Awards in Recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month

- Carnegie Hall, City Council Member Annabel Palma, An Eagle Scout, And Representatives From ACS’ Partnering Organizations Among Those Honored -

New York, NY The New York City Administration for Children’s Services today honored several individuals and organizations with Child Advocacy Awards for their outstanding contribution to keeping children safe and strengthening families. The honorees were invited to an awards ceremony at ACS headquarters at which Commissioner John B. Mattingly presented each honoree with their award. The Commissioner’s Child Advocacy Awards are part of the agency’s activities recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

“ACS relies on our partnerships with skilled, caring individuals and organizations to help us meet our core mission of protecting children and supporting families,” said Commissioner John B. Mattingly. “Their contributions to this critical work have helped us make a difference in the lives of countless children and young people – not only this month but every single day of the year.”

This is the third year that ACS has presented Child Advocacy Awards to external stakeholders for their perseverance, compassion, and professionalism in making a difference in the lives of children and young people. This year’s honorees include Carnegie Hall, City Council’s General Welfare Committee Chair Annabel Palma, an Eagle Scout who was a former foster care youth giving back to youth in foster care, a medical expert in shaken baby syndrome, an NYPD detective, and representatives from two key organizations collaborating with ACS to serve vulnerable youth.

The 2011 ACS Child Advocacy Awards were presented to:

Edward Patrick Lyon
Eddie Lyon came to ACS’s attention when his Boy Scoutmaster wrote to Commissioner Mattingly about the work that he had done to achieve his Eagle Scout badge. As a foster child of more than seven years, Eddie wanted to help other foster children.  He put together 140 small duffle bags containing a teddy bear, soap, toothpaste, books and entertainment items to be given to children entering foster care, raising over $15,000 worth of donated items and dedicating 200 hours of his time to the project. 

Tracey D. Little – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Community Center
Tracey D. Little is coordinator of Project Foster Care at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.  Through the project, Tracey has helped to change the culture of foster care agencies to be more inclusive of LGBT issues and practices. Project Foster Care started in 2007 as a pilot project with support from ACS to provide safe, quality, sensitive services to LGBT youth in foster care, their families and foster parents who care for them. Tracey has also worked with ACS and families with children in foster care as a Parent Advocate. 

Carnegie Hall – Musical Connections
Carnegie Hall, through their Musical Connections program, has provided youth in detention with the unique opportunity to participate and perform in musical works that they had developed from start to finish with professional musicians. ACS has seen great benefits from these programs, as detention staff have reported a positive change in “tone and temperature” around the times these programs take place. Detention residents get to showcase their talents, or discover new ones, and gain exposure to positive activities they can become involved in after their release.

Councilmember Annabel Palma 
Councilmember Palma has been a steadfast partner and advocate, committed to sustaining and growing services for New York City’s children and families. As Chair of the General Welfare Committee since 2010, and prior to that as a committee member, Council member Palma has supported ACS’s efforts to protect children and strengthen families by advocating for resources in child protective services, preventive services and child care. The Council Member has a deep and personal connection to the issues facing families of New York City, which makes her a most valued ally in the agency’s efforts to keep children safe.  

Nancy Arnow, Safe Horizon
Nancy Arnow, Senior Vice President for Youth, Mental Health and Anti-trafficking Programs at Safe Horizon, has been instrumental in the opening of the Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens; she is also leading the efforts to identify funding for a CAC in the Bronx.  Nancy recently partnered with ACS to develop guidelines for CPS staff, as well as staff at the CACs, to assist them in their investigations when a child recants previous statements about abuse or neglect.  Nancy also worked with ACS to develop and execute training for ACS staff, DA office staff, and NYPD officers throughout the five boroughs.

Dr. Stephen Ajl, Brooklyn Hospital
Dr. Ajl is the director of the Children’s Health Center at Brooklyn Hospital as well as the medical director of the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center. He works closely with ACS to provide trainings for Child Protective staff and other professionals to educate them regarding the evaluation of children who are believed to be the victims of abuse and neglect. Dr. Ajl has convened a network of medical providers for children who have been abused which meets regularly to discuss challenges and solutions related to child abuse. He has recently participated in child safety community forums hosted by ACS in Brooklyn and in a training held for multidisciplinary teams and Child Advocacy Centers citywide on recantation.  

Detective Elizabeth McColgan, NYPD
Detective McColgan has worked in the Manhattan Child Advocacy Center since it opened and she is known for conducting sensitive and thorough interviews with young children and embracing the team approach to multi-disciplinary investigations.  Prior to joining the Manhattan CAC she was in the Manhattan Special Victims Squad and the Sex Offender Monitoring Unit. Detective McColgan recently helped to locate a man who was sexually abusing his girlfriend’s grandson, eliciting a full confession and facilitating charges of Criminal Sexual Assault in the first degree.

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Contact:
Elysia Murphy / Michael Fagan: 212-341-0999


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