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NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Press Release
June 03, 2011

ACS Honors 51 Foster Parents as “New York’s Kindest, Going Above and Beyond”

On Thursday, May 26, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) honored 51 foster and adoptive parents who have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to the children of New York City by opening their hearts and homes to children and youth in care, especially teens, including pregnant and parenting mothers, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth and children with special needs.

Some of the 51 foster Parents honored.
Some of the 51 foster Parents honored.

The occasion was the Foster Parent Recognition Ceremony hosted annually by ACS during May, National Foster Care month, which this year was held at the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem, New York City with the theme “New York’s Kindest, Going Above and Beyond.”  The foster parents honored were drawn from approximately 26 foster care agencies that provide foster care and adoption services to children in ACS care.  Currently, there are approximately 11,000 active foster parents and ACS is in the midst of a foster parent recruitment campaign to ensure that more homes are readily available to children and young people with special needs or who are hard to place.

Addressing the gathering, ACS Commissioner John Mattingly said, “Without a strong group of committed and qualified foster parents, our goals for permanency would not be possible.  Our teens and children need strong foster parents to stand by them and let them know everyday that they are loved and cared for. On behalf of all of us at ACS and the City, I want to express our gratitude to our foster and adoptive parents for being there for our children.”

Foster parent Loretta Taylor receives her award from ACS Deputy Commissioner Lorraine Stephens.
Foster parent Loretta Taylor receives her award from ACS Deputy Commissioner Lorraine Stephens.

ACS Deputy Commissioner for Family Permanency Services, Lorraine Stephens thanked the honorees for their commitment to children, adding that “We hope that being here tonight has energized you to continue doing the extraordinary work that you’re already doing.”   Stephens presented the awards to the foster parents which commended them for “extraordinary dedication and commitment in providing a young person with life’s most precious gift, A LOVING FAMILY.” 

Reverend Alfonso Wyatt, Vice President for the Fund for the City of New York was the special guest speaker.  Other featured speakers were foster parent Denise Royal and former foster child and member of the ACS Youth Speakers Bureau, Miguel Oliveras.  Funding for the event was provided in part by Casey Family Programs.

The following foster parents were honored:

Flor Barris

Leah Hart

Cynthia Bland

Allison Jones

Jimmy Brown

Rhonda Leysath

James Bussell

Alejandra Matos

Shirley Bennett

Martha Medina

Jacqueline Brown

Suzanne Harris

Carolyn Bussell

Tracy Johnson

Noreen Colon

Robbie Leysath

Lucia Cruz

Maria Martine

Theresa Dean

Tywana McKnight

Jose DeJesus Otero

Carole Moiseau

Lessie Donaldson

Sherrie Moody

Paul Donaldson

Sandra Phillip

Maribel Felie

Belkis Rivas

Aja Ellington

Evelisse Rojas

Claire Ficara

Mattie Simms

Joseph Ficara

Arnaldo Moody

Luisa Forte

Shelia Phillips

Provodencia Font

Danielle Rogers

Danneri Franciso

Beverly Scarbrough

Manuel Garcia

Rosa Smith

Mamie Green

Stephanie Smith

Esther Gurwit

Loretta Tayar

Alexander Gurwit

Gloria Soom

Jean Harrington

Dominga Tejada


Thelma Williams

ACS Press Office: 212-341-0999

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