ACS Celebrates Contributions of Foster Care Youth Advocates
Commissioner Ronald E. Richter recently hosted a ceremony to mark the achievements and contributions of youth in foster care who participated in the ACS Youth Advocates Program. The young people honored were Marsha Jackson, Shavonne Jackson, Kevin McKee, Josephine Rivera, Robert Rodriguez, Pedro Ruberte, Michael Valentine, and Angelique Wilson; they represent the final group in the program which began more than three years ago.
Youth Advocates with program director Ronni Fuchs, fourth from left. From left are Michael Valentine, Jamell Henderson, Kevin McKee, Pedro Ruberte, Angelique Wilson, Melissa Colon, Josephine Rivera, Shavonne Jackson, Robert Rodriguez and Pyriel Infinity.
Addressing the group which included past advocates, Commissioner Richter commended them for “instrumental in shaping the way we work with and engage young people in their permanency plans.” He recounted some of their achievements over the life of the program, which included the development of the Youth A.W.A.K.E program, two Youth Summits, the Youth Advocate toolkit that will benefit other young people in care, and participation in the Coast to Coast Peer to Peer Collaboration with Alameda County, California. In addition, Advocates Angelique Wilson and Kevin McKee served as presenters at the 2012 Child Welfare League of America’s Annual Conference on “Innovative Initiatives through Youth-Adult Partnerships,” representing the agency and educating participants about life in foster care.
Commissioner Richter presents Youth Advocate Josephine Rivera with the Commissioner’s Child Advocacy Award. With them is Ronni Fuchs, Director of the program at ACS.
Also honored were past participants of the program Jamell Henderson, Melissa Colon and Pyrell Infinity. The Youth Advocates program was supported by grants from New Yorkers For Children, Casey Family Programs, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Each of the advocates leaving the program has secured new employment, many with non-profit agencies that provide services to children in care and families receiving ACS services.
Michael Fagan/Tia Waddy, Administration for Children’s Services: (212) 341-0999