May 1, 2018
(Albany, NY )– Assemblymembers Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, and Tremaine Wright, Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Foster Care, today held a joint press conference to recognize the thousands of dedicated Foster Families, Care Providers, Caseworkers and Advocates dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in foster care and to announce CHAMPS NY, a new initiative to strengthen supports for caregivers and the children in their care.
As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, I am honored to celebrate National Foster Care Awareness Month with my colleagues and to recognize the dedicated individuals who are making a permanent difference in the lives of children and youth in foster care,” said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. “With the many challenges and rewards that foster care brings, I stand committed to strengthening the child welfare system by making sure communities have the resources, services and programs they need to support our most vulnerable children and youth, our caregivers and families.”
“I am proud to stand with my Assembly colleagues, caregivers, families and foster youth as we celebrate National Foster Care Awareness Month. As the new Chair on the Subcommittee on Foster Care, I want to acknowledge the work of our families and child welfare partners who are committed to the daily work of nurturing our young people and strengthening families. I look forward to working with all our stakeholders to ensure that our children have safe, supportive environments as they grow and develop,” said Assembly Member Tremaine Wright.
“Today, together with our partners in the State Legislature, we pause to recognize the dedication and passion of the families, relatives, and workers who support our children and young people in foster care every day. We know that one of the most powerful ways we can help children in care to heal, grow, and thrive is to ensure they have supportive caregivers. And so, we’re excited to announce a new initiative that we are co-leading with Families Together, CHAMPS NY, that works through policy and practice change to strengthen supports for caregivers and the children they care for. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners across the state on this exciting initiative,” said Kari Siddiqui, Senior Policy Analyst at the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.
“Foster parents are the key to keeping these children safe and promoting their well-being,” said Jim Purcell, President and CEO of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA). “These parents are, first and foremost, volunteers. We owe them tremendous thanks for the work they do and the love they give, and look forward to supporting more caring adults as foster parents through the CHAMPS NY initiative.”
“Today we have the opportunity to stand here with our partners in the Assembly and the child welfare community to express our gratitude to all of the foster parents and foster care agency caseworkers who dedicate every day to children and youth in foster care. And to the children and youth in foster care, and their parents and families, foster care awareness month provides us with the opportunity to publicly recommit to doing all that we can to strengthen the child welfare system for you,” said Stephanie Gendell, Associate Executive Director for Policy and Advocacy at Citizens’ Committee for Children.
“One of the most important resources we can provide our children is a safe and supportive environment to live, to heal, and to grow. For young people who enter foster care, this is especially true,” said Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State. “As an organization that aims to empower families and coordinate child-serving systems, we understand that it’s families that best provide that environment, that families come in many different shapes and sizes, and that families walk through many doors to get the support they need. May is both National Foster Care Month and Mental Health Month so let us celebrate the crucial role that all families, related or not, play in nurturing the emotional well-being and resiliency of New York’s children.”
“Our state continues to struggle with recruiting and retaining foster parents. Too often, foster parents, relatives and non-relatives alike, do not receive the support they need to best serve children in their care. For relatives who step forward, often as the result of a phone call in the middle of the night, this is especially true. Additionally, many relatives are not informed of their right to become foster parents. While there have been strides in supporting foster families in individual counties and agencies , the CHAMPS initiative will take New York further and ensure children have the strong families they need and deserve,” said Richard Heyl de Ortiz, Executive Director, Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition.