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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When tribes step up, good things happen

Akwesasne Community Social Services Division Earns Top Ranking for Child Placement in State of New York

by Native News Online Staff
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Social Services Division has successfully placed all children under their custody into homes in the Akwesasne in 2015 thanks to the efforts of their Preventive/Foster Care Unit that includes: (front row, from left) Renee Massaro, Home Finder; Ella Fuller, Program Manager; and Heath Kuhn, Caseworker; (back row, from left) Shari Adams, Administrative Assistant; Jade White, Commissioner; Chloe Cebek, Caseworker; Stacee Loran, Caseworker; and Krystal Phillips, Caseworker
Published February 15, 2017
AKWESASNE — The community of Akwesasne has long been known for taking care of its own; whether it be supporting our elders, helping a family recover from a tragedy, dealing with the loss of a beloved one, or providing a welcoming home for a young child. Akwesasne is certainly one of the most caring and giving communities and figures released by the New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services for 2015 can back up that claim— the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Social Services Division exceeded statewide rates for placing children in least restrictive home environments.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment that our community can take immense pride in serving the best interests of our children,” said Social Services Commissioner Jade White. “The unconditional willingness to open their doors to welcome a child in need into their home is true testament to our Relative and Certified Foster Parent’s noble decisions to be involved with our child welfare system. We recognize that this honor would not have been made possible without the cooperation of our Preventive/Foster Care Unity and Foster Parents and we look forward to future collaborations.”
In a statewide-ranking of 60 county and tribal social services departments, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe ranked first in placing 100 percent of children into Relative Foster Care or Home-Based Care. The state average for placement in 2015 was 68.8 percent for Home-Based Care and a 28.08 percent for Relative Foster Care. Every child that was placed into the custody of the Tribe’s Social Services Division was welcomed into a safe, healthy and stable home environment in Akwesasne.
This is the first time in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Social Services Division history that they have achieved the top ranking for placing children in Relative Foster Care or Home-Based Care. Much of the success in finding homes is due to the outreach they undertake throughout the year, which includes an Annual Foster Parent Recruitment Event in May during National Foster Care Awareness Month. They also participate in local events, such as the Annual Wellness Day that is attended by hundreds of community members where they encourage individuals to “Be a Super Hero” by choosing to be a foster parent to a deserving child.
“Foster parents and relatives play an essential role in providing temporary, safe, and nurturing homes to children when their parents are unable to care for them,” shared Preventive Foster Care Program Manager Ella Fuller. “The safety of the child is always a priority and considerable thought is given to finding the most suitable home environment, whether it be with other family members or foster parents who are looking to adopt. Our goal is to help bring families together.”
If you want to learn more or are interesting in becoming a part of the Foster Care Program, please call the Social Services Division at (518) 358-2728.

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