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Proclaims November Adoption Awareness Month and Directs State Landmarks Lit White on November 14 to Promote Awareness 
OCFS Hosts Event Featuring Broadway Artist Ta’Nika Gibson Among Multiple Adoption Awareness Activities 
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced an additional $7 million in state funding to support a broad range of adoption-related services administered through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services – bringing the State’s two-year adoption-related investments to $29.8 million. The announcement came during Adoption Awareness Month and the same day as OCFS’s annual adoption awareness event, which this year featured Broadway and television star Ta’Nika Gibson – who was adopted at age 22 and is now a strong advocate for adoption and children in foster care. 
 "This funding is part of our ongoing commitment to New York’s children and will help us provide even more young people with loving families and a place they can call home once and for all," Governor Hochul said. “As a mother myself, I know how important a stable, supportive household is for a child’s positive development.”  
New York State has also received $3.074 million in federal funding for services that support adoptive families. State and federal funding is used for a broad range of OCFS permanency initiatives, which include recruiting adoptive parents; Regional Permanency Resource Centers which provide pre- and post-adoption services and resources; and partnerships with numerous voluntary agencies and private foundations who support these efforts. 
Governor Hochul also issued a proclamation declaring November National Adoption Awareness Month in New York State and directed State landmarks be illuminated in white on November 14 in honor of adoption awareness. 
Today’s adoption awareness event also celebrated individuals who are helping transform child welfare services by providing secure, temporary environments for children through foster care, kinship and fictive kin care and informal guardianships that allow children to be reunited with their families when it is safe to do so. It was also a call-to-action for prospective parents to open their hearts by opening their homes to youth who are historically harder to place, including older youth or those facing unique challenges. 
Ta’Nika Gibson used her voice to advocate for children and youth in foster care, particularly older youth who are eligible for adoption.  
Gibson was placed in foster care until her foster mother died when she was 17. Gibson’s high school principal, Kathryn Gibson, stepped up to care for her. Ultimately, Kathyrn Gibson and her husband, David, adopted Gibson. Gibson credits their love, support and encouragement for pushing her to pursue her acting and musical career. 
The event also celebrated the thousands of adoptive parents statewide who have answered the call and stepped forward to make a life-long commitment to love and embrace children in foster care. In New York State, nearly 9,000 children in foster care have been adopted since 2017. A video expressing gratitude for adoptive families is being displayed at Thruway rest stops and New York State Department of Motor Vehicles offices during the weeks of November 13 and November 20. 
At the Empire State Plaza, information tables about permanency programs and resources are being staffed on several days this month and an exhibit featuring a visual depiction of the experience of adoptive families is on display from November 14-30. 
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave said, “I am so proud of what we are accomplishing under the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul to support the vital services needed to find permanent homes for all of New York’s precious children. I also want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to those New Yorkers who have opened their hearts and their homes to children and youth in foster care by becoming adoptive parents. All children deserve a home where they can be loved, supported and appreciated for who they are. While the month recognizes the decision to legally adopt a child, I think it’s equally important to appreciate the families who provide children a stable, welcoming home however they choose or can, including foster care, kinship and fictive kin care and even informal adoptions or guardianships that last years or even a lifetime.” 
The buildings and landmarks being lit for Adoption Awareness Month are:
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge 
  • Kosciuszko Bridge 
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building 
  • State Education Building 
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building 
  • Empire State Plaza 
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center 
  • Niagara Falls 
  • The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge 
  • Albany International Airport Gateway 
  • Lake Placid Olympic Center 
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station 
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal 
  • Moynihan Train Hall 
  • Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park