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For immediate release: May 16, 2022
Contact: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Email: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Phone: 5184023130

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services Announces its #DoOneThingNY Campaign to Encourage Community Support for Foster Care Families

Rensselaer, NY – The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) announced today its new social media campaign that challenges New Yorkers to #DoOneThingNY to help support foster care parents and youth in foster care.
 
The campaign, which coincides with National Foster Care Awareness Month, highlights the various ways that anyone can help support foster care families without becoming foster parents, ranging from tutoring a youth to donating school supplies.
 
“We are so thankful for our foster families throughout the state and the support they provide,” said Sheila J. Poole, OCFS commissioner. “Everyone can find something they can do to make a difference. Providing respite, offering mentorship, delivering meals, running errands or simply helping to raise awareness – if you have the time, resources or heart to help, there is a way to do so.”
 
Cheyanne Matulewich, a young adult who has lived experience in foster care, attended the event and shared how important her foster parent was to her growth and how valuable mentorship can be for children in foster care.
 
“Without supportive adults, youth in foster care are not going to be able to realize their full potential,” Matulewich said. “It was a loving adult that really changed the trajectory for my life. You don’t have to be a foster parent or in social work, you just have to be a loving adult and you can change lives.”   
 
Additionally, Cal and Glenda Walker were honored at the event for their 22 years of opening their doors and fostering children. The Walkers have had 52 children in their home, all of whom have become like family.
 
“It has been a joy for us to be foster parents,” said Glenda Walker. “I am just thankful that we could be two people to step up to take care of so many children.”
 
“The decision to become a foster parent is not one that can be made lightly,” said Poole. “We also want New Yorkers to understand the need for diversity in foster families. We strive to recruit single and partnered foster parents of all ages over 21, and we recruit various ethnicities, religions, genders and sexual orientations as long as they can meet the state requirements and offer a loving, supportive and secure home for youth in foster care.”
 
Throughout the month, OCFS is also working to correct widespread misconceptions about foster parenting, such as the belief that a foster parent needs to own a home rather than rent an apartment, or that a foster parent must be married.
 
“OCFS is committed to investing in upstream preventive services to keep children safely at home, but we know there are instances in which a removal and placement into foster care is necessary,” said Lisa Ghartey Ogundimu, deputy commissioner of OCFS’ Division of Child Welfare and Community Services. “We are so grateful to our foster families who are there to provide loving and supportive homes for these children until they can be safely reunited with their families.”
For more information on how to support foster families or become a foster parent, individuals should reach out to their local department of social services or visit https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/fostercare/.
 
About the New York State Office of Children and Family Services:
 
The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York's public by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of children, families and communities. The agency provides a system of family support, juvenile justice, youth development, childcare and child welfare services and is responsible for programs and services involving foster care, adoption and adoption assistance, child protective services, preventive services for children and families, services for pregnant adolescents, and protective programs for vulnerable adults.