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Kathy Hochul, Governor
Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden, Commissioner
May 2023 — Vol. 8, No. 5

May Commissioner's Message

Dear Colleagues,

We have so much to be grateful for this month. The tentatively agreed upon New York State budget will help fund critical investments in child care, make improvements to child welfare programs and help address the human services workforce crisis.

At the same time, there are constant reminders of how far we still need to go in transforming how state policies influence our communities, making sure the services we provide are delivered in truly equitable ways. In so many places some individuals, particularly those from historically marginalized and oppressed communities, don’t feel safe, let alone supported.

Sunday, May 14, marks the one-year anniversary of the Tops shooting in Buffalo. Ten people were murdered that day, even more injured, simply because they were Black. The emotional scars from the pain and anguish left on the city, including our Buffalo regional office, which is such an integral part of that community, will last for years to come. The hate perpetrated that day leaves no doubt that OCFS needs to be more committed than ever to addressing the long-standing impacts of the racism and discrimination inherent across so many aspects of our society, including many of our systems.

On Monday, May 15, we will remember the lives lost with a period of silence. We are also planning an agency-wide call-to-action, asking our staff to commit to fighting racism and discrimination. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone who is already doing their part to win this battle each day.

During May, OCFS will be highlighting several key initiatives that are part of our focus on uplifting and protecting the permanency of all of New York’s children, families and communities. On May 8, we will celebrate the start of early childhood educator and child care provider week with an event at an Albany area program. OCFS has led the state’s effort to make safe, high-quality child care more equitable and affordable for all New Yorkers. We’ll make it clear that we won’t stop until every family has access to this critical support.

On May 18, we will announce the launch of our new Family Opportunity Centers. This upstream prevention service offers a wide-range of community-based resources to help strengthen families. On May 25, we will mark National Foster Care Month with a special event at the Albany Capital Center to help recruit more foster families to change a life by loving a child. Stay tuned for some very exciting details on that.

Throughout May the agency will also recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Keep an eye on your inbox for announcements from the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility!

Now before you dive into the May newsletter, I want to recognize two award-winning OCFS teams. Our Human Services Call Center won a Times Union best workplace award for the eighth year in a row! Our Legal Division won a New York State Academy for Public Administration (SAPA) public service award! These are both amazing achievements and show how our passion for serving and supporting New York’s families and communities can lead to great things!

As always, I thank you all for your dedication to our mission. We can’t do what we do without you.

With Gratitude,

Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq.
Acting Commissioner


This Month's News

Download the May 2023 Newsletter

  • Human Services Call Center Honored as 2023 Top Workplace in the Capital District
  • Two New Executives Appointed to Division of Child Care Services
  • OCFS Forms Key Partnerships with Alzheimer’s Association and OASAS
  • Women’s History Month Event Explores the Power of Women’s Tears
  • DJJOY Students at Four Facilities Present Projects on Famous Women
  • NYSCB Offers Tips for Vision Health Month
  • YDAPS Announces New Virtual Reality Job Training Program
  • New Name, New Intake, Same Mission: Introducing Centralized Intake at CCF Interagency Resolution Unit (IRU)