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Kathy Hochul, Governor
Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq., Acting Commissioner
June 2023 — Vol. 8, No. 6

June Commissioner's Message

Dear Colleagues,

June is a month of celebration – the start of summer, Pride, Juneteenth, fathers and father figures!

Whenever I see the bright rainbow colors of the Pride flag, I can’t help but smile! They reflect the diversity of our community with its range of gender expression and sexual orientation and convey the joy that comes with being seen. While LGBTQ+ rights are being attacked in many parts of our country, the Pride flag expresses strength, hope, resilience and the inclusion of all voices.

We will fly the Intersex Progress Pride flag in front of home office the entire month of June to show our solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and to highlight our commitment to promoting understanding, inclusion and support for truly all the children and families we serve. Please join us for our first-ever official OCFS Pride flag raising on June 5 when we will be joined by Chanel Lopez, deputy director of LGBTQ+ affairs for Governor Kathy Hochul. She will then participate in a facilitated Q&A to discuss how our staff can incorporate principles of equity and inclusivity into our work. This is just one of many OCFS Pride Month celebrations! For a full list of activities, check out our June calendar of events (intranet link). Thank you to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression (SOGIE) subcommittee for leading and planning such a meaningful Pride celebration.

On June 19, New York observes Juneteenth, the anniversary of the start of the process to free enslaved people in Texas an entire two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. I hope that you will use this time off to rest, celebrate this liberation of Americans in ways that bring you joy and reflect on how – when we return to work – we will fight for freedom from poverty and oppression that continues for so many people of color and marginalized communities.

As we continue to reform and advance equity in all the programs we oversee, our efforts will be enhanced by investments in strengthening services for children and families included in the recently passed State budget. It includes funding for multiple bold initiatives – particularly in child care services – that I am deeply grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and the Legislature for accomplishing. In addition to funding for certain child welfare services, these investments will strengthen our ability to ensure that all of New York’s children, families and communities are served and uplifted.

Included among these families and communities is our elder population. The most vulnerable adults are so often forgotten; on June 15 we commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). This year’s theme is “Building Strong Support for Elders,” a call-to-action for all New Yorkers – including those of us here at OCFS – to do their part to protect our vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation of any kind, ensuring they are treated with care and respect.

At OCFS, our banner of care and love stretches wide, including everyone who wishes to join us. Thank you once again for all you do to serve New York’s children, families and communities in such an impactful way! And the happiest of Father’s Days to all our colleagues who are fathers and father figures and are committed to providing love, guidance and support in a child’s life. You truly change lives.

With Gratitude,

Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq.
Acting Commissioner


This Month's News

Download the June 2023 Newsletter

  • State Leaders Meet with Local District Social Services Commissioners
  • Team OCFS Participates in Workforce Team Challenge
  • New State Budget Includes Significant Actions to Expand Affordable Child Care Access Statewide
  • OCFS Celebrates the Launch of New Family Opportunity Centers
  • OCFS Celebrates National Foster Care Month
  • SOGIE Committee Plans Numerous Activities for Pride Month
  • ODEIA Needs YOU to Submit Program Proposals!
  • Finger Lakes Residential Center Offers Multiple New Vocational Programs
  • NYSCB Shares Success Stories From the Harlem Office
  • OCFS Offers Congratulations and Support to College-Bound Youth
  • CCF Offers Pyramid Model Training and Early Childhood Resources at the New York Association for the Education of Young Children Conference