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

August Commissioner's Message

Dear Colleagues,

As the statewide agency promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of New York’s children, families and communities, OCFS is focused on building societal and family systems that are equitable and empowering for all, regardless of one’s gender, race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity and/or sexual identity.

I was reflecting recently on the difference between equity and equality. Equality means each individual or group of people is offered the same resources or opportunities. By contrast, equity understands that we do not all start from the same place. We must allocate the necessary resources and opportunities needed for each person to realize equal potential for advancement.

In our work, we see how historically marginalized communities have been generationally harmed by systemic inequity. Offering concrete supports to underserved and under-resourced families and communities can help remedy this.

I am thrilled to announce that a major initiative designed to address societal inequity is underway. The 150 families selected in Monroe, Onondaga and Westchester counties to participate in OCFS’ innovative direct cash transfer pilot program have begun receiving their cash payments. Research shows even modest economic and concrete supports can reduce child maltreatment and future involvement with child welfare services, which our pilot will gauge. I am very hopeful that the initiative will produce significant positive results for these families and decrease the number of poverty- and neglect-related calls to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

We also see equity at work in wonderful success stories from the Division of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth. They exemplify achievements that may not have been possible without extra support and guidance from staff – numerous scholars earned high school diplomas, and some are starting college. And one student receiving aftercare from the Mid-Hudson Community Multi-Services Office has been gainfully employed in two jobs while also taking online high school equivalency courses. I am so proud of these students and the staff who helped make these accomplishments possible.

It wouldn’t be August without a mention of the Great New York State Fair. I would like to extend a special thank you to our OCFS staff who volunteered to work our table at the fair. I’m excited for you to share information about our agency’s vital services with our fellow New Yorkers. The work we do in child abuse prevention, foster care, adoption, youth services, child care assistance and adult protective services is critical to protecting and enhancing the lives of New York’s families – and to creating equity for all.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq.
Acting Commissioner


This Month's News

Download the August 2023 Newsletter

  • Acting Commissioner Discusses Child Well-Being Initiatives at NYPWA Summer Conference
  • Child Care Providers Encouraged to Use New Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Tool Kit
  • OCFS Launches Campaign for Adult Abuse Awareness
  • St. Catherine’s Center for Children Hosts Picnic at New Family Opportunity Center
  • OCFS Celebrates Americans With Disabilities Act Anniversary With Panelists Sharing Lived Experiences
  • Mid-Hudson Community Multi-Services Office Celebrates Youth Success Story
  • Visual Impairment Awareness Training Assists Those Working with Blind Individuals
  • AmeriCorps Service Celebrated at Yankee Stadium Volunteer Event and Poughkeepsie Non-Profit