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Kathy Hochul, Governor
Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq., Acting Commissioner
December 2023 — Vol. 8, No. 12
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December Commissioner's Message

Dear Colleagues,

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s hard to believe that later this month will mark a full year for me as acting commissioner of OCFS. While looking back over the year and reflecting on 2023, I find myself filled with gratitude. I am so proud to be working alongside all of you, our tirelessly dedicated staff, who all have a part in leading us into a new era of providing impactful and responsive services by grounding our work in the principles of equity, collaboration and innovation.

We’ve had such an exciting year — fantastic events promoting foster care and adoption awareness; administering the historic investments in child care by our great Governor, Kathy Hochul; the launch of the updated mandated reporter training designed to reduce the impact of implicit bias in the child welfare system; the opening of numerous Family Opportunity Centers to offer strong, upstream preventative services that work to keep families together and narrow the front door to child welfare; and the unprecedented launch of a first-of-its-kind direct cash transfer research pilot to strengthen families, put them on a more secure footing with concrete resources, and support positive child development; and so much more. I can’t believe all we have accomplished, and I am proud of all the work we do day in and day out to support New York’s children, families and communities.

I can’t wait to see what awaits us in 2024! As we move ahead into the core of the holiday season, here are some of my hopes for the year ahead:

  1. An even stronger commitment to infusing our mission into our everyday work and seeking out new opportunities to give back as an agency beyond the essential services and programs we provide.
  2. A continued and reinforced recognition that all people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of sex, race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and/or sexual identity.
  3. Greater social justice and racial equity throughout our State and our nation, with OCFS leading the public policy and human services transformation that will create the change our communities seek and deserve.
  4. Comprehensive resources to expand and build on our continuum of programs that will confront systemic inequities that have disproportionately impacted many of the communities we serve.
  5. Increased compassion and respect for all frontline staff and caregivers both within the agency and the program areas we oversee locally as they answer the challenging, yet rewarding, call to protect and strengthen our children, families and communities.

Finally, I wish you all a wonderful and joyous holiday season, however you celebrate, with hearts equally full of gratitude for all you hold dear, and the satisfaction of knowing you are such an integral part of fulfilling our mission each and every day.

With gratitude,

Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq.
Acting Commissioner

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This Month's News

Download the December 2023 Newsletter

  • OCFS Hosts Adoption Awareness Month Event Featuring Broadway Artist Ta’Nika Gibson
  • New Associate Commissioner Named to the Division of Youth Development and Partnerships for Success
  • OCFS Holds 2023 Regulatory Staff Forum in Syracuse
  • Erie County Department of Social Services Honored With National Adoption Excellence Award
  • OCFS Celebrates Transgender Trailblazers as Part of Transgender Awareness Week
  • New Equity Advocate Joins DEIA Staff
  • Goshen Secure Center Students Display Artwork At Goshen Government Center and Library
  • NYSCB Job Save Program Helps Individuals With Visual Impairments Maintain Employment
  • Keynote Speaker at Homeless Youth Provider Summit Describes First NYS Street Outreach Program
  • OCFS Provides Extensive Language Access Services
  • Pyramid Model Continues to Expand in New York State
  • AmeriCorps Recognizes 15 SUNY Campuses as "Schools of National Service"