Patrick-Murray Administration Hosts Annual Summit for State's Foster Youth
WESTBOROUGH — Governor Deval Patrick today joined more than 100 foster youth from across the Commonwealth to kick off the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Annual Youth Summit, bringing foster children together to share stories, participate in workshops and enjoy social activities.
Governor Patrick was joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, DCF Commissioner Angelo McClain and members of the DCF Youth Advisory Board at the event.
“I’m very proud of all of the young people who came out to share their stories and experiences,” said Governor Patrick. “This is all about empowering foster youth to realize their dreams and prepare for the journey that lies ahead.”
More than 100 youth participated in the summit, which offered workshops on financial literacy, higher education programs, career options, health living and community involvement. Tiequon Conceicao, a DCF foster youth, performed an original hip hop song to highlight the summit’s message of inclusion and positivity.
“We know that these kids have amazing potential,” said Secretary Bigby. “This summit helps foster youth create friendships and bonds that can last a lifetime.”
The annual event is organized by DCF staff in collaboration with members of the Department’s Youth Advisory Board. The DCF Youth Advisory Board is comprised of young adults in out-of-home placement who voice ideas, and recommendations to DCF regarding services, policy and practice.
“The Department is proud of our foster youth, and events like this provide an opportunity for them to come together and garner skills that will help prepare them for adulthood,” said Commissioner McClain.
The summit was sponsored for the second year by investment management company BNY-Mellon. In addition to sponsoring the event, BNY Mellon brought staff members to serve as volunteers for the day and led a workshop focused on financial literacy.
"The DCF Youth Summit is a terrific opportunity for young people in the foster care system to join together, share experiences, and understand how to take charge of their lives," said Joanne Jaxtimer, BNY Mellon Regional Executive of New England. "Again this year, BNY Mellon is proud to support DCF and further our joint commitment to providing foster care youth with the workforce development, financial literacy, and life skills they need to transition into adulthood."
“The Youth Summit is a great opportunity to meet other people in DCF care,” said Nafis DelaCruz, a DCF Youth Advisory Board member. “It's a great event for learning valuable information, making connections and having fun. “
About the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
The Department of Children and Families is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect and strengthening families. There are currently 7,000 children in foster care across Massachusetts and 40,000 children in all served by the Department. With the understanding that every child is entitled to a home that is free from abuse and neglect, DCF’s vision is to ensure the safety of children in a manner that holds the best hope of nurturing a sustained, resilient network of relationships to support the child’s growth and development into adulthood. DCF programs include foster care, adoption, adolescent services and domestic violence services.
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