For Immediate Release - July 31, 2014

Patrick Administration Hosts 14th Annual Summit for State’s Foster Youth

WESTBOROUGH — Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz and Department of Children and Families (DCF) Interim Commissioner Erin Deveney today joined more than 100 foster youth from across the Commonwealth to kick off DCF’s 14th Annual Youth Summit.

The summit serves as an opportunity to provide young men and women in foster care with the life skills, support, and services they need to be successful.. The summit offers workshops on: financial literacy, higher education, career options, housing, fitness, cyber safety and safe living.

"These young men and women have so much potential and we are giving them the skills they need to succeed in their education and careers,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “This event is just one example of the many services and supports the Department of Children and Families provides to help develop strong young adults.”

The annual summit is organized by DCF in collaboration with members of the Department’s Youth Advisory Board, comprised of young adults in out-of-home placement who contribute ideas and recommendations to DCF regarding services, policy and best practices.

“We are proud to be here, supporting and celebrating these amazing young men and women,” said DCF Interim Commissioner Erin Deveney. “It is our responsibility, together with the community, to ensure they have the support and services they need.”

"I enjoy the Youth Summit because it's a great opportunity to connect with other foster youth from across the state," said Chris Boucher, DCF Youth and member of the Youth Advisory Board. "We learn leadership and other important life skills. My favorite part is seeing my old friends and making new ones."

The summit was sponsored by BNY Mellon, a global investments company, which has now sponsored the event for four consecutive years. BNY Mellon brought staff members to serve as volunteers for the day and led two workshops 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. "BNY Mellon is proud to again support DCF and further our joint commitment to providing foster care youth with the workforce development, financial literacy, and life skills needed to transition into adulthood."

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 approximately 8,000 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.

# # #