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Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published May 13, 2011

FIRST LADY JUDGE KATIE O’MALLEY TO HONOR MARYLAND’S FOSTER PARENTS



Will join newly-named DHR Secretary to celebrate outstanding parents

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 13, 2011) – On Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. at Government House, First Lady Judge Katie O’Malley and Department of Human Resources (DHR) Secretary Ted Dallas will recognize foster parents from every jurisdiction in Maryland for their outstanding contributions to children in foster care. This annual event occurs during National Foster Parent Appreciation Month. <http://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/>

This is the 4th year that the First Lady has opened her home to foster parents and their children.

"Foster parents are true heroes, creating a safe and nurturing home environment for our children," said First Lady O'Malley. "I am proud to celebrate these remarkable individuals who care so deeply about creating a stable environment during a very unstable period for these children."

“I join First Lady Katie O’Malley in honoring Maryland’s exceptional foster parents,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “Foster parents have taken on an enormous responsibility because they understand that place really does matter. Our children need a place to call home. They need a place to learn and a place to love and be loved, and I am so thankful that Maryland’s foster parents have provided that place for so many children.”

During the O'Malley-Brown Administration, Maryland has changed its child welfare practices and strategies by implementing the Place Matters <http://www.dhr.state.md.us/placematters.pdf> model, which includes the Family Centered Practice <http://www.childwelfare.gov/famcentered/overview/elements.cfm> strategies. As a result, Maryland has achieved more than a 20 percent drop in the number of children in out of home care and a more than 50 percent reduction in group-home placements.

"Our foster parents are a critical resource," said DHR Secretary Dallas. "These parents exemplify the true sense of community when they open their homes and hearts to a child in need." Across Maryland there are over 7,000 young people in foster care - 50 percent of them are 13 years of age or older.

The foster parents being honored represent each of the 24 local departments of social services and were identified as parents who have demonstrated an extraordinary willingness to serve children. A special focus has been placed on parents who have been instrumental in supporting foster parenting through their community service activities.

For information about becoming a foster parent, call 1-888MDKIDS2 or 1-888-635-4372.