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First Lady Katie O’Malley Hosts Event to Honor Twenty-Six Foster Parents

ANNAPOLIS, MD (JUNE 9, 2014) — Maryland First Lady Katie O’Malley will open Government House on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, to host the seventh annual Maryland’s Foster Parents of the Year reception. This year’s honorees were selected by the Department of Human Resources’ local departments of social services because of their excellent work with birth parents to overcome safety barriers and to regain custody of their children.

“This event is a way for my husband and I to show our appreciation for all of those who open their homes and hearts to the innocent victims of child abuse and neglect,” First Lady Katie O’Malley said. “Foster parents make many personal sacrifices to meet the needs of children placed in their care. Tonight we honor those who made an exceptional effort to help safely reunite children with their birth parents.”

Throughout the Spring, DHR raises awareness about foster care and encourages more residents to get involved in the lives of foster care youth – whether as resource parents, volunteers, mentors, employers or in other ways.

“Foster parents play an integral role in providing children the stability and support they need as the birth parents work toward becoming better parents,” said DHR Secretary Ted Dallas. “Each of these foster families deserves to be recognized for putting the needs of others ahead of their own and helping put children on the path to becoming successful young adults.”

Foster Care is a temporary placement that provides short-term care and supportive services to children who are unable to live at home because of child abuse or neglect. The foster care program in Maryland encourages foster parents to play an active role with the birth family in planning and carrying out the goals of the permanency plan.  Foster children are placed in homes that are in their own community, thereby keeping the children connected to their home school, friends, and resources within their neighborhood.

The first Foster Parent Appreciation Month Reception was held in May 2008 at Government House and the First Lady has hosted each subsequent event.

The 2014 Foster Parents of the Year are:

Jo Jacqueline Cooper

Allegany Co.

Kathy and Chris Rentfrow

Anne Arundel Co.

Jill Jackson

Baltimore City

George and Tonya  Moorer

Baltimore City

Joyce Shelton

Baltimore City

Daniell and Vic Sainato

Baltimore Co.

Amber Cleveland

Calvert Co.

Aleta and Thomas Copper

Caroline Co.

Myka and David Hudicka

Carroll Co.

Deborah and Craig  Thomas

Cecil Co.

Teri Traudt

Charles Co.

Joseph and Glenda Smith

Dorchester Co.

Beth and Chuck Fluke

Frederick Co.

Shania and Mike Saturday

Garrett Co.

John and Muriel Gage

Harford Co.

Amberlee Rust

Howard Co.

Angelia and LaVonte Wilson

Kent Co.

Lloyda and Allen Forbes

Montgomery Co.

Valerie Jones

Prince George’s Co.

Holli and Brent Cranfill

Queen Anne’s Co.

Gerard and Tonya Oleska

Somerset Co.

Dominic Powell and Ryan Bennsky-Powell

St. Mary’s Co.

Wanda Ball-Gross

Talbot Co.

Nina LoBalbo and Sean Mantlow

Washington Co.

James and Brenda McCauley

Wicomico Co.

Dionne and Lawrence Purnell

Worcester Co.

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