First Lady Katie O’Malley and DHR Celebrate Foster Parents of the Year

BALTIMORE (June 16, 2009) – First Lady Katie Curran O’Malley joined the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) to celebrate foster parents selected by their local departments of social services as Foster Parents of the Year. The First Lady hosted an afternoon reception at Government House to honor foster parents. The event was held on Sunday, May 17.

In recognition of May as Foster Parent Appreciation Month, each of the 24 local departments of social services identified a foster parent that has gone above and beyond to serve children. Those foster parents have earned the title of Foster Parent of the Year from that jurisdiction.

The Foster Parents of the Year honorees for 2009 from southern Maryland include Mitchell and Eileen Ray, of Calvert County; Michael and Rhoshon Hayes, of Charles County; and Warren and Teresa Crouch of St. Mary’s County.

“I am pleased to help DHR recognize foster parents for playing such a vital role in the lives of children separated from their birth families,” said First Lady O’Malley. “That separation can be one of the most traumatic occurrences in a child’s life. Caring, committed foster parents provide the sense of security a child needs most during this very difficult time.”

“Last night, more than 9,000 children went to sleep some place away from their birth families,” said Brenda Donald, Secretary of the Department of Human Resources. “Most children do best in individual family environments, so even when they can not be with their birth families, it is comforting to know that they are with other families who have stepped in.”

Maryland continues to recruit additional foster parents to be resources for children in care. Those interested are asked to call 1-888- MD-KIDS2 (1-888-635-4372) for more information.

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