(Photo caption: Senator Jay Rockefeller accepts an award for his work on behalf of children from Mark Drennan of the West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association, and Lisa Jones of ResCare, at the Alliance for Children’s annual meeting and senior leader’s conference at the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, Virginia.)
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on May 29, 2014 @ 12:01PM
Created on May 29, 2014 @ 11:49AM
ROANOKE, WV – During a statewide conference on foster care and children’s well-being, Senator Jay Rockefeller was honored by the Children’s Home Society and the Alliance for Children for his dedication to improving services for children in foster care and promoting adoption.
Advocates, social workers, and families from across West Virginia joined in celebrating Rockefeller’s career.
“Every one of you—every parent, every advocate, every service provider and community leader in this room—is a committed and passionate champion for children. Your work is transforming lives and it inspires me each and every day. I am so proud of all we have accomplished to move West Virginia forward for our youngest ones,” Rockefeller said during the discussion.
As part of the Alliance for Children’s annual meeting and senior leader’s conference, Rockefeller presided over a panel discussion on children’s welfare, specifically foster care, adoption and permanency. Child welfare advocates joining Rockefeller included Scott Boileau, Executive Director of the Alliance for Children; Steve Tuck, CEO of the Children’s Home Society; Nikki Tennis, Director of the Division of Children’s Services, West Virginia Supreme Court; and Sue Hage, Deputy Commissioner for programs with West Virginia Division of Health and Human Services, Bureau for Children and Families.
“It’s amazing to be here and be able to share our experiences and to meet with the Senator,” Hage said. “We may not be where we need to be, but we’re working hard to create a safe environment for all children.”
Rockefeller has been a leader in those efforts, including work to promote adoption and improve services for at-risk children and foster children. He was a main architect of one of the most significant federal laws related to the welfare of the nation’s children, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which doubled the number of adoptions after its enactment in 1997. The Senator has also introduced legislation to make interstate adoption easier; eliminate permanent foster care as a goal for children under 17; and provide funding for post-adoption and post-permanency services.
During the discussion, Rockefeller said that his time as a Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) worker led him to a career dedicated to public service, with a specific focus on improving the health and well-being of children.
“I saw a lot of need in Emmons, a lot of children who were at-risk. That made a huge impression on me,” Rockefeller said. “Children long to grow and blossom and should be given every opportunity to do so, but first, they must have the chance to put down roots. We owe it to all children to do all that we can to give them a safe, loving and permanent home. And I am
honored to be joined today by those who work tirelessly to make sure that we do just that.”
From 1988-1991, Rockefeller chaired the National Commission on Children, which aimed to improve the lives of children in America. Rockefeller noted that the Commission was instrumental in creating the Child Tax Credit, and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – which together represent the most significant anti-poverty initiative in the country. Since 1987, Rockefeller has served on the Senate Finance Committee, which has given him the opportunity to strongly defend these and other programs that benefit children and working families.