A Message from Commissioner Dorantes...
Happy holidays to you and your families!
We all celebrate this time of year a little differently. Some may have celebrated Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Christ's birth is celebrated on Christmas, and Kwanzaa brings us the celebrations of African American life. Three Kings Day (El Día de los Reyes) occurs on the12th Day of Christmas. The Winter Solstice marks the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year.
2021 is a year we will never forget, whether you have whether you have other observances or no formal celebration at all.
We are reminded that children are best supported by families and families are best supported by communities. This year again proved that to be so true. Our families are resilient. They have strengths.
While we all work together to form "the village" - the positive outcomes are endless.
"Home for the Holidays" is the theme for this month's Spotlight on What's Right newsletter.
This year, over 500 children have been safely reunified with their families and we are approaching 1,000 children being safely reunified during our pandemic response. More than 400 children had their guardianship transferred to kin and adoptions were finalized for approximately 475 children.
That is over 1,375 children who are home for the holidays this year!
These numbers do not even consider the thousands of children involved with our Department who were never separated from their parents and remained safely at home due to the supports offered by the Department and our community partners.
Read our Spotlight to experience how the Baxter family welcomed Amari into their home after they suffered the tragic loss of their own daughter. Proud father Jeffrey Pinckney explains his life's journey to and how his advocacy resulted in him raising his two boys. We also have the powerful story of Lizzy, safely at home with her two daughters, after leaving an abusive relationship.
You now have some homework…
Pause and take time to reflect on your work/life balance. What can you do this year to improve your physical and emotional health?
Reflect back on those lives you have touched and the opportunities you afforded the children and families you serve.
Thank you for all you do each and every day.
I look forward to a fantastic holiday season and New Year!