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Foster Parents Honored By The City

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Foster mom Jill Mullings and her son Antwan at the Bronx Zoo

The children were abandoned, abused or neglected, but caring adults stepped in to give them refuge. In honor of National Foster Care Awareness Month, NYC Children's Services, in partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society, feted those who open their homes to children in need at its Foster Parent Celebration Day on Saturday.

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium opened their doors to foster parents and their children for a day of fun. The event was held to honor those who take in children and, at the same time, to encourage New Yorkers to step forward as foster parents.

"Children's Services recognizes that without a strong network of foster parents to love and support our children and families there cannot be a viable child welfare system," said Deputy Commissioner Lorraine Stephens. "Foster parents are indeed the heroes in the life stories of our children that are often not told. We are happy to honor those who provide a safe and stable environment for our children."  

No matter the circumstances of his or her parents, every child deserves to be happy and free to dream great dreams. Yet there are still many who need loving and supportive adults to nurture and care for them. 

The agency is also seeking placements for children with special needs, including medically fragile children living in hospitals, who need foster parents who have knowledge of taking care of a variety of medical conditions. These children just need someone willing to give them some love and special attention. 

To find out the five easy steps to become a foster parent, call 212-676-WISH (9474).

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Foster mom Jill Mullings and her son Antwan at the Bronx Zoo
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Geoffrey Gloak

may be one of the few people you meet who is always glad to talk taxes. He has spent 17 years immersed in government communications – almost entirely in the tax field. He currently serves as the Director of Public Relations at the New York State Tax Department. In each of Geoff’s positions, he has created opportunities to transform the communications environment for the benefit of the organization. Under his leadership, Tax Department public relations have shifted from a reactive focus to proactive outreach. Most recently, Geoff led the STAR Registration media campaign to assist 2 million homeowners with property tax relief while eliminating fraud. As a result of extensive press outreach, more than 300 articles were printed in daily papers alone, and broadcast media repeatedly covered the story in each corner of the state. Less than 5 months after launch, 2.3 million homeowners had registered for their property tax exemptions. Geoff (@gloak23) lives in Kinderhook with his journalist wife, Kristi Berner (@kristiberner), and 4-year-old daughter, Gemma, who is now proud to be able to write her name.