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November 2012Vol. 13, No. 10Centennial Year Adoption Excellence Awards

The Children's Bureau recently presented its annual Adoption Excellence Awards to 14 organizations, families, and individuals that have made extraordinary contributions to promoting adoption and other permanency outcomes for children in foster care. Presented annually since 1997, the 2012 centennial year awards had a slightly different focus than in previous years. This year, the Children's Bureau chose to honor past and present partnerships, States, and families that have contributed to the Bureau's mission and made significant impacts on the children, families, and professionals that the Bureau serves. The October 10 award ceremony took place in Washington, DC, at the Children's Bureau's Leadership Institute.

One of the most moving moments of this year's ceremony was the posthumous award to Natalie Lyons, who was honored for her lifetime of work on behalf of children. The homage to Ms. Lyons included a video about her, with heartfelt tributes from colleagues. Joe Bock, Acting Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, noted that, "Under Natalie’s leadership, the Children’s Bureau's cooperative agreement with the NRCA [National Resource Center for Adoption] resulted in the development and support of a range of services focused on increasing the number of children adopted from the child welfare system and improved the quality of adoption and postadoption services."

Longtime Children's Bureau researcher Dr. Penny Maza was also honored with an Adoption Excellence Award. In citing Dr. Maza's many accomplishments as a senior policy research analyst, Mr. Bock noted her outstanding ability to use statistics to tell a meaningful story about the children and families involved in foster care and adoption. In addition, Dr. Maza's body of work "not only influenced the operation of State child welfare and other programs, but has had an impact on and been incorporated into Federal legislation."

In addition to the recognition of awardees, the Adoption Excellence Awards bring attention to the 400,540 children in foster care, including the 104,236 awaiting adoption, and they underscore the Children's Bureau's commitment to helping States and agencies find permanent, loving families for these children.

Read about this year's awardees on the Children's Bureau website: