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November 2015Vol. 16, No. 8Adoption Excellence Awards 2015

As part of its celebration of National Adoption Month in November, the Children's Bureau announced 10 winners in three categories of the annual Adoption Excellence Awards. The Children's Bureau established the Adoption Excellence Awards in 1997 to honor States, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals, and families for their work in increasing adoptions from foster care. Awards may be made in five categories of excellence, and winners are chosen by a committee representing nonprofit adoption agencies, child welfare and adoption advocates, adoptive parents, foundations, businesses, and State and Federal offices.

The 2015 Adoption Excellence Awards were presented to the following:

In the category of Family Contributions:

  • Steven Effinger, Virginia
  • Gene and Betsy Dukatz, Wisconsin
  • Makani and Brianna Kema-Kaleiwahea, Hawaii

In the category of Individuals/Professionals:

  • Kathleen Ledesma, Maryland
  • Debbie Riley, Maryland
  • Stephanie Thompson, Ohio
  • David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., California
  • Kathie Malzahn-Bass, Nevada

In the category of Child Welfare/Judicial Systemic Change:

  • Treehouse Foundation, Massachusetts
  • Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services

To read more about the Adoption Excellence Awards and award winners, visit the Children's Bureau website at

The Administration for Children and Families' The Family Room blog also highlighted the Adoption Excellence Awards in its recent entry "Children's Bureau Lauds Outstanding Work to Help Promote Adoption From Foster Care," available at