Casey Family Programs, a Seattle-based grant maker and one of the largest players in philanthropy in child welfare, made its annual Casey Excellence for Children Awards and Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award, which collectively honor leaders and standouts from every aspect of the system.
Among the winners this year is former foster youth Autumn Adams of Ellensburg, Washington, a Casey Excellence for Children Award for kinship care. Adams, a member of the Yakama Nation and an activist on Indian issues, was awarded guardianship of her younger brother and sister because of her determination to keep her family together and maintain their cultural heritage and teachings.
Last year, she was one of a dozen foster alumni to participate in the Foster Youth Internship Program, which helps shape federal legislation and policy through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. An interview about her inspiring journey, in which Adams overcame the alcohol and drug abuse that wrecked her home as a child, yet graduated from college in 2019, can be seen in this video.
Her next goal, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic: law school.
One of several recipients in the leadership category was Lisa Parrish, a longtime deputy commissioner for New York City’s child welfare agency and for Los Angeles’ system before that, who passed away recently after a battle with colon cancer.
The full list of winners are:
Alumni and Family
- Kinship Caregiver Award: Autumn Adams, Ellensburg, Washington
- Birth Father Award: Edward Casillas, Tucson, Arizona
- Birth Mother Award: Shrounda Selivanoff, Seattle
- Foster or Adoptive Parent Award: Debbie and Elliott Dorsey, Boise, Idaho
- Alumni Award: Dr. Sharrica Miller, Fullerton, California
- Foster or Adoptive Parent Award (posthumous): Debbie Stolz, San Diego.
- Tracey Quillen Carney, first lady, state of Delaware
- Joseph Ribsam Jr., director, New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families Juvenile Court Judge
- Bruce Manning, Hennepin County, Minnesota
- Caleb Reed, executive director, Aim Right Ministries, Arizona
- Judge Peter Sakai, District Court, Bexar County (Texas) Children’s Division and Program
- Laurie Tochiki, president and CEO, EPIC ‘Ohana, Hawaii
- Lisa Parrish, posthumous award, formerly of New York City Administration for Children’s Services and Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services
Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award
- Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.