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Erin Sullivan Sutton, assistant commissioner of Children and Family Services for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, will be honored by the North American Council on Adoptable Children for her work on behalf of children and families across Minnesota at the 2012 Voices from the Heart Gala on Nov. 17 in West St. Paul, Minn.
NACAC will present the award to Sullivan Sutton and others who have made outstanding contributions to support waiting children and adoptive families at the annual organization’s dinner and silent auction, coinciding with National Adoption Day.
“I am honored to be recognized and humbled by this award,” said Sullivan Sutton.
As assistant commissioner, Sullivan Sutton is responsible for overseeing programs and policies that promote economic stability, child safety and permanency, child care, child support and successful transition for immigrant families. She has always worked in the child welfare system and been a strong proponent of adoption.
Before being named Assistant Commissioner in June 2010, Sullivan Sutton served as the department’s director of Child Safety and Permanency Division, overseeing adoption, foster care, and child protection. Working for DHS since 1987, she developed a reputation as an articulate champion of children’s issues in the community and the Minnesota Legislature.
Sullivan Sutton was also the past president and current executive committee member of the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, while also serving on numerous task forces with the Minnesota Judicial Branch promoting permanent families for children when they cannot safely return to their birth parents.
“Erin has valued the importance of supporting foster, adoptive and relative caregiver families,” said Joe Kroll, executive director of NACAC. “She has translated those beliefs into policies and programs that change the lives of vulnerable Minnesota children. She is truly their champion.”
Last year, families adopted 540 children from Minnesota’s foster care system; 355 children under state guardianship are still waiting for families to adopt them immediately.
Also being recognized and awarded with the 2012 Voices from the Heart award are Keith Ellison, United States House of Representatives; Coleen Gregor, HOPE Adoption & Family Services International, Inc.; and the University of Minnesota’s International Adoption Clinic.
NACAC is a nonprofit organization and has been supporting permanent families for children and youth since it was founded in 1974 by two adoptive parents. Serving the United States and Canada, NACAC is dedicated to its belief that every child has the right to a permanent, nurturing, and culturally sensitive family, especially those in foster care and those with special needs. The Minnesota Department of Human Services contracts with NACAC to provide services to adoptive families.
For more information about the gala, visit the NACAC website at www.nacac.org.