St. Catherine’s Honored with Outstanding Organization of the Year Award

Contact: Santino R. Thomas
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St. Catherine’s Center for Children’s receives CURA Award for Outstanding Organization

ALBANY, N.Y. – Today, St. Catherine’s Center for Children was honored with the 2023 CURA Award for Outstanding Organization. This award is presented to a nonprofit organization in New York state, providing kinship care, or that has had a significant positive impact on kinship care. The award – presented by the New York State Kinship Navigator and New York State Kincare Coalition – was accepted by St. Catherine’s executive director, Frank Pindiak, as well as staff members from St. Catherine’s Kinship Care Program at a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Albany – the Desmond Hotel.

“This is a tremendous honor for our organization, specifically for our Kinship Care Program,” said Frank Pindiak, executive director of St. Catherine’s. “The work performed by our dedicated team, allows children to remain with family or close friends, which provides them a sense of stability as they learn to overcome challenges and heal from the traumas they have experienced. Without the support provided by our team, many of these families would not be together, let alone successful. We’re grateful to the New York State Kinship Navigator and New York State Kincare Coalition for this recognition, and we’re incredibly proud of our Kinship Care staff.”

St. Catherine’s Center for Children offers a kinship care program, in conjunction with its foster care program, to provide resources and support to kinship families in Albany, Greene, Schenectady, and Ulster counties. Kinship families are a subset of foster care families in which a close family member, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling, or a close family friend takes guardianship of a child. With New York State continuing to focus on a “family first” approach to keep familial connections for children who have been removed from their homes, kinship families are becoming the norm. However, these families face challenges that pose a significant threat to their overall success.

Oftentimes, kinship caregivers are grandparents who have not had to parent in decades, an older sibling who may be a young adult just starting out, or an individual with several children of their own. Many kinship caregivers are on a fixed income prior to bringing a child into their home, but they make this sacrifice to keep the child with family. This is where programs like St. Catherine’s come into play.

“Our team links kinship families with potential forms of financial assistance, support services for the caregivers, and so much more,” said Melinda Gonzalez, director of foster care for St. Catherine’s. “Many of these families aren’t even aware that they are part of the kinship community, so they don’t realize there are resources specifically available to help them. These services can make all the difference in the success of the child and the family and that is where our team comes in. We perform our work for the difference it makes, not for recognition, but receiving this award feels wonderful. We are honored and humbled!”

“The NYS Kinship Navigator and the NYS Kincare Coalition are fortunate to work with St. Catherine’s to provide much needed services for kinship families in the Capital Region,” said Rae Glaser, director of NYS Kinship Navigator. “This partnership provides support, education and resources for those that selflessly care for kin to provide stability in children’s lives. We commend St. Catherine’s for its good work and look forward to collaborating for years to come!”

Kinship care professionals, advocates and providers came together, for the first time since 2019, for a Kinship Care Month celebration. In addition to the awards ceremony, childhood trauma consultant Beth Tyson was on hand to deliver a keynote speech.

This is the second major award received by St. Catherine’s Center for Children and one of its programs this year. Earlier in the year, St. Catherine’s Pathways to Health program was recognized as an Empire Whole Health Hero for the work is doing in the local community.

The willingness of St. Catherine’s Center for Children to embrace change and develop new services is, and will remain, our guiding philosophy as we support human service needs, throughout the region, by providing a comprehensive range of services designed to offer hope, foster growth and improve the lives of the children, families and adults we serve. 

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