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Health and Family Services Secretary Birdwhistell receives child advocacy award; Louisville’s Family Place Awards ‘Gold Medal for Advocacy’

Press Release Date:  Monday, October 29, 2007  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2007) – Family Place of Louisville recently honored Mark D. Birdwhistell, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), for his work on behalf of children and families.

Family Place presented Birdwhistell with its “Gold Medal for Advocacy” in Kentucky at a reception on Oct. 24 at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Center.

“I am humbled to receive this award,” Birdwhistell said. “I share this honor with the women and men across the state who work tirelessly to keep vulnerable children and families safe. They are the ones who carry out our mission of protection on the local level.”

Family Place, a nonprofit agency that works to promote child well-being, awards gold medals each year in three categories: volunteerism, advocacy and philanthropy. The advocacy award is typically for individuals or groups that have made outstanding efforts for children and families who have been impacted by abuse.

Family Place President Pam Helms said Birdwhistell was selected because of his unwavering efforts to improve the lives of children and families across the commonwealth.

Helms cited Birdwhistell’s efforts to lead support for the Boni Frederick Memorial Law following the tragic murder of a state social services aide last year; his numerous successful efforts to improve the state Medicaid system; his leadership in developing the Department for Aging and Independent Living and the Governor's Office of Wellness and Physical Activity; and his 28 years of health care leadership and executive management in both the public and private sectors.

“Secretary Birdwhistell has shown great commitment to helping families and children during his tenure as leader of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services,” Helms said. “His dedication to the social well-being of all Kentuckians punctuates a lifelong career of promoting better opportunities for health care. We are pleased to present him with this award and proud that he is such a strong advocate for children and the Family Place.”

For 30 years, Family Place has assisted Louisville families in moving beyond issues of abuse through education and treatment programs. CHFS staff uses the agency’s visitation center, which opened in 1999, as a safe, supervised meeting place for children in state foster care and their birth parents. CHFS also utilizes the clinical mental health services for families who have experienced sexual abuse and the early childhood education program for young children who have experienced child abuse/family violence.
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Last Updated 10/29/2007