NORTH ADAMS – Today State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) was named the 2015 Western Massachusetts Champion for Children by the Board of Directors of the Children’s Trust.
Suzin Bartley, Executive Director of the Children’s Trust, said Senator Downing received the award “because of his continuing commitment to children, his understanding of the importance of the Healthy Families program, and his knowledge that it does take a village to raise healthy, happy children and strong families.”
Healthy Families is an in-home parenting support and coaching program for young, first-time parents. Locally, the Children’s Trust funds Healthy Families Berkshire County, which is operated by Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc.
The Champion for Children Award is presented to legislators who show outstanding commitment to child abuse prevention, and is presented in April in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“I appreciate and accept this honor on behalf of the team of service providers, caseworkers, prosecutors, elected officials and countless other community members who work every day to keep kids safe across Massachusetts. Our work is not done until every kid grows up with a family and in a community setting that allows her to make the most of her talents,” said Downing.
Downing received this honor during the “Step Up for Kids” event held at the Eldridge Hall Stairway on the MCLA campus in North Adams. His colleague, State Representative Gailanne M. Cariddi (D- North Adams) received a similar award during the event.
About the Children’s Trust
The Children’s Trust is Massachusetts’ leading family support organization. It strengthens the Commonwealth by developing, evaluating, and promoting parenting education and coaching programs to improve the lives of children.
The Children’s Trust funds the following programs through Child Care of the Berkshire:
- Healthy Families Berkshire County, an in-home parenting support and coaching program for young, first-time parents;
- The Family Resource Center of Northern Berkshire County in North Adams, where families meet, build parenting skills, and receive access to resources; and
- “Parenting the Positive Disciple Way,” a parenting support and education group in North Adams.
The Children’s Trust also funds the Fathers & Family Network, a statewide networking and training group for professionals who work with fathers. Berkshire Children and Families operates that program in Berkshire County.