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Friend of Youth in Care Award


Each year the award is presented to a caring adult who has exhibited leadership on behalf of youth in foster care. Youth in foster care face many challenges. Caring adults can assist youth who are facing these challenges by providing support, advocacy and friendship. Additionally, there are those people who come up with creative solutions to make the system better for all youth in care. They deserve our thanks.

The Friend of Youth in Care Award will go to those adults who are willing to:


  1. Make a commitment to youth in care

  2. Advocate for youth in care

  3. Be leaders on behalf of youth in care

  4. Be a positive role model for youth in care

Chris Hunninghaus
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Chris Hunninghaus worked with OCFS for more than 30 years and connected with so many youths along their process of navigating foster care and transitioning to adulthood. Chris co-facilitated the Rockland YLAT group for years, connected young people to the Humane Society, and provided a proactive and happy environment. Chris was a tireless supporter of young people in care and helped them find their sense of belonging and connection to others.


“In her role as a Youth Transition Specialist, Chris has shown an unwavering commitment to the mission of OCFS and a devotion to meeting the needs of youth in care. Chris always talks positively about her OCFS colleagues and Community Providers. She worked to help youth achieve their goals by focusing on their strengths, and she is quick to share inspirational stories illustrating the resiliency of the young people with whom she works. While we wish Chris a long and happy retirement, we hope she knows how very much she will be missed!” 

- Dulcey Laberge, Youth Transition Manager

Past FYIC Award Recipients:

2021: Dulcey Laberge · 2020: Marty Zanghi · 2019: New Beginnings · 2018: New England Youth Coalition (NEYC) · 2017: Penthea Burns · 2016: A Place Called H.O.M.E. · 2015: Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) · 2014: Representative Seth Berry & Senator Gratwick · 2013: Laurie Davis · 2012: Jobs for Maine’s Graduates · 2011: Dianna Walters · 2010: William R. Bradford, II · 2009: Bette Hoxie · 2008: James Siragousa · 2007: Bobby Strauss · 2006: Lucky Hollander, Susan Verrill, Susan Kimball, Linda Guiggey · 2005: Heidi Krieger · 2004: Marty Zanghi & the Maine Legislative Youth Council · 2003: Karen Westburg & Maddy Thibeault · 2002: Hugh Sipowicz & Sonya Gerry · 2001: Bill Dickenson · 2000: Representative Michael Brennan

Friend of Youth in Care Awardees
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