Human services council, alliance for foster families separately honor Comerford with awards

  • State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, was recently selected to receive prestigious honors from a large human services council and an alliance that helps foster families. file photo

  • State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, earlier this month accepted the Caring Bear Award from The Caring Force, an advocacy initiative that’s part of the state’s largest human services group called The Providers’ Council. SUBMITTED PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 5/31/2023 4:22:14 PM
Modified: 5/31/2023 4:21:49 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The state’s largest human services group and an alliance that helps foster families each selected state Sen. Jo Comerford to receive a prestigious award for her recent support.

The Providers’ Council announced in mid-May that it had bestowed its Caring Bear Award on Comerford. Meanwhile, less than a week later, the Massachusetts Alliance for Foster Families selected the senator for its Legislator of the Year Award.

The Providers’ Council gives out its Caring Bear Award annually through The Caring Force, a grassroots advocacy initiative that has more than 31,000 members from throughout the human services community.

The Caring Force presented Comerford with the honor at a May 16 rally at the State House at which members introduced two new bills, one that advocates for student loan relief for human services workers and another that establishes a livable working wage for nonprofit human services workers.

Comerford was honored with the Caring Bear Award due to her related work in the human services sector. Comerford concluded her speech at the rally with a call to action, announcing that, “We can and must do more for you (referring to human services workers) — who do so much for so many.”

Relatedly, Comerford was honored with the Legislator of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Alliance for Foster Families at the 2023 recognition awards brunch held May 21 for foster and adoptive parents.

The award is also known as the Lisa Anne Jenkins MAFF Legislator of the Year Award, as it was named to honor Jenkins, a longtime Massachusetts resident, and mother to 27 foster children.

Comerford was given the award as a way to acknowledge her work in supporting hand helping to pass a foster parent bill of rights into law. This law, which went into effect on April 5, secures fair, nondiscriminatory treatment of foster parents. Comerford accepted her award through a video and stated that the success of the new law “would not have been possible without” advocates, foster parents and those working in the Legislature.


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