The Commissioner's Award Ceremony is a highlight of our national conference on child abuse and neglect. It provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of exceptional people from across the United States who have made outstanding contributions to the field. Through their efforts, local communities and entire states have made major strides in helping to ensure that all children can be safe in strong families who love and protect them from harm. In some instances, the influence of these award recipients has extended nationally and even internationally.
All those being recognized at the Commissioner's Award Ceremony have had the honor of being nominated by the Governors of their respective states as worthy recipients of this prestigious award. This year, 52 states and territories have selected honorees. Among them are 28 women, 22 men, the Sisters of San Augustin del Coqui, and a shelter program. These honorees work as professionals and volunteers and at times in both capacities. Many are social workers and protective service workers serving on the front line and as supervisors and administrators. We also honor a Governor, a First Lady, an Assistant Attorney General, a police lieutenant along with judges, physicians, teachers, and media representatives. Nancy Fitzgivens, an Ohio child welfare caseworker who died after being attacked during a home visit, is honored posthumously.
This is a most special group of people: all are advocates and leaders in their field. Some have worked to change laws governing child maltreatment. Many are innovators who have started new programs and changed the service delivery systems in their communities. Others have excelled in the direct service and support they provide to children and families in need. Our honorees reflect the complexity of the field and the spirit of interdisciplinary cooperation. We congratulate them on their achievements and feel confident they will continue to make major contributions to the cause of protecting our nation's children from abuse and neglect.