To Be Recognized at National Event in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond will celebrate Louisiana State Representative Walt Leger III as a 2016 Angels in Adoption® awardee for his outstanding advocacy of adoption and foster care issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in Adoption® Program, will honor Rep. Leger at an awards ceremony on September 20 and gala on September 21 in Washington, D.C.
“I entered public service to give voice to the voiceless, and I am honored and humbled to be recognized with an Angels in Adoption award.” said Rep. Leger, who is Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives. “Every child deserves to be in a loving, nurturing home. And having just last month become a new father, I now, more than ever, truly appreciate the joy a child can bring to one’s life.”
Rep. Leger is being honored for his record as a champion for children. In 2015, along with State Senator Ronnie Johns, Rep. Leger helped launch the Foster Care and Adoption Caucus in the Louisiana Legislature as a bipartisan, bicameral caucus of members from around the state who work together to improve the outcomes for children in foster care. In 2014, Rep. Leger was a founding board member of the Louisiana Institute of Children in Families (LICF)- a non-profit support organization that connects child welfare service providers to elected officials in the administration, legislative body and judicial branch. LICF supports the work of the Foster Care & Adoption Caucus, provides regular briefings on national best practices in child welfare and hosts an annual gala to spotlight champions in adoption and foster care. Additionally, Rep. Leger is a fellow in the Early Childhood Policy Leadership Institute at the Tulane University School of Medicine. In recognition of his work on behalf of children, Rep. Leger has been awarded numerous honors, including: Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, Champion for Children Award by Childcare Association of Louisiana, Legislative Champion Award by United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Education Champion by Louisiana Federation for Children, Whole Child Champion by Childhood & Family Learning Foundation, Libby Milton Champion for Children Award by Kingsley House New Orleans, and Legislator of the Year Award by Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families.
The Angels in Adoption® Program is CCAI’s signature public awareness event and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans in the United States and abroad. This year, more than 140 “Angels” are being honored through the Angels in Adoption® Program.
“The Angels in Adoption® Program is a unique annual opportunity in the nation’s Capital to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the power of adoption and the unspoken heroes who have made the dream of a family a reality for children. Since the program’s inception, over 2,500 Angels have come to Washington to share their firsthand adoption experiences with Members of Congress, highlighting its joys, as well as the barriers encountered in the process,” said Becky Weichhand, Executive Director at CCAI. “Members of Congress are then able to use their new experiential understanding of these issues to create policy improvements that better support these children and the families that open their hearts and homes to them.”
In addition to the more than 140 Angels from around the country, National Angels in Adoption® honorees will be recognized at the gala for their dedication and commitment nationally and internationally to child welfare on a grand scale. This year’s National Angels in Adoption® honoree is the Minnesota Vikings. Former National Angels include Korie and Willie Robertson, Shonda Rhimes, Deborra-Lee Furness Jackman, First Lady Laura Bush, Patti LaBelle, Jane Seymour, Muhammad Ali, the late Dave Thomas, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bruce Willis, Alonzo Mourning, Rhea Perlman and Kristin Chenoweth.
CCAI is a 501(c)3 nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe and loving homes through adoption.
CCAI was created in 2001 by the active co-chairs of the bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption, one of Congress’ premiere caucuses. The goal of the caucus is to eliminate policy barriers that hinder children from realizing their basic right of a family and more effectively raise Congressional and public awareness about adoption.
The Angels in Adoption® Program was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has developed into a yearlong public awareness campaign, culminating in an extraordinary awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C.