Attorney General’s Unsung Hero Award
(Pierre) – In a surprise presentation at the Capitol on Saturday at , Ellen Kalinay will receive the 1st “Unsung Hero” award from Mark Barnett for her remarkable dedication as a Therapeutic Foster Care Parent. Barnett created the award for people who do great things for other citizens, and do it quietly with no expectation of recognition. He said that Kalinay was a natural choice. “This lady has a big heart and shares it with kids who need it most,” Barnett said.
Kalinay was one of Pierre’s first licensed Therapeutic Foster Care parents. Since 1994, Kalinay has provided a safe, stable, and nurturing home for children when they cannot live with their biological families. The Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) Program is a higher level of foster care, in which children experiencing severe emotional and behavioral disturbances can be cared for without going to an institution. They can live in a family home while they receive treatment to help them make positive changes.
Kalinay has provided a loving home for dozens of kids, sometimes taking in a whole family of kids to make sure they stayed together. “Ellen has helped five different sibling groups stay in her home, rather than see them scattered across the state,” Barnett said.
Kalinay has received special training to meet the needs of kids who are in the TFC program. She is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and often she will care for a foster child for years at a time. “Angels Do Walk the Earth,” Barnett said of Kalinay’s efforts.
The TFC program is administered by Capitol Area Counseling, which offers foster care parents special training and licensing.
The award will be presented to Kalinay in the Rotunda of the Capitol on December 7, 2002 at All media are invited to attend this surprise event.