Jeannette woman recognized by Blue Ribbon Champion for Safe Kids Award

A Westmoreland County woman was recognized by a statewide child abuse prevention organization for her work with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

Jeanine Rasky, 63, of Jeannette was one of five people who received the Blue Ribbon Champion for Safe Kids Award, given by the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. The award is given to Pennsylvanians who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect children in the state.

“I was totally shocked and so humbled that my team thought enough of me to nominate me for it,” Rasky told the Tribune-Review.

In all, Rasky spent almost 40 years in the human services field. In that time, she worked as a case manager in the behavioral health system, provided residential treatment in the intellectual disability field, spent time working at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital and worked for 20 years with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

During her time with the county, Rasky worked as the system integration director, where she helped develop and sustain the Youth Support Partner Unit that hires young adults who have experiences with the child welfare system. Those who are hired then work with children currently in the system.

Of the program, Rasky said, “They’ve literally walked in those shoes and they’ve been a great resource for the department of human services in that they’ve told us how well we’ve done and where we don’t do things so well.”

In her role, she also provided training and coaching for youths ages 14 to 24, and worked to improve collaboration and communication among multi-systems and departments.

Rasky, who attributes her drive for service to her parents, retired last March.

To celebrate her recognition, the Pennsylvania Family Support alliance posted a video on its Facebook page featuring Rasky receiving the award. Typically, recipients receive their award during a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda in Harrisburg. However, because of the covid-19 pandemic, the ceremony was virtual.

As part of that virtual ceremony, the organization is announcing a Blue Ribbon Champion for Safe Kids each week in April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Following the announcement, winners will be featured on the organization’s website that will detail what they have done to win the award.

“Jeanine dedicated her professional career to advocating for children who don’t always have a voice,” Angela Liddle, President and CEO of the Pa Family Support Alliance, said in a statement. “For more than 20 years, she helped fight child abuse and worked with youth and families who often found themselves in vulnerable positions. There is not enough gratitude in the world to thank Jeanine for the countless children and teenagers she has helped.”

From Tribune-Review, April 11, 2021

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