Two Fairfield residents have been recognized for their public leadership and advocacy on behalf of children, youth and families.

David Nee received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and state Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz was honored with the State Policy Leadership Award. The awards were presented at the Connecticut Voices for Children's "First for Kids Awards" ceremony on Nov. 6 in West Hartford.

Connecticut Voices praised Nee's work as a contributor to improvements in early education in the state These include increased state funding for early care, and the establishment of the State Office of Early Childhood to develop a streamlined, high-quality, and accessible early education system. He was introduced at the event by Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Katz was recognized for reforms that have kept more children with their families and reduced reliance on institutional and group care settings.

"Commissioner Katz has earned a reputation as a child-focused reformer who has effectively changed the culture and practices of DCF to better serve children and families," said Ellen Shemitz, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children.

Connecticut Voices for Children is a research-based policy think tank that works to advance public policies that benefit the state's children, youth and families.

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