Youth advocates are breathing a sigh of relief after Ohio's governor announced the state will cover the costs of those aging out of the foster care system.
Governor DeWine thanked OHIO Youth Advisory Board for coming up with this plan.
On April 25, 2020, 10TV news interviewed Talia Holmes, president of the FCCS Youth Advisory Board. She knows firsthand what it's like to be in foster care.
"You're always having to worry about making sure you're presenting yourself in the best way, so the person you're with wants to keep you," Holmes said. "[You want to make sure] you're not put into another situation that may not be as good as the one you may be leaving from."
Holmes said this is a step to ensure Ohio's most vulnerable are set up for success. "It's providing them that extra leverage to be able to make steps securely so that they are able to be successful in society," she said.
Quotes from Governor DeWine's Press Conference on April 24, 2020:
Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state will continue to cover the costs for youth in foster care who are turning 18 during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to DeWine, more than 200 people will “age out” of Ohio’s foster care system in the next three months.
“For many of these young people, their future looks uncertain because of COVID-19, whether their plan was to start a career or pursue higher education. This program will provide them with a safety net during these difficult times,” DeWine said.
This option is also available for those in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Bridges program, which is foster care to age 21. DeWine said those in Bridges can stay in the program to help them maintain their housing, jobs, and education.
“These changes will ensure that no child leaves care during this pandemic without a safe place to call home. I encourage county children services agencies, juvenile courts, and the foster youth themselves to take advantage of this new opportunity,” he said.
During his daily briefing, DeWine thanked Ohio’s Youth Advisory Board for coming up with this plan.
Message to Ohio Public Children Services Directors on April 24, 2020:
Here is some additional information regarding the announcement you heard from Governor DeWine today at the press conference regarding children aging out of foster care and Bridges.
Foster Care: To ensure adequate transition planning and delivery of needed services to foster children, increased flexibility has been instituted within the Multi-System Youth allocation. These funds can now be used to support the cost of extended placement and supports for any youth aging out from any placement setting through June 30, 2020. These funds can be used to pay for supports that were expended as of the March 22, 2020 Stay at Home order.
Bridges: In addition, please note that Bridges funding has also been extended to support young adults who turned or will turn 21 through June 30, 2020. Again, these funds can be used to pay for supports that were expended as of the March 22, 2020 Stay at Home order.
1.) Expedite the timeline for establishing a statewide Foster Youth Ombudsman’s Office.
2.) Extend Chafee supports to age 23, as authorized by the federal Family First Act.
3.) Suspend emancipation proceedings for all youth facing release from foster care for six months, allow re entry for foster youth younger than 21, and allow youth who reach the age of 21 in extended foster care (Bridges) to remain in care through October 30, 2020.
ACTION Ohio and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare reached to federal legislators in March and in April to propose solutions to safeguard foster care youth and alumni during this current pandemic.
Ohio Foster Care Youth and Alumni Leadership Pipeline
Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now Ohio (ACTION Ohio) is dedicated to improving outcomes for current and former foster care youth.
We bring together the voices of youth, alumni and allies to create lasting change and generate hope for current and former foster youth, based on access to resources, ally support and alumni expertise.
One of our primary goals is to create an ongoing, sustainable Foster Care Youth and Alumni Leadership Pipeline.
As a former foster myself, my passion is to advocate side-by-side with young people in/from foster care, to partner with them to design proactive policy solutions, and to share/help create resources to improve outcomes.