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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Overview of Goals, Projects and Accomplishments

Approximately 1,000 young people age out of the Ohio foster care system each year. As alumni of foster care, we share the same parent: the State.

Therefore, it is our privilege as members of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America to support young people aging out of foster care in our state during their journey to adulthood.

2008 Focus Areas:
1. Support Ohio statewide and local youth advisory boards.
2. Equip youth with the skills to share their personal stories in an effective and non-exploitive manner.
3. Educate others about available resources to assist youth on their journey to adulthood.
4. Educate others and ourselves about Best Practices in Child Welfare throughout the nation.
5. Provide trainings for child welfare professionals, foster parents and young people in and from foster care, focusing on preparation for adulthood and long-term emotional resiliency.

2008 Partnerships:
1. Assist VISION Board of Montgomery County with leading a series of trainings to develop county and regional youth/alumni advisory boards.
2. Support of the OHIO YAB; including creating a blog for their use.
3. Testimony regarding House Bill 7, in collaboration with Adoption Network Cleveland.
4. Involvement in OACCA’s Independent Living Legislation forums and subsequent workgroups.
5. Support IHS with their annual Trainer event and development of a Youth Ad Hoc Committee.

Workshops/Panels/Keynotes:
1. In March, we presented two workshops at the CO-OHIO Youth Advocate Services conference, presented one workshop at the IHS Trainer Event, and participated in a panel during the OACCA Advocacy Conference.

2. In May, we participated on a panel during the ODJFS Foster Care Month Event, presented a workshop and keynote address at the Daniel Memorial Foster Care Conference and presented two concurrent workshops for the Colorado Summit on Children, Youth and Families.

3. During June, we attended Montgomery County's Rising Up and Moving On event and spoke with Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland during the Ohio Family and Children First Forum.

4. In July, we participated in four regional youth advisory board trainings and two of OACCA's four legislative forums.

5. During the fall, we led two workshops, one general session and a keynote address during the NILA Growing Pains conference, two workshops during the Casey It's My Life conference, facilitated a one-room resource fair during the IL Summit, and led a breakout session focusing on foster care during the YEP statewide retreat for homeless youth.

Ongoing Projects:
1. Continue to provide workshops for Village Network.
2. Continue to work with IHS to certify foster care youth and alumni as state child welfare trainers for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program.
3. Continue to offer support, training and encouragement to local, regional and statewide youth advisory boards.
4. Maintain our active support OACCA’s advocacy efforts regarding Independent Living legislation.
5. Continue serve on the planning committee for Ohio’s annual Independent Living Summit and the Youth Housing Board of YEP.

2009 Initiatives:
1. We will support Cincinnati Works with their Next Step Network, designed to assist young people in and from foster care in achieving employment and stability.
2. We will present at two national adoption conferences about the importance of maintaining sibling connections and providing for adoptees during the transition to adulthood.
3. We will work with Professor Alvin Mares on housing, peer mentoring and education initiatives.
4. We will work with Village Network to develop a supportive structure for young people from their program to return to after emancipating from foster care.
5. We will strive to build a stronger partnership with Franklin County Children Services and the Ohio Family Care Association (statewide foster parent organization).

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