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Friday, March 20, 2009

Please don't cut Ohio's TANF Independent Living Allocation

Witnesses Tell Personal Stories of What State Assistance Means to Them
Hannah Report, March 19, 2009

Thursday’s Human Services Subcommittee hearing had a whole different tone as legislators got to hear from a number of beneficiaries of state human services programs – many of whom thanked them for supporting a variety of state programs.

An upbeat group of witnesses were current and former foster youth themselves.

While they were lobbying for the restoration of $2.5 million/year in Independent Living funds to help foster youth who age out of the system, they themselves were perhaps the best selling point, with Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) commenting that they were a “thoroughly impressive group.”

Making a notable impression was Adrian McLemore, who addressed the subcommittee as “future colleagues” and who said he hopes one day to be mayor of Dayton, governor of Ohio and president of the U.S.

He also addressed the panel as “Momma Brown, Daddy Burke, Auntie Sears, Sister Boyd and Cousin Driehaus, making the point that it is the state that is family for foster youth.
Gabriel Koshinsky expanded on that idea: “Many of you growing up had the privilege of living in a loving home with caring parents and a strong community that supported you. These relationships provided a basis of empowerment and investment that gave you the reinforcement to believe in yourselves.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case for all children and young adults in this state. Over 17,000 children in the state of Ohio do not have a home and many are separated from their own siblings. They are alone in a world that is difficult to navigate.”

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