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Friday, March 20, 2009

Testimony from Adrian McLemore

Adrian and Chairwoman Edna Brown during the lunch break after his testimony.

I am a product if you will of the independent living services. I am a former foster youth who has spent a total of 11 years in the foster care system.

I have utilized every available resource in the program in Montgomery County. From text books for school to the budgeting tips I use at Kroger. And I can tell you today, my future fellow colleagues, that independent living services are a vital part and play a determining factor in the success of my fellow brothers and sisters aging out of foster care.

As you know, all TANF earmarks are excluded in the current version of House Bill 1. Independent Living Services are part of the ODJFS Budget. If you move forward with excluding these funds, more and more of my brothers and sisters will continue to fall behind in; an already uphill battle to become productive responsible citizens in our great state. You will see an increase in homeless youth on our streets; you will see a decrease of enrollment in colleges and universities. My future fellow colleagues; is this what we want for our young people?

While I understand the Governor and Legislature’s intent behind the elimination of all TANF earmarks, I urge you to re-examine this initiative. Restoring its funding would show your continued commitment from to the foster youth in Ohio, who looks to you as our legal guardians, in essence our parents.

Momma Brown, Daddy Burke, Auntie Sears, Sister Boyd and Cousin Driehaus, I hope you are proud of your son who stands before you today (thanks to TANF funds) in his senior year at Wright State, hoping one day to be Mayor of Dayton, Governor of Ohio, and President of the United States.

This is one dream from one foster youth and I hope you will not let down the dreams of my 1,300 fellow brothers and sisters aging out every year.

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