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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sykes steps up as legislative champion for Ohio foster youth

On Tuesday, May 26, Grace Hilliard of Foster Care Alumni of America, Ohio chapter and Mark Mecum of OACCA met with House Finance Chairman Vernon Sykes to discuss the TANF-Independent Living earmark and House Bill 1.

Representative Sykes, an Akron Democrat, stated that he will be a champion for funding of the independent living initiative in conference committee.

This is extremely important because there is a good chance that the Senate will not funding IL in their version of the bill, which will leave the program’s funding status up to the Senate/House conference committee which will meet after the Senate passes their version of HB 1.

Also, Representative Sykes announced that he will form a Foster Care-Independent Living Study Committee to develop legislative and funding recommendations on funding for IL services for foster youth.

Rep. Sykes is a political science PhD, and he recognizes the importance of examining the state-county financing model of IL services. Restoring the Independent Living Allocation is important, but as long as it remains only an earmark, its survival will be in jeopardy in future years.

The Foster Care-Independent Living Study Committee is scheduled to launch sometime this summer.

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