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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adrian McLemore in Associated Press article

This Father's Day, an article about our very own Adrian McLemore, first President and founding member of the "Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio" statewide youth advisory board, and current Media Spokesperson of Foster Care Alumni of America's Ohio chapter, is being shared throughout the country.

Authored by Associated Press journalist Helen O'Neill, this article focuses on Adrian's role as uncle/kinship caregiver for his niece and nephew.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Resources for Ohio youth "aging out" of foster care

Employment

Food
  • Go with the young person to apply for food stamps, or accompany him or her to the nearest Food Bank.
  • Here's a list of Food Banks in Ohio.

GED

Healthcare
  • Foster care youth who "age out" of the system can receive Medicaid until age 21.
  • Navigating the adult Medicaid system can be challenging.
  • Don't assume that the staff at the Medicaid office will be aware of this program -- bring a copy of the flyer.

Higher Ed
  • Ohio Reach is a statewide initiative to increase the number of foster care youth who enroll in and graduate from college.
  • A good place to start in choosing a college is to look over the list of Ohio Reach Campus Liaisons.

Housing

Legal Assistance

Are you a current or former foster youth between ages 16-25?

Do you need help with:
  • Understanding legal papers? 
  • Getting healthcare, public benefits, housing or insurance? 
  • Applying to college? Deleting criminal records? 
  • Finding your social security card, birth certificate, or other personal documents? 
  • Speaking up for yourself in court, at school or in the community? 
Contact the Foster Youth Advocacy Center: (614) 236-6768, fyac@law.capital.edu

Literacy

Mental Health
  • Each Ohio county has a Mental Health Board, and it's up to us to advocate for specific services for transitioning foster care youth.
  • It's important to be aware that former foster youth suffer from PTSD at a rate twice that of Vietnam war veterans.

Parenting

Phone Bills
Self Advocacy
Social Security

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Radio interview with ODJFS Director Michael Colbert and Adrian McLemore


Key quotes:
  • ODJFS Director Colbert points out that today's foster teens are Ohio's future citizens and leaders, and that by supporting them now, they won't need other types of support in the future.
"What you don't want is young people to leave our system and come back, right back in another system. You want them to leave our system and go on to become productive citizens in life."

  • The director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Michael Colbert, has met with many of Ohio's foster youth, and says he is impressed with their resilience. He adds that it's crucial to prioritize support for their future success.
"These are very good young people. They've had some tough times and, by giving them a small bridge to help them better themselves in life, we are making Ohio as a whole better, and this goes a long way for such a little investment."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Appreciation for ODJFS Director Michael Colbert


ODJFS Director Michael Colbert,

The Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America would like to thank ODJFS for advocating for the $2 million/year designation of TANF funds in HB 153 to support the restoration of the foster care Independent Living Initiative. We offer our thanks on behalf of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board as well.

Please let us know if there is any work that we can do to support your efforts. We are more than willing to advocate for funding.

Ohio foster care youth and alumni were deeply involved in advocating for this allocation in 2009:
Testimony by Ohio foster care youth was quoted in the 2009 Hannah Reports:
Please keep us posted and let us know if there is anything we can do to support your work,

Once again, thank you – the words themselves seem insufficient in comparison with our gratitude.

Sincerely,


Lisa Dickson
Communications Chair
Foster Care Alumni of America Ohio chapter
www.fcaa-oh.org

YWCA Greater Cleveland Offers Supportive Housing for Former Foster Youth

Independence Place Serves as a Model for Helping Society's Most Vulnerable Young People

CLEVELAND, June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For most teenagers, turning 18 represents the milestone of "coming of age." For teens in foster care, that birthday also brings a less hopeful term: "aging out." At 18, most of these young adults are no longer eligible for the support they were able to rely on as children. Often, they are left homeless and unable to support themselves and, in some cases, their own small children.

Now, for former foster youth in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, there is an alternative. The YWCA Greater Cleveland has opened Independence Place, a permanent supportive residential facility for young adults 18-24 years old who have aged out of foster care and have nowhere to turn.

"Many of the young adults who transition out of foster care are all alone and, through no fault of their own, find themselves in desperate circumstances," said Margaret Mitchell, YWCA Greater Cleveland president and CEO. Studies show that within four years of emancipation from foster care nearly a quarter of these young adults have been homeless, nearly a quarter have not earned a high school diploma or GED, fewer than half are employed and almost half have experienced significant financial hardships.

Such statistics have driven the YWCA Greater Cleveland to its position at the forefront of providing comprehensive services for this often-overlooked population. In 2008, the organization established a program called NIA (Nurturing Independence & Aspirations) for young women, ages 14-24, who are involved in or have transitioned from the foster care system. NIA provides encouragement and support to approximately 100 participants each year.

The recently opened Independence Place is among only a handful of programs in the country offering permanent supportive housing to these young adults as they work toward self-sufficiency. Each of the 23 fully furnished apartments includes a kitchenette, private full bath, air conditioning and a large closet. The facility also offers a community room, laundry room and a playroom for children. Through the NIA program, residents have access to supportive services including classes that teach GED preparation, parenting skills, job readiness and independent living skills.

"Independence Place is a place of promise and hope," Mitchell said. "We believe this innovative model of residential support will be one that is replicated across the country."

CONTACT: Dawn Hanson, 216.229.5220, dawnhanson@thefairmountgroup.com