|Ruth-Ann serving early Thanksgiving dinner|
to foster care teens and young adults
My name is Ruth-Ann Thompson and I am a former foster youth from Washtenaw County, Michigan; however I currently reside in Franklin County, Ohio.
I represent Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now (ACTION Ohio), a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving outcomes for current and former foster care youth. ACTION Ohio brings together the voices of youth, alumni and allies to create lasting change and to generate hope for current and former foster youth, based on access to resources, ally support and alumni expertise.
I am writing to strongly support the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act. As a former foster youth myself, it matters to me that one in five young people who “age out” of foster care experience homelessness. This program offers a creative solution to help, with no additional spending required. I spent four years in “the system” unsure that I would ever find permanent placement.
Stability is what made the difference in my life as I entered adulthood; in fact, I believe I needed more structure and guidance in my late teens/early twenties than I did when I was younger. Life choices that have affected my life even now were made during those crucial and critical years of my life. As an adult, once I married and had my own children, our family was involved in a serious car accident that left my husband dead, my children and I critically injured, and required me to fend for myself once again.
It was that stability, created in my late teens, that helped me navigate those uncertain waters at that time, and gave me the opportunity to keep my family together, thus preventing another generation from being returned to “the system.”
It is with deep joy and personal pride that I say I am a former foster youth who now works hard, pays taxes, has stable housing for me and my children and I currently volunteer my time in various ways to give back to society. The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act has my full support. I believe that it will improve outcomes for foster youth, and provide them with the opportunity to become productive citizens.
Ruth-Ann J. Thompson
Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now