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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Who will protect our children?

Each us shared our thoughts at the Thanksgiving table at the United States Capitol, as part of Foster Care Alumni of America's nonviolent protest to reform the foster care system.

Here is what I said:

"I am a parent now, and I know what parents are supposed to do: PROVIDE, PROTECT and PREPARE our children for adulthood.

"Neither my father nor the government fulfilled those roles for me. As a child, I was not provided for in terms of my physical and emotional needs. I was not protected from physical and sexual assault. I was not prepared for the adult world.

"Sometimes when parents can't do the job, older siblings step up to help. So, if the government won't provide, protect and prepare young people within the foster care system, who will?"

Everyone at the table, all of whom had grown up in foster care, answered, "WE WILL!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ohio Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi

Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi was our last Ohio visit of the day. His actions demonstrate that he is aware of the urgency of foster care.

Amanda Dunlap took the lead in this conversation. She lives in the 12th district and has had firsthand experience with foster care and adoption.

Lisa Dickson shared the entire roster of bills, including the de-linking bill, kinship care, the adoption equality act, the Boxer and Clinton bills, because we want Tiberi to sponsor them all.

Legislative assistant, Lindsay S Vogtsberger (white pants, second from right) won't be our long-term contact regarding this initiative. We will continue to search for the right contact.

113 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
(202) 225-5355

Ohio Congresswoman Deborah Pryce

Congresswoman Deborah Pryce is reported to care about adoption.

Therefore, Amanda shared her personal story to introduce the Adoption Equality Act.

The person that we met with was Caitlin Short (tan sweater, middle of photo), and her focus is on the environment.

Legal assistant Lauren Neff will make a better contact for us...

320 Cannon Building
Washington DC 20515
(202) 225-2015

Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt

Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt's parents provided kinship care for another member of her family while she was growing up.

Therefore, while talking with her legal assistant Ben LaRocco (on the far right), our focus was on the Kinship Caregiver Support Act.

Steven(far left) shared his personal story; after he aged out of care, his aunt told him that she had wanted to take him and his siblings so that they could stay together - but she couldn't afford to do so.

Then Kevin (second from the left) suggested that, in situations where family members are the best placement, they should receive financial support.

Ben might not work directly on this issue, so he asked us to email him all the facts so that he can get them to the right person...

2nd district OH
238 Cannon Building
Washington DC 20515

Ohio Senator George Voinovich

Since Ohio Senator George Voinovich cares deeply about dollars and sense...

We focused on the cost-effectiveness of investing in young people aging out of foster care, while talking with his legal assistant Angela Mikolajewski (gray suit, brown pants in picture on the left).

524 Hart Senate Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3353

1. Kevin Brown shared his personal story and it was obvious how ETV funds were a wise investment for his future. It pays to invest in young people aging out of foster care.

2. Lisa Dickson shared information about the Boxer Bill and Clinton Bill.

3. Ruthie White outlined the cost/benefit ratio of investing in foster care youth.

4. Amanda Dunlap went over the packet of information about the Kids Are Waiting campaign in great detail.

It should be mentioned that Angela Mikolajewski is an amazingly good listener. She is, without a doubt, the best listener that I have ever met in my life.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

During Foster Care Alumni of America's recent visit to Washington DC, the Ohio chapter's first visit was to the office of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

We met with his legal assistant Caroline Wells (pictured in light blue shirt in center.)

455 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510.
(202) 224-2315

The issue that we focused on was H.R. 4207, otherwise known as "the de-linking bill."

This bill allows states to receive federal reimbursement for all children in foster care, regardless of their biological parents' income, and also rewards states for preserving families by allowing them to reinvest funds.

1. Kevin Brown took the leadership role in initiating the discussion.
2. Lisa Dickson shared her personal story about how her father's middle class income did not help her during the time that she was in foster care.
3. Amanda Dunlap introduced the solution and gave the packet of information
4. We made sure to mention the Ohio statewide youth advisory board's recommendation to support the Boxer bill and raise the age to 23
5. Since Senator Brown is a Cleveland native, we also shared the current successes and initiatives of the Cuyahoga Youth Council, including their upcoming "Orientation to Emancipation."

Friday, November 2, 2007

Adrian's mission statement

"My name is Adrian M. McLemore. I'm currently a student/leader at THE Wright State University. I am studying Business Administration and Political Science. I am interested in leadership and government, and have been since the 8th grade.

"Throughout high school, I have served as President for various clubs and organizations including Class President for three years.

"I would like to become a President/CEO of a fortune 500 company/corporation. I would also like to venture into politics and become President of the United States."


To the future FIRST LADY, this is who I am working on being for YOU :

* Can make you smile, even when you don't want to!
* Will bring you around his friends!
* Isn't afraid to tell his friends he loves you!