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Friday, September 28, 2018

OHIO Youth Advisory Board receives CCAI Angels in Adoption Award

The Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OHIO YAB) was honored to be nominated by Senator Rob Portman as his 2018 Angels in Adoption® Honoree.

The Angels in Adoption® Program is the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s signature public awareness program to honor the work of adoption and foster care advocates. This program has existed for 20 years. Over 100 Members of Congress participate, making it the year’s single most significant Congressional event pertaining to child welfare in the United States.

During their time in DC, Ohio foster care youth and alumni partnered with Eshawn Ali Peterson from Onward Hope in Arizona, to advocate for the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act.

Link to more photos.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Alumni input on local grant to End Youth Homelessness

ACTION Ohio was honored to participate in two recent planning meetings related to the $6M grant that the Community Shelter Board has received from HUD to help End Youth Homelessness in Columbus OH.

Here is a link to photos related to our participation.

Chapin Hall has conducted a Midwest Study that followed more than 700 young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they aged out of foster care and transitioned to adulthood. This longitudinal studies checked in with participants at ages 17 or 18, 19, 21, 24, and 26 about their current status in terms of education, employment, housing, justice system involvement and physical and mental health. 

The Midwest Study has generated valuable information regarding:

Chapin Hall’s Midwest study affirmed that the foster care population has characteristics which demonstrate a very high probability of homelessness. The costs of preventing post‐foster care homelessness through life skills preparation and post exit support, is far less than the cost of subsequent homelessness. 

This is a great read: Ending Homelessness After Foster Care 

That homelessness is a common experience awaiting these youth is particularly troubling because it is avoidable. It is a challenge of solvable proportions. Both child welfare and homeless services systems can do more to prevent foster youth from becoming homeless, and we are glad Franklin County is exploring and pursuing that.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Update on Scholar House 3

Link to more photos.

Ohio foster care youth and alumni have been working with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and Columbus State Community College to propose and design a Scholar House III for former foster youth pursuing higher education.

Former foster youth, including representatives from ACTION Ohio and participants in the Columbus State Scholar Network, worked with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to decide what services would be needed, and to vote on specific elements related to building design.

Our project was chosen as a secondary priority for the 2018 Qualified Allocation Plan’s set aside for Transitioning Aged Youth – and is being funded by CMHA as a strategic opportunity.

To learn more, please view this recent design presentation by Moody Nolan - with only one caveat: There will be 30 total apartments, not just 20.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Scheduling a Visit With Your District Office

Many thanks to foster care youth, alumni and allies for signing the online petition in support of the Fostering Stable Housing Act.

Let’s keep working together to remind federal legislators about the need for housing opportunities for former foster youth between ages 18-25.

The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act has passed United States House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee. The next step is consideration on the Floor of the House. In the meantime, a partner bill (that mirrors this one) is also going through the United States Senate.

During the month of September, we are reaching out to foster care youth, alumni and allies throughout the nation, and asking them to reach out to their local district office about this issue.

1.) Who is my legislator?
Here’s a link to find out. You can put in your zip code.
We are also trying to reach specific legislators from specific states. If you live in that state, please reach out to them.

2.) How do I schedule a meeting?
You can call and make an appointment, and say something like this:
“Hi, my name is __________ and I am a constituent of your district. I am calling to schedule a meeting with your office regarding important issues related to housing and child welfare. Is Congressman/Senator [NAME] available to meet with me on [DATE]? If not, could you let me know some dates that he/she or a staff person might be available to meet? Thank you so much for your time.”
3.) How can I prepare for the meeting?
You will want to read over, and be familiar with these Talking Points.
(And please keep us posted in advance of your scheduled visits, in case we can be of support).
If you want to know more, it might help to look at:
– a statewide youth board’s Letter of Support
Federal Testimony on behalf of a foster care alumna
– a Detailed Support Letter from the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare
4.) What information should I bring to the meeting?
You can print a copy of the Talking Points and the Turner bill summary, and give them to the legislator and/or their staffer.

5.) How can I follow up after the meeting?
You will want to keep a copy of their business card, and write a thank you letter afterwards.

Please keep us posted, and know that we are here to support.  I’m a former foster youth myself, who experienced homelessness within a year of “aging out” of foster care. But I aged out in 1989 – so why are our brothers and sisters of the system still struggling with this (predictable and fixable) issue?

We can and we must end the Foster Care to Homeless Pipeline – together.