Saturday, January 05, 2019

Our foster care system is failing teens on a national level

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Planning ahead for DC in 2019

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Broken Bridge Between Youth-Serving and Adult-Serving Systems

Lack of access to existing services by former foster youth is a national problem:

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Part of this is that there needs to be a better bridge between youth-serving and adult-serving systems:

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Employment and Education Outcomes for Ohio Foster Youth By Age 21

Ohio has a fractured safety net for transitional youth in general, and this is especially true for young people "aging out" of foster care.

1.) Ohio ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to state funding for child-protection services.

2.) Our child welfare services are county-administered, with 88 different children services agencies with varying levels of taxpayer support.

3.) It is important for young people with a foster care history to know about about available resources, and to have the skills to navigate (often complex or disjointed) systems to access them.

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Love this story from Angie, my college friend

Yesterday (her son) disobeyed, and he was put in a time-out and lost his screen time:

He took this piece of paper and he drew a very small circle and he said, "This is how much I love you."  Then, he took another piece of paper, and drew large circles to represent all the other people he “loved more” than me. 

I picked up the first piece of paper, with the tiny circle, and said, “I understand you are upset with me because of what’s happening but this is how much I love you even though I’m upset with what you did.”  I drew a very large circle covering the whole page.

His eyes widened, his tight shoulders released, and his face relaxed into a smile. He took a moment, and then drew an equally large circle and said, "This is how much I really love you - and I’m sorry I didn’t do what you asked - and I’m sorry I ate the cookies”.

I realize that even though he misbehaved, he inherently felt shame and he reacted in anger towards me instead of accepting what he had done. When I responded with reassurance that I still cared about him, he felt safe again and took responsibility and moved forward. 

Just thought I would share this moment, because when I drew my circle I didn’t expect the response from him that he gave, I just wanted him to know that his mistakes in childhood would never change my love, for him and that every one of us needs to accept what we do and take responsibility -- but that’s so much easier when you know you are supported and loved.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Benon Lutaaya: Collage Artist

Benon Lutaaya, Johannesburg, South Africa

Patrick Bremer: Collage Artist

Patrick Bremer, German collage artist

Sunday, September 02, 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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

We need the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act to pass, in order to help former foster youth between ages 18-25 with housing.

The latest research demonstrates that even when states extend foster care supports to 21, there are still barriers to housing:

Findings Regarding Housing Options for Young Adults in States That Have Extended Foster Care Supports to Age 21

  • Housing program is at capacity.
  • Housing program is not eligible to serve young adults in extended foster care.
  • Housing program does not receive child welfare funding.
  • Young adult does not meet the program's eligibility criteria.
  • Caseworker did not inform youth about or refer young adults to the program.
  • Young adult was referred to but not selected by the program.
  • Licensing or other regulations limit potential housing options.

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